Where Are the Women At?

By Daniel van Voorhis

I am not a sociologist nor am I a theologian. So please, if you could answer my question down here at the level of a guy wondering: why does it seem that so many conservative gentlemen (or many who want to revive a culture of some refinement) seem like misogynists?

Alright, I just rolled a grenade out by using the “M” word. No one likes it. I could have used the “F” word and wondered why some are afraid of it- but that debate has played itself out.

It seems to me that theological and political conservatism has attached itself to a kind of Mad Men swagger. When did the theological position of the church become the domestic position of Ozzie and Harriet? I don’t want to paint with a broad brush, or accuse people about whom I don’t know their personal beliefs, of a sometime boorish behavior. I am more concerned that we don’t shut off our view of women holding important positions in the church and society because of an adopted social mindset we have imported into our theology.

I understand the theological complementarianism that sees men and women as performing different tasks in the church. I affirm the need to treat men like men and women like women. Or perhaps, better stated, everyone according to their humanity. I’m going to leave CIS, LGBT and other issues alone for now.

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If you are in a theological tradition akin to my favorite “pastrix” you don’t need to worry so much. If you’ve got a Hillary 2016 sticker on your car, you can move along. When you are generally progressive you are less prone to attacks of misogyny. The issue is, when you have particular, sometimes considered older, views about gender roles you needn’t compliment them with a general boorishness with regards to the opposite sex. In fact, maybe it is exactly those with conservative views on gender that should go out of their way to show their love for the opposite sex with a generous use of gender inclusive language, support for women in jobs once confined to “old boy’s clubs”, and raising young women with strong role models in all vocations.

It’s not hard to find out about my particular views of things online and elsewhere. I’m in the circle of conservative dinosaurs that many of my more left-leaning friends assumed had gone extinct. I stand with the men and women of my traditions and confess with them the fundamentals of we so-called “fundamentalists”. But seriously, do we have to be so caught up and enamored with our tradition and historical roots that we look like (and act like) genuine a**holes to the outside world?

I’m proud of many of my American, Lutheran, and Republican traditions. But I’m pretty glad we finally passed the 19th amendment. I’m against some of the weird cultural elements that have glommed on to the theology of the church, from 16th century polygamy to modern shaming of women who work or send their children to public schools (I should note that I am fortunate to have my wife stay at home with my boys, we do however send our oldest to a public school). I wish my political party wouldn’t trot out the Palin’s and Bachmann’s of the world as tokens but rather highlight and praise the likes of Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (you can go ahead and google them now).

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I’m afraid that even organizations that I belong to are missing female voices across a broad range of issues. Where is the woman in the mold of the Rachel Held Evans or Nadia-Bolz Weber around these parts?

The current debate about a “War on Women” and changing cultural norms that offer new (maybe good, maybe not) options once closed for all is not going to be helped by conservatives making jokes, refusing simple concessions, and holding generally meaningless totems of their masculinity.

I have often told my students that a good way to judge a country is to look at how they treat their women (I’m looking at you, Saudi Arabia). I think I’m afraid what would happen if I asked them to consider the same about some of their churches.

All the best,

The Man About Town

Composed while listening to Beirut- “Gulag Orkestar

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55 thoughts on “Where Are the Women At?

  1. So much baloney already! Come on, stop pandering! Women in America are not a victim class. They are free to pursue almost any kind of work, and often do. I have had both male and female supervisors over the course of a lifetime working both in government and the private sector. Some of them have been good, and some were nitpicking and obnoxious, wielding and very much enjoying their power over male subordinates. I am so tired of this “war on women” crap as well as the pet issues which for the most part are over stressed or exaggerated.

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    1. Not sure how to respond, but, John, I rarely do. Whether I’m writing “indigestible pablum and silly things you have been writing, like this recent existential piece” as you once wrote, or this piece as “pandering” I will take your words (insofar as I understand the complaint) into consideration, consider further your comment history here, and then go about my day. I suppose if I wrote to get a nice golf clap from everyone every time I would be pandering- so the fact that you’re mad shows me I’m doing something. I do not want to sound uncharitable or snarky, but I wanted to affirm that I see your comment and politely disagree.

