Over the last couple of weeks there has been quite a bit of media coverage concerning the role that women are allowed to play in the Church of England. This brings to light the broader question of how God intended men and women to work together from the beginning.
I thought this was an appropriate time to post some thoughts from a presentation I did at the University of Northern British Columbia last fall on “The Role of Women in Creating a Healthy Society”.
I am sure that these three simple blog posts (Part I & Part II) haven’t closed this issue forever. It has, after all, been a contentious one for quite sometime. I do hope that it will make you think about this issue for yourself and maybe do some further studying of your own. The conclusion that I have come to is that God created man and woman equally in his image. He has a definite plan for each in his creation. Both are loved and valued equally by God, the creator of the universe. By our disobedience to God, the relationship between men and women has fallen incredibly short of what God intended it to be. The Good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die in order to restore our relationship with him to what it was meant to be at creation. This restoration, from the words of Jesus and the apostles, can also restore our relationship to one another.
Men and women are equal. This, however, does not mean the same. I have talked with a lot of couples and have found that many of their joys as well as their frustrations are often due to their distinct differences. These differences don’t make either one superior to, or better than the other; however, if we can each acknowledge our human weaknesses, they allow for exceptional synergy when working together.
Differences should not be disparaged, but rather celebrated. Not as a rule, but as a generalization, men are more logical, analytical and rational while women are more intuitive, holistic, creative and integrative. Any of these characteristics taken by themselves can be detrimental. It is when they are combined together in harmony that a healthy society is created.
Paul exhorts women to “submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” and men to “love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her”. In my relationship with my wife this means that she willingly submits herself to me, but in exercising this authority that she offers to me I will put her needs and desires before mine, even to the point of my own death. I know that because of my wife I am a better person, and I hope that the same is true for her.
I believe this is a picture of what God originally intended for his creation when he created us, male and female, in his image. Neither one working exclusively, or in control of, the other; but both only complete when working together as a team to fulfill God’s plan for us in creation.
What has been your experience of men and women working together?