What do 10 inches of rain, a sump pump failure, and a hurt toe have to do with the current discussion (on this blog and others) of the hazards of male/female relationships among Christians? Plenty, I’d say.
Last Sunday, when torrential rains were drenching Boxford, the sump pump in our basement malfunctioned. Water began seeping in at an alarming rate. Buckets proved useless. So Frank, a neighbor, and I began frantically moving furniture and boxes out of harm’s way.
A moment of klutziness on my part left me with a hurting toe. Nothing serious or life threatening. Should be fine in a day or so. But in the meantime it hurts, wakes me up at night, affects how I walk, and silently but relentlessly demands my attention all day.
The topic of male/female relationships in the church can remain at the level of sexual temptation, professional conduct, our fallen humanity, hurt feelings, and precautions (there are precautions) we should take to keep our relationships on the up and up. All of these issues are serious and important. But there are deeper questions we need to be asking.
The church isn’t the same as the workplace. We are called to a significantly higher standard. We are a body. Our goal isn’t simply to figure out ways to co-exist safely and peacefully. We are to strive for the oneness a physical body experiences when every member does its part. As Christians we are necessary to one another. My toe keeps reminding me of that.
God’s design for the world started with a male/female team that has his blessing (Genesis 1:27-28). His image bearers are male and female. It can be said that the history of men and women working together is longer than men working with men and women working with women. We lost that when we fell. And the standard to recover what God intended in the beginning will not be found by looking around at progress made in the corporate world or elsewhere. It comes, at least in part, from an anatomy lesson.
Jesus desired and fully expected that his followers would achieve a level of oneness unprecedented in human relationships, the kind of oneness a body experiences when every member is healthy and fully functioning. Jesus’ brand of oneness is grounded and manifested in a rich selfless love and a mutual and vital ministry to one another that is sure to catch the world’s attention.
Neither Jesus nor Paul ever married. But both men had women in their lives who joined them in ministry and ministered deeply and spiritually to them. With the Spirit’s help, it can be done.
We are the Body of Christ. The question before us is really, How healthy is Jesus’ body if it functions like your or my view of male/female relationships among Christians?