Works in Progress
We’re all works in progress. Last night I was caused to think about the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
How beautiful! How miraculous! How appealing!
What I mean is that Paul makes the process sound basically instantaneous. Be in Christ and–boom–you’re a new creation. But here’s the thing:
Becoming a new creation takes time.
If you’re like me, on your journey to becoming a new creation, you take one step forward…and then what feels like five or six giant steps backward. Cooking up a new creation is not a microwave, it’s more like a crock pot.
So those of us who are on this Jesus journey are simultaneously new and old, redeemed and fallen, Christ-like and broken. And when it comes to how we view this idea of male privilege, we’re all works in progress.
It’s in this spirit that I’d like to bust out another round of “bad quotes from dead theologians.” Because it’s important to remember that the church’s historical thought leaders where BOTH new and old. They were works in progress as well. And in that sense, what they’ve bequeathed us in the modern (or postmodern) church is both redeemed and fallen.
So, this morning, allow me to share three gems from Mr. Martin Luther:
“Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children.”
“God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above God’s will. ‘Tis you women, with your tricks and artifices, that lead men into error.”
We may well lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time it is only a devil in the shape of a woman.
To be sure, Martin Luther has a lot of really great quotes. These are not among them. But as we explore the reality of male privilege in the church, it’s important to remember that there is a history to reckon with. It’s important to remember that where we are today is a result, at least in part, of where we’ve been in our past. It’s important to remember that male privilege has been around for awhile and is therefore deeply entrenched in how we do church.
It’s also important to remember that we’re all works in progress.
What about you? How are you a work in progress in this area?