Thursday, September 14, 2006

More Problems with Christians

A few months ago, half-expecting misery, I tuned my car radio to the local Christian station ("the Fish." Go figure.) The morning deejays (a.k.a. Christian-slogan spammers) were a man and woman duo announcing the release of a Christian woman's new book on "discouragement." The project was targeted at the ladies, who, as the radio hosts seemed to intuit, suffer particularly from hard-core down-in-the-dumps. Women listeners were encouraged (ha) to go listen to the author speak on such-and-such a date.

And then, perhaps in a fit of passive aggression, the female host (I think) said, "[You know,] Men as well as women leaders struggle with discouragement." Was hers a tone of mock surprise? Did she consider this a newsworthy tidbit? And if so, why?

In a spirit of agreement (or because Christian deejays always appear to agree on random points of pop-Christian-psyhcology), the male host rejoined with something like that's right. Men do struggle with discouragement, adding "It's really tough when leaders get discouraged, particularly the ladies."


I'll never claim expertise in theology. With the exception of John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son . . .") I can't remember scripture references for the life of me. And yes, to be sure, I just looked that up.

I haven't memorized the myriad Hebrew words, or their nuanced meanings, for God.

Still, I'm good at following directions. I can sit in a Bible study or the Sunday sermon and read along with the pastor's bulleted notes and/or scriptures on the projection screen. I make connections, or don't, depending on the clarity of a teaching and whether I concur with a particular arguement. I've also read enough books on gender issues in the church to be clear that one can make a Biblical arguement both for and against women in pastoral positions, and more specifically: whether she can have a position of authority in a co-ed setting.

One thing I'm certain of, however, is that a Biblical descriptor of womankind being prone to discouragement does not exist.

Lately, many Christian leaders have attributed weaknesses and strengths exclusively to either of the sexes. They've called these attributions "Biblical." I'm familiar with enough "movements" in the current church to know that to be female means to embrace one's weakness, to celebrate being "a girl," as one Christian author put it. She adds women should feel complimented by the insult, "You fight like a girl!" because it means women are being true to their God-given design.


This anecdote from a friend: A speaker at a genders-issues conference gave her testimony, saying she knew she'd finally gotten in touch with being a woman when she screamed at an unwelcome rodent in her home.

And thanks be to God.


Anonymous said...

Hm...I know that statistically women are diagnosed with depression way more frequently than men. I certainly hope they weren't trying to tie female depression to a Biblical characteristic or a weakness that comes with being female.

Your closing anecdote really gets to me. I would not put "fear of bugs/rodents" at the top of my list of feminine characteristics! Weirdness!

Anonymous said...

Oops, the djs were talking about discouragement, not depression. So...nevermind. :)