What do Women’s USA Soccer team, Women’s Gymnastics team, and Women
Preaching/or having any authority in Christianity have in common?
Misogyny! And abuse against children.
The other night I watched the documentary “LFG”, a documentary about
the USA Women’s Soccer Team’s unequal pay even though they win, and the men do
not. Let me preface this post for new readers, I was once a gymnast and
experienced abuse. My husband is a soccer player, and our kids have both
participated in youth soccer here in North Texas. I know I am in seminary
largely because of these experiences. What is happening to women and children
in our churches is also happening in our public life. It is connected, not a
coincidence. I am not going to rehash my soccer/gymnastics experiences in this post
because I have already written about them. Feel free to check out the posts if
Watching the documentary on USA Women’s soccer team’s unequal pay and hearing
the women’s experiences and excuses they receive for the unequal pay; these are
the same exact things women hear in the Christian industry too. Megan Rapinoe
is one of the loudest voices on the US soccer team about the inequality. She is also a
fierce social-justice warrior. Her brother is a victim of the opioid crisis.
There is a lot to her story that makes her the person she is today, and I thank
God daily for her voice and personality that shine brightly leading us to a
better world. I am glad the USA Women’s soccer team is mad and fighting back, because
women/children are afraid to be mad in other areas of life and there is an
incident happening right now in the conservative Christian world that
highlights this point. Women are taught to be pleasing and not to rock the
boat. Example of why this is happening: John Piper, from Desiring God, and an unfortunate leader in the Christian faith (we have to say Christian-I am not going to give it an adjective to let
Christians off the hook because he is using the same faith we claim for his
abuse—and he has a very large platform) responded to a question about if women
are to submit to abusive husbands. He said it depended on the type of
abuse. Even when extreme, the woman is to respond kindly to her husband when
she objects. Also, if it is just verbal abuse, then she can overlook it. Verbal
unkindness does not matter. She submits to her husband because that is God’s calling
for her life. Even in progressive Christianity, most do not see verbal abuse as
spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is just as harmful and debilitating as
USA Women’s Soccer team to the rescue. They are mad and not apologizing. The
women started fighting during the World Cup, the last one they won in 2019. It
was a huge risk, but worth it. When they won and a celebration was going on
with a large crowd in attendance, the US Soccer Federation had to respond to
the crowd about the inequality. And here is what the president said: He
admitted the women have done well and deserve more. But then he went on to say this: and this
is why we invest in the women’s program more than any other country.
OMG! Well, now we know this is a worldwide problem and every
woman should fight, but this is no excuse for the US Soccer Federation to get
around the unequal pay. I also hate hearing that in Christianity. I hear too
often: well, you could live in another country where it is worse. I do not give
a damn that it could be worse; and, to assume the US is treating women better
than every other country is false. But no matter what, comparison is from
the devil. We fight for justice as it is-not in comparison.
Then when that was not enough for the women’s soccer team to feel satisfied with
their second-class treatment in soccer, the federation started looking at the
rules to get around making changes and here are several of their excuses: 1)
The women agreed to their contracts and pay (as if they knew at the time what
was happening) 2) The women are paid more (if you look at total pay and not
rate of pay—they are playing and winning more games and that is the only reason
they get paid more) 3) That they are biologically inferior (my blood is boiling
now—women hear this in Christianity too b/c it is in scripture (1 Peter 3:7).
As you can see, patriarchy will say and do anything other than what is right
by women, or anyone it deems weaker. In gymnastics, if Larry Nassar had not
been busted for sexually abusing the gymnasts, USA Gymnastics would still be
ignoring all the verbal and physical abuse by the coaches who treated the
gymnasts as their possessions. Children competing on serious injuries to win
medals and to stroke their coach’s egos and make America proud.
