Ballista74 reminded me that I’d said in a post at Dalrock that I would take up Rachel Evans blog as a topic. He kindly asked if I was going to as he wanted to draw from that material as well. I like that kind of blog sharing spirit, and I see that now he has an excellent post up called Different Yet Equally Valued and it’s very good. In fact for what little my endorsement may yield, I want to recommend his blog, The Society of Phineas…he writes very well about the things we all like to read and need to know.
I’d procrastinated doing my own unpacking of Rachel’s stuff because there is so much I didn’t know where to start; I couldn’t find a shim to use to pry my way in, it would be too broad in scope, or too nit picky. I wanted to find a point, a contradiction, an open hypocrisy, something easy to see as typical evangelical feminism.
I think I found it.
Rachel’sarticle 13 Things that make me a lousy evangelical is in and of itself a good primer. It reminds me of the kids in college in the early 80’s, who were obsessed with being counter culture, different, rejecting the Izod shirt with upturned collar and topsider deck shoe look for anything thrift or army surplus store. I know most generations have these people, but it was my first exposure, and what I learned about them applies to Rachel and her list of attributes she thinks are edgy. What I surmise is that those who struggle so mightily to be different put for more effort into conformity than those who just go about their lives and follow their convictions. The non-conformists are the biggest conformists, and Rachel’s attempt to set herself up as a rebel reads as a very pedestrian list of chits usable for rebel girl club entry.
She proudly shares how different she is with her list, part of which appears below:
2. Sometimes I vote for democrats
3. When the kids choir sings about Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, I lean over to my husband and whisper something about genocide, drawing harsh stares from parents
4. I’ve never read The Purpose Driven Life
5. I think the earth is 4.5 billion years old
6. When we’re stuck in traffic because there’s been an awful wreck up ahead and somebody says, “Wow, God definitely had his hand on us when we left five minutes late this morning,” I ask, “But what about the people in the wreck? Did God not have his hand on them?” (I think it is this impulse that most often puts me at odds with evangelicalism…and Christianity in general)
7. I ask a lot of annoying questions
8. I have issues with authority
10. As a woman, I’ve been nursing a secret grudge against the Apostle Paul for about eight years
11. I support gay rights
12. Occasionally I have nightmares about Sarah Palin becoming president
13. I have vowed never to use the phrase “It was really good for a Christian movie”
How do women (gotta say, and men) fall for this? What I mean is, none of those are at all edgy or dangerous positions to take in today’s culture, yet they rush to them as if they are setting the pace of societal evolution itself. Rachel….that list IS today’s culture, congratulations, you are a member of the crowd, responding to peer pressure and going along to get along. Having a hue of rebelliousness is not what makes something rebellious. For a VERY LONG TIME now Rachel, the things you espouse are ho hum. The TRUTH is rebellious. The next big thing (Rob Bell?) isn’t.
She has a section on her site called the “Ask a” series. On that page she has posts where readers can send questions to various people, egalitarians, feminists, pagans, you get the point. I focus on the one called Ask an Egalitarian. The expert is Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality, “a nonprofit organization of Christian men and women “who believe that the Bible, properly interpreted, teaches the fundamental equality of men and women of all ethnic groups, all economic classes, and all age groups”. Okay…So far, I see no problems.
One of the questions she answers serves to reveal her own fallacious thinking, and another question gets an answer that highlights the hypocrisy inherent in Rachel’s having set Mimi up as an expert on egalitarianism.
First, Mimi is asked if an egalitarian is the same as a feminist. She then used the tired old definition of feminism that should wreck the credibility of any who employ it. She says that a feminist is someone who believes that women are human beings. There are few statements in the feminist realm that reach that degree of hyperbole and histrionics in such a short statement. The implications are absurd. I needn’t waste bytes refuting it.
But more germane to this entry is the question from “Kevin” who asks:
An egalitarian friend of mine (and fan of yours) made the statement that, while he is egalitarian, churches that go down this route tend to become theologically progressive on a host of other issues. Indeed, many of the arguments for women in the pastorate are also often applied to allowing gay marriage, supporting sex outside of marriage, denying the existence of eternal hell etc… Is being an egalitarian simply part and parcel of a liberal theological viewpoint, or is it distinct? Why or why not?
Kevin, great question. And Mimi’s response is not a response at all. She invokes the evangelical feminists necessary rhetorical tool of moral relativism.
Remember, the slippery slope has two sides! There have also been churches entrenched in a male-only model of leadership, whose leaders sound more like Plato than Jesus. One has recently argued that Christianity has a masculine feel, thus suggesting that maleness is a part of God’s being.
So she states that while there may be slippery slope issues with egalitarianism, the patriarchs have their own slippery slope issues as well. The spirit of her response is to be suggestive of a NO answer, that there is NOT a tendency towards leftism inherent to egalitarianism, and for her audience it likely works. They are uniquely able to look at equivocation and summarily set aside the tangible question, instead masking the answer with relativistic cover.
[this tendency drives my bat crap nutty, if one slippery slope is bad, the presence of another one in a different direction is ALSO bad, making TWO bad things, not negating the first]
The slippery slope she alleges for the patriarchy is an overstated straw man anyway, that the evangelical feminists rely on for all sorts of ideology peddling. It is the full Monty of abuse allegations, sex trafficking, slavery, and includes the unequivocally disproved allegation that 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual abuse in their lifetime as well as other oft cited false statistics. Far more prolific writers than I have debunked these claims thoroughly. But doggonit it stirs the female passion.
In addition to Mimi’s rhetorical errors it was a mistake for Rachel to have included this question and answer. If you go back to Rachel’s articles 13 Things that make me a lousy evangelical, you will find all sorts of left leaning dogma and scripture interpretation. More, she (Rachel) puts her money with mouth in one of her own posts called How to win a culture war and lose a generation. The post is all about how the church needs to shuck its image of being against gay marriage if it wants to stay relevant to the culture at large. She proudly claims that her and her husband left a church that openly opposed homosexuality. Further, in a taste of irony, she at once decries the church being politically active in state bans on same sex marriage right in the middle of a paragraph advocating for a particular piece of legislation to be voted down.
In a summary mantra for Christian social justice leftist Christianity, Rachel proudly writes:
Because young Christians are ready for peace.
We are ready to lay down our arms.
We are ready to stop waging war and start washing feet.
And if we cannot find that sort of peace within the Church, I fear we will look for it elsewhere.
I found Rachel’s site because it was linked by a poster at Christian Forums. The thread is here. The poster who started this has lately taken the tone of a number of threads down the path of very liberal social justice style Christianity, leading the others to perhaps unwittingly follow her there. Questions like “if you see someone in need won’t you help them?” (as if that is what defines social justice) start cropping up. More alarmingly is the claim that God is love and he loves us children and he will not punish anyone who isn’t doing anything wrong. The same poster has brought the question of the existence of hell into the discourse, though that didn’t gain traction.
I raise this (CF) because it adds to Rachel’s leftward tilt and the implications I draw from it. I have asserted that in general the skids of feminism are greased by leftist ideology. I now can assert that somewhat conversely, the skids of leftist Christian-ish ideology are greased by evangelical feminism.