Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Feminine Side - Mountainside Chats

When I was working on my master’s degree, I was required to take all of the psychological assessments that I was learning to utilize. Barely any of these tests told me anything interesting about my personality, except the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). It did not tell me that I was depressed, anxious, or schizophrenic. My highest score was on the “MF” scale, indicating that compared to my peers, I tend to have sophisticated views of gender roles and equality.
I think it is because I grew up around sensible, capable, intelligent women, as well as men who know how to treat women with respect. This respect is more than opening doors and saying “ladies first,” it involves respecting the equal contribution that women offer to the world. I have since discovered that it tends to make me angry when I am around other men who are disrespectful to their wives or significant others.
Jesus‘ remarks in Matthew 5:31 - 32 were likely to have been said to speak out against a great injustice that was commonly done to women at the time. Based on the commentary I read about the chapter, it was both legal and fairly common for a man to divorce his wife for any little reason. He could then give her a certificate of divorce and be on his way, not paying many consequences. Unfortunately, she could not legally divorce him. She would pay the consequences of becoming “damaged goods” and having to marry another to avoid becoming destitute.
By contrast to the practices of the day, women were very important to Jesus. He never treated them as second-class citizens of the kingdom of God. It is sometimes difficult for me to understand how society has for so long seen Christianity as against the advancement of women’s role in society. How did we get here and how can we get back the the example of Jesus, treating both genders with true equality?

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