Friday, August 3, 2007

I'm right, you're wrong, end of story, who wants cake?

Note: The title is not meant to be taken as a serious statement.

I've been mulling over my Ephesians post, and the reactions to it. The reactions basically went into two camps, which I figured would happen. Those who found it a disturbing verse, a voice of the time, and those who ... well, for lack of a better word, didn't. Now, this latter camp did find the prior treatment (as in, the verse used to permit subjugation of wives) deplorable, and did focus on the positives of the verse, such as the man must love his wife as the Christ loved the church.

I guess my question would be this: at what point is the verse simply allowed to be wrong, or a product of its time, rather than misinterpreted? In today's time, any verse that comes across as pro-slavery or anti-woman that was once vigorously used is now pretty much explained as a misinterpretation. It didn't really mean that slavery was okay, the people of that time were just blinded.

Okay -- but in 500 years, what else is going to be just a misinterpretation, and actually mean something else? Will there come a point at which everything in the Bible was just a misinterpretation? Where is the line drawn?

I've also noticed a trend with disturbing/bothersome Bible verses. They're almost not allowed to stand on their own, or allowed to say what's in them. In response to Ephesians, other verses were used to interpret it, in order to address the points I made, other verses were used to explain it. We don't do that with verses such as the Samaritan parable. We don't even really do that with the two greatest commandments. Those stand on their own a lot more than some of the other verses.

Now, I'm not denying that it's important to put the Bible in context. Otherwise, we could end up with a situation like saying that Peter was actually Satan in disguise, because Jesus called him Satan once, and so the Catholic Church was actually founded by Satan (although, there may be some who completely agree with the last portion of that). But there's also contextualizing a verse to the point where the interpretation doesn't match the verse at all -- it's almost been re-written through all the other verses. It's been completely twisted out of shape, in order to make people more comfortable. And then, in order to answer a question developed from the uncomfortable passage, another passage is used -- but used in a way that avoids the discomfort of the first passage, period.

That angers me, and I think that is because it comes across as sweeping the verse under the carpet, and moving onto more cheerful matters. I'm going to use a really extreme example here, but Hitler was swept under the rug through use of appeasement (although, in the end, he didn't stay swept under there). The European nations, rather than stopping Hitler when he started taking over other countries, figured that he'd have to stop after that one, and what was the harm in letting him keep it so long as there was no war? (No, they didn't do this casually, having just gotten out of a first World War that had devastating consequences, much of that due to, for those times, modern weaponry). The problem is that you can't do that with something unjust. You have to fix the causes, or you're never going to solve the problem.

In a lot of ways, that's what the Ephesians verse reminds me of. It goes back to the reaction of it was just a misinterpretation, and they didn't focus on the man loving as Christ (although, here's a sobering thought: what if that was forefront in their minds as well, and that was their idea of love?) It's like you can pat yourself on the back for fixing the misinterpret ion, or shake your head over how misguided prior generations were. But that's not fixing the problem, that's appeasement.

I'm not denying that culture played a role in how the Bible was read. It always does, and it always will. But that is almost placing the blame/responsibility solely on culture, and not examining the verse itself. Apart from culture, why was the Ephesians verse interpreted the way it was? What was it in those verses that people responded to? What are the root causes in the verse itself that sparked those ideas? The fact that the woman isn't compared to Christ? The fact that the woman is compared to the man's body? The fact that the woman isn't told to love, but just submit/respect? Maybe it really was the author's intent to portray a non-equal message? If it was, what do we do about it?

We need to address those questions, and not just say that prior generations got it wrong. We can't just use other verses in order to "clean up" the Ephesians verse. We need to be able to identify what the triggers are, what it was in that verse that made people cling to the notion of inequality so long, and we can only do that by taking a cold, hard look at it and going, "You know what? I totally see where they got that from." Otherwise, we're just changing the surface of the passage, and dragging another viewpoint out, trying to conceal the first viewpoint, rather than completely eradicate it. This can, in turn, lead to the danger of the prior interpretation asserting itself.

