A Letter To My Brothers (in Response to Beth Moore)

Dear Brothers in Christ,

By now, perhaps you’ve read the letter that was written by Beth Moore a couple of days ago, on the subject of misogyny in the church. But, if not, please click the hyperlink above, and then come back to me.

I’ll wait…

Did you read it?

Ugh. I hope you’re not ignoring my request just because I’m a woman!

(No, seriously, please read Beth’s letter, because mine is in response… and, I tend to think response letters make the most sense if you’ve read what they’re responding to.)

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I know there are many women who would agree with Beth that disrespect for women is a big problem among churches. And there are very few men willing to stick their necks out to disagree with those women…even if they honestly think their sisters are misdiagnosing the root of the issue.

Many of you, brothers, would rather stay quiet than risk being “disrespectful.” Plus, no one wants to be accused of making “fried chicken” out of a female leader. (That’s a reference to Beth Moore’s letter, which you recognized because you clicked on the link above, I’m sure.)

Hopefully Beth didn’t start her letter with the “fried chicken” statement as a preemptive move, in an attempt to insulate herself from necessary criticism, because I’m going to criticize her anyway.

I think Beth Moore is misdiagnosing the root of the problem.

Please don’t misunderstand. I believe she truly has encountered many disrespectful men. And although half the examples she gave seemed merely “awkward” rather than “sinful,” I have absolutely no doubt that men have quoted Scripture about female leaders in order to shut Beth Moore down.

I simply mean to agree with Beth’s statement that objections on biblical grounds are “just an excuse,” and that the root of the issue is something more complicated than dismissiveness toward women, specifically.

I believe her critics would look for other ways to shut her down, even if she weren’t a woman, because her womanhood is inconsequential. Most irrational critics are wrestling against anyone who speaks the Truth…not against a certain identity group.

Like Beth, I’ve been dismissed for a whole host of ridiculous “reasons”–ranging from age to income level to the tone of my writing. I’ve been dismissed for being white and dismissed for being married to a man (as opposed to another woman), and I’ve been dismissed repeatedly just for calling myself a Christian.

That’s how I’ve come to realize it’s not my age or eye-color or marital status which causes certain people to block me. NOR IS IT THE FACT OF MY WOMANHOOD.

The problem runs much deeper than that.

My experience with irrational, truth-adverse, dismissive jerks (many of whom are female themselves) has forced me to come up with a more-likely explanation than simple “misogyny.”

And this is what I’ve discovered:

It’s not WHO’S speaking that bothers most people. It’s WHAT they’re saying.

I’m willing to bet–even if Beth’s name was “Bart”–she would be surprised and frustrated to discover those men she thought were misogynists were still dismissing “Bart” for any lame reason they could muster.

They’re not miso-gynists. (Haters of Women.) They’re miso-alethinos. (Haters of Truth.)

MEE-Soh-Al-e-THEE-Nohs. I just made it up, after Googling “Greek word for Truth.” But I like it!

Being dismissive of TRUTH is the real root of the problem.

So that’s why I’m writing to you, brothers, to insist that you’re not more responsible than we sisters are, for the bad behavior of the misoalethinos.

You shouldn’t feel any more guilty than women do, about the fact that Churches have a festering problem with Truth-Denialism.

People are building walls and cutting each other off, to be sure! Sometimes men are cutting off women! And if you were as well-known as Beth Moore, you would be unfairly dismissed, too. (Go ahead and drop a “pro-life” comment on Planned Parenthood’s social media page some time. See how quickly you get dismissed for your gender!) 🙂

But the point I’m making is that even when women say men can’t have opinions about abortion, it doesn’t come from a hatred for men specifically. Not really. They have husbands and fathers and brothers and sons they are very respectful toward.

Most of them probably supported Bernie Sanders wholed-heartedly! (Ha!)

The problem with the Pro-Choice crowd isn’t really Mis-Andry (Hatred for Men). It’s a case of Miso-alethinos. (Hatred for Truth.)

Brothers, you don’t need to spend time apologizing to me and other females because you “don’t know what it’s like” to be a woman dealing with this special plight. You understand just fine.

You, as a Truth-Seeker, already have the ability to understand what it’s like to stand with me against those who want to dismiss all of us.

Misoalethinos come in all sorts of identity groups, and they will attack you no matter which one you belong to! You and I are in this together.

I wish Beth Moore would think a little deeper about the war we’re waging, instead of giving into the simplified explanation. I’m saddened that every cultural issue gets reduced to black vs. white, liberal vs. conservative, or male vs. female. (It smells of intellectual laziness to me.)

Misoalethinos are becoming a huge, culture-wide problem! But letters like Beth Moore’s are causing us to get distracted, hacking at tree leaves, instead of focusing on what really matters at the base. It would be equally misguided if my children got into a disagreement on the playground with a bunch of kids who happened to be wearing green shoes, so they wrote a letter to green-shoe wearers, asking them to help tackle the problem of green-shoe meanies.

