Why Do We Keep Separating the Men from the Women?
After a particularly great men’s conference, one of my male friends made the following statement. He said, ‘I wish my daughter had been there. I want her to know what kind of man she is to look for, and this speaker made it so clear.’
He has a point. A good one. Why should the other gender not know what the church is saying to their spouse (literal or potential)? Would the men have more of an incentive to be a wonderful man of God if they knew the women had heard the message as well, and were holding them accountable? Would the young girls choose more wisely, and thus motivate the boys to be better husbands, if they had heard what a mature man believes all men could and should be? Why do we keep separating the sexes?
The Pharisee-controlled society of Jesus’ day separated them; but the early church did not. Women supported Jesus’ ministry and sat at His feet to learn. Women were in the Upper Room, and told of the empty tomb. Women ministered with Paul and one taught Apollo along side her husband. With so many examples of the sexes together, why the over-fascination with splitting them up?
The sad truth is that more women probably watched the movie Courageous than men. More women currently attend Bible studies and have daily devotional time. More women work in the church. More women are told that they have to remain pure, but cannot expect this of their future husband. More women settle for men who are not what they should be, and then try to change them once they are married. More women are leading the homes because the man is absent, physically, or emotionally. Our notion of separate, but equal does not work. Men and women are to become one, not separate entities who split the work according to gender roles that make little sense now that there are modern conveniences and the children go off to school. And even if you choose to teach them that way, shouldn’t the other sex know what they can expect?
And our women’s groups seem to be compensating by throwing tea parties and dumbing-down the curriculum choices. Where one could once get fed deeply, a woman is more likely to be required to dress up like a princess at a pre-school party and asked ‘non-judgmental’ questions that have no right answer, rather than examine what the truth is according to God’s Word. Would this occur if the men were invited?
I am tired of women’s conferences that have no meat! (Literally and figuratively- have you seen the menus? Which begs the question: Who decided BBQ and wings were only for men? And how did I miss that meeting?!)
I want my daughters to know what a true man of God should look like, and I want people to stop implying that ‘real men can’t help themselves’ as a motivation to keep them modest. I want the men to stand up and protest any time it is implied that they are animal-like slaves to their hormones, because they don’t want their girls picking a man who is. Sure, modesty is good. But a real man throws his coat over the naked girl and saves her from the burning building without a second glance. He does not ogle her and then blame her for whatever wrong thing he does next.
I also want my sons to know that the good girls make the best wives and that they have no chance of getting them if they are not behaving themselves. I want them to understand that purity is for before marriage, and that girls can and do make the change. False teachings cannot be corrected when one side has no ability to say, ‘That is definitely not true’ and discuss it. Men and women’s roles in today’s society continue to be different- that much is true. But society is changing rapidly and the answer to how we keep up and remain godly lies in communication, not private lectures that are soon forgotten, and occasionally focus on an ideal that could only be achieved in the 1950s or before. Let’s stop playing around and get real.