I still don't find the verse that liberating for wives. But at least now I understand why I'm being so forceful on this issue.

19 comments:

SocietyVs said...

Guess who's back...lol...I am thinking at some point I will be disliked - ahhhhh.

"well, for lack of a better word, didn't" (heather)

me...include me here.

"Now, this latter camp did find the prior treatment (as in, the verse used to permit subjugation of wives) deplorable, and did focus on the positives of the verse" (heather)

If this is me - it is wrong - mentioned all aspects (even the subjugation aspect of it).

"at what point is the verse simply allowed to be wrong, or a product of its time, rather than misinterpreted?" (Heather)

Wanna rip out Ephesians - be my guest - don't changea thing at all - we need to get involved in that change if it is going to happen at all. Product of someone's time - it's happening now - let's get involved and call bullsh*t.

"any verse that comes across as pro-slavery or anti-woman that was once vigorously used is now pretty much explained as a misinterpretation" (Heather)

Well is it or is it not? I gave plenty of reasons (and sound ones at that) as to why this is a mis-interpretation - and I would challenge the greatest scholar on the issue about this idea I have presented (*this 'oneness').

"I've also noticed a trend with disturbing/bothersome Bible verses. They're almost not allowed to stand on their own, or allowed to say what's in them" (Heather)

Hey...I presented the whole thing and left nothing out - not one thing - and even left out the 'oneness' verse which brings it all together (mind you it comes form Jesus' teachings). Ephesians quotes sonething and I wanted to be totally sure on Paul (as Dagoods suggested - and even Peter - so I did). But to be honest Ephesians can stand on it's own (but it does quote Jesus and Genesis) and that needs to be looked at also for true meaning. Or where does that end? Not sure but I have figured out 'one' can not be seperated.

"The problem is that you can't do that with something unjust. You have to fix the causes, or you're never going to solve the problem." (Heather)

Uhm...comparing Hitler to the idea of women's rights...nice. When did women for being of the woman persuasion get murdered for being a woman? If I remember correctly - Hitler murdered Jewish people for being Jewish - women and men he murdered them (made no difference).

"But that is almost placing the blame/responsibility solely on culture, and not examining the verse itself. Apart from culture, why was the Ephesians verse interpreted the way it was?" (Heather)

Easy - cultural mis-interpretations - why is this so hard to get? I live in a culture that faced a genocide from a church culture that carried out gov't's mandates and I know for a FACT they mis-interpreted the bible - yet this is misnomer on my part? Tell it to my kin.

"Maybe it really was the author's intent to portray a non-equal message? If it was, what do we do about it?" (Heather)

Burn the book maybe? Or listen to sound reason - and I am the first one to jump on the woman's equality train (because I want that for my wife) - but the sad problem - it ain't here babe.

"It will be seen as though you are just as uncomfortable as I am, only I'm honest enough to admit it" (Heather)

Only thing I can say is 'I am proud of you' but you have't convinced me as of yet. After checking the passages (the letters and gospels) I find you missed a few things about this whole thing and want to make an issue about it. There is denying that the passage mentions 'oneness' in Adam and Eve - but you wanna make a point on one word 'submission' - sorry one word does not make a paragraph.

"Now again -- I am not saying that people are evading, or are uncomfortable" (Heather)

Just tell them I inspired you...wink wink.

Heather said...

Society,

**If this is me - it is wrong - mentioned all aspects (even the subjugation aspect of it). **

Wait -- are you saying that I said you glossed over the negative parts? Because my intention was to say that everything was commented on, in terms of people finding how it was previously used deplorable, and pointing out the positives in the verse. Because in finding it deplorable, all the aspects would be mentioned.

**But to be honest Ephesians can stand on it's own (but it does quote Jesus and Genesis) and that needs to be looked at also for true meaning. **

The part where Jesus goes with the wife/husband shall be as one flesh is in response to divorce and if it's legal. He's not using that quote to address equality between the two, he's saying that they are to be one, don't break apart what God put together. But that does not mean, in turn, the marriage was seen between two equals. He's saying that they were granted the divorce aspect because of their hard hearts, but that is wrong, as they are one flesh.

