[This piece was published by BBC Religion and Ethics Online on 25th November 2012. I've included it here in my archive as an excerpt]
In the first of a two-part feature on Christianity, the Church and women – theologian and broadcaster Vicky Beeching argues that the bible, and the teachings of Jesus are pro-women and pro-women’s ministry.
I find myself living in an interesting tension. My Christian friends chide me for my overtly feminist views, while the atheist-feminist circles I move in despair at my commitment to what they see as a patriarchal religion. It would be much easier to choose one or the other; Christianity or feminism, but I believe they should be – and are – utterly compatible.
Empathising with my non-religious feminist community is easy. From an initial glance Christianity does seem overtly male; its language is strongly masculine, using terms like father and son rather than mother and daughter, to describe two thirds of the Trinity. The key players in the religion are mostly men: the patriarchs, the Jewish priesthood, Jesus, the 12 apostles and St Paul. Their stories are recorded in a sacred canon of texts, the Bible, written down by (you’ve guessed it) men.
Add to that a few voices from Church history like St Augustine, who once said that “women should not be educated in any way; they should be segregated” and it’s not exactly rocket science to grasp why many forward thinking women are initially suspicious of Christianity. I’ll be honest, I have found the dominant male imagery of the Christian story difficult to embrace at times.
Read the rest of this article on the BBC website here.
When you’ve read the piece I’d love your comments on it. Some argue that actually the Church is TOO feminine; that worship, liturgy and Church culture have been ‘feminised’. Do you think that’s true?