Friday, February 01, 2019

Headship (4)

As an aside, I wonder if the church has contributed to the modern focus on gender identity, by pushing forward narrowly-defined roles for men and women. In the stereotypical roles that the church has propagated, a husband is supposed to be physically and emotionally strong and provide for his family. A woman is supposed to be gentle and kind, and care for her children. However, many men and women have personalities that do not fit these stereotypes. This can make them ambivalent about their role.

A man who is physically weak and gentle is often called “effeminate”. A woman who is physically and emotionally strong and enjoys her employment is often called “manly”. Therefore, it is not surprising that people who do not fit the gender roles emphasised by the church feel like they need to change their gender. Christian definitions of manhood and femininity are too narrow, and much narrower than God used when creating men and women. He has designed a huge variety into what it means to be a man, and what it means to be women. We should accept what God has done, rather than condemning people because they do not fit a narrow mould that we have defined.

We need a much broader understanding of what it means to be a man or a woman. I am physically weaker than most men. I have never managed to do more than two proper press-ups in a row. I was the slowest runner in my class at school. I hated fighting. We did military cadets at high school. Most of the boys loved marching around with guns, but I hated it, and found a way to avoid participating. I enjoyed reading Anne of Green Gables and Pride and Prejudice. I cry at sad movies. I am different from many men, but I have never thought of my self of anything other than a man.

I believe that we need much more room for people to be different. Creation shows that God likes variety, so we allow people to be different if he made them different.

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