A woman over at Desiring God wrote a good piece on anxiety. Lately, I’ve been wondering why so many women are writing about theology. This is new in church history. All of the authors of the Bible and all of the great theologians in human history are men. The human brain shows as much sexual dimorphism as the rest of the human body divided into male and female. I am firmly of the opinion that male intellectual accomplishment versus female is not due to male oppression but male gifts. That women are writing most of the theological content means that the content will likely not be as good as men writing it. Female writers tend to focus mostly on female problems; male theologians are expected to address both sexes. Both viewpoints seem to contradict the thrust of Paul’s argument that women ask theological questions of their husbands at home rather than speak out in church. It’s easy to Paul’s argument as cultural but we have basically the same culture as Paul in the first century. What I mean is that the amount of daylight between 21st century American culture and 1st century pagan Roman culture is small in terms of its religious orientation. It’s also easy to say that Paul’s mandate applies in mostly the church until you read Ephesians 5 and his other writings (1 Corinthians 11) and Peter’s agreement. Therefore I don’t think women should be writing about theology. Some theology should be directed mostly at women. Certainly the confessional standards of the church are for both sexes. But the weightier books should always be directed at men who can in turn equip their households. That, I think, is the model of the New Testament. (This is certainly open for debate. We have examples of women in Acts correcting Apollos, but her husband was there. )
What’s really going on here though? Women are bored at home quite often. Many need more intellectual stimulation than they’re getting from doing dishes, raising kids, and taking care of their husbands, much of which is often thankless toil. They long to be Proverbs 31 women who are engaged in a variety of commercial activities which are interesting work. The problem is that 21st century Protestants operate under a definition of “household” that is foreign to 1st century Biblical authors. In fact, it’s foreign to all authors before the industrial revolution. In the postmodern household, there is not much context for a Proverbs 31 woman to exercise her gifts at home since men our out working for GloboMegaCorp and households are no longer productive. So they write. What else can they do that makes money and exercises their minds? Maybe we – both men and women – should think more critically about our households.