Here is a full, word-for-word transcript of the “Gender Apartheid” episode of the Truth’s Table podcast, in which prominent PCA and OPC personalities made outrageously heretical statements, passed off radical feminism and liberation theology as biblical truth, stated that “gender is a social construct,” said that there are two sexes AND two genders, apologized to “transgender image-bearers” for not including their perspective, and said that because of rampant “toxic masculinity” in Reformed and evangelical churches, some women are now or soon will be “literally losing their lives.” The full transcript is available after the introduction and background.
Over the weekend, a pretty big controversy developed in PCA circles over a recent podcast from the Reformed African American Network (RAAN). The podcast is only a few weeks old, and it’s called Truth’s Table. It’s hosted by three women: Ekemini Uwan, Michelle Higgins, and Christina Edmondson. However, on this podcast they were joined by Jemar Tisby, the founder and head of RAAN, which produces Truth’s Table, and Tyler Burns, who plays Andy Richter to Jemar’s Conan O’Brien on the older RAAN podcast, Pass The Mic. Pass The Mic has been around for several years, and they’ve had so much success promoting black liberation theology and critical race theory that they assumed it was safe to start promoting radical feminism, as it’s the inescapable next frontier of “equality.”
But it turns out they may have jumped the gun a bit, as they’ve gotten a lot of pushback from some PCA pastors and elders who aren’t “woke” yet. On the other hand, however, they’ve gotten far more support than criticism from PCA leadership, so, while they may have gotten a bit ahead of the curve, they probably didn’t do much to impede the inexorable total capitulation of the PCA to cultural Marxism. In a few years, most people probably won’t even recall this bit of unpleasantness, and the ones that do will regard the people on the podcast as heroes of the faith.
What’s funny is that I had listened to the “Gender Apartheid” episode of Truth’s Table when it first came out a little over a week ago, and I was shocked at just how blatant they were in their outright rejection of Christian orthodoxy and their full embrace of the radical feminist/liberation theology agenda. I told some friends about it, and began transcribing what I thought were the most outrageous parts. However, there were so many unbelievable statements that I decided I had to transcribe the entire thing, word for word. Well, that takes hours and hours. Now I wish I’d just transcribed the “highlights” because we could’ve had it up last Sunday or Monday, and been first out of the gate. But I didn’t; instead I just kept transcribing, a little bit every night, figuring I had plenty of time.
But then PCA pastor Todd Pruitt over at Mortification of Spin heard about the episode, listened to it, was outraged, and wrote a blog post about it. Soon after, the controversy exploded on Facebook and Twitter. Saturday night, Pruitt removed the post where he’d criticized the podcast. Why? Because someone had called him a name:
Much to the disappointment of many good friends I have made the decision to remove a critique I posted last week of a troubling podcast.
I was naive. Actually I feel quite stupid. When I saw the charges of racism being leveled against me just moments ago I decided immediately I would not subject my family or the church I serve to such wickedness.
Any of the dozens of pastors I heard from who were deeply troubled by the podcast are certainly welcome to speak out. I will not blame them if they don’t.
I’ve never been accused of being a racist before. When you see such a filthy charge in print it is stunning and sickening. I understand why it is such an effective tool to silence dissent.
Chalk it up as a learning experience.
This is very revealing, and I’ll have much more to say about it in a follow-up post, which is coming soon. But you can still read his original post here. I’ll quote it:
Last evening I was made aware of a new podcast called Truth’s Table. The particular episode I was linked to is entitled “Gender Apartheid.” Among the hosts and guests are members of PCA and OPC churches; women and men with leadership responsibilities. The content of the discussion is shocking to anyone who actually believes and upholds the doctrinal standards of the PCA and OPC.
You can listen to the episode HERE.
If you listen to the podcast what you will hear is typical boilerplate liberation theology which is fundamentally unbiblical and incompatible with the gospel and the church’s mission. Sadly this has been allowed a foothold in the PCA. Some of us have been warning about it, apparently to no avail. It is nothing more than the latest incarnation of the social gospel which ironically destroys the gospel by replacing it with something else.
