Statement From Caribbean Women Theologians for Transformation
Christian “Hoes”, take heart!
There’s no rest for the
wicked weary. And so here we are again, as women, women of faith, drawn out by recent events that have taken such a ludicrous turn that we are forced to enter the public fray on matters from which we do not, and have never had, the luxury of a break. While some enter the fray at points that are convenient to them, many of us are fighting these very issues in our congregations, denominations, and wider Christian and religious circles. It. Is. Ongoing. Thus, forgive us if we decide ever so often not to enter into a public brawl over or against Hoe-Labellers, Putrid Pastoral and Public Patriarchy, Pulpit and Pew Paedophiles and the “Uteratti” (Yes, those who feel it is their divine right to control women’s bodies, especially our wombs, while bashing us over the head with a large Bible.). World-weary warriors choose their battles but are also chosen by some battles. As such we know the value of reloading and coming again.
We recognize, as a group of ordained and laywomen, the particular challenge it poses for us when we have to tackle these issues in our faith communities. Pressure is often brought to bear to not air our dirty linen in public, especially if that linen happens to be intimate feminine garments. At the same time, as women in the Church, we cannot and will not dodge the essence of the critique that is being levelled against the followers of Christ when we speak and act uncharitably and make hypocritical pronouncements that chase many away from the Church. Yes, many, including women, have had to leave the Church in order to simply breathe…and we respect that and wish for continued respectful engagement as we tackle the challenges in our society. But, excuse us for believing that putrid patriarchies are not the whole story of the Church. Passionate action in service of humanity in response to our relationship with the Divine is our significant calling. So, we remain in the struggle because in faith we accept this to be God’s work being done by flawed humanity. So, as you speak up for us, try not to speak down to us.
Unfortunately, sometimes our very defenders and champions fall into the trap of condescension and lazy generalizations that do not take us much beyond the posturings of those with oppressive and less informed viewpoints. Some with a history of lyrically denigrating the female body rush to champion the women’s cause against the religious bigot, who is dissing their mothers…sisters, girlfriends. It’s too ironic. Too often what we see coming out in the public utterances of those who challenge the Church is a similar putridity to that issuing from those who claim to espouse Bible-based beliefs. Well-meaning but place-holding and less than honest. In the end, we never really move the conversation forward, at least not on a public level. And yes, we women take some blame sometimes for not pushing to have our voices heard above the throng and our alternative positions shared. What can we say in our defence except that we like some peace sometimes. Yes, yes, we know peace at all cost is no peace at all. But yet we dream…
For those who maintain a fundamentalist reading of the Scriptures in order to keep women in their place or silent in the church, may we recommend a reading of Matthew’s presentation of the genealogy of Jesus in which a whore or two is listed (Matthew 1.1-17). Indeed, Jesus’ entire female lineage is made up of women of “disreputable” character…And while they were not Christian, perhaps “Christian hoes” can take heart…
Members of Caribbean Women Theologians for Transformation:
Rev. Margaret Fowler – United Church, Jamaica
Rev. Kelli Jolly – Methodist Church, The Bahamas
Rev. Marvia Lawes – Baptist Church, Jamaica
Rev. Dr Marjorie Lewis – United Church, Jamaica/Canada
Rev. Taniecia McFarlane – Baptist Church, Jamaica
Dr Anna Kasafi Perkins – Roman Catholic, Jamaica/USA
Rev. Tara Tyme – United Church, Jamaica
Ms. Linnette Vassell – United Church, Jamaica
Rev. Rachel Evelyn Vernon – Anglican Church, United Kingdom/Jamaica
Rev Nicole Ashwood, United Church, Jamaica/USA (added post-publication)
June 6, 2018
Contact: Rev. Marvia Lawes – firstname.lastname@example.org
Caribbean Women Theologians for Transformation is an informal, open, inter-faith community of women, who are committed to Caribbean religious traditions and practices. We are women who reside in the Caribbean region and in the Caribbean Diaspora, who engage in critical reflection, dialogue and action in the Caribbean context.