Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Learning From a Fellow Passenger

It’s quite common, as my family and friends will attest to, that I make a new friend while traveling, or walking down the street for that matter. True to form, on a recent flight I struck up a conversation with a mortgage broker as he was traveling back to his family. As far as I could tell, he was not a Christian, but what intrigued me most about this man and his family was how they operated.

The last thing I expected to do at 40,000 feet was talk about, or think about, gender roles. I had my book in hand and was ready to tune out the world. But I listened as he shared with me how much he enjoyed providing for and protecting his wife and young daughter, and how much his wife truly enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom, which he emphatically called “work”. (To which I say “amen”!) Their reasoning for operating biblically in their roles is not stemming from a hearty approval and desire to live according to God-given gender roles, in fact, I doubt they even know that God has ordained gender roles, but I did find it interesting nonetheless. Secular feminism, and now evangelical feminism, will try and tell us that gender roles are a result of a backwards, oppressive ideology rooted in male domination and quest for power. But this man, who by every other definition was secular, was not backwards. In fact, he was relevant—affirming the goodness of his personhood, and squirming if I made any mention of an almighty Creator who demands perfection, or to a great Savior, Jesus Christ. He wasn’t an out of touch, evangelical male—he was your typical American, living his life with his family. I am simply taking my brief conversation with this man at face value, but I think it deserves some attention. What does this mean for us as Christians living in a post-feminist America?

Gender roles will not go away. They are much deeper than the feminist revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s. They have roots in Genesis, and were established by a sovereign Creator who knew exactly what He was doing when He formed Adam and commanded him to lead, and formed Eve and made her the mother of all living. There is a reason why unregenerate people live with husbands as heads and wives as mothers, and do so happily—and it’s not because they don’t know any better and are uneducated. The man on the plane was a graduate of the Citadel. He was smart. Something inside of him was leading him to say “I want to provide for my wife.” Regardless of regeneration, our culture is crying out that there is a difference, despite all futile attempts to explain away distinctions. God is God, and His created order will stand. In the feminist’s quest to preserve the ontology of women, they actually destroy the very personhood they seek to protect.

As Christians we must not capitulate to culture and accept blindly every wave of doctrine. We must also not blindly listen to our lost neighbors talk about their family lives without calling attention to the very real truth that biblical manhood and womanhood is a picture of the image of Christ and His Church. When we abandon that we abandon the Gospel. So, as I think about the conversation that I had, my prayer for this man is that he would see that he is living this way not because he and his wife picked the “best choice” for their daughter, but that their desire for this type of family structure was created in them by a holy and righteous Creator, in order to lift high His Son Jesus Christ—and to bring them to repentance.

That is something that won’t go away—no matter how much you deconstruct the language and culture.

No comments: