This morning I got handed a paper about the status of women written by one of the male retired priests in the church, who is well-known for being anti-women. I am of course well-used to negative male reactions, although as a deacon I suffer less than my colleagues who are women priests, who are much more in the firing line from such people.
As I expected, the argument in the paper was familiar – nasty, perverse, mean and blind. There’s an absolute absence of the kindness, generosity and love of God. I have gone back to Dorothy Sayers’ wonderful observations:
“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man—there had never been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, who never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as ‘The women, God help us!’ or ‘The ladies, God bless them!’; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously, who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no ax to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unselfconscious.
She continues: “There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words of Jesus that there was anything ‘funny’ about woman’s nature.”
(Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), 47.)