Biblical Feminism and Masculinity

There’s a concept we need to grasp as Christians. Equality.

Now Equality in the Biblical sense is not what we get depicted in the 21st Century media. We have a concept today that’s the exact opposite of what the writers of the various books of Sctipture envisioned equality to be.

Equality is a tricky concept these days. If we stick to the concept as used in scripture, we are accused of chauvinism and sexual discrimination. If we don’t then we turn the understanding of God’s order on its head.

I wrote a while back on the importance of being Biblicaly correct rather than Politically Correct. I have old friends from my childhood who are on active duty with the armed forces. They have ben deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and they are not all men. Whether they are people I played rugby against or attended as a fellow dancer in ballet class, they are members of HM Armed Forces in the UK, and I respect their choices for themselves. But I have a fundamental problem with putting women into battle.

In CS Lewis’s Narnia stories, Father Christmas gives the gifts to the children, and as he gives the weapons to the girls he advises “Battles are ugly when women fight”. In the movies I was disappointed when this was watered down to the PC “Battles are ugly affairs”. It missed the point Lewis was making.

War is the domain of Men. We are more designed for it.

In the US Marine Corps right now – an organisation I have immense respect for having had over the years several friends who served with honour in the Corps (Semper Fi, Guys) – they are considering re-evaluating of the fitness requirements. Minimum 3 chin-ups for women. Minimum.

This is being criticised as unfair because many of the female recruits are not capable of this.

My response? It’s obvious – they shouldn’t be in that post. If you can’t make the basic requirement (which I’ll acknowledge I probably couldn’t these days) then you shouldn’t be in that position. The requirements are there for a reason, not to discriminate, but to ensure ability.

I’ve met women who I wouldn’t want to have to take on physically. I’ve met women who are better shots than me – and I was good in my day. I used to fence – foil, sabre and epee – and I got beaten all ends up on a week-long course by a girl my age at bothe foil and epee, although I took her in sabre. Her reflexes and ability with the thrusting blades was greater than mine. With the more “slashing” aspect of sabre my reach and arm gave me a distinct advantage. It doesn’t mean if we were out together and sword play were required that I would defer to her to protect me. It’s not her role to be the protector.

It’s not my role to cower away if my wife and I are attacked. When I first moved to Cape Town and we opened our first business, my wife begged me not to come out of my office if I heard a robbery in the front. I told her I couldn’t do that. It went against everything I am.

I’ve fought muggers – plural – and come out on top. I was assaulted in a church once and they were the ones who ran. I don’t know how to not hold my ground. I walked towards a man armed with a broadsword trying to attack a car-park attendant in Cape Town a few years ago. I’m not fearless – far from it, in fact I was scared witless, but the intended victim was unarmed and clearly paralysed by the fear he felt.

I’m not trying to blow myself up here, just make a point. My brother-in-law has also walked away from equally dangerous situations, as have many of my Christian male friends. It’s hard-wired into us. It becomes even more so when we become Christians.

How is this feminism?

My embracing masculinity, we release women to be feminine. There’s a gentleness in women that men lack. The softness men can express just isn’t a mother’s touch, just like the strength a man expresses is different to that displayed by women.

It takes immense courage to be strong, to push against the flow of “natural” lunacy that passes for feminist behaviour now.

I studied the Suffragette movement as a student for some time. I don’t believe the women then would have supported women in combat. They could see equality was not the same as sameness.

We lost sight of that in the last century. Like many Christian principles it’s been swept away under the lies psychology and the “equality” movement has spawned.

Men and women are equal in God’s eyes. He created us in His image, but not to do the same thing. I’m taller than my wife. My arms are longer and my grip in my hands – also larger than hers – is significantly greater. Intellectually, she is my superior. I may have a slightly higher IQ on paper, but I can’t express it the way she does – and she is brilliant. A medical doctor, and she was the most successful student in the country when she completed her high school education – no mean feat. My exams were not in that league at all. She taught herself physics whilst studying medicine so she would qualify to learn medicine. My head would have exploded just at the thought!

Now I was recently told I suffer from ADD, which could explain my academic shortcomings based on my measured IQ, but not completely. I’m 41, and I’ve been passionate and focussed on developing my relationship with Christ since my early teens. I’ve never placed much importance in my life on academics. That could be more of a reason, but whatever the cause, the reality is I am less quaified and demonstrably less focussed than my wife academically.

But I long to be the breadwinner in our household. It’s hard in South Africa. I’m a Business Degree graduate, but I’m white, middle-aged, foreign and only speak English proficiently enough to use it for business. So it’s hard to find a job that will pay the bills. It doesn;t stop me looking, but recently (and after a lot of prayer) we’ve decided to move back to England so I can begin to move in the right direction to be the provider.

