I am usually reluctant to post anything from TGC site or blog, but this piece wasn’t too bad. It covers some ground I’ve discussed on my blog before. I am only copying part of it here. If you’d like to read the whole thing, please click the TGC link to read the rest.
(I originally found this via DefendTheSheep’s Twitter account)
- …If you’re a male staff member at a church, I ask you to consider a ghost story of sorts. I don’t think for a minute that you hate women. I know there are valid reasons to take a measured approach to how you interact with us in ministry settings. I absolutely want you to be wise, but I don’t want you to be haunted. Three female ghosts haunt most churches, and I want you to recognize them so you can banish them from yours.
- ….These three ghosts glide into staff meetings where key decisions are made. They hover in classrooms where theology is taught.
- …. The three female ghosts that haunt us are the Usurper, the Temptress, and the Child.
- ….. 2. The Temptress
- This ghost gains permission to haunt when a concern for avoiding temptation or being above reproach morphs into a fear of women as sexual predators. Sometimes this ghost takes up residence because of a public leader’s moral failure, either within the church or within the broader Christian subculture.
- If this is your ghost, you may behave in the following ways when you interact with a woman, particularly an attractive one:
- You go out of your way to ensure your behavior communicates nothing too emotionally approachable or empathetic for fear you’ll be misunderstood to be flirting.
- You avoid prolonged eye contact.
- You silently question whether her outfit was chosen to draw your attention to her figure.
- You listen with heightened attention for innuendo in her words or gestures.
- You bring your colleague or assistant to every meeting with her, even if the meeting setting leaves no room to be misconstrued.
- You hesitate to offer physical contact of any kind, even (especially?) if she is in crisis.
- You consciously limit the length of your interactions with her for fear she might think you overly familiar.
- You feel compelled to include “safe” or formal phrasing in all your written and verbal interactions with her (“Tell your husband I said hello!” or “Many blessings on your ministry and family”).
- You Cc a colleague (or her spouse) on all correspondence.
- You silently question if her comfort in conversing with men may be a sign of sexual availability.
- ….we must move from a paradigm of wariness to one of trust, trading the labels of usurper, temptress, child for those of ally, sister, co-laborer.
(Link): Jesus Christ was not afraid to meet alone with known Prostitutes / Steven Furtick and Elevation Church Perpetuating Anti Singles Bias – ie, Single Women are Supposedly Sexual Temptresses, All Males Can’t Control Their Sex Drives – (but this view conflicts with evangelical propaganda that married sex is great and frequent)
(Link): How the Sexual Revolution Ruined Friendship – Also: If Christians Truly Believed in Celibacy and Virginity, they would stop adhering to certain sexual and gender stereotypes that work against both