This essay by Mrs. Dodds is available from the John Piper “Desiring God” site, as well as an excerpt from Mrs. Dodd’s own blog:
The Beauty of Womanhood Her Uniqueness Makes Her Essential – Desiring God
The Prism of Womanhood – Hope and Stay (Dodds’ blog)
Because many Christian gender complementarians harbor false ideas about women who reject complementarianism, and adhere to false notions of what gender egalitarianism is, I wanted to clear up a few things about myself from the start.
You can see the longer version of my beliefs on my blog’s About Page. This is a shortened list:
- I have always been conservative, both on social and political issues.
- I do not hate motherhood, men, or marriage.
- I used to be a Christian gender complementarian.
… I understand complementarianism. I did not reject complementarianism because of liberalism, secular feminism, hatred of the Bible, or due to ignorance of what complementarianism is.
- I am not a Christian-hating, abortion- supporting, hairy, bra-burning feminist, liberal, or Democrat (nor am I an atheist).
In other words, I am not the stereotype a lot of Christian gender complementarians make women like me (ones who disagree with complementarianism) out to be.
I find most of Dodds’ piece to be disingenuous. She applies the word “complementarian” to some terms or concepts that are actually egalitarian in nature. On some points (not all), she is trying to sell a watered-down version of gender egalitarianism under the label “complementarian,” which is not honest nor accurate.
Maybe Dodds is not even aware that she is doing this: I find that a lot of complementarians, in their blog posts and discussions in comment boxes on blogs and forums, like and agree with egalitarianism, they apply egalitarian practices to their own lives or marriages (if married) in many aspects, but then they slap the label “complementarian” on these egalitarian beliefs.
Another inaccurate or deceptive tactic Dodds uses is to sprinkle the word “single” (as in unmarried) through-out her essay, while all the time, for the vast majority of the essay, defining her version of “biblical womanhood” or “femininity” to only be able to be practiced within the contexts of ‘stay at home motherhood.’
In other words, Dodds’ understanding of God- approved femaleness can really only be fully realized within the confines of married motherhood, yet she continually tosses out the word “single” in her essay, as if to say her views about femaleness are applicable to single adult women as well as to married women or to mothers. Dodds’ treatment or negligence of adult singles is a topic I will return to later in this post.
What I will do is quote comments by Dodds from her essay and state observations or rebuttals below each part.
- Yet, the vision our culture offers is a sad consolation that exchanges the glory of feminine strength for a treadmill race to nowhere.
Gender complementarianism does not truly champion “feminine strength.”
I want to remind readers, I am not opposed to traditional family units, motherhood, and marriage. If a woman chooses those paths for herself, that is fine with me.
What gender complementarianism does (and I see it through this article by Dodd) is try to shoe-horn and cram all women into those roles only, or guilt them into thinking these are the most, the best, or only God- approved or God- designed areas for women to operate in: marriage and motherhood.
That viewpoint is disarming women, not encouraging them to use their strength, because it’s placing unbiblical and needless limits upon all women.
It’s not only secular culture that downplays and discourages feminine strength but complementarianism does so as well.
Not all women will marry. Not all women will have children. Not all women want to marry or have children.
I’m also not sure what Dodds means with the phrase “treadmill to nowhere.” Does she mean to say that women who do not marry, who do not have children, or who do not live as a house wife, or carry out other complementarian views of womanhood, are “on a treadmill to nowhere”?
So, for example, in Dodds’ view, if a woman is, say, divorced, childless, and works as a dentist all day long, she would assume that this woman’s life is on a road to nowhere? If so, that is very dismissive of her.
It squanders the kind of influence that is found primarily in the soil of the home. The home — that center of all learning, the heart of nation-building, the dispenser of love and stability, the venue for gospel hospitality for single and married alike, in short, the footings of humanity. This home-based influence that — because of Christ — can last for a thousand generations, yet our culture urges us to cast it aside for the pursuit of rewards a little less off in the distance and certainly ones that don’t require diapering.
