A big teaching in Christian circles is Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Like previous fashions, it has the aspects of clothes (modesty for women) and standard of behavior with an emphasis on day to day life in a particular context. To me, it’s just another ‘Gibson Girl’ or ‘Flapper’ or ‘Hippie’ or ‘Greaser’ concept. It will run it’s course and then people will move on.
“Wear this, not that.” “Do this, not that.” “Be like this, not that.” These ideas change from culture to culture, from century to century. Just because we slap the label ‘Biblical’ in front of something doesn’t mean that it actually is Biblical. After all, we do not live in Biblical houses (which have private sections and public sections – how would you like your living room to be considered open to the public?) We do not wear Biblical clothes. (Biblical guys wore robes mostly, not trousers.) So why do we want to be Biblical men and Biblical women?
Some will say, “But it’s not about being a clone of a first century Judea life-style, it’s embracing the roles that God designed for families at creation – for men to lead their families and women to be faithful wives and mothers who submit to that leadership.” Isn’t that cultural, too? Women and men have fought together for hundreds years to get rights to vote, to have more access to education, and to work. That’s our culture. Which of these rights would you be okay with doing away with for every single one of us in the states here on out: access to medical care, ability to take out a loan, ability to vote, a safe work environment, equal pay for equal work, quality representation in a court of law, and/or the ability to have a dream and fulfill it?
Biblical men and women could have never imagined a day where a they would live and work together on the International Space Station. It’s something that their wildest dreams could never have prepared them to see come to life. They could have never imagined that men and women alike would be the presidents of strong and powerful nations even in times of crisis. I know is that I can’t decide the exact course of your life for you because of your gender. Nor should your gender dictate which options are available for you in life. Biblical women could be wives and mothers or prostitutes or midwives. They had no other options. Most Biblical men were usually servants in their master’s households, the vast majority had no agency in life. They had no other options. We do.
I know, it’s a scary time. But we’re not so far removed from past generations that are asking: “What now?” It’s comforting to look back to tradition because it’s safe and it’s charted waters. We know what to expect. It’s the unknown, the uncharted, and the unexpected that is making us uncertain and confused. Whether we like it or not, change is an eventuality. Two things will result; either we will be like the Amish and set anchor on “this is femininity and that is masculinity” or we will let the sails fly and go with the flow. Looking back, I have a feeling that change isn’t all that scary. Sometimes it’s wonderful and an overall improvement. Sometimes it’s a bad idea that’s as short lived as some of the Space age fashions were. I also know this, everything old is new again; in time old ideas are revisited … some things just never change; but there are many things that do. People – manhood and womanhood – are among them. I don’t know what all the changes are going to look like; and I think for awhile there’s going to be this tug-of-war tension between tradition and tomorrow. A long time ago, we were given principles that both men and women could follow to help us be good people even in the worst of times:
“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:9-14)