One of the things I dislike most about fundamentalism is that it automatically pits people against each other.
I hate that the premise of this study is, if you don’t agree, you don’t have the truth, and your faith in Jesus is questioned.
“…knowing those truths, and they are truths, about biblical womanhood, how God designed us…”
“We’re presenting a message that really at it’s core is, ‘get your relationship with Jesus right.’”
I hate that.
I hate it because it makes me feel like we both can’t be right, and I want us both to be able to be right. I want to affirm the different ways life works for different people. Part of sitting in tension means wrestling with the extremes. I can see why certainty is so appealing. I can see why ‘the slippery slope’ can be scary for some people and how dealing with the realities of life without a set list of rules gets complicated.
So I don’t really care if people believe this stuff for themselves. For their lives. Their marriages. My problem comes when people start throwing words around like mandate, truth, ordained, and making blanket statements that apply to all people in all countries in all times.
“Like it or not, God has ordained that the home is the domain of the woman and that she is to be the worker of the home and she is to be the keeper of the home.”
I believe that God interacted with Sarah differently than he did Miriam, than he did with Mary, than he does with DeMoss than he does with me.
I don’t believe we can read and apply the Bible so easily, as well as claim that this is the only way to do it.
“The Bible has a whole different message about womanhood. And of course, that’s our authority, that’s what we’re looking to if we want to be true women; we need to think biblically, think christianly…”
When I hear “the true woman is tethered to the Word of God,” the “seeds of feminism…are actually just sin,” we’re in a mess because “if you go back to the 1960′s, you see everything pivots from that time…women have not been true to what God has called us to do, to what God has ordained for us to be. We have believed a lie,” I recoil.
Well, recoil is probably putting it mildly. The adrenaline starts flowing, my cheeks get pink, and my voice….changes. When I see and hear this, I get angry.
First of all, it just makes me want to walk away. When a system and the people in it are so dogmatic that they label all differing opinions as sin, I don’t even know how to respond.
And yes, I know part of their issue is that history was the same for thousands of years, and so changing something in 1960 is radically changing allthethings! But is it possible things were rotten for women for thousands of years? The longevity of a system shouldn’t guarantee the validity of it.
If you cannot be open-minded enough to consider the possibility that other people love Jesus and massively disagree with you, then I don’t even know what to say to you.
And I don’t want to settle for ‘I’ll tolerate you having a different opinion.’ Or, as this study so graciously says, “have grace toward women who differ in life circumstance and application.”
I don’t need tolerance or grace for having a different opinion. I want interest and validation. A desire to understand.
‘Agreeing to disagree’ works to a point. But when you say, ‘you don’t agree because you don’t want to read the Bible’ or ‘the truth didn’t seep in‘; that’s just f$#@ing offensive. And when it’s coming from people in churches???? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I can believe a lot of things, and the truth of their essence isn’t determined by how strongly I believe them. I’m sure I believe some things wrongly, but also, some things rightly. I don’t have enough certainty to tie anything to the message of Jesus, other than Jesus. And when you do; I’m suspicious of your confidence. Especially when I completely disagree.
Maybe it’s easier to write off my generation leaving the church as ‘they’re walking away from Truth.’ And maybe other people leave for other reasons. But for me, this stubborn insistence on only one TRUTH for everyone is only an ignorance of reality.
When you promote yourself as having the absolute truth without also talking about cultural and historical differences, without acknowledging differing biblical interpretations, then I don’t trust you. I don’t trust your flatness, your simplicity, your oblivion to the world.
And when you equate my trust in what you’re saying with trust in Jesus……………………..I’m just out.
It is not worth my time or emotional energy to convince you that my feelings have validity or that my opinions are justified, that my interpretations do not come out of thin air. The attitude I’m looking for is not ‘you disagree with the Bible and that’s ok’ – it’s ‘you follow Jesus different than me and that’s ok.’
I do not believe the story of the Bible, the full message of Jesus, can be reduced to or restricted to gender roles.
“Gender displays God…who we are and how we relate as women and men is an object lesson………Gender exists to tell the love story of the gospel.”
And it’s fine if you disagree. I don’t think people’s decision to follow Jesus rests on whether or not people agree with me.
But as long as major movements in evangelicalism believe so, more and more people will walk away.
This post is part of a series reviewing and discussing the True Woman 101 Divine Design study, by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh Demoss:
Part 2 – True Womanhood – Death to Certainty
Part 5 – True Womanhood – An Offensive Gospel
Part 9 – True Womanhood – Cookies and Chains