Jesus does say in other parts about people being one just as he and his Father are one. But that comes across as using "one" in a different sense.

Even with Ephesians -- the 'one flesh' can easily tie back to the fact that man shall love the woman as his own body -- ie, his own flesh. Why? Because she is a part of his flesh.

I'm not denying that Jesus elevated women -- one of the parables I love in giving an example of God is the woman searching for coins, and that he used a woman to make the example. I'm not denying that Paul spoke of equality in his other letters. I do not see equality in Ephesians.

**Uhm...comparing Hitler to the idea of women's rights...nice. When did women for being of the woman persuasion get murdered for being a woman?**

I did say it was an extreme example, and the point behind this comparison was that Europe wasn't looking at the causes behind Hitler's attacks, or what was driving him. They were focusing superficially, and my point was comparing Europe's reaction to Hiter's advances to an interpretation of Ephesians. The comparison had nothing to do with women get murdered for being women just like Hitler murdered the Jews for being Jews.

**Well is it or is it not? **

Honestly? That depends on who you ask. Some would say it's there, others would say it's a misinterpretation.

**Easy - cultural mis-interpretations - why is this so hard to get? **

It's not that it's hard to get. What this is saying is that there is nothing in the verse itself that would cause this interpretation, and that it's all culture. I don't agree with that. I think there are elements in the verse itself, and if we could know which particular element the person focused on, we could better address the root cause, rather than just say it's a cultural misinterpretation. If I know that the person is just honing in on the husband gets to behave this way because the wife is just like his body, then I can better prepare an answer.

** There is denying that the passage mentions 'oneness' in Adam and Eve - but you wanna make a point on one word 'submission' - sorry one word does not make a paragraph. **

Except my post below didn't just focus on the submission point. There was a lot, with Christ as the head and compared to the husband, both are seen as "heads" of something else, the fact that 'love' isn't assigned to the wife, that the husband is compared to Christ who does what humanity couldn't and thus there could be a connection with the husband doing what the wife can't, and the fact that if all this is combined, the concept of 'love' can easily become skewed.

Heather W. Reichgott said...

"Baby, let's play a game. You be Christ and I'll be the church. I will submit to you, proclaim your goodness, and obey your every whim. You'll honor me, make me feel like God's most beloved child, and periodically you will dangle my spirit over the howling abyss of wilderness and fear that shatters all false gods in my heart and makes me cling to you."

"But sweetheart, how can you submit to me if you've just told me everything I should do?"

"D'oh!"

Illustrations are not the same thing as law. It's entirely possible for a passage of Scripture to have powerful meaning as an image, or even as something we play-act for a short period of time, without it also having the meaning of being a universal norm for ethical conduct. That is, it's possible to read heterosexual marriage as an illustration of Christ and the church, in the same way that it's possible to say "the Lord is my shepherd." It's utterly true, in far more than a 'metaphorical' sense. It's not just a pretty word-picture. But we don't construct a universal law that says only sheep can truly be followers of God.

I think there's a profound danger in trying to reduce the Bible to verse-by-verse legal kibble. First, it's not all law. Second, even if you insist it's all law, you're stuck as soon as you get to Deuteronomy saying that rape victims have to marry their rapists. Third, are we going to toss out obviously non-obeyable texts like "The earth was without form, and void, and the Spirit of God blew across the face of the deep" and say they're not Scripture because we aren't prepared to obey them? (whatever obedience might look like?) It gets awfully silly awfully fast.

SocietyVs said...

Heather...I am back...like a spoiled child to a crab apple tree. Kidding - this discussion is much needed in our society.

"Because in finding it deplorable, all the aspects would be mentioned" (Heather)

Sorry, my bad on that one...I messed up as a fool usually does. I am sorry for that.

