01
Mar
08

A woman’s place

eye01.jpgWe all know the proper assigned role for the ladies, don’t we? Barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen…<Damn, hon, did you have to hit me with the 35th anniversary issue of Ms. Magazine so hard? I was just about to say, “Just kidding.”>

Seriously, you know how us men really are. We’d never think that. The proper place is wearing stiletto heels, donning a satin teddy over a model-flat tummy…and in the kitchen. <The Deacon dodges a spinning kick to his head from Mrs. Blue.>

OK, just kidding there, too. Well, about it being a woman’s place anyway. It’s true that it’s a frequent fantasy of most men.

Truth is, I can tell you very clearly what a woman’s place is: In general, a fellow human being who is every bit as deserving of respect (or disrespect for that matter) as any other human of whatever gender. And in a marriage, a helpmateand no, that doesn’t mean servant or subservient vassal or thrall or anything like that; it means a partner.

But, you say: “Deke, you just posted a couple days ago that you believe in only men being pastors. That men spiritually outrank women. Have you been drinking, man? Do you suffer from multiple personality disorder?”

Nope.

Look, I didn’t say men were better than women. Is a lieutenant in the army better than a sergeant? Is he or she any more human? No. It’s just hierarchy. Now, you can complain about it, but life is all about hierarchies. We operate under them in our workplaces. We impose them on our children. We organize everything from our friends to our bookshelves according to hierarchies. The biblical call for wives to submit to their husbands doesn’t involve getting on bended knee or kissing ass; it means acknowledging that the husband ultimately answers to God and Jesus if shit goes wrong in the family.

Paul’s words in First Corinthians chapter 11, verse 3: But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

God is way into the concept of order. You can tell; the universe is a pretty orderly place overall (the Earth, on the other hand, is a mess, but that’s mostly our faults). And the Bible is clear that Heaven itself is hierarchical, with various ranks of angels, differing rewards for people based on their actions in life, and so on.

The buck has to stop somewhere. In some cases, one person has to make a command decision in a family or congregation. Like it or not, that is the man. Frankly, I’m not always that fond of it. There are times I am expected to make a determination in my family that I would really rather not. I’d rather pass the buck, but that’s not my right, nor my choice.

Does that mean I get to be a tyrant? Far from it. I am supposed to take (and heed) counsel from my wife and even sometimes my children (besides, I’m a bit too fond of nookie to ignore my wife even if I wasn’t called upon by the Bible to show her respect). But just like every company, someone hands out the marching orders. In a single-mother household, that would be the mom. In a two-parent household where the man is actually right with God, it can be the husband or the wife, but when push comes to shove on some thorny matter, it’s gotta be the guy.

Take my family, for example. I joke that my wife is the chief financial officer. In point of fact, she’s way more powerful. She’s the freakin’ CEO and CFO. However, I am the chairman of the board (and every member of the board of directors). My wife is, therefore, in charge of making many, if not most, of the daily decisions about how things are run. I’m really fond of the CEO but there are times when I have to let her know she’s broken with the policies set by the board (or by my shareholders, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who hold my job in their hands). There are also times when she feels something is big enough that I have to do the final sign-off. Doesn’t happen very often because we talk to each other and stay connected and in synch. We both bend and we both adapt the vast majority of the time instead of clashing horns.

So, why is it the man? Maybe it’s because he was created before the woman was. Maybe because God is a father, an entity who built the universe rather than birthing it. Maybe it’s to balance the scales because women bring the children into the world and have a connection to them in a way that men never know no matter how loving they are.

I just don’t know. I don’t make the rules and I wasn’t in on the planning meeting during creation.

I just know that is the way it is and this is why I can’t support women being pastors. Preachers, sure. Ministers, yes. Missionaries, evangelists, whatever. Women should hold positions of authority in a church; even in the New Testament, women were noted as being among the leaders and movers-and-shakers in the early church (Priscilla and Phoebe, for example), and in modern times with women being far more educated than ancient times, it makes sense for them to be involved in preaching, teaching and things like thatin numbers that rival those of the men. But the person in charge of heading up the spiritual direction of a congregation needs to be a man. It says as much in the Bible.

First Timothy chapter 2, verses 11-12, which says, in part: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man but to keep silence.” (Now, I admit, Paul could be a hard-ass in the way he said things, but the idea isn’t that women just shut upit’s that they are not to hold a pre-eminent spot in terms of teaching. In other words, the role of a pastor.)

As a guy who holds women in very high esteem (and I don’t mean by putting them on a pedestal but really respecting them), it’s hard for me to say that. But I didn’t set the hierarchy up. All I can do is stress that while they aren’t supposed to hold the position of spiritual leader, women aren’t to be marginalized. They need to be an active and vital part of decisions being made in the church or the home.

Now, for any women who are ready to tear my head off about now, please note that I only talked about the family and the church. You are free and clear to take over and lead and give the orders in places like the corporate world and government. And I encourage it. There’s slightly more of you out there than there are of us men, and I’d like to see that reflected in the secular world by the time my daughter is an adult. How many of you really want to head up a church when you can run Microsoft or Wal-Mart or Congress instead, anyway? Hell, the pay is better away from the pulpit, if nothing else.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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