On my other blog
, which posts just the same stuff as this one, I typically get a lot more comments from a wider range of people. My post 2 posts ago (something about Pursuing) sparked a little bit of debate about gender roles--there are a couple of more socially conservative (for lack of a better term) folks who occasionally comment on there, so it just raised a couple issues. This post was mainly in response those comments.
My entry about men and women, and whether it's important who does the initiating in a relationship, seems to have sparked a bit of a conversation about gender. This is something the Church has been struggling with since its inception, and continues to be a dividing line. Thank you to everyone who commented, and even though I am about to disagree with some of what was said, know that it's in a spirit of honesty, grace, and just wanting to witness to some of what I have come to believe about gender. One of the questions that I think is vital to beginning a conversation about this is how people come to the conclusion of what is "naturally" feminine or "naturally" masculine.
I assume when Christian people say "naturally" they mean that it is both pre-programmed into our gender's biology, and that it has been programmed by God, our Creator.
Often when I hear Christians engage in this conversation, they do it by observation. They say things like, "Well, men I know are like this..." or "Women usually do this..." and then make the leap to saying that must mean these are our God-given attributes based on our gender. This is just faulty logic, since there are lots of things that could cause women or men to act in a certain way (e.g., the brokenness of our culture, sin, the way the media portrays gender roles, the way the conservative church has lifted out only specific Bible verses that emphasize certain things, etc.) and we can't just assume that because a majority of women or men might act in a certain way, that it is how God ordained us to be. It could actually be a manifestation of brokenness, rather than a beautiful work of the Creator.
I could go on about this all day. We could throw Bible verses back and forth (there are plenty of examples that fly in the face of so-called "traditional" gender roles), and while maybe that would be helpful on some level, I grow tired of doing this. Especially when there are plenty of books out there on both sides of the topic, and if people really wanted the biblical case for one side or the other, it would be easy to find a book that "proves" that side biblically.
So let's just focus on one of the aspects of this that I find frustrating (and that came up in the comments). It is the assertion that women are "naturally" more nurturing than men. This is frustrating to me on a few levels:
1) It doesn't take into account the myriad of ways social convention and power of culture form people's character.
2) It gives men an excuse to not develop a nurturing character, because that's just not what God intended for them (though, let's look at Jesus--he was biologically male, and is one of the most nurturing people in all of Scripture).
3) It creates relationships between women and men where women have to be the emotional centers, instead of it being emotionally equal, where both parties are emotionally aware and mature.
Anyway, I hope this clears up some of what my thoughts on the matter are. Obviously, to go into all of my thoughts on gender and where they come from this would take at least a book. But this is just a little snapshot.