Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Just a Few Smart Alec Thoughts -- Rant Warning

No this is not the next in the series. However, it is odd that as I've been thinking about and writing the "Husband as Head" posts, gender issues keep coming up. I think I had three conversations just this month. (I was more gracious, I hope, than this post would indicate.) Every one of the following statements, and others like them, has been said (or written) to me, and not just by men.

When I read or hear:
I think:

1. The men in the Bible led their families. Patriarchy is the biblical pattern.
(The first time I heard this, I was literally shocked into silence.)
And how did those biblical families turn out? Pride, polygamy, lying, sibling rivalry on steroids, adultery, fratricide, rape, murder, jealousy, manipulation, sorrow and deceit--among other stuff. News flash: Everything the Bible records is not loving, just, gracious or pleasing to our Creator.

2. If God did not intend the man to lead, why was Adam created first? God's plan of authority is revealed in the creation order.
God made a whole lotta stuff before Adam. Creation got more sophisticated as God proceeded. So it is obvious that Eve was a higher order than Adam, created to rule over him. She came last and thus was the best of all. Somebody had to be first. Don't attach whatever meaning suits you. Perhaps we should remember what JESUS said about those who sought to be first? Careful about thinking that being first is so significant. You might end up at the back of the line.

Note: This is not snarky--this is ligit--I believe (and many Hebrew scholars agree with me) that HUMANKIND was made together as one being. Later that original being (made in God's image) became two instead of just one. The rib language is just a way of trying to explain how a woman could be made "from out of the side of." If so, they both were created together, as the first creation accounts says. So nobody was "first." I'll try to find some links to post later.

3. Men are usually natural leaders. A woman was made to follow a man.
What planet are you from? Every man is not a leader. Every woman is not a follower. Leadership ability does not come from testosterone. Or estrogen either. Leaders come in both male and female. Same for followers. Just think about the people you know.

4. Ever since the Fall, the woman will seek to dominate the man.
What planet are you from? This is the most backwards statement imaginable. I'm not saying women can't be bossy or domineering. But taken as a whole, man has dominated woman ever since the Fall. Look around the world. Look into your history book! Talk to a social worker! Or a doctor!

5. You just want to make men and women the same. Men and women are different.
NO WAY! Now you tell me!

6. MY Bible says...
What? Oh sorry. I guess I stopped listening to you.

7. Women are just not emotionally equipped for the demands of pastoring (leadership).
Women are strong. Perhaps we do cry easier--some of us. But maybe that is why we tend to hold up better, over the long haul, than some of the men we know.

8. If a woman is in the pulpit, men will be distracted by sexual thoughts and won't hear what is said.
HAHAHAHAHA! You don't have a lot of respect for men, do you? Hey, If a man is in the pulpit the women might get distracted! Pastor ______ is pretty hot.

8. A preaching woman is an abomination.
Oh dear me. I'll stop right this minute. Hey, did someone remember to tell God about Deborah, Hulda, Priscilla, or Junia? God must have forgotten that abomination part.

9. Well, you aren't like most women.
Well, you aren't normal either, buddy.

10. I just think a woman preaching is strange.
Get over it.

11. A woman must be under a man's authority and protection. When she's unmarried at home, it's the father. If there is no father it can be some other male relative. Later it will be her husband.
Chapter and verse for that, please.

12. How can you be under your husband's leadership at home and he be under yours at church?
He's not my boss. We are partners and friends. I'm not his boss. We are partners and friends. At church I'm the pastor. I serve. He serves.
13, The husband must exercise "servant leadership" in the home.
Chapter and verse for that, please.

14. The man has final say.
Chapter and verse for that, please.

15. Someone has to lead or chaos will ensue.
What about partnership, submitting in love, praying together, being unselfish...?

16. Well what if they disagree? Someone has to be the one in authority.
You don't have many friends do you? Or if you do, how do you decide who gets to be in charge? No one is? Uh oh!

17. Just read the Bible.
I can't print my thought. It wouldn't be fittin'.

18. You just do not respect the Bible.
I have a hard time with respecting you, actually.
19. The husband is the priest of the home.
Chapter and verse for that, please.
20. You just don't want to be submissive.
I'm sure glad I'm not married to you.

