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Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Peace Between the Sexes
Back in June, I spoke at a conference themed "God's Great and Precious Promises". I explored the whole idea of "one in Christ" per "male and female" this side of the promise. In other words, we're all supposed to be "one in Christ" presently. How then do we live it? Especially in the face of it not even seeming to be true.

I want to share my presentation with you, however will condense it as much as possible without compromising my efforts. I noticed though, that many of you here are just as concerned with gender and relations as I am, so I'm confident that you'll understand the length. If I find that I am unable to cut it down short, I'll post it in pieces :-).

When I was little, I was taught that girls were more easily fooled even to the point that we had nothing to offer the male mind. While I was being taught that by most of the men in my life, my Mother ran the house and had the final say in all decissions.

What I observed in the world around me was that women were working, they were teaching, and were even running countries. So, what I was taught verbally, didn't match what I saw.

By my late teens, I was convinced that I was supposed to be quiet - I just never was. Things were all topsy-turvy and oxymoronic - nothing made sense. If I wasn't doing what I was supposed to, then I was hell bound for sure, I thought. My heart didn't say that to me though, my heart said that I had something to contribute to this world. Like Scarlett O'Hara, I thought, "I won't think of it today, I'll think of it tomorrow, when I can".

And, tomorrow eventually came. It just so happens that most of my studies take me back again to the beginning. Before I go there, I would like to share some terms as I understand their meanings.

Stereotype: Ideas held about members of particular groups based primarily on membership in that group.

One kind of stereo typing is..

Sexism: To distinguish between people based on their sex/biology rather than individual merit.

Grab a piece of paper and on it have two columns. One column headed, "Because I am a woman, I can.." and the other column headed, "If I were a man, I could.." Anything on your list having to do with biological function, like giving birth for example, has to do with "sex". Anything other than that is "gender".

Gender: The social constructs of masculinities and femininities.

We might then draw conclusions about people because of their "sex" and further construct or conclude what is masculine or feminine basaed on that. An example of that is an actual explanation that I was given when I was a child for there being no woman president in America: "A woman would not make a good President because women PMS". The conclusion from that belief was then, "It is not feminine to be President."

Another example of stereotypical and sexist view would be: "All men are interested in one thing." The gender would then be defined by that: "Lustful behavior is therefore masculine". Just consider how most societies view women who behave lustfully as opposed to men. It is often expected of men, and seen as a dirty thing for women.

Basically we draw the conclusion that "this is what boys are" and "this is what girls are" because of our sexist views of boys and girls.

"Gender role" is how we act out gender. Once we've determined what is masculine and what is feminine, we tend to go with that. If purses are understood as feminine, then the 'go' is given for mass marketing it to women.

I'm not condemning anyone for their very human outlook, no one that I know is not guilty of it - not even me. I remember after first meeting a male friend of mine, and his carrying out the gentlemanly behavior that much of society would expect of him, that one experience struck me in particular. We were due at a meeting and as he unloaded needed things from his car trunk, he began to hand some over to me. I was taken aback. I wondered whether I should be offended or impressed. I mean, here he was treating me as an equal, right? This wouldn't have even been a question in my mind had I not been a bit sexist myself -- as well as spoiled thanks to my hubby.

All humans were created equal: A blank slate

Genesis 1:27 reads, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

"Man" is translated from "adam" which literally means, "mankind", or "humanity", inclusively. The reason that the pronouns "he" and "him" are used, is because in the poetically written hebrew language, when they were unsure of the sex, they diverted to the masculine. So, "he" doesn't always mean male.

The hebrew words actually translated "male" and "female" very clearly point to biological differences. They therefore describe the biological differences existing within "adam", or "mankind".

Genesis 5:2 reminds us that we, male and female, are all "adam". It reads, "Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created."

At this point in the bible story, stereotypes could not have existed, because humanity had not yet categorized anything or anyone. We hadn't drawn any conclusions based on our biological differences, so there was no "masculine" and "feminine" (which means that there was no gender) and there was no roleplay of gender. We simply were what we were: Both 100% "In God's image" and both 100% "After God's likeness".

Like the human beings created in Genesis 1, this little one (http://babiestoday.com/graphics/geddes1.jpg) has no idea what the pink or blue card on their incubator might mean.

To follow, I'll dig a little further into the theological side of things -- and much more into relationship.

I am so thankful for this forum for sharing..
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