I did, however, receive a response from Jonathan Burke, the Christadelphian who triggered this poll by making comments on a Christadelphian forum which was discussing whether Christadelphian women should be permitted to speak at Christadelphian meetings.
I quoted two of his comments earlier:
"When you have women actively competing for time on the platform, you're going to end up with conflict. No two ways about it. It's easy to see what happens. Weak men are bullied off the platform, or only permitted to speak when the women permit them to."Jonathan responded with the following clarification (these are just extracts from a longer communication, but I believe the sense is unaltered):
"Man bullying by women has become an increasingly popular pastime in the churches, and it's unfortunate that it's creeping into the ecclesia."
"... you didn't quote any statements from me saying that Christadephian brethren are being bullied off the platform. I said that bullying of men is happening in Christadelphian ecclesias, but I said nothing about Christadelphian brethren being bullied off the platform."Well, apparently I made a wrong assumption when I thought a comment about men being "bullied off the platform" in a discussion about whether Christadelphian women should be on Christadelphian platforms was actually about something happening in Christadelphian meetings. Apparently Jonathan was thinking about situations in non-Christadelphian churches.
I was making a general statement, not confining this to any particular denomination, and not talking about any current situation.He went on to tell me about his own experience in "a standard evangelical church" which he attended "twice a week, Sunday and Wednesday, for 2-5 hours a time, every week, for over 6 months" in which there was a "power struggle" which resulted in women taking over the church.
So no, I wasn't implying that non-Christadelphian men are on the (Christadelphian), platform. I was saying that when women are actively competing with men for the platform, then you are going to end up with conflict, and when that happens weak men are bullied off the platform or only permitted to speak when the women permit them to. It's a standard, general, conditional statement.
So to be fair to Jonathan Burke it's important that I clarify that he does NOT believe that Christadelphian men are being bullied off Christadelphian platforms by Christadelphian women. However, from his experience in "a standard evangelical church" (whatever that means) he obviously believes that there is the potential for this to happen in Christadelphian meetings and I guess he's encouraging vigilance against this kind of thing happening.
That makes it even more surprising that 5 or 6 people who voted in my poll felt that they had been "bullied off the platform" (assuming that the people who voted were genuinely Christadelphian men who genuinely felt that they had been bullied off the platform. This is an open site so anyone could have voted). Seeing the question was asking about "weak men" who had been bullied off the platform I am actually even more surprised that anyone would admit to being in that category.
I think we can confidently say that in reality there is no evidence of this sort of thing happening in the Christadelphian community (and Jonathan Burke isn't suggesting that there is), and despite the fears of some people that it could happen down the track there is no indication at this time that it will. Jonathan pointed out that one person who left a comment on my message is:
"under the strange impression that sisters are never allowed to speak on or off the platform in the Christadelphian community, whereas you and I both know that's not true and that there are ecclesias in Australia where sisters speak from the platform regularly (the fact that this is uncommon and unrepresentative of our community doesn't change the fact that it happens)."And not just in Australia.
I have removed the poll results from the side panel, so here it is for those people who may have missed it.
If you are a Christadelphian man and a Speaker, have you ever been "bullied off the platform" by a woman?
Yes: 5 (4%)
No: 98 (94%)
Maybe: 1 (<1%)>