During the discussion the hosts dismiss the biblical pattern of male leadership within the church as nothing more than a manmade rule. They also mock those who uphold that biblical pattern and join that mockery with crude language. Keep in mind that these men and women are members of and serve in churches whose standards uphold those biblical patterns of leadership.
Near the very end of the podcast one of the hosts gives a brief nod of legitimacy to transgenderism. This is not surprising given the radical roots of their categories.
I will not labor over every problem with the content of this podcast. You will be able to hear for yourself if you choose. But be warned. It is very tedious. It is something that would be warmly received in the PC(USA) for sure. What is so troubling is that it is being received by some within the PCA. This will not end well. Experiments in the social gospel never end well.
If you are a member of a PCA church you have a voice. I would encourage you to make the pastor and session of your church aware of this and encourage them to take action by contacting the appropriate churches and presbyteries. You will also want to pass it along to the clerk of your presbytery.
Let us do all we can to keep these unbiblical ideas from spreading any further in the PCA and corrupting our Lord’s church.
Well, after everything that happened on Friday and Saturday, I decided I had to finish the transcription, and it’s now done. You can read it below. It’s very long, though, about 6,000 words. I’m only posting it as a resource for Christians to quote from when writing about this. And, because most people can read much faster than they can talk, some would rather read it than listen. However, to get the full flavor of the episode, I strongly suggest you actually listen to it, which you can do here. It’s only 35 minutes.
Here are some of the most outrageous statements: (All bolding is mine.)
“we understand that gender is a social construct, so we’re technically not actually talking about gender”
“we understand that the extrabiblical confinement of gender roles has really damaged a lot of our family in the church. So you’re going to hear us deal a lot more with this cisgender male/female dynamic today.”
“the Gospel actually tears down the dividing wall of hostility between the sexes and between the genders”
“At conferences that I’m often invited to, are often…always have to do with race, racism, racial reconciliation, trying to do justice in those spheres. But yet completely ignore the toxic patriarchy that is so embedded within the church”
“particularly in white evangelical circles, I think the gender apartheid that occurs is an outworking of the purity culture”
“So we in danger, y’all”
“One of the problems is that women are known by their bodies. So even in the example that you just gave, Jemar, the body as the means of work, right, so the body as….that’s why we can have women being mules and workhorses. Because we’re using their bodies. And that’s also the reason why people are so apprehensive about male and female relationships, or partnerships, because women are seen by their bodies, you know, they’re working entities, or they’re sexual entities. And in both of those spaces they are compartmentalized and dehumanized.
“What does the word ordainable mean? It LITERALLY means possesses a penis”
“And yet in my own context, no one will hear me unless maybe I design and develop a penis-shaped microphone. Because if all you need to have is A PENIS in order to be heard, then maybe we should have a line of penis microphones”
“whether women can be ordained or not ordained, that’s not a heaven or hell issue, that ain’t gonna keep you from the throne of God, we all gonna be worshiping together. And so for me, personally, I try not to make a mountain out of a molehill, OK?”
“what I’m gathering is that toxic masculinity, is actually what you’re describing, is a byproduct of this, how can I say, this ‘biblical’ and I say that with quotes, right, this ‘biblical’ manhood and womanhood, you know, trend that has been going on in white evangelicalism for the last couple years”
“And if you’re a church leader, you need to make sure that you are taking the risk of putting the most marginalized people in your context at the center of a story that you’re listening to”
The same way we would tell y’all to dismantle white supremacy, we are demanding that toxic masculinity be dismantled for our flourishing, for our ability to live, as unified people.
And, see, all sin has the same end game, which is death. And so the consequences of white supremacy, and toxic masculinity, it ends in people literally losing their lives.
“Gender is a topic that is complicated and vast and we want to do this topic justice. So we recognize that this conversation does not reflect the perspectives of transgender image-bearers.”
Here’s the full transcript. Note the following:
EU is Ekemini Uwan, who has an M.Div from Westminster Theological Seminary, and attends a PCA church in Philadelphia.
MH is Michelle Higgins. She’s the “Director of Worship and Outreach” at South City Church (PCA) in St. Louis.
CE is Christina Edmondson, who has a Ph.D. and is a dean at Calvin College. She’s married to black liberationist OPC pastor Mika Edmondson, one of Al Mohler’s favorite preachers.
