Saturday, July 26, 2008

Feeling Sick

I have been puzzling about why I felt that our church had such a terrible influence on us. It was an Anglican church and at one time women spoke from the pulpit. It seems to be full of normal people. There are a lot of really painful thoughts for me right now. I thought that the Bruce Ware thing was distant from me and that his writing had somehow influenced my former pastor by distance through literature.

But this evening I finally realized that Bruce Ware had come to Vancouver and a group had been established to refocus on biblical authority and my former pastor is one of the group. I found the conference agenda and he was in the lineup right beside Bruce Ware.

The poison of knowing that a man that I thought talked to women as equals really believes that women are only in the image of God if they live under male headship is making me ill. I feel betrayed. I knew there was a connection but I did not realize how close it was.

It is just one more stage in the journey of total disillusionment. They are a group that have demonized the TNIV, removed women from the pulpit, preached the submission of women, and denied outright that a church with 1000 people in it would have any cases of spousal abuse. What business have they calling themselves Christian!

The circumcision of Lancelot

This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Under Much Grace is an anti-patriarchy blog. Cindy saw this book written by one of the patriarchs of Vision Forum and she recognized the picture, with just this one difference. Lancelot should be kneeling before his queen with the blade of the sword lying flat on his shoulder.

However, the patriarchal author of this book altered the picture so Lancelot is standing. The sword falls now in the wrong place. Ouch.

See the original and unaltered image on Cindy's blog.

Friday, July 25, 2008

For Dave

Testing, testing. Does Dave Ker read this blog? It seems that he has been asking for some music to learn a little Hebrew. My last post was in Yiddish, but this one has a couple of verses from the Hebrew Bible. Snappy too. I thought the second one would be Dave's style.

"Rachem" (Mercy) by 12-yr-old Mordechai Shapiro of Miami Boys Choir with Yaacov Shwekey

rachem rachem nu hashem elokeinu rachem
Have mercy, mercy, Hashem Our G-d, mercy

al yisrael amecha rachem

On Israel Your people, mercy

ve'al yerushalayim irecha rachem rachem rachem

And on Jerusalem Your city, mercy, mercy, mercy

ve'al tziyon mishkan kevodecha

And on Zion, the resting place of Your glory

ve'al malchus beis david meshichecha
And on the kingdom of the House of David, Your annointed

ve'al habayis ha gadol ve'hakadosh rachem rachem rachem
And on Your great and holy Temple, mercy, mercy, mercy

"Kol Hamispalel" (All Those Who Pray) by Yeshiva Boys Choir

kol hamispalel bimkom hazeh beyerushalayim
Whoever prays in this place, in Jerusalem

keilu hispalel lifnei lifnei kisei hakovod
It is as if he prays before the Heavenly throne

sheshar hashamayim, hashamayim shom hu
At the gate of heaven, in heaven he is

u'pesach pesuach leshmaya tefillah
And the doorway is open for prayers to be heard

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oyfn pripetchik

I am heading away from the Bible blogging and back to another realm. The alphabet. A lot simpler. Here is a song I just had to share. Too beautiful. Think as you listen about the multiple meanings of the letters, hard to learn the alphabet, hard to learn Torah and hard to be part of the diaspora.

    In the Fireplace

    Oyfn pripetchik brent a fayerl

    In the fireplace burns a fire

    un in shtub is heys

    And the room is warm

    Un der rebe lernt kleyne kinderlekh

    And the Rabbi teaches little children

    Dem alef-beyz.

    The aleph-beis.

    Zet zhe kinderlekh,

    See you dear children,

    Gedenkt zhe, tayere, vos ir lernt do,

    Remember dearest ones, what you're learning here

    Zogt zhe nokh a mol un take nokh a mol:

    Say it once again, and yet still once again,

    "Komets-alef: o!"

    "Komets-alef: o!"

