Apparently my HTML coding isn’t sufficient to create a pop-up with the following content warning: “The following theology blog is written by a woman and thus is not appropriate for Christian men to read. If you are male, please click away from this blog immediately. Thank you.”
But consider this your warning. Men, flee the devil and this blog!
I also tried creating a Google filter to restrict readers of my blog to only women. Also, if you are under the age of 12, the filter will let you through. But once you hit 13, it’s over, kid (if you’re a guy). But this ended up not being possible either. I’m just failing at technology these days.
Okay, so none of that is actually true at all. Here’s a slightly more complex take on gender roles in Christianity and what that means for this blog.
I don’t actually know what I believe about women in leadership in the church. By which I mean that I’m not sure where I am emotionally on the subject or where I am in my interpretation of biblical passages. (If you think this issue is clear-cut, try reading some good, scholarly works on the other side and see if you don’t change your mind.) This is one of three theological topics I’m going to think about and research this year. (Yes, I have a list.)
Last week, though, I made a firm conclusion about how Christianity and gender relate: it is not a sin for women to cut their hair.
At age 10, the way I came to that conclusion was by looking around and noticing that a lot of the women in my church had short hair and God wasn’t striking them dead for their blatant sin. So I concluded that what I thought passages like 1 Corinthians 11:14-16.
In this case, that doesn’t seem like a bad way to do things. Because my original conclusion (“I am a sinner for having short hair”) is pretty obviously false.
In the same way, “No males should read this blog” is a conclusion that I think very few people would agree with, even though there are some passages of Scripture that could imply this.
Is it okay to start by saying, “Nope, this conclusion is wrong,” and then looking back at the Bible passage to figure out what it really means (since it couldn’t possibly mean this)?
Is it? Is it?
People on either side of the gender roles debate will often accuse each other of starting with their conclusions about women and picking an interpretation of the Bible that fits with their preconceived ideas.
To some degree, I’d say that it’s pretty much impossible not to do this. In my example with the short hair, it doesn’t seem like a bad strategy. I mean, the conclusion, “Short hair on a woman is a sin” is not logical. Therefore, that can’t be what that passage really means. Any close look at the cultural context would agree that pixie cuts are not inherently evil.
But is this always a good way to do theology?
Let’s bring it right to a specific question.
In all of the churches I’ve been a part of, women were only allowed to teach children or other women. Yet I don’t think those same people, reading my blog, have any problem with me writing about the theology of suffering or worship or spiritual gifts.
My own position on the subject of women teachers is still under development. But let’s say for the sake of argument that I do not believe that women should have leadership or teaching positions in the church.
So, the obvious question is: am I a hypocrite for writing this blog? Not necessarily do you agree with a conservative position on women’s roles in the church, although you can talk about that if you like. But if you were me, how would you reconcile a belief that women shouldn’t teach with a blog that teaches?
(I dare you to answer this one. Or just say whatever comes to mind. Half-thoughts are welcome. This is an opinion poll, not an exegesis forum.)