JT is Jemar Tisby, head of RAAN, host of Pass the Mic podcast, producer of Truth’s Table podcast, and right-hand man to J. Ligon Duncan, the head of Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson.
TB is Tyler Burns. He’s Tisby’s sidekick/co-host on Pass the Mic, and a youth pastor at New Dimensions Christian Center in Pensacola, Florida.
JT: What is gender apartheid exactly?
EU: Well, lets’ just get a little technical here, just for a little bit. Really what we’re talking about is the division, the segregation of the sexes within the church. So – we understand that gender is a social construct, so we’re technically not actually talking about gender.
MH: In fact, we understand that the extrabiblical confinement of gender roles has really damaged a lot of our family in the church. So you’re going to hear us deal a lot more with this cisgender male/female dynamic today.
EU: So gender apartheid is on the table because, you know, it just sounds better than sex apartheid, but that’s really what we’re talking about . Separation from the biological sexes, but you’re right, it just sounds better, y’all, we’ll just keep it real. So we know that when it comes to the Gospel…and we think about Ephesians 2:14 that talks about how the gospel tears down the dividing wall of hostility. Oftentimes that Scripture is cited with regard to racial issues, racism, and racial reconciliation, but we don’t often hear that spoken of with the mind that the Gospel actually tears down the dividing wall of hostility between the sexes and between the genders. And so I want us to be able to talk about that today, and the reasons why there is this wall, a very visible wall erected in the church between men and women and what that’s about.
TB: What are some of the places where we see that visibly illustrated? Because I would love to hear that from your perspective.
JT. Yeah, I’m curious what the ladies have to say about where we see these divisions and how it affects you from your perspective.
EU: For me the first thing that comes to mind for me is, in the church, it just seems like there’s….I…there’s a place for men’s and women’s ministry but I think that where there’s a chance for us to collaborate and to hear and learn from women, we should be doing that. So…I oftentimes see a very striking and very clear example of gender apartheid actually at Christian conferences. At conferences that I’m often invited to, are often…always have to do with race, racism, racial reconciliation, trying to do justice in those spheres. But yet completely ignore the toxic patriarchy that is so embedded within the church. And so you go to these conferences and you don’t oftentimes hear from women on the main stage, you don’t hear them giving plenary talks. And so our voices are often silenced in these spaces where they should not be: Particularly when women actually carry…particularly black women…start the movements, and carry the movements, and bring forth this justice: So for me that’s a very clear example of where I see the gender apartheid occur.
TB: I would be curious how it plays out in the local church as well.
JT. She said “toxic patriarchy”….I’m over here taking notes! (Laughter from all)
CE: So certainly I think there are spaces in the local church, right, and so you can think about….I can think about being in some Reformed churches that will say, that will de-emphasize emotionality. So they wanna have a purely cognitive experience but that doesn’t translate into any emotional expression. And, now men and women, everyone has a variety of emotions, it’s not a distinctly female attribute to have emotions, but there is no doubt that emotional expression is associated with women, to the extent that we wanna minimize celebratory praise, that we want to constrain tearful worship. In some ways I can’t help but think that’s not tied to the fact that we see that as feminine, and therefore somehow it’s deviant and not accepted in the worship service.
MH: There’s so much to be said concerning what gender apartheid does to our children and therefore to the things people presume they can and cannot do. So men, for instance, are less likely to enter into a space in which nurturing might be required, a space in which they might have to change a diaper, or God forbid make some macaroni…
EU: C’mon! Wash some dishes, help us out!
MH: And so we live under and are put…we are really enslaved to these divisions and we are nervous about dismantling something that’s actually made us a little bit comfortable! The same thing with explaining to or encouraging some of the young women coming up..particularly evangelical, conservative, more Reformed spaces….but encouraging some of the young women coming up that they ought to study the Scripture, share about their experiences, pray at church…so we don’t have young women who are invited to give their testimony and they say, “Oh, I don’t hold a microphone – that’s not what I do.” We have churches where women are not allowed to greet at the front door. There are spaces where we have to be so careful that we are not intentionally informing our daughters that they have no visible role or presence, that there is no space in which they belong. And that we are not accidentally informing our sons that they have no opportunity to experience the nurturing, to actually have an emotional interaction as they’re growing up, as part of their maturity. So everyone’s growth is stunted because we have selected spaces 1) that we define as more feminine or more masculine which is, again, extrabiblical, help us, Lord, and 2) we have accidentally defined the idea of where you belong and what’s comfortable underneath those false labels, underneath that construct. So we in danger, y’all.
