To All The Women Who've Been Hurt By Men

(Originally posted in December 2017, appearing in the Western Recorder and Kentucky Today):

To all the women who've suffered at the hands of predatory men, in the workplace or elsewhere, thank you for your bravery in coming forward. The vast majority of sexual assault and rape never get reported due to fear of retribution. I'm sorry for your pain, and I pray we can one day live in a world where these instances are the exception and not the norm.

What has been difficult for me to reconcile, both to those who share my faith and to those who do not (and I love you all), is that you cannot live in a world that eulogizes Hugh Hefner and the sexual revolution while not expecting to end up with this kind of mess. 

This whole culture of objectifying women in magazines and media, of telling men that they can have as much sex as they want with whomever they want without consequence, has exposed an unhealthy power dynamic that predates all the way to original sin and distorts the way God has ordered the universe: how sex is not merely consensual, but covenantal; not simply biological, but bondable. Sex outside the sanctity of marriage will always lead to a measure of unfulfillment and brokenness because it isn't sealed with commitment. 

Guys, when we rate women on scales of 1-10 or sizes of 0-10, we completely miss the entire point of Proverbs 31: that favor is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman of character, one who fears the Lord, is to be praised. 

When we constantly vote for the lesser of two evils by excusing any notion of morality, we undermine the very values that we profess and claim to hold dear.

I can't for the life of me figure out how this culture thinks it is enslaving for women to hold to the views of Jesus (who was the greatest advocate for women the world has ever seen) but somehow "liberating" to publically remove one's clothing and put on bunny ears. And God help the men in this country who purchase lurid literature and are addicted to pornography, only serving to further tell the ladies in our lives that we will only measure them by outward appearances and not with the heart.

To all the women who have been hurt by men: you do not have to measure up to any of our hypocritical standards. God has created you in his image, and you are perfect in his sight. He has bought you with a price and he will glorify you through his spirit. Don't settle for guys who are jerks or pigs; you deserve so much more than their ungratifying expectations.

To all the men in this country: stop viewing women as objects and start viewing them as sisters. The sexual innuendo you espouse and the locker room talk you create only serve to make the world a harder place to be a woman (and it's way harder than it should be as it is). Stop thinking of the girl in the seat as your next conquest and start thinking about your daughters.

These thoughts are pretty raw, I'm sure I'll have to tweak them, but I pray to God that we will stop looking for meaning and satisfaction in anyone or anything other than him, because he is the only one who can ultimately satisfy our deepest longings. And regardless of whether or not you hold my views, I pray for a world where women are treated with respect and not shame. You deserve that.

Barry E. Fields

All Things New is the preaching and teaching ministry of Barry E. Fields, pastor of Hawesville Baptist Church, a regional congregation on the Ohio River with two campuses in Kentucky (Hawesville) & Indiana (Crossroads Tell City) and membership in five counties.

Originally from Bowling Green, he grew up at Glendale Baptist Church under the ministry of Pastor Richard Oldham, competed for Western Kentucky University's nationally recognized speech and debate team before receiving a B.A. in History in 2007, completed an M.Div. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville in 2010, a Th.M. in 2012, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Homiletics and Church History at Southern, serving as Garrett Fellow to Dr. Hershael York from July 2012-December 2014. He has also taught theology and church history as an adjunct instructor for Campbellsville University. Before coming to his present ministry, he was pastor of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Buffalo, Kentucky, for almost 5 years.

Active in denominational life, Barry currently serves on the Southern Baptist Convention's Young Leaders Advisory Council, a small group of pastors and ministry leaders seeking to engage the next generation in cooperative missions and ministry; recently completed a term on the SBC's Committee on Committees; currently represents the Blackford Breckinridge Baptist Association on the Kentucky Baptist Convention's Executive Mission Board; and has served on the KBC's Committee on Nominations, as well as several associational roles.

In his free time, he enjoys reading history and politics, listening to WKYU's Barren River Breakdown (Bluegrass and folk music) along with a variety of podcasts, as well as watching historical and political documentaries and the Andy Griffith show. Barry has a desire to help people fulfill the Great Commission through the Great Commandments: by showing the love of Christ, we can better share the love of Christ, and make disciples of all nations. And just so you know, he bleeds BLUE (UK Basketball)!