by Kelly Pelton (written 17 Feb 2022)

Denial, the great encapsulator of abuse, asserts,
"women are equal in being, unequal in function"
(excluded from teaching or preaching elder roles),
affirmation/subordination a conjunction

of opposites in this gaslighting word play,
this culture of defending gender hierarchical
practices. Abuse is ineffective without denial,
present in male-run oligarchical

fellowships, persuasive sincerity
protecting religious power from feminine influence,
speaking for God, deliberately misinterpreting
scripture with certainty, a confusing confluence

of righteous indignation and deception.
Denial - unhelpful, unconscious - is willful unyielding
suppression of truth, extremely convincing to those
who sense something's not right in the wielding

of power to restrict half the body of Christ
from church-wide leadership contribution.
Denial questions the hearts and motives of others
but never itself, freely engaging in the attribution

of selfish ambition as cause for questioning the hierarchy,
using fear of this to distract from its own ambition,
projecting its own flaws in the form of accusations
to intimidate those who would voice opposition.