JT: As a guy who has learned Christianity in very theologically conservative circles, it always came down to two things. It always came down to roles of teaching, pastors, you know, who gets to preach? And it always came down to sexual intercourse, and how far away you can stay from that before marriage, and keep yourself quote/unquote ‘pure’. Those are the things that I heard from guys who basically said, in so many words, “Stay away from women.” And so I am trying, I’m in this process of trying to deconstruct, like Michelle said, unbiblical categories of that. So I’m just, I’m curious about the experience of the women on the podcast of roles in the church, particularly teaching roles. Ekemini talked about conferences – what about in a local congregation? Where are some ways that we could break down walls and still affirm certain historic biblical stances?
EU: I do wanna piggyback just a little bit off what you said because I think that, I mean I don’t think, particularly in white evangelical circles, I think the gender apartheid that occurs is an outworking of the purity culture. And so that’s…I was not subject to that, so I think coming over to the Reformed world was just kind of weird for me. Because I think the outworking of what you’re saying is that women are predators and they are to be feared, unless they are on their (sic) arm, and you’ve hunted them, and they are now yours, right? And they’re your in, they’re your pass, to be legitimate in these circles, you know. And then, and then we get into a very interesting place…we’re talking about a black man, right, who’s trying to get acceptance in this very white world, and in some, and I’m gonna go there, some do marry white women with that intention, OK? I know I just spilled some hot tea…
MH. That’s another episode!
EU: That’s another episode
MH. That’s just the apartheid episode!
EU: But that’s really real, and so for me, coming into this world is really weird, because I’m used to, I think it’s healthy to have good friendships with men. And Jemar and Tyler, they’re my homies – I talk to them like every day. And so it was a weird thing for me to come to this circle and like, guys are like, “Oh, well, I can’t have your number because I’m married.” HUH???? I don’t want you, fool, first off….so what’s really happening, what are you talking about, what are we talking about?…..For me I think that this was something that we really needed to touch on and I think model, because it’s like we need to be able to…do life on life together. There’s no way we can – how can you love your neighbor when you have put a dividing wall between your sister? We know separate is not equal, so we need to cut this out. Jesus is not pleased with this.
TB: So are you saying that there’s something deficient in our theology, fundamentally, or is there something insufficient in our working out of that theology, based upon the influence of our culture, being conformed to the image of our culture rather than the image of our God?
EU: It’s not the theology; it’s the way that we are actually doing it and practicing it. I think this is where we need to probably talk about how does this look in the black church, though,right? Because we’re privy to both ____, so I’m curious – what do y’all think, and this is for anybody to answer: How does gender apartheid, number one, does it manifest itself in the black church and if it does, how? What does that look like?
TB: Yeah, I think it definitely manifests itself in the power dynamics of the church. Ministry is geared towards men, even though women make up a predominant majority of the congregation, most black church congregations. And for whatever reason, for a number of different varying reasons, I think the power dynamics are that men can step into places and speak over women, even on women’s issues.
JT: Ummm! Ummm! (agreement)
TB: So I think that’s a dangerous thing. I don’t think the black church should be absolved from that, even as we talk about the white evangelical word.
JT: And I’ll chime in from a historical perspective – modern critiques of the Civil Rights Movement focus on the artificial division between women and men in the movement. And so men were seen as the “public” faces of the movement, even though women, especially black women, did the work. They were organizing the boycotts, they were out marching, they were getting beaten right alongside the men and sometimes in front of them. And yet they were not given the prominence that their work would have earned them. And so I think that’s a critique the black church needs to receive, and we need to do better in the 21st century Civil Rights Movement.
