Mimi Haddad is quietly promoting gender equality in Christian churches and seminaries.

Dr. Mimi Haddad is quietly promoting gender equality in Christian churches and seminaries as president of Christians for Biblical Equality.

When I asked a handful of prominent Christian egalitarians (those who oppose gender hierarchy or “gender roles”) recently who they considered to be leaders of their movement, all mentioned Dr. Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE). In the evangelical “gender wars,” it seems Haddad has risen to the rank of general. She isn’t always fighting on the front lines, but she works tirelessly to resource those who are.

Haddad speaks widely at Christian colleges, churches, and seminaries and has serious academic credentials. She is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from the University of Durham (UK). Mimi is also an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Bethel University, and North Park Theological Seminary.

CBE’s mission is to affirm and promote “the biblical truth that all believers—without regard to gender, ethnicity or class—must exercise their God-given gifts with equal authority and equal responsibility in church, home and world.”

Because of her felt presence in this important debate, I contacted her to discuss her beliefs about the Bible’s teaching on gender and how she formed them.

RNS: What was “gender” like in the family in which you were raised?

MH: My parents devoted much attention that their daughters might become fully-developed people. Dad said I didn’t need to get married to be happy—how many people talk about marriage as if it isn’t the pinnacle of existence? Dad said, “It’s not! The pinnacle of existence is becoming exactly who you were supposed to be. And marriage may or may not be in the equation.” So that really created some comfort and relaxation around relationship expectations and may explain why I married later in life, unlike so many of my friends.

Because of this, there was a welcoming of personal development and a welcoming of higher education. And so as I pursued first a Master’s and then a doctorate, I never sensed that it was sort of a second-tiered option for a woman. I had the confirmation and support of my family to say, “You’re not defined, first of all, by your gender, and second, by the relationships you establish with men. The equation of your life is complex. It’s more complex than gender and relationships.”

RNS: What is that you find problematic in churches in terms of gender relations?

MH: Gender hierarchy is not God’s ideal, and it’s very destructive to people and families. It is especially problematic when Christians portray the consequences of the fall as a biblical ideal. And that creates a diabolical circumstance for women. It’s a complete and dangerous misreading of the Bible. Unfortunately, that’s been the teaching for too long, until egalitarians like Margaret Fell Fox, Katharine Bushnell, Catherine Booth, and other great reformers came along to challenge those assumptions.

RNS: These are some strong words. You say gender hierarchy is not God’s ideal, for example, but isn’t that what Scripture teaches? Your critics certainly think so as have many Christians throughout history.

MH: It can be challenging to discern the differences between moral precepts and teachings of the Bible and those from “Bible culture.” Making this distinction requires understanding the historical context of Scripture. It’s as true in the first century as it is today. It’s critical to grasp that, “Slavery and patriarchy were part of Bible culture, yet they stand against the moral precepts of Scripture.” It’s important to note this distinction in the writings of Paul, and the Old Testament Scriptures. Why? Because our naturally tendency is inclined toward privilege and of power and reason itself to distort logic for personal gain.

Theologians call this the noetic effects of the fall. For that reason, we must be scrupulous in self-critique, power and privilege recognizing that patriarchy and a patriarchal reading of Scripture benefits males who happen to be a majority of bible translators and exegetes among conservative Christians.

RNS: Who has influenced you on your journey?

MH: The people who have mentored me the most have been dead for centuries. I’ve always been passionate about history. My PhD is in historical theology, the 19th-Century Women’s movements. So the women in church history have been some of my closest friends. Those who inspire me have been great reformers of the past and present whose work continues to stir the church and the greater Christian community. My mentors are people like Jessie Penn-Lewis, Josephine Butler, Sojourner Truth, and those who worked with them in the “purity crusade,” which was the anti-trafficking movement of early evangelicals.

RNS: Where are you seeing signs of change, in terms of biblical equality, around the globe? Which direction are people moving?

