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Linking Sexuality and Gender

Naming Violence against Women in The United Church of Canada

By Tracy J. Trothen
Subjects Social Science, Women’s Studies, Religion
Series Studies in Women and Religion Hide Details
Paperback : 9780889204249, 232 pages, May 2003
Ebook (PDF) : 9780889205796, 232 pages, January 2006

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Linking Sexuality and Gender: Naming Violence against Women in the United Church of Canada by Tracy Trothen
List of Abbreviations
Author’s Standpoint
Ethical Framework
2.The Development of The United Church of Canada’s Approach to Human Sexuality
Birth Control
Redemptive Homes
The Marital Relationship and Marriage Breakdown
Concluding Remarks
3.The Development of The United Church of Canada’s Approach to Women’s Roles and the Family
Definition of Family and Gender Roles
Women and Ordination
Women’s Church Groups
“New Freedoms”
Concluding Remarks
4.Case Study: In God’s Image...Male and Female
Process, Methodology and Working Style
Theological Claims
Scientific and Experiential Claims
Biblical Authority and Hermenuetics
Ethical Decisionmaking
Intimacy and Sexual Exclusivity
Concluding Remarks
5.Case Study: Gift, Dilemma and Promise
Process, Methodology and Working Style
Sexuality and Selfhood
Concluding Remarks
Working Style
Content Methodology
6.Case Study: The Task Force on the Changing Roles of Women and Men in Church and Society
Mandate and Purpose
Sexism Is the Issue: Naming Feminism and Theological Method
Institutional Reform
.“Structures and Systems
Inclusive Language and Imagery
Pornography and Other Forms of Male Violence Against Women
1984 General Council and “Sacred Space”
Concluding Remarks
7.Taking Stock: A Contextual, Retrospective Look at Sexuality, Gender, Violence and The United Church of Canada
A Summary of Some Emerging Policies and Protocols, 1982–93
The United Church of Canada Located in the Wider Canadian Context: Prophetic or Followers?
A Summary of the Factors that Blocked or Contributed to the Recognition of Violence against Women
Human Sexuality
The Family and Gender Roles
Concluding Remarks
Selected Bibliography


Why did it take so long for the United Church of Canada to respond to violence against women?
Tracy J. Trothen looks at the United Church as a uniquely Canadian institution, and explores how it has approached gender and sexuality issues. She argues that how the Church deals with these issues influences its ability to name violence against women.
In examining the Church’s early approaches to gender and sexuality, Tracy J. Trothen discovered that the United Church had tended to see certain structures or roles as sacred and others as demonic. For example, while sex outside marriage was bad or improper, sexual expression within marriage was largely deemed as proper or good, no matter what manifestation it took. This assumption allowed much violence within families and marriages to go unchallenged.
Trothen uncovers significant shifts in this approach through the examination of such issues as redemptive homes, marriage, pornography, abortion, the ordination of women, and family. Then, analyzing three recent case studies, she demonstrates the value of women’s voices in challenging dominant world views. Finally, she suggests how the Church’s approach to human sexuality and gender has facilitated or obstructed the move to address violence against women.
The findings in Linking Sexuality and Gender can be applied to faiths outside the United Church and will be important to anyone interested in church and society, sexuality, gender, or the causal dynamics behind one Canadian institution’s response to violence against women.
Tracy J. Trothen is an assistant professor of systematic theology and ethics, and director of field education at Queen’s Theological College, Queen’s University, Canada. She was ordained in the United Church of Canada. Why did it take so long for the United Church of Canada to respond to violence against women?


Tracy Trothen provides a unique ethical study of key arenas in sexuality and social order. She digs into the archives of one religious institution, The United Church of Canada, to illumine how violence against women -- eventually, and with much struggle -- made it onto the agenda as a moral issue mandating concerted response. With a vibrant feminist approach, Trothen offers crucial resources to assess structural dynamics whereby issues of gender and sexuality, in particular male violence against women, are elided or named as ethical and theological issues. Her clear voice of advocacy admirably encourages intellectual and pastoral practices of justice-seeking as the heart of social ethics.

- Marilyn J. Legge, associate professor of Christian ethics,Emmanuel College, Victoria University, Toronto