Feminine modesty...

Someone said they don't know who Mary Kassian is. Well now... Ahem! Who is Mary Kassian? Let's have Mary's website introduce her:

...I’ve been associated with the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) in one way or another since the early 1990s, since I helped coin the term 'complementarian', since I’ve written and spoken extensively on the topic of biblical womanhood, have taught courses on biblical womanhood at evangelical seminaries across North America, have blogged and written books about biblical womanhood, have published a resource entitled [blah, blah, blah], and since I’ve spoken to tens of thousands of women... I figured I was in a unique position to help...

"I am woman, hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore..." What's so sad is this is the sort of femininity CBMW offers in response to feminism.

During years with CBMW, it became increasingly clear the cure they sell under their ambiguous label, "complementarianism," often helps spread the disease.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

Just found this on Mary's FAQ page:

6.Will Mary speak to small groups?

Mary accepts a limited number of “small group” (under 350) speaking engagements each year. She enjoys the personal dynamic and environment of smaller groups – particularly when she is interacting with groups of leaders or conducting practical workshops. However, her board has determined that in order to best steward her time and gifts, she allocate most of her speaking time to larger venues. If you wish to have Mary come and speak, we suggest you get together with other churches and groups in your city or region to co-sponsor an event.

7.What is her speaking fee?

Mary does not have a set speaking fee. Her advisory board requests that each group specifies and sets an honorarium amount for the event.

8. How do we know what to set the honorarium at?

The advisory board has established $2,000 + as the suggested amount for an honorarium for a weekend conference. This is in line with what we deem to be reasonable compensation for Mary’s time. The advisory board regards it as their responsibility to protect her from over-extending herself and to guard, honor, and fairly remunerate her and her family for her kingdom work. However, because this is a ministry, we will prayerfully consider all invitations, and often accept invitations where little or no honorarium is available.

They'll "prayerfully consider" small groups of poor people. Oh my. Do they know what they look like? Or has the church come to expect such money-grubbing arrogance from those leading a woman, even?

Dad never made his decisions based on the number of souls who would be there. He was a servant of Jesus Christ. And he was not less known and less in demand than Mrs. Brent Kassian.

We must repent of this sin--both those of us who travel and speak, those in authority over them, and those of you who invite and listen. Fame and helpfulness are almost always inversely correlated in the Household of Faith.

Love,

Proud Mary keep on rollin'.....yeah, right out of my church and right out of town!

Hello Tim, I’m kind of new to your online presence, I just discovered your blog and the church websites you’ve got linked. Actually I just listened to a couple sermons from Christ the Word.

Anyway, this is my first comment and I just wanted to say hi.

It seems to me like you’re being a little hard on this lady. From what I can tell, her ministry is trying to allocate her time wisely, and attempting to achieve a certain level of income in the process. I don’t see how that is money grubbing, or how it would affect her being a servant of Jesus Christ. Similarly, you wouldn’t see Billy Graham speaking to five people in a basement somewhere for no money.

But thanks for the blog post, it provoked some thought. God bless. 

Hi Jason,

Thanks for stopping by! There is a whole lot wrapped up in this very short post, and you'll have to do some digging if you really want to understand why Tim writes as he does. My recommendation is that you look at some of the posts on this blog in two different categories: Feminism and Femininity and Modesty. If you do that, you'll begin to understand.

The short version is this: Scripture teaches very plainly how women are to live and act and how men are to live and act... and the teaching to each group is not the same! Scripture declares that men and women are different, and that they should live out those differences. Tim's point is that even the women who champion so-called "Scriptural Femininity" are so far from resembling Scripture that's it's laughable.

Your comment about Billy Graham is telling. Why is it so hard to imagine Billy Graham speaking to five people in a basement somewhere for no money? What do you think?

Warmly,

Lucas

The Apostle Paul took some of his valuable time and went to Ephesus and found some disciples and taught them (no recorded honorarium)...

There were in all about twelve men.  - Acts 19:7

From this beginning, within two years "all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks."

"In all"? "About"?

You get the idea that even this small group of men wasn't all together at the same time, such that you had to do some approximating even to know how to count who was in the group.

And it was from this humble jumping-off point that Asia was evangelized. Amazing power of God.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. A few years ago I stood on the Capitol mall with my daughter and another young woman, listening to speech after speech by women who are in the prolife business. I gave a little "sermon" (JK) to the girls, telling them that as long as women model a feministic career mindset about the prolife business, portraying a "have-it-all" picture to women who kill their babies so they can get rid of that little inconvenience which messes up their lifestyles, abortion would not only continue to exist, but be further entrenched. When will Christians get it?

Tim,

After reading your post about Mary Kassian, I have mixed, although a more positive than negative, opinion about her. 

