For Christians that follow the liturgical calendar it is the season of Epiphany. However, today I find myself back in a season of waiting…
Waiting to hear decisions
Waiting to make decisions
Waiting, feeling powerless
Waiting, holding onto faith by a thread
Waiting, clinging to hope for dear life
Waiting, wondering what will be…
If you want to know the truth I wish I didn’t have to think about equality for women. In a perfect world men and women would be seen as equal and would be in places of influence based on character, talent, etc. The same would be true of any group of people that are marginalized, and suffer oppression in any form from the dominate group that holds the most power and influence in any situation.
I just finished reading, Gender Knot Revised Ed: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy, by Allan G. Johnson. Johnson on patriarchy:
“A society is patriarchal to the degree that it promotes male privilege* by being male dominated, male identified, and male centered. It is also organized around an obsession with control and involves as one of its key aspects the oppression of women.”
Allan G. Johnson. Gender Knot Revised Ed: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy (Kindle Locations 112-113). Kindle Edition.
I am thinking about this concept with regard to the Christian Church.
It seems naming this condition out loud causes good people to be uncomfortable, defensive and a bit reactive. In an exercise Johnson conducted in a workshop with business men and women he asked them to name advantages and disadvantages the other gender has. As they reported their findings through the process and results a blanketing silence settled over the room. Johnson reports:
“The result is a kind of paralysis that reflects not only where this particular group-and countless others like it-finds itself as it confronts the reality of gender inequality, but where entire societies are in relation to these issues.”
Allan G. Johnson. Gender Knot Revised Ed: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy (Kindle Locations 102-103). Kindle Edition.
Any denomination, movement or church that does not fully include women as equals to men is compiled of men and women who knowingly or unknowingly participate in a patriarchal structure.
This is what I am thinking about today…
If you are up to emotional, intellectual, or theological sparring around the issue of biblical equality between men and women you may want to check out the following:
Jim Henderson‘s post “Driscoll Bullies the Brits”
Jason Clark’s post “Mark Driscoll takes aim at the ‘cowards’ in the British church #dminlgp”
Michael Frost’s post here
All of the above sparked from this article
I’m not going to lie, I find this exhausting.
Two of my friends are releasing books (I contributed a wee bit to both) over the next week:
Unladylike: Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church by Pam Hogeweide
The Resignation of Eve: What If Adam’s Rib Is No Longer Willing to Be the Church’s Backbone? by Jim Henderson
I hope you will order and read both books. They are very different (I will be writing a review for both) but both get to the heart of the matter: This is an issue of power. No matter your theological framework, it comes down to the issue of power. Jesus modeled the ultimate form of power that changed the entire created order and beyond by submitting to death on a cross. I see little in the “soft patriarchy” or “complementarian” view on this issue that resembles the kind of power that Jesus modeled.
Women who speak out on this issue are many times labeled “power hungry”
I don’t see it that way…
I rather see it the way my friend Susan so aptly puts it:
“The core assumption that I work from is that no human being can choose to live in a one-down position and be fully subject. Therefore, my claim is that as long as evangelical women ascribe to the “order in creation” theology, the complex ways in which they uniquely attempt to find subjectivity within an overarching system of male supremacy and domination will be only that: attempts. There is no ultimate self-actualization for them as long as they remain in the system, for no woman can enlist in her own dehumanization and marginalization and believe that she is simultaneously moving toward the full measure of her humanity. The woman who thinks that it is appropriate for human beings to be objectified so that others may be glorified participates in her own subordination and is less human than that for which she was created.” –Susan Hall
Any theology, doctrine or understanding of the sacred text that asks human beings (Jew or Greek, Male or Female, Slave or Free) created in the image of God to participate in the dehumanization process of themselves or others, distorts and perverts the gospel of Jesus.
It is time for me to prime the pump of the writing well. I have different writing projects I simply put on hold after completing a four-year doctoral program. I sit in my home office today, reflecting, reading, thinking and trying to get some creativity flowing.
I started my blog years ago and committed to writing in it at least a few times a week to start a creative flow. Now, eighteen months post graduation, I am going to begin writing here on a consistent basis to develop my writing muscle.
Let the random thoughts, stories of life and questions about the journey once again commence!