Aimee Byrd

Inside the word. Outside the box.

“We don’t need to recover from the Bible.”

I heard these words spoken from behind the pulpit at a presbytery meeting on Saturday. The chair of the ad hoc committee was referring to the title of my book, giving his own commentary. He was supposed to be explaining the committee report’s recommendation regarding charges filed against most of my session of elders and my pastor before the presbyters voted on whether they were in order. There was also supposed to be a vote after that, hearing from another committee report regarding an appeal made by a disciplined elder in my church. Both are related. It is a long, painful story. One I have not shared publicly. But both the local church stuff that I’ve kept more private and the public stuff I’ve been writing about are very much related. And the local is becoming more public, as I am now talked about openly at this presbytery meeting.

I was at this meeting of our Presbytery of the Mid Atlantic to support my elders and pastor. And I also wanted my presence to make a statement that I am an actual real person whom they defended. It was a very small church hosting the meeting. There we were all together. The chair was standing behind the pulpit in a posture to speak authoritatively on behalf of the committee. But he added commentary like this one referring to the title of my book to his recommendations on proper order and such. Yes, a complete contradiction to the process and proper order. But that’s okay, I’ve learned, if you’re the right person.

You don’t have to like the title of my book. This comment was made in reference to breaking the ninth commandment, distinguishing something that my (then) elder had written in an unsolicited email to our entire congregation. He wrote, among many other things, that all the elders had the same concerns about my book as Genevan Commons (GC). But this is not what my pastor testified to saying in this elder’s trial. He testified that he did not have the same concerns as GC. Not at the same level at all. And when asked under oath what his concerns were, he said, for example, he didn’t like the title. I can live with that. It’s not for everyone. But what I can’t accept is this extra commentary given in a presbytery meeting where I have no voice to defend my work. I wasn’t the one they were supposed to be talking about. I had no agency to speak. And most importantly, I never assert that we need to recover from the Bible. Not even close. You don’t have to like the title, but it is there to say that this teaching is not biblical, but a contemporary evangelical movement. Biblicism is not necessarily biblical. How is it okay for this presbyter to add his authoritative voice to misrepresenting my work and poisoning the well to the whole presbytery and I cannot defend it? How is that in order?

One of the charges against the members of my session was for signing the Open Letter from Concerned Ministers and Elders in the OPC regarding the reviling behavior on GC against me. Again, this chair of the ad hoc committee adds some commentary. He says he’s not supportive of this Open Letter. He goes on with the problems he sees with open letters. Then he equivocates the signers of the Open Letter with the men in Genevan Commons. He calls it “online back and forth.” He comments that one group says you are disrupting the peace of the church, the other says we are upholding the purity of the church, and besides, it isn’t us but this lady who is disrupting the peace.

This lady. That’s me. I was sitting right there. I was referred to as “this lady” twice.

I do have a name. I am a real person. I thought my presence made that clear. Apparently not. But he continues. Talking about “the online back and forth,” he jokingly recommends that all parties get off the internet and take a walk. He gets laughter. While I sat there—the real person sitting in the room who has been harmed significantly by one of these groups. It’s like I’m invisible the whole time. The moderator doesn’t call anything out of precious order. If I spoke, I’d be out of order. I should have spoken. My husband sits there not knowing if he will make things worse for me or for our session if he speaks his mind. Even though he really doesn’t care if he’s out of order. No one spoke. Just the laughs. We both regret not speaking out of order now. At the time, it seemed so unbelievable. And then he just went on.

There’s so much more to say about this. So very much. It’s has been one year since Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released. And in this reflection the message that I received all year reverberates: You don’t belong here. A parachurch organization may decide this and let me go. They aren’t the church. But I continued to receive this message from my own denomination throughout the year—both from church officers in it and in the language from multiple presbytery committee reports, meetings, and rulings. Why all the backhanded corporate acts instead of just pressing charges?

My title has proved itself all the more as it’s aged. It’s like some sort of black light turned on that spotlights the yellow wallpaper. The title activated the yellow wallpaper to reveal itself. And like I have been saying, it isn’t only a few bad apples—it’s the system. I saw first-hand in my own presbytery how Biblicist fundamentalism can be clothed in credal and confessional garb, as one friend put it. You can have many good men existing inside it still, but in the words of John Mayer, they are slow dancing in a burning room.

