Can Christianity Transcend Patriarchy?
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Two years ago, I wrote this blog post: Sex, God & Transcending Patriarchy. It was a summary of a session I presented at a community conference that combined research about women’s experience of reconciling sexuality and spirituality with my personal story of Midlife unraveling and finding my Sex and God wounds.
It was also the beginning of the shutdown phase of COVID-19, and I wondered how reconciling the inner war between sexuality and spirituality on a larger scale might contribute towards increasing human consciousness.
I’ve caught myself feeling despair from time to time over the two years that have passed since then. Which is why I’m so excited to share this week’s episode of Dose of Depth, my new podcast, where I invite you to be curious about your unique experience of being human.
In my podcast, we explore the deeper meaning of ordinary life experiences through conversation, stories, and education. You might have a serious ah-ha moment, or you might be amused by the movie your life seems to be imitating, or you might just be entertained by one of my awkward stories.
I’m hoping you’ll become more aware of those moments when a deeper part of you is prompting you to see things differently and maybe even go a new direction.
In this week’s episode, Can Christianity Transcend Patriarchy? I have a lively, inspiring, and deep conversation with Meghan Tschanz, self-proclaimed feminist Christian, podcaster, and author of Women Rising: Learning to Listen, Reclaiming Our Voice.
Here’s a little bit about Meghan:
Fresh out of college, hating her job, and searching for meaning, Meghan left everything to join a mission trip. She befriended women around the globe who had survived sex trafficking, female genital mutilation, and extreme violence.
She soon recognized that the systems of injustice that held women back everywhere were the very systems in which her childhood church had taught her to quietly accept and in which the church and she were complicit.
Meghan’s book is a story of personal transformation that cannot be separated from the experiences of the women she met.
I loved Meghan’s inspirational book, but a wave of sadness and exhaustion came over me.
You see, I came of age in the 1980’s, a time when women were making real progress, charting their own course, starting to break into male-dominated fields, even finding quality men who were not threatened by women’s self-determination.
During my twenties, Anita Hill bravely spoke truth to power when she simply shared her story of sexual harassment–when it had occurred, it wasn’t even illegal. And it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that it would become illegal for a man to rape his wife.
The new Lifetime cable network brought to TV the real stories of women’s suffering, like the Tracey Thurman story, which led to civil lawsuits that demanded equal protection from the law for women. A circle of people, including police officers, had watched Tracey Thurman’s husband beat her and stomp on her head.
By the end of the decade, the Violence Against Women Act was law. Although it was not funded, the symbolic statement motivated and ushered in record numbers of women elected to political office. And there were all kinds of other firsts, including the first woman to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
In 1991, the book Backlash, The Undeclared War Against American Women, by Susan Faludi, was published. It named and called out the backlash against women’s new independence. Women who dare question and bust out of convention needed a shield to protect themselves from political and religious movements that found righteous validation in warped interpretations of religious doctrine. Independent women were called sexual deviants, home wreckers, bitches, and you know the rest. These movements enticed some women to demonize other women.
But I went on with my own plan for my life. Got myself through college, started a career as a financial planner, married a feminist man, had two children, started a nonprofit and a business, and tried to give back as best I could.
Two decades later, I had one of those Midlife things. I call it unraveling because I was like a ball of yarn unwinding. When I knew my 24-year marriage would be ending, out of my unconscious came all this stuff I hadn’t realized was beneath the surface. I found my Sex and God wounds. I think a lot of women my age might have Sex and God wounds.
Giving Christianity a third try was useful, because I became aware of exactly what I was rejecting, which was the stubborn attachment to patriarchy. I found my own direct relationship with the Divine, and it is too inclusive to allow myself to be limited by anyone’s doctrine.
I also learned about the feminists who were there right from the beginning of the creation of Christian doctrine trying to prevent it from being warped by a one-sided attachment to the masculine.
Meghan Tschanz is a modern-day version of those many women who have existed since the beginning of the formation of Christian doctrine. I’m rooting for her to save Christianity from patriarchy, to help it transcend patriarchy.
So, I’m a groupie, and I’m excited to share our conversation with you. I think you’ll be impressed by Meghan’s journey to find truth, and I hope you’ll buy her book, follow her on Instagram, and share the episode with others.
- Journal about the messages you received about gender roles when you were coming of age, and how did the way you absorbed those messages impact how you now feel about your body and experience sexual pleasure? Do you sense an inner war between your spirituality and sexuality? How has your experience impacted what you model for your children? Are the seeming virtuous things you say to your children, especially girls, setting them up to become potential victims of violence?
- Educate yourself about the origins of patriarchy, how it co-opted the development of Christian doctrine, and the trauma patriarchal systems have inflicted on men and women. Three really great books are: Sacred Pleasure, by Riane Eisler, Why Does Patriarchy Persist? By Carol Gilligan and Naomi Snider, and Women and Redemption: A Theological History, by Rosemary Radfford Ruether.
- Dig deeper into yourself with my new book, Your Soul is Talking. Are You Listening? 5 Steps to Uncovering Your Hidden Purpose. I didn’t find my wounds until the emotional safety net of my 24-year marriage ended. I was surprised. If anything in this blog post or podcast episode resonates, you may have some hidden wounds too. Why do you want to rip off the scab? Because exploring the deeper motives behind how you’re living life leads to a new sense of purpose and courage to do what you haven’t maybe admitted you want to do. Plus, a lot of amazing feelings get unleashed! See lots of heartfelt reviews on Amazon.
- Hire me as your coach. With a PhD in depth psychology and a reputation for being a cheerleader, together we will listen to the messages from your unconscious you’ve been ignoring. Coaching with me is not only a deeply fulfilling experience, but you’ll also find a sense of humor about your life and come to think it’s as interesting as I do. You’ve got a memoir inside you. Check out what some of my clients say about working with me.