Thursday, November 25, 2010

Male & Female He made them

The World Council of Churches in partnership with the World Communion of Reformed Churches has just produced a book - it can downloaded as a pdf- called Created in God's Image: from hegemony to partnership.

The subtitle is: A Church Manual on Men as Partners: Promoting Positive Masculinities. It's edited by Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth and Philip Vinod Peacock, and a wide range of writers from around the world have contributed to it. The book has a number of suggestions as to how it might/should be used at the beginning and is laid out in short sections suitable for housegroup study or for other small groups to work on.

Here's the introduction:

In the creation account of the very first chapter in the Bible, the emphasis laid on God creating humanity as male and female in God’s Image is very significant. However, throughout history,cultural and other social factors have led even believers to think and act in ways inconsistent with this basic truth of both male and female being created in the Image of God. In so doing, such people have yielded to values that seem to glorify gender injustice. Men in many cultures have adopted hegemonic attitudes and ways of life and have oppressed women, and far too often they justify such behaviour either by reference to Bible passages or church doctrines.

A rereading of the word of God, acknowledging that human beings (male and female) are
created in the Image of God, demands that we act differently. Such an acknowledgement is inconsistent with any way of life which makes a man a kind of demigod” over women. If men have been culturally and socially conditioned to having a hegemonic self- understanding, our coming to faith in Christ calls us to begin putting off this “burden” and to begin to learn ways in which God calls men and women to partnership, in living in community as well as in engagement in God’s mission.

This is what this book is about. The book is a result of men and women of God reading the word of God and daring to ask critical questions about how we can be more faithful to God in how women and men relate. The book has been developed with sensitivity to invite men into dialogue and critical examination of what it means to be a man in today’s society. It is neither confrontational nor prescriptive, but takes into consideration that gender analysis needs to be contextual and must be done with gender justice perspectives. While some men who see their identity in the “macho” cultural construct may find the contents of this book challenging, many faithful Christians who are ready to be faithful to the Word of God will find this book resourceful and will see it as a valuable instrument that will strengthen their faith as they commit to the vision of partnership reflected in God’s intention for women and men.

The sign in the picture comes from the psdgraphics site.

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