I can’t argue anymore.
Complementarian, egalitarian, feminist, Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – what loaded words. The rhetoric weighs me down. Others have already made the arguments, and made them well; I can’t presume to make a contribution. There is nothing new under the sun, and what the arguments make my heart feel now is sorrow and fear – fear that the battles are causing us to dig the trenches deeper until we can no longer see one another, let alone see as the other sees.
For those keeping score, I am an egalitarian and a feminist (and a Biblical Woman, thank you very much), and I hold those positions passionately. I can tell you why, from many angles, but informally over coffee, please. I just can’t argue anymore.
What I intend to do instead is to take my theology degree, and earn more theology degrees. I will learn, read, and pray very hard about God and the church and this gorgeous broken world (not about feminism because what God wants is so much bigger than that, no, the good news is that oppressed and oppressors can and will be free). And then I intend to read, think, write, and teach with such violent passion, such excellence, that the argument is moot, and I will do so as a woman who wants, even needs her theology to be logical but also beautiful, relational, mysterious in ways that few men have ever written it to other men. We theologians have the task of re-understanding, reframing the truth again and again, and I plan to do it through my own frame, and to do it so well that the seminary presidents who refuse to hire my sisters and I will know they have made a mistake.
And if it ever happens that one of them takes the courageous, humble step of peering back out from behind his trench, extends a hand of friendship – I hope with all my heart that I will run with abandon across no-man’s-land to ask his forgiveness as well, for being angry when I should have tried to understand, for arguing when I should have loved, for asserting my right to have no headship and forgetting that my head is Christ. I hope I will embrace him, childlike, as we can afford to be when we finally dismantle our defenses; for the cross accomplished not only our equality as sons but also our reconciliation as brothers.
Until then, I can’t argue anymore.
(Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.)(1 John 3:18)