“Great news”, my serious Christian friend said. “Gospel Direct will take over the Lux Verbi store in Welkom.” Lux Verbi was the Christian bookstore in Welkom. Gospel Direct is a company that sells religious CDs, DVDs, and books. (And trinkets like pencils and mugs with religious messages.)
He was happy, because Gospel Direct has a marketing strategy, and capacity to buy in bulk, that enables them to sell gospel CDs more cheaply. In the time since – and of course Gospel Direct cannot take sole responsibility – books became few and superficial in the store, and DVS’s and books -even diaries – are more likely than ever to be “for women” or “for men” with a complementarian slant.
Why do complementarianism – the term and the majority of material – come from the USA? And why is bookstores even more infested with it than the local church is?
The simple answer is money. The secular world have found out decades ago that if you can convince people that a certain product is just for one sex, they can sell more: If you bought a pink baby blanket, and it is only for little girls, there is a 50% chance that your second baby will need new blankets.
The same goes for the Christian world. If you write a best seller called “how to pray”, where do you go from there? If you write a best seller called “How to pray for your husband”, your next books could be “How to pray for your wife” or “How to pray for your children” or “How to pray for your church.”
To write a book like “How to pray for your husband”, you need to convince the reader that praying for a husband has somewhat different principles than praying for your mother or son or pastor or co-worker or daughter.
What would you use for gender-specific writing? The few Bible texts that are specifically aimed at wives, or husbands. Those texts came from a culture where men had almost all the power and education, and describe how to deal with such a reality. Overusing those few texts, while ignoring the way egalitarianism is in the Bible from Genesis 1 through the work of Jesus and arguably until the end of the Bible, leads to perpetuating inequality.
And the majority of the world’s money-making Christian™ material comes from the USA, where complementarianism comes from. It is a country big enough, religious enough, and rich enough to produce loads of profit-making Christian™ books, CDs and DVDs.
Could a culture that sees some people as money makers and other as people to make money off, also in itself be related to patriarchy? It is, like complementarianism, a “Me On Top, you below” culture. In that case, Christian™ bookstores will be even more closely aligned with patriarchy.