IS CHRISTIANITY PATRIARCHAL?

Not Really Aslan (from here)
Not Really Aslan
(from here)

I am guilty of liking to blog to much, and I must admit the problem is serious (see 3 Ways To Make Your Blog an Idol). Fortunately, I don’t think the Good Lord will allow me to get too good at it. Just the same, here I am writing a post when I should be in bed. Therefore, to make it quick, I am just using a comment I wrote.

I have a contrary disposition.  So when the bluebird of bitterness wrote this in a comment, I just had to take the opposite view. What did  write?

Christianity, being a patriarchal religion, is a tough sell to those of us for whom the word “father” does not conjure up any warm loving feelings. It’s no wonder so many people want nothing to do with it. Often it’s easier to think of God as Aslan or some other fictional-but-faithful representation of Him — that was how I kind of worked my way around to embracing Christianity in spite of my personal experience. (from here)

Well, I do think highly of C. S. Lewis.  So if Lewis helped  to embrace Christianity, I cannot fault her choice of guides. Lewis helped me too.

Nevertheless, I think Jesus loved both sexes, that He did not show partially. I don’t think God shows partially. So here is how I responded.

Christianity has the illusion of being patriarchal, but it can be an oddly tough sell for men. Think of an example often used in the Bible. The church is the bride of Christ. What man wants to be thought of as a bride?

Consider also that men are suppose to love their wives as Christ loved us. Women submit to the love of their husbands, not to the man himself.

Fortunately, within most men there is a deep desire to give their lives over to a cause. Unfortunately, most churches do not do a great job of portraying Jesus as the heroic figure He was. They emphasize the sweetness of love. They forget to emphasize that because He loved us, He hated and fought sin. He gave His life to save us from sin, and because of His resurrection on Easter we know we are forgiven.

Christian love requires us to give ourselves to a cause, nurturing the growth of those we love in Christ. That is hard work and often full of battle. It is no accident that the Apostle Paul said: “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). In this war, men and women fight their battles along side each other, for victory requires we love each other sacrificially as Jesus loved us. (from here)

What I think C. S. Lewis did for  is present Christian theology and thought in a framework that was not prejudicial. Every church is provides a framework for the presentation of Christian theology. When we don’t like the church, we have difficulty accepting the theology. Like it or not, each of us possesses our own prejudices. So if we don’t like the frame, we will not like the picture the frame contains. Yet if we want to understand Christianity, we must try to understand the Bible. We must try to appreciate Jesus, the redeemer the Bible tells about. We must accept the fact that Jesus came to save sinners, not perfect people.

I added a few words. Oops!

Make sure you check out  ‘s blog. The humor is delightful.

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12 thoughts on “IS CHRISTIANITY PATRIARCHAL?

  1. I don’t disagree with what you say above regarding Christianity, and I’m not even going to scold you for having taken my comment out of context, seeing as how you and I are friends and everything. But let me clarify, for the benefit of anyone reading this who wasn’t privy to the original conversation: Because my relationship with my biological father was, to put it charitably, problematic; and because I was raised in an extremely authoritarian environment where the men were the masters and the women essentially the slaves, I had a lot of trouble with the whole business of God as Father. Most of my siblings ended up as agnostics, not surprisingly; in fact the surprising thing is that I did not. I had a lot of unlearning to do, and it was a process that took many years; but for some reason I stuck with it and never really lost my faith — even as I went through the long, difficult work of sorting out the true from the false. And yes, C. S. Lewis was a great help to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Tom

      Another good post. And while a agree totally with you, I can absolutely understand what Bluebird says about her father. Been there, done that. It is problematic to trust a God who calls Himself Father, when your real father was a no good. That makes perfect sense to me.

      Which raises some issues. First it illustrates the importance of Godly Christian fathers who model love the way they are commanded to, as in loving their wives as Jesus love the church. Again, that can be tough when a model was lacking.

      Next issue would be….that’s just the way Satan wants it. If he can divide the family and get the world to see all fathers as no goods…then the cycle goes on. I can’t trust God the Father because my father was lousy….and on and on it goes. And Satan jumps for joy.

      Bluebird, how wonderful that you overcame this and came to faith in The Lord. Bless you.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. None of our parents were perfect. There is a fellow who said something on the Bluebird’s blog I thought priceless.

        Before we arrived, somehow, talk had turned to belief. He wasn’t a believer. I said something (as per my usual spiel) about God being a father. The cabbie grumbled sourly, almost angrily, something to the effect of, “Well, if God is anything like my father….”

        As I was paying him off, it struck me to say, “Not like your father, but like the father you want to be to your son.”

        And he drove off. (from => http://bluebirdofbitterness.com/2015/03/27/loveliest-of-trees-the-cherry/#comment-71486

        Was I the parent I wanted to be to my children? No. If I could there are so many things I would change, but there are no do overs save what God permits.

        None of us are the parents we want to be, but we can each point to the Father. We can each aspire to be like Him. We can each strive to follow the example of Jesus. We can forgive our parents, and we can accept the forgiveness of God.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yep..you said it well Tom. We can’t fix the past, but Jesus can fix the future. As the cliche says..it’s not how you start but how you finish. I wish my father was around now so I could share the Gospel with him, though.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you for your comment.

      Frankly, I was afraid to get into the subject of your relationship with your father. I suspect if I had tried I would have given offense. So I deliberately left out the context.

      What I should have added is that it is what you said that made me stop to think and realize that Christianity is not patriarchal. The Hebrews had a patriarchal society; most societies have all the earmarks of being patriarchal, but, by setting aside our cultural foibles, C. S. managed to present Mere Christianity. God does not show partiality.

      Deuteronomy 10:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      17 For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.

      That is a point made here and there throughout the Bible.

      Thank you, and thank you for not scolding me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christianity per se may not be patriarchal, but the brand of it I was raised on certainly was.

        By the way, something weird happened when you copy/pasted my comment above — a crucial word was somehow omitted. That sentence originally read, “Often it’s easier to think of God as Aslan or some other fictional-but-faithful representation of Him — that was how I kind of worked my way around to embracing Christianity in spite of my personal experience.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When I went looking for a picture of Aslan, I lazily copied the name from your comment. That is I intended to copy it. I think I must have cut instead.
          😦

          I put it back. Thanks for the catch.

          I should have gone to bed.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. mike and brandy

    my answer?… Yes. Both Christianity and Judaism are patriarchal because they are based on the Bible. OT and NT both are very masculine/patriarchal collections of writings from communities that not only preferred the Male over the Female, but also in many places minimized and the denigrated the role of women to servant/property and certainly ‘less than’ status.
    and this is coming from someone who still sees the Bible as God’s Word, but is struggling anew to deal with what I see in it after 25 years od discipleship to Jesus.
    -mike

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    1. The Apostle Paul put it this way.

      Galatians 3:28 Amplified Bible (AMP)
      28 There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

      I think it also helps if we remember this this life is temporary. Why we have to go through it I am not certain, but compared to eternity it is awfully short.

      Matthew 22:23-33 New King James Version (NKJV)

      23 The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 24 saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. 27 Last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”

      29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. 31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

      I am a man now. When I look upon a woman, I look upon her as a man looks upon a woman. Just the same, I must remember how God sees us. He judges our fitness for eternity, not just this life.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Could it be that the reason God calls himself the Father is not because he wishes to be seen through the lens of what an earthly father is like? But rather he wants us to see our earthly fathers through a heavenly eyes?

    Liked by 2 people

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