The shoes are inconsequential. In fact, even if the meanies on the playground were MAKING FUN OF MY KIDS’ SHOES, the problem still has nothing to do with the footwear of any of the kids involved. Am I making sense, brothers?

If you only remember one thing from this post, just please stop apologizing on behalf of other people who happen to be wearing green shoes, like yours.

Meanwhile, I hope I haven’t made “fried chicken” out of Beth Moore. But she really is tackling the wrong problem right now. We should be focused on seeking Truth together–not focusing on the gender of those who are tearing us down.

With Sisterly Love,

Amanda

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Update: my dad and I discussed this further toward the middle of this podcast… http://branyancomedy.libsyn.com/incels-girl-scout-cookies-and-beth-moore?tdest_id=458261

13 thoughts on “A Letter To My Brothers (in Response to Beth Moore)

  1. rtepps5115

    You hit it, Amanda. We are always so quick to attack a problem that we only see the surface. Sometimes, it takes a little (or a lot) of time and reflection to get past the easy answer and to get to the right answer. Some may call the right answer “truth.” And if it’s true, then it is truth.

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  2. Juan DeVevo

    I’ve been chewing on this for a little bit.

    I remember being made fun of in school, and later describing myself as “not very popular” or that I was an outcast. Then recently, I realized that I was pretty well liked. Still not popular (but who was, really?) but I wasn’t as terrorized as I had first thought. So I get that there are some things that Beth Moore may have misinterpreted, or in the moment exaggerated the circumstances. I even think she might admit that if she were challenged on it.
    I also believe that Truth is the main point, and I’m a firm believer on getting to the root of things, because thats the only true way to fix a problem, if you’re really interested in fixing it (kudos, by the way to the “swatting at limbs” imagery).
    BUT (did you see this coming already? probably) I wonder if this isn’t a real problem in the church. I haven’t done research, but I’ve been listening. And with 100 women an hour signing a petition to oust the current SBC president, over this sort of thing is getting my attention. Every woman has a story about men treating them poorly based on the fact that they are women, and some have used Scripture to do so. I’m still deciding on this, but I’m wondering if this isn’t a root of evil penetrating the hearts of men in leadership who have perched on an ivory tree that grows until they are unreachable. And calling them out to be held accountable for arrogance is defending Truth in my observance.
    You will find a poor debater in me, because I can usually see both sides, and with empathy. But we can’t just vaguely defend an amorphous Truth. It has edges and its heavy and it hurts, but its solid and unmovable and in that, there is comfort. This is a close subject to me because I have been anguishing over what my role is to teach real manhood, and demeaning women is a very real problem. (but then again, that’s just a symptom, isn’t it?)

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Thanks, Pkarghl! 🙂

      My dad and I recorded a podcast JUST YESTERDAY to further unpack this, but it won’t be posted until next week…

      I’m absolutely positive that certain (male) leaders have placed themselves on pedestals that put them out of reach of female criticism. But my question would be: don’t they put themselves out of reach of MALE criticism, too? It’s definitely a problem. But is it really a sexism problem?

      I confess, I don’t know anything about the SBC president or the petition.

      I’d love to hear more feedback, especially once you’ve heard the podcast! I think this conversation gets to the root of a lot of family trust issues among Christians, which makes it really important.

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      1. Juan DeVevo

        okay. HAVING LISTENED TO THE PODCAST. I agree with you on the central issue. Wearing pumps and silence in elevators and cars could be her being paranoid. Kind of like walking into a room right when people laugh and thinking they were talking about you. Paranoid and self centered. I also liked your image of dealing with men who do actually belittle women in a “one case at a time” kind of way or as you put it “nit picking”. It did seem that she lit the corn field on fire to scare away the crowns. Because I agree that the only service that letter served was to fuel the feminine fires of things being seemingly not fair and the world is stacked against them.
        But I do have questions. One is in the case of calling individuals out, I think I mentioned the current SBC president’s quandary and what it hath wrought.
        Here’s the article:
        https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/may/paige-patterson-end-of-era.html

        What I wanted to show from this is that there seems to be “an unspoken policy against criticizing other denominational agencies”. And that does seem to be, if not systemic, then widespread at least. Do you think that it will honestly open up the conversation on holding people accountable? Especially popular figures.

        Another question is in regard to what the *real* problem is in any situation when two are at odds: If a man is using a women’s gender against her to sidestep a truth issue, isn’t it a good idea to address that so that excuse is taken away and we eventually get to the fact that this person is dodging the truth? When we can argue biblically that that person has a lame excuse for their excuse, then does it make sense that the only thing left is their naked obstinance to Fact? Again, this isn’t what Beth Moore did, but, for argument’s sake, let’s just say that was her goal, is this a good goal?

