Saturday, March 15, 2008

Equal In Being, Different In Function?

There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina. All other jobs should be open to everybody. ~Florynce Kennedy

Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself. ~Robert Ingersoll

Today is my deadline for a number of school assignments, as well as edited articles for the newspaper. So, I have had ZERO time to spruce up the more in depth posts. Since the posts coming up (especially the ones on Paul's letters) are the crux of this debate, I want to make sure those posts do the egalitarian argument justice. After today, my schedule loosens up, so I can start cranking them out.

In the meantime, I wanted to share this post from the CBE Scroll on equality and ask for some reader feedback. The end of the article asks for complementarians to elaborate on what they mean by equality, beyond the phrase "equal in worth, different in function."

So, what is your ideal vision of gender equality?

How do you think equality and gender should play out?


Which gender roles, characteristics, careers, and activities are you willing to see as flexible, overlapping, or as grey areas within the home and church?

Which roles, activities, characteristics, and positions do you see as strictly off limits for either sex?

Where and HOW do you draw the line?


Do you think complementarians need to abandon the term "equality" altogether (since they only started using it in the 70s...) and just admit that women are NOT equal, as it pertains to being equipped for ministry, giftings, leadership opportunities, and functions within the church and marriage?

And if complementarians believe that women are not fit for these tasks, then should they just say so, instead of hiding behind a water downed version of equality (equal in worth, but limited in function)? Maybe they can argue that equality is not biblical or that equality is not all its cracked up to be (as I have heard argued before)?

Or do you think the notion of women possessing equal worth, but remaining eternally subordinate can be reconciled with concept of human equality?

How does redemption factor in to your veiw of gender equality? Does Jesus' death on the cross change the way men and women relate to each other? How does it affect the curse?


I know all complementarians (or egalitarians for that matter) do not march in lockstep, so I am curious as to what the consensus is among my readers (both C's and E's) regarding these questions. Let's probe how our abstract beliefs take shape in everyday life and the impliactions those beliefs dictate.

"Deep down, beneath all our insecurities, beneath all our hopes for and beliefs in equality, each of us believes we're better than anyone else. Because it's our beliefs that are right, our doubts that are allowable ones, our fears which are legitimate."--Audrey Beth Stein

21 comments:

Terry said...

Okay, can we acknowledge once and for all that even though the complementarian idea of "equal but different" only evolved during the 70's, it doesn't make it any less valid or true? We (Black people)were just considered equal in the 60's, but you don't hear me running around saying, "well, most white folk really don't believe that because it's a relatively new idea!" You know that I am a passionate advocate of moving on already from the wrongs of yesteryear and looking forward. I feel the same way on this issue.

Now, to the issue at hand:
I think I answered pretty thoroughly in my comment on your last post that I feel the Bible is clear that women and men absolutely have different roles and personality traits, and the Scripture speaks pretty clearly to the truth of that statement. I am truly bewildered as to why equality MUST mean that I do everything my husband does, or even everything that a male pastor does, even though you already know that I feel the lines are much less distinct Biblically when it comes to women in ministry.

The line you ask about is clear if you want to see it. In the home, (as with any other entity that is going to operate with any sense of order or stability), someone has to be in a position to cast the deciding vote should the need arise. And since God has specifically placed the husband as the head of the home, the husband is the decider in those instances.

And WHY is the idea of being subordinate so repulsive? If we are willing to subordinate ourselves to people who could care less about us (on the job, in school, in gov't), why can we not yield our stubborn natures to support the person who loves us most and has our best interest at heart? Is that not the picture of Christ and the church? He gave Himself for us, yes, and gave us a measure of authority on earth, but we are still to submit to His lordship as an expression of our love for Him and acknowledgement of His love for us. And the Bible clearly states that the marriage reationship is to function in a similar way.

Anthony said...

Tia,

I was going to comment but there seems to be no point because Terry stated it very well.

I wish I knew more about the issue of womens roles but as terry said it seems prety clear in the Bible.

