I’m a guy.
Seriously, I am. I don’t just play one on TV. I actually have a Y chromosome.
As such, I can only guess what certain long-standing traditions in the church (or for that matter, the whole world) trigger in the hearts of women. Millennia of being treated as second-class citizens (often legally designated as such), being forbidden certain rights and privileges afforded to men, and generally being taught that God has made them inferior to men… that’s rough.
If I were to guess, I would assume many Christian women feel they only have repugnant options.
They may grudgingly accept this bitterly inferior role accorded to them, an act that likely gives them a general malaise at best and projectile vomit at worst. They may deny the God-inspired nature of the Word—seeking refuge in the idea that male bigotry irreparably tarnished the Scripture—to avoid its apparent chauvinism, a treacherous slope that should feel ominous to any thinking believer.
They may buck and rebel, rejecting this “man-authored” religion outright, despite any authenticity they’ve experienced in it. They may only reject “institutionalized religion” (i.e. the church), hoping instead to live and thrive disconnected from the body Christ instituted, prayed for, and died for.
They may grin and bear it, this lesser role, burying their unease and swallowing their reservations, submitting to their masculine superiors and knowing something inside them dies a little more each day but trusting that whatever that something is… it’s sinful. So it needed to die anyway.
Some women grin and bear it, this lesser role, burying their unease and swallowing their reservations, submitting to their masculine superiors and knowing something inside them dies a little more each day.
Thankfully, some Christian women don’t struggle with this. Some have found healthy churches that embrace and teach the word in context, recognizing the immense—and equal—value women have as co-heirs in the kingdom, as daughters of the Most High.
These women strive to avoid the man-hating, tradition-eschewing strife that some others have bound themselves in, instead embracing the differences that combined women and men together to form humanity, based on what God’s word really teaches rather than what sinful (both the willfully corrupt and the unwittingly misinformed) men have portrayed it to be for too long.
Addressing Some Key Issues
I want to address several of the key examples of this malarkey women have been subjected to and subjugated by. It will take a bit of writing to do this subject a reasonable service, so please be patient with me over the next few posts.
Plus, I’m not nearly scholarly enough to provide an exhaustive, comprehensive treatment on the subject, so please forgive my ignorance if I miss something.
And to that end, I’m a fallen man, capable of making mistakes like any other. So please be charitable.
A couple things to note before we start…
The Cultural Background
First, I don’t intend to delve into the various misogynistic cultures and influences present during the biblical times. Some readers may be appalled that I’d ignore such things, but I’m really not ignoring them. Actually, I’m granting the point entirely. I openly acknowledge that women were often treated subhuman in the Bible.
Does the Bible rise above the mire in which it was written, or does it endorse or even mandate this sexism?
Even the much-vaunted Greek philosophers who dealt with issues of human rights were all over the place on their perspective. Plato held that women were equals of men, and should be treated accordingly, given equal freedoms and rights. Aristotle, however, believed them to be less-than, to be subject to specific restrictions.
I’m willing to cede that society was immature. My focus, rather, is on the doctrine, on the Word. Does the Bible rise above the mire in which it was written, or does it endorse or even mandate this sexism? Personally, I believe sexism is like polygamy—acknowledged by the Bible as present but never approved of by it.
Second, I firmly and resolutely believe that men and women are different.
I’m not validating traditional gender roles (women wash dishes while men hunt) or other such nonsense. However, I don’t flee mindlessly from the idea that men and women are created by God to be two different genders.
There’s no harm in being different; each gender may have unique gifts, talents, passions, physical attributes, psychological tendencies, and the like. I’m not saying there are never exceptions or that all women are X and all men are Y (though I suppose technically, that’s half true). I’m merely saying that there are differences, and that’s okay.
We are made the way we are made, and I refuse to pretend that we have equal composition. Equality in composition is not required for equality in valuation.
God made us different, but God made us equal.
God did not make us identical, but God did make us complementary.
And that, the making of us, is where I’ll start in my next post.
Originally posted 2016-08-01 14:42:05.