How far is too far? Richard Gere recently found out after publicly kissing an unsuspecting Shilpa Shetty.

There is a warrant out for both of their arrests. Why arrest Shilpa Shetty? Indian lawmakers believe she was too compliant towards his advances.

I often feel influenced by a culture of compliance. What are we to do when confronted with a conversation that we deem inappropriate? Has this happened to you lately? I find it happens to me all the time and I wonder, am I too sensitive? Am I too prudish? Am I too …. what?

Too often I find myself making excuses for ill-fitting behavior. Usually it’s an inappropriate comment about women and I’m trying not to grow weary of saying, “What do you mean by that,” and, “I would rather you not say that.” Lately I don’t feel as if my policing is doing any good. Usually the offender chuckles and says, “Awww, lighten up.”

I’m not feeling very light. In 2005 women were paid an average of $0.77 to every dollar earned by men. The 2005 The State of Women in Baptist Life reports that the percentage of women pastoring churches affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was 5.5%.

I’m thankful for the men and women working to increase women’s wages and women in pastoral ministry. How can we speed up the process? How do we encourage appropriate behavior while maintaining friendships and job opportunities?

In the meantime, let’s agree not to laugh at things we don’t think are funny and should Richard Gere ever grope us uninvited, we should make sure he knows how far is too far.

Suzanah Raffield writes for the Sparkfly blog.

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