I completely dispute the notion that “the home” is as important as Dodds is arguing here. The Bible, and the God of the Bible, do not put anywhere near as much focus upon home, family, parenting, domestic duties, and marriage as Dodds and other complementarians do – not for men and not for women.
You will notice in that quote above, Dodds makes a feeble attempt at inclusion regarding unmarried (single) women.
Dodds fails at this, because the entire context of her quote, as in the rest of her piece, argues (or strongly implies) that a woman can only be truly happy, fulfilled, and following God’s supposed design for women, if she is a stay at home wife and mother. By definition, unmarried woman (and ones who must work to pay bills) cannot meet that criteria.
The “center of all learning, the heart of nation-building” and the other things Dodds mentions in her list, should be sought in the person of Jesus Christ – not home, not the family unit, not biblical gender roles.
I don’t wish to belabor this point or related ones here, because others have written about it far more eloquently than I have, for example:
- “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” by Carrie A. Miles
…yet our culture urges us to cast it aside for the pursuit of rewards a little less off in the distance and certainly ones that don’t require diapering.
If I am reading between the lines correctly, it sounds like Dodds is critical of women who choose to delay marriage and motherhood, and in order to do things such as complete college and get grounded in a career.
In other words, she may be promoting something that some Christians refer to as Early Marriage. For more on that, please see (on other sites):
This view is debatable for so many reasons. The Bible does not command everyone to marry, nor does the Bible dictate that everyone should marry by a certain age. (That there is a biblical line about the “wife of one’s youth” should not be taken as a prescriptive action for everyone, wherein the Bible is saying everyone must marry in youth, or else be in error or sin.)
Further, complementarians such as Dodds over-look several realities in life that are beyond the control of women of all ages:
Such as the gender imbalance among conservative religious groups; meaning, that some single women from conservative religious groups, even those who do want to marry, will not be able to, unless they decide to marry someone from outside their religious community, such as an atheist.
Please see these links to other sites for more on that or related subjects:
- What Two Religions Tell Us About the Dating Crisis – TIME magazine
- Sorry Ladies, There Really Is A Man Shortage – New York Post
- How Sorry Do We Feel for the Lonesome Single [40-Something Year Old] Bachelors of New York?– Jezebel
Dodds once more:
…yet our culture urges us to cast it aside for the pursuit of rewards a little less off in the distance and certainly ones that don’t require diapering.
Regarding Dodds’ “diapering” comment (I’m having to guess at what she’s meaning here): not all Christian women (and Non Christian) want to be mothers – and that is fine.
There is nothing evil, unnatural, immoral, or wrong about a woman lacking any interest in being a mother or in being pregnant.
Some women do want to become mothers and are unable to become mothers, other women don’t want to have children, (due to dislike of children, not being interested in children), while others are infertile, and some women are childless due to circumstance (not meeting the right man to marry, for example, and they have no interest in having a baby out of wedlock).
Yes, “circumstantial childlessness” is a thing, and complementarians often disregard it.
(There is also such as thing as “circumstantial singleness” too. Not all unmarried adults are “called to” or “gifted with” singleness but find themselves single against their wishes, expectations, and hopes.)
See: Why being a childless woman is rarely a simple case of choice or infertility – The Independent
From that page:
An estimated 80% of women who don’t have children are ‘childless by circumstance’, rather than choice or medical reasons
Complementarians such as Dodds write these essays pressuring or shaming women to marry or have children that can be deeply wounding, painful, or offensive, when some of the women reading these articles desperately wanted to be mothers, but due to factors beyond their control, were unable to become mothers.
Dodds writing a column shaming, guilting, or pressuring Christian single women to marry, and to marry young, will do nothing to change life as we know it.
Women cannot marry men who do not exist (see articles linked to above about gender imbalances in dating), or men who are incapable of marrying (because they are too immature, irresponsible, or financially insolvent).
The fact is some women remain single (and childless) well after their 30s against their desire.
