Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

Archive for the ‘Lightening the yoke’ Category

Titus 2:3-5 – not as sexist as you may think

 

Two weeks ago, I reached a small milestone: The ripe old age of 45. When I was 10, I thought 45 is old! Then again, it was older than my parents were at the time. Maybe 45 qualifies me as an “older woman”, maybe it does not.

Lady interviewing someone for a survey

From Getty Images

However, I think it is finally time to teach a text in which the Bible calls older women to teach (urge, in this particular translation) younger ones:

3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. – Titus 2:3-5

What this passage does not teach:

Many women were taught an interpretation of this text which is not in there. So, we will start with what it does not say. For that, compare these two quotes, and then see if you agree with me which one is like verse 4 : (more…)

Creation order meme: Who should listen to who?

This is a meme on the “creation order” argument. You are welcome to share this on social media if you want. (more…)

How (not) to preach about rape

“As a child, I my father told me that bees make honey from flowers, but spiders make poison from those same flowers. We can do the same with how we handle the Bible.”

Rev. Rethie van Niekerk, paraphrased.

It is a memory I buried for more than a quarter of a century. (more…)

The good news: Do I really believe it?

I’ve been hearing amazing things all day at the CBE “Truth be Told” conference. I have heard that women can be mighty, that we can preach to mixed-sex audiences, that unseen women matter, that women do not need to hide away, that women can … And in my heart, I said: “Amen, preach it, sister!”

I have been so overwhelmed that I stood up to give a standing ovation (Dr. Miranda Pillay). I’ve been so overwhelmed that I could not remember to clap my hands, my whole mind was still on the message I heard (Pastor Janice Kaufmann-Chafunya). When I heard of how humanitarian rights tie in with the basic Bible message I could not take notes fast enough. When I heard of how to spread the message to children (I teach children’s church) I missed even more potential notes: there were moments when my mind wandered because I started to think up ideas of how to implement this with children…

In short, I enthusiastically believe all of this! But… do I really? (more…)

When women choose subordination: What should an egalitarian think?

I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. – Unknown, sometimes attributed to Harriet Tubman

Please, do not come after me with pitchforks. Or knives, clubs, or handguns, or any other weapons. This article will mention prostitutes and respected church women who try to please God side by side. Before any church women get offended: I am not comparing your sexual lives. Before any prostitutes get offended (you have most likely got some condemnation from religious types along the way): I am not comparing your personalities. I am only discussing a type of argument that has been made about many women.

I was in a training session today where CBE hoped to influence leaders in an egalitarian direction. Someone asked:

What if a woman chooses to do something objectifying, like having a sugar daddy? I don’t think we can tell her anything without taking away her agency. Is that still objectification?

Similar questions are asked about other choices women make:

What if a woman chooses to be completely submissive to her husband?

What if a woman chooses to stay with a partner that controls and hits her?

What if a woman chooses to allow a partner to control and hit her? (BDSM)

What if a woman chooses to be a prostitute/ porn actress?

In short, how do we treat these equals before God, when they make choices that do not display their equal status? (more…)

No, Focus on the Family, I do not want to civilize a barbarian

Focus on the Family recently suggested something that seems, at first glance, to flatter women. I did not feel flattered at all. They suggested women are the number one way to change men for the better:

… the most fundamental social problem every community must solve is the unattached male. If his sexual, physical, and emotional energies are not governed and directed in a pro-social, domesticated manner, he will become the village’s most malignant cancer. Wives and children, in that order, are the only successful remedy ever found. – Glenn T. Stanton

This is highly problematic, to say the least.

From the theological perspective :

Have Focus On The Family never heard of Jesus and being born again? Surely Jesus is better at changing humans – even the alleged “malignant cancer” called unattached males – from the inside than any woman is? How could a Christian™ organization say that women, not Jesus, is the only remedy for men’s bad tendencies?

Stanton also says: (more…)

Rumors of God’s patriarchalism have been greatly exaggerated: The Women’s Court was not from God

Gina recently commented this on my blog:

…[T]here was for a time I couldn’t even read the bible because it gave me feelings of worthlessness. In the old testament temple, you had the holy of holies, only the High priest could enter, then the court for only men, then farther out one for women. Why did God like women less? (I thought) …

Oh, Gina. I cry over all the wrong messages that keep women (or men, or children) away from God. I think God does too. And as far as we can know today, God did not command a woman’s court. (more…)

Everyone is happy?

What on earth would motivate me to draw a doodle like this?

To be honest, I did it ages ago and cannot quite remember. My best guess is it was Doug Wilson, when he told us everyone will be happy if men can conquer and colonize while women yield and surrender, as (his idea of how) God designed the world to work. (more…)

Why are Christian articles mostly pictured with thin, young women?

I recently read an article with (very gendered) advice for Christian wives, that was accompanied by this photo:

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The article was the usual one-sided “do X for your husband, do Y for your husband” stuff, much of which would actually be great if both spouses did it for one another (praising and appreciating your partner) and others that are terrible advice (never telling him when he does wrong, as you are not the Holy Spirit). Such articles appear to have no notion of mutuality, of spouses treating each other as you yourself would like to be treated. This time around, though,  I noticed the picture, not just the article. (more…)

Perhaps this is what “submitting as to Christ” means

How would “Submit(ting) to one another” (Eph 5:21) look in real life? Should pastor Jim and elder Pete and saved 10-year old Eric obey Sunday School teacher Jane, while Sunday school teacher Jane obey pastor Jim, and Pete and Eric too, while Pete also obeys Jim and Eric and they obey him, while Eric and pastor Jim obey one another? And what if Pete and Jane give conflicting messages – who should pastor Jim submit to then?

It is obvious that submitting, in Bible language, does not mean obeying everything that other people say. Submission is for all believers towards one another, and all believers cannot obey all others. It could not mean putting the other one in a hierarchy where he has the right to lord it over you, because Jesus said that those who want to be great in his kingdom has to be servants, and his followers should not be like the worldly kings who “exercise authority”.

As such, submitting as to Christ (Eph 5:22) simply cannot mean “obeying every order as you obey the orders of Christ.” If it did, Paul would have contradicted both Jesus, and his own train of thought, in Eph 5.

Here is what I think it could mean.

What submission to Jesus is like:

Jesus came to earth as a human, and people (some of them, at least), submitted and followed him when they saw that Jesus

a) is superior in power and wisdom

and

b) had their best interest at heart/ loved them and gave His life to save them.

What male/ female relations in the ANE was like:

In the world the New Testament was written to, women had fewer opportunities to learn, and fewer opportunities to earn money, than men. Men married at about age 25 to 30 after they were established financially, women as teens. As such, men were richer and knew more than their wives.

What submitting as to Christ would mean, to such a wife:

When your husband knows better and asks something out of love, co-operate. It is sensible to co-operate with love, wisdom and power, and foolish to go against it.

After such a statement to wives, the passage seems to be written from the assumption that the husband already has knowledge and power (two things Jesus have more of than us). The passage tells husbands to have the other thing Jesus has in abundance, love. The husband should love his wife as much as his own body, that places her needs as highly as those of himself.

The start of submitting to Christ is seeing what Christ is. The start of submitting as to Christ should then be seeing Christ in who she is asked to submit to.

(In today’s Western world, of course, the situation is not as unequal, and women are as likely as men to have more knowledge and not that unlikely to have power or money. Which means that husbands, too, will often be wise to submit as to Christ.)

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