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      1. Come on, my brother, I am poking you based on your article. I am not mad or angry. You have a right to articulate your views. We live in a free country. We are Americans. We banter….and since you put your views in the marketplace of ideas, I merely responded. If you would prefer only agreeable respondents, then you are just looking for affirmation. My “comment history” should only be viewed as one man’s opinion, nothing more, nothing less. If we were sitting together in a cafe or pub, or at a church picnic, I would at times agree with something you have said, or I may disagree. Nothing personal, nothing mean spirited, but spoken to you in the spirit of discussion. My tone may upset you…for that I can’t help. I am a 71 year old grouchy white man, a 7 year veteran of the Marine Corps. I was a Sgt, and I learned many of my artful communication speech from the gravel voiced veterans of World War II and Korea who taught me what I needed to survive a combat tour in Vietnam. Later, returning to finish college, I had old school professors who loved classroom debates. Some of them were actually normal guys, New Yorkers like myself, and different than the sensitive politically correct progressives who mistook teaching for indictrination. So…if I offend…I am sorry. Also, being Lutheran, I understand Martin Luther could also pick an argument or two.

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    2. I appreciate your comments- I do need to take into account the voice of an old man who went through the shit and is now trying to make sense of things- I mean this in a very real and sincere way- I appreciate your “we can agree and disagree” and comment about Luther- All is well, my friend- keep reading and posting!

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  2. You aren’t seriously suggesting that Nadia Bolz Weber is a voice for women, are you? By taking on an office that God has forbidden her she is attacking the very order of creation by which God adorns womanhood. You say that some conservatives sound like misogynists. Why? What do they say about women? What in particular is hateful toward women? I would say that a woman assuming an office that God denies her is misogynist.

    Is saying that motherhood is the highest office God bestows upon women hateful toward women? Is teaching our daughters to desire the domestic life more than the corporate life hateful toward women? This is just one more example of a condescending chiding from a self-loathing Christian whose MO is to throw those mean ol’ brethren under the bus. If you want to contribute to a Christian conversation about how we talk about women, then how about you use the Bible. Saying your not a theologian doesn’t exempt you from using the Bible in a theological discussion. I mean, gender-inclusive language? Are you kidding me?

    Also, if you are serious that Olympia Snowe, then I don’t understand how any conservative/confessional Lutheran could possibly appreciate your sentiments. She is not pro-life, and her record shows it.

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    1. I think that we can disagree about a lot of things. Praising Nadia Bolz-Weber is not affirming everything she teaches. I’d be in some pickle if I had to agree with everything everyone I appreciated thought or said. As far as what men say, I stand by my statement that many women are treated as inferior when men go about explaining that a woman’s highest call is purely domestic.
      I think gender inclusive language, when appropriate, does no harm. I would use the “I’m no exegete’ line, but… I don’t think I’m self loathing for THIS reason and I’m just a guy wondering out loud on a site that allows for it.
      “for there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female”- certainly it doesn’t erase differences and distinctions, but calls for a reflection on how we might use some thoughtful discretion in how we talk depending on the context. At any rate, I think the purpose of this was to wonder if others thought this way (apparently many do) and to see if it caught the ire of others and why. So I appreciate the full throated rebuttal. I am a pretty roundly conservative guy, I have been thinking a good bit about these ideas for awhile- been trying to remove the log in my own eye for some time. But, the fun thing is, in most places we are allowed to think and write and disagree and this is one of them.

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      1. Could I ask why you do cite NBW and Rachel Held Evans as role models? What about their work do you see worthy as being lauded for a group, like, say the LCMS?

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  3. “I’m afraid that even organizations that I belong to are missing female voices across a broad range of issues. Where is the woman in the mold of the Rachel Held Evans or Nadia-Bolz Weber around these parts?”

    The actual conservative and confessional women are reading the Bible seriously, taking what it says seriously, and marrying men who take their voices into loving compassionate consideration and then speak for the family out of the responsibility they have been given. They are not trying to be men, but rather trying to be women, a truly glorious and wonderful thing to be (1 Cor 11:7)

    “I have often told my students that a good way to judge a country is to look at how they treat their women (I’m looking at you, Saudi Arabia). I think I’m afraid what would happen if I asked them to consider the same about some of their churches.”

