Women and Evangelicalism, Episode 27 (Show Notes for Reclaiming Christianity)

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John and the panel discuss the relationship between women and evangelicalism through the lens of Deborah Jian Lee’s Rescuing Jesus. How have women been shaped by evangelicalism? Why is there such a disparity in gender equality? What is the effect of purity culture? And how can we address these issues?

Panelists: Tiffany Earle, Jennifer Neyhart


Reclaiming Christianity, Episode 27: Women and Evangelicalism
Sponsor: https://www.patreon.com/johnweldy
Join the community: reclaimingchristianity.net

News: Theology Book Club

This Episode:
  • Tiffany Earle
What one book would you recommend to our audience?
1. The Power by Naomi Alderman
2. The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image by Leonard Schlein
  • Jennifer Neyhart
What one book would you recommend to our audience?
1. A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
2. Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

Tell us about your story with Evangelicalism.

Book Review: Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism

Reading: p41-43 (women in church), p112-114 (purity culture)

Talking points:
  • Women in power: Evangelical v Nonprofit (study)
    • “I believe, with every bone in my body, that patriarchy is a result of sin.” (p209)
    • “She often wondered, What’s the point of going to college if my future holds only marriage, babies and no career?” (p212)
    • Study analysis: “Women account for only 19% of top paid evangelical leaders, 21% of board positions and 16% of CEOs...These figures significantly trail the larger nonprofit world, where women make up 48% of board membership and 40% of CEOs. On top of that, women are more likely to hold leadership positions among [evangelical] organizations with the lowest budgets and smallest staffs.” (p219)
    • "You cannot have an equal relationship when one member is assigned the role of authority and the other is assigned the role of submission” (p219)
  • Purity culture
    • “There were two important rules for women, and they seemed to be contradictory: one, that responsibility rested with the women in guarding her virginity and stopping boys from escalating intimacy; and two, that the woman should submit to the man in the relationship.” (p55)
    • “Fathers bought their daughters (but not their sons) “purity rings”, which the young women wore on their left ring finger as a symbol of their virginity, only to be removed when replaced by a wedding ring. It symbolized the patriarchal idea that a woman transfers her guardianship from one man to the other. The fact that men didn’t have purity rings underscored the gravity of a woman losing her virginity before marriage (she’s damaged goods) compared to the redeemable act of a man doing the exact same thing (he merely stumbled). It’s a system where women’s bodies are controlled and their voices are silenced, and men hold the authority.” (p116)
    • “At fundamentalist Bob Jones University, and alleged rape victim filed a report only to be met by a dean who inquired, ‘Is there anything you did that made him do that?’” (p117)
  • The abortion trump card (p5)
    • “At a 1968 symposium on birth control, sponsored by the Christian Medical Society and Christianity Today, evangelical leaders declined to categorize abortion as sinful.” (p119)
    • “In 1971, representatives at the Southern Baptist Convention concurred, passing a resolution that declared, “We call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental and physical health of the mother.” Even after the Roe ruling, Southern Baptists reaffirmed this position repeatedly, in 1974 and 1976.” (p120)


Do you think Evangelicalism can be reclaimed?
How can we address the problems?

“Reading was, as it turned out, the first step in deprogramming.” (p204)

Psalm 23
The Divine is my Shepherd
I have all I need
She makes me lie down in green meadows
Beside the still waters, She will lead.

She restores my soul,
She rights my wrongs,
She leads me in a path of good things,
And fills my heart with songs.

Even though I walk,
Through a dark and dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me,
She has said, She won't forsake me,
I'm in Her hand.

She sets a table before me,
In the presence of my foes,
She anoints my head with oil,
And my cup overflows.

Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me,
All the days of my life,
And I will live in Her house,
Forever and ever.

Glory be to our Mother, and Daughter
And to the Holy of Holies,
As it was in the beginning,
Is now and ever shall be,
World without end, Amen.

(Click here to listen to this version of Psalm 23 on youtube.)

Panelist Goodbye - Where can people find you?

Tiffany: Tiffany Earle on Facebook (send message)

Jennifer: JenniferNeyhart.com
@JenniferNeyhart on Twitter
Jennifer Neyhart on Facebook


Next Episode: Rescuing Jesus - LGBTQ+

Theology Book Club:
March: Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue
April: The Bible Tells Me So by Pete Enns
May: Why I Left, Why I Stayed by Tony and Bart Campolo

Sponsor: https://www.patreon.com/johnweldy

Find us on Our Bible App, a Bible study app and community for progressive Christians. Check it out at OurBibleApp.com

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FREE Books: http://www.reclaimingchristianity.net/free-books.html.

Reclaiming Christianity is a book review podcast about God, faith and life. Each episode is centered around a book that John loves, and contains a reading of a section, a review and running commentary. John understands that Christianity is a mess, both corporately and personally, but believes it is worth reclaiming.

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