The Hashtag #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear Is Blowing Up Twitter and Pointing Out Misogyny in the Church

Sarah Bessey, women

On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, popular Christian author and “Jesus feminist” Sarah Bessey started a conversation on Twitter that has blown up into a trending topic and heated discussion. The hashtag linking it all together is #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear, and the experiences women are relating are heartbreaking, and sadly point to a divisive rift in the church.

Bessey is known for pointing out what she believes are misogynist practices in the church. An egalitarian and feminist, Bessey pulls no punches in her writing. In her book Jesus Feminist, she writes: “I look forward to the day when women with leadership and insight, gifts and talents, callings and prophetic leanings are called out and celebrated as Deborah, instead of silenced as Jezebel.”

While you may not agree with her egalitarian stance or her approach to interpreting Scripture, the conversation that Bessey has sparked on Twitter cannot be ignored by the broader church. In fact, the ripple effect of the conversation has already reached Huffington Post, and, unsurprisingly, stirred up more conversation in the broader culture.

As a way of summary, here are the main topics that are being addressed with this hashtag:

Women in Leadership

The bulk of the comments center on people’s disagreement with the traditional position of the western church to exclude women from leadership. People are commenting on the euphemisms churches use when they allow a woman to preach or teach, but call it something else so as not to label her as a leader or preacher.


Sexuality

We shouldn’t be surprised sexuality has come up. If there’s one thing that the church has tried to codify and agree on, it’s what teaching we should offer young people regarding sexuality. Here again are the frustrations women are feeling over this topic.

The Hypocrisy of Gender Roles

Gender roles has become akin to a curse word in the church, along with the phrase “biblical manhood and womanhood.” It’s no secret we have disagreements and problems with this topic. Some of these are so painful to hear…

And, finally, here is a poignant tweet from a young person to show us why church leaders should tune into this conversation:

Here’s the bottom line: Our society and culture is changing rapidly. Young people are being taught that they (boys and girls, equally) can do anything they want. So when they come to church and experience these countercultural views toward women, they don’t understand. A little girl raised in today’s culture is eventually going to start asking: Why does my teacher at school tell me I can be the next President of the United States, while my teacher in Sunday school says the only teaching I can do at church is teach children or a room full of women. Whether your church holds to this particular standard or not is beside the point. This is the perception of the culture toward the broader church.

It’s not going to be easy, but your church needs to have a response to these statements. Instead of ignoring the conversation, it will be better for us to address it. Whether your church is complementarian or egalitarian or falls somewhere in the middle, you can’t afford to be silent on this one.

Leaders, it is time that we lead and steward what God has given us better. Silencing and ignoring is not leadership. Loving, teaching and addressing concerns is leading like Jesus led.

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