Saturday, April 21, 2007

Christians and illiberal behaviour

Christians are generally considered to be more repressive, patriarchal and traditional than secular society - generally down on women, right?

Well, women at the church last night had a "bring-and-share pudding evening" - around 25 women, most from the church, some friends, took desserts to try a variety. Lots of friends were asked, and inevitably quite a few couldn't come, for a range of reasons.

But what was striking was that there were a significant number of non-Christian women who said they'd have to check with their husbands whether they would be allowed to come. Now I can't think of any of the women in the church who would need "permission" to be there - they might not be able to get there for practical reasons - but in no cases simply because their husband "said no". We were pretty amazed that this response could even be an option.

Tim Chester had a very helpful post on submission in marriage, an issue which is so against the spirit of the age it makes me squirm just reading the passages, and I believe the Bible is God's Word! He gives, as a useful summary:
  • The wife puts her husband’s will before her own.

  • The husband puts his wife’s interests before his own.

  • This captures, I think, the similarities in their respective attitudes (since mutual love and mutual submission are commended within the wider body of Christ of which they are members - see 5:2, 21). But it also captures the difference in their roles. It gives the husband a lead role, but a lead role defined by the cross - one which seeks the good of the other rather than self-interest. It also captures how their respective roles correspond to the roles of the church towards Christ and Christ towards the church.