    Az ir vet, kiderlech, elter vern,

    Oh dear children, when you are older,

    vet ir aleyn farshteyn

    You will understand

    vie'fl in die oysiyos liegn trern

    How many tears in the letters lie

    un vie fiel geveyn.

    And how much weeping.
I was listening to this tonight when I realized that the words don't match after the first two verses, so these words should be better, but the second half is in Russian. (The first half is in Yiddish.) Check it out here.

Steve Herald gave us this literal translation of the last verse, "When you will, children, bear the exile (and) be worn down (by it), you should draw strength from these letters, look inside them."

He also added, "I think that last phrase (Kukt in zey arayn * look inside them) refers back to a line from the previous verse of the song: Vifil in di oysyes lign trern * how many tears lie in these letters (i.e., because of the torments of the diaspora). Also, 'oysyes' (letters) means the letters of the alphabet, but it also refers indirectly to the letters making up the words of the Torah, since the rabbi is teaching the children the alef-beys only so that they can study Torah.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Response to the Open Letter Part 2

In my recent post Response to the Open Letter I responded to three of Dr.Grudem's challenges in his Open Letter to Egalitarians. Mike Seaver of Role Calling has kindly agreed to an exchange of posts on this topic.

Mike has also posted his own open letter here. I have responded with a couple of comments but I realize that I have not completed my response to the original open letter. Here are the three points in Grudem's letter that I had not responded to. First, Dr Grudem's question and then my answer.

Dr. Grudem writes,

3. “or’’ (Greek ē): In 1 Corinthians 14:36, some of you argue that the Greek word ē (“or’’) shows that the preceding verses are a quotation from the Corinthian church which Paul denies. Therefore you say that Paul is not really telling the Corinthian church, the women should keep silence in the churches. ...

Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “or’’ (¯e) is used to introduce what the readers know to be false, so the author can deny both what goes before and what follows?

In the notes of the NET Bible, we find this conclusion, regarding 1 Cor. 14:34-35,
    The very location of the verses in the Western tradition argues strongly that Paul both authored vv. 34-35 and that they were originally part of the margin of the text. Otherwise, one has a difficulty explaining why no scribe seemed to have hinted that these verses might be inauthentic.
The notes clearly suggest that these verses were in the margin, based on manuscript evidence, and then argue from silence that Paul must have written them. (Let me add that there is no consensus among complementarians or egalitatarians on the status of these verses.)

Until there is a consensus on the placement of these verses in the original, we cannot do more than speculate on the meaning of the word "or" in this passage.

Dr.Grudem writes,

5. “neither X nor Y’’: In 1 Timothy 2:12, where Paul says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man,’’ the grammatical structure in Greek takes the form, “neither + [verb 1] + nor + [verb 2].’’

Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where the pattern “neither + [verb 1] + nor + [verb 2]’’ is used to refer to one action that is viewed positively and one action that is viewed negatively?

In my previous response I explained that there is no evidence for a positive connotation for authenteō in 1 Tim. 2:12. BDAG cites its meaning as "to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to." In fact, Dr. Kostenberger comments,
    owing to the scarcity of the term in ancient literature (the only NT occurrence is 1 Tim. 2:12; found only twice preceding the NT in extrabiblical literature) no firm conclusions could be reached on the basis of lexical study alone.
In fact, no one has provided an occurrence of authenteō at the time of the NT which has a positive connotation. However, there is an example of a negative occurrence for didaskō (to teach) here in Titus 1:11,
    They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.
In conclusion, there is no positive occurrence for authenteō (to dominate see BDAG) and there is a negative occurrence for didaskō (to teach). It is therefore probable that both verbs were meant to be taken negatively.

Dr. Grudem writes,

6. Women teaching false doctrine at Ephesus: In 1 Timothy 2:12, where Paul says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man,’’ many of you say the reason for Paul’s prohibition is that women were teaching false doctrine in the church at Ephesus (the church to which 1 Timothy was written).

Will you please show us one reference in all of ancient literature, whether inside or outside the Bible, that states that all the Christian women at Ephesus (or even that any Christian women at Ephesus) were teaching false doctrine?

