Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Weak men being bullied off the platform

I recently read some remarkable comments on a Christadelphian forum which was discussing whether women should wear head coverings in church ("meetings").

At one stage the discussion turned to include the broader issue of whether women should be allowed to speak in church. While some churches would ask the question if women should be in the pulpit, the Christadelphian terminology would be to ask if women should be "on the platform".

Two comments in particular (by the same writer) took me by surprise:
"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."

"Man bullying by women has become an increasingly popular pastime in the churches, and it's unfortunate that it's creeping into the ecclesia."
I was surprised by this because it's not only rare to find Christadelphian women in teaching positions at all, but to hear that men are being "bullied off the platform" was particularly surprising. The writer was not referring to some hypothetical possibility. He was saying that this "man bullying by women" is something that's actually taking place now.

This led me to consider taking a poll on my blog (the first time I've done this). I've set up a poll in the sidebar to the right and would value your feedback - the more people who respond to this the better it will be.

If you're a Christadelphian man, and you are currently a speaker (or have ever been one) please let me know if you have ever been "bullied off the platform" by a woman. In other words, have you ever been pressured into giving up your place on the speaking list so that a woman can speak or teach in your place?

This poll will probably close in about two weeks.


Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

Well, now I have heard it all.

Talk about setting up "Straw Men" to make a weak argument sound like it might hold water.

In my experience, Sisters have been so conditioned to occupying pews, listening up, standing up, singing up, and shutting up, all in the right places, that most are petrified out of their minds if it is even suggested that they might like to even share a few minutes of their Bible Study in Bible Class.

We CD's have done a good job on brain washing out followers!! I am sure that is just one thing that is the mark of a cult, isn't it Steve?

Sisters revolting and wanting to bully men off the platform.... c'mon.... in your dreams!! What planet does your correspondent dwell on... for these things have never happened in my 50 years experience in any CD meeting.

Mind you, I do know some meetings that, whilst they may have Arranging Brethren, also have "Re-Arranging Sisters!"

And there should be more of them too!! If Elderships were populated by a more representational number of the fairer sex, then the Brotherhood would be less Ego and Testosterone Driven... and it may even be flavoured with a little more Grace.

What think ye?

Let the Sonshine in

Unknown said...

The comments by the forumeer that you quote are ridiculous. I've known a few bullying sisters, and a few bullying brothers. Bullying can happen by and to either gender. This is no reason at all for excluding sisters from full participation.

One note of caution some churches that allow women to participate fully there has been a decrease in participation by men. But this is usually due to apathy on the men's part, and the fact that women in general tend to be more interested in spiritual things.

I think this is also due to a shepherd-sheep mentality that develops in many churches, where the pastor does most of the preaching and teaching work, and the congregation tends to see its role as being listeners. The Christadelphian culture with our lack of paid pastors is more participatory, and has (much?) less of a shepherd-sheep mentality.

I don't think that allowing full participation by the sisters would jeopardize that. We are talking about ADDING something, that is, the participation of the sisters, to something that already exists, and not about REMOVING something, like brothers' participation.

If bullies exist, of either gender, then they need to be dealt with. But don't exclude an entire group just because some of them might be bullies.
I don't think the forumeer you quoted gets that.

Steve said...

Thanks for your input. I'm going to reserve my own comments until the poll closes.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the first comment Cliff York - as 30yrs female in CD this completely fits with my experience.