There really is a point to this rant. This list could go on , and these statements do make me angry, but it is not a personal kind of anger. This kind of thinking has permeated much of my life in the church and I wonder about others who still struggle with them, or who are kept from real freedom because of such thinking. I know I'm not the only one who has wondered about such statements.
Dr. Debbie Gill, co-author of "God's Women Then and Now" encourages us to show respect to those who disagree with us, noting that, "The respect Christ's followers show is based not on the virtue of the one to whom you show respect, but on obedience to Christ." She is right. Most of these things I would never say out loud, and I'm not saying my thoughts are good. I better ask forgiveness for my snarkiness, actually. However, if we just think and observe people, and read who Jesus was, so many of these asinine statements just crumble to dust. The are not in the scripture at all. The are arrogant and rude. So why do they just, like the Energizer Bunny, go on and on and on and on?


Anonymous said...

I found it all too easy to identify with just about all of your thought-responses! I keep turning my agonies in this area back to God, but every now and then a few of my personal frustrations seem to stick to me and they have the most annoying habit of turning up at very inopportune moments, usually when I know I need to be at my most patient, gracious and loving . . . figures!

I am following this series with avid interest, and I look forward to reading more.

Cody said...

This one is getting emailed to my father. I'm still trying to decide how the best way to approach him is. He's much more likely to listen (if not believe) an AG pastor than a mainline pastor, so we've got a bonus on our side.

Thanks, all of your answers made sense.

God is Love,


Jane said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. Keep getting angry, keep thinking and keep reading the great book of books.

believer333 said...

Good work, dear friend.


doodlebugmom said...

Amen. My sister-in-law is in seminary now. I will have to send her over to your blog, she will love these.

nightmare said...

Problem is, you're way too nice. I usually just tell them they either have a Messiah complex or are overcompensating for a small... either way, they make pills that can help, it's just a matter of whether the pill is Lithium or Extenze.

Jeni said...

I do believe if someone said any of those things to me (and no, I'm not a pastor, far from it) or even implied them to me, I would either have a huge hole bit through my tongue or I would have stated, in no uncertain terms, "Give me a break!" but probably a lot more forceful words would be used there than that.
It does boggle the mind to realize that although society today is supposed to be so "enlightened" that so many still can't see the forest for the trees and stick to the same old male-oriented logic.

Psalmist said...

Yes, yes, yes....uh-huh, I agree with and have even had the same thoughts as you on every single one of your examples of ignorant things said to female pastors.

Funny how if these folks would trust God and just LISTEN to what true pastors say (yes, the males as well as the females), they'd realize that they're just VESSELS for preaching the word and shepherding folks in the name of Jesus. The shape and "style" of the vessel is not what's important; GOD is what's important.

Silly, self-glorifying people. As if people say yes to God in order to get something out of it. They say yes because they can't get out of it--the calling, that is. God is pretty darn difficult to say no to.

Anyway, I'm glad you posted this. It's been quite a while since I've seen such a comprehensive listing of the nonsense people say to God's "daughters of thunder."

Psalmist said...

LOL @ Nightmare. You have a singular way with words.

I think that men who have such a problem with women who exercise godly authority to preach and teach the word of God, probably are compensating for something, most likely an insecurity in who THEY are in God's plan. Easier and safer to insist that everyone buy into their own little rule-bound plan, than to allow God full sovereignty. Silly boys!

Theresa Coleman said...

You go, girl!

I've heard each and every one of these -- and a few others.

What gets me is they are MOSTLY from women.


Lori said...

God bless you Singing Owl! You are on fire for one of the most needed bridges. The one that connects communication between extreme evangelicals and extreme liberals. Truly. Both sides are gonna get mad till they understand that Jesus has always wanted all of us to live in relationship to him and each other. It's the How To? that keeps eluding us.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I do love it when you get fired up!

Anonymous said...

I recently was told that the man is made to lead in the home and that if we don't let him, we will have problems in our marriage. Not that he is the boss, he just needs to lead. (Huh?)
I keep asking, Why does there have to be a leader? I thought we became One. And together we make the choices for our family, again, as One.
Oh well...

Truth said...

Maybe you didn't post this as a humorous post, but I sat here laughing anyway.

Mary Beth said...


Lin said...

Not too long ago I read an post written by a thoughtful female seminary graduate on 1 Tim 2 on a typically male pastor blog. Almost every comment was some variation of what you wrote above. (It is everywhere and it cracks me up as if we have not heard it before and don't have answers!)

But the comment that floored me was from a guy who said he could not take anything she wrote seriously because she used her maiden name as her middle name when writing posts such as Jane Doe Smith. Now, he could NEVER trust a woman who did such a thing and could not get past that fact to even think about what she wrote.

(IOW, she must be a radical, liberal feminist that burns bras on the church steps. :o)