A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar

Prey Tell: Silencing or Believing Women in the Church with Tiffany Bluhm

September 08, 2021 Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker, Tiffany Bluhm Season 2 Episode 4
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
Prey Tell: Silencing or Believing Women in the Church with Tiffany Bluhm
Show Notes Transcript

CONTENT NOTE: This episode contains discussion of sexual harassment and abuse.

We interview author and podcaster Tiffany Bluhm about the depressing trend in the American church and the broader culture of ignoring, disbelieving, and actively silencing women who are sexually harassed or abused, often by church leaders themselves and often to protect institutions with oppressive cultures. Her book Prey Tell is a timely and important analysis of the sinister ways this trend is caused and perpetuated within the church and what we can do about it. If you've read and enjoyed the other recent books in the "Christian Thanos Gauntlet," you won't want to miss this one.

The beer featured in the episode is 2020 Black Gold from Central Waters Brewery. The whiskey we were drinking during the interview (not featured) is Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon. The Milwaukee sushi restaurant Tiffany mentions is (probably) Spicy Tuna. Special thanks to Story Hill BKC for their support.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/apastorandaphilosopher)

NOTE: This transcript is for the unedited video version of this conversation, so what you see here will not match the audio-only podcast version exactly. For the video version, see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMCWvdD3agg&t=1s&ab_channel=APastorandaPhilosopherWalkintoaBar

[Music]

