Monday, January 21, 2019

The enemy is us

Karen Swallow Prior is an English professor at Liberty University. A few weeks ago I saw her on C-SPAN presenting and answering questions about her recent book, On Reading Well. Today there is a very interesting New Yorker profile:
.... Prior believes that one legacy of the Church’s history of sexism is that women tend to receive less formal theological education than men, which forces them to seek answers on their own. “They’re often being discipled by the blogosphere and by the latest, greatest celebrity,” Prior told me. This leaves them vulnerable to people who distort scripture to serve their own ends. Prior was dismayed by the success of Girl, Wash Your Face, a Christian mega-best-seller that intersperses self-help advice with Biblical verses, which has sold more than a million copies since February. “There’s a whole genre of Christian self-help books that emphasize a Christianity that’s more informed by the American Dream and therapy than the Bible,” she told me. She didn’t like to see her religion commercialized in this way. The distortion is especially harmful when scripture is distorted for political ends. Some conservative Christian men have gone so far as to argue that, according to the second book of Timothy, which grants men “Biblical headship” over women, female police officers have no authority.

When Trump was elected with some eighty per cent of white evangelical support, including that of many evangelical women, despite his history of alleged sexual violence, Prior saw it as a call to address the problems within the evangelical community. “We recognized that the real problem wasn’t Trump,” she told me. “It was the need to clean our own house.” Last month, along with twenty female leaders from different denominational traditions—including Baptist, Messianic Jewish, and Anglican—Prior launched the Pelican Project, an effort to provide orthodox women with scriptural guidance. The group plans to serve as a resource for evangelical women, and for pastors looking for help in educating their female parishioners. .... (more)
The Pelikan Project has a web presence.

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