In order for these single women to make it in life, they have to be able to earn an income, so that they can pay for rent, groceries, medical care and other expenses. These women must work outside of the home. They do not have a choice.
Views and essays such as Dodds shames and criticizes women who are in these positions through no fault of their own.
Then there are women who may choose to remain single and to work outside their home: that is their right, and they should not be criticized for that, either.
And what does it offer in return? Women who strive against themselves, at war with the seeming redundancy of two X chromosomes, in a competition we were never made for, and in our hearts, don’t really want to win.For when a woman sets herself up alongside a man — as made for the same things and without distinction — the result is not uniformity, but rather, a reverse order. Indeed, in order for her to become like a man, he becomes less and less like one. And that’s something that most women, even the most ardent feminists, recoil at in their heart. Not because femininity is detestable, but because on a man, it is grotesque.
Does Dodds’ automatically assume that this same woman in my earlier hypothetical example (single woman, who is childless, works as a dentist) is trying to compete with men, or to be a man, all for merely for being unmarried, childless, or working outside the home?
I would dearly love Dodds to explain, prove, and demonstrate how a woman being unmarried, being childless, and/or working outside the home is automatically equivalent to a woman wanting to compete with men or to be a man. That is quite the logical leap, and very presumptuous.
Can Dodds see into the hearts of women who are unmarried, childless, and/or who have jobs outside the home, to be able to see what their motive is for being single, and so forth?
How does Dodds know with all certainty, that some, all, or most women who don’t meet her criteria of what it means to be a godly, biblical woman, are doing so from a motive of wanting to compete with men, or to be like a man?
As for me personally, I have never desired to be exactly like a man, or to compete with men just to compete with men.
By the way, what is intrinsically wrong with competing with men – at anything?
When I was a little girl, I loved to play video games. When I played video game basketball or video tanks and planes with my older brother, I would beat him each time.
The Bible does not say that men are to be “winners” in life, at jobs, or at video games, or that girls and women are supposed to be non-competitive, passive types and allow boys and men to win.
Furthermore, as a little girl, I was a “tom boy.” I was far more interested in toys or games that were considered culturally masculine, such as Bat Man comic books, “Planet of the Apes” television shows, and toy cars.
As a young girl, I was not interested in most pursuits that culture, church, and parents told me I was “supposed to” enjoy, such as knitting, playing with dolls, and “playing house.”
I did not oppose other girls wanting to play with dolls and so on, but I had no interest in doing that sort of thing myself.
I was interested in what I was interested in; I was not trying to make any kind of feminist statement with my life, hobbies, or interests.
Indeed, in order for her to become like a man, he becomes less and less like one.
Dodds seems to be suggesting here, like the complementarian man who wrote this dreadful open letter to fictional woman character Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, that a man’s identity can or should be found in a woman, and in a very specific kind of woman:
A woman who willingly gives up her talents, skills, competency, life dreams and goals, only to serve as some kind of second thought or pretty, shiny accessory to a husband, or to give a man a purpose or identity. (And again, where are unmarried women in all this, or the unmarried men?)
It appears to me that the Bible teaches that a man is to find his identity only in Jesus Christ; not in a marriage, not in a woman, not in fatherhood, not in a gender role, not in a job or a hobby.
The same is true of women: the Bible seems to convey that women are to find their identity only in Jesus Christ; not a man, not marriage, not motherhood, not a job.
(I wrote more of that subject here: “Gender Complementarianism: Marriage, Singleness, Purpose, Identity, Domestic Abuse.”
K. L. Bishop addressed this subject, or one quite close to it, in her post here: Pursue Jesus, Not Complementarity: A Response to Owen Strachan and TGC )
Most women, even feminists, do not want to “become like a man.” Well, depending on what Dodds means by this.
If Dodds means women want the same opportunities in life as men do, which would require women to have traits or practices, such as assertiveness and boundaries, that complementarians and sexist members of secular society consider “masculine” – then yes.
