Are we too emotional?

Are we too emotional?

Are we really too emotional?

I have had some interaction with a pastor via the internet on and off for the last half year or so and whenever I have passionately stated my case for believing that women are allowed in scripture to teach the bible to men, I have been accused of letting my emotions cloud my judgment and my thinking.  (Sigh)  Why is it that egalitarians are pegged as overly emotional while comps consider themselves both logical and biblical?

Now this particular pastor appears to be a very nice fellow.  I really quite like him.  He isn’t calling me an unbeliever or a heretic as some have.  He is also very supportive of my ministry work regarding my reaching out to Jehovah’s Witnesses to win them for Christ.  He appears to like me as a person, and as I said, I also like him, but there is a roadblock that is hard to cross over.  He thinks that there is no other way to see scripture but that it limits women from teaching the bible to men. Other than apparently my work with non-Christians, he holds the party line that women who teach the bible to men are sinning against God, and that we can see a pattern for human relationships and roles by the “roles” in the Trinity where the Father is the ultimate authority and the Son submits to the Father (double sigh!)

Never mind that he has not been able to answer even one of my challenges to his position.  He can wave my position off because he attributes it to emotionalism.  It is actually a wee bit humorous because I have been charged by others with being too logical and my dogged persistence is not a sign of weak emotions or a faint heart!

So why do you think that we have to defend ourselves against the charge of being too emotional?  Is this a name-it and claim-it-for-the-other-person a way to dismiss everything we say?  Are comps really the logical ones and are egalitarians the ones who have no heart for the inspiration of scripture but want to rest their beliefs on feelings, emotions and hurt?

One thing for sure….hierarchists have caused a great deal of grief for many egalitarians including myself.  For one who loves peace amongst the brothers to have to deal with name-calling, anger, vindictiveness, insults and rejection of even being called a sister in Christ, it probably would be okay to cry a tear or two for the hurt that has happened in the body of Christ.

I trust that a logical, full believer in the inspiration of scripture, persistent, peace-maker like myself is allowed to cry sometimes without being called overly emotional or that my judgment and thinking are clouded by emotions.  A soft caring heart is what I long to see in complementarians because they are my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I trust that God will help to keep my heart soft to them no matter how many attacks I have to deflect that has been unfairly lobbed over the wall and against my name.

Pardon me while I cry.

13 thoughts on “Are we too emotional?

  1. It’s a cop-out, pure and simple. And a logical fallacy (fits several categories).

    If emotion were affecting your logic, then it should be easy to point out the logical errors you make only when “emotional”. I’d like to see them pinpoint such errors, prove their “causes”, and then prove that they have no such emotional influence to their logic.

    But of course none of that will ever happen, because it’s just a cop-out.

    Kinda like saying nobody has a right to teach Bible without that magical umbrella known as “covering” or “oversight”.

  2. A logical fallacy it certainly is.  I also see it as a “thought-stopper”.  If one charges another with a “name”, one then doesn’t have to think about the points that the person has brought up.  A better way is to respond with a logical answer, respectfully ignoring the things that the person is saying that “appears” to cloud their judgment.  That isn’t being done.  In fact there is no answer to my questions.  I have pointed that out in the past but there are no answers forthcoming.  So it appears to me that the game-plan is to shut down the opposition by calling them a _____ (fill in the blank) and then no further answer is needed.  It is an attack on the man (ad hominem).

    So what is the easiest way to shut down the ad hominem?  How do you turn things back to the argument and away from the person?

    Thoughts?

  3. To quote a line from “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Reason’s got nuttin to do with it.”

    That is, if somebody refuses to listen, then all you can do is point out that such fallacies amount to a forfeit, and therefore you win. What can they say? After all, that’s exactly what they’re saying too: that they get to win by default. They’re trying to declare you unfit for the debate. Same lame tactic evolutionists use with creationists.

