“Equal But Different” – Why Gender Roles are Not a Kingdom Concept
Let’s talk about Value.
Things have value. Humans have value. But a person’s value should never be measured by their worth.
Let me explain what I mean.
Value is something that can be set into place, and no matter who you are, you are expected to pay for an item at value pricing. But what an item is worth is a far different matter.
Some things are simply priceless due to its significance to a person. By that same measure an item can also be worthless due to the lack of significance to another.
The distinguishing factor is different people valuing different things, for different reasons, and this constitutes worth. What I value, may not be what you value.
By this reasoning, nothing has any real equal value or any measurable worth.
When we place roles upon people, their worth always changes due to the nature of the role and its purpose. Depending on whose needs are being met, the value differentiates between one person to another – therefore, roles are not equal in value or worth.
We may all be meeting needs when taking on a role, but the roles are all different – therefore we are valued differently depending upon who’s considering us.
Here, we can surmise, if we are looking at people in the shortsightedness of roles, our views are skewed. We are completely devaluing a person, therefore causing inequality.
This is why when a complementarian tries to make their case about “equal BUT different” , I disagree wholeheartedly. Of course we are different. Of course we are equal. But, complementarians are looking through a perspective of gender based roles, and I am just looking at people.
The logic behind “equal but different” pertains to traditional cultural roles. What this perspective fails to acknowledge is that roles equate value, and value is questionable because of need. Therefore, a person’s worth is in actuality indistinguishable unless your needs are the ones being met. Complementarians can then easily fall into an unhealthy pattern of devaluing humans.
I have in many instances witnessed this time and time again within the church, within marriages, and within the world around pertaining to social structures, political party lines, different religions, different countries, and racial divides.
A theology built upon cultural gender roles is devaluing to all humans, on some level. If you see a person as their role, it’s ability to meet your needs or its non-consequential nature to you because of its inability to meet your needs – then a persons worth is devalued or non-consequential.
One of my purposes as an Egalitarian is to defeat this cultural gender role/value structure that naturally causes people to feel unworthy, invalid, and non-consequential. I would rather put on glasses with a heavenly lens/perspective which starts with God. God set the value for Human life in Genesis, and then Jesus reestablished that set value through His life, death, and resurrection. He set a nonnegotiable eternal value that has nothing to do with worth or filling a role – it has everything to do with our relationship to Him, and this equalizes us in entirety.
If we accept that we are all one in Christ (see Ephesians 5:21) – and therefore one body, I ask – what is more valuable in this life than a fully functioning healthy body? What is more valuable than life? Spiritually Jesus restores His body and life again and again through the Holy Spirit. We all have the same Holy Spirit – men, women, and children – and the Trinity work inside all of us! Our gender, age, race, social status, etc do not matter or determine what we are called, gifted, or anointed to be and do. To be a whole, unified, healthy body without missing members, we need each other every single day to fulfill our calling in Christ, whatever that may be. It doesn’t matter what roles we are filling. It only matters how we are loving each other. Which involves acknowledging our set value, which is in God, and our value is priceless.
I propose that we then dictate our value and worth to each other while serving, submitting, and loving each other in and through Christ. We cannot truly function properly if we hold each other down, or try to stuff each other into roles we were never meant to fill. That is not honoring or respectful.
You are free and equal through Christ! NOT through roles.
You are valuable and full of worth- not because of a role you are filling, but because you are a child of the King! Now you are called to obey His call upon your life as God’s Child, as part of His body!
No matter what you are doing in your home, work, church, or community –
Serve Him, serve each other! Love God, love each other.
Recognize and acknowledge your priceless value in Him.
People are not roles, we are children of the Most High. Your “role” is to love God, love each other, and love yourself. Your “role” means walking out whatever God has called you to do whether it’s preaching, teaching, being a great spouse and/or parent, missionary, business owner, CEO, leading a church – and remember, your gender, race, age, etc do not determine your “role”…God does and He doesn’t check your gender, race, or age before gifting, calling, and anointing you for the great things He has for you to be and do.
Charissa Garver is 33 years old. She and her husband Ryan have been married for 10 years and they have 3 beautiful sons. Charissa is a Christian feminist who has a desire to advocate for marginalized groups. She has a passion for creating opportunities for herself, her family, and her neighbors (i.e. EVERYONE) to grow and become reconciled with each other — and therefore Jesus. She writes a lot about her experiences as a woman and her dreams for a better future. Her writing is mostly motivated by a desire to show others how casting out fear and walking intentionally in Love (who is a Person) can bring about miracles. She believes that we are the keys to each other’s healing and prosperity!