The only women I see who want to “be men” (literally) are like celebrity Chaz Bono: transgender men. That is, biological woman who may undergo surgery or hormonal treatments to turn male as biologically as much as possible.
Women expecting to be treated fairly and be given the same opportunities as men, and not being judged as ungodly feminists for not living out the Dodds-defined gender complementarian ideal for women, does not mean these women are “trying to be like men.”
For when a woman sets herself up alongside a man — as made for the same things and without distinction…
…Women believe the lie that in order to be relevant in a man’s world, you become like a man, when the opposite is true.
As to the “distinctions” portion of her quote and the women supposedly believing they have to “become like a man”: this is a strawman on Dodds’ part, and by this time, in the year 2016, complementarians need to stop it with this one. It’s sloppy and dishonest.
I’d say most secular feminists, and certainly Christian gender egalitarians, do not believe men and women have no distinctions at all.
Equality is not tantamount to sameness or being identical. I refer you to this material on other sites for more:
- Confusing Equality with “Sameness” – A Complementarian Misconception – Junia Project
- How Christian Egalitarians understand “Equality” – New Life
I would, however, ask the Dodds of the world to consider that men and women are not as different as they assume.
See, for example:
- New Study Dispels Notion Of Distinct Male And Female Brains – Forbes
- Social Science Studies Cannot Define Gender Differences – Christians For Biblical Equality
- Male and female brains are a myth – Digital Journal
- Brains aren’t actually ‘male’ or ‘female,’ new study suggests – Washington Post
- No such thing as male or female brains, study says – Stuff.co
- Our brains aren’t actually ‘male’ or ‘female’ at all, study finds – Metro
For when a woman sets herself up alongside a man — as made for the same things and without distinction
As to the “as made for the same things” portion of Dodds’ quote: other than women being capable of bearing children and men are not, and other obvious biological differences based on sex, anything else she can say at this point will be her bias being read into the biblical text.
Barring those biological differences, what is it, exactly, that Dodds believes God made men capable of that he did not make women capable of, and vice versa, even if it’s only in degree?
Even objectives and pursuits complementarians consider masculine and inappropriate for women, such as killing and warfare, are shown to be carried out by women in the Bible with God’s blessing, such as Deborah in the book of Judges (see Judges Chapter 4), and Jael.
But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him [enemy combatant] while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died. (Judges 4:21 )
To head off any complementarian objections to women such as these, who do not meet the gender complementarian notion of biblical womanhood (which I find very amusing, because these women are in the Bible), here are some resources by others:
- Deborah and the “no available men” argument
- Searching for Deborah: Why Did Barak Replace Deborah In Hebrews 11:32?
There are other women in the Bible who did things – with God’s approval – that complementarians say women ought not to do.
There are women in the Bible who were apostles, women who taught men, who chose to learn theology (rather than get involved in home-making tasks, which must grieve Dodds deeply) – such as Junia, Priscilla, and Mary (see Luke 10:38-42).
I can think of only one person who beat Jesus in a debate, and it was a woman. And she was no passive, demure doormat. This Canaanite woman confronted Jesus and did not back down, not even when he challenged her.
A gender complementarian would have told the Canaanite woman that her boldness was wrong and unwomanly, to sit down and shut up, and play the passive doormat and not be so confrontational.
The complementarian would probably rudely assume that the woman in question was married and should be seeking her husband out for assistance, when, perhaps this woman was single. (If you’d like to read the Canaanite woman’s story, please see The Faith of a Canaanite Woman on Bible Gateway.)
John Piper, who hosted Dodd’s essay on his site that I am critiquing on mine here, would have told the Canaanite woman that her speaking directly to Jesus was an affront to Jesus’ masculinity and that poor Jesus’ male ego would have been wounded, and Piper would have criticized her for her actions.
In this scenario, as in others, the complementarian would want to re-define terms or concepts to have you believe that being passive and a doormat are actually characteristics of “feminine strength,” while speaking directly to a man is not approved of by God. It’s all very Orwellian.
