Adj. Pertaining to complementarianism and egalitarianism.

***Working to be a safe place for all sides to share.***


Friday, May 30, 2008

What is the Debate between Complementarians and Egalitarians really about?

John Hobbins, who has become a friend, has begun posting a series on the Complementarian-Egalitarian divide. The first post is titled What is the Debate between Complementarians and Egalitarians really about?

I recommend John's series for readers of this blog. John always makes me think, whether or not I agree with him or not. He has a heart for true Christian spirituality.

UPDATE: Suzanne McCarthy is also blogging on this topic.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Married to One of "Them" (A Complementarian and Egalitarian in Marriage)

It's akin to a Republican and Democrat being married, but only during an election year. In actuality, they have it much easier. Politics, while we all love our political issues, are not what spin the globe. Whereas the way a married couple chooses to give structure to their relationship is an area much more integrated with all aspects of life. A comp/egal marriage is probably more akin to a Christian/Jewish marriage. So can you love when you live in two totally different paradigms?


But it's really hard.

I'm an egalitarian (now) and I was married to a complementarian. I'm not really sure to what degree that is, but I will say that in the name of sacrificial love, he's chosen to refuse the path of forcing me to comply with a complementarian outlook and instead has opted for a, "we choose together" framework for our home. For my part, I was more than willing to let him continue to "have the final say," for the same reason that he wasn't willing to have it anymore. Because of love.

It's been two years since I quit patriarchy (otherwise known as hard complementarianism). There was a lot of pain there. By the time I "quit," I was a deeply wounded person (much of it not due to patriarchy but due to the sharp fundamentalist outlook I'd had on other big issues, etc). A huge part of my pain was the fact that because I was female, I'd not allowed myself to be "myself." In the "Biblical Womanhood" world, godly women are quiet, submissive, teachable, and for God's sake, never behind a pulpit. I stuffed myself into the box I thought God wanted me in for so long, I started thinking the world was a wooden square. Then God, in His good grace, let the box drop.

Once I was free, I'll admit it. It took me awhile to relax. Like an abused caged wild animal newly set free, most any movement made me flinch and anything that looked like a cage wall made me snarl and run. I am seeing that change. A lot of things that were triggers before aren't triggers now. I'm a lot less sensitive than I was. Things inside of me are healing---or at least are beginning to. I can look back and not just see pain, but see how the pain started, how it grew, and see how much of it was my own fault. And, good grief, a lot of it was so my fault.

I know things are hard for my husband, or so I would think, what with the two of us seeing things so very differently. We were already opposites from the get-go, and this just magifies it. He's having to operate in a way that he may not feel is well supported in the Scriptures. And that is hard for me. It troubles me to think that he has to lay down his Scriptural views because mine are different. Actually, it more than troubles me. I really don't like it. And yet I can't/won't go back to a hierarchal structure. Call it an allergy to cages (and maybe I'll grow out of it, but right now, it's strong). Even if I would, he refuses, because he would know it was violating what I think Scripture says. Maybe he's wrong for folding. Maybe he should demand to lead. Maybe I'm wrong for not being willing to fold myself. I don't know.

Honestly, in the long run, I think the one doing the most sacrificing is my husband. And as for an answer to that, I don't see one and neither does he. So we live together and learn to love, without a sound structure that we agree on for this marriage of two totally different people. Sometimes I wish we had one. At other times, I'm glad that we don't. We are forced to work together, forced to learn to listen, forced to learn to grow in ways that, when all is said and done, can only make Christ shine brighter. I lay down the theological/emotional/intellectual guns that I so badly want to fire, and in the process, find a person on the other side of the divide---my husband, a person that is deep, that is delightful, a person that God calls beloved. At those times, I think that seeing things the same way is over-rated.

So how do you do it, and/or how have you seen it done? How do two different paradigms live in union? Is Christ big enough for both?

*Edit Later to Add:
This post prompted a great discussion between my husband and I tonight as to "where we're both at" on the comp/egal continuum, and so now I have to take back some of the above. He's currently uncomfortable being called a complementarian. (Last time we talked about this was 4-5 months ago, when he expressed views that landed at a fairly soft-comp sort of place). So I have to take a lot of the personal nature of the above post back, and yet I still think the subject of the post itself is something worth talking about.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Top Three

What are the three most convincing passages in Scripture that have helped to form your current position (of Complementarian, Egalitarian, or somewhere in the middle). Please feel free to explain/expound.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ravi Zacharias on the equality between the sexes

At the University of Michigan in 2003, Ravi Zacharias fielded a question about gender roles and equality from a student in the audience. Here are the video clips of his repsonse. The relevant portion spans the tail end of the first video and the first portion of the second, so keep in mind that the first question that appears on the video is not a mistake. You will just have to watch past it (or ffwd through it) to get to the right one and then finish it with the second clip. My apologies for the technical difficulty.

Bottom line, according to Zacharias, the question of roles is not a question of equality. We should not confuse these two ideas when we are talking about the marriage relationship and the nature of each gender.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Women in Church Leadership

I just discovered this blog series, posted last month on Women in Church Leadership. Ray, the pastor blogger interacts well with Bible passages on this divisive issue.

In the third post of the series Ray writes:
As I mentioned in my last post, when asking a question of Scripture, it is important to weigh the evidence for and against as on a scale. In this case, there is surprisingly scant biblical evidence that absolutely, categorically prohibits women from being leaders in the church. And yet, there is surprisingly substantial biblical evidence that supports women in church leadership. To be honest, there is no place in Scripture where it says, “Women should be able to become ordained ministers,” mostly, as I have mentioned before, because our contemporary model of ministry has become overly professionalized and is often far from the grass-roots, Spirit-blown movement of the early Christians.
He then discusses specific Bible passages that describe women spiritual leaders.

Ray concludes:
Many conservative Protestants sideline women from participating in the gospel ministry of the church, allegedly on biblical grounds. In actuality, the biblical evidence tips in favor of women leaders. More than likely, their prohibition stems from incomplete theology (errant biblical interpretation and application) or just tradition. On the other side of the coin, many liberal Protestants gladly endorse women as ordained “ministers,” completely unhinged from the witness of Scripture. They mistakenly claim that women have the “right” to assume leadership in the church by invoking a modern paradigm of inalienable rights that is foreign to the world of the Bible.

Throughout these posts, I have explored the relevant biblical texts and conclude that, based on the weight of Scripture, women ought be included in the various leadership roles of the church. There are many qualifications required of Christian leaders found in the New Testament, including faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, sound doctrine, concern for the flock, and the Spirit-activated gifts for ministry. But being a man is not one of those qualifications.
Read Ray's posts and then comment, either on Ray's blog, on this blog, or on both of them.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

What EgalitariansTotally Do NOT Get (About Complementarians)

Call all Complementarians (near and far, hard or soft, dashingly hot or strangely odd)! You are cordially invited to share your thoughts about what you feel Egal's totally don't get (about your beliefs) in the comments box below.

This is an opportunity to share what it is you think most Egalitarians fail to understand when it comes to comprehending your Complementarian framework.

Egalitarians, you are humbly requested to, ahem, "mutually submit" yourselves to the following honor code:

Repeat slowly to self: I, [name here], will not read the comments section of this blog post until I have committed to refrain from commenting in response to this post or the comments it generates, unless---and only unless---my comment is toward a participating Comp and consists of something along the lines of, "Thank you so much for sharing."

Please know that there is no hidden agenda to this post. I'm genuinely interested and think I can learn a lot from this (and have been meaning to get this question written into a post for some time).

"Man's inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively."
— Carl Rogers