Friday, February 3, 2012

Boys vs. Girls?

            God is not a man, God does not prefer men. Yet God calls "Himself" Father; this is an issue I struggled with in Sunday school. "God isn't a boy or a girl, HE is just God." Well if God is not a man why do we call "Him", "He"? Yes the Bible says that God is the "Father", Jesus is His "Son", that He is the "King"; but we also know that the prophets were writing in the context of their own society, our's has progressed. Why then do we in the 21st century still need to make God a man?
             John Piper recently has come under fire, and rightly so, for saying:

"Now, from all of that I conclude that God has given Christianity a masculine feel. And being God, a God of love, He has done that for our maximum flourishing both male and female."

"He does not intend for women to languish or be frustrated or in any way suffer or fall short of full and lasting joy in this masculine Christianity. From which I infer that the fullest flourishing of women and men takes place in churches and families that have this masculine feel."

"When I say masculine Christianity or masculine ministry or Christianity with a masculine feel, here's what I mean: Theology and church and mission are marked by an overarching godly male leadership in the spirit of Christ with an ethos of tender-hearted strength, contrite courage, risk-taking decisiveness, and readiness to sacrifice for the sake of leading and protecting and providing for the community. All of which is possible only through the death and resurrection of Jesus."
            John Piper and I rarely agree, but I found these statements rather disturbing mostly because of how absolutely gender exclusive Piper's Christianity is. I honestly have to categorize this as a new form of Christianity because it is obviously not the Church Jesus founded. Jesus was inclusive and protective of women (Luke 7:36-50; John 8:1-11; John 4:1-42). John Piper forgets that if he is simply going off of what the Bible says in the Old Testament where he locates his primarily "masculine" God, that he, a gentile, would not welcome to be a leader in the Church. In fact, even in the New Testament the all-male leadership of the Church at Jerusalem determined that gentiles could be saved, but no where does the New Testament state that male Gentiles can be leaders in the Church, they must first become Jews. John Piper, and others in his camp, are aggressively using the Holy Word of God as a weapon to harm women in the Church, subdue them, and rob them of the spiritual freedoms that Jesus Christ made for them. The double standards exhibited in this weak theology is not only sexist, it is dangerous for the women within the churches where this theology is taught. It essentially states: "God made Christianity for men, but don't fret women, you can still be our sidekicks." It forces the women that are within the churches to almost grow to loathe their own womanhood and desire to be men in order to be full participants in this "Masculine Christianity".
             I am a man, and I am glad that I am a man because that is how God made me. But my mother is a woman, and I am so glad that she is a woman, and that my grand-mother is a woman, and my aunt, and my female cousins, and Mary the mother of Jesus. I am glad that Ruth, and Esther, and Mary Magdalene, and Mother Theresa were also women. And I am glad that they are women, because they each brought something to my faith that men could not bring their femininity. I am so glad that God does not have a sex or gender, because then people might start foolishly thinking that he/she/it picks favorites in the "boys vs. girls" arguments that go on on the playgrounds of life. God in the wisdom that only is contained only in an infinite being created both men and women and said both were good. Unlike the U.S. government God in supreme demonstration of wisdom also did not make men and women "separate but equal" God made the two become one, so that they can together be a minor reflection of the splendor of their Creator's glory, and most importantly their Creator's love.