Then shock the world and be what you were made to be: a fearless, unflappable God-fearing woman.
Being a “God-fearing woman” actually entails much of the opposite of what Dodds is promoting in her essay.
As I wrote about earlier (in another post), complementarianism encourages women to behave in a codependent – fearful- manner.
Complementarianism convinces women that to be pleasing to God or to men, or to be of benefit to the world, they must shrink themselves down and silence their voices. I wrote more about that and related topics in this previous post.
Dodds continues to speak in conflicting terms. She would have you believe that being passive, lacking boundaries, and being a stay at home wife and mother (and other trademarks of complementarian women) are what constitutes being a “God fearing woman.” The Bible does not limit womanhood in that manner – that is Dodds’ personal bias.
Do not abandon the very differences that make you essential.
What differences are those? The fact that I am biologically capable of birthing a child, or what?
I am a celibate adult in mid-life. I’ve never married, therefore, I’ve refrained from having sex, and as a consequence, I’ve never been pregnant nor had children.
According to Dodds, I am therefore incapable of expressing my difference from men, it would appear (in that she seems to understand “differences” between men and women to largely revolve around women being mothers and playing “second fiddle” to a husband).
Dodds has this sub-heading on her page:
Real Women Mimic Jesus
The problem with this coming from a complementarian, is that the complementarian means that “real women” should only mimic the soft, gentle, tender, passive side of Jesus – his more stereotypical ‘feminine’ traits.
As I wrote in another post (see the section about half way down the page with the sub-heading “Pink and Blue Christianity”), Christians are called to emulate Jesus in his entirety: if you are a woman, this means you are to emulate even the portions of Jesus’ personality or behavior that some would consider “masculine,” such as being assertive, confrontational, strong, and out-spoken.
The Holy Spirit who resides in male believers is the same Holy Spirit who resides in female believers. There is no “Pink Jesus” for women and “Blue Jesus” for men. There is no “Feminine Holy Spirit” for women and “Masculine Holy Spirit” for men.
The unique influence of a godly woman is in transforming things. A woman is to be compared to a crown on the head of her husband (Proverbs 12:4).
This is not because she’s merely decorative, but because she is the thing that makes her good man great. She transforms a promising bachelor into a purposeful, respected husband.
He gives his seed and by some miracle and mystery, God has designed her body to nurture and grow a new person, as Nancy Wilson outlines in her address, Dangerous Women.
Here is another comment or view which excludes women who do not have husbands, or women who are childless or childfree.
Who, or what, does Dodds believe a divorced, never married, or widowed woman should be transforming, since she has no husband?
When Dodds writes that a woman can transform a bachelor into a respected husband: where does this leave men who never marry?
Is 1 Corinthians 7 not in Dodds’ Bible? That chapter reads in part:
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. …But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. (Source)
I’d also argue that it’s not a woman’s role to transform her spouse, if she has one: that is the work of the Holy Spirit, if the man is a Christian.
If you’d like to see an alternative view on a woman being a man’s crown, please see:
- 3 Reasons I Don’t Think Women Are The “Crown” of Men – Christians For Biblical Equality
In this transformative role, whether single or married, a woman mimics her Savior. Like him, she submits to another’s will and, also like him, God uses her to take what was useless on its own and shape it into glory. Dirty things clean; chaos turned to order; an empty kitchen overflowing with life and food; children in want of knowledge and truth and a mother eager to teach; a man in need of help and counsel and a woman fit to give it; friends and neighbors with a thirst for the truth and a woman opening her home and heart to share it with them.
Dodds did not, as far as I can see, explain how a single and/or childless woman can get in on this “transformative” action, since she defines and describes “transformative” in her article only to mean a wife who is a homemaker, and who supports a husband and children.
Single women have no husband to transform (not that it’s a wife’s responsibility to do so in the first place).
Infertile, single and celibate, or child free women do not have children of their own to mother.
