True Power

True Power

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sexual harassment or doctrine: My Story Dorothy Guyton

To begin let me state without question I am not bitter at my journey through biblical academia. I have grown leaps and bounds spiritually, but there was a price to be paid. I thought long and hard about telling my story. I asked first would it seem like backbiting against my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and second I asked would there be any benefit to telling my story. Satisfied with my answers, I think I'll let you come to your own conclusion about my reasonings for opening up.

To say I wanted to be a female minister would result in the same answer from any other minister: God does the calling whether I want the duty or not. To say I am a female minister would not be correct anyway. I believe I am more akin to Joyce Myers; somewhere in the realm of not needing a title other than servant of God. Titles are only important to those seeking position. I admit, titles help to identify what your job or purpose is, but work results can also define us too. I can be called a mechanic, have it written across my chest and never fix a car. I can talk about it and be well versed in it, but would I be a TRUE mechanic. People would seek me out looking for aid for their car because of my title. Until I produce, and produce competently I do not live into my title.

I do believe God put a restless spirit in me back in 2005 to seek to know Him more in depth. To my surprise, I found in my local community a Bible college. I became excited and really praised God for divine direction. I had never noticed the the college in all of my years living in the community and I believed God had to have had something to do with letting the scales fall from my eyes.

I registered after reading their college catalog, deciding the classes were what I was interested in. Time passed and passed and I waited to be notified of orientation day. I finally decided there was only a week left before Fall term began and I better check to make sure I had everything in order to attend. To my surprise the campus was abuzz with the last ditch efforts to do placement test for straggler students. I was told I just walked in on the last testing opportunity to become registered and would have to take the 3 hour test within an hour before staff went to lunch; was I able to? Of course I said yes, and plowed into the 100 multiple choice test on the Bible, 50 question math test, and 5 question essay test to show my writing skills. To my surprise, I scored high on all and was informed I had cleared to register for classes in two days.

Feeling extremely lucky, I showed up to register for classes the following Monday. I followed the example given in the college catalog for my Junior year class selections(already had an associate degree). I was routed from one department head to the next for approval signitures, until I came to the next to last signiture needed. This middle aged man began to ask how I found out about the college and did I know certain "black" women in the community; which I did not. It was a friendly chat before he headed off the get the final signiture needed to complete my class registration (he said).

He returned with news that one class in particular had only one opening left and a senior desparately needed the slot and would I be willing to substitute another class allowing the senior to have that last slot. More than understanding and willing I agreed and we substituted a class, I took my form myself for final approval and headed to the book store to get my books.

Almost skipping I entered the bookstore still feeling lucky to have gotten in and so ready to learn more about God and the Bible I entered the bookstore to audible whispering "That's her" "She tried to sign up for Methods of Patoring" The people began to back away from me as I claimed books off of the bookshelves and stood in line to purchase them." I felt stares digging into my back. Some faces had actually turned red. The lady behind the desk literally snatched my class schedule with the list of my needed books from my hand. I was puzzled. This was a college with adults first and a Biblical College second. Was I imagining hostility? And if not, why was everyone hostile? People talk about playing the race card, but if you are the only black person standing in a sea of white people, the race card jumps out first in its own magic trick. Of course, knowing what Christianity should be, I did not let that reasoning find fertile soil in my mind.

Day one first class; I'm the only female in a class of 15 other males. The instructor suggested we go one by one to introduce ourselves and why we decided to attend Bible College. STANDARD PRACTICE in many class room settings. My turn came and being in Bible college truth reigns "I came to Bible college because I love God and wanted to learn more about Him and the Bible."

The guy who followed me (about 43 yrs old), stood up placing his arms behind his back in military style (parade rest) and said, "This is not a Sunday school class and it takes more than loving God to be a Christian. It takes obedience to His word, and that's why I am here." Okay people I have said many times I am slow on the uptake. This man who stood up was also different than everyone else in the room. He was bald, wore a silver band on his thumb and looked like a aging rebel, so I quickly was happy that there was diversity at the college and he was in the right place for his strong views. After two more introductions, a young man about 21 asked the instrutor, instead of introducing himself, would God hold people accountable for teaching people who were not called to certain areas (I promise this went over my head because first I was not called by God for anything, secondly no where in their catalog did they say women could not attend the college or certain classes, thirdly, I BELIEVED ALL CHRISTIANS WERE NICE and this was some kind of question to do with his own personal life.)

It took me about two weeks to finally realize my presence there was not wanted. Class instructors asked about my husband everyday and why he was not at the college and could they speak with him, I was never called on to read a passage from the Bible or answer any questions presented to the class. One of my instructor's wife had a class with me and she avoided me like the plague. It was not a black and white issue it was a WOMAN issue. Jokes about denominations especially the Baptist were cracked I do believe in a joint effort to offend me and make me quit. I was not Baptist and did not care for separation of God's children using denominations. I thought the denominational jokes were childish and crude; but not even close to being something to make me quit. I dug in my heals once I realized the nature of what was occurring. My husband was very upset with me that I was potentially putting myself in unknown harms way. When Christians are wrong they are very worng and very malicious and very dangerous. There was not a place of peace for me at college or home for that 1st semester.

