The Curse of Patriarchy

Keep Calm and Subvert PatriarchyIn Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve have disobeyed God, they’ve hidden from God in their shame (notice that is what separates them from God, not the sin itself…a subject for another time). God calls for them, they grudgingly come out, and God explains the consequences (or punishment, depending on your viewpoint). Verse 16 says:

To the woman he said,

“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;

with pain you will give birth to children.

Your desire will be for your husband,

and he will rule over you.” (NIV)

So why have husbands historically ruled over their wives? Because of sin. Do we knowingly choose to embrace sin and its consequences? No. Jesus frees us from sin and the separation from God and each other that it causes, but for some reason the church has decided to keep punishing itself with this consequence of the original sin. Galatians 3:28 – which was undoubtedly actually written by Paul in the first generation after the death of Jesus – says that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) Jesus changed everything. We gladly say that of lots of other things: dietary laws, ritual sacrifices, direction connection with God with no need for a priest, and basically everything else, but this consequence of sin we actually kinda like so we hold on to even though we’re free of it.

I was a bit astounded when I found out that in the Middle Ages, the church thought midwives were demon-possessed. Why? Because they helped reduce pain for women in labour.  They were going against God’s “plan” as declared in this chapter of Genesis. Of course, it was no problem to develop technologies that reduce the challenge of farming, which was part of the man’s punishment/consequence. In general of course it was no problem to reduce the problems for men since we are now free of sin, but to do so for women would be defying God! Fortunately that line of thought has been let go of except for this patriarchy when some parts of the church still aren’t quite ready to give that up. But if we truly believe that Jesus freed us from sin, that should include the sin of patriarchy as well.

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.