It is time to end patriarchy and free women. Dr. Beth Allison Barr, associate professor of history, associate dean of the Graduate School at Baylor University, and author of The Making of Biblical Womanhood joins us in this episode to talk about biblical womanhood and patriarchy.
Beth shares her experience as a pastor’s wife in churches with complementarian theology and traditional gender roles. When we add patriarchy to the gospel, it becomes fragile. Patriarchy puts men in the place of God. When men are put on a pedestal and they inevitably fail, faith crumbles. However, although humans can weaken the power of the gospel by trying to add to it, God is not fragile.
Beth talks about the chapter on Paul in her book. Her goal is not to tell us how to interpret Paul, but to share that there are valid and faithful interpretations of the text that do not involve the submission of women to men. She shows us how Paul looks different when placed in historical context and when read with an understanding of Paul’s rhetorical strategies. We explore the question: what if we are wrong about female subordination?
We discuss the impact of the exclusive use of translations like the ESV in Christian communities. We talk about how Christian women and girls are taught to be submissive, quiet, and even tolerant of mistreatment. We talk about the shame involved with not adhering to gender roles. Due to teachings about gender roles and purity culture, many women have internalized beliefs that they are less than men and are somehow responsible for the abuse they experience from men. The impact of #MeToo and #ChurchToo is that many women are starting to realize they have been victimized.
Beth says complementarianism doesn’t cause abuse, but it enables it. Complementarian theology enables women to be treated as less than men – as though women are not created as much in the image of God as men are. When theological beliefs about biblical womanhood place women in a place of inferiority and precarity, it is dangerous.
Music by Kate Short; Instagram @kate_tshort
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Episode produced and edited by Kelly Browning; show notes written by Sarah McDuffee, Marketing Director: Robyn Boren, Social Media Manager: Molly Baize, Episode mixed by Isabelle Le.