And with the accounts that I am hearing from other victims, and the way I see the proceedings work, I am understanding more and more Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s description of seeing the woman (women) stuck inside the wallpaper.

I see you.

It’s all so strange. I keep getting remarks from some who want to engage with me, saying something like, “Well, you should expect this kind of stuff if you write about something so controversial.” You know, this kind of dehumanizing stuff from church officers. Same argument as that joke. Take a walk—it’s your fault for being on the silly internet. It’s victim blaming.

But what is this controversial teaching that has led to losing a job, losing friends, and abuse in the church by those in spiritual authority? It is writing about how women should be invested in and have agency as disciples, sisters in God’s church. Or, that men and women should treat one another as more than possible affairs, but as holistic, unique human beings whom we are responsible to help promote in holiness. And even though my work and myself are called ungodly, satanic, Jezebel, and many other lovelies; even though officers in my denomination plot together to call ahead of my speaking engagements to warn churches to guard their families from me while my own shepherding elder left me exposed and uninformed; even though they also collectively strategize to sabotage my Amazon page; even though I am reviled against on a presbytery floor during a trial without rebuke, called a ruthless wolf, among other accusations—the ad hoc committee for my own presbytery in my own denomination reduces it all in their recommendation report regarding the appeal from my former elder as “coarse critique” from a “reformed website.” Legitimizes it. And I am portrayed in the trope of the unsatisfiable woman. Do you see the yellow wallpaper?

Yes, it is time for recovery.

I’ve debated about whether to bring more of this to light. More of the same of what I’ve heard all year. I know it won’t help me. Quite the opposite. I saw with my very own eyes how the Book of Discipline can be debated for three hours, without any care for the people, the church, or the leaders. I saw disdain anytime real victims were mentioned—or those who defend them. I was given no dignity as a person and member of the OPC. I was other, “this lady.” And it all proceeded without any reference to Scripture, Christ, or the gospel. And then, time’s up—no time to get to that appeal. That will have to be an additional meeting, which means it will not reach this year’s General Assembly for oversight if desired. That will take over another year. How is a church supposed to continue ministry under this ugliness? The process clobbers the sheep. And only the men in power benefit from my silence. I’m writing as an act of resistance. I’m peeling the wallpaper. I’m writing for the women. And the church.

Women, you are disciples of Christ. This is dangerous business. Count the cost.

But here is the gain—you do belong. You belong to the triune God. Is there a better verse in the Bible than the bride herself saying, “I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me”? (Song 7:10). And this frees us. What does it free us to? Not to try and be in the same boat of power lust. Not to protect some new system. It frees us to give our whole selves in love to him. We are free to serve him. And we really are a gift to Christ, from the Father, in all eternity. We have that dignity of being joyfully received. He gave his life to do so. He is our unremitting advocate at the right hand of the Father, right now.

There is freedom in belonging. Freedom to love. Freedom to give. Freedom to not be ensnared in these cages of devaluing and dismissal. They don’t stick. We know our value. And our presence is celebrated by our beloved.

He calls us to speak:

My dove, in the clefts of the rock,

in the crevices of the cliff,

let me see your face,

let me hear your voice;

for your voice is sweet,

and your face is lovely.

(Song 2:14)

Perspective is everything.

41 thoughts on “One Year After Publishing Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

  1. AC Kleinhans says:

    Eshet chayil! We see you. You are seen and loved. From one woman in theology to another, I am grateful for your story but mourn the injustice you’ve been/are being subjected to. Your work is so important and empowering. When recalling her decision to embrace the call to write on women in Scripture, Cynthia Westfall said something to the extent of “sometimes you have to lie down in the mud in order to help provide a path through it.” May the Lord hold you in his hand through this all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AC Kleinhans says:

    Eshet chayil! We see you. You are seen and loved. From one woman in theology to another, I am grateful for your story but mourn the injustice you’ve been/are being subjected to. Your work is so important and empowering. When recalling her decision to embrace the call to write on women in Scripture, Cynthia Westfall said something to the extent of “sometimes you have to lie down in the mud in order for others to step over you in freedom.” May the Lord hold you in his hand through this all.

    Like

  3. Evelyn Fawcett says:

    Could you share what the final results of the charges were? Were they sustained by the entire presbytery?

