Apr 12

“Scary Straw Women”

2011 at 1:58 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre

Last Wednesday Mom and I were having one of our early morning book-writing conversations. As often happens on these calls, we got to talking about other stuff—she told me about waking up in the middle of the night to a stink bug on her pillow (yuk!), and I asked her a question about serving a group of women in my church. Really, it’s so easy to get distracted when you have work that needs doing.

That morning we also talked about our concern for people who set up complementarian straw men—meaning they take an extreme practice on the part of a few or generally misrepresent the majority—and then knock it down, taking the rest of us with it. This seems to happen most often when a person begins with a negative experience and works backward to make their case. And it is most damaging when this approach is used by people who are themselves complementarian.

We wanted to write a post appealing to these folks: Please make your case from Scripture! Please don’t start with your experience! And please, don’t misrepresent all complementarians because you struggle with a few!

But, we had a book to write (remember?), so we shelved the idea. The very next day, we saw that Mary Kassian had written the article for us—straw women and all—and much better than we could. In “‘Dora the Doormat’ and Other Scary Straw Women of Complementarity” she humorously profiles some of the most common caricatures and encourages us all to focus on what Scripture actually says.

Mary closes with these words:

Standing for truth rarely affords us the luxury of fighting on only one front. Satan will warp truth by bending it to the left and the right. Are there, in fact, “uber-complimentarian” people who promote a biblical application that is narrow, rigid, and legalistic?...Yes, sadly there are. And I am the first in line to call them to account. But to say that these caricatures accurately represent the views of complementarians is like saying the Unabomber accurately represents the views of environmentalists. So please stop doing it!

If you want to talk ideas, let’s talk ideas. Let’s talk hermeneutics. Let’s talk presuppositions. Let’s talk biblical exegesis. Let’s talk principles of interpretation and application. But stop misrepresenting the complementarian position…most of all, please stop parading out those silly straw women!

Amen, Mary, and thanks for writing this. We can get back to our book now.