Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Young Earth Egalitarians?

RJS has been blogging at Jesus Creed. Let me say that while I am comforted at the steady blogging on behalf of women in ministry, I am hurt and horrified at how the actual woman herself is abandoned to her fate. RJS writes,
I’ll be blunt – to attach complementarianism to the gospel in any fashion is to distort and damage the gospel message. Complementarianism devolves to rules. But God will use our efforts anyway. To attach egalitarianism to the gospel message is to distort and damage the gospel message – it takes the focus off of Christ and onto us, and this has dire consequence. Egalitarianism devolves to rights.
So are women not to have rights? Men have rights. It is okay, just fine and dandy, for men to have rights. Oddly even Saint Paul had rights. He asked to be recognized as a Roman citizen so that he would not be beaten. Why did he do such a craven thing and stand on his rights? A woman should never do this. She should just put up, even if what is happening to her is wrong.

I have the sense that the insistance that egalitarianism is about rights and that is not gospel, is expressed by someone who has no idea what it would mean to live out one's life from birth to death without rights. Clearly this writer would not rate abolition of slavery as a gospel essential either.

Please judge by my sarcasm that I am still hurting from what it meant to me to be part of a complementarian community. The truth is that I was lucky. I have a job and I can support myself and my children. I feel privileged and grateful to my parents. Many people come out of fundamentalism with the sense that they have wasted years of their life in futility. Vanity, I think it is called. Emptiness. Feeding the beast of fundamentalism.

PS. In the comment thread, there is a call out for young earth egalitarians. I am pretty sure that some women who read this blog are young earth egalitarians, although I am not. You might want to take a look.

In all honesty, I am grateful to RJS for keeping this topic alive. However, I get the impression that he thinks it is no big deal to live one's life without basic human rights, such as going in and out of one's house freely, working to earn money, controlling how many times one becomes pregnant, attending the church of one's choice and so on.


Katherine said...

Thanks for writing this, Suzanne. The background I've come out of is nowhere near as bad as yours was (I simply grew up Southern Baptist), but it has screwed with my head in ways I feel it will take my whole life to undo. It's discouraging when something so fundamental to human flourishing is brushed aside as an impediment to "real" matters.

P.S. the RJS who blogs at Jesus Creed is a woman.

Kristen said...

If basic human rights were truly viewed by churches as being inalienable for a woman and endowed by her Creator, she wouldn't need to keep talking about them. She would be able to take them for granted just like the men do.

Marie Antoinette is said to have said "Let them eat cake" when told the peasants had no bread. She couldn't understand why they would cry out for something she took for granted. Should she have faulted the peasants for their self-seeking?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

P.S. the RJS who blogs at Jesus Creed is a woman.

I completely misjudged that one! But it doesn't change my basic reaction about rights. Being deprived of rights is very serious business, and we have to have a certain amount of autonomy to maintain life. If we are parents, then we need rights in order to fulfill our basic responsibilities.

Donald Johnson said...

There is a wifespread but false teaching that believers do not have rights. It sounds so saintly, perhaps?

Believers do have rights and the Scriptures teach this. It IS true that a believer can decide to not invoke a right for a greater good, but that is a far cry from not having any rights.

Kay said...

"Many people come out of fundamentalism with the sense that they have wasted years of their life in futility. Vanity, I think it is called. Emptiness. Feeding the beast of fundamentalism."

Sad, but true...so true...

Mark Baker-Wright said...


Yeah, when I was reading that bit about rights at Jesus Creed, I was thinking about how Paul asserted his rights to be paid for ministerial work. Yes, he also made a point of how he did not personally ask for such payment, but his attitude certainly doesn't seem to suggest that he'd be sinning if he did assert his rights to payment.

Katherine said...


Oh! I didn't mean to include the P.S. to suggest it should alter your reactions in any way. It was only so you could refer to her correctly, that's all. What you wrote is spot-on and I fully agree with it.

Anonymous said...

This is something we seriously need to be concerned about with Islam. Why are we so willing to look the other way? Why would we even consider to allow them any form of Sharia law in our country. I just do not understand people. Perhaps they have never lived with no rights and cannot grasp what it means and how damaging it is to both parties.

Paula said...

I'm an egal YEC pre-trib fundy conservative libertarian out-of-church hateful attacking conceited anti-Calvinist "new age Bible"-reading gifted moron--- depending on who you ask. :-P Something for everyone to loathe or praise, wherever I go.

But I'm reluctant to post again at The 'screed as I like to call it.