06 July 2008

Complementarianism and the Thinking Woman's Dilemma

I know I am not the only woman who has struggled with understanding her God given role. I also know that for some women, submission and femininity come easy. We are all made from the same dirt and suffer the same effects from the fall. However, human beings are like snowflakes in that we share the same building material but our Designer has engineered each individual differently. Some people understand math, some people are artistic, some folks learn from doing and others just have to be told. For me, I am a combination of all of the above, with the exception of math. I am decidedly math deficient.

Math is not my only shortcoming. I do a lot of spinning of my mental wheels that isn't necessary and gets me nowhere but frustrated. Generally this occurs when I start with the wrong premise. Foundations are important. Alan Kurschner, one of the members of Alpha and Omega Ministries blog team, wrote an an excellent article about starting with the wrong premise. You can read it here.

Alan got me thinking about a post I was writing as a follow-up to my last post on being complementarian. I had to scrap it. I need to rethink its foundations. I ask a lot of questions. I always have. I think if you clearly define the problem, the solution will become evident. More to the point, I believe when you define a problem biblically, you will find the solution in God's Word.

When I first started studying theology and I asked questions, people took time in explaining things to me. If I didn't understand something, I wasn't ridiculed or dismissed, I was generally taken through the problem step by step. However, that wasn't the case when I started having questions about the complementarian and egalitarian positions. I think as a result of the feminist movement of the 60s, this topic often generates more heat than light. Women, especially younger women, have the idea that equality with men is dependent on being free to do everything a man does. In fact, it's more of an assumed right. When we presuppose that we have individual rights to exercise we are also presupposing that God has abdicated his proprietary rights over us as his created beings. Yikes! That's not an assumption I care to make.

God owes me nothing. He has granted me certain privileges that I am free to exercise. For instance, as one of His redeemed, I can come boldly before His throne and not fear for my life because I come clothed in Christ's righteousness (Hebrews). Imagine that! I can't walk into the White House and gain audience with the president, but I can go with confidence into the "Oval Office of the Universe" and commune intimately with the Creator. Wow! I have the privilege to ask Him for anything but He owes me nothing. Not my next breath, not my next job, not my next meal, not egalitarian rights in ministry, nothing.

I have some thoughts about what makes assuming the complementarian position so difficult, but that's fodder for another post. Today I have my hands full considering the nature of my indebtedness to my God and Savior.

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