Different Spaces

Perhaps one of the more telling flaws in Christian social structures is the increasing separation between men and women. The other day I was eavesdropping in a conversation two young men were having. As it turns out, one of them was expecting and baby. One man asked if they knew whether or not it was going to be a daughter or a son.

“A daughter. I told my wife: “she’s your responsibility to raise, I don’t know anything about raising a girl.”

“You say that now, but when she’s got you wrapped around her finger, you won’t want it any other way.” His friend wisely told him.

I guess it just bothers me that men and women for some odd reason can’t relate to one another – for all they have in common, the differences that amount to a minuscule molehill are made into an massive mountain.

I can’t think of anything more destructive than the idea that daughters have mothers sons have fathers, but the relationship between daughter and father and son and mother are far less important because as two people of different genders, they cannot have a deep of a connection or complete understanding of one another as a father and son or mother and daughter would.

A “mommy’s boy” seems to be the worst relationship of all, derided and made fun of – yet it makes for a contradiction for a religion based on “honoring your mother and father” that doing just that would be seen as a flaw, whereas being a “daddy’s girl” is generally acceptable – up to a certain age anyway.

I think that’s what bothered me about C.S. Lewis referring to girls as “daughters of Eve” and boys as “sons of Adam”. No matter how human boys and girls are, there’s no such thing as “sons of Eve” or “daughters of Adam” because that’s crossing gender lines.

Here’s what’s genetics do tell us, we’re all made up with DNA from our mothers and fathers, and their mothers and fathers, and theirs before them – all of us contain “masculine” and “feminine” traits – but they’re human traits.

Take a concept like “courageous” – it’s been popular in a movie about men stepping up to lead their families. But is it for women? No, “War Room” was made as the reply and it features the line that says something like: “Submission is learning to duck so that God can hit your husband.” Do women lack the capacity to step up and lead? Are men incapable of submitting to the leadership of their wives? Certainly not – but Christianity doesn’t like to teach that women and men should do just that because the Bible doesn’t say that they must. (It doesn’t say that they shouldn’t either.)

The Bible has become a rule book like that, a paralyzing fear of not doing the things the Bible says must be done, and a fear of doing things the Bible doesn’t say anything at all about – we don’t want to risk offending God’s sensibilities, but we don’t really know what those sensibilities are in a modern context – we only have a two thousand year old book to guide us. It pretty much says: “Go that way.” And that’s the way we’ve been going ever since, not stopping to think whether or not we should.

So it should come as no surprise that the relationship between men and women are hopelessly fractured, the book that guides us was written in a world of gender segregation and it seems the best way to honor the spirit of the text is to put as much distance between men and women as humanly possible – if not in a physical sense, then in a spiritual one by using the limitless role of men to limit the role of women. And don’t worry, it’s not sexism because that’s how God wants it to be.


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