Knowing this now, when I remember the church’s silence and continued support
for Donald Trump when he was a clear and present danger to women, BIPOC, and
children in 2015/6—it is now understandable why this is happening. American has
sinned. America believes lies to keep power, and what we are doing now is
actually feeling these sins. Times were not better before now. God is here and
has some words to say. God wants a better world for all of God’s children—all over
the world. From the words of Amos 5:
18 Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light;
19 as if someone fled from a lion,
and was met by a bear;
or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
and was bitten by a snake.
20 Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it?
In Christianity currently, Dr. Beth Allison Barr has written a book called, “The Making of Biblical Womanhood.” It has struck a
nerve in the conservative world and the criticism she is getting from complementarian
men is outright abuse. They go after her emotions, of course. I am a four on the
enneagram, well in touch with my emotions, and I have a lot to say about
emotions and how these men are being emotional and using their emotions to
manipulate people. It has worked for too long. Trump plays on people’s emotions
and makes people nostalgic for a time that never was—maybe if you are white cisgender
straight male, but even then, the times were not good for them either. You can
see it in their inability to show their feelings. They must act manly (according
to toxic masculinity rules) and be in charge with all the answers. I am here to say that tears are
good for the soul for everybody. Not knowing all the answers, and we do not, allows us to enter doors we would never have attempted to open before. I can bear witness to this. It is not just good news for women.
Dr. Barr is also having her credentials attacked and sources she
has used to back up her scholarship. USA Women’s soccer team addressed this
too. They know their voice was only going to work if they are winning. It is a
beast to continue to have to compete at that high of a level all of the time, with
no room for error, to make sure they get the compensation that they do now. But
even when they are at top-level competition, even when women have the right credentials,
it is not enough. This principality is flooding down into youth soccer/gymnastics/church
too. The pressure to compete/preach at a high level for girls/women is so high
it is ruining a culture that could be so much healthier and good. America has
such an unhealthy relationship with winning. Trump brought that up when he said:
We will be sick and tired of winning. I was there long before he said that. Winning
is great, but not like this. We are not actually winning.
Back to Dr. Barr, she was fiercely attacked by a writer and seminary
professor who writes for TGC, the Total Gospel Coalition. TGC posts really
awful and harmful articles all the time. I do not know why we take them
seriously, or why they have a platform at all. They even attacked Elsa and that
is why I am Elsa. Thank you, TGC, I have never had more fun finding myself
through the truth Elsa has revealed to me. I was talking to my therapists last
week, ironically, because I had no idea this was coming, about how I am shocked
people take me seriously in the world I am now because I have no credentials.
Working on it, though. Here is how my therapist responded: Wait, do you think
professors and pastors are to only respond to people with credentials?
That was such a good question and made me realize I have something
inside me that believes credentials are what give a voice worth, not wisdom
from experience. This is not to say credentials are not important. Dr. Barr and
the US Soccer Team would not have the ability to do what they do without being
trained, but the credentials are not what give value to their voice. A lot of
women, I used to be one, were/are denied these credentials. The man who
attacked Dr. Barr is going after her credentials by talking over her and asking
everyone to look at his credentials and read his book coming out that will
support complementarianism. Dr. Barr is also responding in a way that reminds
me of what Megan Rapinoe addresses in the documentary when we feel badly about
getting angry. Megan Rapinoe says that women are taught to posture themselves
out of gratitude for what they are given. Being angry at injustice without
apology is how women get called names and the opposition will use the term “emotional”
to infantilize women and discredit their good work – sports and scholarship.
The US Women’s soccer team just lost the first game in the Olympics,
ending a 44-game unbeaten streak. Jake was reading the comments about it, and
he was sick. He said they are really going after Megan Rapinoe because of her
voice and activism and now his head and stomach hurt.
See? The expectation of winning is way out of whack with what is physically
or emotionally healthy. And some were waiting for this loss to prove their
Me: Welcome to the world of being a woman with a voice that has
the power to change things. They are looking for the fall to discredit the
truth and keep the status quo.
End All Patriarchy. Not just Christian Patriarchy.
Elsa says: No More! The gloves are off.