This list has been wandering around the Internet for some time, posted by Christian bloggers like Eugene Cho who are questioning the church’s traditional gender restrictions. I’m reposting it because I think it illustrates the core of the complementarian/egalitarian dichotomy. Also, it’s hilarious.
10. A man’s place is in the army.
9. The pastoral duties of men who have children might distract them from the responsibility of being a parent.
8. The physique of men indicates that they are more suited to such tasks as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do ministerial tasks.
7. Man was created before woman, obviously as a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment rather than the crowning achievement of creation.
6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. Their conduct at football and basketball games demonstrates this.
5. Some men are handsome, and this will distract women worshipers.
4. Pastors need to nurture their congregations. But this is not a traditional male role. Throughout history, women have been recognized as not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more fervently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.
3. Men are prone to violence. No really masculine man wants to settle disputes except by fighting about them. Thus they would be poor role models as well as dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.
2. The New Testament tells us that Jesus was betrayed by a man. His lack of faith and ensuing punishment remind us of the subordinated position that all men should take.
1. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep sidewalks, repair the church roof, and perhaps even lead the song service on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the church.
#5. Am I right, ladies?
Before the trolls descend on me, as they have with depressing regularity on everyone who posts this list, let me explain what we can learn from it.
Everything we believe as Christians has a Biblical reason and a logical reason. The former is what the Bible says, and the latter is the part where we apply our own brain cells to make sure that we’re interpreting it correctly. Fans of Biblical inerrancy may object to the latter, but everyone uses it. It’s why Christians don’t keep kosher, for instance. More on this later; it’s certainly a topic worthy of a full post.
In the gender discussion, complementarians are unquestionably on stronger ground with the Biblical reasons. However, egalitarians have the upper hand with the logical reasons. The Bible seems to say pretty clearly that women shouldn’t be church leaders–but when you try to use real-life logic to reach the same conclusion, you can’t come up with anything more substantial than lists like these.
So how do we resolve the problem when the Bible apparently tells us to do things for no good reason? If you know, make sure to tell me.