Opinions on faith and life

Yet Another Round of "Me Tarzan, You Jane"

2010-12-18

I was asked to comment on a conversation in another blog, focusing on those by someone using the initials R.C.. It’s more on the greatest obsession to grip the Christian community in recent decades: not Islam, not apostasy, not prophecy, but flesh-based roles. It’s just pathetic that we’re still having to even discuss such a thing, but God did say He put hostility between the serpent and the woman. But I wonder who is still causing the men to keep arguing over who is the greatest?

The comment I’ll be examining today is number 79. From the start he (I’ll assume for convenience) declares that a person’s destiny is either A or B, depending completely on genitalia. Now as I’ve said a gazillion times, nobody disputes the fact that male and female are, by definition, complementary versions of the same class of beings, whether human or animal. But the destiny RC has in mind will be deemed much deeper than physical reproduction. I’ve talked about this bait and switch (equivocation) technique before, most recently in the Escher Theology article as I recall.

RC’s contention is that the reason God made us is not to merely create beings who could freely return His love, but the reproduction of eternal souls. That is, God’s focus was and is alleged to be not on the quality of the individual but the act of reproduction. It is obvious that this is the groundwork necessary to hold up the argument to follow, that being God’s alleged sharing of men’s obsession with sex. The language RC chooses smells eerily of Mormonism’s teaching of men becoming gods whose wives will spend eternity cranking out spirit babies. But as any mother would tell them, that ain’t heaven for the women. RC appeals to emotion to sell the product: surely sex must prefigure something astoundingly important at the spiritual level, but of course no such analogy is ever drawn in scripture.

Then RC switches abruptly to church pastors, and brazenly promotes them as being like the Holy Spirit to other believers! This is the same blasphemous error the ravenous wolves Paul warned about were busy teaching not long after he died. RC even calls them fathers to the congregations, though scripture never does. I have long contended that if God wants us to know that something is required, He makes it very plain. Yet for these roles and hierarchies we are left to pure inference, a fact RC reinforces in this comment devoid of scriptural support. Many paragraphs have already passed without a single scripture citation. In short, RC is setting up a second priesthood that usurps the rightful and exclusive place of Christ. Has he never read Hebrews?

Next comes the predictable appeal to the alleged maleness of God, which RC considers a role that no woman can play because we must, for some unspoken reason, portray maleness above all. The crumb of sugar for women (the feminine genius which God has created in every woman) is supposed to appease us so we won’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain, but thinking Christians aren’t falling for that one anymore. RC, like all male supremacists, wants to use assertion as the foundation of all consequent scripture interpretation; that is, the conclusion he hopes to prove is used as the foundational premise.

And predictably, this is followed by all the fine print, the excuses and qualifications and loopholes that are supposed to cover the emperor’s nakedness. Though, he reasons, men represent the all-important maleness of God, this pseudo- or wannabe- Holy Spirit/father figure is only for certain men. But he has unwittingly shot the foundation out from his male-centric base: if it isn’t just maleness that represents God to the mere mortals, then why exclude all women? No matter how often or loudly male supremacists try this, special pleading will always remain a logical fallacy.

Before going on to further extol the semi-divinity of the cleric, RC uses the pop-psychological cliché of initiator/responder: as the divine cleric (playing God) initiates and the laity responds, this signifies roles played in the sex act, which apparently is always true of every man and every woman without exception-- or it wouldn’t be a picture of anything. Then it’s back to the daddy terminology, which of course must be played by males only. So RC has gone full circle: God is obsessed with reproduction, and every Christian relationship must reflect that. I suspect RC is getting more ideas from Freud than the Bible.

At this point RC claims that anyone who disagrees with all this is really disagreeing with God, which of course is designed to stop any debate before it starts. This very assertion is the question on the table, so for RC to keep insisting on using it as a premise is a sophomoric attempt to win by tying his opponent’s shoelaces together. He then proceeds to use familiar appeals to the Twelve being male while ignoring all other qualities they shared, such as being Jews and not speaking English. Haven’t any of these apologists for flesh-based roles ever read any egalitarian literature besides the straw men quoted by other male supremacists? This is all very introductory material that has been refuted a thousand times.

