March 2, 2011
This is a tough one. The Bible makes some clear gender-specific statements. Response to these vary among church bodies. Some take every word as literal and for all time, some believe certain statements are specific to individual cultures and times in history, some distinguish between Paul's opinion and God's mandate while some do not. Example: Some churches do not think it is appropriate for women to teach men but are okay with women teaching other women and children. Some are okay with women as teachers but not pastors. Some ordain women.<br><br>The questions in my mind are 1)Which of the gender differences do we accept as God-created and which as culturally mandated? 2)Who gets to decide that question for a church body? 3)Are we willing respectfully and civilly disagree with one another as individuals and as churches when we disagree on one another's position in this issue? 4)Is disagreement with the position of a church body reason enough for a woman to find somewhere else to worship?
God created us male and female because it pleased Him to do so. There is no "beyond gender" because gender is the capsule in which our humanity is carried. <br><br>To attempt to go "beyond gender" is to deny that we are created as one of two types of embodied human beings and to deny the centrality of the body in human experience. In this way, the attempts to move beyond gender simply degenerate into gnosticism.<br><br>
I think both of you are missing Cathy's point that most of what the bible says applies to everyone, and I would argue the most fundamental commands in the bible apply to everyone too. <br>Sure, I'm a woman and we can debate whether that authorizes me to serve in particular roles (and I would be unwilling to worship at a church that denies me the opportunity to fulfill a calling I feel from God) but I'm a Christian first. In Christ there is no male or female, and the fruit of the spirit is disbursed across gender. Most of what it means to be human and a Christian is true for everyone, if we overemphasize gender, we distract from those other things.<br><br>(Thanks for this perspective, BTW, Cathy)
I do agree with what you are saying about losing the middle. There are other activities girls can do than extremely girly things. There are somewhat gender neutral activities that you hardly see anymore in the media for kids. There's art, collecting, gender-neutral sports, and more. <br><a href="http://www.fibromyalgiaandfaith.blogspot.com" rel="nofollow">http://www.fibromyalgiaandfait...</a>
Thanks, Bethany. In response to Maureen and yourself, let me add that, in fact, my local congregation (but not my church) does deny church offices to women. We have no female deacons or elders, and no female pastors would be welcome on our pulpit. That being said, I love my church family. I seek to disagree respectfully and without rancor. I do everything in my power to model Christian leadership. I teach church education classes, mentor the pastor, work as the bulletin editor, pray in public when asked to do so, pay toward the budget and much more. I do my utmost to establish credibility first as a faithful church member, trusting that in even these small ways, I can influence others to see beyond gender. I grow more convicted with each passing year (going on over 30 years now) that practical service can bring about change where intellectual arguments are resisted. My views on women in the church are not always understood or welcomed, but my loyalty to Jesus Christ and our local church is not doubted. Subversive role-modelling, or something like that.... :-)
Hmmm, I'm not too afraid of losing the middle. Culture is no longer monolithic. Just as an example, neither Barbie nor GI Joe are nearly the icons that they used to be. There is no longer any medium that has a captive audience to sell things to kids, so it doesn't matter so much to me that big-box stores have this stuff on their shelves. The movies in our home are very aware of gender, and are honest about them -- Pixar is great for that.<br><br>On the other hand, I totally agree with your larger points about togetherness and finding our identity in Christ. We definitely have some work to do there!
I have to agree with you.<br><br>However, I do agree with Cathy that salvation is equally available for all, and that whether we are guys or girls our identity is found in Christ.
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