Earlier this week Rachel Held Evans published a brilliant blog post, If Men got the Titus 2 Treatment. What if we universalized specific commandments to men to be for all time in any culture the way we universalize verses like Titus 2:5 for women? The result is a brilliant satire of what Christian men would hear if proof-texted verses were used to dictate their lives. My favorite is this one:
Take a look around our culture and you will see millions of men who earn a living by working in climate controlled office buildings. Such work may be mentally strenuous, but far too often, it can be accomplished without even breaking a sweat.
The curse of Genesis 3 clearly describes man’s primary activity as difficult physical labor. “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground,” God declares in Genesis 3:19….
So men who wish to honor God with their lives and humbly submit to His will should make physical labor their primary occupation, and resist the urge to give in to our culture’s glorification of “white collar” work, which is a departure from biblical principles of masculinity.
Now, some men will say they find office work more stimulating and rewarding than manual labor, or that it provides more financial security in their particular situation, but these men are more interested in pursuing selfish ambitions and wealth than submitting themselves to the Word of God. Our culture’s rampant obesity epidemic among men can be clearly traced to this departure from God’s perfect design. And it threatens to undo our whole society, negatively affecting our children and generations to come.
This post clearly shows what happens to theology when Christians do not do the hard work on interpreting Scripture for their own times and lives. As post-Industrial Revolution and post-technological people we cannot go back to the agrarian, everyone works at home, model that was normal for biblical times. We have re-interpreted the Bible for men working outside of the home and made that interpretation normal. For the last 45 years second-wave feminist theologians have been interpreting the Bible for women who work outside of the home. For the last decade third-wave feminist theologians have taken up the banner and interpreted the Bible for our technologically connected world. Now its time to make those interpretations normative, just as we did for the men.