Walked into a Bar

This post is part of a synchroblog related to Women’s History Month and International Woman’s Day.

I was in my early twenties attending a denominational meeting with my pastor when we ran upon a mutual acquaintance, the man who was my pastor when I was a teenager. He had moved on to a position at the state level of the huge protestant denomination that I was a part of. My current pastor jokingly asked my former pastor, “Do you have a job for this guy at the state office?” He replied, “Maybe something in janitorial.”

I was a Bible College student who had preached at scores of churches and had been an interim pastor. The remark was obviously meant to be a put down. The guy is the same arrogant asshole who “warned” my wife’s parents about me before we were married, though he knew nothing about me. Since that time I have been a convenient target for other arrogant a-holes who were personally insecure and unaccepting of anyone who doesn’t follow their prescribed vocational or spiritual path. Those incidents always caused me to feel a little bad and a lot angry.

Maybe that’s how a woman feels when she is overlooked for a position that she is eminently more qualified for than the male candidates, or when she is considered pretty smart…for a woman, or when she is treated as an object for a man’s pleasure, or when she is totally denied the opportunity to fulfill her calling in what should be the most loving and accepting place on earth, the church.

I am warped because I am in my fifties and grew up in the Midwest. In our family, there was woman’s work and man’s work. My dad was very demanding and my mom always acquiesced. She did everything related to the children, cooking, cleaning, shopping, finances, and she also held down a retail job. My dad worked, did the yard work, and pursued his hobbies. Women’s work was whatever men didn’t want to do. It was a different world then. It really was a man’s world.

As I look back, it is impossible to find any truly justifiable reason to treat women that way!

It is a curious thing how, as a culture, we always find an entire group of people to devalue. In our country, so-called heretics were burned alive. The Chinese became slave labor for our westward expansion. The Irish worked in horrible conditions, many losing their lives while building the canals in Chicago. Native Americans were nearly wiped out, with the few remaining being cheated out of their land and forced to re-locate. Blacks were considered personal property and then victimized by government policies that created an underclass. Children were meant to be seen and not heard, with no rights, no say, and no options.

The cultural course correction is obviously less than complete today. Laws are hard to change, but hearts are even more resistant to being reoriented. There will always be a group of vulnerable people to take advantage of and to be devalued.

Sometimes people who mean well do harm to the cause. A victim mentality never seems to further the cause. Incessant blaming “The Man” or “men” for all of society’s ills probably isn’t going to change anything. Militant behavior that keeps people always looking for a fight doesn’t work. Political correctness can take us only so far and can become absurd.

Parenthetically, I have to say, I wonder why men are most often portrayed as simpletons on sitcoms. I believe that white men of a certain age may be the most discriminated individuals in today’s workforce.

Why do we have Women’s History Month and Black History Month? It is because blacks and women have too often been left out of the history books, because they simply didn’t count when the history was being recorded. Now we are trying to rectify that by emphasizing their contributions.

Can we sum things up by saying, how about respecting every human being as God’s unique and beautiful creation and giving special honor to those who have been deprived of it for too long?

What if we realized we are all in this together? What if there were no outsiders? What if there was no convenient group of people named in the “walked into a bar” jokes?

Yeah, we are different. Each ethnicity has their own set of folk ways. Men and women are from different planets. But are we all human. We all deserve the same value, the same opportunities, the same pay, the same respect.


The other participants’ contributions to this synchroblog:

Michelle Morr Krabill – Why I Love Being a Woman
Marta Layton – The War on Terror and the War on Women
Ellen Haroutounian – March Synchroblog – All About Eve
Jeremy Myers – Women Must Lead the Church
Carol Kuniholm – Rethinking Hupotasso
Wendy McCaig – Fear Letting Junia Fly
Tammy Carter – Pat Summit: Changing the Game & Changing the World
Jeanette Altes – On Being Female
kathy escobar – replacing the f-word with the d-word (no not those ones)
Melody Hanson – Call Me Crazy, But I Talk To Jesus Too
Steve Hayes – St. Christina of Persi
Leah Sophia – March Syncroblog-All About Eve
Liz Dyer – The Problem Is Not That I See Sexism Everywhere…
Sonja Andrews – International Women’s Day
Sonnie Swenston-Forbes – The Women

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, former newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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  9. What if we realized we are all in this together? What if there were no outsiders? What if there was no convenient group of people named in the “walked into a bar” jokes?

    I love that idea! We really do put labels on people and assign them into unfair groupings. Thanks for this post!

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  11. thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is difficult to imagine what the one being oppressed is feeling but you have done a good job of using your own experiences to imagine. One reason we have black history month and women’s history month is as you said they have so often been left out of historical records or not emphasized and their stories are important too! Not only do their stories educate and encourage but it gives some dignity back to a group of people who have experienced the horrible experience of having their dignity stripped from them.

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