Well, They’re Both Fields

I think at this point it’s pretty safe to say that my correspondent and brother in Christ Ashwin thinks of the battle for gender equality in the Church one way, and I clearly think another. Perhaps two quick illustrations will help. The former, I believe, describes Ashwin’s view of my pettiness in pursuing the issue — and not his commitment to the furthering of Christ’s Kingdom. The latter reframes my commitment both to Christ and to the pursuit of full equality for all in the Church.

Ashwin seems to think that I and my sisters are sulking at the sidelines of a football game to which I’ve been invited, and even asked to play in — but we want to be the quarterbacks and only the quarterbacks, and the on-field quarterback and the team coach insist that we never can. Dejected, we whine and distract the players, bitch and moan with the other teammates, making them disgruntled and unmotivated, and then we discourage them further by stomping off the field with a promise to take our ball with us, dang it, and just go home.

That would be inexcusable; I certainly wouldn’t want to do anything at all with anyone like that. I’m afraid Ashwin sees me that way, and it’s a pity.

To me, however, it’s as if we were all on a battlefield, trying to rescue the weakest, round up and serve the refugees, and at the same time do battle with an approaching, tenacious enemy. But while our campaign has a great many skilled, wise, compassionate strategists and soldiers, half of them are kept off the field — or used in lesser capacities that attempt to fan into flame gifts they don’t have and squelch (restrain, bind up) those they do. The enemy encroaches, the casualty count rises, and time is running out, but half of the campaign’s very best commanders are told that because of an interpretation of rules specifically codified for a specific war fought centuries before, rules that contradict the general principles of war, peace, and crisis codified for all time and more relevant than ever now, they cannot assume the positions of lieutenant, corporal, major and commander assigned to them. Worse, their loyalty to the fight at hand is questioned, resulting in the splintering and factioning of the troops.

In this scenario, real lives are at stake. It’s not a game, nor a mere focus of debate between brethren. I believe the Church suffers real harm, and the world around it even more damage, by gender inequality. That, to me, is a cause well worth a continued, strenuous, prayer-enlivened fight, and I’ll continue to soldier on — hoping that my brothers understand that my ultimate loyalty is to my Commander in Chief and Lord. They can walk alongside, or run away, or even try to restrain me. They’ll have to answer for what they do. I look forward to answering for what I do.

One Response to “Well, They’re Both Fields”

  1. Ashwin says:

    I would like to compliment you on the quarterback analogy. That hit the nail right on the head. Yes I do think you are doing something like that.

    The analogy of the battlefield is also quite sound. We are in a fight to the finish.

    But if you look at the battles that the people of God fought (all of them are described in the Old Testament) you will find that God deliberately set out to handicap them. Further they were required to do silly things.

    Moses was required to raise his hands. Joshua has to march around Jericho singing lustily for seven days. Gideon has to send home the bulk of his army – and then only had to blow his trumpet to see the enemy troops kill each other. David refused to put on armour and went to face Goliath with a shepherds weapon.

    And Elijah actually doused the sacrifice with water so that the witnesses would have no doubt that they were witnessing God’s hand in the consuming of the ox.

    So let us trust in God to win the battle. Let us take His words seriously. If He does not want women to take on certain roles, He has very good reasons for it.

    God told Gideon to send home those who lapped up the water. There was no difference between them and those that drank with their hands. But it would have been wrong for the former to insist on going to the battle. God did not need them. He had already won the battle.

    God has asked women to not join certain aspects of the fight. Listen to Him.

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