The previous entries in this series were mostly dealing with my frustrations regarding the folk on my side of the complementarian/egalitarian divide, but this week I’m going to take a wander into a different territory.
Here’s the issue: I am a complementarian, but, despite the suggestion of some egalitarians out there, that does not mean that I am: stupid, oppressed, living in the past, uninformed, unthinking, useless, or, a traitor to womankind. Honestly.
In the past I have had people respond to my confession in all of the aforementioned ways. And it can be pretty annoying.
On the unthinking/uninformed/stupid front I have a couple of problems: I have actually thought about it, and I do actually have a degree in Theology. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m definitely right, and it doesn’t mean I don’t want to keep thinking and reading and talking about it, but please don’t act like I’m an idiot for thinking what I do.
On the traitor front. Again, I just don’t think it’s true. I really like being a woman, admittedly (and much to the chagrin of my poor mother) I wouldn’t really call myself a feminist, (although, if you want to be nit-picky about it, I have a great deal of appreciation for a number of feminist ideals, particularly, though not exclusively, those which fit under a broad ‘first-wave feminism’ definition), but being a complementarian doesn’t make me treacherous by default.
However, of all the accusations levelled at me, the one which winds me up most of all is the cry of ‘oppression’ whenever I wave my complementarian flag. And that irritation comes on two fronts:
- For myself. It falls back in the ‘stupid’ category actually, because it usually comes from the mouth of someone who is suggesting that I have been hoodwinked into thinking what I do, rather than imagining that I could have put some genuine, reasonable thought into the matter and somehow found myself disagreeing with them. I once sat through a tutorial where a fellow student suggested that if I wasn’t willing to change my mind on the matter, then that was clearly because I had been forced into to my views by some horrible tyrant of a man, and obviously the only way around it was for me to be forced to preach in churches until I saw the egalitarian light. The fact that those actions might be described as somewhat oppressive and/or tyrannical in and of themselves seemed to escape her. Odd.
- For my complementarian brothers. I want them to have thought (and be thinking) through the issues. And I’d like them to appreciate that it is often a little bit more of an emotional topic for us ladies (something that I’m hoping to deal with in future ‘Confessions’ installment). But I feel sad for my brothers (and my poor dad) when their complementarian confession gets them labelled as sexists or male-chauvinists. I just don’t think it should have to be this way.
Basically I want to end today’s post with this declaration: I don’t think that I’m wrong on this whole complementarian thing (obviously, or I wouldn’t think it), but I also don’t think it’s a ‘gospel issue’. I love Jesus more than complementarianism, and the fact that we disagree on a little thing doesn’t beat that Everything.
So, let’s keep talking about it, but let’s not forget that we’re family. Please?
In summary: agreeing to disagree.