Hey folks-- so I read a book today, Loveology: God. Love. Marriage. Sex. And the Never-Ending Story of Male and Female by John Mark Comer and I'm going to talk about it. I read it on my Kindle so I don't have page numbers for my quotes. Sorry!
-The concepts are simple and easy to follow. John Mark did a great job of writing to very broad audience. He explains the context of biblical stories and jargon (for the most part) in a way that almost anyone, regardless of their experience with Christian texts, could follow along.
-The tone was casual and inviting. I felt as if I was hanging out in his living room, drinking tea, and listening to his ideas. His quirky jokes and personal anecdotes enhances his message.
-LeVar Burton would be proud. (don't take my word for it!) Comer encourages his readers to do more research on a few times on the topics he presented. He even recommended a few books to try out. I thought that was neat.
-He was thoughtful. He did a great job acknowledging the negative impact gender roles has on women (mainly) and men. He also stressed an important clarification that gender roles are reserved for marriage only, not society at large. I was glad to see that distinction.
-He wasn't afraid to call Jesus a feminist.
- The book doesn't add anything new to the conversation. He doesn't present new or original ideas about marriage, gender roles, homosexuality etc., according to Christian fundamentalism. The ideas are progressive relative to the cultural standpoint he is writing from, but his opinions don't develop these ideas in any meaningful way.
-He reads the Bible literally. At least he thinks he does, but look at what he does with the word lead. For a man to lead his wife, he has to sacrifice himself for her/put her above his own needs. (See my definitions below.) He believes that a man literally leads his wife but he takes the literal meaning away from the word lead to explain what it means. (The word lead implies to be in charge/command.) He also does not acknowledge that reading the Bible literally is the reason why some American Christian men think it's right to boss their wives around.
-What do gender roles look like according to the definition given for men and women? And more importantly, why do we need them?
Comer stresses the importance of gender roles because it is an essential part of our human identity.
Here are the definitions respectively:
1) they have a penis.
2) God made Adam first. The order in which God created the world is intentional.
"As I read all this evidence, it points to the idea that man was made to be the leader in the marriage relationship." To be a leader requires Christ-like love, "...self-sacrifice, giving away his life on the cross, all in love."
3) "The husband is called to love, give, sacrifice, nourish, and put his wife's needs above his own."
1) They have a vagina.
2) God knew that it wasn't good for Adam to be alone.
3) "The wife is called to submit, to yield, to come under the authority of and entrust herself to her husband. But submission is her choice. It is a gift that a wife gives to her husband of her own free will, with not force or coercion."
Back to my question:
This seems too abstract. I don't know what this model looks like on a day to day basis. He makes it clear that the preconceived notions of what men and women are supposed to do in a relationship are void (who cleans, works, cooks, etc.) So what do the roles refer to? Decision making? The bottom line is: if both the man and the woman are putting the other person's needs before their own, what is the point in having specific gender roles?
-Homosexual relationships. Comer characterizes homosexual acts as lustful acts. He doesn't think there is an alternative sexual orientation. There is no acknowledgement of the fact that there are healthy, loving, monogamous homosexual relationships. This isn't to say that the Bible has no authority on this issue; it is something the Bible doesn't say anything out. It just doesn't address this type of relationship.