Confronting the Old Boys’ Club (#635)

Is there anything a man can do among the body of Christ that a woman cannot?  In this first of two podcasts about issues affecting their sisters in the body of Christ, Brad and Wayne invite occasional guest, Tracy Levinson, to explore that question and a few others about the role of women in the church and how they've been mistreated and demeaned by a dominating, second-class view of women. They also talk about a letter from Beth Moore detailing how she has been demeaned as a woman with a teaching gift, look at Peter's view of women as "weaker vessels", confront the Jezebel accusation used to silence the voice of women, and whether a covering is required for women. Even though Jesus treated women with equality, respect and dignity, his followers have had a hard time catching up to his example.

Podcast Notes:
Tracy's book, unashamed: candid conversations about dating, love, nakedness, and faith
NY Times Article on The Great #Metoo Awakening
A Letter to My Brothers by Beth Moore
The latest news from our project in Kenya
Add your voice to our question/comment line via Skype at "TheGodJourney"


  1. Hi Tracy, and guys — thanks so much for this podcast. I’m looking forward to part 2!

    I’m a white upper-middle-class professional male…which means I have a ton more privilege in the world than I am even aware of. That being said, I’m also the youngest of 5 children, and the only boy. And, I’m an RN — so in a small way, I’ve (sort of) lived most of my life in a gender-minority place. Because of this, I feel I have a sensitive heart to recognize and validate that we live in a world where there are still vast inequities across many spectrums. And I’ve wondered what I can do; how best can I respond — especially as sometimes I feel hurt in the process?

    I especially appreciated Brad speaking up about his feelings of sadness that Men are all lumped together. I’ve felt the same way, and have come to accept it as part of the (as Brad called it) ‘correction’ that is taking place. I might put it this way: The ‘pendulum’ has been in a far-flung point in its arc for a long time, and before it settles in the middle where we really *are* all seen and treated as one in Christ, there will need to be some time where the pendulum is in a place on the opposite arc where people post phrases like “Men are Trash” on social media. And sadly, if I or Brad or other men try and say “Well, not all men!” this does not get received well. The sensitivity and gravity of the issue is such that saying “not all men” is often received as an attempt to discredit, as in “You’re making it up” — or it is seen for what it often is: simple defensiveness and fear of false-accusation. But any way you slice it, it is just one more in a long line of examples of how women can feel men either ‘mansplain’, or disregard their words or actions of protest, or seek to make women’s feelings or issues less important than their own. In short: Saying “Not all men” is simply petty. It is tantamount to saying “Well, listen, I know as a woman you’ve been on the short end of the stick in a lot of things for a lot of years in huge and horrible ways that I have no clue about…but saying ‘All men are…’ is a gross generalization and is not true, and besides, you hurt my feelings”. Can you see how that can come off as whiny and pouty?

    It’s like me reading an article about genocide, while waiting for my cup of coffee…and then complaining loudly to the barista that I ordered it ‘extra hot’ and it is not ‘regular hot’. ‘1st world problems’ are like ‘Man problems’

    So instead of saying “Not all men” or challenge in any way, I try to simply listen and validate what is there to be validated. Even if this does get me called “soy boy” from time to time.

    Here’s an example from this morning. I was out running and listening to this podcast. I noticed about 1/4 mile ahead there was a woman on the sidewalk walking in my direction. As she noticed me, she crossed to the other side of the street. I couldn’t see the look in her eyes, but my heart sank as I presumed it was because she saw me as a threat (the sidewalk was more than wide enough to accommodate both of us, etc). When I reached my turn-around point, I crossed the road and began running back home. As I neared her I was careful to stay off the sidewalk and instead stay in the street. As we passed, I tried to offer a non-threatening presence by smiling, and we made brief eye contact. But her glance was furtive and wary.

    An option came to my mind that once I was a few yards past her I could stop, and call back to her, offering an apology that we still live in a world where she feels threatened to walk down the same side of the street where a man is jogging. As I pondered that, Father seemed to impress on my heart that this was not a bad idea, but it was not for me to do, not this day. So I simply ran home.

    Here’s to a future (even if it means waiting for the new heavens and the new earth) where we really all can walk and live together in peace and free from fear. Until then, I’m staying close to Papa and leaning in, trying to learn how to serve and love others.

  2. Thanks. I really enjoyed hearing all your voices on this topic. I found it healing, encouraging and even hopeful. It wasn’t just the answers you gave but the questions and vulnerabilities that were shared.

