Ghosts From Churches Past

She was bright, kindhearted and a great storyteller. She always seemed well-prepared and she showed up every Sunday with a smile on her face.

Then she was gone.

Oh she was still in attendance at my church – she just wasn’t allowed to be my bible school teacher anymore.

Why?

Because an eleven year old boy in my bible school class had been baptized the week before. And according to the interpretations and teachings of the Church of Christ that I grew up in, my thirty-something female teacher no longer had any authority to teach an eleven year old boy who was now baptized.

The church that I grew up in – the church in which my father was a minister – believed that only men could serve in any function when it came to mixed company adults. In other words, women could be bible school teachers to little children but they couldn’t teach, preach, lead singing, lead prayer or serve communion to those little children once one of those little boys became a man.

Because men had authority over women. Women were to be subservient to men.

And once that eleven year old boy was baptized and became a member of the Church of Christ, he was considered a young MAN of the church. Bye-bye Sunday school teacher.

It’s such a sexist, demeaning practice of the church that many females (including myself) leave the church altogether once they become adults themselves. And yet some churches still cling to the archaic scriptures attributing to the mass exodus.

Well, the male elders can cling to their bibles and proclaim such as the actual word of god but I’m not so sure. To me the Bible is a major work of historical documentation with dramatic insights and opinions … but the actual word of God? Hardly.

I believe it to be a book written and compiled by a group of MEN – claiming to have the authority of god – so that readers would take them seriously. Remember, a majority of these scriptures were written back during a time period when the earth was still believed to be flat and the sun was believed to revolve around them.

So is it any wonder that those men would write such scripture as to put (and keep) women in their place – a position BENEATH them.

I find it ironic that large portions of humanity get upset over women being treated as “less than” in some non-democratic countries and yet some churches here in the U.S. do it every single day.

But what do I know? After all, I’m just a woman.

81 Cents

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher gave our class a special art assignment. Using construction paper, scissors and glue – as well as other crafty items on hand – we were instructed to make hats to represent what we wanted to be when we grew up.

Most of the boys made hats that resembled firemen helmets or policemen caps. Most of the girls made hats that resembled nursing caps or they just made cute little hats with flowers drawn upon them, and then wrote the word “teacher” or “mommy” on top.

Using blue construction paper and drawing golden wings on my creation, I informed my kindergarten teacher that I wanted to be a pilot.

She laughed. “Don’t be silly,” she said. “Little girls can’t grow up to be pilots!” She scribbled the word “stewardess” on my hat instead.

That was 1973. And in the deep south, mind you, where girls who actually went to college were often times simply encouraged to get their MRS. degree.

Now whether I grew up to become a pilot or a stewardess or a nurse or a doctor or a Mrs. is beside the point if any of those (or all of those) were MY choice.

But to take the choice away from the developing mind of a young girl was, unfortunately, par for the course during that time period. Nothing more than sexist propaganda being perpetuated by my female teacher because she, no doubt, believed it herself or felt she had no right to believe otherwise.

Fast forward forty-seven years and we, women, can now grow up to become anything we want to be.

Unfortunately – compared to a man’s salary – we’re still only getting paid 81 cents on the dollar to do it.