Negative

  • On the face of it, her suggested honorarium does seem excessive, especially when her expenses (airfare, lodging, cab to airport, etc.) are added on top of that. But I only have one thing to compare with that. Before I was an Anglican, about 8-9 years ago I was treasurer of a conference-wide women's retreat with about 200 attendees in an Evangelical Protestant denomination. I believe we paid our speaker about $500 or $750 as an honorarium + plus expenses for a weekend retreat. Of course, our speaker was not well-known across the U.S. or Canada (she was a friend of a local minister's wife from back when they both served in IVCF), but she did a fine job.
  • On Mary's home page, she had an article about stereotypes of complementarian women ("Dora the Doormat" and other Scary Straw Women of Complementarity") that she attempted to be humorous. While some of those stereotypes may apply to some women, especially at certain seasons of their lives, it would be easy for a reader to see this article as sarcastic. Some readers said so in the comments, but others found the article helpful.

Positive

  • Mary's children are grown, so her travel schedule doesn't seem excessive. She doesn't usually seem to be gone much more than one more weekend a month at most. And I'd be shocked if her husband didn't support her speaking ministry.
  • After sampling some of her blog posts (which you might also have done), she seems to have many posts/sections that you'd agree with, such as ones:

        * Describing why the new NIV Bible is harmful to women

        * Feminity and modesty in dress

        * A whole section devoted to full-time stay-at-home moms/wives

  • As an "older" woman, she does minister to younger women, be they single, married without children, or married with children by her speaking, her blog, and her books. It appears that she could write her blog and her books from home.  

My .02,

Sue

>>she seems to have many posts/sections that you'd agree with...

Sure, Sue; I know Mary quite well. I was the Exec. Dir. of CBMW for almost four years. This is all the more reason why we must declare such financial and numerical demands to be hideous, spiritually. Some man ought to have protected her from making such mistakes.

Love,

Concerning Billy Graham, many years ago I happened to attend the small Bible College in Florida that Billy Graham is a graduate from. I meet Billy Graham during my first year at the college. All I can say is that what impressed the students of that the college the most was that this man took time to actually sit down, talk to them and get to know them. You see we had many well known Christian speakers at this college, but Billy Graham was the only one who was not to busy or to important to spend time with the students. I remember him as a very gracious, humble Christian who lived what he preached.

So, what are some practical words to fathers of young girls to help train and guard them spiritually in these things? In our own children's church I see the sins of pride and brashness developing quite well in some girls.

Well, one word of advice is obviously that learning humility and deference is AT LEAST as important than being able to recite their Latin conjugations. Pride always besets a good education, which is the first thing we want for our children OF COURSE (I mean, we're no nincompoops right?), but how much more do we need to lovingly discipline and protect our young daughters! Anyway, just trying to bring the main point painfully close to home :)

Hi Tim,

I had forgotten that you were the Exec. Dir. of CBMW, sorry. 

You wrote, in part:

....we must declare such financial and numerical demands to be hideous, spiritually. Some man ought to have protected her from making such mistakes.

Just a few thoughts:

  • For better or worse, her husband must not be opposed to the amount of her honoraria. If anyone should speak to her about this, I would say it should be him.
  • The groups that want her to speak are also partly responsible for her high suggested honoraria. If enough of them said, "no, that's too high", she might drop her suggested honorarium.
  • We don't know many times she is willing to accept less than the suggested honorarium; it could be more than we would guess.
  • We also don't know how involved she is in her local church or neighborhood. She could be involved in ministries where she works one-on-one or in small groups.
  • It sure is commendable that your Dad didn't charge speaking fees, but how common is this in the body of Christ broadly speaking (Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic) today?  Are Mary's honoraria considered reasonable at this time? (You probably know more about this than I do.)
  • Finally, and I'm not sure if this makes things right, but maybe she and her husband really need the money. I'm assuming that they put their three boys through college; maybe they have loans to pay back. Or they are providing financial support to a family member, etc.

Sue, what about the different members of the body being gifted with different talents for the purpose of building up the body (which is the Church)? If Mary really is gifted with something that she can use to build up the body (which apparently she isn't, as is one of the points of Pastor Tim's post) then to demand a large speaking fee (let's be honest, it's a speaking fee, not an honorarium) and large audiences would be her holding captive from the Church the very gift that the Holy Spirit has given her specifically for the building up of Christ's Church, and demanding a ransom of filthy lucre. To argue that others with similar self-styled gifts do the same is no justification for the behavior. (Of course, the workman is worth his wages; but a good workman in Christ's service doesn't refuse the work just because it isn't lucrative enough or big enough).

Im/modesty questions aside, since CBMW is limping along on life support (their web site is still mostly down after months and months of a "temporary" disclaimer and Gender Blog posts seem to be mostly re-posts from elsewhere) and with the numbers of women Kassian and DeMoss are bringing into their conferences, I think its a fair assessment to say that Kassian does indeed speak for Complementarianism regarding women.