I would caution Dodds at this point not to bandy about the usual advice that Christians do, which she might be temped to do: casting adult singles as nothing more as a support role, such as a free baby-sitter service to married couples who have children. That is a very condescending view to take of singles, but a lot of Christians adopt it.
Adult singles do not have all the free time and discretionary income (and may lack the interest) to run about acting as free babysitters for married couples.
I would be interested in knowing how Christians who advocate that single adults serve married couples advise those married couples on how to meet the needs of adult singles? What do you recommend married, Christian parents to do to serve adult singles? Anything?
Furthermore, John Piper, on whom’s site Dodds’ essay appears, would disagree with Dodd here:
…a man in need of help and counsel and a woman fit to give it; friends and neighbors with a thirst for the truth and a woman opening her home and heart to share it with them.
Piper has written a few blog posts in the past saying it is in violation of biblical gender roles for women to correct men, teach men, or to directly speak to men – even to men with whom they are not married.
On those rare occasions Piper seems “okay” with a woman speaking directly to a man, he erects all manner of extra-biblical guidelines on when, how, and if a woman may speak to a man.
See, for example:
- John Piper: Women Not Suited For Most Jobs In The World
- John Piper’s Advice For Women in the Workforce – Aimee Byrd (who is a complementarian, if I am not mistaken)
- An Accidental Feminist? – Carl Trueman (who is a complementarian)
- The Absurd Legalism of Gender Roles: Exhibit C – “As long as I can’t see her…” – Rachel Held Evans
- And, again:
- Hey John Piper, Is My Femininity Showing? – Rachel Pietka
God’s design outlined in the Scriptures is a vision for womanhood that is not just right and to be obeyed, it is experientially better than all the world has to offer.
Note here that Dodds is using an appeal to personal experience to market gender complementarianism to women, something some complementarians, such as Tim Challies, says that Christian gender egalitarians, or others who dispute complementarianism, should not do: make appeals to personal experience (see this post for more on that).
God does not outline in Scriptures a “vision for womanhood.” There is no “one size fits all, for all women, in all cultures” set of rules in the Bible.
God is not consumed with gender roles in the Bible, but with larger motiffs of life, such as sin, redemption, and restoring humanity.
And it doesn’t just apply those who are married or mothers. Single women of any age are meant for full godly womanhood. To be a mother in the deepest sense — that is, spiritually — nurturing and growing all God’s given her.
Dodds spends the entire page defining biblical womanhood in terms of marriage and motherhood. She feels that tacking on the word “single” somehow makes up for the marginalization of singles in her world view; it does not.
Why do I get the sinking feeling that if Dodds’ has an idea of what “godly womanhood” looks like for unmarried women, it is severely limited to something that looks like this:
- Being a woman who has enough money to stay at home all the time (she does not need a job to pay bills), she must knit sweaters for orphans with yarn she has grown on her own pet yaks in her backyard, and watch Martha Stewart programs on how to hot glue gun glitter on to pine cones to make pine cone name plates for dinner parties?
Not all women are into artsy-craftsy, stay at home mommish type hobbies.
If I had the income for it, I’ve been thinking for years now of buying a fire arm and going to gun ranges to shoot at targets for fun. That is not exactly the gender complementarian idea of being a sweet, gentle, arts- and- crafts kind of woman.
When Dodds writes,
To be a mother in the deepest sense — that is, spiritually — nurturing and growing all God’s given her.
What does she mean by this, exactly?
What if I am a single woman who works a 9 to 5 job as a police officer, and I choose to never marry?
What if I consider my hypothetical career as a cop to be “nurturing all that God has given me?”
(You know right off hand that John Piper would not approve, because he really is not fond of the idea of unmarried women working as police officers.)
I used to have a pet cat. Would Dodds maintain that me caring for my pet cat was a form of motherhood, and an example of me “nurturing and growing all that God has given me?”
Why would me taking care of my pet cat (who unfortunately died a few years ago due to old age), need to be understood as a form of mothering or of biblical womanhood?
