Sunday, August 5, 2012
Does Your Sermon Pass the Bechdel Test?
I've been going to church for the last couple of Sundays. It's not important to the story to know which church. I will tell you it's in the American South.
Here's a poll from ABC News about religion in America. It says older women in the South attend church the most.
And that ties in to the Bechdel Test in an interesting way. The Bechdel is a quick way to gauge how female friendly a movie is. By friendly, I mean, is it a story that is women centered or are the women in the flick just cardboard characters?
What do movies and church sermons have in common? They are both all about the story. Tell a good story and viewers will flock to the theaters. I'm sure it's the same for church sermons.
But how can a sermon pass the Bechdel Test when most of the information for a sermon is pulled from the Bible? You know that book that tells stories about men, about a male God, and that male God's son. Big Momma God, I've stepped into a hot sticky mess.
Last Sunday's sermon was about the Prodigal Son. How did it score on the Bechdel? Ummm, there were no women, two sons, a male father and a male God and a male son of God.
This Sunday's sermon was about David killing Uriah. It Bechdelled with a male King (David), a guy getting killed, a wife (not even named in the reading), a male spiritual leader (Nathan), a male God and a male son of God. Oh wait, there was a whole Bible passage reading that really kinda compared a woman (the above not named wife) to property of a man in the form of a female lamb (2 Samuel 11:26 - 12:1-9, 13a of The Message).
So... is there any way to write sermons that score well on the Bechdel Test if your source material is the Bible?
Just so you know, to pass the test a movie has to contain these three elements.
1.) There have to be two or more women in it who have NAMES.
2.) They have to TALK to each other.
3.) And they have to TALK to each other ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN A MAN.
How about you? Did your sermon this week pass the Bechdel Test? Heck, I'd even be interested in knowing if you saw a movie this week that passed the Bechdel Test. Those are far and few also. Shoot me an email and let me know kathrynusherart @ gmail.com.