Monthly Archives: January 2013

Gender Dynamics and Things That Don’t Make Sense

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john piper

“The Bible really cares about the dynamic between men and women. It has nothing to do with a woman’s incompetency,” 
says John Piper.

Men are not superior, Piper said. “She is more competent than you [men] in most ways.” He said a wife could be smarter, more read, and know her Bible better than her husband. “This has to do with God’s created dynamic of what a man is and what a woman is in their gut with regard to the ballet of leadership and submission.”
Read more here.

Men and women are different, you see.  So that means men lead, women follow.  John Piper says the Bible definitely supports this idea: the dynamic between men and women is so important, that men cannot follow women.  I thought the Bible was the story of God, a world full of sinful people in need of redemption, and God’s plan for their redemption in Jesus Christ.  But John Piper has turned it into a witness for gender roles.

The Bible doesn’t describe the differences between men and women, nor does it say anything about each gender pursuing femininity or masculinity.  It doesn’t say anything about roles based on gender.  The Bible says NOTHING about these things, yet Piper and some other complementarians have come to the conclusion that men are leaders and women are followers, end of story.  Piper says women shouldn’t teach men, a belief based on 1 Timothy 2: 11-15, the ONLY portion in the entire Bible that says anything of the sort, a series of verses that scholars admit is very difficult to interpret .  If women should never lead men, then the Bible should be consistent and clear on this point, which it isn’t.  The Bible does contain examples of women leaders, which should at least make one pause and reflect on the truthfulness of Piper’s teaching.  Back to the point…

John Piper says the dynamic between men and women is the reason women should never lead men.  Let’s bring this idea to its logical conclusion…let’s say there’s a woman who is a missionary, or perhaps she was born in a place where not many people have heard the gospel.  She becomes a Christian, studies the Bible and becomes very knowledgeable on the subject.  Let’s also say she is gifted in public speaking.  Wouldn’t it be reasonable for her to tell the men(and women, of course) around her about Jesus?  The people in her community are eager to hear what she has to say, so she starts teaching a mixed group of non-Christians about the Bible and people start getting saved.  She has become a leader of both males and females; she  has taught them and led them to the knowledge of Christ.  But wait…John Piper says that if a woman leads or teaches a man in this manner, it will compromise his masculinity.  In order to follow this logic, that means she made a mistake and must stop teaching men so their masculinity isn’t compromised.  The DYNAMIC of how men and women relate to each other is more important than spreading the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus.  This does not make sense.

Notable Quotes

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Jesus Washing the Feet of his Disciples, by Albert Gustaf Aristides Edelfelt

Jesus Washing the Feet of his Disciples, by Albert Gustaf Aristides Edelfelt

This quote is from Beyond Sex Roles:  What the Bible Says about a Woman’s Place in Church and Family, Gilbert Bilezikian ~

The Supreme Example; Jesus washes the disciples’ feet – John 13:1-17 ~

Washing the feet of the members of a household was considered so menial a task that Jewish servants were not required to perform it.  It was relegated to Gentile slaves…The crux of the story resides in the lesson that Jesus drew from his actions.  It could be paraphrased:  ‘If I, your Lord and Teacher, have been a servant to you, how much more each one of you, who is neither Lord nor Teacher, should feel obligated to be a servant to others.’

In our day, the supreme irony is to watch a mitered Primate dressed in resplendent ecclesiastical vestment rinse with holy water, over a golden basin carried by a couple of priests, the antisepticized feet of subordinates prostrate before the superior’s throne, humbled under the weight of such an honor.  Shifting from the sublime to the mundane, one recognizes a strange reverse correlation between the foot-washing ritual of the bejeweled churchman and the attitude of a Christian husband who leaves a room strewn with dirty socks and underwear for his wife to pick up-because he considers it her subordinate role to do so.”

Or we could say the Christian husband who expects his wife to do all the laundry, all the cooking, etc, etc, because he considers it her role.  Or the Christian husband who thinks it’s his duty to make all the “final decisions” (why is he under this impression?  I’m not sure, because the Bible certainly doesn’t teach it.)  In these situations, the leader has taken it upon himself to have the “role”(rank) of decision-making(power) and the woman does most, if not all of the housework(the home is the woman’s domain)…he has too much “important” work to do in the real world to have time to do something as mundane as laundry.  Interesting how it happens to work out that way, yet we are told over and over by some complementarians that men and women are equal.  Equal in being, that is…but not in the practical duties of every day life.  That’s not equality, no matter how prettily you phrase it.

