Sunday, April 26, 2009

That is so sexist! Part II

It's missions month at our church, and it's been exciting to hear about how these people have devoted their lives to a specific ministry. The husbands get up and talk about how God has been working through their career, and the wives get up and talk about their opportunities to share God in the home, and instead of marveling at how good God is to use ordinary people for His work, I get hung up on the gender-specific roles in church ministry. Why can't women teach? I don't understand. Why is it the wife supports the husband's call, instead of both working towards a mutual calling? I don't get it. Is it biblical? It must be, that's how it's always been done, that's the pattern. It's a question of causation: is that the pattern because it's true, or is the pattern there because we haven't bothered about the truth? I don't know.

I can't tell if I'm being stubborn in not wanting to yield to God's plan or if I'm right to struggle with this idea. Or maybe the conflict is something I merely fabricated. I don't know why it matters so much to me. It's not like I want to be a pastor. It's not like I'd have issues following a husband where God calls him. It's not like I'm be deprived of the right to vote. Arg, so why does this matter to me? Maybe fear that all my ambitions only matter if I never marry? Maybe knowledge of the widespread domestic abuse, even in the church? Maybe social conditioning from Susan B. Anthony and the feminist's cause? Maybe teenage rebellion against pre-set notions of a woman's role in the church? Those are all silly or misattributed reasons. I don't want to be a rebel with a pointless cause, I just want to understand what I'm supposed to be.

(There was so much I wanted to say on this topic, but it doesn't matter because I just don't know. Maybe it doesn't matter. I can read all these books on egalitarianism and complimentarianism, and I can talk to all these people, and I can search the Scriptures, but maybe I'll never have my questions answered. Maybe that's okay.)


Michael said...

If either is true it matters whether it affects you or not.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Hayley. I'm with you on a lot of your questions. What I've been taught about your first two questions (you probably know this already anyway) is that women shouldn't be over men in the church, and as far as I know that's the only clearly-stated place where we shouldn't. Why? God says so--plus, he's just made us differently. Yeah, of course there are girls who are smarter than a lot of guys, but that doesn't mean we were made to be in the lead, dominant role.
Read Proverbs 31 if you haven't in awhile. It's encouraged me that women still can work (vs. 13, 16, etc.), be confident and strong (vs. 11, 17, 25), and make an impact in the world (20, 26, 29).
Some thoughts.

Grace Joan said...

you know what I think...but I think it's important to think it all through...I don't have 100% certainty in this area...and I cringe slightly to hear people talk about gender roles as if they are clear cut and there is no debate (when it is entirely debatable and a hard issue and something that needs to be thought over, struggled with, and understood).

As for patterns: looking back in church history there has never been a time period where the church got everything completely right...there are always blind spots (whether it be slavery, or segregation, or burning people at the stake...).
And the early church was far more egalitarian than evangelical churches are today.
(I don't want to be soap-boxy...really. I just think this is important...and it's worth the struggle and the frustration.)

bla. and ahhh!
(that pretty much sums up my feelings :P)


Hayley said...

God is hil-ar-ious. Right after I wrote this post I start reading the bit in that Hideous Strength where Jane is all, "But what about equality in marriage?" Which if anything is a sign that I can't close the book on thinking about this just yet. You're right, it /is/ important and I can't give up on trying to understand it.

Tunafish said...

Well, I believe that women can reach out to other women who in turn will reach out to their families. I think that it's a fact that single young men who go into the field are more likely to go back to where they came from than women. So in a sense women could be stronger, idk. :) You're all still really special and very helpful and GOD can use you to His will. I'm not very familiar with the subject and I agree with the other comments. It's just the way that GOD set things up. Neither of us is better or worse, we're the same, have the same capacities, and are loved equally by GOD. Jesus loves you! :)

Your Friend Andrew said...

In a similar vein (as similar as I can get being 100% guy), I also often worry about my ambitions being put on hold if I get married. Of course, I worry way too much about the future. If I married this person (bad assumption to begin with), I won't be able to move out to Hollywood (even worse to assume I'll do that) and then HOW WILL I IMPACT OUR CULTURE??

When it comes to these wonderings, I don't think we need to wonder all that much. God will direct our steps no matter which way we choose. As for the role of women, the more I think about it the more I feel like these are just generalizations. A woman can preach, but does it have to be in a church? Just because a woman isn't put into a traditional role of authority doesn't mean she can't affect people in exactly the same capacity as someone who is.

Just my unqualified $0.02 exact change...