    Like

  4. Aimee, I don’t know if you will read this comment; however, I have been and will continue to pray for you. What has been done to you is heinous, unjust and heartbreaking. I have learned much wisdom from you and I am also taking to heart what can happen to a woman in Reformed circles. I am thankful for your light and for your example. May our Triune God comfort you and envelop you in His Shalom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeremy B says:

      I am very sorry you’ve had to go through this! What a toxic situation. It looks like its time to leave that denomination! But please do keep writing and exposing this cancer. Thank you for your courage!

      Like

      1. jaredef says:

        Oftentimes, leaving a denomination is taken to be departing from the faith. The narrative has already been written for Aimee and her departure will (would) only fuel the evidence against her. I’m sure this has crossed her mind. Unfortunately there may be no way to excise herself from this painful and unjust situation with her honor and dignity intact before her detractors.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Cynthia W. says:

    Does the person saying, “We don’t need to recover from the Bible,” actually not understand the difference between “the Bible” and “a specific interpretation of some passages in the Bible,” or is it just an act?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jaredef says:

      I just take it as a comment bent on obfuscation. Whether leaders in the OPC know it or not, their anthropology is borrowed from 20th century fundamentalism.

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      1. Cynthia W. says:

        You seem to be saying that you think it’s an act, then, if it’s intentional obfuscation. They really understand that “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” (TM) is not the same thing as “the Bible,” but they are pretending they don’t understand the difference.

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    2. jaredef says:

      Cynthia, I think it’s probably indicative of a failure to engage Mrs. Byrd’s objections to the current status quo of male / female church dynamics. It is a sweeping dismissal, and if it’s not done in malice, it’s done in near hopeless ignorance, especially coming from someone who has been tasked to carry out an investigation in committee.

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  6. ChrisC says:

    Aimee, would you by any chance have a book coming out soon?

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  7. Samuel says:

    I mean this sincerely, please do not be offended. You may be too sensitive for this chosen profession. It seems you might need to stop caring what everyone else thinks – if you are right with God, nothing else matters. Be careful to heed the 5th commandment even when you disagree with your superiors (as you would no doubt expect your children to do also). Try your hardest not to sin in response to the sin of others. Your post seems to indicate that you do not see the value of presbyterian polity – that’s ok, there are other denominations. Since you have many disagreements or confusions about the distinctions of reformed hermeneutics, perhaps you would be a better fit in a non-reformed denomination? Focus on God being glorified through you, not in spite of you. I truly believe that if you abandon anything that even resembles secular feminism, your life will improve tremendously. Lastly, it may help you realize why many elders cannot support pseudo-feminist conclusions if you were to read a very thorough and informative work by a secular scholar, https://www.amazon.com/Satanic-Feminism-Liberator-Nineteenth-Century-Esotericism/dp/0190664479. Though your situation may be sad and trying, be sure you are not allowing yourself to make a judgment of others based on only one witness – yourself. I pray the Lord will make straight paths for you and your church and your family to glorify Him through it all.

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    1. scottie says:

      “if you are right with God, nothing else matters”

      Really? Your statement falls into the category of ‘too heavenly to be of any earthly good’. Say that to those whose lives have been damaged by abuse of various kinds and you make light of their excruciating pain, turning the knife even more.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Samuel says:

        Even those who have suffered much, as I could personally attest, need not allow their pain to cloud their hope and joy. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It may hurt for a time, but it’s not worth it to add to the hurt by sinning in response to sin. If you think “worldly” trauma will somehow overshadow our “heavenly” glory…it’s time to pray harder and more frequently that the Lord will enlighten your mind in the knowledge of Christ and persuade and enable you to fully embrace the gospel. It is not possible to be “too heavenly to be of any earthly good,” we are to set our minds on things above, not thing on the earth.

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    2. Heather Klein says:

      Just because you write it pretty does not mean you aren’t attacking the person.
      This is one of the single most cowardly, passive aggressive style responses I think I have ever seen.

      Too sensitive??? Really?

      And – ugh, I’m going to vomit if one more person tries to tell someone they know better than them and then covers it with an “I’m praying for you.”

      I really hope you actually know her personally to feel you can give her the kind of “advice” you’ve given her here. If you do, I apologize. If not, this is the kind of male arrogance the women like Amie talk about.