    Maybe you can discuss with your students the atrocity of our own country deciding to put our wives and daughters on the front lines against Islamic warriors who will certainly have no mercy on them if they are caught. That does not seem like a nation that honors women, but rather one that gives them up as if they are not to be honored at all. As for churches, I think it’s shocking that you are blanketly accusing the general population of your own (which is filled with faithful wives and husbands, each fulfilling their God-given roles) while telling those who support women’s ordination and pro-abortionists that they “don’t need to worry about being called a misogynist.” Shocking. Just shocking.

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    1. The Islamic world, which (in many cases) treats their women horribly, has rightly criticized us for sending our women off to fight our wars. I can’t think of much that is a greater shame or reproach upon our heads than that.

      I’m not saying I want to live in a country where a woman can’t get promoted because of her gender, but that issue seems to pale in comparison to the horror of sending our women to die in the place of our men. Isn’t that the definition of cowardice?

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    2. As to discussing the issue of women and conscription- I linked on my article to a story and suggested that it was a bad idea. I’m with you, and Ken on this. As for saying the NBW and Hillary for 16 folk that they don’t need to worry is not an affirmation of their position- but rather me saying that, when it comes to making sure we aren’t labeled as anti-women in the so-called, and often over made, “war on women”. No one is accusing the NBW or Hillary supporters of being anti-women- so they DON’T need to worry about being called a misogynist- the point is that this article was a plea to my own (and myself) to think about postures we take which cause unnecessary offense. NBW and RHE are examples of women doing things, of which I don’t agree with all, but aren’t afraid to rattle a branch or flip some rocks from time to time. I dig iconoclasts, even if I don’t affirm evertything they teach. I need a church with vociferous opinions and loud voices with clear arguments and factions- it’s the best way to get closer to the truth on some issues. I could have written a different article. I could have simply affirmed the talking points and received a polite golf clap. I was curious to the response- I got it loud and clear.

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  4. “Woman are not human; nobody shall persuade that they are human; let them say what they like, we will not believe it, though One rose from the dead.”–Dorothy Sayers

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  5. You clearly don’t get conservative Christian women if you expect us to emulate the likes of Nadia-Bolz Weber. Honestly, I find your attempt at speaking for women as you do to be every bit as misogynistic as what you accuse these supposed conservative Christian men of doing. I have no problem making sure my voice is heard in my church body (the LCMS), and I have a caring, conservative, Christian husband who can also lend his voice on my behalf. Are there some blowhard men in conservative Christianity? Absolutely. But for every one of those, you’ll find at least one (or more) raging feminist trying to draw the church even further away from God’s Holy Word than we have already strayed (your favorite “pastrix” included). Fair is fair . . . conservative men are not the sole source of the problem here.

    And as someone who holds a BA degree in Theology according to your profile, you ARE a theologian. This piece makes your particular brand of theology quite clear, I’m afraid.

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    1. Great points. Women can speak for themselves. Gloria Steinam, feminist icon and true Nazi, never did speak for all American women, but the media and academia couldn’t get enough of her and those radical ideas which promoted infanticide on demand….to free women from the burden of carrying a child in her womb. Nadia Bolz Weber also speaks for her own base, and is not reflective of the views held by millions of conservative women.

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    2. Better that things be made clear. Especially for folks who are naive about the world of “confessional” Lutheranism and “conservative” Christianity. As I once was.

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  6. Are you really equating men who love their wives as Christ loves the church with men who treat their women to burkas and beatings? It really comes down to whether or not you believe Scripture. It obviously bothers you that GOD said women should submit to their husbands and should not have authority over men.

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    1. This does not come down to whether I am smarter or more theologically adept than some, most, or all men. It comes down to where God has told me it is good for me to have honor. The world has told me since childhood that simple wifehood and motherhood are humble vocations. Liberals and conservatives alike say, “But…but…but that’s not FAIR!” Who are we to tell God He is not fair? Feminists and every college student you’ll ever meet will say, “Women were/are abused in patriarchal societies!!!” Did God not know sin existed when he called men to be the heads of their homes? We are living in a culture today that is the OPPOSITE of what God called good, and the insanely fast moral degradation of society is what we have to show for Christians spitting in God’s face when He asked men to love their wives and women to submit to their husbands. “Oh no, God,” they say. “We love women more than you. We know better what is good for them.”

