There's been a great deal of talk this week about women, coming off the women's march last Saturday. Those who marched are aggressively pushing the narrative that they marched for "all women," even those who boldly declare that those women do not represent them. A friend of mine even re-posted a rather lengthy item on Facebook, declaring, "You are unequal. Even if you feel like you're equal, you're not, and that's why this march was for you."
Although it is firmly wrapped in a bunch of political ideology, this is also a theological issue. So let me say, plainly, those women do not represent me.
I've never been under any illusions that I was made to be equal.
On Tuesday, I wrote about how not all men are created equal, and this is true of men and women, as well. Men and women were not created equal; they were never meant to be. They have always been complementary to one another. (Complementary with an "e" means that they are meant to provide balance to one another, to fill in the empty spaces left by the other, to come together into a whole.)
One of the greatest myths of modern culture is that in order to be a complete human being, men and women must embrace the totality of human experience. Women need to learn to be dominant in some ways, to compete in the world, to be tough, and to do the things that we typically expect of men. Men, in turn, need to learn to be sensitive, to take a nurturing role, to do the things that we typically expect of women. Only then, they tell us (whoever "they" are) will we have the "whole" human experience. Only when we embrace what is both masculine and feminine in all of us will we be whole.
Here's the subtle, but important, truth, however: we were not made to be whole. We were made to be full.
We were made to be full of our own sexuality, of our maleness or femaleness. We were created to have the richest, deepest experience of who we are. And when we try to be more than what we were made to be, when we try to capture more than we were created to capture, when we try to live as though the whole of masculinity and femininity lives within each one of us, as though this is the totality of the human experience, we do not become more complete human beings; we become less than human.
There are aspects of the glory of God that I bear uniquely as a woman. Men, no matter how hard they try, will never be able to accurately represent these glories in the world; they aren't wired for it. Similarly, there are aspects of the glory of God that men bear uniquely in the world, and women, no matter how hard they try, will never be able to accurately represent these glories in the world; they aren't wired for it.
This does not mean that I'm arguing for some archaic divide of male and female in the world. I'm not saying we should go back to the times when women were silent, when they stayed at home and kept house. I'm not saying that women can't work construction (I've done so) or that men can't bake cookies. I'm not saying that women shouldn't have a vote or that men shouldn't cry. That is not at all what I'm saying. What I am saying is that we need to stop pretending that we're equal.
We're not, and we were never meant to be. We're complementary. And the greatest aspiration of any of our lives is not to be whole (only Jesus can ever make us whole), but to be full. Full of the glories that we uniquely bear.
There are, of course, political issues woven through all of this and a thousand other reasons why these women do not represent me. There are, although they refuse to admit it, a thousand ways in which the current dialogue is far, far different from other marches for women's concerns. But I profoundly do not want to use this space for the political; it's such a waste.
We cannot, however, ignore the theological just because some will not be able to cut the political strings. There is a reason that God created both male and female. There is a way in which this is vitally important. And we do ourselves no good, and our God no glory, by pretending otherwise.