Posts tagged: theology
I have not been able to get this commercial out of my head for months. During the course of the semester I just completed, I made it my business to dig deeper into the idea of gender and the roles of gender within the church. For a while, it has been a topic I needed to fully figure out where I stood and the classes I took this semester gave me the perfect opportunity to write both my research papers on different aspect of it.
As I was studying the biblical role of women inside the chruch and the Bible, this song (which I hadn’t seen in years) kept running through my head. If I could have figured out how to cite it in an academic work, I would have used it. But citing stinks and I didn’t have enough time to do that. And in all honesty, I thought it was a Nike commercial not Gatorade.
Watch this commercial. It was made after 1996 and the USA Olympic Women’s Soccer Team won the Gold Medal. Hamm, was the the star of that team. Michael Jordan is MJ, of course. He’s one of the greatest athletes ever, during the height of his second three peat.
The year was 1997.
Post-modernism had begun. The Feminist movement was in the stages of overtaking culture. And for some reason, 15 years later, this commercial sticks with me today as a 25 year old man with a beard.
Somehow, if it sticks with me, I wonder if it is the actual representation of what my generation of women and those coming behind me were raised on and what their norm is - they can do anything better then me for they are a woman, they are my sister? This is the question which has been pounding my intellect and soul for months now.
Inside the church walls, I am a man who would love to be an egalitarian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egalitarianism) but just can’t come over from being complementary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementarianism). Yet even in this, I wonder if maybe there is a middle ground. Maybe, we need to re-understand, Biblically, what complementary actually means? Maybe, just maybe, the conversation complementarians are having needs to change?
What if, we started with the notion “What can’t a woman do?” rather then “What can a woman do?” Yes, you are only changing one word, but what it does is begin to open up a completely new dialogue. One must understand women can, must and shall have a large role to play in the church and we need to understand if there are things they cannot do (Biblically, not because they are not capable, qualified or better then male counterparts) and begin to err on the side of empowerment, instead of suppression.
Friends, feminism has won. This is neither good nor bad - it is culture. However, it means the old ways of saying things and doing things may no longer reach our culture. For instance, how do we expect to reach a generation of women who have grown up hearing “I can do anything better then you”, then hear the Gospel of Christ and are told there are now things they cannot do? Does this sound like the Gospel or Jesus?
I wonder, what is more important - people or doctrine?
I knew this going into seminary. I knew it. I knew it so deeply it could be said I felt it as a deep ache of my bones. I knew seminary was going to be unlike the diversity of CSUF. I also knew, that while CSUF was about 70% female - Talbot was going to 90% male. This my friends is a big change of scenery.
For my first 2 years of seminary I’ve been able to hide from this ratio. I was in classes everyone had to take. Tonight however, my class had around 26 people in it. One of them was what can be be scientifically classified as a female, a woman - a lady. The rest were white and Korean males.
Tonight, of all nights, this ration, this breakdown broke my heart.
Truly, I still do not know where I fully stand on the notion and theology of women in ministry. What I know, as of right now, is how I would rather not error on the side of oppression. I would rather cultivate and environment of freedom - to let both women and men thrive - not one that boxes them out and makes it a male only gang. Honestly, this is about as thought out and processed as my theology of gender roles is.
Therefore, a class like this one stings. It cracks my heart. I believe the church, the body of Christ, is most effective when all its parts are working together. Only having one female in this class shows me how there is a better then likely chance we will not get the full expression of the church in this class. My heart breaks.
To all those women out there who have or are going to seminary - especially my friends I’ve been priviliged to walk with and know - you impress me. It cannot be easy. It must feel weird. It could feel intimidating. Please keep it at.
We men need you.
Seminary needs you.
The Kingdom needs you.
Shane Claiborne on “How Bad Theology Kills”