  4. Well, let’s say for the moment that it is true that women are too emotional. If we are going to play to stereotypes, then one would also have to agree they are far more intuitive and observant than men. Their senses are far better than men’s and they also are more nurturing. These are all traits that are very beneficial in teaching, while emotions, as far as I can tell, would not impact a teacher one way or the other in terms of their work in teaching. So, the one argument that this pastor seems to have is that women have a trait that does not impact ability to teach in any way but also have a number of design strengths that are very beneficial to teaching. Why, if we were going to go down this road, I would say that women should do all the teaching.

    Now, on the accusation itself, there is some biological evidence that supports the idea that women process their emotions differently than men. Even with that, though, my observation is that it depends on the emotion. Men seem to handle anger far worse than women do, for example.

    At any rate, even if men can compartmentalize emotions better in crisis situations, (which I think is demonstrably true), I haven’t know any biblical teaching scenarios that I would consider a “crisis”.

  5. Even if we went with stereotypes we would have to make a point that men and women are truly “complementary” and we need each other.  We are good at some things that men typically aren’t, and vice-versa.  Having both men and women teachers brings a well-rounded view.

    However dismissing an argument by attributing it to emotionalism is frankly a non-argument and as Paula said, in essence the person is admitting they have no answer.  I don’t like to win by default, and I tend to like to win by winning the person over not just winning the argument.  But I do have to agree that a non-argument in the form of an attack on one’s character, gives the win to the other person by default.

  6. This whole idea of logic versus emotions (Apollo vs. Dionysus) is WAY too much Greek thinking, as if we had a choice.  They are BOTH tied up together, I have read that people that have damage to their emotion centers cannot think logically at all.  So the solution is to unravel their premise, that logic and emotions CAN be separated, as they cannot.

    What IS happening I think when one is called “too emotional” is that person is saying why THEY would be acting as you are.  We carry around models of others and we try to figure out their motivations from what we can see, but we are imperfect modelers.  My point is that when someone says this, they are telling you more about themselves than about you.  They may be right or wrong in their analysis, but they are saying if THEY said/did what you said/did that would be the reason.

  7. “This whole idea of logic versus emotions (Apollo vs. Dionysus) is WAY too much Greek thinking, as if we had a choice.”

    Exactly. I used to cover this quite a bit in interpersonal communications as trainer. The coldest, most arrogant, stoic person in the world is operating on ’emotion’. Most just do not recognize that as ’emotional’.   We have a definition of emotional in our heads that does not convey the gamut of how they are played out in real life.  Even the concept of ‘not showing emotion’ is an ’emotion. :o)

    But looking at this from another view…he is simply working from a wrong cultural concept. Women cry more because it is cultural and expected. That is how most were taught.  We know it cannot be a hard and fast rule because we have some Joan Crawfords out there that are as cool as ice. BUT, even they are operating on emotion just as the stoic, cool male is operating on emotion.

      A loving, long suffering, patient, kind, joyful person may be seen as emotional, a sucker, a patsy, etc. even though the fruits of the spirit are at work :o)

  8. whenever I have passionately stated my case for believing that women are allowed in scripture to teach the bible to men, I have been accused of letting my emotions cloud my judgment and my thinking.

    I’d been trying to find a way of expressing what I thought when I came across this comment at Wade Burleson’s blog It says what I wanted to say so well I decided to copy it.
     

    It’s an easy out that lets us write off those different from us without having to think about their actual positions. It is also very unhelpful for true dialogue and understanding

    And that is one amazingly cute little puppy.  Is it yours?

  9. Janice,

    Good quote!  We all need to practice hearing better.  The more confident we are of what we believe and why we believe it should help us to not be threatened by someone else’s view.  I am learning how to apply to Christians what I learned how to do when I witness to JWs.  It is helpful to ask why a person believes as they do and listen carefully to the answer.  The answer can give you an opportunity to hear their heart, understand what their foundation is.  Then we can speak on their level and address the holes in their argument that may allow them to see something that they have never considered before.  Perhaps it isn’t for us to persuade anyone but merely to put a “stone” in their shoe that is the cause of them doing their own research to find out.  Also maybe by working to actually hear the other person, we might find a stone in our own shoe that will cause us to find our own blind spots.