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  7. I’m also curious about what I’m particular you think are the strengths of Nadia Bolz Weber and Rachel Held Evans. Based on your other work (e.g., Virtue in the Wasteland), I’m pretty sure that you don’t agree with much of their theology/worldview, but I’m curious to know what you see as their particular strengths or areas that we could emulate. Personally, I think women like Adriane Heins and Mollie Hemingway already act as role models within the LCMS, but I think having more women doing the kind of work they’re doing (especially in a complementary way) would also be great.

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  8. I think many readers are getting hung up on a misunderstanding of Dan’s side issues. Here is the meat of what he’s arguing:

    “The issue is, when you have particular, sometimes considered older, views about gender roles you needn’t compliment them with a general boorishness with regards to the opposite sex. In fact, maybe it is exactly those with conservative views on gender that should go out of their way to show their love for the opposite sex with a generous use of gender inclusive language, support for women in jobs once confined to “old boy’s clubs”, and raising young women with strong role models in all vocations.”

    Can one of you folks who’s all bent out of shape explain to me why this isn’t an important point to consider? I have been around various churches for a long time, and it should be surprising to no one that demeaning jokes or comments about women–when the women aren’t around–happen too frequently in some conservative religious circles.

    Dan’s not advocating any ecclesiological change here, rather he’s after something urgent. If one is a part of a conservative Christian body, as Dan is, it is important to go out of our way to oppose real sexism in our communities, because sometimes young people pick up on cultural cues we might not even realize we are sending. Dan’s calling for self reflection. And why should we not go the extra distance to be courteous and respectful toward women? Failure here can reasonably cause folks to question whether conservative denominations should be believed that pastoral roles to which they are committed are about biblical teaching rather than blatant sexism.

    Indeed, the seeming inability for folks to calmly consider Dan’s modest proposal here is even causing me to wonder if I’ve not been duped. Should I assume that a traditional theology must entail cultural racism and “boorishness”?

    Someone prove wrong my impression about all this (preferably without going on a rant like an angry dad who just came home pissed off about work and wants to take it out on his wife and kids.)

    I suspect that it must be incredibly hard for women to address these concerns in any context that responds to an “I wonder” essay by a Republican white guy in such a vitriolic manner. I shiver with dread.

    As for Ruth’s question “Are you really equating men who love their wives as Christ loves the church with men who treat their women to burkas and beatings?” –This is not Dan’s intent. He’s saying that people who talk about loving their wives as Christ loves the church but actually are cruel to their wives under the guise of theological purity, or are bold sexist in their daily lives do an injustice to the Christian teaching and distract from it.

    Kaitlyn, thanks for mentioning Mollie Hemingway. Her recent reflections on feminism and virtue in the media might be worth reading: http://thefederalist.com/2016/01/19/amy-schumer-deserves-support-for-embracing-virtue/

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    1. In my experience, it’s the men who’s wives boss them around who make sexist jokes, e.g.: “Don’t let your wife hear you say that!” Are we really angry mothers and are men little boys trying not to get caught by us? That doesn’t sound respectful to women, nor does it sound like a healthy relationship between two adults. I was arguing that Daniel’s ideas of the roles of men and women were not Scriptural. You are arguing that people who argue for traditional roles are not being “nice enough”. Are we on a playground here? Or discussing something that actually matters?

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      1. I am arguing not that arguing for traditional roles is not “nice enough” I’m reaffirming Dan’s position that people who believe in traditional roles need to be kinder, more careful not to demean, less dismissive of women etc. if we are to take seriously that they are in fact trying to be spiritual. It too often seems that folks are at heart uncharitable and want to use the Bible to support their inherent hostility. We are discussing obviously something of incredible value, otherwise we’d all be chatting about Dan’s piece on eyeglass frames. So you don’t think we should be nice. Fine. But should I put you down as pro-sexism and abusive behavior? I trust not, but I am flummoxed by what people find objectionable.

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    2. Nothing like walking back someone’s prior comments to give them an apologetic spin, to infer he or she meant something other than what was stated, done ostensibly to soften and deflect an obvious interpretation not desired. Many of us reading these posts can read the lines and in between the lines, and when we hear the progressive “code words” like “gender inclusive” being used, as well as the jargon of the day, we know that the writer or speaker is advancing a social view….and we are free to take such comments at face value….and criticize the substance of ideas presented.

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    3. I work in an office full of women. I can tell you, the degrading jokes that women make about men are far more frequent and far more vitriolic than the other way around, at least in my experience.

