In the film Jerry Maguire, Jerry (played by Tom Cruise) has a revelation about what was wrong with the sports agency company he works for. He writes this in a manifesto which he distributes to all employees. However, the management refuses to accept the suggestions and he loses his job.
Last week a Google employee, James Damore, noticed what was wrong with Google’s efforts to get more women working there and realised how they could make changes to their environment to improve diversity. He wrote a memo to all employees. However, the management refused to accept the suggestions and he lost his job.
What was it that they didn’t like?
Well he dared to mention that men and women are different (and backed it up with extensive research).
You can read the full memo here.
Why is this so controversial? Why was it labelled “anti-diversity” by the press and why was he fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes”?
Despite the hype, the Google manifesto isn’t sexist or anti-diversity. It’s science (see also here and here).
A little history
God made men and women different to embody His masculine and feminine attributes. One of the main characteristics that I wrote about in this post is that men embody the masculine transcendent nature of God (outward focussed – doing, taking action, risk taking, creating, initiating, giving, concerned with form (roles)). Whereas women embody the feminine immanent nature of God (inner directed – being, sustaining, safety, nurturing, responding, receiving, concerned with relationship).
This means that only together do men and women make the full image of God.
This was part of the wisdom of God to ensure that men and women need each other as each has blind spots. His design was that we honour those differences and create a unity of diversity just like God is a tri-unity.
Satan, who is the anti-Christ, seeks to distort the image of Christ – who is the perfect image of God (Col 1:15). Adam and Eve, who were already the perfect image of God (Gen 1:27), were tempted to think that by abandoning God they could become like God (Gen 3:4-5). They sought to create their own image apart from God.
The consequence of this was the relationship between God and man and between man and woman was broken. The differences that were meant to unite us now divide us.
Instead of loving women as Christ loves the church (Eph 5:25) and instead of using their positions to serve others like Christ served us (Mt 20:26-28) they made women feel inferior. They no longer valued part of the image of God.
It is no surprise that women rose up against this mistreatment. However, instead of fighting against the cause (Satan, sin and the brokenness that came from these) and therefore seeking to reclaim and restore the image of God – they created another false image.
“Contrary to the world’s view, however, the ‘battle of the sexes’ is not between the man and the woman, one trying to dominate the other – but rather between God and the self-centred desires of the ‘flesh’ in both man and woman.” Gordon Dalbey
Since gender had been used to divide people then women figured that removing gender differences would imply equality and remove division and create unity. So they put forth the view that all differences (other than reproduction) between the sexes were merely socially constructed.
However any unity created outside of Christ is a false unity – it is partnering with the anti-Christ and so presents a false image of God*. It also rejects the expression of differences that glorify God (and can also demonise masculine traits such as competitiveness).
It is not unity but uniformity. It pays lip-service to diversity but as the reaction to the google memo shows, it is incredibly intolerant of any view other than its own.
The flip side to the uniformity view is that:
“If two people were exactly alike, one of them would be unnecessary.”
And one of the out workings of this logic has worked its way out in men being seen as unnecessary for raising children which children have paid a terrible price.
However, in Christ “There is neither … male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28). Together our differences make up the Body of Christ. Together our differences display the image of God to our children and to society. Together we are co-workers and co-heirs bringing the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
From a business point of view, which was the reasoning behind the Google memo (and which some have dubbed the Google manifesto), valuing the contribution that both men and women bring will help businesses to thrive.
Each brings something different, each can see the others blind spots. For example, men tend to be goal-orientated but on its own they can lack people-orientation and end up with an ends justify the means approach. Women tend to be people-orientated rather than goal-orientated and so can call out this blind-spot. However, they tend to see and respond to the immediate needs rather than the long-term issues and so men can call out this blind-spot. Together they will achieve more. Which sounds Kingdom to me.
However, the flip side of having differences which add to the business is that these differences will mean that gender parity will not occur:
As Christians instead of getting caught up in these arguments, let us instead celebrate and honour the differences that God has given in men and women and together go build the Kingdom. To the glory of God. Amen.