“A true woman is a true human being who, at her best, displays all the best qualities of humankind. Other than the physiological differences, a woman who puts her mind to it can do anything a man can do.”
So says a random woman on the street. Hey, something in the study that I really like!
But in response, True Womanhood had this to say:
“There is a widespread belief…that gender doesn’t matter….it’s pervasive and has implications for all of life. And we see it in terms of gender role reversal, with dads and moms….it’s leading to so much brokenness and heartache….One of the things we’re going to see all through this study is that God’s ways are good. They’re beautiful and they work! And God’s design, God’s design book is the way it is and it’s for our good, and those who ignore or don’t know or reject God’s design, whether out in pop culture or within the church, are setting themselves up for so much pain and brokenness.”
The ironic thing about this study is that it feels like a very fundamental issue to me. Adherence to fundamentalism might be the camel’s back itself.
I don’t understand the thinking of, ‘if you don’t do this, you’ll have pain.’ So if we get our theology perfect, if we live our lives perfectly, we won’t have pain and brokenness? Is our goal in life simply to avoid pain?
When the premise of a study is that you’re learning about God’s mandate for you, there’s no room to disagree, because you’re disagreeing with God. And, as they say, “We have no right to question the wisdom of his directives for our behavior.”
But why aren’t leaders more about teaching people to study the Bible and analyze it and compare different interpretations? I shouldn’t be made to feel that I’m disregarding God because I disagree with your interpretation. Where’s the humility? Where is the desire to hear and understand and discuss? Not just preach and explain?
Jesus didn’t force his Truth on anyone. It wasn’t something he shouted with arrogant condescension because we just didn’t understand. Any certainty Jesus had was because he was God. Any leader who is so confident in their opinions without having the corresponding humility to die to them for the opposition has my suspicion.
Where is the death in these opinions? Why is there an allegiance to ‘truth’ over the realities of others?
What I see with Jesus is that people are more important than ideals. And it isn’t that he sacrificed what he believed just to make people happy. He highly valued Scripture, but didn’t elevate it over people. Too often I get the feeling from leaders that people are expendable because there’s so many of them, but only one Truth.
Where’s the humility of these leaders to put themselves in the shoes of those who disagree? Being a leader doesn’t mean dying to your thoughts or opinions. But can you at least die to your certainty?
As a mere person and not a leader, I have an intense feeling of futility in this. That it doesn’t matter what people who disagree think, because it just isn’t up for discussion. “Scripture is so clear….the lines are not blurry.” They think those of us who disagree just “don’t want to pick up the truth of the Word.”
But you know what? The Bible isn’t my idol. The goal of my life is not to live “so that the Word of God may not be reviled,” or that “so in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our savior.” The goal of my life is not doctrine, especially at the expense of people. The goal of my life is Jesus.
It makes it hard to be in a christian system when I feel shame for disagreeing.
In the book You Lost Me, talking about why people leave the church, it mentions 6 disconnects people have. I see 5 of them in this study alone: overprotective, shallow, repressive, exclusive, and doubtless. Why am I getting these feelings from christian leaders, when Jesus modeled it differently?
You know, it’s not as if I just woke up one morning and decided I didn’t want to be in church anymore. It was, and is, the slow drip of things like this. The slow drip of offensive theologies and dismissive opinions. The slow drip of arrogant leadership and lack of interest in differences. The slow drip of certainty.
It’s the attitude that churches invite us to join them, but they don’t want to join our lives. Someone said that a couple of weeks ago, and that phrase has stayed with me. That’s exactly it for me. Who wants to feel merely tolerated?
I wonder what’s going wrong when people have anti-Jesus feelings from christian leaders. Is it just a problem on the receiving end? Or is there something fundamentally wrong with the way our leaders use their power?
At the end of the day, do we want to be right, or do we want people to be whole? Jesus had no problem subverting the norms of his day, making himself nothing, for the sake of people. Are we willing to do the same?
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