Yes. No. Sort of. But not really.
First, I should qualify. There are a myriad of ways in which we interpret the word “equality”. Some of us confuse it was “equity”, which is similar, but different. Some of us interpret it as “fairness”, which shares some characteristics, but isn’t the same all together. Some of us see it as “sameness”, which is also not the same thing. Let us look at the words composition for a second, it of course comes from the word “equal”. Now, equal is a term that refers to the equity of value between quantifiable things. Basically, in math terms, each half in order to be a half must be equal in measurement to the other. So in a way, we could say that Christ did talk about “equality”, but it is a stretch. Of course we have equal value and dignity, but even talking about that in terms of equality can be a little problematic.
Equality requires us to be able to measure something, to maintain an equal share between the things measured. It says very clearly in the Bible that “you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). What is this price? It is Jesus. You are worth Jesus. Jesus is God, God is infinite, and God is priceless. You are priceless, because He bought you with Himself. You are worth infinity. Infinity cannot be counted.
When a man and woman become one, they are more than if they are two.
You see, the math doesn’t work. My wife and I are not equal, because we are not measurable. I am not 50% and my wife is not the other 50%. We aren’t individually worth less than 100%.
Now, this probably seems strange in some ways, because we are so concerned with equality in our current culture. But, we also complain constantly about the swath of inequality that seems to plague every aspect of everything. On paper, we live in the most “equal” time in history, but in our minds, many believe that things have never been worse. What does this tell us? Well, first, I am not suggesting that there aren’t legitimate concerns about how men treat women and vice versa. As long as there are the sexes, there will be the Battle of the Sexes. Which I for one am a fan of, but I can never win because I tend to fraternize too much with the enemy. Maybe we have a perception of inequality at every term because we are trying to wrench people into positions of equity that they aren’t meant to be in.
It is very common in high stress business sectors to have a large disparity of men and women over time. If you were to survey high-price law firms or stock brokerages, you would probably find many more men than women. Now, let us assume for a moment that there are actually instances of discrimination and favoritism towards men. But, we know it isn’t the norm. Labour laws are so strict in Canada today and tensions are so high, it would be absurd for anyone to openly discriminate for reasons of gender. I am sure it happens, but it is rare. Why is it then that so many more men are in these positions than women? Is it because of some major difference in intelligence? Of course not. What about university education? More women are entering post-secondary than men now. Here is the reality. In order to be successful in high-stress environments you need to be quite an over achiever. Over achievers tend to pick other over achievers as their mate. Women who are looking to get married in their late 20’s and early 30’s who work in these environments are most likely going to marry a man in the same environment, or at least from another high-paying environment. Usually the man is a little older and has been working longer, so he usually has more money. At this point, the biological clock starts ticking. You find me a woman who is in her late 20’s and early 30’s who doesn’t melt when she smells a baby’s hair, and I will give you a thousand dollars. There is now a decision to make for this overachieving couple. The couple consists of two people who work about 60 hours a week and are attached to their jobs by email 24 hours a day. But, they want children. She needs to have a baby or she will never be able to smell her own baby’s hair, and he wants to make her happy and to start his legacy. These are highly intelligent people. They both have pursued high-paying jobs in order to build a life. Now their life isn’t just about them, but about the new baby on the horizon. They have crunched the numbers, they know how much child care will cost if they are both to go to work in the same positions after the maternity leave. They know the stats about how much better children do when they spend more time with parents. Do you really think they are both going to continue working 60+ hours a week and leave the child with a nanny? At this point most women in these positions will leave the profession and stay home for a while. It doesn’t make sense for the husband to come home, because he makes more than her due to more years at the job. And women also just tend to like spending time with their children more than men do in the early years. It is just a fact.
Is this scenario an instance of “inequality”? Or maybe, it just an example of the way things are. But, if we look at this with the eyes of a radical feminist, we see an industry geared towards a patriarchy of male domination used to keep women down and shackled to their husband’s desires while they wilt away at home. What a garbage philosophy.
There is a great passage in the Bible that illustrates the dynamic between men and women perfectly. If you are a radical feminist, you may as well quit reading now, you may have a stroke as I am going to talk about men leading their families and dying for the wives out of duty. I know, patriarchy.
“Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.” “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and game himself up for her, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.” (Ephesians 5:21,25-31)
First command; be subject to one another, and keep God at the centre of your marriage, not bad so far. But “wives be subject to your husbands,” Sexism!! Patriarchy!!
I have seen this verse about being subject to your husbands cited numerous times in publications trying to show that Christianity is full of inherent sexism. But hold on. What does it actually mean? It means to allow yourself to be led. Many other translations say “submit” rather than subject. The word submit literally means “under mission”. So, wives, allows yourselves to be under the mission of your husband. But what is this mission? Well, husbands, be like Christ, give yourself up so that she may live, and continue to strive for the rest of your life to be perfect so that she may also be perfect. In other words, wives, let your husband lead the family, husbands, die in service to your wives.
Pretty good deal for women, let your husband take care of things, and let him do the stuff that requires all that Christ-like sacrifice in order that you may thrive. I am so glad this teaching isn’t geared towards “equality”. What a messed up world it would be if women who already bare children and go through so much suffering just by being women were also expected to lead the family and die in service more than they already do. It would be kind of like the world we live in now… I prefer the Biblical option.
Husbands, if you don’t serve your wives to the point where you feel like you are dying to yourself every day, you are failing. Man up, serve your wives. Wives, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed because you do everything around the house and also have to make all the decisions because your husband leaves it up to you. Tell him to read this, take it to heart, and man up. You deserve to be led, you do enough just by being you.
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