There's a very interesting conversation going on about the Christian patriarchy movement over at Feministing. Most of you who read my blog know that I hold an egalitarian view of scripture, so I agree with a lot of what's being said over there. That being said though, there are a lot of comments that represent a complete lack of understanding about what Christianity and the Bible is really about. What we have to ask ourselves is where this comes from, why do people feel this way about Christianity? Maybe they only understand Christianity to be a tool of the patriarchy created to oppress women because that's what their experiences have been so far. If that's the case, who can blame them? Because I'm a Christian and I've been researching this for awhile, I know that there are many different beliefs about gender roles floating around in the church (hard complementarianism, soft complementarianism, egalitarianism, etc.), and that the view that the article is referring to is the extreme end of the spectrum, but the extreme views are the ones that get the most attention. It's reasonable to assume that it probably seems to many people that this extreme view is what all Christians believe, and we shouldn't hold that against them. Based on some (not all) of the churches I've been to, I would think this too. I've been to churches that seemed to talk more about gender than they talk about love, grace, and Jesus. I think more churches need to recognize that the propagation of traditional gender roles is just one interpretation of scripture, and that it is no more or less valid than an egalitarian interpretation. Once we can accept that, we can move on to what really matters. What really matters is the stuff Jesus talked about: love, forgiveness, giving. Surprisingly, Jesus never talked about gender. Hmmmm, interesting.
I'd like to encourage everyone to go over and read the post at Feministing along with the comments. Even if you disagree with what's being said, it's always good to be aware of other views. More importantly, we should all strive to understand why people have these views. Happy reading!