From My Beloved Friend, The Rev. Domnic Misolo of Bondo, Kenya

I am so privileged of God to have this brother in my life . . .

(From Anglican Rev. Domnic Misolo, Archdiocese of Bondo, Kenya)

Complementary or Christlike?

“I tell her what she can and cannot do, and she submits to my authority.”

“At church, I teach the word of God; she can’t, because she’s a woman. Instead, she learns, in silence.”

“I’m the bread-winner; she’s the home-maker.”

“She cooks the food; I eat it.”

“I mess up the bathroom; she cleans it.”

Some would say that these statements reflect the “complementary” roles that God intended for men and women at church and in the home.

Others, myself included, would say that they sound an awful lot like slavery on the basis of gender. One group leads, the other follows. One group holds all the authority, the other submits and obeys. One group enjoys positions of prestige, the other does the dirty work. The roles may “complement” one another, but this does not change the fact that the relationship is fundamentally unjust.

Is this really a reflection of the roles God intended for men and women?

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19, NIV)

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, NIV).

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!” (Philipians 2:5-8, NIV)

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25, NIV).

Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:25-27)

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21, NIV).

God did not make a class of rulers and call them men; nor did he make a class of submissive followers and call them women. God is not the author of injustice. He is not affiliated with human prejudice. In Christ there is neither male nor female, slave nor free. We are all one. We are all called to love and serve one another, in humility, as Jesus himself loved and served us.

“The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love” (Psalm 33:5, NIV).

Leave a Reply