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Christianity and Women's Liberation Movement

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Essay title: Christianity and Women's Liberation Movement

Christianity and Women's liberation movement

The current Women's Liberation Movement is heralded by many as the primary social issue of the day. It seems that there is an attempt to muddle the roles of male and female until we have "she" men and ''he" women. Some urge the importance of "de-sexing" any language that makes a distinction between male and female roles. Words like "chairman," and phrases like "a man-sized job," and descriptions like "housewife"--are all considered taboo. Will the Women's Liberation Movement bring real liberation to women? When a woman feels compelled to play pro-football, or to work in a coal mine, or to pour concrete -- as an attempt to express her liberation from womanhood -- she seems to have lost her liberty to be .a woman. Much of what is promoted as bringing liberty to women may actually result in increased bondage. Along with the increased talk about unisex has come a rapid increase in the incidence of homosexuality. Homosexuality--whether male or female--is sexual activity which is a perversion of nature's provision and of God's command. Let us never forget that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was related to a rejection of divinely ordained sexual roles. It is possible to be influenced by this kind of thinking unwittingly.

The year 1975 has been designated as International Women's Year by the United Nations. Our own country also has designated 1975 as a year of commitment to improving the status of women. During the past few years, many thousands of women have been demanding job equality with men, day-care centers for children, and top administrative positions in business, government, and the church.

The Women's Liberation Movement is beginning to emerge as possibly the next great social objective for a large segment of the institutional church. The Episcopal Church is experiencing furor over the issue of women becoming priests. Catholic women have been given the right to act as participating leaders during Mass when no men are available. A recent article in Bethany Seminary's Seminarian says, "We are hoping that women will be assuming to a greater extent, positions of leadership within the Church." Tentative guidelines for contributors to Church of the Brethren publications have recently been mailed to those who do much of the writing. Among the guidelines are these instructions: "Women should be portrayed in positions of authority over men and over other women. Books designed for children should show married women who work outside the home, and should treat them favorably." The radio and television and newspapers and magazines for many years have been telling women that being tied down in the home stands in the way of their success, that housework is degrading, and that being subject to one's husband is a sign of weakness. Now the church seems to be echoing what society has been saying for nearly a decade. What should be the Christian woman's attitude toward this whole issue? As we see it, the answer should not depend on what the sociologist says, or on what the mood of society about us dictates, or on what seems to be reasonable--but on what the Scriptures say.

We want to look in a few moments at what the New Testament says about the woman's place in the home, in the church, and in the world--but before we observe these teachings, let it be clearly understood that women are often mistreated and looked upon as second-class persons. Women are often stereotyped, and sometimes men tell jokes about women which are grossly unfair. Because one woman couldn't back a car out of the garage without scraping a fender, it is assumed that no woman can do it--and so we hear all kinds of stories about "women drivers." We hear jokes about women talking too much simply because some women have been noted for much talking. Men sometimes say, "Well, you know how the women are." They seem to class women in an unfair way.

The conversations of Jesus with the Samaritan woman, and with Mary and Martha, show that He respected their abilities and their individualities. The Bible bestows honor upon women and elevates womanhood far above the place accorded her by the ancient world religions. Wherever Christianity has gone, the woman has been elevated in value and in treatment. Anyone who has traveled in the Middle East has found it not at all uncommon to see a man riding a donkey, while the woman trudges alongside, carrying a burden on her head. In almost every area where the Gospel has not been widely preached, women have always done the hard work while enjoying few rights and privileges. Some say the Apostle Paul was a hater of women, and that he misunderstood the woman, but anyone who reads Romans 16 carefully, can see Paul's esteem for Christian

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