I spent my second month there actually fearful. I had a young man about 21 become so visibly agitated at my presence in the college that he transfered to our college brother University in another state. He caused me a good deal of internal fear. Young men raised by fathers they admire will fight to the end to protect the integrety of their father's words and beliefs. I always sat as far away as possible from him.

After completing my first semester with 'A's, carrying myself as Jesus would, being far better, gracious, loving, kind, approachable, to others than they had been, killing them with the love of God, they broke. I gave them no reasoning to be cruel to a nice godly person whose ONLY interest was learning more about her professed religion. No agenda on my part was found, after much investigation. I became a mirror in which they only saw self after a while and then finally they could see me and along with me; Jesus.

The militant guy became my in-class-joking buddy. We sat side by side in all of the classes we had together my last semester. He had a great transformational testimony for God before I had met him and after we became friends. The last semester of my senior year he was demanding instructors to let me read from the Bible in class to the point I had to poke him to make him stop, it had developed to picking status. He admired me, my husband, and my children. He was a dear friend that continued on to minister to people in jail and recovering from drugs as he did while in college at our local jail and prisons in surrounding counties.

The instructor's wife and I laughed and laughed throughout the two years that followed and she cried my final semester almost every other day at my leaving her and returning her back to her testosterone world with no shading of compassion for womanhood.

Oh, the instructor who chatted me up before removing me from my 'preacher' class was a great academic mind who transferred to another state for family reasons. I cried missing his demanding expected expectation of greatness he believed we all had in us before exam time. I learned the most in his classes.

This was my undergrad experience and I walked into seminary with many echos of this on a higher level of civility and shading but it was there. I recalled on this blog a dentist in the throws of working on my tooth questiong me as to whether I was going to preach or not and I was terrified to give an incorrect response.

I had never been exposed to ugliness, hostility, prejucice, self righteousness, pride, egotism, sexism, abuse moreson than when I enrolled in these religious institutions designed to teach about God, His nature, His word, His doctrine. But my testimony rings louder. I determined to show Jesus when no one else wanted to. I determined to learn for myself the God I served and make sure everyone else who so desired would and could no matter what anyone else said. I saw first hand the power of being and living how God has told me to no matter what everyone around me has chosen to do. I learned it is not about others it is about self and what are YOU going to do and HOW are you going to respond and are you WILLING to be uncomfortable for God and GROW and not become bitter and die.

I ask in all of our efforts to follow the word of God, are we destroying the word of God? In all of God's truth and wisdom written for man to read, follow and flourish is his seed of love being demonstrated? You cannot harrass people into following God. You cannot abuse them into believing your understanding of His word, and you can not force the Spirit filled giftedness out of a person. All avenues of God's working and sovereignty do not begin and end with you. God is going to use His creation to reach His creation and He is not going to run it past you for approval.

Many have inccorectly assumed I wanted to become a minister or pastor without asking me and I can pretty much assume without asking God was that my intentions. My true calling has it's title which is Christian. Define the duties of a Christian and decide how I can fulfil them by sitting in a corner being silent. God said we have problems because we have no wisdom. Operate in God's word but operate in it in wisdom.

Sadly to say, this Bible College that taught so extraoridinarily well, I mean sound doctrine and opened the Scripture up to me in ways I will forever be grateful, closed in 2010 due to the economy and lack of students. My final semester there issued in a new college catalog with an asteric next to courses women could not take and also classes in which the men could not take.

This horrible time, this absolutely frightening time that made me run to the bathroom three time in two years to cry, gather myself up, say a quick Psalm 23 prayer, grew my spirt and mind in ways I can only give God the glory for taking my life in that direction. I testify to the goodness of that college and how it made me a better Christian, not to any of it fewer pitfalls.

When I began in 2005, I just wanted to know my God more, I learned there was so much I did not know and would spend the rest of my life trying to know. I had no further dreams than a bachelors degree. When I entered seminary on the road to my masters degree I was nauseous and questioning could I do this. Two books later and several print ready manuscripts, I am so blessed to have encountered everything I encountered those years. I met the person God knew me as during those years and I get reintroduced yearly to this person He knows and loves. He has whispered so audibly 'BELIEVE ME TO TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE IN ME. I CREATED YOU AND I KNOW.'

Women of God, keep doing the first part of being born again in Christ Jesus, living that transformed life daily and your title will be the title proclaimed in Scripture "a new creature in Christ" that all will try to give an 'other' name, but it is the name God knows you by that matter


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