Okay, here’s the deal.
Last week, John Piper invited controversy by saying that God gave Christianity a distinctively male quality. And if men and women embrace that essential maleness, we’ll all be happier.
After all, Jesus was a man who had twelve male disciples. All of the Old Testament prophets were men. Even God Himself is revealed to be a “father.”
If you’re the type who thinks the church is full of effeminate fairy-boy worship leaders, then this may be music to your ears. On the other hand, it may seem hurtful and hard to accept to women.
And as usual, I’m here in the middle, ready to sort this one out.
Guys, Be Like Your Wives
John Piper is right. The Bible is full of men. Can’t get around that.
And Jesus was a man. So far, pretty masculine religion.
Then Jesus throws a wrench in the system. He calls all of us his Bride, which is kind of feminine…unless John Piper wants to say that the Bride of Christ is also masculine, which would open a can of worms on that tiny issue of same-sex marriage.
And as a man, being part of a “bride” is hard to accept. If a Bible full of men is hard to accept for women, any guy who truly tries to follow God is going to have a hard time with this. It goes against everything we think about ourselves.
I don’t know what being the bride of Christ means. But I get some clues…from my wife.
Because we say at every Christian wedding that marriage is an illustration of Christ and the church. The illustration is usually used to show that women are supposed to submit and support their husbands and help them follow their dreams and soar like magical unicorns.
But the illustration means just the opposite to me. Guys, our wives probably know more about being a bride than we do. So when I see how my wife loves me, she is actually showing me how I am supposed to love God. My wife is a much better bride to me than I am to Christ. It’s by looking toward my wife’s example that I become a real man in Christ. Who knew that women could actually teach us something, right guys?
What Makes a Man?
Yeah, Jesus was a dude. His disciples were dudes.
And God revealed himself as Father. But we also know that God uses human illustrations and non-literal metaphors that we can understand. Still, when we talk about the infinite, eternal, incomprehensible Spirit of God, we still assume in the back of our minds that He really does have a penis.
He doesn’t. And Jesus didn’t either before he was born.
The fact is that both men and women are created in the image of God. We are all incomplete halves of God’s image. And for my wife to point me toward God, she has to carry God’s essential feminine DNA. In Christ there is no distinction between male and female.
In fact, if God really was male, then we would have to assume that there was a second female God…a submissive female God that isn’t allowed by her husband to speak (which is why we never hear from her.) Either that, or God is a hermaphrodite. Yeah, that’s beyond weird. Still want to insist that God is male?
I Feel Like a New Man
We never learn in school that our view of what makes a “man” and a “woman” is very new. The Romans in Jesus’ time had virtually no idea of “male” and “female” when it came to sex. The line was drawn between “dominate” and “submissive.” That’s why homosexuality and pedophilia was rampant among men, and women were married almost solely for procreation. Kind of brings a new perspective to Paul’s words to husbands and wives.
Our ideal of men and women, how they act, what they do, even how we cut our hair, is almost completely cultural and very new. It doesn’t come from the Bible, or a “male” faith. It seems to me that Jesus would’ve just as easily been born a woman, if it would be good for his ministry.
What do you think? Is Christianity a male faith? Could Jesus come just as easily as a woman (if it had been convenient?) What do the ladies have to teach us guys about faith?