What are Stepford Christians?

Stepford Christians

When I was a young newly wed I read The Stepford Wivesby Ira Levin. I was trying to be the perfect wife. Little did I know how this book would affect me. Then the movie came out. Science fiction and yet. . . an element of truth made it hit home with me.

The story is based on the perfect community of Stepford and the perfect wives who live there. If you’ve not seen it, I’ll not spoil it for you. Women will get it. We know how our society has put the pressure on us to be just so, dress fashionably; conduct ourselves appropriately and on and on goes the ideas that we must fit the mold of the perfectand acceptable homemaker. No wonder women burned their bras, but that’s another story.

I was caught in the turning of those times. My dad, love him as I did, saw only one future for me: a secretary or a teacher, and definitely a wife. I certainly didn’t have the courage to branch out and do my own thing.

I see so many parallels in our churches. We hear sermons about not being like the Pharisees and at the same time we have the unwritten expectations of members of our churches.

I recall visiting the church I grew up in when my baby girl was five months old. And yes, this was a long time ago. It was 25 degrees and I wore slacks to a gathering at the church. As I left my baby in the nursery the worker said abruptly, “You better not let Brother Tony see you in those pants.” I was stunned. I had been living in Houston. Coming home to this was not welcome. Times have changed. Thank goodness.

And yet don’t we still have ideas of what is acceptable in our Christian world?

Aren’t we attempting, in many cases, to make people into our image of what a Christian ought to look like, be like, and act like? We have churches that are uncomfortable if everyone isn’t a WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant). We have churches that believe in the love of God for all people until a gay couple comes to worship, or a wayward unkempt teenager, or . . . well you can imagine.

I can say as Sheri Daconsays,

I’m a good church girl. I’ve been practicing a long, long time and I’ve gotten pretty darn good at it.  I know the right answers.  I know what to wear, what to say, how to pray, you name it.  I have the hymns and all the key verses memorized.  I blend in beautifully with all the lovely, shiny church people. Read more from her blog. . .

All to say – isn’t Christianity supposed to free us to be authentic? I believe God is big enough, wise enough, and intelligent enough to accept me as I am.

Denominations have been created based on exclusion, rather than inclusion. To be part of themyou must think and do as they do. To be a member of their tribeyou must look like them.

I simply don’t get it.  Over and over Jesus spoke of acceptance. He instructed them to love one another. Let’s take him seriously.

Let’s leave Stepford and welcome all to the Open-Door Village.

Related link:  https://faithsmessenger.com/wounds_stepford_church/

Gail smiling in purple suitI am a Certified Professional Coach and I hold a degree from Lamar University in Speech and a Master’s from the University of Texas. I married Sam after raising three children as a single mother. I was an educator in regular and special education for twenty years, finishing my professional career as a Braille teacher. In 2007 I founded SMORE for Women. SMORE is a nonprofit association whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, and Empowered. My stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. My Website.


  1. Hi Gail,

    How true in our community, in a small island in 2018! Thank God our new found church of 3-4 years is somewhat different but they still stick to some traditions and are making a concerted effort to change to accommodate visitors who do not look, talk or smell like us.

    In His Service,


    Mrs. Mildred Hunt “Al-Mil” Enterprises 18 Town Hill Road, Flatts FL 07 BERMUDA Tel. 441-293-2903


    1. This is good to know. I am always encouraged when I hear that churches are becoming more inclusive.
      Keep in touch.

  2. Nancy DeForest · · Reply

    Amen, sister!

    On Mon, Nov 19, 2018 at 6:01 PM Wisdom for Women wrote:

    > Gail Cawley Showalter posted: ” Stepford Christians When I was a young > newly wed I read The Stepford Wivesby Ira Levin. I was trying to be the > perfect wife. Little did I know how this book would affect me. Then the > movie came out. Science fiction and yet. . . an element of truth ma” >

    1. So good to hear this from you, as I know you of all my followers understands this.

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