This is an argument from silence. What we do know is that there was a goddess Artemis worshiped at Ephesus. She was the patron goddess of women in childbirth and there were priestesses in her service. This was clearly a very contentious issue and caused a considerable commotion in Acts 19:34.
    But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
It is therefore possible that Christian women at Ephesus were still faithful to Artemis in some way.

While any answer to these three questions of Dr. Grudem's can only be speculation, I hope that I have demonstrated that the balance of the evidence does not support the complementarian view to the exclusion of the egalitarian view.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jephthah's daughter

In the biblical story of Jephthah, a leader makes a vow to God, and, in spite of what it costs him, he kept it. A girl died, but Jephthah attributes the cause of her death to her own precipitate action,
    "Alas, daughter! You have brought me low; you have become one of those who trouble me! For I have uttered a vow to the Lord and I cannot retract" (v. 11:35).
Various Midrash point out some of the facts of the case. First, Jephthah was raised without a mother and so it must be assumed that he did not know the Torah. Perhaps his daughter also was raised without a mother. Where was her mother?

Second, human sacrifice is an abomination. It is possible to get out of a vow by making a payment in place of the sacrifice. Various Midrash point out that Jephthah did not consult a priest, and both he and the priest are to blame. The spirit of the Lord is removed from the priest and Jephthah dies a painful death.

Third, Jephthah's daughter was proactive and made an impassioned plea for her life.
    As Jephthah was making ready to offer up his daughter, she wept before him and pleaded,

      "My father, my father, I came out to meet you full of joy, and now you are about to slaughter me. Is it written in the Torah that Israel should offer the lives of their children on the altar?"

    Jephthah replied,

      "My daughter, I have made a vow."

    She answered,

      "But Jacob our father vowed, 'Of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.' [Gen. 28:22] Then, when the Holy One gave him twelve sons, did he perchance offer one of them on an altar to the Holy One?

      Moreover, Hannah also vowed, 'I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life,' [1 Sam. 1:11] -- did she perchance offer her son [on an altar] to the Lord?"

    Though she said all these things to him, Jephthah did not heed her, but he went up to the altar and slaughtered her before the Holy One.

    At that moment, the Holy Spirit cried out in anguish:


I think you would enjoy Midrash if you are not already familiar with it. You can read more about the Sefer ha-Aggadah here. HT Iyov

Other material on Jephthah's daughter.

Though Jephtah was one of the Israelite judges, he was chosen for the position because of his bravery and might, not because of his Torah scholarship—indeed, he was woefully ignorant.6 And though he was not bound whatsoever by the vow he made—as it clearly transgressed the rules of the Torah—he ignorantly went ahead and offered his daughter as a sacrifice.

Had he only consulted with Phinehas, the learned High Priest of the times, he would have been informed of his error. But that didn't happen. Jephtah was too arrogant to travel to Phinehas to receive guidance: "I am the general of the Israelite forces, and I should go to him?!" And Phinehas was too proud to unilaterally go to Jephthah to advise him: "He needs me, why should I make trip?"

The hubris demonstrated by these two leaders cost an innocent girl her life. According to the Midrash7 both were punished. Phinehas lost the divine spirit that had hitherto rested upon him. Jephtah became ill, and he lost many of his limbs. Because his limbs were buried in many locations, the Bible says that Jephthah was "buried in the cities of Gilead."8


The Rabbis concluded also that Jephthah was an ignorant man, else he would have known that a vow of that kind is not valid; according to R. Johanan, Jephthah had merely to pay a certain sum to the sacred treasury of the Temple in order to be freed from the vow; according to R. Simeon ben Laḳish, he was free even without such a payment (Gen. R. l.c.; comp. Lev. R. xxxvii. 3).

According to Tan., Beḥuḳḳotai, 7, and Midrash Haggadah to Lev. xxvii. 2, even when Jephthah made the vow God was irritated against him: "What will Jephthah do if an unclean animal comes out to meet him?"

