Rally the Equality Troops: We have a Rhetorical Battle to Fight

“Gender equality is just twisting and re-interpreting thousands of years of God-defined gender roles because you don’t agree with them.”  I was recently told this by a good, God-fearing individual when my husband and I shared the Wesleyan tradition of gender equality. How do you deal with people who refuse to acknowledge that male-headship is not the only Biblical interpretation of gender roles? As an undergraduate I was very confrontational about my belief in gender equality. As editor of the university newspaper I got hate mail from other students on campus who didn’t appreciate my belief in equality or my … Continue reading Rally the Equality Troops: We have a Rhetorical Battle to Fight

Equally Capable: Women in Ministry

The 1890 Free Methodist General Conference debate about the ordination of women is one of the most important moments in Free Methodist Church history. The debate about women’s roles still goes on today, making it crucial that we understand our history and our position on this issue. No true Free Methodist should ever say that our denomination supports male headship. If they do they need a firm scolding and to be sent home to read B.T. Roberts “On Ordaining Women” and numerous other documents the denomination has put out throughout the years. Yet it is disturbingly surprising how few people … Continue reading Equally Capable: Women in Ministry

Gender Norms in Christian Co-Cultures Part III

Cultural Influences Pearce and Cronen (1980) note that culture influences the individual actions of its members. There is a pronounced relationship between the writings of the Eldredges, Pride and Dobson and how members of various co-culture groups take those writings and apply them to their own relationships. The structure and influence of the Christian publishing market allows the writings of authors from various Christian co-cultures to exert great influence over Biblical interpretation, family life, and the self-worth of the Christian individual. The financial motivations of the Christian publishers mean that more progressive views, like Roberts, are not considered marketable and … Continue reading Gender Norms in Christian Co-Cultures Part III

Gender Norms in Christian Culture Part II

Middle of the Road Gender stereotyping is prevalent in both Christian and non-Christian pop psychology books, however when these stereotypes are viewed in relation to the dominant Christian discourse favoring the patriarchy, then the stereotypes can become tools to reinforce the dominant ideology. Perhaps one of the most influential Christian writers who bridges evangelical and fundamentalist cultures is Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family ministries, whose numerous books on parenting, marriage and family life have sold millions of copies (Focus on the Family, 2010). Dobson, like the Eldredge’s, uses subtle rhetorical devices to reinforce male-headship. In his … Continue reading Gender Norms in Christian Culture Part II