Suzanne McCarthy has been blogging on complementarianism over on the Better Bibles Blog. I have been following her posts with interest, and I would like to commend them to my readers. The entries to date are: Modes of Communication I, Modes of Communication II, Modes of Communication III. Suzanne obviously doesn’t subscribe to the “snazzy but inaccurate title” school of thought–just tell them what you’re talking about. 🙂
I’ve written about this topic a few times myself, largely out of my frustration with the number of women I see in the church who are gifted and called from my observations and yet are not being used to their full potential. Even amongst those who claim to affirm leadership roles for women in the church there is often an inertia, or perhaps a sort of default that suggests that women must be exceptional to be in leadership.
What Suzanne has done in these last several entries is point out some of the inconsistencies in how one applies the complementarian position, and I think she makes some good points. I’m not sure I’m going to get the time or the tolerance any time soon to read her complementarian source material.
Nonetheless, it seems to me that the key here is that the wrong principles are being used. We’re setting up the category of “women” as a spiritual entity, with a prescribed set of spiritual roles. That ignores the reality that while women and men are truly different–and I’m not egalitarian in the sense of saying women and men are somehow interchangeable!–women differ from women and men differ from men as well.
The principle I would suggest is that we observe both the men and the women, as well as our children and young people, and simply choose for leadership roles those whom God has gifted for those roles. If we do so honestly, I think we will find that God is, in fact, calling many women to leadership and wonderfully gifting them for it.
When we ignore the call and gifts of God, we’re putting God in a box and we are a barrier to the building of the kingdom. Let’s not do that!