"He's not using that quote to address equality between the two, he's saying that they are to be one, don't break apart what God put together." (Heather)

By your reasoning...'They are to be one' and 'don't break apart what God put 2gether' - your words. Tell me how 2 become 1 and still remain unequal? Isn't the idea of oneness to mean it can't break itself apart? Even Jesus mentions Moses gave them the right to divorce based on the 'hardness of their hearts' - which was not the original intention. "So they are no longer 2, but 1 flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. They said to Him, Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY? He said to them, Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way". (Matt 19:4-8). The idea Jesus was teaching was 'one' cannot be seperated into '2' (heck even the children of the divorced speak this in volumnes - being 2 as 1 - but not seperate entities of the parents in the same child).

"He's saying that they were granted the divorce aspect because of their hard hearts, but that is wrong, as they are one flesh." (Heather)

What's the diff though? Jesus did not want them to break 1 apart...he never saw them as a seperate 2. They were equal by that standard if one looks at it - the wife (Eve) and the man (Adam) - were 1 (not 2) - from the beginning - so no need to treat one as lower than the other at all!

" I do not see equality in Ephesians" (Heather)

I am hoping to persuade you - lol. But honestly I am.

"and the point behind this comparison was that Europe wasn't looking at the causes behind Hitler's attacks" (Heather)

Okay I get the point you made - always did - just thought the holocaust was not a good example. But again - even if the wrongs exist in the past - the best we can do is set right the present tense...which has always been my point. Women have been down-trodden in the past - I agree - and even in churches to this day - I agree - let's do something about that (action) and say we didn't.

"What this is saying is that there is nothing in the verse itself that would cause this interpretation, and that it's all culture. I don't agree with that." (Heather)

I am not saying there is nothing that would cause that mis-interpretation - all one has to do is be good at is chopping up scriptures (a piece here and a piece there for a doctrine). That's exactly what they did. If you don't believe it check out any teaching on this and see how they isolated certain scriptures to suit their tastes (or dogma). They never mention a whole letter in their interpretations but certian pieces of a letter for that ourcome. Hell I even went through the pains of finding as much of Paul on the issue as I could to explain my logic - not even including Jesus and Genesis (but they do quote from there).

"Except my post below didn't just focus on the submission point" (Heather)

I apologize for this _ I rushed the point a little - sorry to mis-represent you like that.

"Christ as the head and compared to the husband, both are seen as "heads" of something else, the fact that 'love' isn't assigned to the wife" (Heather)

I know and I agree...then again how does this put the wife out? If we are talking about their time frame (societal wise) the idea of 'oneness in flesh' would of answered that as equality - from a simple Jewish perspective - which they would've got 1st hand. Even as adopted children into Abraham (which Jesus taught) they would've assumed equality all in all - and if that didn't answer it - I think the letters of Paul (including Galatians) were likely circulated to answer it. But again we are talking about a society that might not be ready for this anyways - but we are ready for it.

"that the husband is compared to Christ who does what humanity couldn't and thus there could be a connection with the husband doing what the wife can't, and the fact that if all this is combined, the concept of 'love' can easily become skewed." (Heather)

The first part of this is assumption at the least (about Christ doing what we can't - would that community have taken that thought exactly from the letter?). Love can be skewed - we know that - and they likely knew that - but don't suppose they were so nieve to not know what love could mean and should mean...even if they didn't get it - Paul did - which is 1/2 of what matters here. Do we know what love means now anyways? We are still trying to strike that balance as it were.

Heather I appreciate you!

SocietyVs said...

Just wait...just wait...mofo just wait...I want cake and ice cream!

Heather said...

Society,

**Tell me how 2 become 1 and still remain unequal?**

A lot can become 'one' and still remain unequal. Five people could become one 'group,' but that doesn't meant that everyone in the group is equal. Even two people could become a group and still remain unequal, or one holds a higher position than the lower. Even here, it depends on how they are becoming 'one,' because the one is modifying 'flesh.' It's not saying that two become one equals, or just that two become 'one.' It's that two become one flesh, and you don't seperate yourself from your flesh.