    The puppy?  No, he isn’t mine, but I fell in love with his eyes and his little face expressed what I wanted to express in this post.

    Janice, thanks for commenting and giving that great quote.  If we do not take time to listen, we will probably find ourselves without the ability to really affect change in others.  Listening, asking questions, caring, these are all things we all could work on.

  10. Regarding the one post that I just removed,  we do not allow vulgarity on this blog.  Perhaps you can find a manly blog where insults are the order of the day.

    Have a good day!

  11. Not to mention the fact that the ranter commenter clearly never read a thing you wrote or studied a single proof you gave. And it will never be a Christian virtue to brag about the flesh or seek preeminence over others. How can Christians even want such a thing?

  12. Kristen, I read your article a snoced time. Here’s a few random thoughts:1) I grew up in a conservative rural Southern church meaning, just the kind of church that you might think would take the complementarian side. However, we had women Sunday school teachers, women youth group leaders, and if people were being driven in the church van, no much cared if a man or woman drove. Occasionally when the pastor was on vacation, a woman lay preacher would fill in. In other words, it wasn’t like the church you describe in your article, and I don’t think churches like you describe are typical, even among evangelicals. I don’t think those churches force women to attend, so I guess we can assume the ones who attend there do so because they want to. I’m guessing the church you describe had more women attending than men almost all churches do including some married women whose husbands don’t attend. Those women choose to be there, which suggests they accept that church’s way of doing things.2) In my church we were, thankfully, blissfully ignorant of complementarian and egalitarian, so we just found that our system worked without analyzing it. I gather that nowadays lots of people, especially women, are analyzing what their church does, agonizing over whether it demeans women, or whatever. I think it’s possible to analyze something to death. Suspicion does not make for a happy spiritual fellowship.3) My wife and I find that woman’s work and man’s work have a way of sorting themselves out in a satisfactory way. My wife can use a hammer, drill, or pole saw, just as I can sew on a button, iron my dress shirts, and cook but I usually leave the cooking, sewing, and ironing to her because she’s better at it, just like I’m better with tools. If our car had a flat, I’d change the tire, even though she is capable (and did it once when I wasn’t around). I certainly don’t look down on her for doing woman’s work, nor do I think what I do around the home is more important than what she does. Happy the home where these matters are not analyzed over and over. Happy the home were two people can accept differences and not assume that one person is looking down on the other.4) We know several married women who are just homemakers, some of whom have college degrees. You can get them very riled up if you imply that there’s anything demeaning about being just a homemaker. They don’t look down on women who work, but they know that many working women look down on them. They haven’t bought the familiarl feminist lie: only a paycheck makes you important. Believe me, their husbands may MAKE the money, but see if you can guess who makes most of the decisions about SPENDING the money. You could make a case that the Spender has a heck of a lot more power than the Earner.5) There are a lot of people in the feminist movement (men as well as women) who need a good kick in the pants. Marriage takes work even under the best circumstances, and it hasn’t helped that there’s a million books urging people to put their marriage under a microscope and try to discern if everything is fair, as if there was some way of measuring things and finding out what 50/50 entails.6) I gather that you are not old enough to remember the pre-feminist world. It was far from perfect, of course, but one of its beauties (not that we knew it at the time) was that there was no generalized suspicion and paranoia about sexism, just an awareness that duh! men and women are different and must manage to find ways to live with those differences. A woman might find her husband difficult (and vice versa), but she didn’t see the difficulties as symptoms of some Big Sexist Conspiracy not Woman Versus Man, but individual wife and individual husband working at a marriage.

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