My first apartment was a sixteen hundred dollar a month two bedroom on Montezuma Road near SDSU. The only thing more disgusting than the amount or rent we were paying was the constant smell of college student throw up in the halls. The place was hot like hell and the only way you beat the heat was constantly pointing a fan on yourself. It’s into my personal fan that my friend Garrett farted. Why not fart directly on me when you can just spray it all over me through a fan. It was ingenious.
The farty fan incident remains a comedic staple between Garrett and me to this day.
This other time, I slightly, barely, joked about passing gas in a guy friends’ car. He then pulled over and asked me to get out.
Though I was pushing my girl-fart-phobic friend’s buttons, one thing still scratched at my soul – if I were a guy, this would be okay, and this would even be funny. However, I do love the tension I can create in a man’s head with just one four letter word that starts with f.
In Tim Keller’s new [text] book, Center Church, when overviewing the Gospel at its very start in the garden, he mentions the division between man and woman. They put clothes on out of shame, shift blame, and as Keller uniquely says it, “Because we are alienated from God, we are also socially alienated from one another.”
Socially alienated? That’s harsh Tim Bone. But when I look back on life I can’t help but agree, and even sigh in relief that if this is true then it’s probably not just me.
I’m not entirely complaining. Men get to fart in comedic freedom, women get to eat first. Men get poker nights, women get ladies’ nights. Men have a better chance of making millions of dollars being a professional athlete; women have a better chance of getting on a rowboat when the Titanic is sinking. I call these societal gender roles. The rules may change based on culture but the roles always exist and sometimes these roles make life awkward.
This is usually when the conversation shifts to feminist theology or egalitarianism v. complementarianism. This is where the woman feels wronged and begins asking questions, right? The conversation is worth having, it’s worth studying, it’s worth praying about, it’s worth finding answers as to why we function in the roles we’ve culturally created, what God thinks about it and if it is right.
But it’s not really the point and it’s like my Orlando nanny boss put it when divulging her plight to believing egalitarianism, “For the longest time, I thought the way to combat complementarinism was to make my husband submit to me. Turns out it’s a dual, constant submission, a persistence to die to ourselves for the sake of one another and I was doing to him exactly what I felt was being done to me.” Regardless of how you feel about gender roles, she’s right.
But let’s slide right past that conversation and into why Jesus is the best thing to happen to the unfunny. It’s this social alienation that Keller references that fuels what men and women can and cannot get away with. While the pressure of social norms and gender roles will probably always exist, what’s great is the Gospel.
The liberation paved by Jesus in both deed and eternity is unparalleled. The Samaritan woman, the bleeding woman, Mary Magdalene, the begging woman with the demon possessed daughter – the examples do not relent. Culturally, women were not to be talked to by men. But Jesus traveled to, healed, accepted, and tested woman after woman. Jesus’ example on how to treat women shaped Christianity’s view on how to treat women which shaped culture’s view on how to treat women. Jesus socially liberated women.
Where women stand in culture today is an affect of the Gospel, but it’s still not the Gospel. And the strain of gender roles and the search for biblical clarity still persists. The fall of man is carnally inescapable.
What’s best is how Jesus liberated humanity’s eternity.
When I interact with girls I am discipling, I can never really promise them much in context to Christianity, but can somehow promise them everything at the very same time. God has provided a plan, a savior, reconciliation, and an eternity – that’s everything. That’s the Gospel!
Girls don’t need to be pumped self-esteem, told their funny, or pretty, or that they have rights. It’s hard enough convincing a girl her worth isn’t based on the amount of instagram likes she gets, let alone, the things I just mentioned. Girls just need the Gospel. To be convinced of it, reminded of it and justified by it.