Also, I wonder as Terry does why the concept of submitting is somthing to rail so hard against.

to answer the question as what is meant by equal in value think of it as an administrator and a teacher. If the administrator dies it is just as much a loss as if a teacher were to die (in regarded to the value of their life) but obviously their roles are different.

God bless,
Anthony

Tonya said...

Tia, you know I love you.

That said, I read this post and said "good grief". This line of reasoning is entirely human and has nothing to do with the divine what-so-ever- no matter how much you try to put this on God. Just because some idiots abuse a system doesn't mean that it is flawed.

Let me ask you this.

Is the Major equal in worth to the General even though he submits to the General? In God's eyes, yes. According to this CBE line of reasoning, apparantly not.

Is the slave equal in worth to the master? In God's eyes, yes. Human reasoning? I guess not.

Is the child equal in worth to the parents? God? yes. human reasoning? not if this is the way you see things.

Is the employee equal in worth to the employer? God would say yes. This line of reasoning would say no.

Is the janitor equal in worth to the building owner?

Who's opinion are you worried about? Does our postion make us equal or does our equality come from God? If our equality is given by man, then it can be stripped from us. I don't think that's what God had in mind when He redeemed us and made us His personal property.

Who cares what my ideal version of gender equality is or what I am willing to see as flexible, overlapping or grey. I am a human being and there is a higher authority who makes these decisions for us (and it's not my husband). I draw the line at whatever the Bible says. And if it doesn't say anything on the subject, I use common sense and sound reasoning based off of other parts of the Bible.

And I am amazed that you continue to use the words "penis" and "vagina" to differentiate between men and women. The difference goes much deeper than that. IMO, when you loose what is masculine and feminine (the inner traits), you loose some of the chief joys in life.

Once again, a big hug comin' at ya! You know I love you! (smooch):):):).

Carlos said...

Tonya, what kind of other reasoning are humans capable if not human? I thought one of the characteristics of the Imago Dei was our ability to reason......Hum just thinking....
Tia, I am working on a comment(epistle) on this and the previous post with some referenced material from Miroslav's "Embrace and Exclusion" - A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation...hopefully I'll publish it this weekend.

Tonya said...

Your question "How does redemption factor in to your veiw of gender equality? Does Jesus' death on the cross change the way men and women relate to each other? How does it affect the curse?" sort of assumes that all of us believe that Adam and Eve were created as the first Egalitarians. I heartily disagree with that.

Here is my take on how this all works out. Personal opinion here...

The creation story has Adam created first and then Eve created later from Adam's side. I think God did this deliberately. If He had wanted to make Adam and Eve "egalitarian", He could have created them from the same lump of clay in the same instant and had them both start work in the garden at the same instant. He could have even given them the same body parts and made babies some other way (how boring). They could have been companions in every way, with the same functions and position, holding equal authority and headship. It would have been a great demonstration of Egalitarianism if He had done this. But He didn't.

Instead, He made man first and then made Eve and called her Adam's helper. Since the same word for "helper" can be used in reference to God, it stands to reason that this is quite an honor for the woman. She fills in the gaps that make THEM a better person (unity- one flesh) just as God makes up for our shortcomings, helps and transforms us.

God also made Adam and Eve's bodies as complementary to each other. The peices fit. In the same way, He made man and woman to complement each other in every other way. We function best when we function together, each fulfilling our God ordained positions. God basically took a part of man OUT of man and created woman. Equality isn't even a question. Eve was one and the same with Adam, only in different form. She wasn't created out of a lesser lump of clay. She was created OUT Of Adam, worth more than anything to him because she WAS him, removed and made into an individual and then put back into him by her own desire to be one with him again. I think God's original design, before the fall, was that they would function as one person... not a two headed monstrosity. He would lead (since he was created first) and she would come gladly alongside of him to help and support THEM (since she was created out of him). They were truly one flesh. They ruled as one person, in unity. Not as separate individuals, but as head and supporting body melded together. Then came original sin and everything started falling apart.

When I look at the redemption, I see that God allows us believers to experience that oneness again. Our marriages can be redeemed to the point of sweet, perfect communnion with God and with each other. Of course, our own sin screws this up frequently and most people never know this peaceful state of being, but it is still offered.

