What’s with all this ‘equality’ talk?

As I become more active with this blog, the question naturally arises — why harp on equality, a seemingly nonessential, side-issue compared to the gospel of salvation?  My reason is that I don’t think God’s design for equality is a nonessential. I think it’s part and parcel with the whole gospel. Without it, we miss the full dimension of Jesus’ message and gift to all of us.  The good news is good news for both men and women, because it means that his love is not partial to one gender over the other.

There are many cultures in the world where men are seen as the superior gender.  In these cultures, men treat women like second class citizens. In fact, I can think of one people-group where women are categorized with the cows, because they are seen as possessions.  Their voice is suppressed; their personhood oppressed.

But when we speak of the gospel, we speak of transformation.  True transformation takes place when the oppressed cease to be oppressed and oppressors cease to oppress. This is key, for it is not only the oppressed who are enslaved.  And oppressors cannot experience the life-giving joy which comes from servanthood unless they understand how God values both men and women –and begin to serve.  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…”  Jesus did not preach a message of top-down hierarchy, because that is not how one finds life or joy.

To say (as some Evangelicals do) that only men can teach and have authority over men is to say that men are superior to women. To say that men are given the roles of leader and head of the household is to say that women are less important.  I do not believe that this was Jesus’ design or intent.  To put these ideas into practice would mean to silence half of the church, and oh, what the church would miss and how it would suffer if it were to be universally so!

I think God has called me to write about all this, because the full dimension of the gospel needs to be written about.  My hope is that for those who are willing to read, perhaps it will bring forth new thoughts and spur on some dialogue.

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