Sometimes, people on my Facebook timeline shared this:
Regular readers of my blog will know why the message is problematic and less than true:
* The protection of Jesus has no holes, and therefore other umbrellas beneath Him are a waste.
* God calls husbands and wives to protect and love one another – it is not one-sided.
* The picture comes from cult leader Bill Gothard to say that children who disobey their parents/ wives who disobey they husbands move out from God’s protection (what authorities want, he says, is in line with what God wants). Gothard used this view to blame sex abuse victims for allegedly bringing it on themselves.
When we point out problems with this, someone jumps in: “You are getting it wrong! This umbrella/ gender roles, in general, are about God wanting women protected. Men are taught in Ephesians to love and to give up their lives for women…”
It would actually be great if that was true. But if it is true, you don’t need to tell me. You do not need to go speak to the abused girls who were blamed in Gothard’s cult either, or even the ones sexually abused by Gothard himself. You do not have to speak to church women either, those women whose gifts and wisdom are overlooked at church, in favour of men with only a fraction of their understanding and gifting in a particular area. Nor do you need to tell women like Journey, whose testimony is found at the start of my article, “Woman and man in God’s design.”
Instead, tell it to the men we met, who acted in a way that made gender roles less than beneficial. Tell them they are wrong. Go tell the parents and others who followed Gothard and blamed their abused daughters. Blame Gothard for spreading a wrongful message about women. Go and tell Journey’s husband, and men like him. Go tell church leaders to make churches safe for women, and to maximize our gifts. Teach men, not us, what Biblical gender roles “actually” mean.
You see, we saw for ourselves how this way of Bible reading affects the way we and other women are treated. If you want the Bible understood in a way which still contains gender roles, but is good news for women and their flourishing, go teach those who have power in your system. Listen to us women, listen in what ways we do not flourish under this system, then go tell them how to use the system to make women flourish instead.
And when/ if your “Bible-based” system makes women – poor and rich, single or widowed or in happy or unhappy marriages, from different countries and whose husbands have different personalities – flourish, we would see it, enjoy it, bask in the goodness, and testify to how right it is.