00:05

so tiffany bluhm thanks so much for

00:07

joining us

00:09

it is such a pleasure to be here thanks

00:11

for having me

00:12

so part of our podcast theme is that

00:14

we're a pastor and a floss for walking

00:16

into a bar so we always have something

00:17

to drink

00:19

so if you guys aren't messing around you

00:21

happen to be drinking that you want to

00:22

tell us about

00:23

feeling there is you know what i feel

00:25

like a lightweight to the party so

00:26

forgive me for not coming with a fancier

00:28

drink but i have a

00:31

decaf fair trade

00:34

french press with some caramel nut pods

00:37

because you know got to hit up that nut

00:39

pod life and you what are you drinking

00:42

oh this is evan williams and he's

00:44

straight bourbon

00:46

where he's drinking bourbon yeah sorry

00:47

we're degenerates

00:49

i'm sorry where do you live is this

00:50

appropriate at whatever time of day it

00:52

is where you're at yeah we're in

00:54

milwaukee it is appropriate at every

00:55

time of day

00:57

okay

00:58

true story some of the best sushi i've

01:00

had was in milwaukee right right by the

01:02

stadium

01:03

you're from post and you're saying some

01:04

of the best sushi you've ever had is in

01:06

milwaukee the company was delightful so

01:08

let me just say that i and i was very

01:10

hungry and we have very good sushi here

01:12

and the place we went they fly in their

01:14

sushi every morning to this little place

01:16

in milwaukee you remember the name of it

01:19

i don't know but it's right across from

01:21

the stadium oh okay yeah and we can

01:24

process of elimination find that yeah

01:27

uh tiffany could you just tell us in our

01:28

listeners a little bit about yourself

01:30

and why you wrote this book

01:32

absolutely again my name is tiffany

01:34

bluhm i'm an author a speaker and a

01:36

podcaster i have a podcast called why

01:38

though with fellow author ashley

01:40

abercrombie and we answer the

01:42

existential questions we all ask

01:44

ourselves about systemic injustice and

01:46

our favorite frozen pizza and everything

01:48

in between i am a mama i've got two

01:50

little boys i live here in the pacific

01:52

northwest

01:53

and my

01:55

work is at the intersection of justice

01:56

women and faith and i wrote pray tell

02:00

after my own experience of speaking

02:02

truth to power and losing everything i

02:04

held dear in the process i was left to

02:06

grapple with the societal financial and

02:09

professional ramifications of speaking

02:12

up even when i wasn't the person who had

02:15

been victimized and i think for so many

02:17

of us we

02:19

see on cnn or christianity today of

02:21

these egregious acts and i would say

02:23

about every quarter a good man or quote

02:25

unquote good men falls um and abuses his

02:27

power at a woman's expense and we wonder

02:30

why

02:30

why did he get away with it for so long

02:32

why didn't anybody speak up why didn't

02:34

she say anything so my hope is to really

02:37

answer how these things happen why they

02:40

happen why they continue to happen and

02:42

how we can prevent them from happening

02:43

in the future yeah i um again the book

02:46

is pray tell

02:48

it's really good for those of you

02:49

watching on video

02:50

there it is

02:52

um

02:53

this we've interviewed a number of i

02:55

would say really important books in this

02:57

last probably six months or so um

02:59

kristen ko ko best du mei's oh

03:02

yeah i love him and uh

03:04

beth allison barr in the making of

03:06

biblical womanhood and a church called

03:09

tove from the scott mcknight and lauren

03:11

barringer really i mean if

03:13

what i've said a couple of times is that

03:15

it feels like we're at a moment of

03:16

reckoning particularly in the church

03:18

that right now there is this ground

03:20

swell that's saying we're not going to

03:22

pretend anymore we're not going to um

03:25

shove this under the rug even though

03:26

everyone's trying

03:28

we need to confront this and we need to

03:29

exercise this demon and there's a number

03:32

of

03:32

ways in which that's happening but i

03:34

would i would put your book in that camp

03:37

of it feels like there's this a bit of a

03:39

reckoning and your book is a little

03:42

different but i would like to hear what

03:43

do you think about this idea that maybe

03:45

the church is in a rec time of reckoning

03:47

right now time of even dare i say

03:49

reformation

03:50

for a lot of sins that we've just kind

03:53

of

03:53

winked and nodded at

03:55

yeah

03:57

in the past there's been this belief

03:59

that to speak up against

04:02

any infractions that have happened

04:03

within the church walls would be to hurt

04:05

the witness of the church

04:07

and we are finding that that's not the

04:09

case and that our god will not be shaken

04:11

we we're part of this unshakeable

04:13

kingdom and when we refuse to call out

04:16

the sin within the camp if you will we

04:18

are doing more harm than good and we are

04:20

protecting no good name or good gospel

04:24

when we are willing to sacrifice those

04:26

who call upon the lord those who are

04:28

faithful when we're willing to sacrifice

04:30

them to keep a reputation to keep a name

04:33

of a church we're really we're really

04:35

wading into some some dirty water and

04:37

more than that we are willing to protect

04:40

men who have

04:42

no

04:44

need for protection we're willing to

04:46

defend men

04:47

with some really faulty theology which

04:49

we can get into

04:51

and

04:52

it's dangerous it's harmful and in fact

04:54

it's one of the leading reasons that

04:56

women are leaving the church and beyond

04:58

that you know it's not a woman's

05:00

education resources

05:02

uh religious beliefs that will determine

05:04

her trajectory in life it is if a man

05:07

will abuse his power at her expense that

05:09

is the leading factor in how her life

05:12

will play out so with that knowledge we

05:15

have a role as bystanders as followers

05:17

of jesus we have a moral ethical and

05:20

christian obligation to stand up speak

05:22

up and address these issues that we have

05:24

decided are

05:26

completely acceptable to treat women

05:28

this way

05:31

well first of all i think tiffany you

05:32

need to put an extra

05:35

descriptor of what you do behind your

05:37

name author podcaster preacher because

05:41

that's good stuff um

05:43

this book i mentioned those other books

05:45

