Saturday, September 11, 2010

Men > Women or Men = Women

This is more to encourage my brothers and sisters to live in community with in the kingdom of God rather to build a statement so that I can separate believers on an issue. We already have denominationalism, racism, socialism, ageism, sexism, and satan trying to kill and separate the body. I want to throw out some questions to stir up actions towards unity and not division.

This question came up during my weekly mens group. What is a man of God? I even started out by saying somethings about David. But quickly a paradigm shift would happen when a friend in the group ask the question."why wouldn't a women be able to do anything of those things he did?" Well, I guess she could?! A man described by God himself as a man after his heart. Yet there isn't anything particular that he did that a women couldn't have done with the power of God. Kill a giant with a sling. Lead an army. Become a ruler of people. We all know David messed up big time in his life time. But I don't remember people bringing that up when you here a sermon done on the greatest men in the bible. So there were times when he was very weak. In Hebrews 11 he is also listed in the Hall of Faith. Women have faith. David was courageous, strong, poetic, a leader, creative, musical, a warrior and a friend of God. All things women can be and are. So that begged the question what is it exactly that makes a Godly man. Maybe it's more fair to say that we are people who are Godly, but I happen to be a man. So that makes me a Godly man. And not that there are specific things pigeon holed into it. There are things that separate me as a man, but in the kingdom we are equal. I want to look at it from a female prospective.

That is just a process of thought. Now biblically is where is gets hostile.

1 Corinthians 11:3 says,"But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of everyman, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ."
The argument here is that the head in the Greek means something other than being in authority over. Some text and even my study Bible claims that the word means " the source of". Although there isn't really proof in any ancient writing that this is true. Where did it come from? And every time "head" is used in that context it means,"one in authority over". But what does that even mean in the context Paul is writing? Is he pointing to a system we should use in order to remain in harmony to understand submission, or a reason for one sex to rule over another?

Have most even factor in the attitude towards woman at that time? They weren't even allowed to publicly read, learn, much less voice an opinion in most societies. Some men would pray that they weren't women. It wasn't the fairest situation for women. How could they be anything else but submissive? Isn't it not the reason Jesus' interactions with women were so profound? This is something to understand when reading scripture that involves specific instructions to males and females.

1 Corinthians 14:34, Paul asked the women to be silent in the church. There must have been a reason. Again this is the same letter he is writing to Corinth. A specific letter to their situation. The women in Corinth must have really been causing trouble, so he feels the need to admonish them. But they had all kinds of trouble in Corinth. Again he is trying to help them answer their questions for their specific problems. Not that todays church couldn't learn something from his letter to them or that we don't run into the same issues.

Point being that we often take a letter that Paul wrote to a situation and make it theology. As someone once said, "we take our theology more from Paul's letters than from the life of Jesus." I agree. Suppose you were a baking company. If you wrote me a letter asking me how to bake a better cake because people have been complaining that it's not good, and I write you back telling you what mistakes you have made and what could make your cake more delicious. Do I take that same letter and show it to the pizza shop across the street and tell them how to make better pizza pies? No. Both want to feed, and both want to please, and both want to succeed, but they will obviously run differently. I hope you are not reading this with a closed mind. Not saying what Paul teaches is ungodly or wrong, or not of God. It's that we are error prone people. Misinterpretation or whatever, we can either look through things with the lens of Christ or our own. We humans have a crazy track record of taking any excuse to impose power over people.

Women were a part of God's plan. From Eve to Esther, to Mary. They were there when Jesus was born in the flesh. When the spirit came in Acts. They were persecuted. They were leaders, teachers, and prophets in the early church. Were they not apostles, and evangelist as well? And pastors... They can't be because, eh, huh? Oh yea, because Timothy says so right? Well he does say they must be men of...Where they not in the Jewish culture that didn't let the women do anything? Of course he is going to be talking to men. There is nothing that says a pastor needs to be a man. Women can die for the faith, but they can't have pastor next to their name? Aren't most of our mothers pastoral by nature? What if God choose a people who were in a Matriarchy? Just saying.

These are questions I asked because there is enough things I have followed because someone told me so. As I dig into the word, the character of God, Jesus' life, it breaks down more walls, stereotypes, traditions and judgments that I have blindly followed even in the church. Many of them started out with good intentions, but have turned into reasons for us to fight or over power. As I enter the kingdom mind it takes me out of the politics of the church building and lets me see freedom in his love and ways.

Men are generally stronger, faster, hairier, have a male productive organ etc. These are things that make me a man. What makes a women a women are fact as well. But in the kingdom of God it seems that he has made us equal. The world has a system that the kingdom does not follow. One of those horrible world systems is that men are greater than women or far greater in some societies. I personally believe God wanted to show us that in order for things to work in his kingdom there needs to be healthy submission. Like Jesus showed us towards the Father. I think he has chosen men to do that as well. But to use that argument to tell women who were made in God's image, beauty, authority, that they can't be as important to the body of Christ as men are made out to be, is not a good use of that submission.