In a hard-hitting essay published last fall, Rachel Held Evans looks at the false gospel of gender binaries and how that false gospel, with its talk of gender complementarity that is all about upholding male-dominant gender roles, has become a "dangerous idol" in the Christian community. An idol, because it "conflates cultural norms with Christian morality and elevates an ideal over actual people" . . . .
I am suggesting, however, that Jesus didn’t die on the cross to preserve gender complementarity. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to ensure that little girls wear pink and little boys wear blue. Jesus lived, taught, died, and rose again to start a new family in which Jew and gentile, slave and free, male and female are all part of one holy Body.
The important move I see Rachel Held Evans making here is not merely to expose the culture-serving idolatry of the notion of gender complementarity (culture-serving because this notion in no way challenges lazy, taken-for-granted cultural assumptions about gender that always and everywhere privilege heterosexual men over everyone else in the world). But I also see this move as important because Evans is also pointing out that the concept of gender complementarity is very far from the center of the gospel or from what Jewish and Christian people of faith regard as God's revealed word, the scriptures.
The gospels and the entire text of the bible do not revolve around loud shouts about Male and female He created them. Though you wouldn't know that from following many contemporary Christian cultural conversations, would you?
(I'm grateful to Frank Strong at Letters to the Catholic Right for pointing me and other readers of his fine blog to Rachel Held Evans' essay recently.)
The photo of Rachel Held Evans is from her blog.