      Generally, I hear men joke about how incompetent they are as husbands and how little they understand their wives. Sometimes, they may joke about how women are more emotional while men are more rational, but within the context of the church, I don’t think I’ve ever heard men make deregatory statements about their wives, and I was involved in a VERY conservative, if not, fundamentalist church for 10 years. I’ve been going to a Conservative TAALC church for about 5 months now.

      At work, I hear women say things like, “men are all pigs,” “I hate men,” “men are stupid,” etc. Working for the state government, practically all of our managers are women and men typically only work positions like mail machine operator, mail delivery, or IT. The men who work for the state tend to be hen-pecked, and women strut around more like cocks. If a man gets passed over for promotion, or someone makes a demeaning statement towards him, he tends to let it slide and keep trying to move forward. When it happens to a woman, she almost always files a complaint, starts attacking whoever committed the offense with gossip, and all sorts of drama ensues. Its as if the men are all walking around on egg shells terrified that someone else is going to file a complaint against them. I’ve had complaints filed against me for things that were inadvertently and unintentionally offensive, but only by women, never by men. Women can say what they want, when they want, about whomever they want, but the men around here are afraid of their shadows.

      As much as I love you guys (Jeff and Dan) and the work that you do, Dan’s article just doesn’t resonate with me or with my experience on the issue of gender equality. My wife’s father is far more of a feminist than my wife or her sisters. He’s almost embarrassed that his daughters have chosen to get married and raise children, rather than pursuing a career as a math teacher (in the case of my wife), or a lawyer (in the case of her younger sister).

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      1. Hey, I like your anecdotal account of the reality of working with women in an office. Indeed, when those who wish to only present the “victimization” view of women advance their opinion, they will understate or ignore other experiences. Anecdotal experiences are part of the undeniable historical record. For example, viewing history from not only the professorial academic often collides with the individual and collective experiences of others. Looking at women’s rights, slavery, wars, and so forth, from the anecdotal true experiences of different perspectives we get a more realistic knowledge of life. In advancing a subjective point of view, many fall into the habit of only presenting the information needed to reinforce their own opinion.

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      2. Hey Ken- I HATE the kind of stuff that makes men out to be helpless Neanderthals in the kitchen, raising kids, etc… I see this kind of crap all of the time- someone suggest I write a “Where Are the Men At” article next- which could go at the infuriating things of which you write and I see. I am glad the article didn’t resonate with what you see- and when the thing swings all the way back to silliness on the other side, I can only sigh and hope it to can be combatted. I suppose, like my other articles (and the show) it’s a place for ideas and discussion and getting in the midst of the real fights and taboos. So I dig it. Message boards seem to bring out the worst in people. But thoughtful responses are helpful- and you’re great at calmly asking the question.

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      3. Thanks for the response, Dan. I have no work to do at the office this morning, so I’m listening to the podcast right now (I should probably be studying for business calculus instead!). Your guest does make some very good points and I do appreciate her perspective. Her perspective on female sexuality and virginity is great from a Law/Gospel perspective. It’s unfortunate that we can insinuate that purity primarily refers to female sexuality, rather than being clothed with Christ. I think that’s a subtle way of thinking and communicating that we could work on in the church.

        I guess it’s like Luther said, we fall of the horse on one side only to get back on and fall off the horse on the other side. On the one hand, we could be a bunch of shovenistic pigs saying horribly insensitive things and making women out to be less valuable than men. On the other hand, we can allow “I’m offended” to become the club that people use to beat us over the head and work us to their advantage.

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    1. Let me see if I can properly translate.

      “fairly apolitical” = political
      “respond like total boors” = respond like people who disagree with this nonsense and are calling the author on it
      “Come on, gents” = implicit denial that some of the people responding in disagreement are ladies

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      1. If you can see some sort of political endorsement from this call for more civility among conservative gentlemen, then by all means please elucidate it for me.

        Ah yes the inevitable “calling out”, which seems a lot to me like people who are outraged at the notion of, gasp, more civility.

        “gents”. No simply I read the comments of the men here by skimming. Give me a break.

        How about instead of translating me (quite poorly I might add) you could just respond to my point.

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  9. “Where is the woman in the mold of the Rachel Held Evans or Nadia-Bolz Weber around these parts?” Both Professional Grievance Warriors advancing a Cultural Marxist agenda. No thanks!