I want to release my wife to be the woman God created her to be. If that means a doctor, then I want it to be she works as a doctor because she has a passion to, not so we can pay the bills.

I wrote about what seems right being wrong recently as well. The business I still believe could have been from God if I’d had the courage to push through sooner we have – prayerfully – decided to keep closed. It’s been heartwrenching to do. Both of us want to stay in Cape Town. Our families are here. The support structure that has helped us for the last 4 years, perhaps the most traumatic of my life, are all here. But we are moving. And to be honest I’m terrified.

For the first time in my married life our financial security, although provided by God ultimately, will be resting on my shoulders. My wife has no solid foundation to base trust on because although I have been effective as the business manager in our business, the actual work that has provided the income has been performed by her.

I had a time before we met when I was actually incapable of work because of what was – we now realise incorrectly – a diagnosis of severe depression. What is should have been is perhaps the realisation that I was in a job I was unsuited for, and the added stress I suffered when my father died of cancer broke me for a time. But the time should not have been as long as it was. Yes depression came over me, but they continued to diagnose depression when what I was experiencing was actually frustration.

How is this related to feminism?

I was emasculated by the system. My ability to find a job was compromised by doctors opinions of me. The only way to escape was to stop seeing the doctors. They don’t like you doing that in England – or they didn’t 15 years ago, anyway. I was threatened with involuntary admission to a psychiatric hospital more than once. Eventually I just ignored them. I met my wife, and she helped me stop taking antidepressants – the best medical thing I’ve ever done – and clear my head again. Was I right again straight away? No. And I’m not ashamed to say it.

I began to study business management for a degree after moving to Cape Town. I studied part time and worked a full time job managing the business we were building. I completed the qualification, but feel I was duped a bit when I was given the only job with a company I have had here. My understanding was that it would be a short induction type position before I would be moved to the area I was qualified, experienced and trained for. 2 years on I resigned as it becam more clear that my age and gender would prevent me from advancing where I needed to go. Nothing was ever formally said to that effect, but watching who was promoted to the posts I applied for, and ther reasons and suggested solutions made it obvious. My favourite “solution” offered was to listen in on some Afrikaans calls to the centre to better understand the needs of the Afrikaans-speaking callers and visitors, despite it being common knowledge my ability to speak or comprehend the language at that level would make it a total waste of time!

So my ability to provide for my wife is compromised. I am unable here to be what I believe God calls me to be. It frustrates me. Annoys me even.

But it doesn’t deter me.

I will do what He calls me to do to return to a Biblical definition of the role I must play. I will do everything I can to love my wife a Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her. There’s a greater measure of submission in that role than there could ever be understood by non-believers.

Bibical masculinity releases the feminine in women by protecting her. Paul’s writings speak of men protecting and encouraging women not to oppress them, but to release them to what God called them to.

When Barak Obama encourages women to be placed on the front-line of military action, he undermines that which God placed as the Order of nature. Men are designed for War. Maybe the interpretation “Battles are ugly affairs” in the movie version of “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” is accurate – now even more than in the 1940s, but surely any sane man would therefore want to avoid warfare where women are taking the men’s place?

Another Barak insisted women go into the battle. In Judges 4, Barak insists Deborah go into battle with him, against her command as Prophetess and Judge of Israel. She advises him the Glory will not be his if she does, but he insists. As she predicted, the leader of their enemy is then slain, not by Barak himself, but by a woman. Barak misses out on what should have been his victory because he chose to arm a woman to fight in his stead.

Women do not belong in warfare, just as men have roles to play, women also have roles to play. There is no disgrace to stay home and care for families and those unable to go to war, but there is disgrace for a man to send a woman to protect him if he is capable of going himself.

I am now too old to be called up for service even if I could meet the physical requirements. It doesn’t mean I would want women to go in my place. I would rather go into battle as an old man than send my wife or daughter to fight.

I cannot give what a woman can give on the home front. As a man I am incapable of it. A woman can be a strong leader. She can be a formidable foe. But she should not be in battle in place of able men.

Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s mother and grandmother, were shrewd business women, and clearly women of some substance for whom Paul had a great deal of respect and admiration. Jesus counted women among His closest group, and the very first person to deliver the Good News of the resurrection was a woman. Women are designed for many roles, including leadership. There are roles designed for men as well.

The sooner we realise that, and understand the writing in the New Testament the way it was meant to be and in the context it was intended, the sooner we can release true feminism and masculinity back into the Church and release both men and women into the roles they were designed for.

Men need not fear women in authority. Women should not fear men either.

We are equal in God’s sight, but very, very different.

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