MH: I think of Christians who are under forty. And, I think of egalitarian Christians who are working to challenge injustice in their churches, denominations and communities. Also, in places like the South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, India and Cambodia, Christians here have experienced tremendous gender injustice and are determined to make a difference. The Christians in Cambodia have a very strong faith and they’re asking some important questions about gender and the impact of patriarchy in their culture. Same with India. Same with many African countries. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example.

We’re seeing Christian women leading nations. Rwanda has one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, and women have assumed positions of leadership there. What is more, their style of leadership is collaborative and one that considers whole communities. NGOs call this the “girl effect.” It’s a phenomenon that continues to inspire generosity toward ventures run by women. Microloans to women’s businesses around the world have been doubled returns. So many examples of this awakening of woman as strong help, as ezer, a term God uses to introduce woman in the Bible, in Genesis. It’s almost as if woman as ezer is rising up in many places.

RNS: What causes people to change their thinking on this issue?

MH: A number of complementarians just don’t have enough good information. Some never change the frequency on the radio. Others do not always have opportunities to hold a conversation with someone who holds another view. We tend to live in insular circumstances particularly when so many Christians fear intellectual engagement. I think of people in my own family who are very afraid of another perspective and for those in conservative evangelical circles, there’s a lot of fear to contend with on the gender issue.

I like the work of a number of egalitarians who give men and women biblical resources that create confidence in reading the Bible coupled with confidence to ask hard questions and to reason. Isaiah 1:18 tells us, “Come, let us reason together.” God is not afraid of our questions. A desire to please God pleases God, Thomas Merton told us, and Christian faith has always celebrated the life of the mind and the life of reason.

37 Comments

  1. Oh boy.
    Mimi Haddad says, “(The Fall) creates a diabolical circumstance for women…
    It’s a complete and dangerous misreading of the Bible.”

    Of course women are killed over this stuff. But how is it a misreading?
    God couldn’t be clearer. Women are worthless except as men’s property.
    According to God, Woman was made as Man’s “Helper.”(Genesis 2:18)

    Women were made to be men’s personal robot!
    Why are Christian women complaining? Do not reject your place!
    Yes, it is bronze age nonsense.

    Why not be honest? Is it so hard?
    Who needs this?

    If you re-write the Bible you are already rejecting the AUTHORITY of the Bible.
    You are only using the Bible as your intellectual plaything. And there are no checks and balances to stop you from re-writing the entirety of it to suit you.

    Just come to grips with your atheism and stop pretending.
    It is perfectly fine to admit that the Bible is useless.
    Atheism is a fine opinion to have. You are already there!

    • “Helper” does not mean “man’s personal robot” or his property. The same Hebrew word (Hebrew is the original language we get Genesis and most of the Old Testament from) is mostly used for God, in texts like: “Psa 33:20 Our soul waits for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.” The Bible certainly does not call God a personal robot or property.
      It is also used a few times for strong nations helping (rescuing, not being assistants who are ordered around) weak ones.
      The word is only used for God (most of the uses) helping people, strong nations helping weak ones, and for woman in Genesis 2. It is not used for subservience, but for helping from a position of strength.

      • @Retha,
        To God a woman is only property, like a slave. That is what God means by helper. And God proves this in the Commandments when he lumps women in with the other property such as donkeys and goats:

        “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female slaves, his ox or donkey, or anything THAT BELONGS TO your neighbor.” – (Exodus 20:17)

        Permission is herein granted to treat a woman like a sheep or a donkey.

      • Why is God so focussed on cruelty to women – yet not men?

        GOD SAYS – CUT OFF YOUR WIFE’S HAND
        IF SHE TOUCHES ANOTHER MAN’S PENIS.

        “If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes to rescue her husband from the grip of his opponent by reaching out and SEIZING HIS GENITALS, you shall cut off her hand; show no pity.” – DEUT. 25:11

        Cut off your wife’s hand? Show no pity?
        Jesus reinforces ALL of the Old Testament.

