Thursday, March 29, 2012

Helper Does Not Mean Servant

I am not a feminist.

Sorry to disappoint some of you.

I am also not a misogynist, so there ya go.

I grew up in a tradition that taught female subordination to male headship.  Male was created first, female to be his helper.  With this in mind, it was obvious that the Bible called women to be servants to men; specifically wives to their husbands.  This is what I knew.

But is that what Genesis really says?

Genesis 2 says that God created the first woman because "no suitable helper was found" for Adam.  We know from chapter 1 that God had planned to create male and female from the beginning, so this was merely God's way of introducing this need to Adam.  Adam (man) needed to know that he needed a helper.  He needed someone else.

However, many would suggest that this creation of woman placed woman under the authority and headship of man.  They would argue that the word helper means that they exist to serve men, to work for men, to do what the man in their life demands.

I do not think this is so.  Why?

God is also called a helper.

We wait in hope for the Lord, he is our help and our shield
God is our help.

We know that God does not exist as a servant.  He is the all powerful.  He is the divine.  To suggest that this word makes women subservient suggests that somehow God is also subservient.

This simply cannot be.

And yet, as we read within the context of the gospel, we see the God who was above us all choose to be a servant of all.  We see power take a backseat to love; position replaced with relationship.

And I wonder what the church would look like if we stopped the power struggle and simply chose to love.

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