Monday, December 07, 2009

The Feminization of the Church III

"Just as in the Middle Ages, women, excluded from the governance of the church by clericalism, had turned to visions to establish a charismatic authority for themselves, now women, excluded from government, commerce, and education, turned to the church, which allowed them to exercise their abilities and to gain some power and respect.

The clergy, ignored by men, turned their attention to women. Frances Trollope observed this phenomenon in America, but her observations can be generalized. Men's crudity of manners led them to neglect women and prefer coarse male company. The only exception to this male neglect of women was the clergy: "It is from the clergy only that the women of America receive that sort of attention which is so dearly valued by every female heart throughout the world." Trollope was both fascinated and horrified by the emotionalism of the American religion of the revival and the campground. She ascribed part of the interest in revivals to the lack of other amusements….Americans tended to let the emotional excitement of their religion lead to more carnal excitement…. Among American young men it is a matter of folklore that a revival is an excellent place to pick up a young woman; but apparently not even the prospect of sexually excited women was enough to get men interested in church."

(Leon J. Podles, The Church Impotent)

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