A Strategy for Ending Gender Stereotypes

Here’s how to subvert gender stereotypes in the church:

1. Apply masculine metaphors (like spiritual warriors, athletes, bravery/courage) to all believers, including women.
2. Apply feminine metaphors (like maternal terms, romance and marriage) to all believers, including men.
3. Apply feminine metaphors to men in particular (like the work roles of women, like the Bride of Christ).

Yes, in other words, re-frame the issues through reforming gender stereotypes.

A story: one time a former student of mine, a known complementarian, called me to tell me how much he appreciated Jesus Creed. We chatted awhile and, since this person was not in the habit of calling me, I figured something was up. It was. He shifted topics to my chapter on Mary and said this: “I couldn’t relate because every story in the chp was about women.” Bingo! That’s the strategy and the unmasking of how often males use male-only stories without ever wondering if women can relate. Let the blue parakeet sing, and let the bass voice add its own voice to the song.

Screen Shot 2016-11-26 at 10.57.55 AMYes, in other words from the above three item list, follow the apostle Paul according to Cynthia Westfall, in her fine book Paul and Gender. Yes, the apostle Paul.

Here is a fuller display of evidence with the above categories:

1. Apply masculine metaphors (like spiritual warriors, athletes, bravery/courage) to all believers, including women.

Spiritual warriors: Ephesians 6:10-17; Rom 13:12; 1 Thess 5:8
Athletes: 1 Cor 9:24-27; Phil 3:13-15; 4:2-3
Bravery, courage, manhood: 1 Cor 16:13

2. Apply feminine metaphors (like maternal terms, romance and marriage) to all believers, including men.

Maternal: Gal 4:19; 1 Cor 3:1-2; 1 Thess 2:6-7
Romance: 2 Cor 11:1-3
Marriage: Eph 5:21-23

3. Apply feminine metaphors to men in particular (like the work roles of women, like the Bride of Christ).

Eph 5:26, 27, 29

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