How is the Christian teaching of detachment compatible with maintaining gender roles?

In answer to Quora question: "How is the Christian teaching of detachment compatible with maintaining gender roles?"

I think you've struck upon a very good point.

The New Testament and early Christian writings are explicitly and implicitly clear regarding this topic: there are NO gender roles for a devout Christian - no differentiation between male and female at all - and this specifically correlates to an attitude of detachment regarding worldly things. Why? Because such worldly things include prioritizing family relationships, getting married, having children, and indeed having sex. The Christ-like attitude of detachment is one where everything - including all of these worldly desires - is subordinated to worshipfully loving God and charitable actions towards others; that is, agape in all its expressions. In the early Church, including the period covered in Acts, women had roles of authority equal to men, had equivalent spiritual gifts, and indeed both Jesus and Paul either submitted to or defended a women's equivalent (and even sometimes situationally superior) importance in the Kingdom of God. In other words, in concert with detachment and devotion to the faith, there were no distinct gender roles. The ONLY places where this non-differentiation is brought into question are 1Tim 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, sections which directly contradict everything else in the New Testament regarding the equivalency of men and women, and which I can only conclude are either later interpolations, or the result of Paul becoming old, crotchety and perhaps partially deaf to the Spirit of Christ as he returns to Levitical doctrines of his Pharisee days. Then again, Paul seems to be addressing marriage relationships in these passages, and, as we know, marriage is a concession for Christians who are unable to remain detached from their lust (this according to Paul himself!).

I don't normally promote any of my books on Quora that aren't freely downloadable, but this topic is covered in great detail in A Progressive's Guide to the New Testament; you might see if this is available from a library somewhere. Please read the section "The Liberation of Women." It speaks to these issues directly.

By the way, that Wikipedia article does a horrible job summarizing views on Christian detachment, so I intend to propose some edits to it.

My 2 cents.


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