Are Christian Complementarians Hurting Their Cause?

Let’s pretend for a minute that I didn’t have a dog in the egalitarianism fight. Let’s pretend that I was sufficiently privileged that the discussion, for me, could be “academic” in nature. Let’s pretend I sit comfortably in the “middle ground.” I believe that women are equal, sure, but maybe there’s something in Scripture that makes that position more pliable. The longer I remain here and watch the debates from the sidelines, the more I’m finding myself inching to one side.

The current “Christian complementarianism” movement – headed by lots of white men – is doing more to push me toward feminism than just about anything.

Now, I agree that their arguments have substance. They’re rational. They’ve clearly studied well and know what they’re saying. But I just can’t, for the life of me, get behind HOW they’re saying it. There’s something about the deep male timbre of Mark Driscoll’s voice and the whininess of John Piper that digs under my skin and makes it hard for me to buy their arguments in toto.

For example, Mark Driscoll is a man who frequently yells at his congregation. He is, you might say, a bull in a china shop, refusing to tiptoe around discussions, refusing to contend with my ideology on my terms – mainly, civility that is dripping with niceness. He is too, you might say, angry and mean to be taken seriously. This doesn’t necessarily undermine his argument, but, really, he should think about it.

And John Piper? God, what a whiner. Who does he think he is, John Boehner? Quit it on the waterworks, yo. Don’t you know that emotional reactions to things, even your passion for the Lord’s Glory, will cloud your judgment and undermine the rationality of your argument? Let up a little. We don’t need our male pastors showing weakness by crying in the pulpit on Sunday!

Or perhaps this method of arguing about tone is not a good method. Perhaps it sounds silly when I request that popular male pastors tone down the emotion, because, after all, they’re just passionate, right? There’s some sort of extra something, a je ne sais quoi missing. Oh, right, an identification as a woman. Only men can be passionate, right? Women are just angry.

At least, that’s what the Christian blogging world would have you believe. Because we Christian feminists aren’t “nice” enough, don’t adequately rein in our passion and write like emotionless robots, we must be less legitimate in the arguments we are making, right?

Or perhaps we should just call that for what it is – sexism. Nothing but good ol’ fashioned patriarchy.

So call me angry. Call me full of emotion. It doesn’t make what I have to say any less important.