Later, when he was on the point of immolating his daughter, she inquired, "Is it written in the Torah that human beings should be brought as burnt offerings?" He replied, "My daughter, my vow was, 'whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house.'"

She answered, "But Jacob, too, vowed that he would give to Yhwh the tenth part of all that Yhwh gave him (Gen. xxviii. 22); did he sacrifice any of his sons?"

But Jephthah remained inflexible. His daughter then declared that she would go herself to the Sanhedrin to consult them about the vow, and for this purpose asked her father for a delay of two months (comp. Judges xi. 37).

The Sanhedrin, however, could not absolve her father from the vow, for God made them forget the Law in order that Jephthah should be punished for having put to death 42,000 Ephraimites (Judges xii. 6).S. S

Jewish Encyclopedia

Jewish Perspectives

Sunday, July 20, 2008


This past week I have been studying Midrash with Rabbi Robert Daum and Kabbalah with Rabbi Laura Kaplan. I had several reasons for doing this. The first was simply to broaden my understanding of literacy and literature in the early Middle Ages. Kabbalah produced some significant texts at that time. Now I am sitting down to write a paper on a technical point of contact between Aristotle and the Sefer Yetzirah. I won't bore anyone with this, nor is it a part of a mystical faith journey. It just is.

However, I have been persuaded that I must speak out on a few points. I was impressed during a lunch hour seminar on the easy interaction between the theologians present, men and women, Jewish and Christian. The ordained women, Jewish and Christian, did not focus on "women's issues" and were not in a defensive and embattled position.

Laura Kaplan touched on gender issues in a minor way. Robert Daum, on the other hand, in presenting Midrash, spent close to half the class hours on women's issues. He spoke of his mother, his sister and women sages of the Talmudic literature and women in Judaism today.

The hour spent on discussing Jephthah's daughter well outclassed any discussion of her in Christian literature. In fact, many people in the class had tears in their eyes as we read the Midrashic literature arguing the injustice of her death.

There is no pretending that the Talmudic rabbis and the church fathers have not said some very distasteful things about women. They have also both written some equivocating passages which demonstrate that there was discomfort with patriarchy and a non-acceptance of some of the more cruel passages of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.

I would not personally compare the growing and misogynist literature of complementarians to the teachings of the Talmud. Why not compare it to Tertullian or some other notorious Christian misogynist?

Here is a review on one of the books Robert Daum recommended,

In a new book, Anti-Judaism in Religious Feminist Writing (American Academy of Religion Cultural Criticism Series) Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994, Katherina von Kellenbach, a German immigrant to the United States, tells of her journey to studying and understanding this problem.

In her introduction, von Kellenbach, a Lutheran woman studying to be a minister, recounts meeting a Jew for the first time, a fellow student in the religion department of Temple University. She found it incomprehensible that a Jewish woman would want to study to become a rabbi in a religion which was "utterly male identified, patriarchal, sexist and chauvinist," as well as being tied up with meaningless laws and restrictions.

The experience of coming to know this Jewish woman and learning that her stereotypes of Judaism were not accurate impacted von Kellenbach in a profound way, particularly because she had been confronting anti-Semitism in her own family--including a relative's complicity in the cruel deaths of many Jews during the holocaust in Germany.

A feminist, von Kellenbach points out that Christian theology over the centuries has often been tainted by anti-Semitism. While her study is of anti-Judaism in feminist writings, von Kellenbach makes it very clear that this is not the only theology which has the problem. As a feminist she does not want her book to be used to undermine the search for respect for women in the churches. But she feels she must challenge feminist theologians who, whether wittingly or unwittingly, contribute to anti-Judaism.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Open letter to Bruce Ware

Here is an open letter written to Bruce Ware. I heartily second the content of this letter. Something needs to be done.

I have also responded to a comment about 1 Tim. 2:12 here ,
    There is a basic misunderstanding here. Everyone, including Linda Belleville, agrees that both terms must be the same, either both negative or both positive.

