More thanks

Betty Friedan, the ardent feminist, died recently and left her legacy on America and the world. Much of what she wrote and advocated left us worse off than we were before, but her opposition to men and women of faith actually helped me in my journey to know God’s will. Rather than dash my faith on the rocks when digesting the philosophy of feminism that she espoused, I sought to clarify what the Bible says about women and we, as men, are to treat them.

I remember a “point/counterpoint” piece that I saw on 20/20 (a television news magazine) where Bill McCartney (the founder of Promise Keepers) was being interviewed and Patricia Ireland (former President of the National Organization of Women) was given a chance to respond in a separate interview. McCartney was talking to the interviewer about the kind of leadership Christ commanded where the one who was to lead was called to service rather than domination. This type of servant leadership is what we as men are to engage in as we lead our families. Not doormat leadership for we husbands have the final word just as Christ does in all things. But we are not to dominate and thus objectify our spouses and children, rather we are to imitate Christ’s great love for the church. Patricia Ireland was to have none of the servant leadership talk calling it a bunch of bunk or something to that effect.

I remember seeing how disarming the whole concept of servant leadership (and, ultimately, Christ) was to an entire philosophical movement that was so often opposed to God and Christ and sought to clarify what it meant. What did the Bible say about servanthood? How is this lived out in a practical way in my life? Why will leaders tend toward domination and objectification? How do I do that in my leadership positions?

Spurred on by people like Friedan and Ireland I have explored these issues in depth. I have meditated on them and I attempt to live them out in ever-increasing measure. Without Friedan and Ireland I doubt my journey would be as complete. I owe them thanks and understand why God has allowed them into my life – as limited as my presence has been made known to them. They have done damage to me. They have done damage my will and selfish ambitions and allowed the Spirit to do His work in my life.


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