This has been a great week for reading in the blogosphere, particularly with Rachel Held Evans leading a conversation about mutuality. As we close out this week, I offer here some links and excerpts from some of the many interesting things I've read. Not all of these relate to the mutuality theme, but all offer some great food for thought.
The image of God is reflected most clearly when we come together in community, not when we engage in a patriarchal marriage relationship. The image of God that we get from orthodox understanding of the Godhead is fundamentally egalitarian; it is fundamentally based in the love of equal partners, not in one part taking leadership over the other. All lead, and all are saved. Together.
Equality in marriage gives husbands and wives the freedom to express their God-given personalities to work together honestly, without guilt or shame that they’re not doing it right. Living life together with an equal partner creates balance, acceptance, and the joy that exists in freedom.
The possibilities that exist when the shackles of tradition are lifted are infinite.
I think Jesus is making me softer. In the words of my dad I’m becoming more of a “sissy.” I am trying to take seriously Jesus’ command to love my enemies. I want to be like Jesus. I want imitate a man who like Jesus could experience a slap in the face and not feel the need to return the insult. My dad, and several prominent preachers, would advise me differently.
Courage is laying oneself down for the sake of another. Courage is humbly seeing ourselves as not only man and wife, but also brother and sister in Christ. Courage is encouraging each other, supporting each other in every season of life, working as a team and not as competitors. Courage is following your convictions and seeking after the heart of God, even when others tell you that you are not. Courage is working out your Faith in fear and trembling and finding that Jesus is your anchor, and trusting that that is all that matters.
5 actions for men:
1. “advocate” – i love the Greek word for this–parakletos–because it is used to describe the holy spirit and means “summoned, called to one’s side or aid”. advocating for equality means coming alongside and using voices & power & influence on behalf of change, supporting women in all kinds of ways, and calling out injustices instead of remaining silent.
2. “invite” – ask and ask some more. invite your wives & sisters & daughters to show up more fully to dreams, to friendship, to leadership, to heart-to-heart conversations, to partnerships, to life.
3. “risk” – actively risk your pride, power & control, reputations, comfort on behalf of change. these are all things Jesus tells us are worth losing as we follow him. put them on the line and trust God will show the way.
4. “submit” – listen deeply to each other and respond humbly. let go of winning or being “right”. defer to wisdom and giftedness tempered by humiity. lead and follow.
5. “encourage” – draw out your wives’ & sisters’ & daughters’ gifts and passions and give them love & tangible support to try what needs trying. celebrate what’s good, honor courage, affirm.
This view that you’re either a man and all the roles that come with “manhood,” or you’re a woman and all the roles that come with “womanhood” is reductive and dehumanizing. It ignores God-given talents. It ignores the hard work that it takes to prepare for some roles. It ignores socialization. It ignores personality. It ignores personal happiness. It ignores the complexity of human beings.
It puts all people, regardless of who they are, into one of two tiny boxes and calls that freedom.
I haven't put a link to Rachel's posts for the week because they are all worth reading. I'm sure I've left off many others that I should include. Share with me in your comments what you're reading. I'm always interested in thoughtful writing!