Arthur’s been posting on gender for the guys and he asked me to put up part of what I said at the men’s brekky at Christ Church on femininity. (Much of what I said was a rehash of material found here and here but this bit was new.)
Being a good helper means being a good match for the man. I want to see women who are strong and competent to help in the mission that is given to both Adam and Eve (Gen 1:28). One of the tragedies of the fall is that women either become passive or they seek to manipulate or dominate men. But that’s a distortion of a good thing and the good thing on view in Genesis 2 is a woman who is empowered to serve right alongside the man.
For all women
I want to encourage all women to think for themselves, to get educated and have opinions. God creates the woman as an equal partner because she, like no other, complements the man. He needs her companionship and contribution. On a general level, I think this means that women need to have something to say. It means not leaving politics or economics or healthcare or pastoral care up to men. It means working out that God created the two to work together and if women are passive, they’re actually robbing men of what they desperately need.
For married women
Obviously this also comes out in marriage. I want to encourage married women not to cop out of decision making in a marriage. Many women when they speak of marriage and hold this idea of women being complementary to men, say, ‘Oh well, I’ll just let him make the decisions’ (even if it’s in jest.) She’s passive. And yet, being a complement to a man is an active role. Being a decisive woman in no way contradicts God’s order as the two move in the same direction. Rather, it flowers out of this strong sense of partnership and mutuality. If they are to be real helpers and true partners to their husbands, wives need to be ready to step up and act that way.
There’s a sense in which the opinionated woman is the most feminine woman. When I say ‘opinionated’, I don’t mean ‘domineering’ or ‘inflexible’ nor that she must be gregarious or outspoken. Rather, she is to think for herself and be willing to kindly express that at appropriate moments as she is involved in moving forward as an equal partner with men.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.