Signs of Hope: A Micro Post (Of Sorts)

We are often asked whether the research we do into the zany and oft-times misogynist corners of evangelicalism depresses us. And the answer is yes, sometimes.

But we also see signs of hope that patriarchy is crumbling, and believe these signs point to a new future where gender equity, both within and outside of the church, is the norm rather than the exception.

On our blog, we plan to start a semi-regular feature, listing places we see hope. (An exciting by-product: we cannot be accused of being all cynical, all the time!)

So, this weekend, I was buoyed by several signs that Things Are Changing:

1)   At a banquet on Friday night for graduating leadership scholars in our university’s Act Six program, three of the ten students sharing about their experiences at this evangelical university mentioned they had developed a feminist identity here. While all ten students shared very powerful stories of transformation at this university, the public affirmation of gender, racial, and socioeconomic justice as a learned value at George Fox made me proud: of these students, of the place where I teach.

2)    On Sunday, my 10-year-old son and I went to an inaugural game of the Portland Thorns FC, a women’s professional soccer team. There were 16,000 plus fans at the game, with all the accoutrements usually reserved for men’s professional sports: fireworks, a jumbotron, fans chanting in the stands. Although vast differences still exist between men’s and women’s sports, this was affirmation to me that women’s sports matter, at least to the 16,000 fans screaming in the stands. Further affirmation: that my son could watch a women’s soccer game without questioning why he was doing so, and could appreciate the mad skills of the players.

3)   Two different blog posts by men crossed my radar this weekend, further affirmation that more and more men are becoming allies in the fight to carry gender equity to the church.

  •  Check out the blog to read some of David Marks’s ideas about how we can “grow past a gendered deity.” (Okay, so he quotes one of my blog posts, which is how I found him. But he has great material on his blog regarding inclusive language and moving beyond God as Father.)
  • Zach Hoag wrote an excellent critique of the tendency for evangelicals to talk about their “Smokin’ Hot Brides,” and the ways this trend demeans and objectifies women. Good stuff.

Where have you seen signs of hope recently?