Women Who Blog (And the Pastors Who Let Them)

In the last month or so, a few faithful readers have noted that this blog has not been as active lately. I’m grateful that readers have noticed our relative absence; but also, thanks for making us feel bad.

No, but really. There are a few potential reasons why we haven’t written much:

  • We are completely overwhelmed by the many ways misogyny continues to be part of the Christian experience in America. Where do we even start?
  • We have both run out of words, given our busy and fractured lives.
  • Both Kendra and I lack any ecclesial structure to hold us accountable for our work, and lack the proper authority to write on religious biblical things. Thus, we have wisely chosen silence.

Maybe you didn’t see the article in Christianity Today? The one wondering about the rise of women’s blogging in evangelicalism, and whether that has created a “crisis of authority”? The one suggesting that maybe women bloggers (okay, maybe all bloggers, but this isn’t clear) should have more accountability? The one that called out Jen Hatmaker especially, because she’s recently come out as supportive of LGBT folks, and therefore here theology is somehow suspect and needs to be kept in check?

Perhaps you missed the vividI would love to blog and write freely about my ideas. But first, I will ask for my husband's permission.  discussion that broke out on Twitter, with even heavy-hitters like Rachel Held Evans responding, pointing out the deep flaws in the article, especially because the “crisis of authority” has never really been an issue until women also found their voices in cyberspace.

Did people wonder what kind of “ecclesial structure” superstar male bloggers like Matt Walsh are beholden to? Wring their hands when Bryan Fischer made claims about Jesus that seemed theological suspect? Of course not. Because in all things Christian, women must be held to some Higher Standard, especially if they have ideas that might make people think (differently).

Watching the discussion unspool on Twitter, I started to wonder what manner of authority I have to write at all. I do have some credentials, including a PhD in English, with specialties in composition and rhetoric. Twenty years of teaching writing. A master’s degree earned by writing a thesis on C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. That’s got to matter for something, right? I mean, c’mon, writing on Lewis and Tolkien should give me some cred with religious folks!

Maybe it’s okay for me to write about writing, but not about religious stuff? Or maybe, I can write about religious things, but only with the endorsement of a pastor?

So here’s the thing: perhaps I should also demand that those who write for publications also have some credentialing in writing. Because we all know there’s some pretty bad writing getting published these days, all in the name of “Christian truth.” Hear that Mark Driscoll? Time to sign up for my college writing class—maybe then, you’d understand why you can’t simply plagiarize when you are publishing books.

A few years ago (yes, back when we were more actively blogging), we highlighted an article written about a woman blogger, wondering if she should even have a platform, because that meant she might have male readers, who might (gasp!) learn something from what she’d written. The advice was wonderfully sexist. One idea was that she could have her husband read the posts before they went live, thereby offering her the authority she sought.

This seemed entirely ridiculous at the time, as it robbed the woman of any agency, any sense that her thoughts were valid without a man’s endorsement. But the Christianity Today article strikes me as more of the same impulse, in a bigger forum, written by an ordained pastor. I guess, at least, the ordination makes the CT article legit. And also, shows that there is plenty of sexism left in the church for us to address.