Every spring we come to the nasty realization that we were supposed to be writing plays all year, so we sign up for Bloodworks reading slots, hoping that a deadline will force us to get off our asses (or sit on them for hours on end, staring into computer screens) and pull something together.
In an uncharacteristic display of volunteerism the likes of which would probably have gotten me bayoneted at Gettysburg, I will be going first. My play is called IN QUIETNESS, and it is takes place in the Homemaking House at a Southern Baptist seminary.
A little background info: A few years ago, a certain seminary began offering a B.A. in Homemaking, open only to women. This came on the heels of the seminary president's decision to fire a female professor of Biblical languages (despite her tenure-track status), because he interprets that the Bible prohibits women from teaching men theology. This president also happens to be the president of the whole Southern Baptist Convention, and since his tenure began in the '90s the SBC has banned women from the ministry. These days the SBC actively promotes the concept of complementarianism—the idea that God created men and women as "equal but different." Men have been created by God to lead, and women to follow and support.
Now, I'm a feminist. I'm the daughter of two scientists. I’m also the granddaughter of a pastor and an organist. I grew up going to church every Sunday, coming home, and pushing a dozen lab coats out of the way to hang up my jacket in the hall closet. By age 5 I could tell you about Noah's journey on the Ark, pause for a breath, and then tell you about Charles Darwin's journey on the HMS Beagle. My dad can use a drillpress and thread a sewing machine, and so can I.
As a kid I never thought of these things—science/religion, power tools/cleaning solvents—as contradictions. It's probably no surprise, then, that I take issue with complementarianism. But that, me taking issue with that, that's not what this play is about.
A basic force that drives me to write is the desire to become a more compassionate person. The most wonderful moments I've had in life or art are those when suddenly I realize what a closed-minded, judgmental douchebag I am. And every time it happens it's kind of upsetting and kind of horrifying and kind of a gloriously enormous relief that I realized it while there's still time to do better. So for me, that's what writing this play has been about. Trying really hard to understand where the people I vehemently disagree with are coming from, trying to see the value in a system I have always viewed as outdated, ignorant, and unethical. Looking really hard at the grey areas and trying to have enough humility to admit that maybe, maybe, I could possibly be a little bit wrong. Maybe.
...Um. We'll see.
by Anna Moench
Wednesday, May 19 at 7pm