Yet RC makes this astounding self-contradiction: Jesus had only Jews about Him, so it is reasonable to say that non-Jews could be selected as Christian church pastors even though the Apostles were only Jewish. What? So he goes on to try and make sense of it anyway: But it is not as if Jesus lacked female options to include among the Apostles... It is not as if the Apostles couldn’t have ordained women. Well, Einstein, couldn’t we ask why Jesus never included Gentiles though He could have? Why is one instance of not doing what He could have a significant example, but not the other? It’s that familiar double standard I’ve written about so many times: the same argument works for one gender but not the other. RC even mentions some of the leading women of the NT such as Priscilla and Lydia, but is apparently ignorant of the case made that these very women were co-workers of Paul and that Lydia, Chloe, etc. were church leaders-- yes, pastors!

RC may consider the historical argument closed, but it’s easy to close a circle. Yet instead of singing the old all those people couldn’t be wrong song, where is scripture? Paul had to battle legalists and control freaks his whole saved life, so history must be judged by what the NT teaches, and it fails miserably. As I showed in my Reconciled book, Jesus did not come to simply add Verse Two to the same religious song; He came to lift burdens, to free prisoners, to turn the kingdoms of the world upside down. And no amount of slippery slope fearmongering can help turn lording over into the NT’s mutuality.

Neither does it help RC to burn the straw man that egal wants men and women to be indistinguishable. The fact is that there is much more diversity and individuality among men and among women than between them, but male supremacism wants to homogenize all men into one thing and all women into another, practically rendering them two different species-- and it doesn’t take a PhD to guess which one has privileges over the other. This, again, is a theme male supremacism keeps repeating no matter how many times it’s been refuted. We can tell male and female apart at birth, but we cannot tell whether the male will be what society deems masculine or that the female will be what it deems to be feminine. I’ve observed many times online that unless people identify their gender, it is impossible to tell a male brain from a female one. There is simply too much evidence against RC’s claims.

RC then presents the equally familiar charge that egal arguments are somehow not based on scripture but on emotion. Yet it is RC who has been continually appealing to that very thing while citing no scripture at all. And he, like all the others, ignores the fact that the cultural norm has been patriarchy-- which, as I pointed out in my previous post, magically makes culture a good thing in only that case. I’ve been charitable in the past to call it a double standard, but it really is blatant hypocrisy since there is no excuse for ignorance anymore. These people who want male rule so badly need to stop with the ridiculous fallacies and start reading egal literature from egal sources. This endless parroting of the same errors is wearing very thin. RC’s argumentation, attitude, and ignorance are sadly typical.

We egalitarians need to stop wasting our time on these control freaks. Let us simply model the Body of Christ-- all of it instead of only half. Let’s display to the world what being saved is all about: freedom from heavy burdens, being dead to sin and alive to God, and having a hope and a future-- one that does NOT include being barefoot and pregnant for all eternity! Let patriarchy have its Mormon-esque religion; I’m following Jesus.

20 Comments

Truthseeker

Very good post, Paula! I didn’t realize many egals still believe in hierarchy in clergy/laity arena. That is baffling. That is completely inconsistent. It is like saying there is no male/female but there is clergy/laity. In Christ, there are no differences in these ways. Baby Christians/mature Christians-yes, but even that is a distinction that is not permanent or does not have to be. It is up to the individual and that is freeing.

SaberTruth

Tanx TS! :-) I really don’t get it either, how people can see the conflict between male/female hierarchy and the Body model, but not with clergy/laity.

SaberTruth

Tanx. :-) Many egals do think there is still hierarchy between clergy and laity, but I personally find that inconsistent.

EricW

I think so. Especially someone who doesn’t buy into the Catholic teachings about the Eucharist and the priesthood.

