CategoryGender Ethics

Some Reflections on Transgender and Intersex

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In the past few years I have done a lot of reflecting around issues of sexuality. One area with which I have only begun to engage is intersex, which I take to refer to people whose biological sex doesn’t conform to either male or female, and transgender, which I take to refer to people whose sexual identity is different to their biological sex. Some reflections: 1. Although intersex and...

Transgenderism, Same-Sex Marriage & Gender Roles. The Unspoken Tie That Binds Evangelical Hang Ups on Sexuality

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One of the areas in which Conservative forms of Christianity seek to distinguish themselves from the wider culture is their understanding of sexuality. As I have been contemplating this in recent months I have been helped by an observation in James Brownson’s book Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing The Churches Debate On Sexuality, that the notion of gender complementarity lies at the heart of...

From Trusting Politicians to Submission in Marriage. Why We Need An Adequate Doctrine of Sin

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When I was in Sunday School I was enthralled by the stories of the heroic characters of the Bible: Abraham leaving his country to go to the land God told him; Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt; David and Goliath; Esther and Mordecai; Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel; Peter walking on water with Jesus; Paul’s miraculous conversion. Then as I grew older I...

Cage Fighting Pastors & Expelled Tomboys. What Makes a Real Man and a Real Woman?

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Three stories in the news this week raise the question of what it means to be a real man or woman. First came the story of 8-year-old Sunnie Kahl who would have been described in the past as a “tomboy”, for she enjoys things that are typical of boys her age and not so typical of girls. Her grandparents (and legal guardians) withdrew her from the Timberlake Christian School in...

Why the Washing Machine Has Been More Important than the Internet

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The internet has changed our lives. It’s given us access to a world of information and allows us to communicate with people all over the planet. Thanks to the internet I no longer need to invest in a bookcase full of encyclopedias, carry a couple of hundred novels on my kindle, keep up with hundreds of friends via Facebook, blog my musings for the world to see, catch up on TV shows I...

Rejecting The Resurgent Push for Patriarchy

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The idea that women are to be submissive to male leadership seems to be having something of a renaissance in Australian Evangelicalism, or at least in Sydney/NSW and among those claiming to be “Reformed”. The year began with  new Sydney Anglican marriage rites in which a bride promises to submit to her husband. This was followed by the disinviting of John Dickson to the Katoomba...

52% of the World’s Evangelical Leaders Believe a Wife Must Always Obey Her Husband. The Unfinished Gender Debate

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In 2010 the US based Pew Forum surveyed over 2000 Evangelical leaders present at the Lausanne Conference, seeking their views on issues of faith, church and ethics. When asked whether “a wife should always obey her husband” fifty-two percent said “yes”, either fully agreeing or mostly agreeing. Think carefully about that. Not only do half the world’s evangelical...

Learning to Cry

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On the flight home from Perth yesterday I found myself choking up while watching the movie The Sapphires. The part that really got to me was the removal of one of the characters, an aboriginal with light skin colour, from her family. I’d like to say it was my finely tuned empathy for victims of injustice that was at play, but I also found tears forming when another of the lead characters...

Gender, Context and 1 Timothy 2

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1 Timothy 2:11-15 is probably the most referenced text in Christian discussion of gender roles. There is even a fair consensus about what it says. It asks the women in the church at Ephesus to learn quietly rather than teach in the church. The really critical question is what does it mean for us today? There are a number of commands given in 1 Timothy 2 that we no longer keep – men lifting...