The Clash Of “Mindsets”: Structural Versus Relational

If you want your ratings to soar for a television talk show, talk about sex.  If you want your ratings to soar on a Christian blog site, talk about the women’s role in the church and should they be pastors, reverends, rectors, bishops, etc.  What is my opinion? Who cares about my opinion?  It is a question of what “mindset”, what “point of view”, how you see this issue: as one from a church pyramid structure or from a church relational structure.  This class of mindsets is what is occurring in the Church right now.  The question should be reworded to: Is leadership structural or relational? Dominating or serving?

Pyramidal, hierarchal church structures “dictate” what those beneath them should believe and try to enforce their belief system upon them.  If the structure is a male dominated structure, the women underneath them have no chance for leadership as exemplified by the Roman Catholic church, most Protestant churches, well, most of Christendom.  So what message is this structure sending to their women of faith?  I could never figure out the mentality that women could go to some Christian Bible College (I think to find good Christian men to submit to as a future wife [sarcasm]) but not to become pastors or church (hierarchal) leaders. They could become children’s ministers or youth pastors, meaning they could minister to children and youth directly impacting their lives, but not “rule” over them.  It is a question of dominance and power., church politics I call it. Sorry, that is the “skinny” of it!

To the younger generation who is beginning to despise pyramidal thinking especially in the Church, they see the issue as “relational”.  In their “flat” “relational” world there is no distinction on Facebook, MySpace, Google+, tweets, emails, and blogs.  In their communicational relational world all humans are equal.  No one in a “flat world” relationship dictates who can and cannot speak to them unless it is personal, like friending or befriending someone on Facebook.  Males and females speak freely amongst each other. “Ruling”, “reigning”, "dictating" and “dominating” over someone is called “cyber bullying”, a no-no to this younger generation.

Today’s younger generation looks at Jesus relationally.  His walk on earth was all relational, either to his Father in heaven, or to those his peers, mankind.  While his disciples, the “men” around him argued who would “positionally” be on his right or left when he “rules” his kingdom, the “women” around him just kept serving. Jesus broke pyramidal, hierarchal, society norms by talking to a Samaritan women at a well, teaching a parable that made a Samaritan man the “good guy” while the rabbi and his other brethren who passed by as the “bad guys”, and allowing a “woman” to serve him to the point of washing his feet with precious perfume using her hair. On the other hand, Jesus had to “serve” men, his disciple, by washing their feet, not them serving him.  There are so many more examples, but relationally, Jesus just allowed women relationally to serve him and be served, bottom line!

Will heaven be a structured, pyramidal,  or hierarchal place?  What will the seating arrangement be at the “banquet table” when the Groom comes for the Bride, His Church?  A men’s section and women’s section separately?  Will Mother Teresa be allowed sit beside her beloved Pope, or will she be banished from the “male only” table.  Oh, the “women” will be serving the meal, their rightful place [sarcasm]? No, the meal is the sacrificial lamb, the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  It has already been “served” at the cross. Women WITH men will be partaking of it TOGETHER! Positionally, there is no hierarchy in the kingdom of God at a “flat” table of peer equality!  It is not a two-tiered table!

In one of Jesus’ parable he tells of those who wanted prime seating at banquets geting their reward because they are seen; it is the “unseen” ones who have been serving you must watch out for when it comes to the kingdom of God!  There the women have it over the men, at least Biblically.  Women always served, usually quietly, passionately while the men had trouble understanding what service meant. Ask the 12 disciples who only knew how to serve after Jesus died and rose, and the Holy Spirit came to “teach them all things” which included “service”!

I’ve been taught that Christian leadership is based on service.  I am a firm believer that the five fold is created to “equip the saints for the work of service.”  SERVICE is essential to Church leadership because IT IS RELATIONAL!  In a pyramid structure you only serve those above you, the feudal Middle Age, Dark Ages’ mentality.  The kingdom of God is all about serving your peers: mankind (saved or unsaved) and your brothers AND sisters in the Lord.  You don’t “carry” anyone on your shoulders or bow beneath them; you stand beside them.

Relationally, this younger generation reads that Eve, women, came relationally from Adam’s, man’s, side, not his heal or under his foot.  We teach our Christian men and women that they are side by side in marriage, “two shall become one” yet do not practice it in a male dominated marriage teaching that men are the head and women the neck! Sorry, Jesus is still the head, and when a man or a women loses that truth, an immediate pyramidal structured conflict for power begins, leading to divorce where secular courts need to define who and what is over whom structurally.  Relationship has been broken. 

Jesus, the second Adam, too had women “beside” him in ministry all throughout his three years of ministry. They did everything when it came to service while the men had to be “taught”.  Relationally, service comes naturally to women.  Men would rather dominate each other than to serve: ask any king. The king serves nobody. Men, are you the “king” of your castle or a servant to your spouse and children.  If you dominate over them, they rebel.  If you serve them, they respect. According to the Bible, women are commissioned to “respect” their husbands, which comes natural if their husbands are Christ like, like Jesus, a “suffering” servant!

So we have come full circle, and I again ask “Should women be pastors, priests, rectors, bishops, or even a pope?”  That is determined by who is above you in a pyramid structure or who is beside you flat world relational structure.  That is also by who are you serving, the one above you or the one beside you. There lies the answer to your question.