Thursday, December 31, 2009

A common sense of humanity

Here is an excellent video on abuse against men. HT John Hobbins I really like the way she emphasizes that if something is unacceptable and inappropriate it doesn't matter if it is against men or women. We must be sensitive to both.

I like the sense of empathy across gender lines, the sense of women helping men with issues of abuse against men. Its all about a common sense of humanity.

However, I am once again blocked from commenting on this video on John's website because I recently remarked to him that Dallas Theological School has a doctrinal statement that God chooses men only to be teachers and leaders, based on Eph. 4:8,

But John responded,
    I do not agree with you that religious formations which exclude women from some kinds of leadership - you give the example of DTS - are thereby sexist. At the very least, that is not how they see it, and you show no inclination to even try to understand their point of view.
Many Christians share this view, found at Dallas, that a common sense of humanity does not apply to church leadership, and it most certainly does not apply to marriage either. In marriage, women are responders only, living as assistants to their leader husbands.

While John suggests that I try to understand the viewpoint of DTS, it happens that DTS has had a profound influence on the congregations I attended for 30 years. I do understand DTS, and it is not about a common sense of humanity.

The intense alienation between men and women, fostered by doctrinally based discrimination against women, is a huge block to men and women being able to pool resources and create a common front to fight abuse in the home, whether against women or men.

I look forward to a time when Christian men and women can move beyond the current rhetoric and care for each other as brothers and sisters. I need to become more sensitive to how many men suffer psychological abuse either in the church or in the home.


Brant said...


I was noodling over similar concerns earlier. In my denomination questions about homosexuality are at the forefront. Some who oppose the recognition of covenanted same-sex relationships insist that they are simply upholding scriptural principles. They say that they are not homophobic or prejudiced. I am sure that, in their thinking, this is true.

It is not that long ago that those who opposed interracial relationships argued that they, too, were only upholding scriptural principles. They could say ingenuously that they were not racist.

The fact is that, with or without scriptural warrant, racism is racism, homophobia is homophobia, and sexism is sexism.

Whether the Scriptures are racist, homophobic or sexist is another question.


Donald Johnson said...

The last I looked, Hobbins was encouraging ideas which I find incoherent, such as a middle position between egalism and non-egalism.

I agree with you, humans need to stick together and defend each other from those that would abuse or degrade or limit some group.

Lydia said...

I am still struck by the fact that Hobbins has claimed to be an egal. It is very confusing.

His comment makes no sense because sexism is about gender (I disagree this has anything to do with homosexuality which I believe scripture is clear about in several places) and DTS's policy is about gender!

The problem is that WE DO understand their point of view and disagree with it. That is why you are most likely blocked. You make too much sense for him to deal with.

And Don is right because Egal IS the middle. On one side you have Matriarchy and the other Patriarchy. Egal is the middle.

EricW said...

I've wondered if behind the Evangelical Protestant "only men in leadership" stance is some vestige of the Roman Catholic or Orthodox idea of a human priest pastoring the flock and officiating over the administration of the sacraments (which in the case of Evangelicals is the reading of the Scriptures, not the offering of the changing-into-the-body-and-blood-of-Christ bread and wine)?

I.e., just like the male Christian priest stands in the place of Christ to shepherd His people and give the faithful His body and blood, so the male pastor stands in the place of The Living Word in order to guide the congregation and administer and preach/teach/proclaim to them the written Word.

But since Evangelicals generally reject the idea of, let alone the need for, an intermediating male priest between God and the people, and between the written word of God and those who read and hear it, it baffles me why they retain this proscription against women being in leadership and in the pulpit (aka "the altar").

One day it may be seen for the equivalent of racism that it is.

But probably not today - at least not by most, or at least many, Evangelicals.