One thing that is always highlighted at these retreats is the important leadership role men have in the home. I agree that men have a leadership role and I think that the men's retreat often helps men to stop retreating from their spiritual responsibilities. (Pun intended. ;-)
I do not, however, believe that men are superior to women, in the home or anywhere else.
Both men and women are made in God's image, equally, and both are redeemed by Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit in the same way. There is no hierarchy in the home when it comes to men and women. That's what I believe. You may disagree. I invite you to enter into conversation with me if you do.
Some would ask how I can say that when there are several passages in the Bible that seem to prefer men over women. The discussion of this issue is complex and it can't be dealt with in a simple way. Groups such as Christians for Biblical Equality have devoted much time and study and prayer to these issues. Here I'm just letting you know where I stand.
Here's a short piece from an article entitled "What Is Biblical Equality" by Alan G. Padgett, published in 2002 in an issue of the Priscilla Papers. This is not the only possible interpretation of scripture in regard to men and women that is faithful, but I believe this is one of those that is.
From "What is Biblical Equality" - click here for the article in full (pdf format).I invite your comments. Let's discuss together!
"...Husband and wife alike are equally responsible to Christ, the true center of the Christian home. True, Paul does tell wives to submit to their husbands and says that men are the “head” of women. But these statements must be read in context, and interpreted in their own times. In the longest section on men and women in his letters, Ephesians 5:21–33, Paul begins with the duty of all Christians to submit to one another in the fear of Christ (v. 21). Those who focus only on what Paul has to say to women and slaves often misunderstand this point. The passage as a whole begins with mutual submission.
"What is mutual submission? It is nothing less than love in action. I see the need in my sister or brother and meet it from my own strength and gifting from God. Most of what Paul has to say in this passage is written to the husband, who must love his wife and give of his own life and power, just as Christ sacrificed himself for the church. The word head in Paul, when not pointing to a literal head, means the one who is “first” in some way, not some kind of authority or power figure. This point is often misunderstood. We must allow Paul to use the word in a variety of ways.
"In this passage it means being first in loving service. “The husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior” (v. 23, NRSV). Paul extends this teaching later (vv. 28–32) in the heart of this passage. Overall, he insists that husband as “head” cares for and loves the wife as his own “body.” Head in this chapter does not mean the man dominates and rules over the woman. True, wives are taught to “submit in everything to their husbands” just as the church does to Christ (v. 24). But this is in the context of mutual submission of all to Christ (v. 21). The force of the passage as a whole is calling husbands to self-giving sacrifice for their wives; that is, it is calling husbands likewise to submit to their wives (without saying it in this exact way)...