        Where is God’s command which says a woman should cut off a man’s hand if he touches the wrong parts of a woman? There are none.

        It takes a lot to offend me.
        But God’s injunctions are just sickeningly offensive.

  2. The Bible is immoral regarding women. Worse, it is repulsive.

    I could pick up the Bible and cut out Genesis 2:18
    which says God made women to be “a helper” for man.
    I could also cut out all the recommendations for Rape.

    That alone would make it a more MORAL book.
    Yet, what could an Atheist like me know about morality?
    ;-)

    • Where does God ever recommend rape in the Bible? I know the Bible reports some rapes, and can think of at least one place where people in the Bible recommends kidnapping women to be wives to other people, but if people in the Bible recommend something in a story, it is not God’s recommendation.

      • God commands raping of wives in daylight as a punishment…to their husbands.

        “Thus says the Lord:
        ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. And He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight….and with the sun looking down.’ ” (2 Samuel 12:11)

        God commands rape.
        Of course this is immoral. But think of what it says about women. They are mere property to be defiled.

      • @Retha,

        Furthermore…
        God REQUIRES raping and stealing as a punishment to His enemies:

        “Lo, a day shall come FOR THE LORD when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, WOMEN RAVISHED; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city.” (Zechariah 14:1-2)

        Jesus reinforces all of this repeatedly.

      • Lots’s daughters who where “not known by men”-virgins in exchange for protecting the strangers (angels) who came to his house for protection.

        But it is in the Bible-as a story or avocation. Your choice

      • @Retha,

        GOD RECOMMENDS RAPING THE PRETTY SLAVE GIRLS
        It is okay to forcibly have sex with a slave. As slaves are a gift of God.

        “When you go out to war…and the LORD, your God, delivers slaves into your hand… if you see a comely woman among the enslaved and become so enamored of her….you may take her home….you may have relations with her.” (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)

        JESUS REINFORCES

        “Jesus answered them, ‘I and My Father are one.’ ” (John 10:30-33)

  3. For over 30 years I wandered among Christian denominations. All welcomed me until we got to the hard question: Where do you stand on women in positions of power?

    Save for Christian Science and Episcopalian, all hemmed and hawed and some pointed to Paul’s “don’t let women speak in church” never referring to the fact his money came from and his life was saved by women. The Romans even referred to the Christian cult as “that religion of women and slaves”.

    The last Evangelical and the LAST church I attended was subtitle but perfectly clear: As a woman, I was good enough to scrub the church toilets but not read the word of God from the pulpit nor be a Pastor-but I could still give them my money. I left that church and left Christianity.

    My peace and soul now rest happily in Wicca-a religion that not only sees but glorifies the female spirit. And as a sad side note, Wicca is misunderstood by most Christians who assume we are all witches and run around casting spells. When I came out of the “broom closet” as we call it, 3 “good” Christians asked me to cast spells for them. They demonstrated that they were being very careful of their immortal souls but didn’t care what happened to mine. Because whatever you send out, it will come back to you three times. Casting bread upon the waters so to speak.

    Blessed be to all

    • @GraHog,
      Congratulations on leaving the destructive religion of Christianity.
      Wiccans have a much healthier philosophy. Though the supernatural aspects are not convincing , they are not particularly harmful; much like the non-supernatural philosophies of Buddhism or Karma there isn’t much to object to.
      Good for you.

      • MAX: New to this site for posting.

        Like your postings-though sometimes a little hard but know where you’re coming from. It is AMAZING how much vile is posted at length about “My God is better than you’re God” and “I have the truth and you are stupid.” I have usually found atheists with more Bible learn’ than Christians. There is a passage in I think Romans 2 7:14 where it says, (paraphrasing) if the wife is a Christian, so are the kids and vice versa because we gottta save everyone. My question has always been I thought a person had to come to Christ on their own and make their own decision via free will. Oh Lordy, as they say.

