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Gospel for the Culture slams Pastor Mike Todd for his viral clip involving the #SilhouetteChallenge. Gospel for the Culture is a column that takes the unique experiences of Black pop culture and discusses them from a progressive spiritual view. Michael Todd is the lead pastor of Transformation Church, along with his wife Natalie, based in Tulsa, OK since 2015. The couple married in 2010 and has three children.
The Silhouette Challenge refers to a viral trend on TikTok where a person poses in front of a source of light, often an open doorway or a window then cuts to an edited still image of themselves in a complete silhouette striking the same pose. It started as a body-positive phenomenon played alongside Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head on My Shoulder.” However, a new countertrend has perverted the intentions of the challenge, leading some influencers to warn people against participating in the challenge.
In a recent viral sermon clip, “Welcome to The Deep” taken from the full one-hour sermon, Todd discourages women from participating in the #SilhouetteChallenge because it seemingly makes men not even want to know what is in a woman’s mind anymore “because you’ve shown them everything under your clothes.”
Gospel for the Culture slams the young preacher and includes him in a long line of male pastors who “often choose to parade the bodies of women – who make up the majority of congregations – through their sermons.” One Twitter user, who goes by the handle @OptimusFine, asked a very compelling question. She posted the following:
Ima ask the question cause it’s time male preachers were more honest. @iammiketodd how do you know about the silhouette challenge and what women are showing under their clothes? This is a VERY niche trend in a VERY specific demographic. There are no accidents in the algorithm.
D. Danyelle Thomas, curator of The Gospel for the Culture podcast, went on to express how Todd’s use of the Silhouette Challenge is strange and hypocritical “given he has likely curated his timeline to like-minded people and that there are no accidents in the algorithm, to see so many of a very specific niche challenge means that one has attuned their algorithm to it through consistent engagement.” Shaming a trend that he has obviously been scrolling through is just the tipping point of hypocrisy in the pulpit, according to the writer. She added:
Let’s call a thing a thing, here. Todd may be the most recent voice admonishing women to not seek to be impressive with their bodies, but his words echo a generations-long tradition of the church’s repression of women’s bodies and sexuality.
His sermon engages a long history of men preaching about the bodies of women with themselves, their opinions, and desirability as it concerns us as the center. We are told we’re created in the image of God, but every conversation of our bodies is cloaked in shame and sin while naming everyone but ourselves as the owners of our personhood.
From the time we are girls with no knowledge of our sexual selves, we are preached sermons of modesty and asked to bury any glimmer of our sensuality and then magically expected to sprout sexuality wings because y’all ‘chose’ us and we said, ‘I do.’
These lectures demand that we constantly disassociate our sexuality from our intellectual capacity and force us to choose to exist in parts. It is these words, spoken from self-declared messengers of God, that both sexualizes and scandalizes everything women do. It is these misogynistic teachings, absent of any critical engagement, that feeds the beliefs and mindsets of people who attack of people who attacked Chloe Bailey (to the point of tears) for choosing to be free this week.
The sermon, according to Thomas, neglected to challenge men to consider their mindset instead of the norm of pushing performative modesty onto women, all in the name of Jesus. This seems to be in alignment with the dominant Judeo-Christian themes regarding women. These teachings maintain that women were “created by God for man’s pleasure and entertainment, that woman’s sexuality is a source of temptation and evil, and that woman’s role is naturally limited and inferior because of her biology.” This doctrine has convinced women as well as men that in the natural order of things women are inferior beings whose major function is the propagation of the species.
Gospel for the Culture slams Pastor Mike Todd for his compelling admonishment to steer women clear of the #SilouetteChallenge. Women play a huge role in church membership and organizations across the globe. They also have stories to tell, meditations to share, and sermons to preach, but when they are told it is more virtuous for them to have strict limitations while men run wild it hurts the creditability of their voices. The Body of Christ loses when the church does not liberate and elevate women’s voices and stifles the opportunity to be free indeed.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
MadameNoire: Why is Pastor Mike Todd So Concerned About The #SilhouetteChallenge?
Gospel for the Culture: D. Danyelle Thomas
ABC News: Security warning out for TikTok users baring all in silhouette challenge
Top / Featured Image Courtesy of Vicki Nunn’s Pixabay Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of D. Danyelle Thomas