Friday, May 13, 2016

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Women

I have written here before two thoughts about The Cost of Discipleship:  that people don't really read it even though they quote it, and that it was very much a product of its time and culture, especially of a country with a state church.  This is what I told my son recently when he saw I was reading it.  While much of it is profound and transformative and I think it is worth reading for historical context if nothing else, I have up-and-down reactions to it.

Definitely a down one when I came to his chapter entitled "Women."  The chapter was about lust and adultery, not women.  It should have been named that because it had nothing to do with women, and as an educated older woman with a pretty holistic and historic view, I found the whole chapter more than disturbing.  Modern editors should change the title of the chapter so he doesn't come across like such a misogynist.

From this chapter I conclude that he totally saw no place for women in leadership in the church, that women are a hindrance and a problem rather than part of the solution, that he is writing only to men, that women are "other" rather than half the body of Christ and therefore not equal to men, that he is not reading the whole New Testament.

I will do a little research to find out if I am right.  One woman has written about his friends who were women, so that is a start.  

I do believe Jesus saw the victimhood of women in his time (and today) and raises us to parity with men, but his goal is not to empower us as a gender or sex (and yes, I know the difference).  His goal is to empower us as members of the kingdom who lived in gendered or sexed bodies which determine a lot of who we are.  Women power per se is not a Biblical concept. 

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