Christians and Gender Roles: A Resource

Author Rachel Held Evans has announced a theme for her blog this week: “A week of mutuality,” which she describes as a week of blog entries “dedicated to discussing an egalitarian view of gender—including relevant biblical texts and practical applications. The goal is to show how scripture, tradition, reason, and experience all support a posture of equality toward women, one that favors mutuality rather than hierarchy, in the home, Church, and society.”

This topic — of a Christian view of gender roles, including the debate between complementarianism and egalitarianism — is one that has been weighing heavily on me for some time, and my inability to address it adequately in writing has accounted in large part for my silence as a contributor here at Thinking Through Christianity. But now, Rachel Held Evans is dedicating a whole week to the issue, and her training and writing style are a treasure for anyone who has struggled with this issue and wants to know more. Now, I should be clear that Ms. Evans is clearly aligning herself with one side of the debate — and, I’ll just come out and tell you that I agree with her; however, this week of blog discussion is valuable no matter which side of the gender-roles debate you find yourself on because it offers thoughtful, well-researched, respectful conversation about a difficult issue, and that is something we value here at Thinking through Christianity.

So, I’m writing to direct you to this resource. It’s only Tuesday, and with two posts a day, there’s already a lot of reading material, but I recommend starting at the beginning with her blog entry on defining the very confusing terms, complementarian and egalitarian. These are the two main, broad views on the roles of men and women in Christianity, and the first time somebody told me about them, it took a long time for me to stop being confused by the terms and definitions. Rachel’s explanation is quite helpful.

Her next post tackles the Genesis creation account and some of the ideas about men and women that Christians tend to take away from that text. Her post, 4 common misconceptions about egalitarianism will help clear up any nasty rumors you may have heard about egalitarians, and today’s post on the role of women in the Greco-Roman world of the New Testament writers helps to provide cultural context for some of the instructions Paul gives for men and women in his writings.

We here at Thinking Through Christianity also want to join the discussion, so be on the lookout for more posts this week from one or more of us giving our own perspectives on this issue.

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