this book felt different for me right

05:46

from the jump and particularly because

05:49

you're not

05:50

coming at it from a historical

05:51

perspective

05:52

like do may you're not or in bar you're

05:54

not coming at it from a data statistical

05:57

perspective you're coming at it from

05:59

more even though there is data in

06:01

statistics and history in the book

06:03

it felt more like a your lived

06:04

experience as a woman

06:07

in the church and in this world that we

06:08

live in um that was what what you wrote

06:11

about and it was visceral and it did

06:13

something different to me as i read

06:15

through this book it it it made me

06:17

reflect on meetings that on staff

06:19

meetings that i have with an all-female

06:21

staff which i'm the only male on our

06:23

church staff

06:25

it made me reflect on things that i say

06:26

things that i just flippantly do and it

06:29

really kind of moved me a little bit and

06:31

disturbed me into thinking i'm guilty of

06:35

a lot of things in this book even though

06:37

i'd like to champion myself as an

06:38

egalitarian and feminist and the whole

06:40

deal um

06:42

was that your intent from the beginning

06:44

that experience lived experienced on

06:46

display of women today

06:49

yeah my lived experience but all through

06:51

modern stories that we all know of

06:53

everybody from monica lewinsky to anita

06:56

hill

06:56

to

06:58

you know victims of church abuse that we

07:00

know in the last couple of years i

07:02

wanted to illuminate it through these

07:03

common stories that we are familiar with

07:06

but we might not understand the nuanced

07:08

backstory and more than that i

07:10

specifically wanted to address and you

07:11

hit the nail on the head is how even

07:14

egalitarian spaces are guilty of this in

07:17

the context i was in it was egalitarian

07:20

through and through um

07:22

being uh choosing to work in faith

07:24

spaces for the majority of my career i

07:27

heard that women are equal to men that

07:29

was out the gate in high school women

07:31

were preaching and teaching and so i had

07:33

this model to me that you can do what

07:35

men do you are just as valuable

07:38

inherently worthy your word matters and

07:41

then when the girl who plays by all the

07:43

rules finds herself between a rock and a

07:45

hard place and realizes the people who

07:47

set the rules weren't there for her

07:48

benefit then what are we left with

07:51

it's really so uh disconcerting and and

07:54

disjointed and how we're treating women

07:57

when we can champion just as you said

07:59

egalitarian practices but if we aren't

08:01

examining how those play out in the

08:03

everyday lived experience we might hurt

08:07

and harm in ways we never intended to

08:11

yep and i want to say

08:13

this book is should be read by everyone

08:15

really important book particularly for

08:17

men and pre like if you if you feel like

08:20

oh i'm i'm really progressive and i

08:22

treat women great

08:24

read it because it's going to make you

08:26

reflect it's going to make you it's

08:27

going to just make you a better human

08:28

being

08:30

in the book

08:32

tiffany you bring us into a woman's life

08:33

perspective navigating a world that's

08:35

been designed to repress and corral

08:36

women but you articulate also how much

08:39

more pronounced that oppression and

08:41

abuse is for women of color

08:42

you as a woman of color as well can you

08:45

that was i liked that i liked reading

08:47

that again this is not my lived

08:48

experience but

08:50

um

08:51

differentiating white women and women of

08:54

color that that's a two different

08:55

experiences can you bring us into that

08:56

world a little bit yeah absolutely in

08:59

the last i would say 250 years we have

09:02

seen

09:04

varied responses when women come forward

09:06

with an inconvenient truth and you look

09:09

back at just as slavery ended there was

09:12

women who wanted to press charges

09:13

against former slave owners and they

09:16

were told by magistrates unless you can

09:18

prove that you didn't enjoy it you have

09:20

no case here and then you would see

09:22

white women come forward against black

09:25

men who they claimed had taken advantage

09:28

of their body or their reputation or

09:29

their time

09:31

and

09:32

those men were given severe consequences

09:34

and even as white men who harmed these

09:37

white women their

09:39

testimonies were heard consequences were

09:41

given out appropriately and so over the

09:44

years abuse of power against women is

09:46

happening equally to women of color to

09:49

white women but the response to it is

09:51

again so varied so now you look in our

09:53

modern day black women are two to three

09:55

times more likely in the workplace to be

09:57

harassed indigenous women are 2.5 times

10:00

more likely than any other people group

10:02

to be taken advantage of um harassed

10:05

manipulated abused

10:07

assaulted and you have latin women who

10:10

are the least likely to be believed

10:12

especially based on their immigration

10:14

status and and then of course you bring

10:16

in asian women like myself i'm south

10:18

asian we are seen to be meek or cold or

10:22

quiet or hypersexual black women also

10:24

have that

10:25

stereotype placed upon them and what

10:27

happens is these stereotypes by

10:29

themselves you think oh it's just a

10:30

stereotype but when both ministers and

10:33

magistrates get on board to believe that

10:35

these stereotypes are true about them

10:37

and then consequences are in line with

10:39

those stereotypes not only are those

10:41

women not heard the perpetrators of

10:43

power are not held responsible they're

10:46

able to use those stereotypes as excuses

10:49

and hold up their accolades over a

10:52

woman's accusations

10:56

yeah yep i mean i got nothing to say to

10:58

that but

11:00

yep it's depressing

11:01

yeah

11:02

so you write i think this is chapter two

11:04

about narcissism in the church and uh

11:08

not just in the church but i'm

11:10

interested specifically on your take on

11:12

why narcissists seem to thrive so well

11:14

in the church specifically and how many

11:17

of them end up at the top i remember

11:19

seeing a canadian study a few years ago

11:21

as like a shocking

11:22

percentage of

11:24

church leaders that they surveyed

11:26

ranked pretty high on a narcissistic

11:27

personality disorder scale you know why

11:29

is everyone staring at me

11:30

[Laughter]

