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Unity 2.0 – Gender January 17, 2006

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

Go to Unity 2.0 intro

Identifying gender as a topic of division might make some men and even some women confused. “There aren’t male churches and female churches, so what gives?”

Oh really? There aren’t? Male church life and female church life are very, very different. Sure, these male and female humans arrive at the very same building and call themselves by the same name I belong to the Such and Such Church, but that is where the similarities end.

In most churches, the more perceived power and prestige a position holds, the less available it is to women. I really mean perceived because, for example, in my tradition there appears to be some kind of power and prestige attached to passing communion trays. If I hadn’t grown up with it, it would look weird.

Go ahead and look around your church gathering and its operations some Sunday morning and look at who is doing what and you will know what the gender assumptions are.

Men preach to adults while women hold babies.
Men lead worship; women follow in worship.
Men pray while women listen to prayers.
Men teach classes while women attend classes or teach children.
At meals, women cook and men eat.
Women clean up while men talk about the game.
Men attend important meetings while women wait to hear a report about the meeting, if they are lucky.
Men have input while women have response after the fact.

I stand guilty of these practice stereotypes in many ways, so this soapbox is crumbling beneath me.

The problem is systemic and so saturated with poor theology that change is next to impossible. The problem is not the Bible, but rather IMHO, the way the Bible is interpretted. I am no theologian or hermenueticist (word?), but I believe that we interpret the Bible so badly sometimes that we come to the oppostie conclusions about women than were intended in many ways.

Here is my main theory of the errors of Biblical interpretation so frequently made . When the Bible is interpretted for content, we will merely copy what the Apostles conluded about this or that. Now, you might be thinking that this is not so bad. Why not conclude what they conluded? In fact, isn’t that the right way? Chris, geez! You’re nuts.

Oh, but am I? I contend that I am not nuts (as all crazy people do). I think that if we use similar processes that the Apostles used and Biblical writer’s used and most importantly, Jesus used, we will not come to the same conclusions as they did! Huh?

I knew might be confused. The problem with a stictly content interpretation of the Bible is that the changing of the social context changes the meaning of the content. A process hermeneutic, however, will tap into the meaning and intention of the writer or person in that context.

For example, if Jesus and Paul were about liberating and redeeming women and freeing them from the curse, they might have come to the conclusions they came to in their day (oppressive, perhaps, in our context). Now suppose we are called to the same direction as they were as it relates to women – liberation and redempotion? If that is true and we follow their process, then the content of our conclusions will be very different than theirs. In fact, the only way to be true to the Bible would be to do something differen than the Bible shows as the context has changed.

Merely copying the content of their deicsions would be step into the opposite direction that they sent us in when they made the declarations they did about women in the first place. Content obedience might actually be process rebellion.

This is really important because the Pharisees were doing this with the Law. The Law was never meant to be a tool of oppression. Good grief! The Law was such good news to Israel so many times. The Pharisees made it into something oppressive by a mere content interpretation. The process never made their awareness.

Most of Christianity’s conclusions about women, I believe, are produced from Biblical interpreation that is surface and content laden with no regard for the process or the true intentions of the Biblical writers.

Go to Unity 2.0 – Economic


1. Beaner - January 17, 2006

I go to a CofC church, but barely! We have women SERVE Communion, SERVE on the Worship Team & even OFFER up prayer to God.

Our men even cook & clean up the building!

I’m really blessed, huh?

2. Bek - January 17, 2006

i WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree. my hub and i are reading a book called “why not women” by loren cunningham, it is amazing. it is so exposing…..anyways, what comforts me in this time of not seeing change (though what i most desire is change) is that God’s kingdom is upside down and he does not respect and revere what man does….

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