“I'm interested in how women can support a spiritual leader who does not believe that women are the equals of men.”
I got the above comment to my pope post. Great question! I was going to comment back, but I got to typing and kept going and going, so decided to put it as a new post. Then, after I wrote this, I had to wait and make sure I really wanted to post this. I do. So, if you’re interested, here’s what I think.
I agree with him. You may think this is a discredit to women everywhere, or a discredit to women, but let me finish. Men and women are very different. And, in some respects, women are better than men. Need a shoulder to cry on? A woman listens better. Need four things done at once? Ask a woman. If your child ever gets lost, ask them to look for another mom. (child molesters have been known to impersonate police officers. Sick, huh?) And want to procreate? You need a woman. At the same time, men are sometimes better than women. Need something heavy moved? You’ll ask a man. Need some advice that is practical and without feeling? Ask a man – he can separate the two. (Which is why, I think, that God wants men running the church. Most women think with their feelings. It’s true.) Want to procreate? You’ll need a man for that, too. Now, before you all slam me with a dozen comments, I know that those are blatant generalizations, and there are some men that listen well and can multi-task, and there are probably some women that are stronger than my husband, but IN GENERAL, men and women are very different. And since “equal” means “same”, I’d have to agree with the statement that men and women are not equal.
Of course, that’s all beside the point, because the point is that the Bible is very clear that a man should be leading the church. (See 1 Timothy 2 and 3, esp 2:11) I raged against this verse for awhile, and I thought it unfair and unjust. Then I grew up and saw the wisdom behind it. The Catholic Church takes a strong stance when it comes to verses like this. However, I don’t think they mean to say that women are inferior to men. (Maybe I’m wrong here – I’m not well-versed in Catholic theology.) I don’t think they mean to say that women are spiritually inferior to men, either. (again, maybe they do) I do know that I do not interpret these verses in that manner. They refer to position in the church, not personal value. (On a personal note, the church I currently attend has several women on staff, and some of them have titles of “minister” or “pastor”. However, these wonderful ladies do not lead our church. They are not the “head pastor”. I don’t think I could attend a church where the head pastor was a woman. I just couldn’t do it. I really can’t explain why. I just couldn’t.)
And I have to add this little gem, too, because my husband and I have had many a conversation on it. The Bible says that the husband is to be the head of the household, and the wife should submit to him. (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18) It also says that the husband should treat his wife as Christ treated the church. (Ephesians 5:25-28) Do you understand what that means? Christ died for the church. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for the church. Wouldn’t you want to submit to someone who would do anything for you? Someone who is commanded to sacrifice even his life for you? (I’ll never forget a conversation I had with the dean of Biola University after I had been married for about a month. He asked me, with all sincerity, if my husband was treating me as Christ treated the church. And the way he asked me, and the way he listened to my answer, I felt like he would find my husband and set him straight if my answer was not an emphatic “yes”. It made me feel so special, so cared for; his concern still moves me.) Practically speaking, I love the words of wisdom from an infamous Greek mom: “The man is the head, but the woman, she is the neck. She turns the head.” I’ve also heard this little gem, but I don’t remember where: “The man is the head of the household, but the woman sets the tone of the family.” We all have our jobs to do. We are all equipped to do our specific task. When we try and do the job we are not equipped for, we are not successful or happy.
Marriage. Did I really get that far from the pope question? Back to the pope thing . . .
As far as Catholicism goes, there are some Catholic beliefs and practices that I totally disagree with and do not practice. I do not pray to Mary or any of the saints. I do not go to a priest or pastor for confession. I do not believe that the bread and the wine actually become the body and blood of our Savior. And I have used birth control since I was married. However, the Pope and the Catholic Church are important to me because they are following the same God that I am. They believe in the Bible as truth and defend its principles. The Pope is an important religious leader in the world. I never thought about him too much because he’s always been John Paul II, a well-traveled man who, in my mind, was a strong defender of the sanctity of human life. Now, that the position was open to a new man, I suddenly became aware of what would happen to our world if a liberal pope led the church. Can you imagine how the morality of the world would slide if one of the most conservative religions started to become liberal? Well, just think about it. It would be like if that one friend in junior high school, you know, the kid who never did anything wrong, it would be like that kid starting to swear all the time. If the goodie-two-shoes of the class is swearing all the time, what are the rebels going to do to shock people?
Anyways, there’s my two cents. I don’t obey the Pope, I don’t agree with everything he stands for, but I respect him and occasionally I’ll pray for him. I think I can say the same thing about our President. (even when he was Clinton!)
All right. I’ll stand back and let the comments fly. As always, feel free to disagree with me. Just be kind. I may seem tough and opinionated, but I take your words to heart.