The Lutheran Witness

Not Equality, But Complementarity

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Comments (8)
  1. Avatar Beverly Stevens says:

    Beautifully said, and I’m glad it was written by a woman!

  2. Avatar Kathy Leach says:

    Each individual created by God is uniquely talented. Rigid gender roles hurt society. We should encourage every individual to use their God-given talents, whether or not they are gender conforming to a stereotypical view.

  3. Avatar Stef says:

    Very nice! Clears up a lot of the confusion going on. Thank you!

  4. Avatar Dawn Sonntag says:

    I am wondering whether the LCMS considers male headship something that pertains specifically to marriage or whether they view males as the “head” of females in all areas of life. If the latter is the case, what does this mean for women working in outside the home (which is almost all women)?
    Obviously women nurture infants and toddlers by nursing them, and men’s and women’s brains are different; my atheist neuroscience colleague can attest to that. But “nurturing” and “protective” mean different things to different people in different situations, and both men and women usually display both qualities in various ways.
    Speaking from personal experience, every woman I know who teaches in a college or university setting has experienced the problem of having students expect that their female instructors will be easy graders because they are “nurturing,” or that they will spend hours and hours listening to their students’ personal problems. Students do not expect the same of their male instructors. Being a “hard grader” is expected of men. A woman who is a “hard grader” is called names. This is objectively provable in student evaluations and annual activity reports of male vs. male college and university professors. Female professors have to be very careful about how they handle things like absences, tardiness, etc. Males can have policies like locking the door when class begins and not receive negative evaluations. When females do the same, they are accused of being too strict. However, if female professors ignore classroom disturbances and tardiness, they are called “too weak,” while men are called “easygoing.” I am sure that someone reading this will say, “Well, there should be no female college professors.” But we are not in a “power” position; we are serving our students by teaching. Nevertheless, our time, knowledge, and standards should be be given equal respect to those of men. Often, they are not. This is not because there should be no female professors; it is because the world is sinful, and women especially bear the burden of sin’s consequences on earth.

    1. Avatar Nathan P. Farkas says:

      Dear Dawn,

      Thank you. I appreciate you beginning to illustrate just how short-sighted the ‘complementarian’ view is when applied to the rest of the world. As I raise my son, I have always reinforced the idea that just because he is a boy, there is NOTHING that he can do better than a girl.

      The complementarian view illustrated here by the author fails to understand the end result of such teaching in the home. The males who enter the world raised under these circumstances will have an inherent contempt for female leadership and authority as we see in your examples.

      Furthermore, it becomes detrimental to both the male raised in the complementarian view and the immediate community when confronted with being placed under secular situations of female leadership and authority (work, law enforcement, judicial proceedings, etc…) and likely will result in either a repressed anger toward female authority, open revolt of such authority or even worse, an attempt to repress female achievement in another area of life and contemptuousness of female ability as we continue to see in the patriarchal areas of our society.

      I’m glad to see not everyone in the LCMS is ‘drinking the kool-aid’ on this issue.

    2. Avatar Rev. Mark R. Meier, Sr. says:

      In response to the closing sentence: At least you recognize sin and its burdens. Fair is not always equal but it should be equitable. I don’t want women treated the same as men. It is my goal to be and teach sensitivity and compassion for both sexes with respect to the other.

      1. Avatar Dawn Sonntag says:

        Rev. Meier,

        Can you explain your words “At least?” Is this a criticism of what I wrote?

        Thank you in advance for your explanation.

  5. Avatar Anna M says:

    Nicely said! — yes, terms are oh, so important.