Mutuality, Equality, And Intersubmission -- By: Jon Trott
PP 15:4 (Fall 2001) p. 9
Mutuality, Equality, And Intersubmission
Tangled Thoughts From A Communitarian.
Jon Trott is editor in chief of Jesus People USA’s literary voice, Cornerstone magazine; he has been a member of JPUSA since 1977. Carol Elaine Durkin Trott, Jon’s wife, works at Leland House, a JPUSA “second stage housing” ministry for homeless women with children. The couple has four children. This article is © 2000, 2001 by Jon Trott; all rights reserved.
There are many others more qualified than I to represent a theological and philosophical apologetic for an “egalitarian” or “mutuality” point of view regarding women in the church. As someone who a decade ago experienced my first wife leave me, leading to divorce, I realize my personal life could also be seen as a less than-convincing egalitarian argument. If anyone talked with Carol, my wife, who loves me despite my blindness and insensitiveness, I would be further exposed as a very imperfect example of an egalitarian husband.
Related to that, I’m a white Western male, a lifelong condition that will (I am convinced) mean continual failure to live up to biblical standards in dealing with women in the church and in my own personal worlds. As with racism, gender bias is one of those things that seems more and more to me a permanent stain upon not only our culture, but our individual human hearts. This is certainly true in my case.
I write, despite all of the above, because mutuality is an issue central to my understanding of humanness. As a member of an intentional Chicago-based community of around four hundred and fifty women, children, and men—Jesus People USA (JPUSA)—I also see the importance of mutual submission one to another. Our living quarters are tightly packed together in a large apartment building; our individual marriages act as either models or warnings (sometimes both) to our next-door neighbors. We do, of course, have women in leadership, and it is not an issue with our congregation. As to whether we are a perfect model in this regard, need it be said we are not?
Mutuality: Ideal Or Real?
A problem I struggle with in my own life—the love of abstract ideals—is also in my opinion a problem in both the egalitarian and complementarian communities. Each community contextualizes its arguments in “the original Greek” or “historical frameworks” or “improper proof-texting” by the other side. These are important issues, not to be ignored. Theology, after all, draws its life from the biblical narrative and also(at its best) helps us clarify what that narrative tells us today. Yet perhaps just a dash of postmoder...
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