11:32

um so say a bit about how the church

11:34

context might actually encourage

11:36

narcissistic

11:38

behavior and how

11:39

that can actually shield the abuser from

11:42

consequences

11:43

yeah so first let's give a baseline

11:45

definition of narcissism for those who

11:47

might be

11:48

wondering exactly quite exactly what

11:50

that means and when we're talking about

11:51

narcissism for this conversation we are

11:53

talking about a distorted view of

11:55

reality

11:57

where

11:58

the narcissist only exists to have their

12:01

agenda met and everyone around them

12:04

serves as supply they are

12:06

there to supply the demand of what that

12:08

narcissist wants to see it's their way

12:10

or the highway

12:12

unless you are willing to bend their way

12:14

on every issue on everything you're no

12:17

longer

12:17

needed necessary or you are an enemy so

12:21

that's just our baseline there of

12:22

narcissism now interestingly

12:25

those who

12:27

gain power in faith spaces it is because

12:30

of the fruit of the spirit in their life

12:31

it is because of the virtues that they

12:34

espouse and they it's been seen it's

12:36

been noticed it's been elevated and then

12:38

on their ascent to power they seem to

12:40

lose those virtues and replace them with

12:43

quote-unquote leadership qualities that

12:45

very much mere narcissistic tendencies

12:48

but we mask them in the language of the

12:50

scriptures will say you know

12:53

i'm the one god anointed and i'm the one

12:55

with the vision from god and if you're

12:57

not on board then get off the bus or

13:00

we will continue to say you know come

13:02

under my sector of

13:04

responsibility and come under my scepter

13:06

of power and and i'm going to take care

13:08

of you and

13:09

i i vividly remember somebody saying to

13:11

me i'm the daddy of this house i'm the

13:13

one who calls the shots and it's this

13:15

idea that it's their way or the highway

13:19

and without a healthy board and a

13:22

healthy staff

13:23

to keep someone like that in check it

13:25

can be easy to see that power continue

13:28

to grow

13:30

without any restraint and research shows

13:32

that men who continue to ascend to power

13:35

without healthy accountability see

13:38

themselves as more desirable sexually

13:41

relationally

13:42

that they are deserving of anything they

13:44

want and they will seek it out

13:46

regardless if it's consensual now i'm

13:48

just not talking about sexual hair i'm

13:50

talking about

13:51

you walk into somebody's office and say

13:52

you need to do this why because i'm in

13:53

charge knowing that there's such little

13:56

ramifications for themselves but that

13:57

middle management or lower management

13:59

person whether you're in a faith space

14:00

corporate america wherever

14:02

they're that person doesn't feel they

14:04

have the liberty resources or agency to

14:07

speak up because there will be

14:09

consequences for them so

14:10

when there is a lack of accountability

14:12

you see those narcissistic tendencies

14:15

really start to swell where perhaps they

14:18

weren't so prevalent in the beginning

14:19

and again it's without accountability

14:22

that it can really really go wrong now

14:24

do we think every leader is a narcissist

14:26

absolutely not

14:28

but the fact is narcissism is

14:30

comfortable

14:32

it is it feels good

14:35

and it gets the job done from that

14:37

person's point of view so they're

14:38

thinking well what's wrong with that

14:40

what's wrong with that they can see it

14:42

as this isn't me trying to control

14:45

everyone or everybody this is me

14:47

honoring the vision that god's given me

14:49

so being able to step back and and

14:52

really have a posture of humility is

14:54

required to hold that tension of

14:57

leadership

14:59

and servanthood

15:01

i mean we could do a whole episode on

15:04

what pastor means it's the shepherd of a

15:07

flock and

15:08

jesus call to serve in the last shall be

15:11

first and the first shall be less we

15:13

could do a whole thing we'll just we'll

15:14

just remind you listeners of that's what

15:16

a that's what a pastor that's what a

15:18

leader in the church is supposed to be

15:20

that's what the call from the apostle

15:22

paul

15:23

and man has it gone sideways um

15:26

and i do want to say this i want to give

15:27

this little mid episode disclaimer there

15:30

might be some men who are listening if

15:32

you're still listening and you're a

15:33

little turned off you've got this little

15:36

um i don't want to say little because i

15:37

don't want to belittle

15:38

us men but we've got this little fragile

15:42

ego where we're we're starting to say

15:44

maybe even

15:45

white men in particular were saying man

15:47

it's hard to be a white man today in

15:48

this world

15:49

you know like we're taking shots from

15:51

every which way

15:52

nang

15:54

nope you don't get to say that

15:57

yeah but yeah i mean have you heard in

15:59

the news how they're just killing us

16:00

nope

16:02

just

16:03

buy it here's our job here's your job

16:05

here's my job as a white man

16:07

listen

16:09

yeah that's the whole job that's it

16:11

that's the whole job listen and be an

16:13

ally and i think what a privilege to be

16:15

a white man in ministry in corporate

16:17

america in education and politics and

16:19

entertainment you have such an

16:21

opportunity

16:22

to leverage your platform and your power

16:24

and your resources to uplift so many and

16:27

i hope you do that i am the product of

16:30

good white male mentors who saw goodness

16:33

and capability and skill in me and

16:35

leverage not only

16:37

their

16:38

resources but their connections to

16:40

advance my space so i am just i think

16:43

honestly can i shout out to a good white

16:45

man is that okay absolutely in my

16:47

situation when i spoke truth to power

16:49

the first person i called was a mentor

16:51

of mine who i had had since i was 18

16:55

and i said this is the situation this is

16:57

what i know and i am terrified i know i

16:59

have everything to lose if i speak up

17:02

and he said to me you don't have to do

17:04

something about this we will do

17:06

something about this he included himself

17:08

in the solution and it's something i'm

17:10

so grateful for because i think for so

17:11

many of us abusive power can feel like

17:13

it's happening in a vacuum and it's very

17:15

much not others are likely affected by

17:17

that abusive power but when another

17:19

chooses to lend their strength when

17:21

another chooses to share that burden who

17:23

might not have the emotional emotional

17:25

load that you might be carrying

17:27

there's something really beautiful to

17:28

that to be able to walk that out in

17:30

wholeness and healing and justice and

17:32

resurrection

17:33

yep and second disclaimer just in case

17:36

you're like uh we've been talking about

17:38

women and feminism and oppression a lot

17:40

on this podcast can we be done or the

17:42

world's been talking about feminism for

17:44

a long time can we just we've we've

17:46

changed some laws we've done the things

17:48

let's let's move on sorry that's not the

17:50

way it works something that is millennia

17:53

in in taking

17:54

roots for millennia means that we're

17:56

going to have to spend a long time

17:58

disassembling it and burning it and

18:00

sweeping the ashes aside so just get

18:02

used to it it's okay so tiffany um

18:05

in the in chapter three you talk a lot

18:07

about the silencing of woman

18:09

and

18:10

i had one of those out of body

18:12

experiences when you were talking about

18:13

the clarence thomas and anita hill

18:15

hearing and then the brett kavanaugh and

18:17

what's what's the woman's name dr

18:19

kristen blasey ford doctor dr kristen

18:21

blasey ford and i felt i had this

18:24

realization that we've grown up and i th

18:26

we all look like about the same age

18:28