This doesn't mean that men and women can't cross roles. Sometimes it is necessary because of sin and death. But I believe it is BEST if we fuction within our created positions.

Well, that's what I think about redemption when it comes to gender equality.


Carlos, human reasoning is great as long as it doesn't elevate itself over Truth:). Any time us humans start to reason, we need a plumb line because we can go way off track. Remember, Hitler reasoned that the arian race should reign supreme because Darwin proposed that caucasions evolved from chimps who were smarter than the great apes that black people evolved from and the orangutans that asians evolved from. There's some good ole' human reasoning for you. Don't elevate it too high:):):). Being able to reason is a gift from God, but like any gift, it can be abused if not kept under the authority of God. If our reason doesn't match up with the Bible, I would say we need to ditch it and start over.

Michelle said...

before I drag us all off down a major pathway here, can I just ask, has anyone here read The Shack? The discussions there about hierarchy and male and female and so on were fascinating...and not heresy, just different. I'm still chewing on them of course, but I am inclined to think just maybe we're reading a lot into scripture that isn't there because the human systems WE'VE set up create that paradigm in our minds. I'm not dogmatic on that point because I'm still chewing through this (sorry, I love that word, if you couldn't tell)

I know I haven't really said anything here... let's just leave it at the question. Anyone?

donnav said...

Hey Michelle, I have read The Shack...thought it was poorly written but a great book none the less!

and Tonya, you cracked me up...to warn Carlos about using human reasoning after reading your ideas about Adam and Eve made me smile. You and others here seem to have accepted a line of human reasoning as fact and I think that points to a great difference between us as I and many others question that reasoning.

Personally, I don't think equality is the main issue. It is a problem but the underlying issue is objectification. And it is one that Jesus and I believe as Tia Lynn continues we will see that Paul addressed as well concerning women. This was one of the many topics that turned heads in that time as conventional thoughts on women and their roles were upended by this man claiming to have authority that was God's only to claim.

Tia Lynn said...

Terry and Tonya, why must you make me write epistles!? :) Here we go....

Terry, you could not be more right! White people FINALLY realized that black people are equals, fully capable of being our peers mentally, spiritually, academically, professionally, and so forth. And just because this is relatively new, does not make it any less true. However, the full correlation between the blacks-and-whites and men-and-women analogy does not fully carry over. Once it was established that blacks and whites were indeed equal, a racial hierarchy was also condemned. Imagine if I said, blacks are equal to whites, they just have different roles. They should always serve, never lead (as if the two were mutually exclusive). They can attend our church, but never speak, teach, or pastor. They must ultimately remain under white authority, but don’t worry, it’s an authority based on love! That wouldn’t really be equality now, would it?

The importance of pointing out that complementarianism adopted the term equality into their theology less than forty years ago is vital because before that, nearly their entire belief HINGED on female INFERIORITY. Passages like Ephesians 5 may have been quoted by husbands who set out to prove their wives should submit, but the theology did not build their case upon such verses, it was based on inferiority. Just like white authority was steeped in the belief of black inferiority. Once people started catching on that blacks and whites were indeed equal, no respectable person could then justify the continuation of a racial hierarchy that always placed whites in power or on top. Now, blacks and whites hold the positions they do based on their content of character, talents, giftings, and qualifications, not skin color (or at least that’s how it should be.). Before the PC switch to equality with complementarians, it was believed that man needed to SOLELY lead because woman was incapable. Man needed to be SOLELY spiritually responsible because woman by nature was more easily deceived.

