Women. They are cute and pretty.
They are smart and they listen and say wise things.
They are crazy and make no sense and they make babies
and they smell awesome and they save babies from car crashes with super hero-like strength etc etc.
Throughout history they have received the short end of every stick ever. Some, point their finger at a myriad of reasons for that, but i kind of want to commentate what I see from the bible, and then see what happens.
– God makes man and woman. God makes them equally valuable. God makes them the same being and its not until ADAM, calls Eve something different from ADAM that they seem to be different. God then points out in his post-fall prophecy/”curse” that man will look to his work for security, and women will look to man for security, and both will kick snakes in the face.
Nowhere in this dialogue are we told that man HAS to do anything, or woman HAS to look to anyone, just that we will, and thats the truth of it.
– Fast forward to 2014, OH LOOK, man looks to his work for security. (Oh and so does woman) AND women look to man for their security (OH and look so does man) neither look to God, neither know that they each are inherently valuable. but they have to look for their value in other things. In work, or who they know. (Which is explored ALL through the bible)
But lets look back at women.
Living in a patriarchal tribal society, the MEN, get mentioned all of the time, and the WOMEN get mentioned none of the time. So women must be less valuable right? NO.
My mother took my fathers last name, Her mother took her husbands last name. In a mini version of patriarchal society, if you read our history in two thousand years, from our genealogies, you may think that we are devaluing women. Right?
But just think, the most valuable commodities of a tribal society is usually – LAND/stock and BABIES. Who makes babies? WOMEN!
Women are valued. and of course, there was abuse, and there were times where they were not valued (Oh wait, in 2014 we have abuse and devalued people too) But women are still the same but different. Valued, adored, loved, similar, but different.
Then, in a book that is largely covering a patriarchal tribal society, that turns into a kingdom, that turns into a scattered race, there are women mentioned all over the shop, when truly they usually wouldn’t be. Esther, a woman that saves her people, Ruth, a woman that joins the blood line of Christ, Deborah- a judge of the people, Rahab, the owner of a brothel that saves some spies. Women are in this story like glue that holds the pages of a book together.
They, on the whole, aren’t the big wig leaders of this crap heap story of failure, but they are there – equal, valuable, same same but different.
SO when we come to the New Testament – a different culture to ours, in congregations with different make ups from ours, with different but similar problems to ours – we can’t suddenly turn around and say – Women are less valuable, less skilled, less smart or less honoured in the congregation of Gods people.
Rewind again a little.
– Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy. All through the law, God lays out the plans and stipulations to make sure that family looked a certain way and men and women honoured each other and stayed alive. So when women had their period he made sure that they had baths, cleaned their clothes and didn’t die from diseases. When men had their ‘time of the month’, he was the same with them. BATHE!
God wanted (and still wants) his people alive.
– The law also stated that sex wasn’t to be had with just anyone, women were to be honoured, families were sacred. In a patriarchal society, the people that were most pointed out to be needing honouring and help when times were tough were, the WIDOWS and ORPHANS. Celebrated, because society needs women and children. ‘Men-only’ just doesn’t cut the mustard.
So, as evangelicalism does so well at celebrating oppression under the name of holiness and purity, the church-wide move to take out female pastors, female worship leaders, female anythings in the church on Sunday, seems to me to be quite a farce. If God had hated on women from the start… maybe. If God had written into his history with women ‘Oh yeah, by the way, your heaps weaker then dudes and your less good at passionately obeying me’ then maybe we should continue with sexism in our current un-patriarchal society.
It was mothers day today. My mother is very wise, very inspiring and has a faith in God different then many I have seen. Her partnership with my Dad over the last almost four decades has continually changed peoples lives for the better, and although my Dad is an incredible man, it wasn’t just Dads loving heart that gave people space to change. I’m curious what our church could be like today if my mother was given the same public influence as my father. I’m wondering what the city I grew up in could have looked like, if every woman in church knew that she was spiritual as valuable as all the men there, as all the leaders, as all the influencers.
We would have a much healthier church body I think.