By Kathryn Pullen, Staff Writer
Have you ever been at a party and heard a funny joke about women behind the wheel, or in front of the stove? Successful jokes take reality and twist it, exaggerating its characteristics to make a caricature that, ridiculous as it is, still resembles the truth enough to make you laugh. When a joke about women is received with riotous laughter, it illustrates a far deeper societal problem than the situation might lead you to believe.
American society, many Christians included, has bought into the idea that women are somehow lesser than men. Women are more incompetent, illogical and irritable human beings than men. This subconscious but pervasive idea has sifted silently throughout the culture, even into the thoughts of women.
You may not see yourself as part of the problem but, to one degree or another, we have all accepted this idea. The hidden seed of this notion in our thoughts grows into the same ideas that perpetrate sexual slavery, bigamy and domestic violence. We may not outwardly agree with any of those things — some of us may speak out against them — but we hold the seeds of their conception in our hearts because we have not looked closely enough to pull them out.
The feminist movement recognized this pervasive thought about women and rose in reaction to it. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, women began to seek equality with men. The movement arose as a reaction to a wrong, and it started by asking the right questions, but in the end, it found the wrong answers. The pendulum swung too far in the opposite direction, and feminism became just as wrong as the idea to which it stood in opposition.
Ironically, a movement founded on the basis of gender difference ended up with a denial of it. It stood for women while declaring that women were the same as men.
Feminism began placing women above men: Women were the heroes and men the pernicious oppressors.
Somewhere along the path of these two opposing wrongs — men above women and women above men — femininity became the foil to masculinity, instead of its complement. But how did this happen, and where was the church?
The Christian church became the center knot on a tug-of-war rope, dragged to whichever side of the issue was the most comfortable and politically correct. Instead of the church speaking into culture and changing society, society changed the church. Society dictated how Christians interpreted the Bible, pulling us back and forth between the two wrongs until we gave up and stopped thinking about the issue.
What is a woman’s role in the home? What sort of leadership role should a woman be permitted to hold within the church — if any? Many Christians have stopped talking about it, stopped thinking about it, because any clear declaration of our Bible-based beliefs would surely upset one side or the other. We do not want to lose members in our churches or scare teens away from our hip-and-happening youth events.
It is time for Christians to reclaim the culture. It is time for us to scour the Scriptures, form an opinion and take a stand against a society that has confused the identity of half the human population.
God has not hidden anything from us. He opens his Scriptures to those who truly seek his wisdom. We need to examine Scripture in light of Scripture, showing care and thought in our biblical interpretation. Too many have based an entire belief system on one or two tough-to-understand passages.
Do we care what God really has to say about women?
At the beginning of creation, God created men and women as equals, but charged them with different roles. When they sinned, both were cursed, but each in different ways — ways that frustrated the distinctive roles God gave them.
When Christ walked the earth as a man, he did not exclude women from his company. In fact, Christ was born to a woman and his first miracle was performed at a woman’s bidding. Many women were among those who followed him.
When he witnessed to the Gentiles, he did it through a Samaritan woman. Women stood at the foot of the cross during his crucifixion, and at his resurrection, he appeared first to a woman.
Women are important and valuable to the God of Christianity. In light of that knowledge, when we seek God’s understanding of women, how do we respond? We cannot do what we have done in years past and simply push the conversation under the rug.
We need to start the conversation, to light a fire under our culture, speaking out for justice as we walk humbly beside our God.