#YesAllWomen Because in my capacity as a pastor I've been asked to help women flee literally across the country to escape their abusers.In tweeting this, I was referencing this post in particular, but I want to be absolutely clear: that moment of buying groceries for Abigail to take with her was not the only time I have needed to intervene or assist in an instance of domestic violence or abuse.
— Rev. Eric Atcheson (@RevEricAtcheson) May 25, 2014
As a man, I know that not all men abuse, hurt, harm, put down, or belittle women. But as so, so many people have noted over the course of this past week, just about every woman has been abused, hurt, harmed, put down, or belittled by a man. Your mother. Your sister. Your daughter. Your wife.
It's truly awful to say, but I would almost guarantee that they have. I promise you that.
So what are we left with? What are we to do? In the wake of Elliot Rodger's misogynist (though that by no means fueled him exclusively) killing spree in Santa Barbara, we are more than ready to spring forward to offer our thoughts and prayers to the female victims' friends and families. Which is great, albeit at this point with so many mass shootings having come before this, cliched to the point of bordering on trite.
And I quote from James 2:18 here, which says in part: "How can I see your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I'll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faithful actions."
Prayer is a faithful action but is by no means the only faithful action. We should pray, but we cannot only pray. We cannot only pray for the slain women and their loved ones.
What faithful actions do I have in mind in the face of the #YesAllWomen stories that are both heartbreaking and far too common all at the same time?
Men, let us show our faith by recognizing that women (and feminism for that matter) do not hate us because we are men. If we are hated, it is because such scorn is well earned from centuries of institutionalized, codified, and socially accepted acts of sexism.
Men, let us show our faith by recognizing that we do have a problem on our hands in how we treat women.
Men, let us show our faith by recognizing that we would indeed fear such treatment of ourselves in a reversal of roles.
Men, let us show our faith by not contesting or minimizing or arguing with the female experience. If we have faith enough in God to listen to Him, we should have faith enough in God's other children to listen to them. This is a God who made prophets and judges and deacons and disciples out of Biblical women. As Jesus says, "Let those of us with ears hear." Let us show our faith by hearing voices that are not our own.
And having recognized these things, and having heard these things, men, let us show our faith by offering ourselves up willingly as clay, to be molded every single day into something different, something better, something kinder, something more compassionate, something more understanding.
Let us become something safer.
For all women. Everywhere.
Yours in Christ,