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Recent reading

We've just received our CBE Priscilla Papers and I've read the lead article by MaryKate Morse, titled GenderWars: Biology Offers Insights to a Biblical Problem. This would have to be one of the best distilled articles that I have read on this subject. It comes hard on the heals of my reading at Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen's work, My Brother's Keeper: What the Social Sciences Do (and don't) Tell Us About Masculinity. (Can't wait to get hold of her book, Gender and Grace.)
It's the first time that I've looked seriously at the biology issue. Generally I'd leave that up to the experts in that field. But this article by MaryKate Morse is so compelling, and yet simply put, in it's argument that I cannot but be moved by its content and want to share it all around. I've thought of a whole bunch of people that I'd like to send it to. Not as an, "I told you so," deal, but in a genuine desire to inform others (yes, some are antagonists) of the value of the level of argument in this article.
Her opening lines tell the story, and I quote: "Men and women struggle to understand each other and to thrive together as God intended. God's design of an Edinic relationship where male and female together nurture and steward the earth rarely seems to happen. Women often suffer worldwide from assumptions that they have less status and purposefulness than their brothers. Men often suffer from being alone at the top and alone in the struggle of life's battlefields. Children can suffer the consequences of the ongoing acrimony between parents. Gender wars are destructive." In that section alone there are four very worthwhile Endnotes to reinforce her line of argument up to that point.
It's worth stating the reasoning behind her offering and again I quote: "The problem is Theological, not secular. It began in the Garden, not in the 21st Century... Surprisingly, deciding between the interpretations depends not only on one's underlying theological views, but also on one'sbiological assumptions about the nature of gender... And, as we will see, a synthesis of recent biological discoveries on the essence of femaleness and maleness provides an opportunity to understand more clearly God's intention in Genesis 1-2 and the impact of the fall in Genesis 3. This leads to suggestions for ameliorating the division between males and females that move beyond certain polarizing hierarchicalist and egalitarian views."
It is a great shame that it is so difficult to get people who fall into either of these camps to dialog on the issues. From my experience there is much more tension from the Traditionalist area and one is dismissed as a heritic for even suggesting that certain passages could be interpreted differenty. That's sad because most egalitarian christians have a very high view of scripture. This article by MaryKate could go a long way toward healing that rift. If only people would read it!
The article in its entirety is from Priscilla Papers, Volume 20, Number 1, Winter 2006. I tried to get the link so that I could post it here and you could look it up on the net but at the time of writing my computer could not locate the server.


Beyond Words said…
I read the papers, too. What a godsend! I've been mulling over similar ideas for weeks, and now God is kind enough to affirm those ideas through the scholarship and inspiration of others.

Can anyone answer this question for me? If complementarians believe that women were created to be under the authority of men since before the fall--in other words, this is our universal status--wouldn't that logic require them to believe that women will be subject to the authority of men for eternity even in the restored creation and in our glorified physical bodies?

That logic even takes from women the fullness of the resurrection.
Candice said…
yes, it does take it that far. that is why Grudem does espouse a male lead heaven. if it was instituted from the beginning, it would only make sense that even in heaven when we are suppose to be restored to and Eden like state, males would always be in charge. to say other wise is a contradiction I think.
also wondering what kind of parenting course you guys are teaching. how has your egalism influenced your parenting?
Hi Candice.
Just looked on the site and discovered your questions. Sorry we haven't answered before this.
We lead various courses from the "Growing Kids God's Way" curriculum written by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. These are written from an heirarchical standpoint but we find ways of getting around any gender specific references! The basic principles we feel are biblical so we continue to lead the courses from time to time. The directors in Australia encourage us to keep being involved so we can bring our egalitarian perspective in from time to time. This is tricky and we keep saying that maybe we should stop being involved because we know some ultra conservative people would be horrified if they knew our beliefs on gender issues. I (Liz) have had opportunites to speak at some mothers' meetings, particularly one where I addressed questions re sexual issues and was quite outspoken about mutuality and verses like 1 Corinthians 7: 3,4.
The response was very positive, even from some women who would not agree with my views. Now I have a regular column in a magazine for women connected with the group and answer questions in that area as well as doing book reviews.
Also, we have permission to "Australianise " some of the manuals which simply means changing words like 'diaper' to 'nappy' and 'mom' to 'mum'. However, while doing that I have brought things up to date by changing words such as 'man's nature' to 'human nature' and generally tried to eliminate the gender stereotypes as much as possible without altering the authors' intentions. Another tricky job but so far it's working!

Our egalitarianism has affected our parenting in a few ways which I've outlines as a comment on "The Scroll" which is CBE's new blogsite. We have 4 sons so to start with we were determined to treat them as people and not just "oh you poor thing - boys are such a handful etc." We taught them that men and women can and should be able to do all household tasks and I made a point of saying to them that I hoped they wouldn't marry just to have someone do things for them around the house! Our sons range in age now from 32 - 39 and are all quite hand in the home with one being a "house-husband" for some time while his wife worked. My husband Trevor has never been one for gender roles in the home or anywhere even though in many ways we looked like the typical family for many years with my staying home to mind the kids while he worked outside the home. As a pastor he worked at home for many of those years so it wasn't like a job where he went off at a certain time and then came home.
As the boys got older I was able to do more in church life again so that for the last 15 years or so of our ministry we worked together.
Another issue is that our kids are heavily influenced by their peers and their choice of friends, even though the courses we teach suggest that if family identity is strong this shouldn't happen so much!
Also, I think that the gender question doesn't come up so much for boys as they already have the ascendancy and take it for granted where girls have to work hard to get equal acceptance and recognition.
Candice said…
I did read your comments about your boy raising. so far I don't have any boys, thought its still a possiblity.

I do have concerns about ezzo though. you can look at to see what I am talking about...
Hi Candice - you probably won't get to read this as it's such a long time since you posted the concerns about Gary Ezzo. Just in case.....we have read the website and other places where concern is raised re Gary's suitability/doctrine etc. Apart from their obvious heirarchical stand, we find them to be genuine people who have copped a fair bit of flak as most people in that kind of ministry do from time to time. They have their own websites where you can read their journals and get some idea of Gary & Anne-Marie's hearts.
We are certainly not ezzo fans as such but much of the material is biblically sound - it's the application by some legalists which give it a bad name.

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