you're younger than us for sure um

18:30

good skin care guys

18:34

but i'll speak for myself i feel like

18:36

i've grown up in a generation that's

18:37

watched um

18:39

trial after trial for sexual harassment

18:41

whether it be for supreme court justices

18:43

or um other politicians where a woman

18:46

says he did this to me and

18:49

she's brought brought front and center

18:51

asked all these questions grilled and

18:53

then every time i mean pretty much every

18:56

time

18:57

we believe the man

18:59

thanks give ourselves a pat on the back

19:01

that we did our due diligence and then

19:02

we walk away

19:04

now

19:05

i'm just realizing as you wrote that

19:07

tiffany that i've been conditioned

19:10

culturally to just

19:12

that's the process that we do and then

19:14

we walk away and it's no big deal right

19:16

like there's no consequences at all we

19:17

just went through an election with a

19:18

famous

19:20

abuser and then the other candidate that

19:22

we thought was a good grandpa who had

19:25

had accusations thrown at him as well

19:27

and we heard about it for about two

19:28

weeks and then it just went away don't

19:30

care anymore

19:31

this is the world we live in

19:34

can you speak to what this does what

19:36

this cycle of silencing tells other

19:39

victims the multitudes of victims that

19:42

are out there wondering if they can

19:43

raise their voice and tell their story

19:44

and have somebody held accountable

19:47

yeah i think specifically when i think

19:48

of dr kristen blasey ford for

19:51

many of me and my friends it was

19:53

watching are we safe is it safe to come

19:55

out and be honest and the answer is no

19:58

uh tina chen the ceo of the time's up

20:01

legal defense fund she said women

20:07

come forward and speak truth to power

20:08

and men are forgiven

20:11

and that's what we've seen and what you

20:12

just perfectly described is

20:14

women feel so unsafe because we still

20:17

will hold up a good man and his

20:20

character or perceived character and how

20:21

he makes us feel

20:23

over a woman's honest experience she is

20:26

disposable and you've had incredible

20:28

people on that you can tell you why

20:31

historically we believe that women are

20:32

disposable and from the first century to

20:35

our modern day this belief that women

20:36

are inherently evil and they're

20:39

tertilian my favorite of the early

20:41

church father they're the gateway the

20:43

gateway to the enemy

20:44

you know there's this belief that women

20:47

aren't capable of telling the truth and

20:49

you know in the first century

20:51

one historian says that women could not

20:54

hold testimony in a court of law

20:57

because it was either for personal gain

21:00

or

21:01

for fear of punishment they were quite

21:03

literally incapable of telling the truth

21:05

so that's permeated our culture today in

21:07

this course in the last 20 years of the

21:09

cases you just mentioned this idea that

21:11

women aren't trustworthy and women are

21:14

incapable of telling the truth therefore

21:17

we can interview them we can ask those

21:19

questions but we will continue to employ

21:21

confirmation bias of what we believe

21:23

about these quote unquote good men and

21:26

continually affirm who we believe they

21:29

are even if there's clear evidence

21:31

otherwise because if we don't

21:33

we have to address our own bias of how

21:36

we treat women and we have to realize

21:38

that we've given allegiance and trust to

21:40

a man who doesn't deserve it and we

21:42

would rather dispose of a woman in her

21:44

testimony her honest testimony

21:46

than believe that the whole structure

21:48

needs examination and restructuring yeah

21:51

and that's not to even to think about

21:54

the trauma that she went through even

21:56

thinking about coming forward and

21:58

testifying before the whole world about

22:00

this trauma that happened to her i can't

22:02

imagine and then to be discarded like

22:05

you're disposable and your story isn't

22:06

real

22:08

it makes me like viscerally angry yeah

22:11

let's poke into that for a second

22:13

because one of the reasons they decided

22:15

to dismiss her case and i say this

22:17

because it's a perfect example for so

22:18

many cases is that she couldn't recall

22:20

accurately the events in chronological

22:23

order which in fact research shows is

22:26

evidence of trauma where the brain

22:28

almost like a scrambled egg will

22:30

scramble those events because it is so

22:32

traumatic to even think of them and the

22:33

body will react in such a way in such an

22:36

inflammatory response that to protect

22:38

the body it will scramble it because

22:39

it's so painful to relive yet we put a

22:42

woman on the stand or we put a woman

22:44

before a church board or we put a woman

22:47

on blast because she can't accurately

22:50

string those events together and in

22:52

reality that is actually proof of her

22:54

harm

22:56

yeah

22:58

and i'm not even convinced honestly that

23:01

a lot of the people that voted to

23:02

confirm didn't believe her

23:05

plenty that did

23:06

but couldn't

23:09

couldn't make themselves

23:11

see it as evidence that counted towards

23:13

something they were obligated to do yep

23:16

yeah

23:16

just it didn't fall into that category i

23:18

remember seeing

23:20

while the trial was ongoing they stopped

23:22

oren hatch in the hallway and asked him

23:24

what his thoughts were

23:26

and he said literally

23:28

i think she's an attractive nice woman

23:32

like you could see you almost see the

23:34

wheels like trying to process what was

23:35

happening

23:36

in a way that he just didn't have the

23:38

the tools for and so it just

23:40

bald sexism yeah yeah 100

23:44

worry of relevant to my decision making

23:46

and that

23:48

i was i'm going to tiffany oh no take it

23:51

away i was just i was just gonna say

23:52

let's let's not you know

23:55

try to vilify

23:57

politicians who are scumbags and don't

23:59

care i mean

24:00

we had a 2016 election where the the

24:04

republican candidate talked about and we

24:06

had every single person heard this

24:09

coverage of him talking about grabbing

24:10

women by the genitals and bragging about

24:12

it

24:13

and we had about a half a day like a

24:16

12-hour moment where everyone's like

24:17

maybe i can't vote for him anymore and

24:19

then turns out 82 percent of

24:20

evangelicals voted for him and probably

24:22

what upper 60 of catholics voted for him

24:25

i mean let's let's just be real honest

24:27

it seems like none of us really care

24:30

about women's stories it seems like

24:33

very few of us care about taking abuse

24:36

harassment assault rape all of this

24:39

seriously one bit because

24:42

82 percent and 60 i mean that's just the

24:45

numbers

24:47

and that's where

24:48

you get into this understanding that

24:50

it's all about proximity to power why

24:52

will we exchange

24:55

first-hand knowledge between billy bush

24:58

and 45 knowing what happened on that

25:01

access hollywood bus why would we

25:02

exchange that for why because we want

25:04

power and if this person will advance

25:07

our place in the system then we'll take

25:09

it we will always care about number one

25:11

which is so anti-gospel as we know but

25:14

this idea that we will stay silent we

25:16

will continue to let abuse of power at a

25:18

woman's expense continue if

25:21

we can have our proximity to power this

25:23

was a phenomena that really was on

25:24

display at fox news with roger ailes

25:27

when gretchen carlson had audio

25:29

tape of

25:31

roger ailes abusing his power and

25:32

speaking poorly about her and her body

25:34

and her reputation and her ability and

25:36

her skills just so so degrading

25:39

and even with that audio women came out

25:42

of the woodworks to support roger

25:45

and i've seen it again and time and time

25:47

again in research for pray tell women

