The other day I was speaking to a man about the church and why he didn’t go. For those who don’t know, there are a whole lot of men where I live (and women too,) who are believers and yet outside of the church for decades.
He’s outside the fold because he believes the church is repressive towards women and that we shelter pedophiles and promote child abuse. It’s a common meme around here, one that the world has propagated and promoted ad nausem, until one’s own perceptions of the church have been nearly entirely formed by false advertising.
Notice that he did not complain about the so called feminized church as some manospherians do. How do you know if someone’s fruits are rotten? They’re telling everyone to avoid the church and stay away from fellowship with other believers. Also, “church is for women.” That is a major red flag of all cultians, demanding and creating isolation. Separate, divide, control.
Back to the man however, and our conversation about the church and how oppressive it is towards woman. How sweet that was, how kind, what a testament to this guy’s protective nature that he cares so much about how women are treated that he feels as if he cannot participate out of fear of condoning or supporting something he does not approve of.
How absolutely hilarious that God saw fit to send a former feminist to cross paths with him. That irony did not escape me. So there I was speaking to a man about Christ’s love for women, about the way he first revealed Himself to the woman at the well, the way He healed another who simply touched his hem, about how He stood up for the woman with the perfume when all the disciples chided her for “wasting” such a precious resource. About how Christ himself often protected women, protecting us even within scripture for thousands of years, so we would not be edited out of the story.
The church has been good to women overall. Look at the Western world, a world heavily influenced by Christian values. For all our flaws, we’ve created this environment where women enjoy more rights and freedom then we ever have in history anywhere else in the world. It’s not all glitter and ponies, but it’s pretty darn good. Even our poor, of which I have been one many times over, often have electricity, running water, and something besides dirt on our floors.
There are a lot of things about the Western world that aren’t so healthy for women, but oppressive? Not so much.
Did he hear me? I don’t know, but the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and it was a lovely conversation. Once again I was struck by a man’s honor, by his integrity and unwillingness to support something he thought might be abusive towards his sisters. He wasn’t a feminist at all, he was simply a man who refused to endorse anything that he thought might promote abuse. A man who has deprived himself of fellowship, relationships, connections, that nourishing of his faith that he so badly needs, because he fears becoming a part of something that might harm those he cares about, mainly women and children.
It sent me off pondering the nature of deceptions, how this man who has had very little experience with the church himself has bought into a stereotype that is mostly false. There are some broken churches in the world, some false teachings, but over all that is not the whole story or even the bulk of the story. He’s trapped beneath a false perception, a deception….. and yet fearful of being deceived.
That’s something I empathize with a great deal, although I don’t fear being deceived or “brainwashed,” at all. His sheep know His voice. We know the fruits of the spirit. And we know the smell of bovine poo, too.