This post may or may not be what you expect, depending on how you read or understood the title. The misreading and misunderstanding of terms seems to be especially prevalent in conversations addressing gender. Maybe that’s because this is one of the places we tend to ‘live’ all the time and can never get away from. And for sure, much of the way we look at life depends on how we understand gender.
A few years ago, Christopher Yuan was invited to George Fox University to speak on the topic of homosexuality. I was not there when he spoke, but both my husband and daughter attended this event and talked about it in great detail at the dinner table that evening in our home. My husband bought Yuan’s book, “Out of a Far Country,” which I read immediately. The one thing above all that was emphasized for me by this conversation and the book was the idea that as children of the living God, we have a new identity in Him. We can and should let go of identifying ourselves – in this case by our sexual bent – for example: homosexual, monogamous, polygamous, pedophilic, transvestite, etc…; to embrace our true, living identity: son or daughter of the One true, faithful, loving, just, holy, eternal, etc… God. As we begin more and more to realize our true identity through Christ, we will then proportionately, in every area of our lives, be ‘free’ to live one day at a time as God intends for us to live; in a way that is truly loving, truly just, truly good or righteous –in God’s eyes; for the good of all and to our joy.
Through the invitation of my writing professor, Tuesday evening my husband and I attended the fall faculty lecture. Melanie Mock was the featured speaker. She was the recipient of the 2014-15 “Faculty Achievement Award for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship.” Out of her research and blog she co-authored a book with Kendra Weddle Irons, entitled, “If Eve Only Knew…” (I will tell you the rest of the title in a minute).
This lecture was not at all what I expected and what Mock, the speaker, feared we might expect. What she actually addressed was the perception of gender roles for both men and women and how they are sometimes taught by many in the evangelical church—and whether or not it is with integrity that the word “Biblical” is assigned to some of these perceived roles. The one thing above all that I took away from this “lecture” or conversation was again that our identity needs to be in God, separate from the influence of cultural, especially should culture be out of line with God’s Word of truth. And of course then I would immediately ask: When has popular (any) culture ever been in line with God? And if we think it is—How are we deluding ourselves?
Too often in wanting to be open and warm-hearted Christians, we more readily than we should, assign the word “Biblical” to things in the culture with which we tend to agree, which when examined more closely are too often not actually in line with God’s overall Word or heart.
The careful, honest, kind spirit and message of the speaker allowed room for the rest of the title of her book to be redeemed for me. And anyway, what she meant by it, was not what I originally understood it to mean. The whole title of her book is, “If Eve Only Knew: Freeing Yourself from Biblical Womanhood and Becoming all God Means for You to Be.” The ‘Biblical’ in this title and her message should have quotation marks around it, as the Question and Answer facilitator pointed out. Mock’s whole intent was to encourage us as Christians to be looking to be in agreement with God rather than with culture, especially before calling things “Biblical.” Though I don’t know if I would agree with everything the speaker said, should I have the opportunity to have a more in-depth dialogue with her; I truly appreciated the overall quest and message she shared very much, and would enjoy having more conversation with her.
Do we look to God and define ourselves and our potential, not by our gender, or race, or culture, or government, or family, or ‘tribe,’ or nation, or achievements, or problems, or addictions, etc… but by who and what God has promised to be and is to us? In other words are we embracing the Life God means for us to have through Christ, by His Spirit, of true peace and love and joy in the glorious freedom only He can and will give?!