The Elephant in the Church; A Woman’s Tract for our Times. Mary T. Malone

On Wednesday evening of this week I attended the launch of Mary T. Malone’s new book, The Elephant in the Church.
It was a special evening. A large crowd gathered in Marianella for the launch, which was done by Geena Menzies.
Mary T. is a wonderful speaker, clear, precise and highly entertaining. The book charts the history of what she calls ‘woman Christianity’. Her thesis is that almost from the beginning Christianity has been written and designed by men, for men, and with men in charge. Women are different to men, and the woman’s experience of living out the Christian life is inevitably different. But this has almost never been acknowledged and is not represented in the teaching, structure or culture of the Church. She does not trace this attitude back to Christ, but rather to St. Paul.
For me, coming as this event did just a few days after listening to the women of Killaloe, I am now much more conscious of the need for me, as a man, to be very circumspect in what I say about women in the Church; and especially because, no matter how much I might disapprove of it, I am still very much part of that male patriarchy that has dominated the Church.
Mary T. regards the question of the ordination of women as of little or no importance; in fact she suggests that it would be a good strategical move for the male Church, in that they could bring women in as part of the system, but with no real possibility of any deeper change. She believes that allowing the experience of ‘woman christianity’ to permeate the Church at all levels is a much more necessary, but also more radical necessity.
To quote from the last piece of the introduction: “There can no longer be any such thing as a woman-free renewal. I am writing this book in that hope that, as women and men Christians, our joint insights, historical and contemporary, may help to renew the church we love”
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who longs to see our church revitalised, and an effective for promoting the message of Christ.