Egalitarians believe the Bible promotes two senses of equality: equality of nature and equality of opportunity. Neither requires or even hints that women and men are or should be identical. Egalitarians don’t deny difference, we deny that difference is destiny.
Proponents of the “battle of the sexes” often argue that that what ultimately divides and defines men and women is their physical bodies. These vessels that “house” our souls, our divine connection to God, have somehow distorted our visual acuity to see each other as “flesh of my flesh,” or having a common origin, the way that that Adam saw Eve in Gen. 2:23.
Why would a woman espouse an ideology that consigns her to a less-than status? Howell and Duncan surveyed 72 women to explore the rationale behind women’s beliefs in the subordination of women to the authority of men.
Over the past several decades, women have made strides toward equality in the secular world as well as the church. While some claim these changes have happened too quickly and mourn what they see as the loss of tradition, others believe they have been too long in coming and lament that we still have so far to go. While studying certain aspects of the debate, we—this article’s authors—began to craft a research project: Cameron posed a question while a student in Susan’s Gender Studies course, a question which has focused our attention on a related but unexplored aspect of the gender equality struggle. Here is what happened.
This article reports on a study of the ideologies and decision-making of Christian married couples. We specifically explored the beliefs these couples held regarding decision-making at the beginning of their marriages, those they currently hold, and what prompted any changes in those beliefs across time.
What are the experiences of women in Christian leadership? Do they have salaries comparable to men? Do they encounter stereotypes based on gender? Do they have the respect of their congregations? Howell and Thompson provide a glimpse into the experiences of these women to inform present and potential church leaders, and to increase the awareness of congregations and denominational offices.
It seems harmless, really. We see someone we don’t know very well and we want to connect, start a conversation, or just fill the silence. We don’t know them well enough to comment on national politics or our struggle with the latest social issue. Or maybe we know them well enough that mentioning politics or social issues seems ill-advised. Either way, we blurt out the easiest and seemingly most harmless comment we can come up with at the moment:
We hear much these days about differences between males and females. Television advertisements encourage us to purchase different vitamins for our sons and daughters based on their claims that females need skin care assistance while males need help building muscle. Manufacturers of adult undergarments assure us men and women have different undergarment needs, pointing to supposed differences in the way males and females drive their vehicles. The marketing of everything from toys to different Bibles for girls and boys suggests that even children are completely opposite in their essence. The uninformed might be persuaded that males and females are of two different species.