Christian author and theologian Beth Moore has been on fire lately with her tweets about the #MeToo movement. Recently, she published an open letter on her blog to “my brothers”: i.e., male pastors, about the sexism she has encountered as a woman in the evangelical sphere. She implores them to hold each other accountable for the way they treat their female contemporaries:
As a woman leader in the conservative Evangelical world, I learned early to show constant pronounced deference — not just proper respect which I was glad to show — to male leaders and, when placed in situations to serve alongside them, to do so apologetically. I issued disclaimers ad nauseam. I wore flats instead of heels when I knew I’d be serving alongside a man of shorter stature so I wouldn’t be taller than he. I’ve ridden elevators in hotels packed with fellow leaders who were serving at the same event and not been spoken to and, even more awkwardly, in the same vehicles where I was never acknowledged. I’ve been in team meetings where I was either ignored or made fun of, the latter of which I was expected to understand was all in good fun…I’ve been talked down to by male seminary students and held my tongue when I wanted to say, “Brother, I was getting up before dawn to pray and to pore over the Scriptures when you were still in your pull ups.”
I’m asking for your increased awareness of some of the skewed attitudes many of your sisters encounter…I’m asking that you would simply have no tolerance for misogyny and dismissiveness toward women in your spheres of influence. I’m asking for your deliberate and clearly conveyed influence toward the imitation of Christ in His attitude and actions toward women. I’m also asking for forgiveness both from my sisters and my brothers. My acquiescence and silence made me complicit in perpetuating an atmosphere in which a damaging relational dynamic has flourished. I want to be a good sister to both genders.
Her letter boils down to one thing: as women, as people, she and her female contemporaries deserve a place at the same table. It’s a more than reasonable request.
But not for Seth Dunn, who weaponizes his degree in Christian Apologetics as a tool for rampant misogyny. He wrote a response to Moore that tramples over her plea for respect by doubling down on the sexism she so graciously asked men to repent of:
Be silent. You are not a good Bible teacher. You preach and write about yourself all the time as is if you were a character in the Biblical story. You’re not. You are a character in the farcical and cruel story of the evangelical industrial complex. I read Believing God recently; it was one of the worst Christian books that I have ever read. It pains me to know that so many women erroneously think that you are a good source for biblical teaching. You are not. Let me be clear, you aren’t a terrible Bible teacher because you are a woman, you are a terrible Bible teacher because you are not good at teaching the Bible. That you are a woman is irrelevant.
Is it irrelevant, though? Considering how he opens his letter with the words, “Be silent,” a reference to the infamous Bible verse that Paul used for a subset of women in his church community, my guess is hell, no. I highly doubt that Dunn would speak to a male contemporary this way.
Yes, you are popular. So are Joel Osteen and TD Jakes. You are successful in a market that demands a horrible Bible-study product and is readily supplied with it. I detest you.
He’s lucky if Moore bothered to continue reading after the words “Be silent.” If she did read further, she certainly quit after “I detest you.” I mean, why waste your energy at that point?
Also, to be forthright, you are a good-looking woman. Did it ever cross your mind that the Christian ministers who didn’t talk to you at conferences didn’t want to jeopardize their career by being thought to flirt with you?
What makes Dunn think that Moore, a married woman herself, would be interested in flirting back? He acts like it’s her fault she’s treated a certain way by male pastors. He has nothing to say about the men who might flirt with her.
Dunn’s response might have made him feel like a tough guy, but all it really did was emphasize every point that Moore made about the rampant sexism within evangelical culture.
(Screenshot via YouTube)