When I was in high school, I dealt with offended theological liberals, both male and female, who used the “Paul is a chauvanist” argument to justify deleting Paul from the canon. Cue Schleiermacher, Kant, et al.
And I knew they were off, for whatever reason. It just did not feel right.
Then the chauvanistic conservatives who preached against women preachers, etc. (1 Timothy yada yada) also rubbed me the wrong way, demonstrating their slant with those bludge-verses.
So, when Arthur Burk made a similar observation of “Paul is a chauvanist” to that of the liberals, I was kind of scratching my head a bit. I was thinking to myself, “Okay. I know he isn’t a liberal, and I know he comes from an evangelical ultra-conservative background, and I know he deals with a lot of wounded women in particular, and he has a whole lot of gravitas in that arena, and so, what am I missing?”
Let me define a term that I am going to use in the following paragraph, because it feels like the right word. Mercies (those with the Redemptive Gift of Mercy) will often have these situations where they hear a word in their spirit and it is a really accurate description, even if they don’t know what the word means.
di·a·lec·tic | ˌdīəˈlektik | noun
1. the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions.
2. inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions
Dialectic or dialectics, also known as the dialectical method, is at base a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments. Wikipedia
Maybe because what is often missing in our discussion of authority and submission is the critical thread of a dialectic (yes, I believe I used that term appropriately) that involves love, that is, a mutual concern and affection for the dignity of our fellow people and love for them that protects their dignity and heart.
Put more succinctly, our discussions of authority and submission frequently do not include the dialectic on love’s and tenderness’ places in the equation.
I would like to suggest this is why we often have such damaging and abusive conversations about the concepts of authority and submission; we make authority and submission into a zero-sum game of I win/You lose, and we do not look to cultivate a win/win in our solution. And so, we suffer.
I have never really fancied myself as theological conservative, based on the full frame a lot of theologically conservative followers of Yeshua would have used. Nor do I fancy myself a liberal or a neoorthodox.
Therefore, I reently asked the question of myself “are men supposed to roll over and let the women lead alone?” The answer came back “no, that’s an inaccurate and incomplete way of framing it”.
Both are supposed to lead together.
After the end of Healing Manhood and whatever cycles of blessing come after that…
I wonder if, in the context of fully-healed womanhood and fully-healed manhood, the more accurate, full-orbed picture becomes, NOT one of submission as we currently view it, where there is a win/lose, zero-sum game…
BUT rather one where we define what currently is translated as “submission” in terms of the second commandment, to “love one another deeply” enough that both sexes are equipped and both sexes release one another into fullness…
SO that the question of “whose rights are protected, and at what expense?” is no longer the main issue, but rather caring for one another, becoming our brother’s and sister’s keeper (Topaz Business DNA), and becoming a safe place (Onyx Business DNA, Disc 2, Cuts 1, 2, and 3) become the greater issues…
That brings us to a place of “[submitting to] one another out of reverence for Christ” that much sooner.
And instead of using the word “submitting”, given the level of abuse current in the church, we might translate that concept as “loving enough to build a platform underneath one another”.
Currently, it seems that many of us see it as, “clawing at one another to protect your scrap of an empire/ego.”
Layers of trust issues here, it seems.
Perhaps it is time for us to reevaluate how we handle the domestic codes in the writings of Paul (Ephesians 5, Titus 2, Colossians 3 and others) and how we frame the Greek term that is usually translated into English as “submission”.
I do not think we have to end with a zero-sum game of submit and lose your will, spirit, mind, self, desires, in pushing for the mission of another. I think we have twisted that term of submission so much that we forget the process through which Father wants to take each of us so that we grow in cohesion one with another, and we react because that concept is a cuss word.
There are more issues present, but for now, this is what I am pondering.