SaberTruth

Yeah, but do you think that my counter-arguments would convince someone who hadn’t yet closed their mind on the issue? I like to be thorough, but it never hurts to get a second opinion. ;-)

EricW

"R.C."’s premises assume and require the male hierarchical priest system he cherishes and defends. His system is airtight to himself, and will remain so until he is willing to let go of his Church "system."

SaberTruth

K, view comment while it lasts...

SaberTruth

No prob, glad to help. Do you think I adequately answered what RC considers an air-tight case for male supremacism? As for posting a link at ’screed, I suppose I could try, but won’t hold my breath as to whether it’ll be approved or how long it might last, given that some of Lydia’s comments have been erased.

EricW

We egalitarians need to stop wasting our time on these control freaks. While I agree, and have pretty much stopped arguing with masculinists, I appreciate the time you took to write this critique/rebuttal. Too bad "R.C." will probably never read it - though I guess you could post a link to this as comment #96. in the JESUS CREED post comments where "R.C." appears.

SaberTruth

Somehow I’m not surprised. RC can keep suffering from verbal diarrhea but speaking the hard truth is a crime.

SaberTruth

PS: Remember, if you have a copy of your deleted comments, I know where they can live again. ;-)

Greg Anderson

As I’ve commented before Paula, keep up the good fight! You and others out here in the blogosphere are doing much to free one human being at a time; and as I’ve commented before, the internet is like Gutenberg’s movable type printing press and the Venetian booksellers of the 16th century. “Requiescat in pace et in amore” is my fervent wish for Protestant patriarchy.

SaberTruth

Will do, Greg. Thank you for your continued encouragement. :-) But ya know, one of these days Imma git medieval on patriarchal posteriors. No more Ms. Nice Gal.

SaberTruth

Exactly. They accuse us of trying to blur gender lines, but they themselves blur all the other lines between individual personalities. They want to dictate behavior and privilege based on something as ridiculous as the flesh and call it God’s divine order.

Lydia

Well, three of my comments have deleted from that thread. So much for open interaction.

Hannah Thomas

They can’t seem to acknowledge they are more speaking about ’individual’ traits that make us different - nothing to do with gender. The different gifts that God grants each of us as custom beings. A child can acknowledge the ’essential differences’ between genders. Instead of acknowledging Egals are talking more individual differences that we are to celebrate - they make some strange comments about how we want to melt man/female into some new being or something. How we don’t want people to acknowledge the differences between the genders. lol as if that was possible! They make it sound like those strange gossip rags you find at the checkout land. Egals found a way to ’clone’ the new being so you can figure out what gender it is! lol! That is the picture I get in my head each time I read such silly stuff like that. Its a wonder people truly ignore how ... WELL... how DUMB that sounds! They are truly afraid of the individual traits of the woman that God has granted her, and they sound like they are jealous because they are the ones that should possess it. You can’t admit that though - it would be unbiblical! Its amazing more people don’t see how foolish their banter sounds.

SaberTruth

Yep. Seriously, with all the rules and order and roles, you can’t find the Holy Spirit with a spotlight.

Debhurn

blistering, Paula.... but when is this knowledge going to get out and about?! :-/

SaberTruth

Good question. The control freaks own the page rankings.

Lydia

I read the thread and found RC to be extremely into liturgical type Christianity. He appeals to church history constantly which is a bloody evil mess and sometimes I am amazed there are any Christians at all today. he starts with a wrong premise such as "Holy Orders" for men only. As if there is a clergy/laity distinction in the NT. He is in love with position and titles and church history. That is his religion. BTW: His beliefs about the ’Lords Supper" were BIZARRE! As if the man giving it out has some sort of magical power. Another commenter, Thomas, uses the same tired declarations that egals are mean to comps. (Any disagreement is mean yet his comments portray egals as sinners!) Where did all these whiny pastors come from? Too much comfort and insulation from the real world, I think.