Photo property of National Geographic.

One day I was walking along a path in WordPress Woods.  As I was admiring one particularly lovely bush of vibrantly-colored roses, a female fox popped out.  In her mouth, she carried one of her pups with a word written on its forehead.  She laid the pup at my feet, and barked.  As I picked up the pup, it opened its pretty green eyes, and I understood:  The fox mother was the Vocabulary Vixen, and her pup was a new word I’d never seen before.  

That word was “Complementarian”.

From Wikipedia:

Complementarianism is a theological view held by some in Christianityand other world religions, such as Islam,[1] that menand women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, familylife, religious leadership, and elsewhere.

QUESTION:  What do you think of complementarianism…  

As a word?

As a lifestyle?  

As a religious practice?

Share your thoughts!


One thought on “The Vocab Vixen: “Complementarian”

  1. I never realized this idea had been manifested in so concise a word. I also never stopped to consider that it was an idea not widely held by people. Perhaps I’m a traditionalist in a sense. I recently posted a little entry in my blog that wondered aloud at why God created us as a dichotomous species–that is, why He chose to create us as male and female. I love how God understands my hardheadedness and chooses to highlight things to me by means of repetition–in fact, He took me all the way to Asia on mission that way, haha. Recently I’ve had many conversations about and run into readings, etc concerning the difference between males and females in light of God’s plan for the human race He so dearly loves. While I don’t have the time (or frankly, the wherewithal) to fully expound upon the reasons I believe He chose to make us the way He did, here are some of the general things my companions and I have discussed:

    ->the balance of logic and emotion (logic being a “skeleton” of sorts and emotion being the “flesh” that complements it) and the roles that men and women play in bringing the two together in harmony
    ->biological reasons for male/female roles, such as the hormones estrogen and testosterone; how infant males undergo a “testosterone wash” that ends up forming the way they think about things and focus on tasks more efficiently than women, who do not experience the “wash” and thus may be able to multitask more efficiently
    ->roles of physical bonding (i.e., sex and other serious physical touch) and the hormones involved in the event, such as oxytocin, which causes bonding (particularly in women), and vasopressin, which is related to the drive to protect the object of affection (particularly in men)
    ->how male and female roles have changed with culture but are still bound by the expectations set by the Bible for believers–basically, “how do we continue to fulfill the roles God has placed us into as male and female while also surviving in our modern world?”

    There have been other things we’ve discussed concerning this idea of male and female complementary roles, but you can probably gather from the little list here that they make the idea of complementarianism at least a candidate for legitimacy within the world of Christianity. God did not have to make us male and female; we could have been made into one gender and reproduced by budding and no one would have known any different. But He made us incomplete. He made a lot of halves to make a lot of wholes with the purpose of bringing Him glory through it all. In relationship–especially opposite-sex relationship–with one another, we have to learn to understand a way of thinking we don’t consistently engage in, learn what forgiveness and grace is, and learn to rely on one another for not completion, but rather supplementation. When we look at it closely and realize this kind of complementary lifestyle is beautiful but still not perfect, we will ultimately turn to the only Being that can give us what our hearts were made to long for.

    But I digress–to answer your questions:
    –as a word, complementarianism seems like a distant, foreign construct that could easily be misconstrued to imply anti-feminism and/or sexism. I think it sufficiently implies the right meaning, but I already have an opinion on the roles of men and women (which are different than popular Western, secular ideas, but also surprisingly different than many other Christian young women my age. I’m 22.)
    –as a lifestyle–and a religious practice for me, I think it’s the way women and men should relate to one another. No, we don’t have the full explanation of how every single marriage and relationship is supposed to work in every cultural context, but we do have the Bible and that outlines pretty much everything we need to know. There’s no accounting for the differences between religious and secular thought/morals/values, and when we start talking about people called to celibacy (or those who don’t feel called but continue to remain single, such as my discipler) ideas shift. But as a generalization, yes, I think complementarianism is a valid idea.

    Whew, I wrote a lot! Sorry! What do you think about what I’ve posted? Am I even on topic? Haha! :]

    –Samantha, of The Beautiful Collision

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