Grace, which essentially means the undeserved love of God, has been a huge issue in Christianity. There is a useful Wikipedia article about it. There are Protestant and Catholic views. Within Protestantism there are Calvinist, Armenian, and other views. Within Roman Catholicism there were refinements of the idea at the Council of Trent, and then an attempt to go back to Augustine with the Jansenists. There is a distinct Eastern Orthodox view. The article also goes into views held by the Churches of Christ and the LDS church. All this over the undeserved love of God.
Then there is the whole controversy in recent biblical studies and theology concerning the New Perspective on Paul. The old perspective was that Paul practically invented the notion of God’s grace. However, many have tried to show that Judaism is also a religion of grace. So, is there continuity or discontinuity between Judaism and Christianity about grace?
I will get into this eventually, but I don’t feel ready yet. So I am going to read and think about it and wait.
So I will do something a little less ambitious first. Gender politics is a hot political topic. Many people who hoped for a woman president in the United States have been disappointed. So with the future of feminist advance called into question, the slogan “the future is female” is showing up on T-shirts at marches and on the lips of Hillary Clinton. (I wonder how many realize that this is an old lesbian separatist slogan. See here. It is hilarious that the future actually will belong to posterity, but the lesbian separatist contribution to that seems minimal. Not, as Seinfeld would say, that there is anything wrong with that.)
Gender politics seems to spawn extremes. In the evangelical world this manifests itself in the terms “complementarian” and “egalitarian”. Complementarians usually claim that the Bible supports set gender roles with women eschewing positions of authority in the church and letting the men lead at home. Egalitarians disagree and call for opening up both the church and the home to the possibility of female leadership. But sometimes egalitarians are hard to distinguish from secular feminists.
I am not an evangelical and I have pushed my own church to open up to women serving in leadership roles, including as clergy. But I also consider myself a non-feminist (not an anti-feminist). I do not experience gender, especially masculinity, as primarily a social construct.
Anyway, there is a book out that tries to find a middle way between the complementarians and the egalitarians. It is Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian: A Kingdom Corrective to the Evangelical Gender Debate by Michelle Lee-Barnewall. So that is the book I will be blogging through while I continue to think about how to do my study of how Jews and Christians should understand the biblical idea of grace.