        And with free will-both in religion and the USA-if one tells me about their religion, I say no thank you they should just move on.

        And besides, we are all going to find out one day anyway-let’s play nice now.

        Keep posting-be looking for you.

        Blessed Be (sorry, just can’t help myself-LOL)

        • @GraHog, I understand what you mean. And there is a lot of vile stuff of God vs. God. I argue against religion, not the religious people themselves. I see them as victims.

          My problems with religion are so sprawling… monotheism especially poisons everything.

          It is at the heart of all of these problems:

          Wars in the mid-east, climate change, gay oppression, science education, women’s rights, education of girls, sexual health, genital mutilation, rise of russian orthodoxy, Vatican crimes….even racism.
          Religion is the central argument in all of these problems.

          Not only does religion make these problems worse directly, it obstructs the conversation to fix them! Faith is a set of earplugs!

          Worst may be the big money encroachment of activist Christianity onto our government since the Bush years. The religious people seem to think we need more Christian prayers to solve our problems. Childish nonsense.

          Wiccans seem to be more in control – there is no submission to evil behaviors as there are in other religions. Almost no dogma. Even the supernatural stuff is optional. I like that it is more of a philosophy than religion.
          And there is no commitment to push it on anyone. I especially like that.

  4. Interesting… an article interviewing a leader of the egalitarian movement in Christianity has comments eagerly supplied by only atheists and wiccans until now. Why they care about an interal debate in Christianity, only they know. It makes no sense at all to be obsessed with what other people believe. Very interesting indeed. “No commitment to push”, yet here they are pushing.

  5. In what way is the repression of women an internal matter for Christians when Christianity is pushing its nonsense on to the rest of society?
    Hmmm?
    Are you under the impression that Christianity is only optional in the USA?

    • Here you are pushing your nonsense in a Christian venue; I merely pointed out the irony. Or do you think atheism isn’t being pushed through media, education, and all over the internet? It gets rammed down our throats everywhere, even in our blogs and message boards. Pot, meet kettle.

      And BTW, it seems you are unaware that while Christians are persecuted outside of the USA (beheadings, crucifixions, rape, kidnapping are just a few in the news recently), and I never have seen stories of similar things happening to atheists in any part of the world, just because they’re atheists.

      Anyway, without your double standard, it’s still very telling that you care about internal matters of theism, seeing that you display every bit as much intolerance and narrow-mindedness. Just an observation.

  6. @Paula,
    You are wrong.

    1. This is not a Christian site. It is a Religious News site. I study religion the way a cancer specialist studies cancer. Religion is an illness and I look for ways to treat it. I read every RNS story carefully.

    2. Thousands of Atheists are killed each year just for being Atheists. Not believing in God is a capital crime in 13 countries around the world.

    3. Do not accuse me of double standards. All religions are part of the same lie. There is no reason to believe any of them are true. Atheists do not persecute anyone – 100% of the persecution of all religion happens at the hands of another religion.
    Atheism is NOT a religion. It is the lack of belief in gods.

    • 1. AM, you’re not here to study lab specimens, you’re here to vent your spleen and proselytise for your un-faith. At least be honest. If you were merely studying us, you wouldn’t need to comment and JUDGE… just like the theists you claim to be so superior to, as the scientist is superior to the cancer. A true atheist would have no interest in religion at all.

      2. Strange, I don’t recall seeing the news FILLED with atheist martyrs the way it’s currently filled with Christian martyrs. I can go and get a page full of links to back up my claim, but you’d have a much more difficult time finding a handful. And your claim that “not believing in God” is a crime ignores the fact that IT APPLIES TO OTHER RELIGIONS JUST THE SAME, so it is NOT unique to Christianity or theism in general. Apples and oranges.

