In a nation where our largest denomination does not view women as capable of leadership, I believe the future of our faith may be defined by how we approach the issue of gender equality.
God has a recurring habit of siding with the people on the wrong side of the power structure — of lining up with the oppressed. I believe in the power of the church to influence the course of history… with that in mind, I wanted to share a disturbing piece this week in Christianity Today.
But first let’s frame our conversation with some truths from The Story.
Jesus showed utter disregard for appearance and social rank. In Judean society, it was a major taboo for a man to even speak to a woman who was not his own wife or daughter; yet Jesus interacted regularly with foreign women, taught women, ignored ritual impurity laws, and readily accepted women into his inner circle of followers.
The Christian church is not at the top of the list of institutions and systems employed to subjugate women. However, it is the church’s role to be at the forefront in the quest for true equality. The church should be leading culture by affirming and protecting the divine strength of women.
A much truer and more radical vision is spelled out by Paul in Galatians: “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal.” This is a call that must be heard if the Gospel’s liberating freedom is to be recognized in the world. We cannot miss the characteristics of God expressed in our sisters of faith; if we do, we will miss much of the compassionate strength and fierce loyalty of God’s character.
We serve a God who sets out to free slaves, who operates in complete opposition to the world’s definition of power. We should lead the way…our silence is becoming dangerous…as you can read here in this piece in Christianity Today:
“If, as the Chinese proverb says, women hold up half the sky, then brace yourself—the sky is falling.
In Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men (Public Affairs), journalist Mara Hvistendahl sounds the Henny Penny alarm: Population control methods used for decades in China, India, South Korea, and other countries have skewed sex ratios to biologically impossible levels. She first noticed the problem while visiting a Chinese kindergarten class in 2000: “In the sea of tiny smiles that greeted us, boys outnumbered girls.” Her teacher explained the disparity was the result of women getting prenatal scans and aborting female fetuses. This compelled Hvistendahl to investigate the societal implications of a world with tens of millions more men than women.
Most cultures have tended to favor boys over girls. Boys carry the family name, cost less to marry off, and have better access to education than girls. It’s no surprise then that when South Korea and China launched population control efforts in the 1960s, many couples aborted or abandoned their girls. Ultrasounds and abortion have claimed over 160 million unborn girls in Asia alone—the equivalent of the entire current U.S. female population being wiped out.”
Read the rest of this review and commentary by Marian V. Liautaud here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/october/review-unnatural-selection.html