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    1. I’m going to make a sign on my door “Professional Grievance Warrior Advacing a Cultural Marxist Agenda”- ultimately, we liberal left coast profs are all the same (please read with all irony, love and charity, Pat 🙂

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      1. As the mother of a daughter raised by one of the “boorish” conservative men you criticize in this piece who has been seriously considering Concordia Irvine for college, I find it unsettling that you now claim to essentially have just been “dipping your toe in the water” so to speak on this topic and then seem to laugh it off with this comment about being a “liberal left coast” prof. Please don’t insult the intelligence of capable, thinking conservative Christian women in this manner. Your point came through loud and clear in your original post.

        You have an obligation to the LCMS, sir, as you represent this church body within your academic position. It might be helpful for you to review the section on Concordia University System Faculties, especially Section 3.10.5.6.2:

        3.10.5.6.2 Except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws, the board of regents, on recommendation of the president of the institution, shall appoint all full-time members of the faculty. The terms and conditions of every appointment shall be stated in writing and be in the possession of both the institution and the prospective faculty member before the appointment is consummated. Limitations of academic freedom because of the religious and confessional nature and aims of the institution shall be stated in writing at the time of the appointment and conveyed to the person being appointed. Faculty members, full- and part-time, shall pledge to perform their duties in harmony with the Holy Scriptures as the inspired Word of God, the Lutheran Confessions, and the Synod’s doctrinal statements.

        http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=2715

        Again, because some would fail to convey the Biblical teachings on women’s roles appropriately doesn’t give one license to paint such a broad brush stroke that “most” or whatever arbitrary number you alluded to, do, as well. In a time when society is flat out hostile to the traditional, God-designed vocations of women within the family, this sort of rhetoric is most unhelpful to Christian women. Perhaps you can appreciate that many conservative Christian women choose to emulate the likes of Mary, mother of our Lord, who was esteemed for being a humble servant, over and above attention-seeking female pastors that you seem to hold in such high esteem. It would behoove you to gain a better understanding of the mindset of a truly conservative Christian woman before attempting to write on the subject again.

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      2. Hi Kim- please see that I wrote “please read with irony, love and charity” as I am not a “liberal” left coast prof- in fact, quite the opposite. Apparently irony is hard to get across, but I would think love and charity would prevail. I understand your concerns about our institutions, and share them, I would ask that you not threaten with bylaws or the like on a public forum, email me or call me! I’m happy to talk. My phone number is 949-214-3322 (and I’m fine putting that number here because anyone who wants to have a conversation that is deeper is always free to call). CUI is the finest Lutheran university in America when it comes to rigorous academics and confessional fidelity. That’s why I work here. It’s certainly not the cost of living in this part of the world, or the huge paycheck 🙂 Anyone should be proud to send their child here.

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  10. We’re on the internet. Nobody sounds nice on the internet. 😉 But what is this boorish behavior you speak of? Is it simply opinions or beliefs being stated? Are traditional types really being mean to women? Or are they saying what they believe Scripture says, which hurts people’s/women’s feelings? Just as you fail to see what I find objectionable, I fail to see what boorish behavior, this demeaning and dismissiveness of women, to which you are referring.

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  11. Thanks for the article. The implicit (and in some places, explicit) teaching within our denom (LCMS) is that women should stay home and raise kids: they are sometimes (maybe even frequently) judged if they choose otherwise.
    I think the professor’s message is that this shouldn’t be so.

    In many cases, it is more practical for the wife to work. In some parts of the country, a family cannot afford basic necessities unless both spouses work. What is the problem if mom and dad both work?

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    1. I can’t say that, in my 12 or so years as a Lutheran in fellowship with the LCMS, I’ve heard anyone say that women oughtn’t ever work outside the home at all, especially if otherwise ends won’t be met. I have heard a good deal of defense by conservative Christians against a hostile culture that says a woman is lazy or is making the wrong choices if she stays home with kids, or that she is backwards and enslaving herself or such like. In light of that, it should not be surprising in our churches to hear a lot of words to encourage women who raise children in the home, and I don’t see what the problem is with that.

      I admit that I am a little baffled at the suggestion that women don’t have a voice or any visibility in conservative Lutheran circles. I’ve written theological books, articles, and hymnody that have been enthusiastically promoted by men in the LCMS, and have not sensed “short shrift” for being a woman. Perhaps the writer of the article could be more specific as to exactly what persistent problem he sees that troubles him, or exactly what he does not see that he wishes to see.