Why do women, even childless or child free women, forever have to be talked about in the context of motherhood or nurturing?
I would never harm a child and I am opposed to child abuse, but I never really wanted one myself. I find most children annoying because they are loud, messy, and brash. I prefer calm and quiet environments. I do not fit the complementarian notion of “nurturing and maternal.”
Women like me (who find babies and children irritating, not cute little bundle of joys we want to coo over) do exist in reality. But complementarians like to ignore women like me, to believe that God “programmed” all women to want children, to be maternal, and to enjoy babies and children.
The Bible says nowhere that God created women to be nurturing, or more nurturing, than men; these are culturally- created assumptions that complementarians carry into their reading of the Bible and in their papers promoting complementarianism.
Why are men not considered being capable at, or gifted at, caring for pet cats?
Who says God did not design men to be nurturing and caring? The Bible does not say that these are feminine traits, or meant for women only.
I have a bicycle. I sometimes go on bike rides. When the tires on the bike start to go a bit flat, I air the tires up. Is this supposed to be an example of me “spiritually nurturing and growing all that God has given me”?
I would like to see a list of examples of what Dodds means by things like this (“To be a mother in the deepest sense — that is, spiritually — nurturing and growing all God’s given her”), not vague illustrations.
Dodds’ references to single and childless women in her essay come across as tacked on after-thoughts. Her clear, glaring interest concerning women revolves around marriage, motherhood, and particularly, stay-at-home motherhood.
I suspect that Dodds only mentioned singles in passing in her paper because some non-complementarian, adult, single and childless women have been pounding the point home the last few years on various sites that complementarianism neglects singleness (and childlessness) and only, or primarily, addresses married mothers, which is one glaring weakness of the complementarian position.
Dodd concludes her essay by remarking on how women can bring glory to God, or how God’s glory is on view through them. I do not need to be married with children to glorify God, nor does God need for me to be married with children to demonstrate his glory.
Nor does God’s glory rely on me following Dodds’ or John Piper’s opinions of what biblical womanhood is.
A woman does not have to abide by complementarian gender roles to “point people to Christ,” either.
In order to be freed, I had to leave gender complementarianism behind and un-learn many of the lessons I absorbed through it since childhood, such as, but not limited to the following:
- I am not as valued, smart, or talented as men because I am a woman; I am not as loved and esteemed as much by God as men are, because I am a woman; my only value comes from being married and a mother (though I remain single and childless); that my only or greatest role is not to be who God created for me as an individual to be, but to serve as an ego-booster and a maid to a man and help a man find his identity.
Complementarianism will not help women find their purpose, identity, or a sense of hope, but will constantly encourage women to look to a human male – a husband, usually – for those things.
Complementarianism does not point women to Jesus Christ but to gender roles – to legalistic definitions and biblical interpretations based on people’s (usually, notice, men’s) opinions of women’s worth and roles (which often amounts to or comes down to marriage and motherhood). All of which runs contrary to what the Bible says.
The Bible teaches that your worth and value as a woman (as a human being) are based in the fact you were created fully in the image of God and that Christ willingly died for you on the cross for your sins – and all that is in spite of whether or not you marry, have children, or live up to Dodds’ or John Piper’s opinions of what the Bible says about women.
Other Posts by Other People:
Snippet from that page (by Ruth Perry):
…Dodds places middle- to upper-class 1950’s-esque Westerners on a pedestal of “blinding beauty.” I am certain that her intent was not to be unkind or dehumanising to others, but that is essentially what occurs when fundamentalists create firm boundaries around what a woman or man may or may not do. Those who do not conform are less-than, or in Dodds’ words, “grotesque.”
…But wait, there is more! Dodds says that women who “forsake our feminine glory in pursuit of the uniqueness that belongs to men…become usurpers, persistently insisting that our uterus and biology are equal to nothing, irrelevant.” Women are meant to “make good men great.”
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