        One thing form the podcast that’s not here is, if someone is a woman hater, I’m not sure someone would be totally aware of it or own up to it. They would say things like “women can’t be as _____ as men” not “Women can’t hold office because I hate women”. And they have sisters and wives that they love, they just don’t think them equal, but when confronted they would say “of course I love women”

        I almost forgot. I remember watching the Snoodles Tale, but I can’t remember the point, but the thing you brought up on the podcast was a great picture of how we can load people down with a picture of themselves. I love the image of them putting a drawn picture of him in his backpack. This is another part of the problem. Is it uniquely a female problem? No. But it ought not be because someone is a woman. And although this isn’t what Beth did, I think if it is a problem, it has to be called out. If every woman has a story like this, then we need to call it for the sin it is.

        I think there is an imbalance of culpability and we lean on men as the problem. I’m educating young men at my church about God’s design for both men and women. I’m teaching my son to treat women with respect and to be a protector and a builder instead of someone who demolishes. So I’m protective when there’s talk of “toxic masculinity” because at some point, they’ll just broaden the term to include actual masculinity (if they haven’t already) and we, as christians, can be the leading voice about what actual manhood looks like and this was a good opportunity for Beth, just not well worded which is surprising.

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      2. mrsmcmommy Post author

        Great comment!
        To answer your first question, yes, I think it’s fine to point out the dismissiveness toward women, so the Truth-Haters eventually run out of excuses. My only problem with the term misogyny (and the general letter to all “brothers”) is as you described: it only serves to bolster the paranoid, self-centered women, who then feel justified practicing what should be called “misandry”… And the whole cycle continues. Nothing gets solved.
        Thanks for the link to the Paige Patterson scandal. As you know, I think people should be free to speak the truth about ANYTHING, anytime. But we have a crippling problem in the Church where feelings and “politeness” are given equal value.
        I understand why someone would say “there are certain ways to PACKAGE the truth, to make it more palatable for the person you’re criticizing,” but I think it’s ultimately dead wrong. If the truth is that Patterson assaulted someone and covered it up, shout the truth from the rooftops!
        … But I can understand why victims are hesitant to speak out, and I ALSO understand why leaders don’t trust the system to absolve them if they’re actually innocent of charges. This is what happens when “feelings” of being mistreated and/or ACCUSATIONS of misconduct are treated exactly the same way as The Real Deal Abuse.
        If we don’t start valuing the Truth again, this will only get worse.

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    1. Μιχαήλ (Michael) | Nothing is impossible with God!

      Okay, libation in hand, I listened. I did skip ahead to the Beth Moore part at the end. Very helpful. Thanks for the wonderful insight.

      It reminds me of how Jesus suggested we handle this. It seems Mrs. Moore skipped a few steps. Well … okay, I think she missed them all. You are right on target that she should have confronted the minister directly. She didn’t. No basis to complain then.

      “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private;
      if he listens and pays attention to you, you have won back your brother.  
      But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 
      If he pays no attention to them refusing to listen and obey, tell it to the church;
      and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile (unbeliever) and a tax collector.”

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  3. buckyinky

    I mentioned in the comments a few days ago that I’ve been enjoying your blog and podcast. In spot-listening to podcasts that catch my interest I listened to the one covering this topic of Beth Moore and her letter (hard for me to believe this was over a year ago!).

    Your refusal to accept Beth Moore’s charge of misogyny against Christian men in general is laudable. However, I found myself wondering at what seemed like a disproportionate assessment of the situation by you also, one which drew a conclusion that brushed aside a large part of the populace who are critical of Beth Moore but don’t fit the categories of either a bona-fide misogynist or a misoalethinos. Dalrock is one such person (https://dalrock.wordpress.com/2019/06/11/im-with-wade-burleson-on-this-one/) who is against women preaching on principle, but not because he hates women, nor because he doesn’t like the truth particular women are speaking. He sees Holy Scripture as proscribing against it, and he is only representative of a large number, as far as I can tell, of serious Christian men who see things honestly the same way. Many women, by the way, are numbered among them also. Surely I am not revealing anything to you by mentioning this, yet it seemed imbalanced that this never was at least mentioned as a plausible position.

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Hi, Bucky.
      Yes, of course there are other categories besides hating truth or hating women. I tend to believe I’m neither a Woman-Hater nor a Truth-Hater myself. 🙂
      I’m writing here about DISRESPECTFUL men, and about people who expect Beth never to speak about the Bible publicly, even to other women, just because of her gender.
      Whenever there’s an honest disagreement between brothers and sisters about what the Scripture is teaching, too many of us jump to the lazy explanation “That person is a sexist!!!” instead of giving each other the benefit of the doubt.
      If we were willing to treat people like Dalrock with grace and an open mind, then we might be able to understand where he’s coming from instead of stopping with the easy (and wrong) answer: “He just hates women.”

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      1. buckyinky

        Got it, and thanks for your patience with my question. I should probably have picked up that you were delineating men within the category of “disrespectful,” but didn’t. Part of the confusion is that what you call disrespectful and what people like Beth Moore call disrespectful would encompass a different group of men, probably vastly different.

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      2. buckyinky

        I’m guessing, for example, that Beth Moore would consider Dalrock as a disrespectful man, and you wouldn’t. This is an important preliminary question to settle in the discussion.

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