You Have Our Attention #YesAllWomen. Please Teach Us How to Be Better.

Chris —  May 27, 2014

The High School I grew up in was in a white neighborhood.

So was my church.

So were my friends.

I got my first job at 18 in a call center on the other side of town. It was only a 15 minute drive away, but it was a different world. The majority of those I worked with were other races, many African American. For the first time in my life, I heard real stories of being pulled over by cops for “driving while being black,” and worse.

Like most in my Gen Y cohort, I would have adamantly told you “I’m not a racist.” The fact was, I was actually ignorant about the systems that enabled the racial divide in our society.

That’s how I feel when I read the #YesAllWomen hashtag.



Confused how to help.

When I hear the stories like floating in the hashtags, it is so sad and so overwhelming that it is easier to go on with life as usual. The message of #YesAllWomen is that for 51% of the population, “usual is not okay.”

When I started to become aware of the systemic injustices, I went through a very personal education. I spent time in parts of town I had not known about before. I read books like Divided by Faith that showed statistically how ingrained racist attitudes were in the church. I even moved across the country to participate in a multiracial church.

All of which leads me to the question: What kind of educational opportunities do we need to move forward, as a society, with our treatment of women?

These days, when churches address gender, they seem to focus strictly on functional questions like “can women preach or be elders?” When I read #YesAllWomen, it strikes me that dealing with these functions  avoids foundational issues of how we view men and women.

One of the best ways to understand the church is like a “movie preview of the coming kingdom.” In other words, the church should look like a society that follows Jesus teachings, not just people with an additional religious layer to common societal life.

I don’t know how to get from here to there. I don’t even understand all that is happening, it’s hard for me to imagine a different church. I have a feeling that’s how many men feel.

So, instead of pretending to have answers I’ll ask the following questions. (Forgive me if they are the wrong questions.)

  1. What does it mean to be made in the image of God, both male and female?
  2. Do our church structures automatically demote women?
  3. What words do we use, both existing church language and common societal language, that promote sexist or hurtful behavior?
  4. How do we teach boys in church to respect women?
  5. What jokes do we have to stop making?
  6. Are there events, organizations or types of entertainment that we should avoid because of how they portray women?
  7. How can men better handle their struggles with shame, rather than turn it into hatred towards women?
  8. Why are large sections of the church behind culture in this?
  9. What lies does the church propagated about women?
  10.  What opportunities should the churches create to empower and equip women?

Is your church wrestling through these questions about gender? If so, what are you learning?

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