      3. Do not deny the truth of your double standards, which are glaringly obvious here. Atheists are equally part of a giant lie and there is no reason to believe it is true. Here are more of my thoughts on the topic: http://www.fether.net/index.php?page=refuting-atheism-a-quick-reference/ . And you know the saying about “if it quacks like a duck”… here you are acting just like a religious nut. Think about it.

      4. Speaking of topics, the topic here is inequality within the Christian faith. You are completely off-topic and thus a TROLL.

      • Correction on my point 2: ” so it is NOT unique to Christianity or theism in general” should read “so it is NOT unique to atheism at all”.

        And to your claim that atheists don’t persecute… do the names Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, or the “Dear Leaders” of N. Korea ring any bells?

      • @Paula,
        You said, “If you were merely studying us”
        Not so.
        I never called Christians “Lab Specimens”. Good Grief, talk about a persecution complex. I do not study Christians. I study Religion.

        I have stayed on the topic of MIMI HADDAD and her argument. I disagree with her assertion that women can be free of the chains of Christian philosophy. The Bible will not allow it, and I spoke about why that is so.

        Atheists like me are interested in Religion because we are under constant attack for not believing in God. Every religious law ever written is an attack on us first. Ask an accused witch why religion is important to them!

        Religion is the number one problem in the world.
        It advocates for:

        Global Armageddon, Global Jihad, impedes Middle East peace,
        it impedes Climate Change regulations, it represses women,
        it is against science, it advocates human sacrifice
        and genital mutilation.
        As one of the defenders of Religion you are a knowing or unknowing supporter of all of those problems.

        Religion is a disease, like cancer, and I claim the right to say so. The evidence shows that its abandonment leads to better behavior across the board.

        Religion does not mean ‘Christianity’ as you keep repeating.
        Religion means absolutist belief in Gods and supernatural claims.

        North Korea is the most religious country on earth.
        Dear Leader is a God, his birth is said to have been miraculous, he can produce miracles. The President of the country is/was the father of the Dear Leader and it is claimed he rules North Korea from heaven.
        Non of that is Atheism.

        All of your attacks on me were personal, by the way.
        That should stop.

        • AM,

          You described your purpose here as being like a scientist studying cancer. “Lab specimen” is exactly what that means. And if anyone has a persecution complex, it is atheists, who are so afraid of religion that they go out of their way to attack us, as you’re doing now. You do not “study” religion, you fear it and chase it around. This is a simple observation, not a personal attack. And by the way, your taking this all so personally is proof enough that I’m not the one with the persecution complex. More double standards.

          You have not at all been on the topic of Mimi Hadad but on anti-theism; this is plain for everyone to see. Your broad-brush scapegoating of “religion is the number one problem in the world” is proof that you know this.

          Please check the link I gave for a more thorough rebuttal to your (meaning all atheists’) claims. And please try to see that your behavior and blame-shifting is indeed a double standard. BTW, “Dear Leader” is an atheist and forbids any and all religion. The fact that you call this worshiping a god is proof that atheism is in fact a religion; you said it yourself.

          What “should stop” is your trolling of Christian venues. It would be much healthier for you to spend time on what you DO believe and work for POSITIVE change, rather than attacking Christians wherever you find them, and finding them because you hunt for them. Practice what you preach before you demand the same of others.

          You leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone, deal?

          • @Paula,

            I must not have not been clear, somehow. Sorry. My fault.
            I would love to leave religion alone. But the religious won’t leave me alone.

            One would think Christians could be happy going to church and having Jesus love them all day – but instead they are funding all of these faith based programs:

            State Legalized Murder of Doctors – South Dakota


            Mandatory Trans-vaginal probes – Virginia Legislature



            Preaching the Bible in public schools – funded by Hobby Lobby


            Prayer at Government meetings
            Blocking people from family planning – Texas, 5 other states.


