The Other Feminism

I have run across some odd ways of looking at things in my decade or so of ministry. Now I readily admit that part of the reason for this is my own ignorance and lack of imagination, rather than oddness on the part of others. Yet not always. I am thinking now about an odd sort of trend (and I think that is the right word) called “patriarchy”. Patriarchy is a sort of derivative of covenant theology and is, I think, also a reaction against the feminization of the church. Now I must make clear that I heartily affirm the need for the recovery of something like a coherent and biblical understanding of what it means to be a man. However, the tendencies I have seen that are often associated with this trend actually do just the opposite. Let me give you an example. The “feminization” of the church (that which the patriarchal seek to counter) is mostly the result of an error involving the nature of God, an ontological error. For errors of this sort inevitably misunderstand the differences that exist within the Godhead. They do not for example; understand what makes The Son, The Son and how His relationship to The Father defines His role as Son. Therefore, due to an improper understanding of roles within the Godhead, the proper roles of men and women in the church and in life are also obscure. The problem is though that patriarchy tends towards the same thing that feminism does, but in a slightly different (and I would say ironic) way. For patriarchy, in its exultation of the family tends towards a sort of tribalism that not only obscures the relationship between family members and the church but also the family (as a whole) and the body of Christ. Each man becomes the priest and the family becomes, to a greater or lesser degree, his church or denomination. Now this sort of thinking is very harmful and if intentional is a grave sin. And like most sins it is a very sad thing indeed. People trapped in such situations are only able to replicate themselves and indeed that is often what they are bent on doing, which is also sad for we are to bear the image of Christ. Patriarchy, and patriarchal tendencies, fail because they are a very subtle form of pious rebellion. As such it must be resisted and resisted with all of our strength. The patrification of the church is nothing more than the other side of the coin, the reverse side of the sin called feminism.

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