Doctors tend to have tunnel vision ESPECIALLY in training. I may or may not have mostly dropped off the theological map the last three years, really I have been out for 7 if you count med school where I only occasionally pondered big questions that did not involve bodily fluids or medical ethics. I am rapidly catching up on the gender roles debate as I navigate a serious relationship that will likely involve moving to another continent, blending two careers, a lot of really good food (mostly made by very talented chef of a boyfriend) and ministry in a language neither of us currently speak.
In seven years, I come back a doctor and if I read the average Christian woman’s book I’m told to get married (like five years ago), be barefoot, pregnant, offer sex on demand and never speak in church (despite being a missionary esque doc in Africa…), start learning how to sew (not skin either!!!). Moreover, I’m given a list of HOBBIES and activities which are APPROVED and NOT APPROVED. As is my significant other. We are not impressed especially since learning Amharic is not in the approved list…for either of us. 😉
But what really gets to me is this:
While our sisters are being raped as spoils of genocide in Dafur, sold to the highest bidder in India at 12, die in Ethiopia in childbirth or be left in the trash in China because they are a girl, have their body mutilated in the name of culture that robs them of any pleasure from intimacy not to mention that’s if they survive the risk of infection of the crude procedure in the Middle East and Northern Africa or who die in the name of honor for a crime done to them by force in Central Asia….
We American Chrisitans with the greatest education, nearly unsurpassed religions freedom, the greatest resources economically in the world are fighting over rather men are allowed to cook and knit and BE A REAL MAN (not to be confused with a small Italian fictional puppet of a REAL BOY) and who can teach Sunday School. Moreover, many women and men seem to be fine with being silent or not to use so many of their gifts (dare I say liberals, uniquely feminine or masculine gifts…AHH!) that the world and the kingdom are dying for
Gender Roles Debate=First world problem.
(And when I say Gender Role Debate, I’m talking Mark Driscoll, John Piper, submission, work out side of the home, 1950s social norms genders role debate, as the first bolded paragraph shows, clearly GENDER is a GLOBAL issue).
That statement will likely make EVERYONE mad. The conservatives will talk to me about the degradation of family and how feminism has made dominating women and passive men. How sex is no longer sacred and is sold to the highest advertising bid YET they will talk to me A LOT about sex, so much to the point where frankly it might be all we talk about…. The Liberals will point to abuse potential and oppression of women’s gifts. and that men and women are equal (equal how exactly is a HUGE spectrum of debate). Everyone would complain about cherry picking scripture (Jewlerly-OK, Hair cuts-Ok, Speaking in Church: (the sound of angry hornets) and Proverbs 31: (the sound of Hebrew chanting nearly drowned out by a vacuum cleaner)). We need biblical womanhood and manhood they will All cry(lets make a war council for it staffed by Real Men vs. Liberated Angry Women and have an all out cultural war via blogs on the internet and warring Christian publishing companies!).
To use an evangelical phrase… although in a new way
This is not THE hill to die on… At the very least while we fight with knitting needles raised and sermon podcasts blaring in our lovely American suburbs, I think we are missing the mountain where people are actually dying. (in the big picture sense at least, I know there are passionate justice loving people on both sides who would argue I’m cutting them out with my broad generalizations)
I’m not saying I have the answers or that I did not freak out recently when I found a Mark Driscoll book on my boyfriend’s bookshelf a friend had given him in college (15 mins of ranting and meltdown ensued, it ended with prayer, chocolate and eventually a kiss (of mutual happiness), oh and the book was on the Cross not gender roles). I’m not saying I know how to read Paul or how to make marriage work when so many fail or how to celebrate men and women in a way that does force them into a mold of legalism nor meld them in such a way that there is very little room for biology or sheer uniqueness.
I’m just saying as a Christ Follower whose heart (guarded or not) is broken daily over the mountain, let’s stop trying to gauge each others’ virtual eyes out on the hill and walk in the shoes our brothers and sisters. Come to the inner city with me, cry with my little girls who are pregnant at 14, cry with my boys who come into the ED beaten up their first day of middle school or the boys who prefer juvie because they get three meals a day, don’t get beat up as much and don’t get abused by anyone they are supposed to be loved by. Come to Africa with me where I cradle a baby whose mother died in obstructed labor or where little boys are captured as child soldiers. And yes, let’s go walk in the suburbs and hold the woman who is being abused in the shadow of our church steeples or the man who has only ever been told to PROVIDE for his children, not to love or cherish them or sit on the floor and play with them. He doesn’t even know them.
Oddly while the bible does not give me a perfect list of acceptable hobbies or vocations, nor does it give me a perfect prescription for marriage, nor is it clear where poetry, culture and history stop and start… HOWEVER, its much clearer on oppression, compassion, love, the caring of children and the vulnerable and justice (which is not always nice and peaceful).
So perhaps its trite, perhaps in my seven years of solving problems with needles, blood and tears, I have lost my sense of reality but here is my bottom line:
Grace for our differences (which are likely NOT going away) and peace in our battle for the hill….
so we can be united in Christ with justice and compassion for the true war of the mountain where people are dying for our indifference and where we are losing a much more important battle.