    Teaching, didaskein, can be either positive or negative. Here is a negative use,

      They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. Titus 1:11.

    Authenteo has no known positive use at this time. So, IMO both must be negative. This is pretty clear to everyone, I think.
And here,
    The word used in 1 Tim. 2:11, 12 is hesuchia, and generally means "quiet" or "silent." It is the same word used in 1 Tim. 2:2

      "for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way."

    Why "quiet" for men, and "silent" for women?

    It has taken me a while to admit that there is really no traditional translation that is not biased against women in some way.

    I do not think that Paul meant that women had to be silent. I don't think he meant that Phoebe had to be silent or any of the other women.

    I don't think that using translations which are biased against women, translations that always choose the most restrictive alternative for women, or even interpretations that are blatantly non-literal, as is the case with the Junia passage in certain translations, is a good witness to non-Christians.

    If the Bible translation is biased against women in the first place, and then men force women to abide by these biases, that is not a good witness to non-Christians. I think the church will just lose credibility.

    I do not see how treating women as less than equal is making a positive moral statement. Quite the opposite.

Thanks to Bonnie and Ilona for all their blogging on this topic.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How women will work out their salvation

    Lastly, (and my preference) Moo thinks that childbirth for Paul “designates the circumstances” in which Christian women will work out their salvation. It is the sphere in which God-given evidences of their salvation are seen in a way that is distinctly feminine.
Would that exclude a woman working out her faith in doing anything at all that a man can also do? Would that exclude working to earn a living, teaching Sunday school and translating the Bible into other languages. Do single women missionaries not have evidence of their salvation unless they do something that a man cannot do? What is it that a man cannot do that a single woman can do?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Paul Burleson on Women

Thanks to Lin for mentioning an excellent post written by Paul Burleson.


Most of my ministry life has been lived in what today is called 'complementarianism' with regards to women in life and ministry. This simply means I lived, believed and taught that women were to submit to their husband's leadership in the home and were to do the same in church life. Men ruled. Women submitted. As men we had our place and women had theirs. [Complementary] But ours was at the front of the line. We were to love and provide, to be sure, but always from our place at the front of that line. For years of marriage and ministry I never questioned the biblical basis for this nor did I question the rightness of it in a practical way. How could it be otherwise? The bible said it and that settled it. I was old-school in this you see.

When I faced those situations where it was abused either by a man controlling a wife and robbing her of her person, choices and input [or a pastor robbing people of the same] or a wife refusing to obey a husband by attempting to be herself uniquely by exercising her mind or will on issues I passed it off as them being people who generally messed life up because of strong personality [his] or rebellion. [hers] If they would simply calm down and obey the bible all would be well was my mantra.

There were three basic shifts in my understanding along the way that shook my life and forged a new direction for me that resulted in my now belonging to the new school of thought on this issue. The newness is not that the scriptures or my culture or my convictions about scriptural authority have changed. But my understanding of things as they really are in the purposes of God has changed. What follows is a bit of that journey.

Shift number one was in my own life. I view my marriage as a gift from God as I'm sure most of you do. My marriage partner is a gifted and capable woman who is unique in her person. Her discovery of her giftedness and uniqueness was what caused me to look again at women NOT being able to lead or teach men [or anyone for that matter] as I saw in her one who knew more bible than most preachers [she memorized and quoted over 5oo verses at camp one year] and knew theology [still does] better than most of my bible college buddies.

Our relationship clashed with my old-school thinking as she awakened to her uniqueness and personhood in Christ and I began to see her gifts and abilities as from God for me AND the church. [This was not without it's painful times of struggle for both of us.] It also gave us pause because neither she nor I was willing to violate the scripture because of our experience. So what did this mean for us? The old-school way of thinking wouldn't do. That was a given. But something had to give.