25:49

are the first line of defense why

25:51

because they have internalized their

25:53

proximity to that power and if they want

25:56

to stay in any sort of inner circle then

25:59

they are going to protect the number one

26:01

at all costs because they don't want to

26:02

lose their place in the hierarchy and

26:06

it really is a is a dark day when women

26:10

turn on other women to protect men to

26:12

protect men who don't deserve to be

26:14

protected and to protect men who abuse

26:16

their power and so you see how not only

26:18

abusive power women's expense harms the

26:20

women

26:21

you are quite literally dividing people

26:23

and i'm specifically talking of women

26:25

here but all of us like you said over 80

26:27

percent of americans who follow jesus

26:31

decided that this was still the man for

26:33

the job and so just this idea that we're

26:35

willing to exchange

26:37

power willing to exchange well this

26:39

person's disposable if you can advance

26:41

what i believe should happen or what i

26:43

want or where i want to be and so pray

26:46

patel is really it's not about the 10

26:49

who are absolute monsters it's about the

26:50

90 of us who we all are watching these

26:54

things play out in our churches in our

26:56

workplaces every place we work and

26:58

worship the gym the play group i don't

27:00

care where you at we witness this abuse

27:02

of power and we think not my circus not

27:04

my monkeys i don't need to handle this

27:06

and in reality

27:08

we it is your job it is not

27:12

the the onus is not on a woman to escape

27:14

abusive power it is on all of us to

27:17

stand up for her and it's on men to

27:18

behave justly

27:20

yep and let me just say i'm just gonna

27:23

pause for a second

27:24

try to pastor the moment again like

27:25

listeners i'm sure you're listening

27:27

right now and you're like this is heavy

27:29

because i'm feeling it like i don't

27:31

think i've ever felt this kind of

27:33

physical heaviness and weight to into an

27:35

interview um

27:37

i would call that maybe

27:39

as a good charismatic like the the

27:40

grieving of the holy spirit perhaps

27:42

um but i'm encouraging you don't give up

27:44

on this uh if you got to put push pause

27:46

to take a time out because it's

27:48

heaviness do it but then come back

27:50

because we need to talk about these

27:52

things yeah yeah so let's talk about

27:55

some some more specific ways that women

27:58

are silenced in the church

28:00

uh talk a little bit about ndas and how

28:02

those get used and your feelings about

28:04

those because i know you have some

28:07

in other ways i suppose that uh the

28:09

church leaders and boards

28:11

find very creative ways to keep these

28:13

stories from coming out yeah

28:15

interestingly ndas have been

28:17

one of the only saving graces for many

28:20

women when they've been harmed and feel

28:22

any sort of redress or restitution for

28:24

their harm but in reality what we're

28:26

doing with non-disclosure agreements

28:28

secret settlements whatever you want to

28:29

call them is we're saying that

28:31

especially within

28:32

church settings we're saying that this

28:34

harm happened but you can't tell anybody

28:37

because we don't want to hurt the

28:38

reputation of this church because that's

28:41

more important than what's happened to

28:42

you and your restoration process and

28:45

it's in our church and the name of our

28:47

church and the reputation of our church

28:49

and the reputation of our leaders and

28:51

the reputation of those who might have

28:52

committed that harm is more important

28:54

than seeing you walk out that

28:56

restoration now do we need to protect

28:58

women who've been harmed does their name

29:00

need to be released absolutely not but

29:02

do we need to still be honest about what

29:04

has happened because if we don't if we

29:07

don't two things number one

29:08

when you aren't completely honest about

29:10

any sort of abusive power that's

29:12

happened especially in faith settings

29:13

you are leaving it up to the abuser of

29:16

power to determine the narrative and i

29:18

will guarantee you

29:19

he will and i say he because 80 of these

29:22

issues are unfortunately um lead

29:26

secondly with ndas you can come into a

29:29

work environment or a church environment

29:32

and think this is the

29:33

they have the ethos i've been waiting

29:35

for this is the kind of place i've

29:36

always wanted to work and worship the

29:37

lord in and help build the kingdom and

29:40

in reality you are dropped into a fish

29:43

tank of piranhas and you have no idea

29:45

because every woman who's been eaten

29:47

alive before you hasn't had permission

29:49

to tell hasn't had permission to tell

29:51

her story and again it negates any

29:54

further examination of the system and

29:56

how it might be enabling and protecting

29:59

an abuser of power because it's that

30:01

ring of enablers who do all that dirty

30:03

work they're the ones writing payoff

30:05

checks they're the ones you know erasing

30:08

calendar events that when an

30:10

investigation comes oh well i didn't

30:11

happen i didn't have that meeting there

30:13

they're the ones doing the digging and

30:14

erasing emails and clearing servers

30:16

they're the ones doing all those things

30:17

more than likely so it's that second

30:19

ring who are

30:20

really really really need some

30:23

examination to see

30:26

what is harming those who are here what

30:29

is helping those and what does justice

30:31

actually look like because justice

30:33

doesn't look like an nda

30:35

um i can think of so many women

30:37

who've signed ndas

30:39

ones that i've researched for pray tell

30:41

ones that i know personally who

30:43

legitimately thought this is my only way

30:45

to have any sort of closure and in

30:47

reality ndas they're so

30:50

so

30:51

tightly

30:53

written in like fort knox that you

30:55

likely can't talk to a therapist a

30:57

mentor your spouse any future pastor

31:01

about what you have encountered now when

31:03

we look at scripture

31:05

scripture invites us to bear our burdens

31:07

with one another scripture invites us to

31:09

walk out our restoration in community

31:11

and we are saying in a very house of

31:13

faith you'll do no such thing

31:15

yep i just want to say if you're looking

31:17

if you're listening and you're looking

31:18

for a job at a church and you

31:20

come across an nda a non-disclosure

31:22

agreement go find a job at another

31:24

church and if you're leading a church

31:26

you're listening and you have ndas

31:28

that's your that's a common practice

31:29

that you do at your church

31:31

man submit that before the lord and uh

31:34

burn those up because that is not the

31:36

gospel

31:37

isn't it yeah a verse about nothing

31:39

hidden that shall not be revealed or

31:41

maybe maybe

31:44

even more on that just one last thing

31:47

eve the ndas

31:50

are even scarier that if you don't sign

31:53

this nda we will sue you we will sue you

31:56

for character defamation

31:58

i can't tell you how many pastors have

32:00

whispered that across the boardroom

32:04

in their congregation sign this or will

32:06

sue you for coming after us how talk

32:09

about a rock and a hard place and that's

32:12

why these ndas again i know i've tried

32:14

to give as much context as possible but

32:16

at the end of it

32:18

you will struggle in silence or will

32:21

destroy you yep yeah yep

32:26

so

32:27

what do you say too because i know there

32:28

are probably listeners out there

32:30

thinking this what what do you say to

32:32

people probably men probably white men

32:35

who are concerned about false reporting

32:37

and they might say something along the

32:39

lines of look i agree abuse is bad it's

32:41

awful women shouldn't be treated that

32:43

way we shouldn't sweep it under the rug

32:44

but character assassination is bad too

32:46

false reporting is bad too