That Evans chose to cut her interaction with Kassian from the book to make it (in her words) "leaner and cleaner" shows that she had no intention of honestly assessing the Complementarian/Biblical Womanhood movement as it exists today. Evans prefers the easy target, the dated caricature, the marginal.

Hi Abram,

You wrote,

If Mary really is gifted with something that she can use to build up the body (which apparently she isn't, as is one of the points of Pastor Tim's post)

Was this sentence by Tim your basis for your writing this ...

Dad never made a single decision based on the number of souls who would be there. He was a servant of Jesus Christ. And he was more famous and in demand than Mary is ever likely to be.

... or was it something else?

As I tried to explain in my previous post, it seems that unless someone that lurks or posts to this blog who is familiar with Mary's church, we have no way of knowing how involved she is in it. She may be gifted musically and sing in the choir or even be the choir director. She could teach Sunday school, be a Children's Ministry Director, lead a Bible study (presumably for women), mentor teenage girls, write the church newsletter (she is also a writer, after all), work in a ministry that serves the needy in her city, such as a clothes closet or a tutoring program for at-risk children, or do something behind the scenes like be on a prayer chain or knit/crochet prayer shawls, some combination or the above, or something else. We just don't know.

I went on her website and checked her Event (speaking) schedule for 2012 and what is scheduled for 2013. At the most, it looks she is gone one weekend a month (and usually about every 6 weeks). That should give her ample time to serve her home church.

Sincerely yours,

Sue

Hi Sue,

You're right, I exaggerated. I'm sorry, I'm sometimes given to hyperbole. Scripture tells us that every member of the body has been given gifts to be used to build up the body. So I'm sure that Mary has gifts to be used to build up the body (possibly many among those you listed above); and Pastor Tim didn't imply that she doesn't. Rather, the bone is with this self-styled gift of public speaking--but only to large audiences, and for exorbitant fees--and the unfeminine manner of doing so. The original post is about how the so-called "complementarian" party is using feminist tactics to advance complementarianism--including promoting women to the vanguard of the attack, and having women do the heavy-lifting of public speaking to point out that woman is the weaker vessel. To pursue this kind of strategy (opposing feminism using feminist tactics and language) is to be defeated before we even begin.

Tangential to that main point is the point that it is impious to take a God-given gift intended for the edification of the Church, and hold it ransom from the Church, for filthy lucre. If she were gifted as a Sunday school teacher, but demanded that she can't teach the 5-year-old Sunday School class unless she has an audience of at least 350, and that she has to receive $2000 per lesson...

The gift given is for the edification of the body, not the padding of someone's wallet.

Abram

I thought about writing a detailed and articulate response to this, but my [being a woman] apparently precludes me from having any worthwhile contribution to make in a public sphere (which includes the internet), so I'll make it simple:

Call the waaaaaaaaaaaaaahmbulance.

Mary, just like myself, Rachel Held Evans, the Bayly brothers, Billy Graham, Paul, Lydia, Apollos, Priscilla and every other believer, is complete in Christ. Our peace is in Him, whether male or female, Jew or Greek, slave or free...not in family, career or a "gender role."

The kingdom doesn't have time for this nonsense. Let's do what Christ told us to do, which is stick together and make disciples of all nations.

Dear "Pam" and "Jessica," 

I wish you'd sign your real names so people would know who you are. But as my godly, strong mother is fond of saying, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

So just this to you both so very secure in Zion:

But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. - 1Corinthians 11:3

Love,

I LOVE being a woman! I'm complete in Christ and feel GREAT about being equal to everyone.

Men who get jealous of women in ministry need prayer and need to examine their hearts for their sources of insecurity and jealousy.

Speaking as a man, men who feel the need to use the Bible as a weapon against sisters in Christ are often insecure in their own masculinity.

If these men were truly leaders as they claim to be, a strong woman would not make them feel so inadequate that they begin a blog to gossip about her. Apparently Kassian is getting hit with her own spitball on this issue.

[NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: Ted, since your comments are personal, if you comment again you are required to sign your real and verifiable first and last name.]

Jessica IS my real name, unless I was deceived. Hold on a sec while I ask my husband.

Seriously, Pam is right. No offense, but when you complain so much and gossip so much about other believers, it's hard to take you seriously as brothers. You guys sound like crybabies who are just jealous of women who are gifted beyond your gifting. Remember when one person is honored in the body, we all are.

Personally, I wish Kassian would take her own advice and go home and sew skirts. You guys are much better spokesmen for the complementarians...and much more entertaining!

[NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: Alright, I asked and now I'm not asking, but requiring you to sign your real name--verifiable and first and last--if you want to comment again. You need to be as honest and forthcoming with your identity as those you're attacking. Send your identity and comment to me at my e-mail address, linked at the top of each page under "Contact us."]

Jessica, you will never find the joy of the Lord until you learn your place.

Your comments here show that you do not know your place.

It is not only women who must learn their place--everyone has his place, and living by faith is bound up together with learning your place.

Add new comment