Some People Claim That There’s a Woman to Blame

Pendulum swing like a pendulum do.  It takes a few years for things to cycle through and come around again, but each of the decrepit set realizes that society is constantly in flux and its shifts even predictable.  Each generation, in some ways, discovers eternal truths for itself.  Because of this, the well-known is also unknown and undergoing new discovery.  While I don’t normally like to think of myself as a person driven by the trends, there is a real sense in which we are all products of our time for good or ill.  Often, we do not even realize the extent of our affectation.  Nothing is really new though it’s timing in our lives be unique to us.  I believe societal trends affect our understandings of casual and familial relationships.

In our day, people constantly point fingers of accusation regarding real and imagined faults.  By this, I mean that significant issues of our time are brought to light in legitimacy and then risk illegitimacy by false claims.  When trivial matters are seized upon as evidence of bias, prejudice or discrimination, it does great harm to the cause of real justice by reframing serious concerns in a superficial manner.  Nowhere is this seen to a greater extent than in perceived gender roles and expectations.  There are serious spiritual and ethical considerations in the construct which are obscured by the shrill tone of the current political conversation.  We’ve come a long way, baby, to get where we’ve got to today, but does anyone really know here we are?

Can you imagine the ensuing arguments after the Edenic experience of Adam and Eve?  Preachers postulate regarding the backstory to the sin of the perfect couple, but I’m gonna go out of a limb here and say there were hard feelings.  Like a lot of things, however, there was blame to go around, and individual perspectives make a certain position preferable to the other.  One thing for sure- it doesn’t always pay to go with your gut.  It is important for us to be able to assess blame because then we feel our predispositions are more or less correct.  Women know that all men are a particular way, and men are certain that that’s the way she is.  Our dispersions, however, will not help us regain paradise.

It seems to me that, in my youth, it was assumed that relational problems in or outside of the family were the fault of the woman.  I may not be correct in this, but I seem to remember (at least) that a lot of preaching emphasized what women should do and be.  Again, I may be wrong…maybe.  Then, the pendulum swung the other way.  It appeared to me that expectations changed or began to be expressed in different ways.  Suddenly, the real problem in relationships was that men were not what they should be.  While I don’t wish to be unfair (and the teaching may have been more balanced than I recall), equilibrium was not often achieved in my hearing.  I thought I was wrong in this until James Dobson said the same thing.   

It is too easy for us to blame other people.  The divide between masculinity and femininity will never be bridged and misunderstandings are inevitable.  However, we must realize that relationships are not one way streets.  In the same manner, the responsibilities for sins and failures will not be equally divided or the same in each case.  In every relationship and every family, the several members must shoulder their burdens and contribute to the common good.  We are all sinners and, indeed, guilty of doing less than our best.  However, people who love each other should be willing to extend grace in accordance with their profession.  Each of us is apt to need mercy in the future and help in time of need.

Sterl

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