Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A look at women ordination and roles in the church: Part II

Before I begin, I must apologize for the lack of citations to support the points in this post. This is one of those posts that I just want to get the opinion out first, and perhaps come back to later with supporting references.  That said, most of my view point for this post comes from my interpretation of the Genesis story (Chapters 1 to 3). That also said, please forgive me and endure my opinionated response (which is still emerging as I encounter many life experiences and mature spiritually in my walk with the LORD).

In part I of my post on this subject, I laid out my views about how I as a father of daughters welcome some of the gains of feminism in Christianity, but disagree with the challenge to overthrow the patriarchal hierarchy totally. I however, welcome the role of feminist thought in the church to re-emphasize what men's Biblical obligations for the proper treatment of females, especially the transformation of our thinking towards women. However, in this post, I want to discuss the dangers of extreme feminism in Christianity, especially in leading us into apostasy.

If one wants to know the role that women play in church history, one only has to look at the Catholic's elevation of Mary as the mother of God. This was done, in my understanding of church history, as a way of marketing Christianity to pagans, through use of symbols and stories that pagans were familiar with. Pagans at that time in history, possessed views about a god-family (father, mother and son), and so early Roman-dominated Christianity adapted these ideas in order to market the religion to the new market of pagan adherents.

Today, however, we as Christians do not need to emphasize the merits of our faith through incorporating pagan ideas. In addition, we do not need to appoint women as priestesses, which follows a spiritually dangerous tradition of pagan religious systems. God has ordained a hierarchy since the fall of humanity, that in time he will redeem all those who oppressed or under authority, giving them the true status they deserve. (This does not mean a justification for slavery, a subject that I am prepared to write in a future time). Yet, God has established an order and hierarchy that is contrary to pagan practices for purposes that only he knows best, that at the end of time, he will reverse, and men and women will be elevated to their rightful status, after Satan, sin, death and evil is finally dealt with.

Let us look at the hierarchy before the fall of humanity in Eden

Man and Woman - Earth

We must note that the Genesis story mentions that both man and woman were equally responsible for tending the garden of God and the earth. Dually, their roles were to name and understand objects and things in nature, and through nature and their work, come to an understanding of who God is as well as to love and appreciate the Creator more. They were to equally share the roles and responsibilities for the earth and all the animals. In this state, there was no hierarchy.

Let us now look at this post-sin hierarchy established from Eden.

Earth - man - woman - child  -Serpent and serpent's child

Instead of man having power over the earth as God intended, man is now subject to nature and need to exert effort in order to produce for human needs and wants. Man also goes back to the earth in death. In addition, woman, who was made an equal partner with man becomes, becomes subjected to him and now becomes the one that has the full responsibility to bear the child needed to overcome the serpent. The serpent, who apparently had some other means of travel, is now demoted to only being able to travel by land on his belly, with the added burden that there would be war between his descendants and that of humans, with humans becoming victorious.

The hierarchy established after sin, also reverses the order in which sin was introduced into the world.
Serpent - woman - man - Earth

So while the feminist movement has brought along some advancement in women rights, the true women's liberation is yet to come through God's timing and intervention. In fact, in God's timing and intervention, there will be total liberation of man and woman from their subjugation to nature and natural laws, as well as liberation of the Earth from death and decay. Hence, there will be an overthrow of hierarchy, but I have no confidence that we as human beings with our errors and faults can justly correct the situation.

However, until then, we must make the necessary incremental improvements to provide justice for women and care for our environment. Justice for women however, does not necessarily mean equity or even equal treatment. Justice means fairness, a fairness that respects and affirm differences. Also, differences do not imply a hierarchy, as objects can nominally differ. Differences mean that there is separation and demarcation, especially due to different characteristics. Justice means that people get what they deserve: where people get what is fairly, reasonably and rightly due to them based on their needs and situation.

There are some within the [radical] feminist movement that implies that there are no scientific differences between male and female. But women and men are biologically different also, which should also affect how we allocate what is due to women. Biological differences between make and female include:

  • different sexual organs (and the fact that we are sexually stimulated differently)
  • women experience menstrual cycle; men don't
  • women possess natural wombs and can naturally give birth to children; men can do so only artificially
Hence, such differences need to be taken into consideration in seeking justice for the genders.

No comments: