The other night at the theater, I got that sickening feeling. Not again! I was watching the usual depiction of Christian women as hypocritical gossips. Why do Christians and especially Christian women get such a bad rap in movies, plays, TV?
Chris and I were at the play, “Tricks the Devil Taught Me” by Tony Georges at the Minetta Lane Theatre. The play was overall good, but the scene with the church ladies was comically grotesque as the women feasted on another family’s misery, gossiping about town teenagers. They delighted in discussing another couple’s rocky marriage and the potential there for “sin.”
In another scene, one woman who sang for the church choir said she sang only for the money. The church choir was simply a conduit for money, not a spiritual experience.
I know, work with, worship with, sing with (although I wish I was good enough to sing in a choir!) Christian women. (“I knew JFK and you are no JFK.”)
The Christian women I know are anything but mean, shallow and sin-loving. They are thoughtful, hard-working, joyful. They organize peace vigils, letter writing campaigns to end wars. Christian women feed the hungry and wash the feet of the homeless. (Do I exaggerate? Not much.)
Christian women laugh together in bible studies but not at other’s misfortunes; we laugh at our own struggles to be human. We try for transformation, to be more loving. Conversations are about compassion, hope, redemption, grace, struggle, not sin.
My experience with Christianity must be quite different from other writers’ experiences.
I also do not believe that one sect of Christianity is better than another. I was raised Catholic; married in the Lutheran church; baptized one child Episcopalian; baptized the other two Presbyterian; consider myself Methodist.
“Love ‘em all. Let God sort ‘em out.” That is the message on a tee shirt my friend Nancy gave me when she was moving. The gift and the message epitomizes my experience of Christian women — a nonjudgmental, generous and active Christianity.
When I see how Christian women are depicted in popular media, I could cry. And I feel defensive. Hey, I am not conservative, stupid or mean. (Although, occasionally, God help me, I do gossip.)
I wish that I did not get that sickening feeling when I see how Christian women are presented in plays and movies. The way I see myself is far different from the reality that is presented to me. I do not recognize myself; that makes me very sad.