CE: One of the problems is that women are known by their bodies. So even in the example that you just gave, Jemar, the body as the means of work, right, so the body as….that’s why we can have women being mules and workhorses. Because we’re using their bodies. And that’s also the reason why people are so apprehensive about male and female relationships, or partnerships, because women are seen by their bodies, you know, they’re working entities, or they’re sexual entities. And in both of those spaces they are compartmentalized and dehumanized. What’s fascinating to me, if you think about the New Testament passage where people are always trying to trip up Jesus, right? And think about the scene where they’re debating you know, whose wife is this going to be in heaven, right? And they’re like you, know she married this brother and then this brother and that brother…and so who’s gonna get her in heaven? Who’s gonna have her in heaven? And Jesus says, “Uh-uh; that’s not how it is in heaven.” So there’s something about the kingdom we’re going to in which our bodies, and they way in which we see each other, it strikingly changes. And even our concepts of marriage are changed in glory, right? There is no marriage, which is fascinating because there still is racial and ethnic identity in heaven, right? So there’s something for us in that to really, really chew on, I think.
TB: So this is what it feels like to be at a tea party!
MH: We spillin’ the tea! And you know what? I wanna go back to Tyler’s question about theology vs. application because I think that what Christina brought out is very important, and it has such deep impact. But then it actually does shift our theology, to the point that we are interpreting Scripture differently, despite the fact the purest biblical theology would prevent us from adding this wall, from rebuilding the wall, the dividing wall. We actually theologize as if it’s the only wall that must remain in the eschaton. And the reason for this is connected to purity culture, it’s directly connected with the fact that the church DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH SEXUALITY AT ALL! And therefore we are completely intimidated by differing genitalia. When I tell you that we actually have rules in some denominations in which you may not participate in a particular leadership anything – in many church constitutions there are leadership opportunities that are only available to folks who are what? Ordainable.
EU: Help us.
MH: What does that word mean? What does the word ‘ordainable’ mean? It LITERALLY means possesses a penis. It does not mean, is currently in seminary, has graduated with an M.Div and has gone before a licensure committee, ‘ordainable’ means that the person is able to be set to the practice of potentially becoming a church leader. And, specifically, in some denominations, church leaders may only be male. And therefore when you whittle it all down, that word is how we live out a theology that we have prooftexted to death, to twist and to turn in order to re-erect a wall that God, I believe, tore down in his flesh. Jesus, with his male body, tore down a dividing wall that now allows me to be just as complete as a woman. And yet in my own context, no one will hear me unless maybe I design and develop a penis-shaped microphone. Because if all you need to have is A PENIS in order to be heard, then maybe we should have a line of penis microphones. Because it is ALL that you need to have to pass out communion, to take up the offering,
CE: To be heard!
MH: to shake hands with the visitors when they come in. We are not just misapplying theology, we are actually NOT doing biblical theology. (And I’ma not say what I’m sayin’.)
CE: Well, the fencing of the law has real consequences, right? So when you have God’s law which is pure, it’s complete, it is right. But people who are, you know, we’re perpetual idol makers, right, in our hearts. And so we find ways to bring back a works theology, despite saying that we’re grace cases. And one of those ways we do that is by fencing the law. Like God says, “Don’t do this”, and the next thing you know – we go from “Don’t eat the fruit” to “Don’t touch and eat the fruit.” Right? And we see Adam getting the instruction of “Don’t eat the fruit”, we hear Eve having heard “Don’t touch and eat the fruit.” And there are consequences to fencing the law.
JT: You’re already sort of talking about this but I’m curious to see explicit responses. What I most often encounter in some of these Christian circles that I’m in is this idea of a slippery slope. And if we “allow” women to do this, then it’s one step closer to women preaching, and losing the authority of the Bible, and all of these things, so they have to draw a very hard line as far away from what they see as the edge as possible, which is where you get these regulations about “ordainable” and all these things, because folks are so frightened of going into a theology that they deeply disagree with. So how would you sort of navigate folks that have concerns like that?