            Obstruction of prescriptions – Illinois, Washington



            Discrimination as religious choice -Arizona (SB-1062)



            Anti-Gay laws – Texas
 & elsewhere


            Anti-women’s rights laws – Texas, Louisina, Virginia



            Biased Counseling laws – South Dakota


            Creationism to replace Science Education: 12 States
            “Intelligent Design” to replace Scientific theories
            Funding Israeli settlements to bring about the 2nd Coming of Jesus ($100 million per year)

            I have failed to express just how angry I am that Christianity feels that I should ENDURE THIS ONSLAUGHT, and shut up and take its poison.

            Not only do I reject Christianity like all religion as an immoral disaster, but I roundly reject the claim that this is somehow a ‘Christian nation’ and that it is my patriotic duty to see the “blood of Jesus” as the red in my flag.

            Atheists are killed for not believing. If you don’t understand this, people like Ayan Hirsi Ali or Malala Yousufzai will explain it to you.

            MIMI HADDAD’s issue is emancipation of women. RELIGION is against that on almost every page of every holy book ever written.

          • @Paula,
            The disease is religion – not the religious. I do not attack people for their faith. My sympathies are for the priests and pastors who discover they have spent their lives on nonsense and need to find an exist.
            I am a large donor to the ClergyProject.

        • Am I the accused witch?

          Lighten up everyone.

          BTW, a warlock is NOT a male witch. It is old Scottish for oath breaker. A liar.

          A witch is a witch is a witch. Like a chemist. Unlike actor and actress, there is no feminine or masculine diminutive. A chemist is a chemist and a witch is a witch. To call a male witch a warlock is the highest of insults.

          • So if a 1970′s British comedy film is to be believed, as a witch you also float because you weigh the same as a duck. :)

            “PLAY NICE and BE NICE”

            The sanest 5 words ever put together here.

  7. Thanks for this interview. As demonstrated by the comments already, it’s important for people to know that not all Christians believe in gender hierarchy, and that there are denominations that support shared leadership by men and women in the home and the church. It’s encouraging that several women were recently appointed as seminary presidents, for example Carla Sundberg at Nazarene Theological and Deana Porterfield at Northeastern Seminary (Free Methodist). As Mimi noted, gender hierarchy is not “good news” for women. It’s a consequence of the fall and has no place in the church.

    • Agree, gall. We are trying to “clean our own house” here, to heal the Body of Christ so it can be what it was meant to be. There is indeed a glimmer of hope, but there is also widespread misogyny in the world. So as long as the church teaches male privilege, the world will not hear the full message of freedom Jesus brought and bought. The root of the problem is hierarchy itself, not only between men and women, but the worldly notions of clergy and laity.

      • WOW-wish we could all get together on Skype!

        Paula-loved your last comment-you hit the nail on the head in that statement.

        Since I read your posting last night (think it was the 3rd one) , I have been searching for the words, my words, to perhaps clarify my previous posting. BTW, 62 year old female WASP. Not a kid who watched too much Charmed.

        I admire and advocate Mimi Haddad for her scholarship and tenacity for advocating the total inclusion of women into Christianity. She and Elaine Pagels are religious and Christian scholars of great intelligence and hopefully influence.

        My response was basically ‘a day late and a dollar short’ in terms of how the patriarchal church/Church has treated women for 2,000 years.

        The Bible (NT) was decided upon by a group of men in 311. Many books were ‘voted ‘out because they didn’t fit the political agenda of the time. Pagels The Gnostic Gospels (paperback 1971) is a wonderful book which translates the Gnostic or Dead Sea Scrolls for the modern mind-though not easy reading. My favorite is the Gospel of Mary. And Phillip.

        My post was support and possibly inform the patriarchal control of the church/Church that they are losing their women and will continue to lose intelligent, decisive and powerful women if we are still forced to sit in the back of the pews.

