The Gender-Lite New Testament
This morning, Scot McKnight blogged about this post by Patrick Mitchel. Intrigued, I had to read the full post. Check out the beginning for yourself:
I have a confession.
I don’t really ‘get’ Christian single sex get togethers – whether Women’s Conferences (admittedly have only been to these in drag) or Men’s Conferences (been to some, never really enjoyed them) or to a lesser degree, men’s or women’s ministry meetings of various sorts.
While you can’t make the NT a blueprint for every contemporary ministry model, it does seem to me that within the new covenant ministry of the Spirit, it is quite remarkable how ‘gender lite’ the NT is. (Not getting into details here of those most controversial of very occasional texts addressing specific gender related issues.)
[I guess you could also say how remarkably 'leader lite'' the NT is, but that's another discussion.]
By gender lite, I mean how indiscriminately most of it is written to and for all believers of whatever type. Men, women, young, old, Jew, Gentile, slave, free, And thinking about Galatians 3:28, it’s interesting that we sure wouldn't organize separate ministries around slave/free or Jew/Gentile believers without an uproar but do for male/female – just sayin.
I think Mitchel is onto something. I, too, wonder about the motivation behind the seeming obsession with dividing lines in church ministries. These divisions often lead to ministries geared toward certain stereotypes. Men's ministries are flavored with sports analogies. Women's classes are dipped in chocolate and practically ooze emotional hype (and we can't forget the crafts).
What happens to the men who prefer books to sports? What about the women who would rather talk about theology than their feelings about life?
They are different, so they don't fit. They are outside. And they wonder -- where is this unity we speak of?