EU: That’s so interesting to me because – first of all, whether women can be ordained or not ordained, that’s not a heaven or hell issue, that ain’t gonna keep you from the throne of God, we all gonna be worshiping together. And so for me, personally, I try not to make a mountain out of a molehill, OK? So we will talk about that eventually on the show so I don’t even wanna delve into it ‘cause that’s a whole nother topic. But it’s interesting to me that THAT’s the slippery slope, but not creating man-made doctrines that are extra biblical is NOT the slippery slope.
MH: Come on!
EU: That to me is very scary. So I personally am not down with erecting walls, establishing walls that God did not establish – I don’t like to tamper with the Word. I’m very serious about those things, you know, and I’m serious to the point where it also cuts me because the gospel contains imperatives and indicatives. C’mon, saints! You know, and I flipped it because we hang on to the indicatives but we don’t wanna do the imperatives, right? Holiness is still right, y’all. It’s still right. C’mon, Jesus! And so….without holiness, you will not see the Lord. But that’s another story. But what I – well, for me it’s very interesting that slippery slope comes into play with ovaries and breasts,
MH: WE NAMIN’ ALL OF ‘EM!!!
EU: but it does not come into play when it comes to literally enshrining misogyny in the church! THAT IS WICKED! That is WICK-ED! That’s wicked! So I think we really need to challenge what we have been conditioned to think.
MH: And this has deep impact, deep, deep impact, on our family life.: Christina breaks down the household of God, this whole Ephesians, we in Ephesians, so we can hang out there: I cannot live with you, I cannot live with you, if we are on a slippery slope considering friendship…a woman cannot trust another woman until both of them are married, to be around men? Where’s our solidarity? I believe in the beauty of just-one gender spaces, women-only spaces, men-only spaces. I believe that the beauty of that is actually teaching trust, between us, so that I’m not looking at single women and presuming that they want my husband. And no one need look at me and presume I want what they got. I mean, we are actually, because of the walls we have built, we’re actually informing each other that power, control, and yes, authority, (I think we broke that down pretty well), but power and control over one another IS the end goal. When, really, what’s that a testament to? It’s testifying to the fact that the curse is still among us. That we’re not living post-resurrection. We’re actually still living pre-fall if we’re just about control and power and who has who, we’ll never get to deep friendship, and we won’t be able to live like a family.
CE: I’m actually, I’m – one of my more silent reasons I come to the table is because I’m deeply concerned that if we don’t make space – and this is not even a question of ordination – if we don’t make space for the gifts that God has put into people, that he brings…it’s not ours to reject God’s gifts. It’s not for us to reject what God has given us, to bless us, and so when we don’t make space for the gifts, those people are then tempted to leave those spaces. And I can think of a number, particularly of women that I know who are incredibly gifted, whom those gifts just simply were not recognized – and they don’t have to be recognized as “lead teaching pastor” – but the gifts, they need to be utilized, in some way, shape, or form. And they have found themselves in spaces that I would say in some way makes room for those gifts, but requires them to check the boxes on some things that I would find incredibly unorthodox. We are creating that temptation in what we consider to be theologically orthodox spaces when we don’t allow people to fully operate in their gifting – in a way that honors Scripture, right? But I find that our faith is much freer than we claim it to be. So I’m a big advocate of Christian liberty and there is FREEDOM in the gospel. And so I’m always confused when we have this philosophy that we’re about constricting and confining. Christians ought to be free peope.
EU: Come on! Freedom is one of the fruits of the spirit. It might not say that in Galatians 5:22 but our freedom in Christ has set us free. We have to remember that. And where the spirit of the Lord is, there really is liberty.
MH: And we need to watch out for the reverse – if we’re not experiencing liberty as the family of God, the spirit of the Lord might not be where we at.
EU: And he didn’t set us free to sin; I do want people to know that. We got guardrails now, come on now. We need to be clear on that, because folks go all the way, and no, we ain’t goin’ down that road.
CE: Well, gentlemen, I have a question for you. I would love to hear your thoughts about maybe the benefits or the consequences that you experience because of extrabiblical or confined gender roles in the church.
JT: That is a great question, and I sorta put myself on blast in responding to it because I’m very sad to say and heavy hearted to say that it’s not really until recently that I’ve begun interrogating the status quo as it refers to gender in the church. And I’m thankful to my longsuffering wife, my mother, my sister for bearing with me in my ignorance. And I’m thankful for ladies like you who speak the truth in love, but with Scripture there. And so it’s a learning experience, there’s a learning curve that I’m on, but I try to apply the same principles that I want folks to use in racial reconciliation to this topic, right?….
