Is England's Elaine Storkey "the wrong type of evangelical"? That's what a lawyer for her school who fired her maintains. I can only hope more such "wrong types" show up very soon, and in great numbers. But... what has me ranting? C'mon, you know: the usual "shut up and sit down" approach by conservative evangelical males when intelligent women (a.k.a., "feminist liberals"?) raise painful facts and questions to the fore.
Photo (below): Dr. Storkey, left, visits Tearfund project in Africa.
Dr. Elaine Storkey is one of the most reasonable and intelligent voices amongst British Christian intellectuals (already an impressive bunch). She's also quite well known there due to her "Thought for the Day" BBC 4 broadcasts and fine books (see end of this bit for a partial list). Nonetheless, Storkey recently was fired by her Wycliffe Hall (Oxford) bosses, the controversial Rev. Richard Turnbull (school principal) and Rt Rev James Jones, Anglican Bishop of Liverpool. Storkey immediately protested, noting she was fired after, in a private trustees meeting, raising concerns over a number of statements Turnbull had made since his tenure began. "There was a grievance procedure, which had been heard and which I felt had treated me unfairly," she told the employment tribunal. "I had appealed. I was waiting for the appeal to be heard but instead of it being heard, I was dismissed."
On January 8, Wycliffe Hall granted that she'd been unfairly treated and settled with 20,000 pounds (approx. $40,000) in consequence. Dr. Storkey will pursue a lawsuit, however, on the grounds of religious discrimination. Thus the school's comment that she's merely "the wrong type of evangelical." The lawsuit is expected to be heard in June.
Dr. Storkey is not only well known for her broadcasting but also as President of England's Tear Fund, a rough equivalent to World Vision in the United States. She is involved in the Anglican Evangelical Progressive group, Fulcrum, and a dialogue/information outreach to persons struggling with same-sex attraction, True Freedom Trust. All of these facets offer a portrait of biblically balanced faith, rooted in wisdom principle Scripture exegesis.
I personally have always appreciated Elaine Storkey's approach to gender issues, whether her moderate approach to homosexuality or her moderate (and equally biblical) approach to feminism. As someone deeply invested in a feminist hermeneutic regarding Scripture, I believe Storkey's contributions are -- in America -- under-utilized. She deserves wider recognition here, and I for one hope that this unfortunate series of events does in fact lead to her becoming more visible as a spokesperson for women, for the dispossessed and hungry, and for men and women dealing with same-sex attractions.
Some day soon (God willing), I'll try to snag Dr. Storkey for an interview... or three or four interviews as far as this blog is concerned.
Here are some links to various of Dr. Elaine Storkey's books, just so I can do my bit to popularize her writings here (in no order whatever):
What's Right with Feminism
Study Bible for Women (NT only; notes co-written)
Origins of Difference: The Gender Debate Revisited
Created or Constructed: The Great Gender Debate
Fathers and Sons: the Search for a New Masculinity (co-authored)
Mary's Story, Mary's Song
Praying with Saint Teresa (co-authored)
The Search for Intimacy (and 3 excerpts from that book I blogged a while back)
Losing A Child: Finding a Path Through the Pain (Link is a Brit site, so in pounds not dollars - sorry)
Conversations on Christian Feminism (co-authored)
Magnify the Lord
Biblical Feminism 20 Years Later (audio tape from Chr. for Biblical Equality)
Wikipedia Elaine Storkey bio
Wycliffe Hall press release
Fulcrum press release (also mentions two others dismissed by Wycliffe Hall)
Other blog entries:
'Culture Shock' writes on "Elaine Storkey and Wycliffe"
'TIMESonline' reporter writes affectionately about a young Elaine Storkey dancing at Greenbelt, and what has happened to her in the Wycliffe mess.
'TitusONEnine' offers links; the interesting (if at times predictably fundie) stuff is in the comments section. Look particularly for the good and helpful for Americans looking for background comment from Dale Rye (#13, I believe).
Related stories on Blue Christian: Ruth Tucker and Calvin College
This story was edited five or six times today, in order to insert more links and also to correct an error re Euros vs. Pounds, along with inserting the lovely photo pirated from the Tearfund website.
tag: Wycliffe Hall, Storkey religious discrimination, Anglican, bible, CBE, Christians for Biblical Equality, Elaine Storkey, evangelical, feminism, feminist, Ruth Tucker, women