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      1. Well said, Kelly. That has been my experience, as well. From where I sit at the International Center of the LCMS, more and more women are being recognized and depended upon for both their professional and theological acumen. As I mentioned above, I don’t deny that there are some bad apples who don’t quite articulate Scriptural tenets well (or even correctly) with respect to women’s service in the church and society. I don’t find that attitude pervasive in the LCMS by any means. If anything, in circles that I have been in, the exact opposite is the case . . . men seem to be pushing women to do things within the church that they just ought not to be doing.

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      2. Kelly,

        Great comment. I think that you bring up a really good point here. My wife works outside the home a bit, but in general, wanted to stay at home to raise our kids. Since we have tried to homeschool as well, this has been particularly difficult at times – especially since I don’t have a very high paying job (to help with side classes, tutoring, supplementing her work, etc) and there are not many other Lutherans in our area who are also homeschooling.

        I will say this though to… I think a lot of this conversation involves subtext that we are not necessarily eager to dig in to. Can we say that, in general, women are better equipped, emotionally and physically, to be the primary nurturers of children? That would seem uncontroversial, and many women, no doubt, would be eager to say “Amen” to that. On the other hand, others might not be too keen to admit even that. The feminist questions – “Can I be ‘kind of feminist’ w/o being a radical 3rd waver?” – come into play here as well. If one is inclined to be more radically feminist, it seems to me, then it might not matter how polite and kind a conservative man is. He is still operating with all kinds of evil “privilege” mentalities, and the fact that he is so kind might make him even more dangerous (that is, if he can’t be dismissed as being weak/”beta”, etc).

        I wrote an article that relates to all this a bit yesterday as well on the Just and Sinner site. It is my attempt at satire , and it is called “Why Nature Must be Stopped”.

        Say “hi” to Alex for me.

        +Nathan

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Jim,

      Of course, it is quite common for both mom and dad to work, even if they both don’t really need to (well, before they got a home with a mortgage that could only be paid for by two persons working that is…).

      +Nathan

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  12. Kaitlyn,

    “I think women like Adriane Heins and Mollie Hemingway already act as role models within the LCMS.”

    I thought of those most admirable ladies as well.

    +Nathan

    Liked by 1 person

  13. On Why People Are Offended:

    It has been asked above why anyone would be offended by the suggestion that conservative men ought not be boorish when it is obviously the case that conservative men, and people in general, should avoid boorishness.

    The reason is simple: by admonishing conservative men to abandon boorishness, you are insinuating they are boorish, which is, in effect, an accusation; and people do not like being accused, especially of crimes they did not commit. It is particularly offensive when there is no evidence that conservative men are more boorish than average, as if such a thing could be measured, though perhaps the author has discovered a method for acquiring such information.

    Let us handle an example: If I were to say “Mexicans should stop spitting on old ladies,” this may in fact be offensive to Mexicans, for though it is of course the case that people should not spit on old ladies, it implies that Mexicans in particular do this particularly often. Without proof of any Mexican predilection to spit, this would be sheer racism; and even if proof were given, it would be considered at best rather gauche.

    In conclusion, people are not offended because they believe that it is okay to behave badly towards women; rather they are offended that some seemingly smarmy academic believes it his role to render meaningless accusations against a the common people who hold to the ways of their fathers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You make a good point. No one likes to be accused, especially if the accuser is “smarmy” or superior or hypocritical or any other thing we don’t like. The nearly-universal immediate human reaction is to deny, defend, deflect, or attack. Those of you familiar with Biblical peacemaking principles will recognize those responses as what some call the “peace breaker” profile. The peace maker, on the other hand, listens carefully to the accusation and then gets to the mirror of God’s Word and asks, “Is that true of me, Lord? Do I do that? Show me the logs in my eyes.” Then, once humble self-examination and the Holy Spirit produce a clearer picture, it’s time to engage with the accuser. It’s really quite a marvelous process, this peacemaking thing. Ambassadors for Reconciliation does a great job explaining it, if anyone wants more information.