  3. Thank you three for this podcast! I never heard the weaker vessel scripture with that context and application…makes more sense…the verses on women being quiet, not teaching over a man, weaker vessel have been used to suppress women yet Jesus did the opposite of that He liberated them. I love Love Love the truth Traci kept speaking over and over…we are all one in Christ…all have the Spirit to share. One time I was in Africa on missions and the African men at the Bible school wanted me to come share for devotions…I shared what He gave me and one brother came to me and said “you have an anointing…come share again” then the European leader of the school said I was in error and never allowed to do that again. And not just in the system but just in everyday relationships I have seen it more often than not with Christian brothers and sisters that women are thought to be not as wise as men nor have equal validation of what they think or say due to being “more likely deceived”. I look forward to the next podcast:)

  4. I loved Beth Moore’s letter she articulated very well some of the root issues. So wonderful to hear this on the God Journey. Long term shifts seem to have many velocity changes. There is no end point to the shifting. That’s called learning. I remember doing a podcast and getting some push back on being too rough on my brother in Christ on the issue of the feminine perspective being missed in conversations/structures that are men only. The call for balance and harmony in the Body of Christ is loud and clear and only happens with inclusion. In my own community I like language that emphasizes the invitational stance of Jesus. For instance instead of “suppose to be” or “should” or “must” I use a “could be” and we “get” to. This has helped me in my conversations to skip the shaming that often comes from confronting institutional evil. I get to own my part of the mess by being vulnerable to admit to using the parts of me, as a female image bearer, to advance my power position. Which Beth did in her letter and Tracy did with the Chicken poop. Great podcast looking forward to part 2.

  5. Just wondering if you may have removed the excerpt from “A man like no other”, that you read at the end this podcast. I really loved it and it seenmed to so well cap the conversation. I was replaying that end portion for my wife a few days after hearing it and I couldnt find it. I came away thinking that I’m going nuts or maybe was it on another podcast or possibly it was removed. So here I sit perplexed determining that one of those three deductions are true or possibly a combination. 🙂 Can you clear that up.

    • Hi Jay. This is Wayne. We did not read an excerpt from A MAN LIKE NO OTHER on any recent podcast, so I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Maybe you heard it on some other podcast and just thought it was ours. Or, you know, maybe you are going nuts! :-). We do not remove things from podcasts like that. People pretty much hear exactly what went on between Brad and me and any guests we have. Of course we did bleep Tracey once! Sorry I can’t help you here. Blessings to you!

  6. Thanks for your swift response Wayne! You are right, I am going nuts! The other day I read these words and they so well described me. “I finally discovered what’s wrong with my brain. On the left side there’s nothing right and on the right side there’s nothing left” That’s me all right. You and Brad are my gym buddies and I listen to previous podcasts each time I get on the treadmill. I probably heard it on another podcast addressing a similar topic having to do with how Jesus interacted with women. In response to you needing to bleep Tracey, that’s what you get for hanging around reformed TACL’s! Blessings backatcha!

  7. Society enjoys demonising men, assuming they’re either all powerful leaders, or all violent criminals. This ignores the 99% of ordinary good blokes who just try to muddle along. See this short video:

  8. Hi Wayne and Brad and Traci,
    Thank you for sharing your journey over the years. I resonate with most of what, if not all of what you say and live in a world that is so entrenched in church and church rules I find myself on the outside often. However, as I age I find myself just being like Traci not so much bothered out loud by it all, just in my own relationship with the father and following his leading.
    I am the teaching director for a local women’s ministry. It’s nationally overseen so it’s not especially small potatoes, but it’s quiet (peacemaker). We come alongside the churches but are not affiliated to anyone church. Our class has 60 women and soon will have 10 men. Whom I will teach ??.
    God can gift whom he pleases and lead those who are willing to listen and follow. I met much resistance in my early years mostly because I was immature with the gifting in leadership God had given me and I didn’t handle well this idea that men where somehow smarter or more equipped to do what I knew God had gifted me to do. Even men without such gifts. But in time I learned to be still and focus on God and not listen to the distractions. I still hear many leaders in the church (both men and women) say and do stupid things. But I think the best we can do is walk the walk God tells us to walk and when we are to speak out do it with constant prayer so we have His words. This is not to say I’m not still tempted to respond to stupid, I just try not to.
    I appreciate your wisdom and your sharing on this topic and for a woman with a story, who has been the elephant in the room, and who has intimidated men just because of the Power of the Holy Spirit with me I want to say thank you. Thank you for acknowledging it and for reminding all women in leadership to keep on and keep our ear to the Lord and He will remove the distractions.

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