32:48

that's something you're not going to get

32:49

off your you know that's going to be

32:51

with you for the rest of your life

32:53

and now we have this movement after me

32:55

too of this you know believe women

32:57

slogan something you talk about

32:59

in the book um and and some men will

33:01

want to say well sure we should believe

33:03

the honest women

33:05

right we should or we should uh you know

33:07

believe the ones that are telling the

33:08

truth but

33:09

maybe not take it so far as like a

33:11

blanket this is our disposition to

33:13

believe all women

33:15

what is your response to that that kind

33:17

of concern why do you think

33:18

legitimate concern

33:20

you know it's interesting this is one of

33:21

the most common questions of the 80 plus

33:23

interviews i've done around pray tell

33:25

and it's been mostly from white men

33:26

asking so i'm glad you're staying on

33:28

that streak and

33:29

my answer is i hope one of encouragement

33:31

and it's this first it's around one

33:34

percent of any sort of case that goes to

33:37

trial or or is reported with local

33:40

police that turns out to be false one

33:42

percent that is very low so the

33:44

likelihood that a woman would willingly

33:47

sacrifice herself on the altar to ruin a

33:49

man very unlikely because she's very

33:51

aware as we just talked about as we

33:53

talked about dr christian blasey ford

33:55

she's the one who will never be able to

33:57

get a job again she's the one who won't

33:59

be able to carry on she's the one who

34:00

will have the scarlet letter for the

34:01

rest of her life not the man

34:04

furthermore it is the role of a man in

34:06

those situations if you think man i

34:08

don't want to be accused of false

34:09

reporting i can help you prevent that

34:10

and it's just a few little ways first

34:12

consider the power dynamics race

34:15

obviously genders we're talking about

34:16

between men and women

34:18

physical size that's an often overlooked

34:20

power dynamic between men and women that

34:21

women very much are aware of when

34:23

they're having an exchange with a man

34:25

and then of course uh reputation do you

34:28

have a reputation as someone who's kind

34:30

benevolent generous and if something

34:31

were to happen people will you know

34:33

they're going to believe you over her or

34:35

is what's her reputation like so being

34:37

conscious of that in every situation you

34:39

know i remember i was speaking at a

34:42

church

34:43

um

34:44

and

34:45

the senior pastor followed me into the

34:47

green room and he shut the door behind

34:48

him and that man meant no harm i can

34:50

guarantee you he meant no harm but he

34:52

wanted to talk to me he was like oh tell

34:53

me more about this story or this point

34:55

that you shared but when he closed that

34:56

door behind him here i am

34:58

a 30-something brown woman a guest in a

35:01

city that i've never been to and then

35:03

i'm flying out that afternoon

35:06

and this man who is got a well-known

35:09

reputation and here we are and anything

35:12

could happen and he's taller than me

35:14

he's older than me

35:15

he's got a platform larger than mine and

35:17

i was so aware like

35:19

he could say anything or do anything and

35:21

i i i felt like the sitting duck and so

35:23

if we want to talk about we don't want

35:25

false accusations i would encourage you

35:27

to consider those dynamics in every

35:28

interaction that you have with women

35:30

again physical size reputation

35:33

obviously gender

35:35

and uh and class as well just knowing

35:38

that there's a difference there and

35:39

there's how women will be seen or how

35:41

they perceive you so if you don't want

35:43

to be accused of making a woman

35:44

uncomfortable well before we're to

35:46

harassment and assault if you don't want

35:47

to be accused of making a woman

35:48

uncomfortable consider those dynamics in

35:51

every exchange and think about man from

35:53

her point of view i wonder what this

35:55

feels like here i am a foot taller than

35:56

her i'm speaking

35:58

louder than her i have more power than

36:00

her maybe i'm telling her to do

36:02

something or go somewhere just to be

36:04

wary of those dynamics

36:06

that's good

36:08

tiffany we hit on this in the beginning

36:09

of the art the interview um this

36:13

the idea of male allyship and i want to

36:16

read an excerpt from your book because

36:18

it was just

36:19

like all over the place in your book so

36:21

startling and and clear you say

36:24

gendered oppression will continue so

36:26

long as women are the ones tasked with

36:28

solving the issue

36:30

when in reality this issue exists in

36:32

large part due to abusive power rooted

36:34

in toxic masculinity not weak feminine

36:37

femininity

36:38

this issue is a man's issue as much as

36:40

it is a woman's issue if not more so it

36:43

is decidedly not enough for men not to

36:45

harass assault silence slander and

36:48

destroy

36:49

woman you're calling me men

36:51

into allyship and can you describe

36:55

this reality that says well i don't i'm

36:57

not sexist i i don't assault woman you

37:00

know i i do good enough um

37:03

can you describe what is needed for men

37:06

our responsibility and what it what a

37:08

male ally looks like

37:10

sounds like acts like

37:12

yeah what a great question you really

37:15

illuminated this about about 20 minutes

37:17

ago and you said first we just must

37:18

listen

37:19

we must

37:20

listen because we'd like to assume we

37:23

know what other people are going through

37:25

but the reality is we filter everything

37:27

through our own family of origin lived

37:29

experience religious upbringing

37:31

so on and so forth all of our power

37:32

dynamics and different you know our

37:35

different identities that we hold

37:36

together intentions so being able to

37:38

simply listen to a woman's point of view

37:40

and being willing to hear what she has

37:42

to say

37:43

and doing so without judgment of

37:44

thinking that's not how it that's not

37:46

how it happens here i don't see it like

37:48

that withholding judgment is key

37:51

and we must consider our facial

37:52

expressions we must consider our body

37:54

language in that simply listen and then

37:56

secondly we have to be willing to not

37:59

only listen to a woman's account and

38:01

listen to what she thinks might be

38:02

necessary for change or for restoration

38:05

but then enact that and allow her to be

38:07

part of that process not think we know

38:09

what she needs but continually

38:11

have that dialogue with her what does

38:13

this look like now that can swing two

38:15

ways one we can either shut her down or

38:16

two

38:17

a man can be put on a pedestal because

38:19

he'll give women of even a shred of time

38:21

and that's not what we're going for

38:23

either this is not the idea of like look

38:25

at me i'm this awesome feminist man

38:27

who's out to help women it's like no i

38:30

am going to use my place whatever that

38:32

may be whatever semblance of power i

38:34

have to ensure that women are heard

38:38

women are valued women are believed and

38:41

women are uplifted and that's

38:42

outrageously practical and if you're at

38:45

work and you are getting opportunities

38:47

and promotions and maybe you haven't

38:49

even worked for them that hard who knows

38:51

maybe you have i believe your hard work

38:52

or whoever's listening but you can think

38:54

of jade in the next cubicle who's just

38:56

as capable being willing to sacrifice

38:59

yourself so jade can have advancement in

39:01

her career advancement in the workplace

39:03

or advancement

39:05

in church if there's women who are

39:07

clearly capable for leadership positions

39:09

within the church but they're

39:10

continually giving to

39:12

x number of men being like you know what

39:15

i do believe i'm qualified for that but

39:16

you know who's also qualified is so and

