Two years ago, I made friends with a woman in another state via social media. We communicated through Facebook and Instagram, and sometimes on Twitter. She was thoughtful, caring, and generous. She wrote about her children, her family, and the ways God was working in her life. She has several kids, and always seemed to be laughing about the ups and downs of raising a big family. I admired her, was maybe even a little jealous of her overflowing life.
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.
For me, one of the most compelling arguments for egalitarianism is in the creation and fall passages of Genesis 1 and 3. God’s command that they, male and female alike, are to “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. . . rule over. . . every living creature” (Gen 1:28) provides a charge for men and women alike to contribute to the continuation of family and to exert authority over God’s creation
This year, I have noticed Mary more than usual. One of the things I’ve seen is a very strong person who bucks her culture to be what God calls her to be. That resistance has a hidden cost that the Bible doesn’t record directly.
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:
Many believe that religion plays a positive role in men’s identity development, with religion promoting good behavior, and morality. In contrast, we often assume that the media is a negative influence for men, teaching them to be rough and violent, and to ignore their emotions. In Does God Make the Man?, Stewart M. Hoover and Curtis D. Coats draw on extensive interviews and participant observation with both Evangelical and non-Evangelical men, including Catholics as well as Protestants, to argue that neither of these assumptions is correct.
Most evangelicals are accustomed to the Mary of icons with an emotionless face, the Mary of statues draped in a powder blue robe, and the Mary of piety who quietly and submissively obeys orders. And, if you are like me, you have been nurtured in a faith that, intentionally or not, ignores Mary.