And would Judaic law have assumed that as equality? After all, it had a prayer floating around about thanking God for not making them a Gentile or a woman, because of all the things a woman couldn't do (I think studying the Torah was one of those things). Saying that 2 become 1 in our time might signal equality. But with the reference Jesus makes, he seems to be saying that marriage makes a man and a woman "one flesh."

The thing with the divorce aspect is, if I'm remembering my history, was that the writ could be used for any excuse in divorcing the wife, and Jesus is pointing that marriage is supposed to mean something and you can't just divorce someone for forgetting the camel or something. It's making the marriage be completely non-sacred. I mean, as it is, the Pharisees were coming off rather smug, in saying, "Moses said we could" and Jesus responds with "Moses knew you were all morons."

**Okay I get the point you made - always did - just thought the holocaust was not a good example. **

I'm still going to dispute this (big surprise), because my comparison had nothing to do with the Holocaust. I know that Hitler and the Holocaust get used interchangely a lot, but the Holocaust is where the six million Jews were killed, and I believe about five million other races/genders?. But I'm taking Hitler in the context of appeasement, and only with appeasement, such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Holland and so on -- that is not the Holocaust. Those are events that added numbers to the Holocaust, because it gave Hitler access to more victims. But the appeasement and invasion aren't dependent on the Holocaust, because the former could've still happened without the latter. Because comparing this to the Holocaust would've been inappropriate, but I was focusing on the most well-known example of failed appeasement, which was Germany invading other countries. I know you're saying that you get my point, and don't see the Holocaust as a good example -- I'm just confused as to the discrepency here, I suppose, given that I'm saying the Holocaust wasn't part of the example.

**The first part of this is assumption at the least (about Christ doing what we can't - would that community have taken that thought exactly from the letter?). **

I have no idea how the community would've taken the letter -- it would greatly depend on if Paul actually wrote it, and what was going on with the community. But I know how it was taken for centuries, and that could've been one of the things that men picked up on -- they were a Christ-figure in the marriage.

Heather said...

Heather,

You Simponsized my post. :)

I'm not sure if your comment is saying that I'm reducing it to legal kibble, or that the reason this verse has been used poorly in the past is because others have taken it is a law

Heather W. Reichgott said...

I wasn't accusing you of the kibble approach.

I do think that that way of reading Scripture has infected Protestant churches to the degree that if we don't like a habitual interpretation of some text, we start to wonder how and whether we can still consider the text "true." I think that's part of what you are grappling with in your explorations of Ephesians here. They're wonderful explorations.

I don't think there ever does come a point where we should say about any part of Scripture "the text is wrong, or a product of its time." Just because we discover God is not asking us to apply this text as a universal law, doesn't mean we have to say the text is wrong. Maybe the text has something else, or maybe even a whole boatload of somethings else, to say to us.

That's all. :)

Dan Marvin said...

Heather "In response to Ephesians, other verses were used to interpret it, in order to address the points I made, other verses were used to explain it. We don't do that with verses such as the Samaritan parable. We don't even really do that with the two greatest commandments. Those stand on their own a lot more than some of the other verses."

Matthew 22:39 "And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself"

But what does this truly mean. Does that mean we are to love them no matter what they do because we are sinners also? Do we cottle them in their sins, tell them God loves them no matter what? Nope Jesus was clear when he said this. He was telling us what the standard was. The way to show your love to your neighbor is to warn them and their sins will take them to hell.

The only way you can show your love to your neighbor was outlined in Leviticus 19:17-18 "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

I love you enough Heather, and others, to ask you to repent and trust in Jesus he will save you. Without him you will perish, and I just can't watch that happen to you. Heather are you born again?... you must be.

Heather said...

Hi, Heather.

Thanks for the clarification. :)

I think much of what you're touching on is the "all or nothing" approach vs. the "shades of grey."

