Bicycle built for two

I’ve been reading and participating on a blog this weekend called the Gospel Coalition and the subject is Complementarian Decision Making as a Couple.  The esteemed Dr Wayne Grudem tells how he and his wife make decisions.  Let me correct that.  He explains that he allows her to do some things without asking him every detail, but both of them know that she can only do what he allows.  Apparently she loves it.   Maybe she does.

But the most telling thing about this whole article and comment section is the people who insist that women must love  and be joyful in their lowly position. 

It is the 21st century and we have come full circle from the 1890s when women were beginning to get some freedom.

It wasn’t the church that gave women freedom.  It was the bicycle.

Amongst the bicycles most important, and perhaps most enduring, legacy is its effect upon women’s issues; indeed the mark the bicycle left upon gender relations in the 1890s is difficult to underestimate. One must remember that the America of years past was one of rigidly defined gender roles, with distinctly separate spheres of activity for men and women. The distinctions between the sexes were certainly as rigidly defined as ever in the years leading up to the 1890s–the years we popularly refer to as the Victorian era.

However, as the 19th century came to a close, women were gradually making headway into the male-dominated public sphere, through increased roles in education, social and political organizations. Perhaps as a response to the seemingly increasing potential for equality amongst the sexes, men begin to more and more delineate themselves in terms of physical prowess. Cycling, then took its natural place amongst football, baseball, and other male dominated spheres of activity. One can imagine the indignation, often expressed in terms of health or morality, that many a male felt when the woman was shown to be just as adept at handling the cycle as her counterpart.

It is precisely this sort of attitude, empowerment coupled with visions of an increasingly egalitarian future, that angered many men greatly. Simply put, the woman on wheels was a threat to the well ingrained system of practical inferiority that men had been taking advantage of for centuries, and outraged men were quick to point to the bicycle as a threat to the social order. The cycle, it was argued, would disrupt the delicate sphere of the family unit by allowing the woman to travel beyond her previous limits without the surveillance of a knowing husband nearby. The younger woman, too was vulnerable to a bicycle induced lapse in morals, for it allowed her to stray farther a field with members of the opposite sex during courtship.

The leveling effect achieved by the woman on the bicycle was so great that the coming of the automobile and subsequent demise of the bicycle can be though of as a major step backwards for women’s empowerment.

You know the strange thing about this whole article?  They didn’t quote any scripture.  From all the scripture that was quoted by complementarians on that blog, you would have thought that it was strictly a religious matter of women knowing and keeping their place.

Turns out that it is attitude that society and men have long held about women.  Church or no church.

It’s time to change that.  21st century, here we come! That bicycle was built for two.

If you are ready to step into the 21st century and leave behind all the restrictions put in place for women only – nobody has ever been worried about the morals or impropriety of men – then join us at the CBE Conference where we will learn what all those scriptures really mean. 

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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9 Responses to Bicycle built for two

  1. Mabel says:

    Grudem’s cage is pretty big, but still a cage nonetheless.


  2. TL says:

    It’s difficult to know how big the cage really is, but yes it is a cage. IMO no cage is big enough for a human to live in.


    • Men have always set the standard for women to live under. They expect women to have better morals than they have. Then they expect that they can have control over her. And women allow it. Women have put up with this for too long. Now that we can ride bicycles and do much of anything else we choose to do in the workplace, women still surrender their freedom at the church door and in the home.


  3. Mabel says:

    Conditioning from cradle to death is hard to undo. Brainwashed by people they are conditioned to believe and trust in. I just went through (sort of, not every word) all 70 comments on the Gospel Coalition post. I cannot believe how men DID NOT READ the very scholarly writing of Sue but swallow without thinking all the shoddy scholarship of Grudem. The overwhelming evidence is there, but they still look at black and call it white. Sue researched specific claims of Grudem, did not find any evidence supporting it, and yet Grudem’s supporters still hail him, as if their eyes are closed. Reminds me of the clamor of the people to Jesus “crucify him, crucify him”. I cannot believe it. It is very very scary.


  4. TL says:

    As well, they refused to actually engage in real dialogue refuting their interpretations. Instead they use domineering techniques, manipulation and accusations to divert attention from the real issues. Every time a good point was made that they had no answer to, they just ignored it.

    I think there are 90 something comments now.


  5. krwordgazer says:

    It was the unabashed personal attacks on Sue that really stuck in my craw. And then the guy turned on you as well, TL, with manipulative, loaded questions followed by judgment of your salvation for your responses. Unbelievable.


  6. tiro3 says:

    It’s the personal belief that they are on the top and not accountable to women, only fellow men. And men are loathe to correct another man for freedoms they themselves want to keep even if they don’t want to exercise them so harshly.

    He does it because he can, and because he feels superior. You can hear that in his words.

    But hopefully, the onlookers will see what he himself refuses to see.


  7. Mara says:

    I admire you ladies.
    I can’t go to those places.
    The anti-woman, arrogant attitude of the men there just depresses me beyond reason. Thanks to you who brave it to shine a little bit of light into their thick darkness and delusion.
    Guess I need to pray more.


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