I do not find anything repulsive about godly submission in the least. Submission is a part of every believer’s life and wives SHOULD submit themselves to their husbands. There’s no argument about it! But even if one believes in wife-only submission, it is still a far leap from all women submitting to all men.....The Ephesians 5 post is going to be a fun one for us, huh Terry? :)

Tonya, Tonya, Tonya! Let’s take this outside!!!! :)

I think you misunderstand what the CBE article is saying. A couple of foundational points: No one is saying that being in a subordinate role (whether professionally, academically, or even “spiritually”) automatically means inequality and injustice. Not everyone (man and woman alike) is going to be gifted in leadership, public speaking, teaching, preaching, etc. No one is saying that ALL women should be in roles of “authority” or that all women have to do everything their husbands do. Of course the teacher, administrator, master, slave, general and soldier all have the same worth in God’s eyes. That’s not the debate. The debate is who is allowed to carry out those roles and WHY. Becoming a teacher, for example, is not a birthright! People who become teachers and professors have to meet certain requirements: earn a college degree, pass certain tests, gain certain experience, etc. Being a man or woman does not automatically ordain you or exclude you from this particular role. No one is arguing to put an unqualified woman over a qualified man, simply because she’s a woman and it’s her due. The assertion is to allow women to hone their giftings and talents, and if they meet the qualifications needed for a position in leadership, give them a fair shot at it. That’s all. It’s not about people in “lower” positions having less value, it’s about denying half the church population to fill any “higher” positions based on gender alone.

I’m a little perplexed at this example:

“Is the slave equal in worth to the master? In God's eyes, yes. Human reasoning? I guess not.”

Umm...the question should become: if the slave is indeed equal to the master, should the master be enslaving them in the first place? How does Christ’s example compel the master to relinquish his claim on the slave? If slavery still existed, would you really argue that since the master and slave are equal in the eyes of God, that there is no reason for the church to try and abolish slavery??

FOR THE EGALITARIAN, seeing to it that THE CHURCH allows women the same opportunities afforded to men is not about seeking approval in the eyes of man, it’s challenging the church to be the body Christ envisioned: fully participatory, ALL learning from each other, all serving each other, all being subject to each other, all being able to function within the midst of the entire body and ultimately under HIS leadership.

I also hold NO assumption that everyone believes Adam and eve were the first egalitarians, but I do have an assumption that any serious reader of the scripture knows that the curse did indeed change the relationship between man and woman, whether they are complementarian, egalitarian, or non-atarian! So the question of how does Jesus’ death on the cross affect these gender relationships and the curse is a valid one for all people in this debate. Certainly even complementarians believe Jesus death redeemed such relationships, just back to the “ideal” model of hierarchy. That’s all I was asking. And egalitarians emphatically embrace that the genders complement each other, they just reject the notion that this complementary relationship must result in a hierarchy! It’s precisely because men and women ARE different and unique, that egalitarians want both genders in leadership and the participating in the governance of the church bodies.

I’m not sure why you object to me asking how the readers draw the line in certain scenarios. Is that not a relevant question? Isn’t it imperative to understanding another’s perspective by getting to know HOW they arrive to the conclusions they do, whether it’s solely biblical or not? You seem to think that YOU just read the bible for what it says, while the rest of us just can’t get it. :) People have been reading the bible for centuries and come to different conclusions. So asking people to elaborate on their beliefs and how they got there is something I value for the sake of clarity, dialogue, and courtesy. So deal with it!!! :)~

DeeAnn said...

I'm staying out of this, but I did snag a few things from my father-in-law's library on Paul's letters so that I can be prepared for the upcomming posts without sounding fanatical.

In response to your wise-crack about my hubby being a real man that wears a kilt:
It makes it easier for him to "pisseth against the wall". He also has nice scottish legs!

Tonya said...

Donnav, If you'll stop smiling and go back up there and re-read my comment, I think I made it clear that human reasoning is great and helpful as long as it doesn't deviate from the Bible:):):). Reasoning that equality comes from position or role is deviating from the Bible. Reasoning that Adam and Eve were created to complement each other doesn't. I simply talked about another view of Adam and Eve (besides the Egaliatarian one Tia gave earlier) because I don't believe that the fall was the cause of "wives submit to your husbands". Paul cites creation several times in his instruction to the church involving men and women. I personally think biblical complementarianism was part of the original plan. The Bible doesn't say otherwise and in fact, I find a lot of biblical support for this position. Therefor, the reasoning I did up there was not out of line with the Bible. I'm glad it made you smile though. At least it was worth something:). I hope you didn't miss my point through the laughter:):):).

