If I compiled a list of words that came to mind when I hear Larry Crabb’s name, I doubt “controversial” would make the list. As a psychologist, Bible teacher, and bestselling author of such books as Inside Out and Shattered Dreams, Crabb bas become known for practical advice for living the Christian life. But with his new book, Fully Alive: A Biblical Vision of Gender that Frees Men and Women to Live Beyond Stereotypes, Crabb has waded chest-deep into a contentious conversation about gender that has been raging among Christians. Here we talk about what the Bible says about gender, his view of femininity, and women in church leadership.
JM: Larry, when it comes to gender, you’ve noted that “our culture is really screwed up.” Where are you seeing that today that leads you to say that?
LC: One of the ways, for women in particular, is that we have badly misdefined the word “beauty.” I keep a pencil sketch of Mother Teresa in my hallway to remind me of what the Scriptures talk about as the unfading beauty of a certain way of relating. I think that we have created an idea that for women to be beautiful requires all the obvious external things. I think that’s a terrible idea. I’m happy that my wife happens to be a very attractive woman, but her deepest beauty is not contained there. So that’s one example of how our culture is screwed up for women in particular.
I think we’re also screwed up in terms of defining men as masculine depending on the size of their ____, the size of their income, and the authority they have in their jobs. Those are terrible definitions of masculinity.
JM: Can you say something about the two extremes you’ve recognized, both in terms of gender flexibility and gender rigidity?