Gender and the Church (of Christ)

In a few weeks I'm looking forward to attending the Christian Scholar's Conference being hosted by Lipscomb University. I taught one year at Lipscomb and have fond memories. It will be nice to catch up with some old friends.

At the conference I'll be presenting with my friend and colleague Dan McGregor on our work concerning Christian aesthetics. My friend Bill Carroll will be chairing the session which is entitled “The Thomas Kinkade Effect: An Artistic and Psychological Analysis of Popular Christian Art."

The title of Dan's paper is titled “The Propaganda of Eden: A Qualitative Examination of Christian ‘Bookstore’ Art.” I follow Dan with a paper entitled “Death, Art and the Fall: A Terror Management View of Christian Aesthetic Judgments.” Stephen Prewitt, from Lipscomb, will be our respondent.

Something I'm very excited about is being a respondent for another session chaired by ACU colleague Lynette Sharp Penya. The session is entitled “The Roles that Bind Us: Disentangling Attitudes toward Women’s Roles from Other Related Constructs.”

There are three papers in this session, each presenting quantitative and statistical surveys of Church of Christ attitudes regarding the role of women in the church. Shannon Williamson is presenting a paper entitled “Subtle Sexism in the Church: Religious Correlates of Ambivalent Sexism.” Lori Anne Shaw and Garry Bailey follow with “Exploring the Relationship among Church of Christ Women's Attitudes towards Women’s Roles in Religious Contexts, Age, Self-Esteem, and Attachment to God.” And, in the third paper, Lynette presents on “How We Got There: Fundamentalism and Scriptural Literalism as Predictors of Attitudes toward Women in Religious Contexts.” Finally, I wrap us up with a response.

I'm really excited about this session for three reasons. First, I've consulted with each of the presenters so I'm familiar with their findings. And let me say, they found some pretty interesting things about the Church of Christ regarding gender roles. Second, Shannon was my thesis student this year and I'm proud and excited that she is sharing her research at the CSC. Finally, if I'm not mistaken, these three papers represent the best social scientific research, to date, conducted on Church of Christ attitudes regarding gender roles. Consequently, I think the session could be an important milestone, from a social scientific perspective, for the gender roles conversation within the Churches of Christ.

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