In a few days, it will be one year since HackingChristianity began its Beth Moore conversation (Methodist Kudzu: the Problem of Beth Moore).
It has become the most-commented post in the history of this blog.
Why? Because Beth Moore fans can’t read the entire blogpost.
Over and over again (about one-two a week), I’ll get a comment that I am denigrating her ministry and am basically hellbound because I’m not charitable towards her. Seriously: most of the 129 comments say that. Only a handful recognize that I was simply examining why Beth Moore may not fit into a Methodist context. BOOM. DONE.
So, in response, here’s the disclaimers AND the action items…AGAIN.
- I am ABSOLUTELY not dismissing Moore’s ministry, faith, perspective, or obvious love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for helping women form a relationship with Christ. I am saying Beth Moore is appropriate for Baptist women within their theological system and NOT appropriate for Methodists and the Wesleyan system.
- I am ABSOLUTELY not dismissing women’s lived experience of Beth Moore or the transformations that she has had in their lives. That’s awesome and I celebrate that for you. Really! However, for those women who do not have a positive experience or are wondering about it, I offer these women’s lived experiences for you. If you think I’m dismissing women’s experience, I’m actually celebrating these women’s experience and holding them up as a counter-narrative to the Beth Moore phenomenon.
- Finally, I am ABSOLUTELY supportive of women in ministry. If you search online for Beth Moore criticism, almost all of them start out with the bullhonky about “women shall not have authority over men.” Most online criticism is thus not helpful to United Methodists, who by empowering women are closer to Jesus on that point (BOOM!). So this is an attempt to add to the conversation but without the fundamentalist hangups that, frankly, discredit most online commentary on Beth Moore in my eyes.
- Teach the studies yourself. This is by far the #1 suggestion. If you are a clergyperson or Sunday School leader who is well versed in United Methodist doctrine, it might be most helpful to allow the group to watch the video with the requirement that you be given time to respond at the end. By the third session of this, one of my clergy friends who did this had the participants look at her whenever they heard something out-of-sync with United Methodism. It works and it meets people where they are, butonly if the clergyperson is well versed to handle it. And honestly it may stop people from asking for it so they don’t have to hear your comparisons! Ha!
- Continue to not allow Moore and print off this blog post as a conversation starter. Educate and show your congregation why Moore is problematic. Engage the person in conversation about these issues and why it is out of your pastoral care for them that you think it is not helpful.
- Lift up an alternative suggestion and emphasize WHY it is important to hear the voice of women in our same ecosystem. There’s a whole range of UM women who have great books, studies, and work even if they don’t have the same cadence or rhythm of Moore. I’m not going to add my preferences at the moment–I’d rather other voices lift up their experiences below. If you have an alternative suggestion, mention it below in the comments and the compilation will be published as a future blog post (and this one will be updated too).
Thoughts? Read the blog post, share it with your friends, and thanks for your support over the past year.(Photo Credit:  “Beth Moore Live Simulcast 2010” by Brian Hendrix, Creative Commons share on Flickr)