39:18

so if you want to talk about allyship

39:20

that's what it looks like and we have to

39:22

put our money where our mouth is because

39:25

this will not change unless men see

39:27

themselves as part of the answer in fact

39:29

they're half of the answer if not more

39:32

and

39:33

one other thing that i think

39:36

we sometimes

39:38

psychologically overlook is that men in

39:41

the workplace who are overtly

39:43

egalitarian

39:45

are on the whole seen as weak research

39:48

shows

39:48

they're seen as pandering to women by

39:52

men

39:53

in the workplace that they work with but

39:55

also other women

39:56

i want to illuminate that because it

39:58

points to the societal influence of how

40:01

we believe men who practice egalitarian

40:05

ways in the places that they work and

40:07

worship are being treated so you can see

40:08

how they might

40:10

continually step back from being an ally

40:12

or advocate in any manner because when

40:15

they do they've been treated as weak

40:18

so we have to step this back and think

40:21

it isn't enough to simply as i mentioned

40:25

you know refrain from harassment or a

40:28

soul or a cat calling or

40:30

you know locker room talk we have got to

40:33

be willing to be seen as weak as men

40:36

we've got to be willing to be seen as

40:38

maybe i am helping women but not at the

40:40

expense of men it's because we're in

40:41

partnership partnership is always the

40:43

goal this isn't some feminist manifesto

40:46

this is truly

40:48

let's all work together because this is

40:49

going to destroy us all yeah this is the

40:52

gospel

40:54

the other person viewed as weak jesus

40:56

yeah you you had to get all jesus z and

40:58

say like we have to be willing to be

41:00

seen as weak tiffany

41:01

you burst my bubble because right in

41:03

that moment i was thinking

41:04

oh egalitarian men are seen as weak come

41:06

at me bro like whatever but then you

41:09

brought jesus yeah the solution is not

41:10

to make yourself appear tough

41:14

allow yourself to be perceived that a

41:15

great example is uh my own personal

41:17

moral exemplar fred rogers who comes up

41:19

in your book uh somebody that yeah

41:22

everybody thought he was weak and

41:23

feminine

41:24

okay a little behind the scenes i legit

41:27

wanted to pitch to my publisher my next

41:28

book be about

41:30

what does masculinity look like in

41:31

french basically writing a biography on

41:34

fred rogers because feelings are

41:36

mentionable and manageable and

41:39

you know it's wild how from the age of

41:41

13 13 is when boys start to realize if i

41:45

want to be seen as a quote unquote man i

41:48

have to demean women it's hard to find a

41:50

middle school girl who hasn't been

41:51

harassed it's almost impossible

41:53

why because he wants to be seen as a man

41:56

to the boys in his class but also to the

41:58

girls

41:59

and so we start this culture and this

42:02

abuse of power so young and then we see

42:04

it in fraternity culture and then we

42:06

take that into adult life and we take

42:07

that into the places we worship and we

42:10

see how we've normalized a culture of

42:12

abuse and it's one that we can fix oh

42:16

man i mean tiffany you just right there

42:19

drop this bomb that's going to change

42:20

the way i parent i've got a 12 year old

42:22

son

42:23

who

42:23

[Music]

42:24

like is petrified of girls

42:26

but

42:27

i mean it's an innocent thing it seems

42:30

like but uh it quickly could go into

42:33

demeaning girl meaning girls woman and

42:36

like you just

42:38

changed a little bit of the way i'm

42:40

gonna parent my boys so thank you

42:42

like

42:43

parents listen up

42:44

13 year olds that's crazy

42:47

yeah

42:49

so coming to the end of our time here we

42:51

we talked to a lot of people about some

42:52

dark heavy stuff this is one of those

42:55

conversations we've had see why you

42:56

drink while you do this it makes more

42:58

sense now exactly it's not an accident

43:00

that we have alcohol next to us so we

43:02

decided that at the end of most of our

43:04

interviews we're going to ask a version

43:06

of the question what's a better way

43:09

to try to

43:10

end on a hopeful note if possible and

43:12

there is some hope in your book in the

43:13

midst of all of the

43:15

the uncomfortable facts and the darkness

43:17

i mean you talk about building a culture

43:18

in which women are believed and boys are

43:21

taught respect and kindness and

43:23

ownership of their own desires and

43:25

stewardship of their emotions

43:27

so

43:28

what's a better way yeah we first must

43:30

lament

43:31

we must lament that this is happening so

43:33

many of us are still in denial we don't

43:35

want to believe that good men are

43:36

capable of bad things but if we can

43:38

lament and consider our proximity to

43:40

power and how we have personally

43:42

benefited when women have been taken

43:44

advantage of whether it's in the

43:45

workplace whether it's at our church

43:46

whether it's in politics when we first

43:49

see how we've been part of the problem

43:50

then we can begin to be part of the

43:52

solution

43:53

and then we have to listen as we've

43:55

talked about and then we have to learn

43:56

how these things happen or they will

43:58

continue to go unchecked and finally

44:00

we've got to love and love is not

44:02

divorced from justice don't believe

44:04

anyone who tells you otherwise we often

44:06

are

44:07

forcing women into this quick

44:08

forgiveness of you know you're you're

44:10

not spiritually mature if you aren't

44:12

willing to forgive what's happened to

44:13

you and forgive this man without

44:15

repentance and the reality is that this

44:18

woman is entitled to justice why because

44:20

my bible tells me so

44:22

and it's our honor it's our honor to

44:25

walk out that justice with her just as

44:27

for not just the perpetrator but for

44:29

those who've been harmed

44:31

that's good tiffany as you talk i'm

44:33

inspired because

44:35

if anyone can do that the church the

44:37

people who follow jesus the people of

44:39

the gospel we've got to be able to do

44:40

that right that's what we do lead the

44:42

way that's restoration redemption let's

44:44

go yeah

44:46

tiffany where can people find you where

44:48

can they buy their your books i mean

44:50

everyone knows where to buy books so i

44:51

don't even know why i'm asking this

44:52

question but we just want people to go

44:54

after like purchase your book and listen

44:56

to your podcast so tell us yeah

44:58

everything at

44:59

tiffanybluhm.com you can read or listen

45:02

to all kinds of goodies and of course

45:03

links to your favorite indie and

45:05

mainstream retailers and for the

45:07

everyday i hang out mostly on instagram

45:09

@tiffanybluhm nice well again the book

45:12

is pray tell and uh i i would put it on

45:15

the must read list especially after this

45:17

interview good grief if you're a fan of

45:19

those other books randy mentioned this

45:20

is definitely in your wheelhouse i have

45:22

to tell you something quite funny that

45:23

was called the christian thanos all

45:24

those books that you mentioned uh pray

45:26

tell and jesus and john wayne making the

45:29

womanhood

45:30

church called

45:31

i don't know if you saw that going

45:32

around on twitter but it said oh

45:34

christian thanos i've got all the books

45:38

that's awesome that's amazing you made

45:39

it you made thanos

45:41

you know what

45:42

someone's got to do it

45:44

like when you collect them all you can

45:46

equalize the universe come on

45:49

you just broke

45:50

with that

45:52

but yeah i'm going to be thinking about

45:53

that for a while

45:55

well tiffany bluhm thank you so much

45:56

for joining us it's been powerful and

45:58

it's been just a pleasure

46:00

oh the honor's all mine thanks for

46:02

having me

46:06

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