Chivalry Is Not Dead: Protecting and Defending Beauty in the Church -- By: Sandra Dufield
PP 20:1 (Winter 2006) p. 28
Chivalry Is Not Dead:
Protecting and Defending Beauty in the Church
SANDRA DUFIELD does community education on domestic violence in the church and freelance writing on the subject, as well as relating subjects. She lives in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania (the Pittsburgh area) raising her fourteen-year-old son. She attended the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries in Elkhart, Indiana, and Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia. From 1986-1988, she served as co-pastor of Hortonville Friends Church in Hortonville, Indiana.
Men who love women have for centuries sacrificed their jackets, relinquished their seats, and held doors open for women. In recent years, some have considered manners like these to be “chauvinistic,” but, for egalitarian men, politeness has the added benefit of hard lessons learned. As a result, we see these protective respectful acts of kindness including more than just opened doors and sacrificed jackets. They also include the role of advocating for women.
Having graduated way beyond the knee-jerk reaction years of the 1960s and 1970s, when a man who offered a seat to a woman was called “sexist,” we now see that our wake-up call to women’s social injustice triggered an overreaction, dragging with it centuries of valuable social customs. Trying to replace the best of these social civilities, many Christian men are more than stepping up to the plate. They are also carrying good manners beyond opening heavy doors to include addressing what they believe are the very problems that led to the rejection of chivalry in the first place.
More and more evangelical Christian men are sloughing off what they see as the myths of male superiority and entitlement and are focusing on repairing mistakes of the past. Men are uplifting and edifying their sisters in Christ by accepting and defending women’s full equality in the home and the church, and they are bravely speaking about this to the rest of us.
A perfect example of a man speaking up for women can be found in well known and well-respected Christian leader and author, Richard Foster. Foster sees God’s plan for marriage and ministry throughout Scripture and says, “Gender equality in privilege, responsibility, service, and ministry is a gospel imperative. It is an imperative rooted in the creation narrative, fulfilled in the revelation of Jesus Christ, and explained in the fundamental expression of Christian liberty given to us in the Epistle to the Galatians.”1
Another familiar face advocating for women is John Ortberg. In a Seeds Tape Ministry tape series titled, “What the Bible Says About Men and Women,” this pastor and author reveals wh...
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