Thinking About These Things
I love Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians in chapter 4:8-9 of his letter:
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
The older I get, the more this verse hits home. Because, more than ever, I understand that what I willfully allow in my head makes all the difference in my thoughts and, ultimately, in my actions and words. I think it was some brilliant computer scientist that coined the adage of “garbage in, garbage out.” When it comes to spiritual maturity and character development, that’s really a true statement.
In this spirit, I want to offer three select quotes from my journeys this past week through an absolute mountain of literature about inter-gender partnerships in mission. Specifically, I’m going to pick some quotes from Genesis, since, when it comes to gender equality, for most commentators and writers the heavy theological lifting begins right at the beginning of our Bibles.
Enjoy, and may your “thinking about these things” bless your theology, but also your view of the men and women partners that God has put around you.
From Equally Yoked, by Rick McKinniss;
“God made the man and the woman to be full and equal partners one with the other. They are called to share the blessings and the responsibilities of fruitfulness and of exercising dominion. Though the operation of this ideal was seriously disrupted by the fall, it has not been lost beyond the reach of the redemption in Christ. The New Testament church operated in this perspective, and the New Testament teaches the recovery of this idea of full and equal partnership.”
From Equal to Serve, by Gretchen Gaebelein Hull:
“Our creation in God’s image is a truth that transcends gender. Our re-creation as new creatures in Christ Jesus is a truth that transcends gender. God’s call to His individual servants transcends gender. When we examine the Bible carefully, putting down our cultural baggage, we find that the Bible does not teach that biology is destiny.”
From Women Leaders and the Church, by Linda Belleville:
“Although there is a great deal of debate about what creation in ‘God’s image’ means, the Genesis account is unequivocal in affirming that women and men equally share it. There is also equality in the social realm. Both male and female are commanded to exercise dominion over creation. Although some claim that male headship is intrinsic to the creation accounts, quite frankly the only time this kind of language appears is when it is used of the joint dominion of male and female: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea’ (Gen. 1:26). There is no division or distinction of the roles here. The woman is given the same task and level of responsibility as the man.”