Do you remember the moment when you realized that you were created in the image of God? For some of us, this has been a truth we’ve grown up knowing. For others, it’s been a lifelong process of discovery. Shaped first by familial and cultural norms and then by peers, community and society, we each have developed an understanding of who we are created to be and how we are to be in the world.
Even in this day and time, we need not search far to see the fruit of patriarchy pervading and influencing our systems and social structures. We see it in the prevalence of sexualized violence. (We have chosen to use the term sexualized violence which describes any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting a person’s sexuality). We see it in the lack of women in leadership in our organizations and institutions. We see it in messages we communicate and the stereotypes we pass on to our children. We see it in the dollar amounts we pay women to do the same jobs as men. We see it in the way we collectively treat people who don’t conform to prescribed gender roles and expectations. We see it in myriad insignificant conversations we have daily.
Patriarchy is a social structure in which men hold power and domination over all others. It is not God’s intention for humanity and creation. We offer this alternative vision. Through this training, we’ll explore the history and roots of patriarchy and how it got entangled with our faith. We’ll unpack the church’s role in perpetuating it as well as our responsibility to dismantle it. We’ll search the Bible for truths about who we are created to be. And we’ll learn to recognize and respond to sexism and patriarchy in our own lives and contexts.
Linda Gehman Peachey
Regina Shands Stoltzfus
Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz