It’s all about gender or maybe not

So, I was smack in the middle of learning how to embrace my True Womanhood last Thursday afternoon when I looked outside and realized the lawn needed cut. Now, it is hot in Texas in July. Not over 100 degrees and thus not really boiling, but with enough humidity to be pretty darn uncomfortable come mid-afternoon.

Pushing my “to do” list to the side I slipped on my old tennis shoes and filled up the mower. As I labored in the heat, feeling the sting of grass on my legs, I realized I am a wee-bit confused. Should I really be mowing?

In my True Womanhood study I’ve learned that despite what our culture is telling us (I’m not sure where it tells us this but I’m supposed to trust and so I’m trying) gender apparently matters; matters pretty much more than anything else to God. The reason gender is so important is that through womanhood and manhood the glory of Christ is most fully displayed.

Well, believe me, I’m all about wanting to glorify Christ and all but if I don’t mow the yard it just means one more thing for Bryan to cram into a Saturday morning. But, here’s the rub: mowing the grass does not appear to be the kind of work God would like me do because according to my Week 3 lesson, the core of my being is softness and nesting, from which I assume means I could better spend my time dusting the furniture or planning a delicious meal to feed my work-weary husband.

And yet, if you want to know, I prefer being outside to inside any day (well, except for when it is 100 degrees and the lawn needs mowing). Give me the choice of puttering in the yard, pulling weeds, watering, or pruning to washing a load of laundry or unloading the dishwasher, I’ll take the outdoor work thank you very much. And, if you ask Bryan which he prefers, he’d probably go for the inside stuff, glad for the air-conditioning and mostly pollen-free air to stave off any allergic reaction even if such tasks don’t use his obvious God-given manly gift: physical strength.

I guess what is so confusing is that we—Bryan and I—don’t seem to fit the God-designed pattern very well. And yet, according to True Womanhood 101, it is through gender roles that society is given a picture, a display really, of Christ’s relationship with the church. But if we do not accurately portray this picture, then people will not understand who Christ is and how the church relates to Christ. The souls of many of our friends and family are clearly in the balance with our acceptance of gender-roles the determining factor for their salvation.

Well, at least there isn’t any pressure here!

Still. I have a few lingering questions for my True Woman teachers (I know; the devil’s hold on me is terribly hard to resist). Thanks a lot, Eve.

If gender (one male possibility and one female possibility) is the primary way to display God and to glorify Christ, then why does it get so little attention in Scripture? I mean, so far I’ve worked through five of eight lessons and the True Woman teachers have used Genesis 2 and 3, Ephesians 5. 25-31, Titus 2 (twice), and a very brief nod to 1 Peter. If Jesus, as the incarnation of God, wanted to convey this supremely important clue to our humanity, I would kinda think he might mention it. Maybe he just forgot?

Also, while I’m glad there is in the True Woman teaching an occasional recognition of singleness as a viable way of living—although clearly not the best model of Christ’s relationship with the church—I wonder how this teaching about gender is heard by those who experience this one view as crushing or damaging to who they are? I mean, for me, it is really only a little inconvenient: instead of pants, I need to buy some dresses, I need to shut my mouth and treat my husband with respect—not for anything he does mind you, but just because he is a man and deep down wants that—and I probably should spend more time nesting, whatever that means since I’ve never been pregnant nor had much of a desire to organize closets or offices. But what about people who to embrace your worldview would mean absolutely crushing the core of who they are?

All of these questions lead me to wonder if it is possible that relationships (without gender as the descriptive measure) in and of themselves reflect something of God’s goodness and therefore are cause for celebration? I’ve met numerous people who are in relationships outside of the scope considered by True Woman teachers whose love and commitments convey an amazing reflection of the liberating presence and justice of God.

Is it possible that gender per se isn’t at the core of what matters but instead it is our humanity, with all of its fullness including even a wide-array of gender expressions?

Well, enough of this. Today is very busy for me as I will be learning more specifically how to respect my husband because he is the man of the house. Yep. Pretty sure that is going to work out perfectly.