From Anne Graham Lotz

oNeMyAOIn the church, one of the primary places were Tertullian’s chokehold is felt and experienced is in the pulpit, as every Sunday morning, our collective gender disparity is put on display.

Now, you might think that Billy Graham’s daughter might be an exception to the rule on this. That, somehow, the old evangelist’s unction, aura and mantle would ease the way for his rhetorically gifted children.

Not so.

In a post from last March, Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, talked about her experience with discrimination in the pulpit (and beyond). The whole post (here) is worth reading, but here’s an excerpt:

I have experienced this discrimination firsthand. I am a woman. And I am a preacher. That combination has cost me privileges and position in the man’s world in which I have moved. I have stood up to speak and had men turn their backs on me. I have been offered a seminary professorship, only to have the offer revoked when I refused to sign a statement that said women were to submit to men. I have had invitations withdrawn because of the threatened furor my presence on the platform would create. Multiple times, I have been directed to speak from a microphone positioned on the sanctuary floor of a church because I was not allowed into the pulpit.

Further, Lotz identifies human sin as the root cause of this discrimination:

The hardness, hatred, anger, cruelty, arrogance and meanness that erupt in rejection and discrimination of women are sin. While various religions may justify discriminating against women, and even defend and promote it, religion is not the cause. Sin is.

And sin is not confined to religion. It is found in agnostics and atheists as well as in priests and imams. It is in every nation and every culture and every generation.  Because sin resides in the human heart. The only solution is to have sin removed and our hearts made clean, then filled with God’s love and compassion for others.

If you doubt that sin is the root of the discrimination of women, look at Jesus. He was raised in a religious culture where people were taught that women, at the very least, were much less then men. As a rabbi (as his disciples called him), he should have discriminated against women as every other man did. But there was a significant difference between Jesus and everyone else. He had no sin in his heart.

As a result, we see him. . .

honoring women as he did when Mary anointed him with oil during a dinner in Simon’s home,

singling women out for praise as he did the widow who placed her “mite” in the temple treasury,

caring for women as he did the desperately ill woman who reached out to touch the hem of his garment,

protecting women as he did the one caught in adultery who was in danger of being stoned to death,

giving women new purpose and elevated status as he did the ones who were the first to encounter him after his resurrection and were commissioned by him to go tell the men what they had seen and experienced.

The solution to discrimination against women is to be like Jesus. And to be like Jesus, the sinful condition of the human heart has to be acknowledged and dealt with according to the way God has prescribed.

Strong words. Hard words.

Right words.

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2 responses to “From Anne Graham Lotz”

  1. Laura Droege says :

    Those are powerful words. Thank you for sharing them. I never would have realized the depth of discrimination Lotz has experienced. And her diagnosis is accurate: we need to be more like Jesus!

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