Patriarchy

Do you think I'm about to start a fight? I feel like that word immediately labels me a liberal, even thought I first learned it in church. For a long time I just thought it meant "founding fathers".


Over the past few years I've learned that patriarchy is a system that sees older men as the rightful decision makers of an organization—whether it be a family or a church or a government. It's not "men over women". It's a few men over everyone else. It implies that those men in power are worth more than all others. Patriarchal systems sacrifice others to serve those men in charge (and their egos and their wallets and their fame and their glory).


I thought the bible valued patriarchy because it is illustrated so often and because so many churches still operate that way. This stings a little and is confusing because the God I serve, Jesus, appears to lead very differently. He clearly serves and sacrifices himself for those considered worth less than himself.


But as I'm learning to read the Bible in its original context (through a podcast called Bema), I'm realizing that so much of it is descriptive, rather than prescriptive. Rather than telling how things should be, it's mostly telling how things are. And yet, I'm realizing how many times the Bible itself has been manipulated into a tool of patriarchal systems. So now all the patriarchy I'm seeing is becoming clearer evidence of the world's mess rather than the world's healing, while Jesus himself is becoming more clearly the healing.

Unsplash Photo Cred: Laura Barry

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