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    3. ClockworkAngel says:

      Here, I fixed it for you:

      Dear Brother Martin Luther, I mean this sincerely, please do not be offended. You may be too sensitive for this chosen profession of monk. It seems you might need to stop caring what everyone else thinks – if you are right with God, nothing else matters (unless the Pope disagrees). Be careful to heed the 5th commandment even when you disagree with the Pope and magisterium (as you would no doubt expect your children to do also). Try your hardest not to sin in response to the sin of others, like Tetzel. Your post 99 Theses seems to indicate that you do not see the value of presbyterian polity the Pope and magisterium – that’s ok, there are other denominations we can burn you to the stake instead. Since you have many disagreements or confusions about the distinctions of reformed hermeneutics the Pope’s teachings, perhaps you would be a better fit in a non-reformed denomination some remote castle out of sight where we don’t have to be bothered by you anymore? Focus on God the Pope being glorified through you, not in spite of you. I truly believe that if you abandon anything that even resembles secular feminism anything the Pope disagrees with, your life will improve tremendously (because then we wouldn’t have to burn you to the stake). Lastly, it may help you realize why many elders the Pope cannot support pseudo-feminist conclusions anything that might threaten papal power if you were to read a very thorough and informative work by a secular scholar, https://www.amazon.com/Satanic-Feminism-Liberator-Nineteenth-Century-Esotericism/dp/0190664479 some random Cathar heretic. Though your situation may be sad and trying, be sure you are not allowing yourself to make a judgment of others based on only one witness – yourself (because that’s the Pope’s job). I pray the Lord will make straight paths for you and your church and your family to glorify Him the Pope through it all.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. antaylr says:

      My brother,

      This is far beyond someone being “too sensitive” or going through a “sad and trying” circumstance. There are multiple witnesses to these things. Your comment only reveals an ignorance of the book and of the situation as a whole. I plead with you on behalf of our sister to delete this comment.

      Like

    5. jaredef says:

      This comment is probably the biggest problem. It’s the weak-kneed rebuke that masquerades as simpathy, completely devoid of admitting the glaring injustice in the presbytery’s proceedings.

      Like

    6. muzjik says:

      You make an accusation barely disguised as a recommendation: “if you abandon anything that even resembles secular feminism…many elders do not support psuedo-feminist conclusions…”

      Perhaps it would be helpful to give specific examples of “secular feminism” you found in her writing and explain why you think those examples deviate from Scripture. What “elders’ do or don’t like isn’t a compelling argument at this point.
      Slapping on a vague “secular feminist” label as a substitute for a critique seems…intellectually lazy. It makes it appear you have made assumptions without reading Aimee’s writings and it veers into “violating the 9th Commandment” territory.

      Like

  8. scottie says:

    “I truly believe that if you abandon anything that even resembles secular feminism”
    ——————-

    honest question: does existing as a full-fledged human, as a co-equal human being, qualify as secular feminisim?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Samuel says:

      If a human being is going to live a godly life of submission to the Triune God then that person must submit to Yahweh’s created design and order. Secular feminism does many bad things, here are just two: it rejects God’s created design and order by lampooning and misrepresenting it as evil, and it seeks to discredit God for sovereignly choosing to make men and women different in specific ways. What God has called good we cannot call evil.

      Like

  9. muzjik says:

    Aimee – I’ve tried to write out several times how your writing has intersected with my “church experience” over the last 5 years or more and my deep, deep appreciation for you.
    Let’s see how this goes.
    We were attending a independent Baptist church with a pastor who came out as a Grudem/Piper devotee and became enamored with CBMW /TGC/9 Marks/etc around the same time you and a few others were questioning ESS being used a support for codified (rather than tradition based) gender roles as church policy. My husband was a deacon (no elders). I’m the family theologian/investigator.
    A LOT of stuff over a year or more but it culminated in summer of 2015 when it was announced that adult Sunday School would be divided to study gender role curriculum (True Women 101: Divine Design for the women). Rachel Miller’s review and your blog posts confirming why Piper got my spidey-senses tingling were very helpful.
    During a final meeting in Sept. 2015, the pastor reluctantly admitted “Yes. According to the Bible, the female Awana and VBS directors shouldn’t have been allowed to hold those positions because it gave them authority over men”. He dismissed Rachel Miller’s review of TW 101 as an “unfair attack of Grudem and Piper” and tossed “Recovering BM&W” in from of me with a “Read this. They’ve already answered any concerns you have”.
    Gosh, when you invited Dr. Liam Goligher to guest post on MOS and all that came from that was sure validating!

