Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Women and Men - Complementing Equality

As a Christian, that is, as one who seeks to follow Jesus, I am deeply saddened that injustice and inequality are being actively perpetrated by "the church" against women.

Now, there are segments of Christianity that have moved away from such discrimination, but large parts of the church, most notably the 'conservative evangelical' segment of the church can claim to actually be defending the bible by promoting discrimination against women!

I do not wish to go into why such controversies still exist except to say that it seems to have something to do with a wrong understanding of the bible, the misuse of power, an attempt to protect the authority of male dominated institutions, and a real fear that 'giving in' on this issue will be to let liberalism 'win'. In fact the so called "slippery slope" seems to be where all meaningful discussion is guilotined by these so called conservatives. In actual fact, a truly conservative reading of the New Testament and even of Genesis will show that any type of male domination is sin. It is a sure sign of the falleness of humankind. The gospel of Jesus shines particularly hard and bright on all such darkness however carefully we have treasured it in the nether corners of our hearts.

It's time to put this foolishness away. It is time to recognise the gifts that God has given to all humans and to allow each human to achieve her/his fullest potential - in true partnership and the building up of one another.

There are terrible systemic injustices; poverty, racial discrimination, casteism, war, genocide and so many evils that are perpetuated most obviously by our alienation from God. So, let's not blame God for what injustice and evil we do to each other, let us not allow culture to dictate what true justice is. Rather let us join together to celebrate the reality of our New Creation in God!



Sam said...

It is not valid to simply dismiss the opposing argument as a wrong understanding with dubious motives.

I railed against the complementarian 'gender roles' when I first encountered them. I then went and investigated the opposing 'egalitarian' view and was convinced of it. However, after spending more time understanding both cases, I'm leaning more towards a complementarian view.

The fact is that this is a complex argument, involving many issues of interpretation and translation, and both sides can put forth a reasonable, biblical case.

That said, there seem to be proponents for both views adopting fundamentally un-Christian stances at times, being scornful of the other side, and this is very unfortunate.

Unknown said...

Sam, thanks for your comment. You feel that the biblical evidence is equivocal, but I don't. I think that it is our cultural perspective combined with a number of insecurities that make us read the bible in this way.

I don't mean to denigrate complementarian readings neither do I think that egalitarianism is particularly well founded. Both positions stem from our cultural reading rather than inductively.

The more fundamental issues that need to be addressed are what is humanity? What constituted our fall? How does the gospel and God's kingdom change things?

PamBG said...

Hellow samlcarr. I followed your link from Ben Witherington's blog just to find out more about you. What an encouraging post to see at my first visit.

Unknown said...

Thanks for dropping by Pam. My blog is not even the sound of one hand clapping but if you will follow the title link on this post, there's a live one and it's still trickling along too!

PamBG said...

samlcarr, It's good to get to know people. My blog is also a small voice, but God will use us as we are called.

Unknown said...

Yes indeed, very good to get to know you! It seems that we have a lot of work still to do on the subject of equality.

I wonder how folks can affirm some small matters like "we are all equally of one body, and have one Lord (who makes us his disciples), who gives us the ministry of reconciliation", but then proceed to say that none of that counts for the praxis of life (in the same Spirit) in which our roles, activities and responsibilities have to be divided off according to; appearance, status, knowledge, gender, and/or whatever else?

Do they realise what this does to the gospel of grace that they say that they treasure?

Pressing on! said...

Hey Sam! You posted on my blog a while back in reference to my trip to India this month and my interest in John Stott. I would love to talk with you more about both of those. I am heading to India tomorrow, the 14th and will be back at the end of May so maybe we could chat then.

This topic interest me as well, and I will admit that the culture I live in does in fact shape some of my theology. I believe we also see this in Scripture. Where theology, while maintaining absolute truth, was impacted greatly by culture. I also do believe that women should be trained and equipped to do what God has called them to do. One question I do have is this: Do you believe from the very beginning of creation that God placed the man in authority over the woman? Not in a role that is to be used to exert power, demand submission, or anything as such, but as an authority over her? I am curious to know your thoughts on this.

I appreciated your post and look forward to hopefully talking with you soon.

Unknown said...

I look forward to talking to you after you get back. In the meantime, if you wish to be in touch, please do email me.

I don't read Genesis that way. I am working my way through Genesis now especially on opensourcetheology.org with Ktismatics and will be getting to discuss these passages in some detail pretty soon.

I frankly don't think authority enters the picture till the fall and then in a fallen way that has been the source of abuse for millenia.


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