2.07 Meghan Tschanz // Women Rising

Presenting Sponsor: Alan and Beth Stanfield, Stanfield Properties

Meghan Tschanz, producer of Faith and Feminism and author of Women Rising, shares her story of growing up in the conservative evangelical church and her journey into advocacy for women’s rights as a Christian feminist.

Meghan tells us about the purity culture teaching she received as a young girl growing up in the evangelical church.  Like many young Christian women, she was taught that it was her responsibility to keep men and boys from sinning sexually by wearing baggy clothes to cover her body.  She tells us about a sexual assault she experienced at age 13.  At the time, she felt so guilty and ashamed that she failed to stop the perpetrator from assaulting her that she didn’t tell anyone.  She explains that the theology she grew up with taught her that sexual assault was her fault. Meghan says the idea that men are supposed to be in charge of everything except their sexual urges enables sexual abuse and sexual assault.

As a young adult, Meghan became a missionary to serve sexually exploited women.  As she encountered women from all over the world who had experienced sexual abuse because of the same teachings she grew up with, she realized that the abuse is due to systemic patriarchy.  She explains how the theology of the evangelical church enables the abuse of women by teaching that women are less than men.  The gospel should be liberating for all people, and yet the church is one of the greatest upholders of patriarchy.  

Meghan shares about her experience talking with a John (a man buying sex) during her time as a missionary.  She shares the alarming similarities between the way he talked about women and the way she had grown up hearing evangelical pastors talk about women.  The man demonstrated a perceived entitlement to respect from women.  It wasn’t about sex; it was about power, domination, and control.

Meghan tells us that in evangelical culture, we are trained to see problems on an individual level, and we often do not pay attention to systemic problems.  Men abusing their power in the church is a common occurrence, and yet Christians keep writing off these instances as individual events and not systemic problems. We need to acknowledge that the system of patriarchy is causing harm and enabling abuse. Christianity has been used throughout history to oppress people groups and to gain power under the guise of goodness and holiness.  However, there has also always been a church of liberators fighting against the oppression of the marginalized.  

Music by Kate Short; Instagram @kate_tshort

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Episode produced and edited by Kelly Browning; show notes written by Sarah McDuffee, Marketing Director: Robyn Boren, Social Media Manager: Molly Baize, Episode mixed by Isabelle Le.


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