Any time there is a discussion about men and women and the Bible, there’s a lot of baggage. Paul is often considered kind of a sexist jerk, and there’s often a sense of resignation, tension or even hostility when we start talking about men and women and the Bible. Part of the push back from defenders of 50 Shades of Gray is that Christians are in no position to point fingers; after all, hasn’t the church oppressed women for 2,000 years?
I am going to argue that that the Bible offers a compelling vision of how life in Christ shows us how to flourish as men and women for the glory of God.
The Early Church was flooded with far more women than men. It was so lopsided that Christianity was mocked for being a religion for women and children. Tatian (AD 110-172) recalls that the Greeks who write against Christianity “. . . say that we talk nonsense among women and boys, among maidens and old women . . .” We don’t hear much about how, for the first 100 to 200 years, women were deeply involved with the growth of the church. Something was happening in this community that was incredibly compelling to women.
I think we often miss this because of a common problem: we don’t see the forest for all the trees. In other words, we get so hung up on the tree blocking our view– submit, headship, obey, don’t speak in church, cover your head – that we miss the beauty of the landscape. My goal it so help us look at the forest.