Thursday, February 28, 2008

Secret Men's Business

A woman has been awarded $10,000 damages and a public apology for being denied membership of a boat club because she was a woman. While most people would celebrate this ruling as a victory over sexism, others are less than impressed, with one commentator calling the result "a shame". Fortunately, this attitude is only held by a small community of individuals called complementarians. For the uninitiated, complementarians believe that a husband is called by God to lead the wife and that a wife is called to submit to his benevolent headship. They also adamantly believe. that a woman should take no leadership role in a church in which men are under her jurisdiction.

Once upon a time complementarianism made me angry, but these days I simply tend to view complementarians as a quaint little sect with less and less relevance to the world of the twenty-first century. I also tend to feel sorry for complementarian males because the world must seem a truly scary place to them. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute. You've been told to believe that men are created by God to be leaders, and all around them they see women in positions of power and leadership - in the boardrooms, in parliament and in the judiciary. These are women that are most likely more qualified, more intelligent and more successful than they are - and of course it goes without saying moreso than me. I'd imagine that it must feel fairly emasculating for them. So perhaps that's why they cling onto power so desperately in the church - they are the dying remnants of a patriarchal protest club.

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