This letter is in response to this terrible article from Joy Magazine.
It is with great sadness that I once again read an article (Captain Coward, in April 2012) in your magazine that is not only poorly researched, that contains glaring logical fallacies and assumes biblical authority where it is lacking, but creates a crass generalisation and uses cheap shots to advance a certain view of Christianity within certain denominations. When reading your ‘Values’ of seeking unity, of encouraging thought and discussion between believers, I am at a loss as to how you can continually allow articles that only cover one side of the spectrum to be published. And this is a common occurrence month after month.
The article in question has so many fallacies, presumptions and judgments that it left me angry and sad, not willing to glorify God (as stated in your mission statement). This entire article is written to deconstruct a certain extreme view point and uses excesses of the feminist movement as an example of the norm. This is poor quality journalism, and cannot lead to proper engagement.
So for now, just one or two points to note. Firstly, I am a deeply committed Christian man, who follows the Bible and seeks to follow Christ and advance his kingdom. I am also a feminist and proud to be one.
You see, the basic definition of a feminist is someone who sees men and women as equal. Or tongue in cheek, a feminist is someone who sees women as people. I acknowledge that our history is of the abuse of women, of keeping women under wraps, of control. Equality is still not achieved, and so I strive to work against this injustice; sexism is as bad as an injustice as racism. Christians need to stand on the side of Justice. This deeply biblical belief is summed up by writing in Galatians that in Christ, there is no distinction, all are equal.
So in the article, when the author ‘bemoans the feminist movement’s catastrophic influence on the Western world and in particular – men’, I take offense.
I see the advances my wife and women in society have made, when I see that she is an equal, when I see that in Christ she is able to work as an equal partner with me. Would the author return to a world where some men refuse to speak to my wife since she has studied? Because she is a women? To a world where her intellect is limited to baking? Is that the world of Freedom in Christ?
I take offense when the author implies feminism supports pornography; many feminists are at the forefront of highlighting the abuses and hyper-sexualisation of women that this creates.
I am deeply offended when the author speaks of “Self-sacrifice, masculine strength and valour” as being lost. Surely self-sacrifice and valour can be exercised by women, and masculine strength is a social and cultural construct that itself is forced on to many men?
Would you really return to the world of this author who seems to views life as a ‘1950 American sitcom’ with a stay at home mom? He forgets those biblical women who worked so hard and ran their own business and were in charge of their own lives and houses (like Phoebe and Priscilla).
I take offense when the author uses extreme examples of the feminist movement to dismiss the equality of women; it’s the same as saying all Christians are evil because of what was done in the Crusades. That does not work. Freedom in Christ is not conditional to your social control.
Egalitarian and complementarian are two deeply researched and widely held views within Christianity; both have their foundation as a biblical one and both are still Christian. By only allowing extreme complementarian views to be aired, you are not only easily condemning Christians who hold the exact same respect for biblical authority as others in a different camp open to ‘judgement, you are stopping any conversation and development. I am sure no one in either camp will agree with the oppression of women at all.
Please Joy, can we allow a broader view of biblical voices, and develop views of men and women like me, who are willing to be equal to each other, to work and serve with each other and to show the rich diverseness of equal leadership. I am what a feminist looks like; and many others with me. Please stop the straw-figure burning,
Yours in Christ