    Fast forward to spring 2017. That pastor was gone (he ran into difficulties turning a bunch of independent Baptists into Calvinists) and the founding pastor was back and reached out to us because of my husband’s past leadership and an on-going relationship through a ministry board. I was apprehensive because I questioned whether the previous pastor’s view of minimizing women/limiting gender roles in ministry was an aberration or reflective of the general church culture. In other words, I wanted some assurance that the returning pastor – who had asked those women to head VBS and Awana way back when – would want to “equip, encourage and empower women to utilize their God-given spiritual gifts to serve the church and the community”.
    We met with him and his wife for a dinner to talk about our (mostly my) concerns and, in the course of conversation, my husband mentioned I was reading your book “No Little Women”. The pastor, right then, downloaded it on his Kindle to read.
    The next week, the pastor told me how much he liked and appreciated your book, was giving it to select people/church leadership to read, and wanted to have a “round table ” to discuss how to implement. So very encouraging.

    Until it wasn’t….sadly, despite the pastor’s good intentions, he fell into the “silence of our friends” category. I understood that he has come back into a church in crisis and didn’t want to make radical changes (although I don’t think purposely discipling women and utilizing their gifts is radical). I guess I hadn’t want to accept that the previous pastor DID reflect the general church culture and the now-current pastor (a thoroughly “nice guy”) was the aberration…but too “nice” to want to make waves. My husband encouraged me to be patient….”baby steps”. So for months I waited and only saw “baby steps” backwards”…like 4-5 weekly Bible studies for men listed in the bulletin and none for women. And since I wasn’t willing to renew my membership, I wasn’t permitted by the bylaws to lead one. Men called up to read announcements, men called up to read Scripture, men called up to pray prior to and collect the offering, men called up to pray over and pass out the elements of the Lord’s Supper. The women could have sat out in the parking lot every Sunday morning and it would have made no difference. My 17 yo son was asked, in my presence to be an usher. I was asked to arrange a Christmas tree/rocking chair tableau for the women’s Christmas tea. Something as simple and as thoughtless as new Easter-time banners that said “I am the Resurrection and the Life. HE who believes…”

    The only positive baby step was occasional assurance for the pastor that he DID want to have a “round table”. One thing I shared was how damaging the embrace of Grudem/Piper/CBWM had been to me and other women in the church and begged that the question discussed be “how does the church encourage and utilize the gifts of women” rather than “what are women permitted to do”.
    And as I waited, I investigated and found out that the reason the previous pastor’s gender doctrines received only surprise when we reported it at our “deacon exit interview” in Sept. 2015 but no course correction was that the male leadership really saw nothing wrong. A deacon told me there were no female deacons in Scripture. An elder (we now had elders…residual TGC/9 Marks influence) told me that “yes, he believed the Bible taught women were inherently prone to spiritual deception and God ordained male leadership to protect His church from women trying to usurp authority”.
    Finally, after more than a year, the pastor was ready for “round table”. He had asked all those invited to read your book…the women did. Most of the men hadn’t. Then he sent an email saying “So and so has met with Wayne Grudem on the subject of what women are permitted to do in the church and has given us some useful resources to read” with attachments straight from “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”.
    At that point, I didn’t have it in me to fight that battle alone. I excused myself from participation in the round table and further attendance at that church.

    Gosh…I tried my best to make that short and failed.
    But, again, I’ve found your writings to be so very helpful and encouraging to me and I’m so, so sorry for the abuse you’ve encountered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christine says:

      I found this today while I was researching bible studies for senior adults. I thought it went with the struggles you had with your church. Thought maybe you would find this useful.

      https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/why-does-the-apostle-paul-tell-women-to-be-silent-and-not-to-teach.html

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  10. Heather Klein says:

    I come from a non-denominational background. Even though I’ll be graduating with my MDiv in ten days, I really have no clue what the OPC is or the Book of Discipline and certainly have never attended a meeting with Rules of Order to follow.

    But this post had me sobbing. It touched something so true for women just trying to step into who Jesus asked them to be.

    My church, and first job where I served as the Discipleship Director for a 1,200 person congregation, was Egalitarian.
    Egalitarian doesn’t mean equal. In fact, I’ve discovered it means “We don’t have to deal with our ingrained sexist beliefs because look at us! We let women behind the pulpit”.

