There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
Warning: This is me playing preacher.
I usually don’t post twice on the same day, but Women’s Day: Liberation and Lies was already a wee bit too long, so I decided to add some thoughts in a different post. Those of my readers that have followed me for a while may have noticed that I took a sharp turn somewhere. There’s been more faith and less dystopia the last couple of weeks. You can still expect to read about the topics that have always interested me, but I am also asking questions about faith, or as Douglas Adams so eloquently put it: Who is this God person anyway? I’m trying to figure that out.
On this International Women’s Liberation Day I wanted to add some thoughts about the Bible. First of all, I think many feminists tend to get sidetracked. I understand that some spend a lot of energy on debating language for example. Some don’t like the title chairman and want both men and women to be a chair person. Actress is unacceptable, but police woman is ok. We talk about male nurse, but not female doctor. Personally I don’t believe in adding more confusion to a world that is already hard to understand, and it can be tricky being politically correct.
But now I’m getting sidetracked myself. Feminism is a lot of things, and it seems to me that there is a branch that frankly is a part of a general trend in society, one that clouds the message, or the people reading it. Equality to some feminists is about writing a new Bible, one where women are more visible. That sounds like a good idea, but when feninists find a male Jesus problematic I wonder what they are really playing at.
But feminism has also changed the church for the better. It’s not that long ago that Christian women were not allowed to speak, and certainly not hold any key position in the church. There have been some positive changes, and maybe it’s not fair to blame the feminists for everything that has gone too far.
When I read the Bible the women aren’t very visible. It clearly wasn’t a priority to the authors to show the women, but there are some clues. I don’t know enough about this to say much about it, but I welcome my readers to comment after this post. If I’m not mistaken there were a lot of people that followed Jesus, and his disciples were chosen from this crowd. The gospels also name some women specifically. Jesus healed some women, and the disciples probably had wives. It’s not unlikely that some of them joined their husbands, at least for periods.
I’m just speculating now, but I think there is plenty of room for a positive role for women in the Bible, if not for feminism. The problem is that what developed into the Catholic Church really made a mess of what most likely was quite positive from the start. No, I don’t think there was equality as we know it today, but women seem to have had a more important role to play than the church allowed for later. In addition to this demonic turn towards the dark side, this also influenced the feminist movement. I don’t think the counter-reaction would have been nearly as strong if the church had been fair to women.
I am believer a in the church addressing the difficult issues. That means admitting they have been wrong and making sure they do better from now on. I am not an expert of course, far from it, but I have found some verses I believe support the ideas I have expressed in this post.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Genesis 2:18 (helper is also used on God several times in Psalms 33:20, 70:5, 115:9-11, so it’s clearly not about being less).
This is an interesting passage from Luke 8:1-3:
And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
It’s interesting that apart from the disciples some women are specifically identified. That must be for a reason.
There are of course verses that could hint to women having to submit to their husbands, such as Colossians 3:18
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
If you stop reading there you don’t get the whole meaning, as I see it, but if you also read verse 19 you get a different impression:
Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
It’s the same in Epphesians 5:22:
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
This changes as you read on. Verse 25:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
Maybe it was a sign of my disobedience, but I’ve always felt it couldn’t be right when Christians preached inequality. Would I love my wife, the way God wanted me to do, if I expected her to be less than me? I don’t think so. God is neither a man or a woman, but He is a feminist in the sense that He doesn’t value women as less.
The quotes are from the King James Version from biblegateway.com
I guess I did it again. I almost included this in my post earlier today because it was only going to be a 100 words or so.