Eshet Chayil!

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Eshet Chayil Ketubah

Eshet Chayil!

There are many books devoted to teaching us women how to become  “Proverbs 31” women.  From my experience, many of the these books may include a list of works that we women need to perform so we are “godly”.  These types of books can easily turn into legalistic practices in our lives, and I’m happy to report that this was never the intention of the author of Proverbs 31.

In  Rachel Held Evans’ book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, she gives a different perspective on the woman in Proverbs 31, the woman of valor ~

~ “Eshet chayil—woman of valor— has long been a blessing of praise in the Jewish community. Husbands often sing the line from Proverbs 31 to their wives at Sabbath meals. Women cheer one another on through accomplishments in homemaking, career, education, parenting, and justice by shouting a hearty “eshet chayil!” after each milestone.  Great women of the faith, like Sarah and Ruth and Deborah, are identified as women of valor.  One of my goals after completing my year of biblical womanhood was to “take back” Proverbs 31 as a blessing, not a to-do list, by identifying and celebrating women of valor. “

Evans explains the concept more on her blog here.

Now that I know the application of Proverbs 31 is meant to be a call to praise the amazing women in our lives rather than a “to-do” list…here are some examples of how we could use this little phrase to spur each other on(and if you recognize yourself on this list, I hope you don’t mind, but I think you’re a woman of valor!!)~

 

A woman restarts her career now that all her kids are in school…eshet chayil!

A single mom works at several jobs so she can take care of her son…eshet chayil!

A homeschooling mom organizes a yard sale to benefit the poor…eshet chayil!

A mom spends endless hours helping her son with his math homework…eshet chayil!

A woman spends hours shopping for the ingredients to cook dinner for a friend…eshet chayil!

A woman shares her experience with the Lord at a woman’s breakfast…eshet chayil!

A woman cooks two meals in one night; one for her family and one to give to a family with a newborn…eshet chayil!

I suppose you get the idea.  A woman doesn’t have to be married or a mom, or single…but she must be a woman who honors the Lord in all she does.  Then she is an eshet chayil…woman of valor!

Girls Gone Wise Says: Who Needs Rights, Anyway?

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Alice Paul, American suffragist and activist.

About Photo | Girls Gone Wise

Mary Kassian, complementarian founder…would she give back that doctorate in systematic theology?

Before going on, read this blog post written by Sarah Bubar on Mary Kassian’s site, Girls Gone Wise.

I have a simple question for these women: are they willing to give up their rights?  Some complementarians talk about the concept of rights as if it were profanity.  But in reality, would they be willing to give up the rights and privileges they enjoy,  the very rights that, ironically, make it possible for them to write books and blog posts in their own name?  Rights that women of the past fought hard to gain, such as:

The right to go to a university or seminary, as the moderator of the above post no doubt did.

The right to get away from an abusive husband through divorce.

The right to vote.

The right to own property.

The right to earn wages.

The right to have custody of your children.

The right to not get raped by your husband.

The right to not be beaten by your husband.

The right to drive a car(a right some women in our modern world still do not enjoy; can you imagine getting flogged because you drove your kids to an activity??).

The right to go to school.

The right to marry who you want when you’re ready, not to fulfill someone else’s agenda.

Are these not rights men(especially white men) have (for the most part) taken for granted, but which women had to fight to gain?  Am I the only one who sees the double standard here?

Sarah Bubar(and Mary Kassian, it seems) misunderstand an important point:  most women do not want special privileges; they want to be treated as individuals, as human beings.  (And no, I do not want to be defined by my gender, and nowhere is the Bible does it say I should be.)  All most women want is to do things men have taken for granted for years.  It’s never been(for most women) about having power over men, or even being like men; it’s about being human.  And as humans, yes, we are God’s children(owned by God as Bubar says)…but He has granted us free will and  responsibility for our own lives.  We have the choice to obey or disobey Him.  Men have historically had the autonomy to choose what to do with their lives, a choice women have been denied, until now.  Are Sarah Bubar or Mary Kassian really willing to give that up?  More importantly, is that what God wants?  Is God pleased with His men when they sit around discussing(or making lists about) what women can and cannot do, without a single woman present for the conversation?