Delusions of Gender
May 18, 2013

Donna Schaper

"Which of you fathers, if your son asked for a fish, would give him a snake?" - Luke 11:11

Gender as a subject has become too big for its britches.  I still can't read this scripture and wonder what is going on with the daughters or ask about the mothers.  Schooled in that "Women are invisible" point of view, I often miss what men or Jesus or fathers or sons are saying.  I am so interested in getting in that I out those who are in.  Exclusion is an equal opportunity employer.

In the spirit of getting the stone out of my eye, I want to hear what Jesus is saying to fathers about sons.  I rather imagine he meant it to apply to parenting in general but maybe not.  We stand on our head in the delusions of gender and insert it where it may not belong.  Every father wants to give his son a fish.  Not a snake.  We also want to teach them how to fish and how not to snake.  Fishing means that great quandary of parenting which is knowing you need to be both hands off and hands on at the same time, knowing exactly when to help and exactly when to "neglect" to help.  No small job description, right?  Snaking means slithering around, even though I intend no prejudice against the snake either. I am sure their slithering is evolutionary, positive and God's idea of fun in creation.  Still, snaking as slithering suggests that the child may not know who he is or be able to stay in one place, or worst of all become scary to others because he can't identify and differentiate himself.  He slithers instead of fishes.

Mothers want the same for their daughters, that they fish and not slither.  Mothers also know the hands on/hands off paradox.

Like I said, gender has gotten too big for its britches, acting more important than it is.  It can't be more important than parenting, can it?

Prayer

For parents who can slither in and out of gender roles and teach our children to do the same, we pray.  Amen

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Check out her blog, Grace at Table, at donnaschaper.com.
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