    I’ve felt so undervalued. I’ve felt so demeaned. I’ve felt harassed and abused, and sat in rooms where I was talked about because I dared to act like I had the authority of the pastor instead of remember I was still supposed to be the helper in all but name.

    I’ve seen all the talk about your book Amie, but I haven’t read it. Mostly because I already believe everything you say is true just from my own experience and I’d rather not rake myself over hot coals reliving it,
    But thank you for being here. Thank you for showing up.

    I was forced out/resigned from my position in January. I’ve spent the last few months trying to grieve and recover. This post helped me with that this morning.

    This is a dangerous business. Oh man, I have counted the cost…and am almost ready to quit. But Jesus says I belong, and he’s the only one I give that authority to anyway.

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  11. Clair James Lucas says:

    UGH!!!! As a member of the male species let me say…. will someone allow this woman (her name is Aimee Byrd) to speak in her own defense. For Cryin’ Out Loud!!!! Show some justice!!!!

    Like

  12. Karen says:

    Aimee bless you! When you are ready, there are loads of us out here who love Jesus, and are finding new ways forward apart and away from the death-religion of these modern day Pharisees. You are wanted and welcome with all your gifting, questions, authority and experience. Perhaps it’s time to lay this burden down.

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  13. AB says:

    I hesitate to comment because I may represent a direction you neither want to go nor encourage. That said, people like you are the only evidence I see of the slimmest chance that mainstream Christianity in the US is not a total loss. Reading this post and a little more writing around this whole situation, it seems to me as if you may have dared to point out something akin to evidence that the earth revolves around the sun and now the fiercest defenders of the most pointless points of dogma are emerging to do their worst. How dare you stir up this trouble with your controversial ideas? Even if you are right, I’m sure it’s all your fault for not presenting your case in the perfect way.

    I’m sorry. I can’t.

    I’m a white dude who looks like he’d be at home in a casually racist country club. I have nothing to fear from from political or religious conservatives so long as I don’t open my mouth and even when I do, I’m still often afforded an uncomfortable degree of latitude.

    And yet I still can’t.

    I don’t have it in me to darken the door of an institution that claims to worship the creator of the universe while at the same they use the phrase “different but equal” to treat my wife as anything but. I can’t darken the door of an institution triages individuals not first as image bearers but by sex and gender stereotypes that seem to be more and more influenced by the culture wars of Fox News by the day. There’s no drive left in me to fight the incessant need to draw the lines of who’s in and who’s out.

    Please draw the line with me on the outside.

    I’ve heard the argument that somehow these issues aren’t really core and shouldn’t keep me or people like me out of mainstream churches. Really? I mean, I guess if we’re going down the whole say the magic prayer to save yourself from burning in hell for eternity then sure. If there’s anything more to the gospel beyond fire insurance, it has to relate in some way to the core of our humanity. The problem with the church’s obsession with gender roles is that they’re placed ahead of the rest of our humanity. So, yeah. I’d say this stuff is actually pretty critical.

    I see posts like yours and I wonder if maybe it won’t always be this way. I wish people of good will still on the inside strength to continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Valerie Hobbs says:

      Best comment I’ve read in a while. Thanks, AB.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. JC says:

      Couldn’t have said it better, AB! ALLLLL THIS!

      Like

  14. cole brumley says:

    I am sorry, and disgusted. I have been banging this drum for a decade, and all I get is a collective shrug. THIS is how we, the OPC, treat a woman in good standing in our denomination. A woman has no agency, no voice as an image bearer of God in the church. Anytime I bring this up at Session, the specter of the F-word (feminism) rears it’s ugly and easily dismissed head. THIS is the issue that is, and will be a priority for me going forward as long as my conscience allows me to remain.

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  15. Dearest Sister in Christ,
    Come on over to the Presbyterian Church USA. Us “progressives” have it all figured out! Hahahahaha.
    Honestly you are Christ’s Beloved, called by Him to ministry.

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    1. jaredef says:

      I don’t know if this is a joke comment or not, but the existence of the PCUSA is part of the reason Aimee’s detractors are acting so callously; they’re afraid of the spectre of feminized polity. If you are not joking, I think Aimee is far too principled to ever join the PCUSA.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. scottie says:

        “feminized polity”
        —————————-

        you make it sound sort of ominous. is it different from being fully human?

