Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Egalitarianism ...

.. is the belief that men and women are equal before God, and equally called to engage in His work in His world and His church, according to their individual giftings and circumstances. Some call it Christian feminism. It is the opposite to complementarianism, whose battlecry is the rather perplexing "equal but different", taking literally the interpretation of a couple of bible passages that woould suggest that women are called to have subservient role in the church and the home, simply by virtue of having 2 X chromosomes. To say this they are very selective in their interpretation of the relative passages, applying a different hermeneutic to the one they apply to parallel passages on issues like masters and servants, and ignoring the cultural context, the examples of women in leadership, Jesus' own behaviour towards women, and, I believe, the fundamental character of God. If you read their articles you are left with the picture of a God whose principle concern is hierarchy and rigid order (and we won't mention misogyny!) rather than the God of the Bible, who is love, who pours His grace out on the world, and who is passionate about justice and takes the side of the oppressed and needy, and who issues the same call to holiness to men and women alike. Here is not the place to explore the theology of the various bible passages, my 2 favourite sites for that are http://www.godswordtowomen.org/ and http://www.cbeinternational.org/new/index.shtml

My concern is that the battle is ongoing, it is bad enough to have endured all this abuse from the church myself, when I see my daughter, 30 years younger, being made to suffer the same cruel, casual dismissal of who she essentially is from the very people who should be doing the most to support the God-given worth of every human being, it sickens my heart. Injustice is still injustice, whatever fancy theological terms we dress it up in. I'm not scholar enough to dispute the meaning of the greek in the disputed passages, for that I would refer people to articles in the above websites, I simply go straight to the fact that the Risen lord, on the first Easter Sunday, commissioned women to go and tell the good news to the male disciples (and he expected the men to listen!) wasn't that women teaching men?

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