A Place at the Table January 13, 2009Posted by Matt in A Place at the Table.
Tags: change, church of christ, patriarchy, role of women
Following the small firestorm over last week’s Lads to Leaders critique, I’ve been thinking a good deal about the roles of women in the Church of Christ and I wanted to lay out a few of those thoughts to you. Today I’d like to take a look at the idea of a patriarchy and why, in our post-modern society, it no longer will suffice. A later entry (I’m not ready to commit to tomorrow yet) will offer criticism of the New Testament teachings regarding women. I ask that your comments please remain civil.
I imagine that times were harsh for the people of the ancient world. As hunter-gatherers and later cultivators of the many times unforgiving soil, physical strength and endurance became tantamount for survival. It was in this atmosphere that men, with their greater muscle mass and inability to experience the perceived weakness of pregnancy, took the reins, first of families and later of entire nations. Leadership positions then went to the mightiest, strongest individuals, who were more often than not men and the patriarchy was born.
It was against this backdrop that the collection of books that we know of as the Bible came to be written. So, it is of little wonder that the books contained within the Scriptures, which were all written by men, regarded the male gender as superior to the female. This may have been appropriate given the time and culture in which these writings were authored, but today things have changed.
Our ideas have evolved quite a bit over the thousands of years, though. Women have ascended the proverbial ladder on a playing field that is becoming increasingly flat due to our society’s reliance of technology over brute strength. Women control major corporations and lead nations and now, for the most part, are seen as equals with their male counterparts.
Yet the path to equality remains blocked in some places. These bastions of backward thinking hold fast to the old ways as their absolutes, denying those of the female gender an equal part. In my world, this is no more apparent than in the Church of Christ. Like a two year old refusing to relinquish something of value they scream and throw a tantrum when a sensible adult tries to gently coax them.
It has arrived. The revolution has begun. It is time to revisit those once bedrock theological assumptions and realize, whether we like it or not, that change is upon us.
To be continued…