Posted by: minnow | April 30, 2008


My arrival to the blogging world is less than six month old. I visit perhaps a dozen sites on a fairly regular basis and two or three close to if not daily. The Parchment and Pen blog is one of these sites. While others, like Ruth Tucker, contribute to Parchment and Pen, C. Michael Patton is Parchment and Pen’s primary writer. While CMP tends to present a fair overview on a variety of issues the present day Church faces he himself would probably land in the more traditional camp on most topics. Recently he recommended the book Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals (although he disagrees with the book’s conclusions) as a first blog to what might end up as a series on gender roles within the Church. I am grateful Ruth Tucker is also commenting on those posts.

Since I have already blogged on this issue in a series of posts here here, and here, I will not repeat myself now. I would, however, like to recommend you visit Tia Lynn at abandon image and Kathy Escobar at the carnival in my head if you would like to read a well studied or more personal egalitarian perspective on the gender roles issue.

The purpose of this post is to explore the emotional aspect of controversial issues and how that element hinders or contributes to our processing abilities. To explain a little better I will use my own response to the post I mentioned above. As I read through C. Michael Patton’s posts as well as the comments the emotional impact of reading them actually caused a physical response. My breathing quickened. My shoulders became tight. At one point voluntary tears brimmed in my eyes. I started rubbing my forehead and temples and it felt like I needed to keep adjusting my position in my chair. What was happening? Simply–what I read caused a reaction. I could tell I was irritated. I also felt sad and at times surprised. Not all my responses were negative, however. Some comments caused me to laugh. Others helped me feel validated.

The emotion which most surprised me was a desire to lash out at those with whom I disagreed. My lash out response was not limited, much to my surprise, to those who had been sarcastic or self-righteous in their commentary but rather was aimed at all who did not see the issue the same way I did. At first I felt justified. After all, they were the ones who were trying to keep me from my full potential. They were the ones who ignored my gifts. They were the ones who used their twisted Bible interpretations to blame my sex for the sins of the world. Whoa! I was really angry, irrationally angry.  What was going on?

Last night I share with my husband and a couple of our “out of the box” Christian friends what I had experienced just by reading the Parchment and Pen posts and comments. As I tried to explain I began to realize that this particular issue cut to the core of who I am and how I see myself in relationship to the world around me but even more importantly (for me) in relationship to God. Because the topic of the blog was such a personal one I had a difficult time (you could say impossible time) remaining objective.

The question that seems to have emerged from this experience is this: Are we more adamant and unbending when we are discussing ideas (beliefs, issues) that define us? In other words, is the tenacity with which we hold to a particular point of view greater when we define ourselves (at least in part) by that stance? Obviously I must answer that question by saying yes. But, I wonder if others would also.

As I mentioned I was surprised by the strength of passion connected to this particular issue. I am only guessing but I also wonder if most of us are fairly unaware of our personal connection to some of the issues we wrestle. How often do we ask ourselves why we are so passionate about any given point of view? Do we know why we believe what we believe? I know the pat answer is, “Because the Bible say…” But truthfully, if I have learned one thing by blogging it is that scripture is not as clear as I want it to be. I think we should know what we believe. I also think it is important for us to know why we believe what we believe, or maybe a better way to say it is to say we need to figure out how we came to believe what we believe. I think, and again I am treading on new ground for me right now so I welcome all the grace you are willing to give me but I think, if we take time to answer those last couple questions the passion with which we defend our positions will be easier to manage and perhaps not so offensive. Guess I have some digging to do.



  1. It’s funny you should be writing this. I’m also a relative newcomer to Parchment and Pen and, even though I don’t entirely agree with CMP, I find his blogging sufficiently fair to allow it to challenge me without needing to dismiss it as biased.
    However, when I read his most recent series of posts I came very close to hitting the delete button on the bookmark. His ‘evidence’ from his unofficial poll seems to be slanted and distorted to ‘prove’, despite his protestations, that women are somehow ‘less’ than men. I can’t help but feel that this series is considerably more biased than any other I’ve read from him. Commenters I can ignore generally, putting their, often, extreme views down to bias, upbringing or whatever. But when the ‘leader’ of the discussion seems to be pushing an agenda, I confess to losing a bit of respect for their teachings.
    I doubt I’ll actually abandon P&P, because I do generally appreciate it. But I do think I will need to approach it more critically and, like yourself, be aware of an emotional response that may or may not be justified.

  2. THank you for your thoughts. I have found myself reluctant to post on this series of P&P but am beginning to think I must say something. I wish I had an unbiased editor who could read what I write before I hit the send button. I truly do not want to purposely be offensive.

  3. I hope you will feel fully free to comment on the P & P blog, minnowspeaks. We need to hear your perspective! (I may be biased because I agree with your perspective.)

    Joanie D.

  4. minnowspeaks, it is so interesting that you posted about this because somehow i ended up at P&P, i think from grace’s link, and i had the same reaction, i was like “i can’t do this…” and i stopped reading the comments. i so appreciate the conversation, i think it’s important to have for sure, but i agree with you that sometimes it just gets really hard to do because it touches some really deep place that those who have never experienced it can’t understand….thanks for sharing.

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