If you have found yourself feeling like you aren't good enough for the church, if you have found yourself feeling like you try, but you don't measure up to the church's standards for men or women, if you have found yourself frustrated by these limitations, but desiring to be Godly, and submitting out of fear, then I have something to say to you.
You don't need to try harder to be the right kind of man.
You don't need to try harder to be the right kind of woman.
Men, if you have ever felt like you aren't masculine enough by some Christian standard, then listen to me. You are masculine enough. You are masculine by virtue of being male. You were created male, and you will not lose your masculinity because of your interests, strengths, gifts, or roles. No one can take your masculinity from you. Be sensitive, be caring, vacuum the house. It's okay. You are masculine enough.
Women, if you have ever felt like you aren't feminine enough by some Christian standard, then listen to me. You are feminine enough. You are feminine by virtue of being female. You were created female, and you will not lose your femininity because of your interests, strengths, gifts, or roles. No one can take your femininity from you. Be strong, be a leader, fix the car. It's okay. You are feminine enough.
Complementarians like to use fear. They make outrageous claims about any theology that disagrees with their views on male headship. They claim that any belief in equality of gender roles is bound to degrade into gender confusion. They claim that those who don't believe in male headship don't believe in gender differences at all. They claim that embracing equality will lead to liberal theology, watered down faith, weak scripture reading, and even heresy. They claim that their views are central to the faith, and central to salvation. No wonder so many people follow along without asking questions. The leaders in this movement are using fear, shame, and guilt to win their case.
But I'm here to tell you, there is no fear in Christ, there is freedom. There is no shame in Christ, there is strength. There is no guilt in Christ, there is redemption.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to read scholars who disagree with complementarian theology, like I. Howard Marshall, Gilbert Bilizekian, Alice Mathews, N.T. Wright, Aida Spencer, Walter Kaiser, Catherine Kroeger, and many others.
When complementarians tell us that we have to fulfill certain roles to be truly feminine or truly masculine according to God's standard, they are causing gender confusion. Their views cause the strong, independent, powerful women to doubt whether they are feminine enough. Their views cause sensitive, caring, soft spoken, thoughtful men to question whether they are masculine enough. Their views don't allow for freedom to be who God created us to be. They stifle the creativity of our God, who endows men and women with many different gifts, talents, personalities, and interests.
It was God who created you, God who gifted you, and it is God who calls you.
You are man enough.
You are woman enough.