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      1. While I appreciate your laying out of peace-making techniques, I am not sure that the discussion has gotten to that point. What we have is a general sort of feeling or notion expressed about (allegedly) the more-boorish-seeming-than-average tendencies of conservative Christian men. That is not a specific accusation, but an idea that comes across to several readers here, men and women alike, as being less reflective of a specific problem with clearly-defined examples that we can address, and more reflective of the effects of media bias against conservative viewpoints and disappointment that an increasingly-progressive culture doesn’t like us more than it does. We are asking for clearer evidence of a real widespread problem because apparently, a lot of conservative Lutheran women (like myself) just aren’t feeling the hate in our own circles.

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      2. Kelly, I’m glad you don’t feel any hate. And I don’t think (at least I can tell you in earnest on my part) there is any media bias or political inaction going on- I know so many women who have felt this, I have been around too many men making jokes as if it’s the manly thing to do as conservative men (of whom, I am one) and the response to me from many women is that they are thankful for at least me, as a conservative LCMS man, to ask the question. I think it’s cool, and as my co-host Jeff tells us, “everything is going to be ok”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Okay, so we’re talking about hearing jokes from Christian men and feelings of dismay from “many” Christian women you have spoken to, who are glad you’re not one of Those. Anecdotally, I’m afraid I’m likely to agree with the poster who mentioned that jokes and put-downs that generalize about incompetent (dare I say, boorish) men are at least as common, or more so in today’s culture, and that haranguing the opposite sex for silly reasons is sadly a pretty universal human practice. To suggest that the media has no influence in emphasizing the worst of what can be seen in the most obnoxious of conservatives, while touting their own female heroes as strong women and proclaiming the Left in general as the party of women, would seem a bit disingenuous. What do you think the real problem is here among conservative Lutherans, specifically? And what specifically do you want to be done about it?

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  14. You write: ” I wish my political party wouldn’t trot out the Palin’s and Bachmann’s of the world as tokens.”

    That is a poor example for your point.

    The Republican Party does not trot them out. They are outsiders. The party would like them to sit down and shut up. Rather, they are examples of what your point is for, women with their own voices, who push themselves forward to have their voices heard. Only because some people don’t like what their voices say do those same people call them mere tokens and not authentic voices.

    Let’s see if the response to my comment is something about how wrong Palin and Bachmann are, which is beside the point of whether they have their own voices and push themselves forward to be heard. Here is the latent logic: because we don’t like what they say, therefore their voices are not authentic and not womanly, but rather they are only tokens, tools of men.

    Why can’t one woman be Madeleine Albright and another be Jean Kirkpatrick? Why can’t one woman by Hillary Clinton and another be Condoleeza Rice? O, that’s right, because unless they are homogenized, they aren’t really women, not really individuals in their own right. Any difference shows that they are not different but mere tools of men, mere tokens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand, T.R., the “my party” is too amorphous a term. There are Republicans who like them and others that don’t. Some would like to showcase them (and have) and others have moved on- the GOP is in quite the identity crisis these days.
      I get your point and appreciate your response. Thank you.

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  15. For what it’s worth….this particular article generated some stimulating and interesting views. Actually, we were all quite civil. Each person was passionate about the topic. Now that is superb, and an example of vigorous discussion. So long as we can do this…our democracy is alive and well.

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  16. Good article, Dan. Interestingly, conservatives in the ordo politicus seem to include women quite naturally based on qualifications (see Margaret Thatcher, Condoleeza Rice, et al). The ordo ecclesiasticus seems to be uncertain as to whether women are supposed to be subordinate to men in general or wives to their husbands within the domestic order. This uncertainty leads to more than a bit of anxiety, I think.

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  17. When women in the LCMS write, it seems to be other women in LCMS that seem to tear that writing (but mostly Ad Hominem, let’s be truthful) apart. The problem is more complicated and institutionalized (and really plenty weird) than you touched on in your post. Personally, as an LCMS woman who enjoys a doing bit of writing, I’m far more afraid of the public reaction of the Other LCMS Women than their husbands or any other LCMS man. Really, I just can’t be bothered because of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Excellent sword play, lunges & parries. But as good an exercise as this is I believe there is an underlying problem. Where do we draw the line between literal & culturally based interpretations of the Bible. Should women keep silent & wear hats? Yes, it is a slippery slope but let’s chain up our rigs & getrdone. If not here then on one of the podcasts. Maybe Jeff & Dan could challenge the Thinking Fellows to a debate ;>

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