Tia, I went back and re-read both the CBE article and your post to make sure I wasn't missing something. You said "Do you think complementarians need to abandon the term "equality" altogether (since they only started using it in the 70s...) and just admit that women are NOT equal, as it pertains to being equipped for ministry, giftings, leadership opportunities, and functions within the church and marriage?" so I assumed that what you were getting at was that our roles denote equality and the lack of permission to hold them denotes inequality. What WERE you getting at with that question/statement, BTW? Saying that women were "not fit" for such tasks (according to the C) seems very much like you are talking about the task or position denoting or showcasing equality. The article you cited also seemed to be about "if women can't .....can you call them equal". If I missed the point, it was because it was buried under a pile of same roles = equality propaganda.

May I suggest that complementarians did not choose their own position based on their own ideas of the equality, worth or value of women, but that they do things the way they do because they beleive that this is what the Bible teaches. They are willing to put their own experience, reason and desires under the authority of the scriptures. They don't hold this position out of fear of anything but a healthy fear of God and a belief that His ways are best. So many times C's seem to be put down as fearful (of women) or prideful (as men) or old fashioned when all they are trying to do is be obedient:).

I love and agree with the E position that the church needs both the male and female touch, but I can't for the life of me figure out why women need to teach in the general assembly or pastor or be co-leaders for this to be possible. Can it not also happen in complementarian churches? And if you think not, why?

Greg Anderson said...

Tia Lynn,

Brava! Why when it comes to religion, do so many people just shut off their critical faculty? You've made your point admirably that Christian egalitarianism is not about quotas or making sure that the Church universal has some sort of affirmative action program in place for women.

The egalitarian viewpoint is about gifting for various "roles" as God sees fit, regardless of gender, and herein lies the rub.

What some see as "lining up with", or "a plain reading", of scripture, still others will not see the same lines, or adhere to the same reading.

Michelle said...

I think the interesting point here is that Tonya pointed out, complimentarians "do things the way they do because they beleive that this is what the Bible teaches". But the thing is, egalitarians do too!! So the root question here is, how do we determine what God really said or meant to say or expects us to interpret from what He said? Is somebody "right" and somebody "wrong"? I'm not attempting to answer that question, only shed light on it as the underlying "thing" going on here. You run into this in every major debate... eschatology, soteriology, you name it.

Tia Lynn said...

Well, I certainly agree that most complementarians believe the way they do because of how they understand the bible and not out of some sinister desire to oppress women! Haha! What I was trying to point out was that HOW complementarians used to read the bible, they concluded FROM THE BIBLE that women were INFERIOR. Back then, they still were trying to be faithful to how they understood scripture, but their reasoning was different.

My question about complementarians “abandoning the term equality” was part of a series of options, which also included reconciling equality with complementarianism. I was trying to put out a variety of options for both C’s and E’s to pinpoint how readers view themselves and each other. There is a wing of complementarianism that would indeed like to abandon the word equality because they still hold to female inferiority, but this is the extreme wing. I wasn’t implying that this is what complementarians absolutely should do, but presenting it as one of many viewpoints about complementarians and an opportunity for complementarians to defend their distinct views on equality.

However, I personally believe that when women are consistently denied the opportunity to serve in any public capacity (as they are in many traditional complementarian churches, not more moderate ones like ours), then yes, THAT denotes inequality, not the actual roles of being a servant, housewife, mother, “helpmeet,” nursery worker, and so forth. I think those roles are nothing but honorable and vital and I would never advocate women tossing them out the window to be “in the lime light” of public ministry. I just think women can do and be both, just as I believe men and do and be both. I believe all should serve, leaders or not.

I’m not sure if you think that complementarian churches just deny women to be teachers/leaders. That may be the case in your church, but many complementarian churches do not let women speak in the general assembly, period! This is also “biblical” to them...

