I have been reading a book. The title translates to “There is no man or woman” it is written by Thoralf Gilbrant. When my father bought it for me I thought it was going to be different than it was. I thought it was going to be a book that did not do me violence, but it does. Practically every page I read batters me, disappoints me and makes me profoundly sad and less than. If you can’t guess it is about the sex roles in the church and to me that is not a make or break issue but as you well know I am of the opinion that Jesus meant complete equality in church that people should be given tasks based on their calling and ability. This writer, however, believes it is extremely important. He quotes a Bo Giertz who believes it to be “a litmus test of Biblical faith” (the book is in Finnish and the translation may not be the best but it is as I understand it).
This book seems to draw a strange line in the sand when it comes it the power women can wield in the church. It does not say women are not allowed to have no power, they are but he mines the post Christ texts of the New Testament to the point of absurdity. Women are allowed to be deacons, but not elders and definitely not pastors. He really feels a call to put women back in their rightful places in the Church while beating them down. It is a ridiculously hair splitting experience. I have read only a few chapters but am very confused. Let me present my main questions I have and would hope he would address later in the book as I read further:
What about women who feel the call to be the leaders of churches and to teach both men and women and have the talents and abilities for it?
Why can a prophetess, like Deborah, be a prophet/leader and be okay in Gilbrant’s estimation but a woman who is not a prophet cannot be a leader? This seems to me to be a distinction without a difference.
If all women have a natural tendency to submit and nurture how come I don’t?
If all men have a natural tendency to protect and lead does that make me a man regardless of my anatomical femininity?
If servanthood is a special honor accorded for women how come Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and in this way brought out a style of servant leadership?
Why would I want to serve a God as unjust as the one Gilbrant is espousing?
There are more questions but they are wrapped up in many questions and would need for you to read the passage in the book. Maybe I will share my confusion regarding some of these more complicated bits in another post.
My biggest confusion is when my father asks me how I liked the book what will I say? The truth is that so far what I have read seems like a steaming pile of poop. I can’t tell him that. My father needs to be treated gently on issues like this or he gets authoritarian and I am too old to put up with that.