First let me expand on the title of this post. To be more precise it should be “The Role of Women in the Christian Church in the Western World is Still an Issue?” Rodney Dunning wrote about this topic earlier in the week http://dunningrb.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/women-in-church/ and it has surprised me how much the subject has been rolling around in my brain refusing to leave. It seems ridiculous that this should still be a subject for debate. There are many issues where I believe most Christian churches need to lighten up and they need to do it soon if they wish to grow in any meaningful capacity but I thought we had figured out the role of women by now.
I commented on Rodney’s post and in doing so realised that it really is still an issue and is part of the reason I can’t find an organized church where I feel I will fit in. I usually think my difficulty comes from my other more liberal tendencies but I never consider my belief in the equal standing of men and women to be an issue. Most churches are not as repressive as the views reported by Rodney but there’s still a tendency towards the belief of a woman’s submission to a man in the household even if there is an attempt to coat it in frilly curtains and pink flowers. I attempted to participate in a mother’s group a few years ago that was following a bible study about the role of a wife and a mother. I was dumbfounded to find lessons about how to submit to my husband and make him feel like a real man. Most of the women in the group talked about how this was a struggle for them but they realized to be a good Christian they must attain this goal. Really? I have to ponder for hours and put an effort into making my husband feel that I submit to and obey him? Will that really make the world a better place? Would the world be a better place if the strong women who have forged ahead and made significant contributions had instead spent that time learning to be more submissive to the male of the species? I personally think my time is better spent with my husband debating our opinions, testing our theories, and agreeing to differ where we can’t reach a common ground. Both he and I learn more much more from those times.
As I said in my comment to Rodney’s post, a good church needs the contributions of everyone whatever their skills may be and whether they be man, woman, or child. I think there are more masculine roles and there are more feminine roles but I don’t think the masculine roles are necessarily better carried out by a man over a woman and the same is true for feminine roles. People are so wonderfully varied in their personalities and what they can do that each needs be accepted and allowed to contribute on their own particular merits. This goes beyond gender issues, it covers race, sexuality, political ideology, and so much more. Every person can contribute in some way and we can all learn from each other and grow to be better people by understanding our differences more than by understanding our similarities. A church that can realize this to be the case would be an amazing and wonderful entity and just what is needed in this day and age.