This is a quick, not well-processed post. My parents are in town visiting, and tomorrow is our family reunion. But I have been reading Neither Complementarian Nor Egalitarian this morning, and something occurred to me. And to clarify, in reading this book I am not coming out as an egalitarian. It's a book to inform and challenge my thinking.
The author, Michelle Lee-Barnwell, spends the first part examining the development of evangelical attitudes toward womanhood. The first chapter deals with the development of women in social reform such as missions and the Women's Christian Temperance Union. It's an informative chapter, and I can recognize the trends in the reading I have done about the WCTU here in Canada.
The next chapter moves to the end of World War II to discuss the next phase of development. I was a little surprised that the author moves from the Victorian era to World War II. The years following the first World War seem to me to be ripe for evaluation with regard to changes in culture that would have affected women and evangelicalism. Lee-Barnwell has shown already the reality that the surrounding culture has a huge impact on the evangelical understanding of female roles and identity. So, why the big jump?
Then it occurred to me: this is a book by an American about America. In Canada, our history, while always linked to our southerly neighbour, follows a different path because of our extended links to the motherland, Great Britain. World War I marked a huge change in Canada as our national identity began to assert itself, even as Britain's world influence began to wane. Our involvement in World War I was far more intimate than that of the United States. The changes to our culture would clearly be different. While this book is proving to be very thought provoking (and wonderfully researched), I do have to remember that while the influence on evangelicalism in Canada will be obvious, there will be differences. I have read extensively about Nellie McClung, who lived through World War I, and whose son fought in France. The war had a huge impact on her understanding of humanity, rights, duty, and womanhood.
Someone out there needs to write a history of how evangelicalism unfolded in Canada. I'm hopeful there is a Canadian in school somewhere who is getting ready for that. I'll buy the book.