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  16. M says:

    This is painful to read, but something you described stood out starkly for me, because I relate to it at the congregational level. I came out of an abusive marriage and was supported by my Session. Another woman in my church reached out to me as she divorced her husband, also an abusive situation. But because he is in ministry and a respected Bible teacher, her allegations of abuse were not believed. I wrote to an elder who is a long-time friend, on the basis of our friendship, to plead on her behalf for compassion but was harshly treated — all of Session as well as the abuser were copied on his reply, informing me that from now on all correspondence would go to Session. I was effectively silenced. Discussing the whole situation with my counselor, I spoke about this elder ignoring the humanity of the person in front of him in his zeal for process and respect for his position. His reaction eroded a great amount of the trust I previously had in the Session. Just as you wrote about debating the particulars of the Book of Discipline to the disregard of the very people sitting in front of them.

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  17. Carla says:

    I was recently listening to Dr. Robert Godfrey talking about how often our sovereign God uses something as insignificant as a hornet to take down powerful dynasty’s. Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished. Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God” (Deuteronomy 7:17–21; cf. Exodus 23:28; Joshua 24:12). Buzz away, Aimee! I’m with you in every respect! And it is dangerous. There is a cost. More than I can express here. Much terror, much fatigue, much brokenness, much failure, much regrettable cowardice. But God…. (as Rachel Green Miller wrote in Modern Reformation https://modernreformation.org/resource-library/web-exclusive-articles/but-god/)

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  18. scottie says:

    as i see it, it’s not worth the cost. no organization is worth it — God doesn’t need the organization to begin with, so it’s not worth destroying oneself and one’s family over.

    if someone is in a community which holds values that go against the person’s conscience and ethical principles (let alone a toxic, abusive one), the person can divest from that community. it won’t necessarily be easy, but there are so many communities built on honesty, integrity, kindness and generosity that one can become a part of. They are full of delightful human beings, as well.

    As I see it, the more narrowly-defined, specific, and tightly-wound the belief system, the more toxic and life-taking it is. Nothing in life is so spelled out that it justifies narrow parameters — not even math.

    Faith communities with rigid, narrow ‘rules’ and narrowly-codified doctrine are especially life-taking, bring out the worst in people, and are prone to abusiveness.

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  19. John says:

    Scottie – I’m not sure how Aimee could actually agree with your assessment here concerning how “narrowly defined, specific, and tightly-wound belief systems are life-taking and toxic” given some of her writing on how confessionalism (and specifically the Westminster Standards – which is pretty narrowly-defined) informs her approach to Scripture. Perhaps she will chime in y – but she was very clear back on her Feb. 26 post concerning hermeneutics that she believes Confessionalism is an appropriate lens of scriptural interpretation.

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  20. Paul K says:

    I think we’re brought up in America to think life will be a series of not-too-hard-to-overcome obstacles on the road to financial and relational success around our mid-30s.

    I don’t think so anymore. Life is hard. It’s brutal. There are beautiful moments in life, but we are going to experience the pain of it if we don’t dull ourselves with amusement. Life is more like the ending of Infinity War than Endgame. I think so much of our culture tries to make us forget this.

    Jesus is a light shining in a dark place, and it’s a dark place indeed. There’s a reason why he wipes our tears away when we meet him for eternity: there will be tears left that were never wiped away in our lifetimes on earth.

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  21. Like I said I would, I did read through RFBM&W. You did call for people to be understood as brothers and sisters in Christ. You did call out interpretation that is unacceptable. You did call out the church for leaving discipleship to the parachurch. I could not find a specter of Feminism. Instead I heard Christ calling out to set the captives free, through the voice and experiences of you, his daughter.
    The voice of authority that complained about a title demonstrated that the title was all they needed to read to dismiss you. That man demonstrated that he never saw you as a blood bought Co-heir with Christ. “this lady” Very discouraging. That wallpaper is protected by ignorant, irrational fear and the cost is beyond reparation. I look forward to Christ’s return to bring justice and righteousness. It is so very hard to see any hope for women in the church. It is incredibly discouraging. I have to hold on to the Savior, we all have to hold on to the Savior as He is the only hope. Sin cuts so deep into every facet of our lives and the church.
    In bringing the private into public light, will the light drive the offenders into repentance or bitter smoldering rage. I hope you are given the grace to accept repentant folks, and the strength to pass bitter rage onto the feet of Christ. How can you handle this burden without casting it at Christ’s feet?
    Thank you for sharing, Aimee

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