Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who wears the pants? (did somebody really say that...)

So much for only one post per week! But we're new here, and the blog launch (see previous post) generated more interest than I had expected.

A little history: (photo: Rebekah greeting at the church door)

Today's story is a classic from way back. But it concerns what's at the heart of most of the opposition faced by men who are married to women in ministry. I'm talking about male chauvinism, not reasonable theology. It's an important story because that is exactly what people who are against women in the pulpit always fall back on: bad theology combined with cultural chauvinism.

My wife and I were newly married and chatting with a group of students on campus. The topic of careers came up and I said I was excited about spending a couple of years in Atlanta while Rebekah competed her masters in divinity at Columbia.

One young man was evidently struggling to make faith in Christ fit neatly with the chauvinism that defined much of his life experience. He poked a bony finger in my chest and demanded to know how Rebekah and I planned to divvy up authority in our young family.

"So who's going to be wearing the pants in your family?" he asked. "Just who will be the head of your household? Or should you get your wife's permission before you answer?"

The question wasn't as difficult as he imagined. "God is the head of our home," I replied. "But now I'm curious, tell me about yours..." (GET REAL" p 21)

Joshua answered the question this way: "How if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve...; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" (Josh. 24:15)


  1. My problem is that we keep poking each other in the eye. I'm under her umbrella of authority as my pastor, and she's under my umbrella of authority as husband. Ouch. And who is going to get wet anyway if we are both under Jesus' umbrella?

    I have always contended that the claim for husbandly headship is indistinguishable from a loving egalitarian marriage under Christ when it lives up to the standard "as Christ loves the church" (Ephesians 5:22-24). Can you imagine a more empowering, subtle, non-demanding, freedom giving relationship than Christ's headship over his bride the church?

    The clearer we understand how God loves and leads, the better our relationships with each other - especially wives and husbands - will shine like resurrection morning.

  2. We try to do things together. At church she is the Minister and I am the Congregation Member/Sunday School Teacher/Choir Member/Whatever else they find for me to do. Then at home, we are a team. If you work together you can both wear pants...but not the same pair...that would be awkward.

  3. I'm surprised people still ask such a question!
    Derek, I wanted to welcome both your blogs to RevGalBlogPals. Please go ahead and add our button to your blogs. You can find instructions here.