For example, in the late nineties, Billy Graham’s daughter was invited to speak at a national baptist convention. The organizers didn’t think this was a big deal (since sectors of the baptist denomination ordained women for a long time). When she got up to speak, nearly ALL the men stood up and turned their backs to her in protest! Now they were just being “true” to their understanding of a scripture that a woman is NEVER to teach a man, but does this not also send a message that a woman is not good enough to teach a man? See, for our churches, the cut off is leadership, for many churches women cannot even speak in the assembly, let alone lead. That’s why I asked earlier about where and how people draw the line.

Again, people’s actual equality is the same in the eyes of God, no matter what roles they hold, but we are addressing whether THE CHURCH views its members as equals, allowing them the same opportunities for all qualified persons.

musicmommy3 said...

Tia said, "...people’s actual equality is the same in the eyes of God, no matter what roles they hold,but we are addressing whether THE CHURCH views its members as equals, allowing them the same opportunities for all qualified persons."

But we're NOT really doing that. :)
What we are doing is trying to decided which interpretation has the strongest Scriptural backing.

So the idea of equality isn't really as relevant as we are trying to make it.

Q-So, what is your ideal vision of gender equality?

MA (my answer)- I don't necessarily have one. I definitely DON'T think women should be controlled, abused, dominated, etc. especially in marriage. (in the church you could always just find another local body to associate with. Not as easy to leave a marriage.)
I had a great answer to this question but I don't think it made as much sense on paper as it did in my head.

I have zero problem with equal in worth different in roles/function.
The real equality I look for is this: in my relationship with God I am just as valued as any other woman/man. That's real equality to me. As far as equality in home/church roles...if you want to go as far as you are Tia you would have to push it all the way and say that your view isn't really true equality either because everyone isn't equally gifted or talented. Everyone isn't "equal". We are all different. We have different gifts/talents (that aren't gender specific). Some prophets/prophetesses have a really hard time with hospitality. Some amazing hosts/hostesses have a tough time teaching others. Even if you take gender away (I'm not saying you are or want to I'm just being extreme.) everyone still has different things to offer the kingdom. So why does it bug people not to be equal in role if we all aren't equal in gifting? Don't misunderstand me, ALL the gifts are of EQUAL IMPORTANCE but they are not all the same. Does that make any of them less valuable in the body?- certainly not!

I think that many times people's activities, careers, etc. can overlap. I mow the lawn sometimes, my husband cooks sometimes, my husband cleans very very well, I can do tough manual labor outside and LOVE it!!

I definitely think there are grey areas. I am too tired to expound more tonight though.

I do have to say that I am really enjoying this study because it's making me rethink why I hold to certain teachings. It's making me go back to my Bible and look at things and try to strip away all human thinking (as much as possible) to see what God is really saying. So, thanks for that!!

Have a great weekend everyone.
-Angela :)

Tonya said...

Tia, if God sent Gabriel down here right now with a message that denied women certain ministry opportunities, would you have a problem with that?

On to another topic. I think I see what you are getting at here. You are attempting to show that extreme complementarianism can not be supported by the Bible if you read and interpret it properly. Right? I would tend to agree with you. I think a very good case can be made against extreme C'ism and I have no doubt that there have been some major abuses in the past as there are today.

You know the pendulum thing we talk about sometimes, where you react against something and go too far the other way? Well I think that might be what is happening in a good, God honoring desire to see the Church function at it's highest capacity. And I think there might be a little human pride involved to (as there is in abuse of anything - Cism included).

The thing is, the God honoring Church doesn't get to decide how it's members should function. God does that. He distributes the gifts and tells us how they should be used and not used. So far as I can tell, the same can be said of women and men. They are to excercise their giftings in a fitting way (see Cor.). I would hope that the God honoring church would veiw all it's members as equal, but not to the point that they would overlook scripture in how they conduct their meetings or run their families. I know E's believe that they are following biblical principles too (as Michelle said) so beleive me when I say that I am so interested to see how E's interpret Paul's teachings on church meetings and family.

Please know that I am NOT down on E's at all. In fact I just want to hug some of you people and I would love to sit down for coffee with any of you and just talk. I love you all as brothers and sisters and I can sense your heart's desire to honor God. It drives me NUTS, though, to link permission to teach or preach or whatever with equality. Since I see equality as divinely sanctioned, I can't see how earthly permission, or lack thereof, would change that so if I get all huffy and bent out of shape whenever this topic is hinted at, please forgive my humanity. If one is equal in worth (far more important) why does one need to be equal in all functions if the body has many parts and all are every bit as important as the others?

