Sexual differences and biblical roles


Serious creeped out by all of this. Which race is more intelligent? Which race is more prone to lust? Which race has problems with emotions?

(Christy Hemphill) #83

Not analogous people will argue, because there is no genetic or biological difference between races, which are arbitrary human constructs, whereas as sex has a genetic and biological component. I would argue that “gender” is a pretty arbitrary human sociological construct however, and most of what gets labelled the difference between males and females is really the difference between a particular culture’s socialization into feminine and masculine gender norms, not some inherent biological/genetic difference. Someone can argue until the cows come home about to what degree cultural (or by extension, biblical) gender constructs are tied to biological realities or the “created order,” but they can’t really prove any of it.

(Phil) #84

I think that church model is a little creepy myself, but it does touch on a problem a lot of churches have regarding men, and that is providing a meaningful role and work. Too often, men clean themselves up, sit in class or pews singing and listening, then go home. If you are not a teacher or a deacon, or on staff, your role is passive, and men do not do well without purpose and meaning. I think the most successful churches integrate men as well as women in meaningful ministry, not just directing traffic in the parking lot, though that can be important also.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #85

Hear, Hear! If by “church model” you were referring to the stereotype that men must be into motor cycles and Monday night football. In my church I have served as an elder. But I also do some of the even more important things like serving in the nursery, washing dishes, or helping teach children’s Sunday school.


There are biological and genetic differences between people groups. Differences that don’t matter to me.


Those are some seriously weird and creepy churches!

(Reggie O'Donoghue) #88

I meant nothing by it, but it’s an ostrich position to claim there are no differences between genders. I consider myself to be a feminist, albeit one more concerned with Islamic issues than Western issues.

(Reggie O'Donoghue) #89

Interesting fact, the two oldest parts of the Bible are both attributed to female authors (Songs of Miriam and Deborah). God choosing women first before men is awfully progressive.


If Jesus had stopped talking about the lilies of the field, and had talked more about chariots, he might have attracted more men.

(Mark D.) #91

Your question leads me to wonder to what degree Churches should promote reliance on biblical guidance for raising kids. I don’t think many rely on it for dietary considerations. Some Muslims and some Jews make careful observance of dietary laws a part of their practice but for Christians who rely most heavily on the NT, I’m not sure there is much specific guidance there for that. If science is more reliable where diet is concerned perhaps it should play a bigger roll in matters of rearing children as well?

Where child rearing is concerned, it seems to me the church would do well to focus attention more narrowly on contributing to developing a moral sense and instilling faith. Frankly, though the NT has much more to say about marital relations, perhaps more consideration could be given to what science has to say there too?

The OT is like an old farmer’s almanac in attempting to be encyclopedic in containing everything written down that a person might need to know. The NT, though less so, might still be seen as more rudimentary in what it has to offer in the area of relationship guidance than what is available through the fields of psychology and sociology? But that is basically my view from the outside, I’m not sure how strongly attached most Christians might be to taking child rearing and relationship guidance exclusively from the bible. Does anyone here think the bible alone should be relied upon in these areas?


I do think it should be relied upon, but like with many other topics, I don’t think it needs to be the only source. One problem with making it the only source is that for many topics (such as child rearing, as you mention) its instructions can be fairly vague, which can lead to entire troves of philosophy and practical application being built upon only one or two verses that have been interpreted perhaps more literally than necessary.

I think it’s more important to start with the Bible, in context, and test our other philosophies to be sure they don’t contradict the Bible – not just for the specific topic alone, but for broader principles that sum up a lot of the instructions anyway, such as the greatest commandments: Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. I think that trying to see my children as my neighbors probably helps my parenting more than most of the other parenting-specific verses.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #93

It’s not often one gets to hear even so much as an implied suggestion that Jesus may not have attracted enough men! So do you mean to tell me the disciples weren’t into arguing which chariots (Ford or Chevy) were the toughest built?

[…okay – Phil beat me to the ‘accord’ punchline!]

(Phil) #94

They were more into wimpy Hondas. Went around in one Accord, I understand.

(Phil) #95

Excellent points, Mark. I have heard it from the pulpit and elsewhere that the bible is a “owner’s manual for life” or something like that. I disagree with that as it leads to a legalistic approach, and leads to bad interpretations to try to cover situations that are not appropriate to the text.
It is also a good question as to how to teach children, as some programs are pretty much just moral teachings with minimal emphasis on faith issues, which I feel is also problematic for Christian teaching, as opposed to secular teaching, as the faith issues are foundational, and the moral teachings follow.
In any case, thank you for the observations from your perspective.

(Mark D.) #96

I think using your broader principles to judge the suitability of a particular therapist’s approach makes a lot of sense. The marriage and family therapists are not organized as a group that monitors itself very well. MFTs employ a very wide range of approaches and there are some I would certainly avoid. A sad state of affairs really since by the time someone decides they might need some help they aren’t always in the best frame of mind to make a good determination.

(Mark D.) #97

Interesting to me that you would separate out moral teaching from the faith issues as I think believers have an advantage in that area at least where child rearing is concerned. A child who feels connected to an interested God would seemingly continue to feel more accountable for behavior not witnessed by others. We all know the sort of behavior which the anonymity of the internet fosters. So I think combining the two may have some advantages.

(Phil) #98

I agree that the combination is appropriate, but I have seen where the emphasis is on good behavior without teaching why you should behave (in short, love).

(Mark D.) #99

Good point. I was thinking of the advantage as stemming from it being a loving relationship, more than a hammer to enforce rule following. A child that wants to emulate the Other in that relationship needs to develop good empathy and consider the well being of others.