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The Biggest Lies Toxic Religion Tell Women

Welcome to Grace and Space, a weekly newsletter from the Deconstructing Mamas Podcast! GRACE for who you have been, are now and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be!

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This past week, we posed this Part 2 question out to you on our social media platforms: What's the biggest lie toxic religion tells (THIS TIME) women?

After having such a huge response on our first go at this question as it relates to parents, we decided to uncover what lies you've been told as women and then in our next newsletter, we will uncover this question as it relates to men.

As we said in our last newsletter, we feel confident that a first step to recovering from the wounds that we've received from high control religion, is uncovering them and bringing them out into the open.

The role of women seems to be a point of high contention in religious circles and to be honest, reading some of your answers has exposed how harmful the lies are and how deep the wounds run and how prevalent many of them still are even here in 2024!

Obviously, we are women and we want to be women who believe truths about ourselves so that we can love ourselves and others well, and not continue the harmful cycle into the next generation. Here are the general themes you shared with us: 1. Women have no worth without men.

2. Having children is women's highest calling.


3. That burden of keeping men from lusting is solely women's responsiblity and that modest discourages lust.


4. Our value is tied to our virginity before marriage and fulfilling the sexual needs of our husband after marriage.

5. Self-sacrifice is noble, even to the point of staying in an abusive marriage.


After doing some research this week and diving a little bit deeper into who we are as women and how we should engage and be engaged with inside a healthy faith system and even just generally in society, here are several thoughts that we would love your input on if you would like to contact us (at the bottom of this newsletter). A healthy view of women must prioritize respect, equality, and dignity. It should acknowledge the intrinsic worth and rights of women as individuals, affirming their autonomy, agency, and contributions to society and the faith community. Here are some principles that often characterize what we believe to be a healthy view of women:


  1. Equality: Recognizing that women are equal in value and worth to men, both in the eyes of the divine and within the religious community. This includes equal access to spiritual roles, leadership positions, and opportunities for religious expression.

  2. Respect and Dignity: Upholding the dignity of women by treating them with respect, honoring their unique experiences, perspectives, and contributions, and rejecting any form of discrimination, objectification, or violence against women.

  3. Agency and Autonomy: Acknowledging women's agency and autonomy to make decisions about their lives, including matters of faith, education, career, and family, without undue coercion or control from others.

  4. Inclusivity: Embracing diversity and inclusivity within the religious community, ensuring that women from various backgrounds, abilities, and life circumstances are valued and included in all aspects of religious life.

  5. Education and Empowerment: Supporting women's education, personal development, and empowerment, enabling them to fulfill their potential and contribute meaningfully to the religious community and society as a whole.

  6. Justice and Advocacy: Promoting social justice and advocating for the rights and well-being of women, both within the religious community and in the broader society, addressing issues such as gender-based violence, discrimination, and inequality.

  7. Interpretation and Tradition: Engaging in critical reflection on religious texts, traditions, and teachings to ensure that they are interpreted in ways that affirm the dignity and equality of women, challenging and reforming any interpretations or practices that perpetuate harm or inequality.

  8. Collaboration and Partnership: Fostering collaborative partnerships between men and women within the religious community, recognizing that both genders have unique gifts and perspectives to offer in the service of the community and its spiritual goals.

  9. Self-fulfillment and Spirituality: Supporting women's pursuit of self-fulfillment, spiritual growth, and flourishing, recognizing that faith can be a source of empowerment, meaning, and fulfillment in women's lives.

  10. Dialogue and Engagement: Encouraging open dialogue and engagement between men and women on issues of faith, ethics, and social justice, creating spaces where diverse voices are heard, valued, and respected.

A healthy view of women (especially in faith systems) should evolve with changing social contexts, advancing gender equality, and deeper theological insights, continually striving to create a community where all members, regardless of gender, can thrive and contribute to the common good.


Below, we have highlighted TWO fantastic resources that we believe can be a starting point for you today if you are wondering where to go from here. We love and trust both Rachel Held Evans and Sarah Bessey as two women who have done the work, both internally and externally and hope you pick up one, if not both of their books. P.S. We also have a BIG announcement about our Patreon community below. YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS IT!


 

Latest News:

BIG NEWS - WE ARE MOVING OUR COMMUNITY TO PATREON AND OTHER GOODIES! (PLUS, something about Lizz's birthday and building our community!!) Facebook just was not working for us. We couldn't get what we wanted to our community (based on the lovely algorithm, so this past week, we moved everything to PATREON.

For as little as $3/month, you will get lots of extras from Lizz and Esther, including deeper discussions about topics on the podcast, first dibs on knowing about future exciting projects and perhaps some special deals exclusive to those projects and our NEW QUARTERLY ZOOM GROUP where we dive lots deeper into the things we need to sort out with parenting and deconstructing. We have a really FUN GOAL we are setting for this community by the beginning of Season 5, coming up on March 5th. We are trying to get to 73 PATREONS before that point. "WHY 73?" you ask! Lizz's birthday is July 3. 7/3. So it feels like a lovely number of people. Plus, there's something in the Bible about 7 being the number of perfection and 3 being the number of wholeness. So WHY NOT??? We still love the Bible, right? Well, at least in this case, we do!! (winky face) Head to this LINK to join us! You won't regret it! And plus, the reality is that you will help us keep the lights on over here at Deconstructing Mamas. We really really want to! Thank you in advance!


 

Resource Alert:


Written with poetic rhythm, a prophetic voice, and a deeply biblical foundation, this loving yet fearless book urges today’s church to move beyond man-made restrictions and fully welcome women’s diverse voices and experiences.


A freedom song for the church.

Sarah Bessey didn’t ask for Jesus to come in and mess up all her ideas about a woman’s place in the world and in the church. But patriarchy, she came to learn, was not God’s dream for humanity.


Bessey engages critically with Scripture in this gentle and provocative love letter to the Church. Written with poetic rhythm, a prophetic voice, and a deeply biblical foundation, this loving yet fearless book urges today’s church to move beyond man-made restrictions and fully welcome women’s diverse voices and experiences.


Jesus Feminist is at once a call to find freedom in the fullness, hope, glory, and work of Christ, and a very personal and moving story of how Jesus made a feminist out of her.


 


Have you ever wondered what God truly expects of women? Is there really a prescription for biblical womanhood? Does the Bible's idea of womanhood have a place in modern Christianity? New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans embarks on a year-long study of what it means to live by the standards of biblical womanhood.

Strong-willed and independent, Evans couldn't sew a button on a blouse before she embarked on a radical life experiment--a year of biblical womanhood. Intrigued by the traditionalist resurgence that led many of her friends to abandon their careers to assume traditional gender roles in the home, Evans decided to try it for herself, vowing to take all of the Bible's instructions for women as literally as possible for a full year.

Along the way, Evans explores the rich heritage of scriptural heroines, models of grace, and all-around women of valor that we come to know in the Bible. She consults with women who practice these ancient biblical mandates in their own lives--from an Orthodox Jewish woman who changed the way Evans reads the Bible to an Amish community that taught her the true meaning of modesty.

In A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Evans shares her courageous and often humorous journey of:

  • exploring what a "woman's place" is according to the Scriptures

  • applying the Bible's teachings to day-to-day life, sometimes to literal extremes

  • focusing on virtues like domesticity, obedience, beauty, submission, and grace

  • developing a "Biblical Woman's Ten Commandments" to serve as a guide for daily living

Join Evans as she dives deep into the lives of the women we meet in Scripture and redefines what it means to live biblically.

 

One last thing. We want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.


Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,

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