        There is great beauty in Christ’s words. And there is a vast opening for evil in the name of Christianity ever rampant. I have no agenda against Christ. My husband is Catholic yet when we discuss faith, we always end up on the same page: PLAY NICE and BE NICE. Not for fear of punishment but because it is as the creator/s/ess would like. We were handed this wonderful place. We do not have dominion over the Earth-we have stewardship and so far we have screwed up. Big time.

        And absolutely agree with you that Christians are currently at the top of the list for persecution-job, social and literally their lives. For them I pray.

        And check out Carlton Pearson’s Doctrine of Inclusion. That is a mind blower. A Christian pastor who believes God wants all of us in heaven and intends to see all of us there.

        The Internet is great for sound bites but a hassle for intricate debate.

        Blessed Be

        • Nobody voted the NT into existence. It was already set (minus a handful of minor epistles) via tradition by the middle of the 2nd century. And we know from documents that date from that time exactly why certain works were not considered authoritative even if popular — because they came along too late to have had any connection to an apostle. Nothing to do with “politics.”

          • Except when it came to the importance of “the trinity”. That was as political as they come. The creation of dogma concerning it from the Council of Nicaea was borne of regional politics.

            This was the first major sectarian schism with Christians. Came about around the same time the religion got itself a government sponsor with the Roman Empire. Adoption of Trinitarianism was how Roman Christians (Catholics) separated themselves from “Barbarian” Christians (the Arianists).

        • Hi GraHog, and thanks for your kind remarks. :-)

          My initial comment in reference to the early comments here was simply to observe that non-Christians seem curiously focused on what Christians believe, which is something that makes no sense to me. I am an over 50 female WASP, so I agree that we probably could communicate better in other venues. However, I believe that the internal problems of my faith community are so dire that I have spent little time examining the beliefs of others, except as an apologetic exercise. I wrote a whole book against all forms of hierarchy in Christianity, and made a translation and commentary on the entire New Testament. Mimi and others have been a great inspiration and motivation for me.

          I see that someone else has already addressed the issue of how the Bible canon was developed, so all I would add is that I find far less validation and manuscript support for the Gnostic works than for the NT. I have observed that while the NT enjoys extensive support, people still reject it in favor of pretty much any and all ancient texts that disagree with it. It is almost unheard-of for anyone to put the Gnostic works under the same degree of relentless scrutiny as the NT has been.

          Back on the topic of patriarchy, there are two schools of thought on how best to eradicate it: change from within, or starting anew from without. I stand in the latter camp, having left “churchianity” years ago in spite of having been a regular and faithful “churchian” for close to 50 years. I see the institutional church as so corrupt, so infiltrated, so compromised, that trying to change them is like trying to change vote fraud by voting. I’m too jaded to think the forces of evil will ever be ashamed of themselves or give up power.

          As for inclusion, I don’t agree with Universalist doctrine. God is love, but also just and holy. I see zero point in having us suffer at all in this life if we’ll all wind up in a homogenized state in eternity anyway. I have a short document on my website about that and many other topics.

          It really is very difficult to have any debates of depth on the internet. Totally agree about that.

          • I don’t see why anyone bothers with any religious book full of claims from centuries ago. The patriarchy problem starts when a thousand men gather in a desert an start arguing about their wives and come to a bunch of agreements about how “those dames just don’t know anything”.
            Next thing, you got yourself a holy book which clears up the whole thing: women are dirt.

            This is stupid. Just toss out the books and you are 90% better off right there.

  8. I am glad to hear the variety of perspectives of people responding here–Wiccan, atheist, Christian and whoever else wants to chime in. Thank you for coming and reading and engaging. I enjoy and appreciate hearing from all who are interested in these important subjects. We all have both things to learn and things to contribute.

    • A bit of a jolly-mum said never discuss politics, religion, how to spend your money or raise you children.

      Well, that makes for a rather dull dinner party.

      I am the Wiccan. And my personal worry is that it will grow into orthodoxy. And with orthodoxy comes exclusion. Faith for good works should not exclude anyone.

      Sorry if I intruded

      Blessed Be

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