The world isn’t black and white. It is made by a complex, intricate God beyond our understanding. He made us similarly complicated in personality, gender and looks. One gender cannot simply be clumped together as leaders or as followers in the household, in the church, or in business. The truth is, some are born with or have developed better leadership skills than others.
The idea presented in chapel this month that women should be the spiritual followers and men should be spiritual leaders is a generalization that is destructive for both men and women.
Patriarchy is not God’s plan for the world. Because we are all one in Christ, there is neither male nor female. Oftentimes in chapel, Galatians 3:28 has been brought up when referring to equality under grace.
I agree, but I think because of this equality under grace, the ideal marriage is a setting of mutual submission, of mutual leadership, where the two become one flesh, and Jesus is the ultimate leader and center in all things. It makes little sense to place the husband as the sole spiritual leader of a household.
As fallible humans, why should anyone except Jesus exist as the constant leader? Yes, there are times when someone must take the leadership role. In some situations, the woman may be more gifted for leadership and, in others, the man. Defining every situation as destined for male leadership or vice versa would be limiting to both men and women, hindering the marriage instead of spurring it on toward Christ.
At certain points, the woman should lead because of the specific gifts that God has given above her spouse. At other times, the man may be in a better position and better equipped to lead.
I am a Jesus feminist. The term is taken from the book “Jesus Feminist” by Sarah Bessey, which is “an invitation to revisit the Bible’s view of women.” As stated by Bessey, I am a feminist wholly because I am a follower of Jesus.
I am not withholding anything from Jesus by living as a feminist. In fact, I believe I am following Jesus in a more whole and correct way by being a feminist. Any moment that Jesus encountered women in society, he lifted them up. He pushed no amount of submission on them. He brought them to a higher status than the culture generally allowed.
Ruth was not a passive, submissive woman who needed Boaz’s help because she was a woman. She needed his help “since I am a foreigner” (Ruth 2:10). She had spent her recent days traveling from Moab with her mother-in-law without a man. She obviously was a strong leader who knew how to take care of herself. The women in the Bible are not submissive. They are not passive. They are not in need of a man to lead them. They are leaders, and included in the Bible because of such traits.
The opinions on the roles of men and women presented in chapel are just that: opinions. And this is the opinion of a feminist who will stop at nothing to follow Jesus.
If you wish to write a letter to the editor, emai the editor in chief at RebekahJordan.Wahlberg@calbaptist.edu.