Saturday a girl friend told me about the Bible Study session that she had been asked to teach: a review of the major world religions, and cults. She wanted my input on the cults, and having spent this entire day reflecting and praying about it, I have decided to not co-teach with her on Tuesday evening.
Why would I pass up a moment to teach something that I know like the back of my hand?
Male chauvinist attitudes, emotional immaturity, a perpetuation of stereotypes among some of the most educated people I know, etc.
(a) The man who is in charge of the Bible study is not keen on women teaching, and when we have spoken up at Bible study, we have been talked over, or what we have said has been disregarded (even if we speak from professional authority). When we were discussing the rape of Dinah in Genesis last year, all the women were silent, as it's a serious matter that may have happened to someone in the group. Several of the men laughed at it, and only a few men (one of them a very good friend of mine) said that he was furious for the behavior of the other 'men' in the group who laugh at rape. I have not been raped, but I have been sexually harassed (at school, at internships, and on dates) [once I felt in danger on a date, and if we had not been in a public place I think he would have attempted it].
(b) Stereotypes are perpetuated despite evidence to the contrary. There have been several statements of "Oh, Protestants are ...." when these people in the study are clearly educated and well-aware of what different denominations teach or how they differ from Catholic teachings. Yet, they remain pig-headed. Other times there have been statements about people in cults, and other easily targeted groups.
For this, I drew a conclusion that I did not want to subject myself to such bigotry when I would be a woman speaking on authority from a psychological background and personal experience; nor would I want t garner further stigma from people who claim to be open minded, but are not. I am aware that by withholding information and experience as I do allows the group to stagnate. But who is allowing who to stagnate? Am I at fault, or is it their facade of openness? I'll probably write up some information for those interested, along with links and resources. But I can only speak to those truly interested in learning, in gaining new ground, and in change.
I have 3 tests this week, I'll post it in the coming week.
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For a quick read on the cult I left in 2004: here.