**I don't think there ever does come a point where we should say about any part of Scripture "the text is wrong, or a product of its time."**

This I would disagree with. If I would say that a part is wrong, I wouldn't say it in the terms that the writer lied -- rather, the writer was influenced by culture and what they knew at the time. Such as many of the laws that are in the first five books of the OT.

jON said...

wow. that was a lot to read in order to catch up, but very interesting and enlightening. i think i hear what you are asking about, heather, and shall surprisingly try to address it and not tell you you're wrong or try to convince you of anything! how's that sound? ready? let's begin.

stepping out on a limb here, but i believe you were correct in your wonderings if the author was intentionally trying to show an inequality between men and women. that was all the author knew. it's like the author saying that you need to breathe, or that the earth is flat, or camels are a good way to get around on lengthy journeys. it's just how things "were."

i am now of the opinion of french theologian jaques ellul that women were, and are intentionally created as superior beings to men. that was god's intention. god continued to create beings more distinct and slightly more advanced and complex than the last. but god didn't stop with man. god stopped with woman. when god created woman, god rested. and saw that it was good.

man is made of dust, but woman is made from another living being. man, in my opinion, was the prototype, but still more animal-like in their basic beings. woman is animal-like in appearance, but underneath has a far greater capacity to think, feel, communicate, multi-task, suffer, endure, and on and on and on.

ah but for that pesky curse! that curse that god placed on woman. "your desire will be for the man and he will rule over you." IT'S A CURSE! IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY! I THINK IT IS RIGHT FOR YOU TO CHAFE AND THINK, "WHAT A HORRIBLE PRISON SENTANCE", BECAUSE IT IS! it was meant to be that way. yet i think that in truth this curse was broken along with the rest at the cross.

yet men still were and are in charge of this fucked up world of traditions that they refuse to let go. perhaps because they fear the truth in their heart of hearts which is that women out class them in every way possible and if all the women left from behind the scenes and stopped holding everything from marriages to the entire world together, it would crumble in a heart beat.

why women don't just take off and leave us to die is truly mind boggling. really.

but what i hear you asking more is what can we DO about it? and the answer, in my own opinion which i could be completely wrong about, is to simply live consistant with that truth if you believe it to be the truth. and in so doing you will convince some and enrage others. which is the truly hard part about change.

i don't think there's anything we can do in the here and now to create a mass repentance (or mind-change as "repent" truly means) over this. there is too much for men to lose than for them to be big and just apologize and STOP the belittling. (like altar calls and questioning a person's connection with The Intangible?) because they don't even realize they're doing it, i don't think. but maybe i'm being too generous.

i think you're on the right track. be encouraged, sister.

Mystical Seeker said...

I am now of the opinion of french theologian jaques ellul that women were, and are intentionally created as superior beings to men. that was god's intention. god continued to create beings more distinct and slightly more advanced and complex than the last. but god didn't stop with man. god stopped with woman. when god created woman, god rested. and saw that it was good.

That reminds me of the old bumper sticker that read, "Adam was a rough draft."

jim said...

It can be argued that Paul was doing his best in the given culture/situation. I've heard the arguments. It ends up sounding like Paul really didn't believe there should be any male/female inequality but he was being sensitive to the culture and situation and doing his best without blowing the whole thing up. But Jesus didn't seem to take such an approach. So, it seems more like compromise on Paul's part than divine wisdom (utterance) me.

Great discussion by all...
Grace and Peace

Heather said...

Hi, Jon.

Thanks for reading.

**stepping out on a limb here, but i believe you were correct in your wonderings if the author was intentionally trying to show an inequality between men and women. that was all the author knew.**
This, I agree with. I found the reference I made earlier -- that back then, Jews would thank God for not making them Gentile or female, and this is mentioned in the Interpreter's Bible.

**but god didn't stop with man. god stopped with woman. when god created woman, god rested. and saw that it was good. **
Actually, I've read some theologians who hold that 'adam' which was basically a human being was genderless until God pulled out another being from its side. At which point, there became a man and woman, and the 'adam' became a formal name.