Let's get on to Paul. I am coming into this with an opinion, but completely open to whatever you have, Tia. Opinion is worth nothing in the face of Truth so I'll be happy to give my position up if you show me that another way is more biblical than the one I currently hold to. It won't cost me more than my pride :) because not much would change in my life as we don't keep the women mute in our services and my thoughts and opinions get full notice from my wonderful husband so I never feel trodden upon:):):).

Tia Lynn said...

Yes angela, you are right. This series IS about examining each biblical interpretation pertaining to gender roles. I was referring to the debate within the specific post I linked to. THAT debate was about equality as it pertains to roles, function, and it is decided who can carry them out.

I don’t want to speak for all egalitarians, but I don’t view being equal as HAVING to do all the same things or carrying out all the same roles. I just don’t think gender should be the deciding factor; a person’s ability in an area and heart for it should.

For instance, I would never want to do a lot of the tasks that Will enjoys and he wouldn’t want to some of the tasks I enjoy. He’s the artist, I’m the writer. My ability in art is NOT equal to his. However, if we were both artists with equal ABILITY, would he be the only valid artist because he’s man?

When I speak of equality, I am not implying that all christians MUST be proficient in all areas and have all the same roles, that’s just silly. By equality, I mean that all believers are treated with the same standards. If you suck at singing, teaching, or leading, I’m not advocating you do it anyway for the sake of “equality.”

Yes, I agree with Tonya, I must get on to Paul. Why must real life keep getting in the way? I think I will condense my next both on mary and martha and mary magdalene into one and then get to the fun stuff.

grace said...

Tia,
Good explanation. Equality isn't really about sameness, but rather inclusion. Equality simply means that the playing field is level and gender is not an automatic disqualifier for whatever role or position a person is called to.

Hierarchy is about power and authority. No matter how you phrase it, hierarchy is antithetical to equality. It requires a role of mediator and a role of subordinate. E's believe that Jesus intended to eliminate the need for a mediator in our relationships.

This belief in headship is likely the most fundamental difference between E's and C's. E's believe in mutual submission to one another under the headship of Christ.

I don't think that C's belief in headship is out of malicious control. I also don't believe that E's beliefs are based in stubbornness or an inability to submit.

I look forward to your posts as you continue to unfold the biblical explanations of what God intended for our relationships.

Anonymous said...

God created man in His image...male and female. So neither sex in itself reflects the image of God. In some way, together, we reflect His image.

My thoughts are that there should be no difference in roles, activities or positions in the church. Paul wrote that there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. I have studied the book of Acts and read nothing specifically directed toward either sex. Women were present at the crucifixion, resurrection, ascention, on the day of Pentecost, etc. None of the gifts of the Spirit are given just to one sex. If a woman has a gift that was given to her by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the Body, she should use it. The reproductive organs in her body should have nothing to do with her ability to preach, teach or lead.

What does it do to the woman in an evangelical, fundamentalist church who has gifts of leadership and is unable to use them? Yes, she can teach children, youth and other women - but what about the Body that is not being built up in the way that it should be because she is unable to use her gifts? And what affect does it have on the woman who hears from God and wants to be able to share what He has revealed to her?

Tia, thanks so much for the lost dog story - it touched me deeply.

donnav said...

Humm....guess blogger ate the comment I left yesterday...not going to try and rehash it but...

Tonya, I do get where you are coming from I just don't agree with your reasoning!!

It will be interesting when we get to Paul, I love his writings & how he got the heart of God. Tia Lynn, hope you don't go to fast thru the rest to get there though!!

Tia Lynn said...

Hehe. I was thinking I might just start with Paul and then afterwards go back and highlight some other examples and topics. We'll see! :)

donnav said...

Ha...that might be a good idea since all the C arguments come from Paul...nip 'em in the bud! :)