Tuesday 30 January 2024

Tangential Issues #4: A "Dismantling Rape Culture" Rating System for articles and books

Rape Culture: The Personal (fighting crocodiles) and the Systemic (clearing the swamp)

I am beginning to wonder about the purpose of many of the books and articles in the area of biblical scholarship that I have been reading over the last eight months. Are these works attempting to achieve anything vis-à-vis sexual violence against the believer in the pew or only within that group of Christians who make up its interpretative and authoritative strata? I have been finding it more and more difficult to understand how much of the biblical scholarship research that I read (or watch) would make a difference in eliminating rape culture in the long run. 

The #MeToo movement has made it possible to bring back into the foreground the problems of sexual violence in the Christian Bible, theology and norms. However, so often, what I am reading seems uninterested in solving the systemic nature of the problem in Christianity. The authors don't appear to be interested in or believe that there is a systemic nature to the problem in Christianity. If they interpret something differently, then that will be enough. 

You could say that they are worried about the crocodiles, and forget and/or rather don't believe that the crocodiles live in a Christian swamp created over the last 2,000 years. Furthermore, it seems to me that many of them are trying to reinvent the wheel. The ground-breaking work that was done in the late 1980s and early 1990s seems to have disappeared into thin air. What we need is a spaceship that is built on previous biblical and theological scholarship on sexual violence; in other words, a fundamental shift in the understanding of the nature of the universe and divinity. The historian in me sometimes wonders whether they even know that the wheel was already invented!!

So, as I start to put up a number of reviews, I will be asking two questions:

1. How useful is this book in the short run in the goal of helping Christian/ex-Christians survivors come to terms with the attempted murder of their souls.

2. How useful is this book in the long run in the goal of dismantling rape culture? 

My concerns in these books will be about addressing the problem of the systematic structure of rape culture in Christianity. This is a long term goal for many of us. However, helping victims in the here and now is also necessary. There aren't enough of us to walk the long path with the victims as they struggle to become survivors. I do accept that there are short term solutions that will help, and I certainly hope that they will change the face of Christianity in the future. 

Yes, I understand that many of you would argue that rape culture is not systemic to Christianity - stay tuned over the next few months or years to read why I believe that it is. 

My bottom line is that one needs to clean up the mess in one's own house before one even attempts to fix the world.

NOTE: The "dismantling rape culture" part of the title of the post comes from a 2021 book by Tracey Nicholls entitled Dismantling Rape Culture: The Peacebuilding Power of "MeToo". It is available FREE on Kindle or from other sources.






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Tangential Issues #4: A "Dismantling Rape Culture" Rating System for articles and books

Rape Culture: The Personal (fighting crocodiles) and the Systemic (clearing the swamp) I am beginning to wonder about the purpose of many of...