**why women don't just take off and leave us to die is truly mind boggling. really.**

It's said that women need men a lot more than men need women. Science has shown that married men live longer than single men, so ... it boggles my mind, too. ;)

**and in so doing you will convince some and enrage others. which is the truly hard part about change. **
It's always interesting, though, that the "enraged" ones are always the loudest.

Jim,

**So, it seems more like compromise on Paul's part than divine wisdom (utterance) me.**

I don't think it's divine utterance at all, I think it was cultural playing a role and possibly being interpreted as a divine utterance (I think we see this in the Tanakh as well, like the verses that have the Earth as flat. People would've seen those as divine revelation because everyone "knew" the Earth was flat, and if God was saying otherwise, then it didn't come from God) -- see back to the thanking God for not being such-and-such. I do think we see a "women are less than men" attitude creeping into the NT in certain sections.

Unfortunatly, the liberating sections have often been interpreted through the restricting sections. That's always a lot easier to do, whereas the restricting sections can't really become liberating. Some may be able to see them as liberating through studying other passages, but I find too much in this passage to be unequal in order to do that.

jON said...

**"Some may be able to see them as liberating through studying other passages, but I find too much in this passage to be unequal in order to do that."**

i have a few questions if you don't mind. what would you like to see done about this? what's behind your musings over this passage? are you simply pointing out what you've noticed about the severity of disparity between men and women in this passage, or is there an end to which you would like to see your thoughts bring people to?

just curious... it's all good from here...

Mike L. said...

I hear one main problem that is the root of the complexity. The word "mis-intepretation" is used when it shouldn't be used. By using this word, you imply that there is a correct meaning to these verses beyond the understanding of its writers. Are you assuming that these writers had it "right" but later people messed up the intpretation? I don't think that is true at all. These people were not originally true and they were not "speaking for God" when they wrote. They were speaking ABOUT God but not FOR God. They were speaking to the best of their ability and knowledge about their experience and imagination.

They (Paul in this case) DID see women as lower forms of humanity. They DID see slavery as a reasonable part of society. We should not try to look at these texts to try and glean some God given truth in every word and assume any negative issues are a result of our misinterpretation. All of these texts are a product of a particular point in history and does contain all the baggage associated with human culture at that point in time and in that culture.

These problems only arise when we try to read the text as God's words rather than the words of man.

StaCeY said...

I'll have some cake please?.....

(and maybe a nice cup of tea?!)

Heather said...

Jon,

I don’t mind questions at all.

One of the things that bothers me about religion, and this isn’t limited to Christianity, is that texts or traditions are often approached with the conclusion already determined. Some of that is due to tradition, and other parts of that are due to culture. And then another reason for that is because we always approach something with a set conclusion. No one is unbiased. Take this passage: many in today's times would approach it with a sense of equality, because of what our culture determined. 200 years ago, it would've been, and was, used as justification for inequality. The time in which it was wrote was an unequal time, and I believe portions of the Bible reflect that.

And so to say that for ... well, about 16-17 centuries it was just misinterpreted angers me, because of the damage it's done. Just take a look at the timeline of women's rights: Birth control still illegal in 1916, right to vote in 1920, Equal Pay Act in 1963 to make it illegal to pay women less than men, 1965 was Griswold that permitted birth control for married couples, 1972 was In Eisenstadt v. Baird the Supreme Court rules that the right to privacy includes an unmarried person's right to use contraceptives -- all of this was pulled from http://www.infoplease.com/spot/womenstimeline1.html

Given how much Christianity dominated and shaped Wester society, much of what women were fighting for was against how Christianity of that time interpreted matters. And Christianity is still a huge force in America, there are people that want the country to follow "Biblical principles," which often comes across as another word for "control" ...

I suppose I just want people to realize the power verses like this had in keeping women in a second-class status.

Mike,

I think you said what I was trying to say a lot more eloquently and straight to the point. Thanks. :)

Stacey,

How do you feel about French Silk Pie instead?

StaCeY said...

"Stacey,

How do you feel about French Silk Pie instead?"

Ok sister. I'm gunna trust you blindly on this one.

French Silk Pie it is.
(sounds like it might be better with coffee?)