Recently, I was preparing a Sunday school lesson for Grade 1-3’s. It was on Moses. My lesson book had these words:
While Moses sat and guarded the sheep, God called him: (Speak in a deep voice.) “Moses …”
A distinctive voice is needed in dramatic retelling, but why a deep voice? Men have deep voices, do the writer subconsciously think of God as male?
This comes in the paragraph after “the daddies had to work very hard in Egypt and the mummies were crying because their baby boys were drowned,” in that same book. Slave owners usually lets daddies and mommies and children work hard. And daddies, I am sure, also grieve over their babies. If people unconscously think heathen slave owners would uphold their ideas of gender roles, how much more will their deceptive hearts read their ideas into texts of how religious Bible characters acted?
Only a few days later, one of my Facebook friends posted a comment referring to Pentecost, and the Spirit being poured out on all flesh. And I remembered that I tried to find a picture of that to show in my Sunday school class last year. Children simply remember better with pictures. What I found on Google images was picture after picture in which the Spirit was poured out on … old men. Sometimes, for variety, it was paintings with men who look young-ish, but with beards. Whether it was centuries-old paintings or new illustrations from children’s lessons, the pictures made it look as if God poured out his Spirit on all adult male flesh. The text actually say:
Acts 2:17-18 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
It is obvious, from that quote, that the spirit was poured out on male and female, young and old.
What should I conclude from material like this? I think our thinking about the Bible and God is more patriarchal than God himself or the Bible itself.