ALL THREE WOMEN: Write that down!
JT: When we talk about racial reconciliation, minorities say to the racial majority, “You need to listen, and even if you don’t understand the experience, you’ve got to give credibility to the experience from the people who have gone through it. And so I as a man need to do the same thing as I hear my sisters talking about their experience, they physical labor, the emotional labor, the objectification, all of these things that as a man I experience differently or don’t experience at all, may be completely foreign to me. But I need to understand that I haven’t experienced the same things that you have and you have the wisdom, through that. And so that’s been, I think, as we think about racial reconciliation we actually have the theology and the platform to talk about gender apartheid in a productive way. And so I feel, honestly, impoverished, not having looked at these things deeply before, I think to the degree that we limit diversity because of divisions we actually impoverish our experience of the gospel. And so, at the end of the day, seeing women shine, and use their gifts, and hearing their voices more, enriches me as a believer and teaches me the depth of the unity and the diversity and the beauty of Christ’s bride.
TB: That’s exactly where I was going, because I think one of the things we miss is that we’re not just doing this so that women can have these spaces, but we’re doing it so men can be enriched. Like, we need, we need your voice, not just so that you have a voice, but because our manhood is lacking because you are not speaking into it. And I think I’ve seen that in my own life and marriage – I realize how limited my scope was in listening to the opinions, in listening to the perspectives of black women, you know, when I married one, in close proximity, and she’s challenging me in my sin, then we have, we get that tension moment of, “Do I really believe that this is a fellow sister in Christ?” at the same time that she is my wife, in covenant. And so, when she is able to speak into that, my manhood is actually enriched and I’m better able to reflect God as a man. And I think we must be honest about the ways in which – I mentioned earlier this perception of running away, this machismo, this macho man that we’ve adopted from Amer- especially even as black men, it is toxic to us, and it hurts our sons, it hurts our daughters, because we’re unable to show affection to them, we’re unable to value them in the range of emotions that God has created us, and I think we have much to learn from our sisters in that area. So I echo what Jemar’s saying – it’s for us, too, and without it we’re deficient as men. And so, kinda leading into that, as we close, what are some of the ways that you would advise brothers in Christ, and especially church leaders, to practically appreciate, create these spaces of celebration , appreciation, for sisters in Christ?
EU: You’re hitting on a lot of good stuff there, Tyler, because I think, what I’m hearing, or what I’m gathering is that toxic masculinity, is actually what you’re describing, is a byproduct of this, how can I say, this “biblical” and I say that with quotes, right, this “biblical” manhood and womanhood, you know, trend that has been going on in white evangelicalism for the last couple years. And so, that, which I don’t think is very biblical at all, and so, this is a natural consequence of that, and, you know, we’ll touch on that later, but that, I had to bring that out. But I would say I think a practical way that we can begin to tear down these walls, this apartheid, is that y’all can listen to Truth’s Table….you know, but really, I’m serious, you really do have to seek out the voices of women. And not just women of color but women, white women, too. White women really suffer in these churches. I’m not naming denominations, not gonna do that, but they really suffer, and so…because of meekness, which is actually a quiet strength, you know, is bastardized and it’s weaponized, and that is set up as a standard, and it’s used to silence them, and force them into passivity, by and large, right? And so, they oftentimes, don’t actually – their agency’s restricted in some of these circles. So they’re not actually able to really speak up for themselves in a way that they ought to, and I think that as a woman of color, we are more naturally, I think we – naturally it’s in us to be like, “Uh, hold on now – you ain’t gonna just keep runnin’ over me like dat.” You know, and I know that’s not to say all of us are, but I know the women at this table ain’t finna do dat. Like we’re not lettin’ it happen. So I think that, that’s something that we also have to recognize as well, because I don’t want them to be left out of that conversation, because this is a real thing. But I think seeking out these voices of women to learn from them – gifted women, who can teach this Word, who can give a different perspective, a different vantage point on the gospel, is really key. So be involved – listen to podcasts of women of color, how about including them in the conferences? Qualified women, who are actually more qualified than men who are up there speaking. You know, I mean, really, we have to make space, and we have to be very intentional, it’s not going to happen naturally.
