Jonathan Merrit: Women can Lead Churches Because they have Cracked Nipples when they Breastfeed

Jonathan Merritt, the gay son of megachurch pastor, James Merritt, and a journalist who has become a favorite of the Evangelical Intelligentsia who was last seen promoting “theistic evolution”, surprised no one today when he shared and lauded a clip from promoting what he understatedly described as “subversive spiritual commentary.” He further declared his thankfulness that his own apostate church “holds space” for these kinds of brilliant and “honest” actualizations.

The clip, which is a poem by Kaitlin Hardy Shetler written in 2018 and delivered by Genay Jackson (she/her) in 2020, offers a unique justification of why women should be able to lead services and preach to men: because they experience pain in childbirth and mental anguish over breastfeeding, which overrides 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

Sometimes I wonder if Mary breastfed Jesus. If she cried out when he bit her, or if she sobbed when he would not latch.

And sometimes I wonder if this is all too vulgar to ask in a church full of men without milkstains on their shirts, or coconut oil on their breasts, preaching from pulpits off-limits to the mother of God.

But then I think of feeding Jesus, birthing Jesus, the expulsion of blood and the smell of sweat. The salt of a mother’s tears on to the soft head of the salt of the earth. Feeling lonely and tired. Hungry, annoyed. Overwhelmed, loving.

And I think ‘if the vulgarity of birth is not honestly preached by men who carry power but not burden, who carry privilege, but not labor, who carry authority, but not submission, then it should not be preached at all.

Because the real scandal of the birth of God lies in the cracked nipples of a 14-year-old and not in the sermons of ministers who say women are too delicate to lead.

Ironically, it’s this sort of commentary and feministic Gnosticism that demonstrates exactly why women should not be leading a congregation or preaching, coconut oil and cracked nipples be damned.


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