Saturday, January 19, 2013

Proving the Point

Recently Denny Burk wrote a piece entitled, "A Sad Tale of Feminism Gone to Seed". It was about a New York Magazine article written by feminist Elizabeth Wurtzel bemoaning her losses as a radical feminist. "Very sad," Denny concludes. (Well, certainly more broadly and eloquently.)

There is, of course, a debate in the comments about the good or evil, right or wrong, effect or lack thereof of feminism. Is it really to blame? (Denny says not really.) Is it really evil? But one Christian woman's response in that thread was very telling to me.

Belle Vierge says, "What you’re describing is a corruption of feminism. ... Feminism taught me that my body is my own, and men don’t have a right to it without my permission." She concludes, "Overall, feminism has been good for women, just as overall, Christianity has been good for humanity."

There it is. Someone swallowed the lie. It festered under the surface until it became normal. "Overall, Christianity has been good for humanity." Not entirely, of course. Just overall. Because there are certainly parts of genuine Christianity that are not good for humanity. Those, of course, we need to avoid.

How, I wonder, does a Christian woman correlate this "my body is my own, and men don’t have a right to it without my permission" mentality with Paul's command to women, "The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does" (1 Cor 7:4). Now, to be sure, there is another half to that command and must not be ignored -- a half aimed at men -- but my question is about feminism and a biblical worldview. How does that work? When the Bible is abundantly clear that "Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ" (1 Cor 11:3), how does that fit with "the empowerment of women"? How does feminism fit into a Christian worldview?

I don't believe it does. But this commenter swallowed it whole. She doesn't even know it. It is true that corruption of Christianity is bad for people, corruption of the role of husband is bad for wives, corruption of power is bad for the unempowered. All true. But the answer isn't to eliminate Christianity, the role of husbands, or power. The answer is to eliminate the corruption. And that's not done by creating a new corruption.

I'm pretty sure that Belle Vierge doesn't know how far down that path she has gone. She doesn't see hers as corruption. And, not knowing Belle, I'm not at all sure there's much I can do about it. But I am concerned that we all have a little of that corruption in us. Corruption of Christianity, corruption of our roles, corruption of power. Belle only illustrated this point. My aim is to ask you to join me in carefully examining yourself to see it you are walking in corruption, having swallowed a lie. Often we don't know we did. Often the price is high.

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