The problem when it needs to be said

ps_janet-scott_40160_bunting-flag-shape-mask-018_puI remember reading several years ago that we need to stop telling girls that they can be anything they want. The reason? Until we said this to them they never thought they couldn’t be anything. The very need to say something can sometimes betray the reality of the opposite.

The other day I was very intentionally trying to focus on the road and loudly singing whatever was on the radio when something caused an idea to bump and shift slightly in my head and that memory flooded back and shed light on something I’ve been digging into recently. Suddenly I understood what was bugging me!

I grabbed this definition from Wikipedia because it is the generally agreed upon definition and I didn’t really want to do a ping back to someone’s site because that really isn’t the point of this. Essentially Complementarian doctrine is this:

Complementarianism holds that “God has created men and women equal in their essential dignity and human personhood, but different and complementary in function with male headship in the home and in the Church.”

See anytime I’m talking to someone who holds to Complementarianism and trying to talk about the problems I see with the doctrine that God created men and women to be different in function with male headship in the home and in the church, the problems are always quickly explained away with the idea that He created us equal in essential dignity and human personhood.

Until we told girls they could be anything they wanted, young girls didn’t know there was a reason to think otherwise.

The fact that this doctrine needs to include the idea that God created men and women equal in our essential dignity and human personhood means that the doctrine itself suggests otherwise.

Because the very idea of male headship — the idea that men were created by God to be the ones in charge, the bosses, the authority, the final say in any disagreement, the recipients of wifely submission with the “equal” requirement on men being that they need to love their wives and be benevolent dictators and not tyrants — is an inherently unequal essential dignity and human personhood.

Think about it for a minute. Left to your own, without any doctrine about men and women, would you have thought that God created men and women with essentially UNequal dignity or human personhood?

Then you hear the doctrinal position of male headship and the clear and obvious reaction is to say, “HEY! That is inherently unequal essential dignity and human personhood!”

And the proponents of the doctrine say, “No. I know it looks that way. I know it sounds that way. It just isn’t.”

And you say, “But it is. It’s inherently unequal.”

And they say, “But our doctrinal description already addressed that. It isn’t.”

And that is supposed to be the end of it. Especially when ideas are tacked on like if you don’t agree you will go to hell, or if you argue you must be a Jezebel feminist, or the bullying received from the men who are supposed to have all the authority if you try to disagree with them.

But it doesn’t have to be because it isn’t. Them saying so doesn’t make it so. If I don’t turn off my brain, it isn’t the end of it.

“Equal in essential dignity and human personhood” is entirely incompatible with “male headship in the home and church.”

You don’t have to pretend it isn’t. I refuse to.

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