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Makes me think maybe God’s a woman, too

June 9, 2011

I’ve been having conversations with friends lately about race-based privilege and more recently, male privilege.  Today, Seattle pastor Eugene Cho posted this in his article “thank God i am a man and not a woman”:

I am fortunate to be a man.

Or to put it in other words, I’m fortunate to have a penis.

As I recently preached at my church, there’s great privilege and power in simply being a man. This is why I contend that the treatment of women is the oldest injustice in human history. We can talk equality and equity all day long and while we can acknowledge how far we’ve come, we still clearly live – even in 2011 – where there’s great advantage in simply being a man.

The mechanisms, systems, institutions…the whole matrix…gives clear advantage to men…

This is why the Gospel of Christ is so powerful and important.

His death not only reconciles sin but his life reveals the true reflection and way of the Kingdom. The apostle Paul captures this vision of the Kingdom so compellingly in Galatians 3:28 when he subverts the dominant worldview through the lens of the Kingdom:

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Such powerful words. Such beautiful vision of what God intended and promises to restore. And so with that vision and path in mind, may we all work together to create a more just world where we can honor and celebrate the unique ways in way God created us rather that using our differences to manipulate, exploit, and rule over.

Even in my personal brokenness and inconsistencies, I covenant to keep being an advocate…

It’s rare to hear a man say this.  It’s rare to hear a man *understand* male privilege.  I recently had a conversation with my husband about violence against women and even though he is a staunch advocate for women and completely supportive of my work for that cause, there was a moment or two where he had to be reminded of his convictions.  As a man, his privilege can blind him to the challenges of being a woman in the world.

I look at my two children: a little boy and a little girl.  I think of how differently they will experience the world.  I think about how I have to teach them about strangers now when they are young.  I think about how those talks will fade into “are you sure you want to wear that?” for my daughter as she goes off to her friend’s house.  I think about how my son will have to learn that “no means no” because everything about our culture teaches him that girls like to tease.  I think about the fact that no matter how good of a man I turn out in my son, my daughter won’t be any safer walking alone on campus at college. And all this makes me very angry.

There’s a whole pile of things I can rage about on this topic: violence, pornography, chauvinism, compensation, parental responsibility, stereotypes, voice.  And I’ve been pretty angry this last week because so often men don’t get it.  So often, women internalize oppression and injustice and then unleash it upon their sisters pushing for change, “I’m a woman and I don’t need anything else.  I’m truly happy with the status quo.”

And then I read Eugene Cho’s tweets and posts.  A man, a leader, making a covenant to join the cause of woman.  We’ll have to remind him, of course.  There will be times when any ally will lose perspective.  It’s easy to revert and remain comfortable with one’s privilege.  As a disabled woman, I see that happen all the time with people who love me and fight for me, who forget (in their ability) what it means to wake up every day body-broken and in pain.  So I will remind Pastor Cho, and any man who shares his commitment, of their promise to stay with us in this fight, because it’s a miracle that men even got here.  It’s the kind of miracle that makes me think maybe God’s a woman, too.

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