You are not welcome here

Last week Doug and I watched North Country. This is the movie where Charlize Theron portrays a woman who enters the mining industry in Northern Minnesota and wins a landmark sexual harassment case in 1984. It was a difficult movie to watch.

As I sat and watched the portrayal of a large group of men doing unthinkable things to women in an attempt to preserve a “male-only” workplace, I felt so troubled and sad. I felt physically sick at different points, and I was aware that part of what made watching this movie so hard is that I have a daughter. It is one thing to endure something unjust yourself. I am learning that it is quite another to imagine the same injustice visited upon your children.

It was incredible to see this movie and realize that the events portrayed were in the not so distant past. My own experience with sexual harassment happened in 1994, ten years after this movie’s setting. I was too intimidated and afraid to speak up for what was happening, but one of my co-workers told our supervisor, and my employers acted swiftly and decisively in my favor. For all the ways that sexual harassment laws have made employers and co-workers feel paranoid, I am one who is grateful that they were there to protect me. It is interesting to note, however, that while my employers were so quick to act on my behalf, there had been a long line of women before me whose complaints and suffering had received no response. Because of my family’s friendship with someone significant in the company, I believe that I received justice when others had not.

That same week that I watched the film, I had been reading and listening to various blog postings and discussions about the role of women in the church. I encountered a large number of Christian men (many of whom I have respected and learned from over the years) who see the fact that I occupy the pulpit as a core offense against the “non-negotiables” of the orthodox faith. I had told Doug that, for the first time, the things I had read and heard about what many deemed to be my “role” had made me feel genuinely depressed.

It is staggering that watching the movie North Country and reading some Christian blogs could inspire even remotely similar emotions in me. It is staggering that both can make me feel intimidated and afraid. This makes me feel confused and very, very sad.


  1. I saw that movie. I’ve also experienced sexual harrassment in the work place. A co-worker also brought it to the attention of my bosses, not me. But sadly, nothing was done and he did it again to another girl and then quit. Anyways, the law is on our side now and I feel so grateful to live in today’s society rather than just 30 years ago.

  2. A couple of months ago I actually listend to a speech/sermon on why women aren’t supposed to be pastors on Christian talk radio. It scared me how logical it sounded. I don’t know why Christians feel the need to be so judgemental and how people assume to know things that we humans really can’t know or understand. IF you could do anything else you would. but God called you and you listened. No one (should) choose vocational ministry. It was chosen for you. So you go girl. Focus on the love baby. Tell that hate where to go!

  3. As a white male, these issues are also painful for me- Where I find myself called to account for my heritage are the song of Moses with the men and the song of Miriam and the women in Exodus 15. I find myself in the position of the rider on the horse- the cultural position of power. As with the displacement issue you raised yesterday, so here also, those who ride the horse- the “gentry”- have to beware of the… position we find ourselves in. For many of us we default to defending and protecting our position. For others, well, we long to be Christ like per Philippians 2.

  4. Dan-I love your connection between this and the earlier discussion of gentrification. You have had me thinking…

    Julie-“IF you could do anything else you would. but God called you and you listened. No one (should) choose vocational ministry.” Spoken like a true PK! 🙂

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