MH: And if you’re a church leader, you need to make sure that you are taking the risk of putting the most marginalized people in your context at the center of a story that you’re listening to. I love the way Jemar broke down, “Look, we’ve got all these tools and frameworks for racial unity, but we actually have to run the race of not seeing walls erected that we know Jesus has already torn down. So I think there’s a risk in asking women to say a prayer in your worship service, but it needs to be done. There’s a risk in asking men and women together to teach children, but it needs to be done. So you need to both encourage and model for young men the understanding that gender constructs are wrong. And you also need to encourage an model for young women the understanding that it is, that we can no longer equate meekness with obedience, and we cannot presume that boldness represents an utter lack of humility. Because boldness in men don’t mean they lack humility, so what’s wrong wid us? So I do truly believe that we have to actually do the risk taking as church leaders, men and women who are leaders in the church, need to take the risk of losing somebody, of losing some budget, of losing some social standing. The same way we would tell y’all to dismantle white supremacy, we are demanding that toxic masculinity be dismantled for our flourishing, for our ability to live, as unified people.
CE: And, see, all sin has the same end game, which is death. And so the consequences of white supremacy, and toxic masculinity, it ends in people literally losing their lives. And I would say, you know, a bit of advice to believers, but particularly to my brothers who might be in positions of power and authority to effect change, is to look to Jesus, is to look at Jesus’ rebuke of his male disciples and their treatment of women, to look to Jesus and his regard for women and his use of them, to look to Jesus as you see women sitting in the position of disciple and student…so I think he, Christ is our example, just, period. And in this regard, Christ continues to be our example in how we ought to treat each other. He models something really profound in the way that he honors his mother, in the way that women are near him, learning and growing and serving. It does not surprise me that if you look at the New Testament church, you see these wealthy Greek women bankrolling the church, right? You see Phoebe – I mean you see these examples…I would question my brothers and sisters to say, “Why do you ignore these examples? Why do you choose to just ignore what the Scripture has given us, and if we really are sola scriptura people, that we want to seek out God’s Word, and we want to obey what we see in the text.” And it is there, it is there, Christ honors and sees women, and we see them growing in his Word, and we see them using that word, just like Priscilla with her husband Acquila, sharpening, sharpening preachers. So women in your church should be working to help sharpen preachers.
EU: And power is why we ignore Phoebe. Power is why we ignore Priscilla. That’s all.
JT: Wow. So I love podcasting as a medium, but the one thing you can’t do is see Tyler and I looking at each other, and just being like, minds blown, for the last 35 minutes.
JT: It was so hot, but it was so good, you know, it’s the burning that brings a blessing. You know, like Tyler was saying before, it blesses us both as men but particularly as believers, to hear these perspectives, to receive them, and to be edified. So I just feel full right now, I feel so enriched, and like I have a greater experience of Jesus because we’ve had a little taste of what he’s trying to teach us about the dignity of all people, embodied whether in brown skin or black skin or peach skin but also embodied in maleness and femaleness in terms of sex and biology and these constructed gender roles we’ve….man! So what it has done is given me another facet of the gospel to worship God and praise him for his power to bring down these barriers and divisions. So, thank you, ladies for your honesty, thank you for lettin’ us sit at the table as we listened, sip a little tea. I’ma go and try to cool of my tongue, but my goodness, it was good.
TB: Absolutely, thank you guys. It’s such an honor and we just support Truth’s Table and what you guys are doing, and have learned so much from the podcast already, and y’all only a couple episodes in, so, man, I can’t even imagine where it’s going. And I’ll say this, you know, we got five people here – I’ll do five on five with anybody! Who wanna run five?
EU: Gender is a topic that is complicated and vast and we want to do this topic justice. So we recognize that this conversation does not reflect the perspectives of transgender image-bearers. Additionally, we acknowledge for the very reason that we have this table, Truth’s Table, it is most honorable to talk to people instead of about them.