Shift two came as a result of studying the scriptures afresh. Laying aside culture, preconceptions, teachers and theological systems I'd learned, I began searching the text anew for myself. For starters, in 1 Timothy 2:12 I began to see the text is less clear than most complementarians see it and that lack of clarity was NOT there because of our culture imposed on it but because of Paul's language used in the text to address HIS culture. It was understanding his culture that came into play for me as I began to grasp what he was saying.

Read the rest of this post here.

Christian feminism and Peter

Scot McKnight has a post that shows his insights.
    Hermeneutics: many feminists would simply see this text as condescending and oppressive; evangelical Christian feminists would tend to see the text as containing enduring insights into how husbands ought to conduct themselves. Traditionalists see something permanent here. They are the ones who most need to hear Peter’s very words: living considerately and bestowing honor.

    Studies show that husbands and wives who are more egalitarian have less issues with power and abuse.

    The point is that hierarchical relationships create more opportunity for the abuse of power.
He soon had to close the thread. The debate became unpleasant and yet McKnight is a very soft-spoken man.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Responses to Ware

I have been following responses to Ware's sermon in a few forums and this one stuck out.
    I agree with part of what the author wrote, but disagree with a whole lot more of it. Domestic abuse has been a problem in this WORLD for a long time. The feminist movement that actually began in the late 40's (historically) was a reaction from women to men coming home from WWII and expecting the women, who kept this country moving during the war, to go home and make babies. Having had a taste of financial freedom, the woman as a group screamed, "NO WAY!" The movement intensified in the 50's, and when the birth control pill came out in the 60's and separated sexual activity and procreation, we then had the feminist movement we know today.

    If families patterned their lives scripturally, men would love their wives as Christ loves the church, and women would have NO PROBLEM with submitting to a man who loves them that way. Children would obey their parents, because the parents would be doing what is right for the child. Parents who are submitted to the Lord won't be punishing or inconsistently disciplining their children out of frustration and anger, rather than simply because the child needs correction. But the reason marriage does not work the way God intended it to is that WE AS PEOPLE DO NOT OBEY GOD!

    The only reason there is a seeming explosion in domestic violence has NOTHING to do with the feminist movement but it has everything to do with media coverage. It has always been there. Also there is the fact that, until the mid 70's, domestic violence was considered a "family matter" and not a matter of law. I can testify to that. My father put me in the hospital 17 times from the time I was 5 until I was 16 years old It was always considered a "family matter". I had no protection under the law. Today, there is protection for both the spouses (men and women are victims of domestic violence) and the children of abuse. But violence happens because people are not under the control of God. "Each man did what was right in their own eyes" (Judges 17:6 and 21:25)
Abuse is not a new problem. And, since I work in a school I am fully aware that abuse is not a male on female problem. It is a human problem. One way of helping people get out of abusive settings is to eliminate the functional subordination in the home of one adult to the other. The non-abusing parent needs full power to remove the children from the abusing parent.

I know, people don't like to talk about these things.

Canada and Gender Equality

The functional subordination of women is a form of inequality. It is not ontological equality but it is functional inequality. It is the inequality that is addressed in the law and various policies of a country or organization.

Here is an excerpt from CIDA's Policy on Gender Equality,

Attention to gender equality is essential to sound development practice and at the heart of economic and social progress. Development results cannot be maximized and sustained without explicit attention to the different needs and interests of women and men. If the realities and voices of half of the population are not fully recognized, CIDA's objectives "to reduce poverty and to contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world" (Canada in the World, Government Statement, February 1995, page 42) will not be met.

The goals of reducing poverty and of achieving gender equality are distinct but interrelated. Poverty reduction involves addressing the constraints that limit people's capability to avoid, or limit deprivation. Gender inequalities intensify poverty, perpetuate it from one generation to the next and weaken women's and girls' ability to overcome it. Inequalities prevent women and girls from taking up opportunities which will make them less vulnerable to poverty in situations of crisis.

For poverty reduction to be achieved, the constraints that women and girls face must be eliminated. These constraints include lack of mobility, low self esteem, lack of access to and control over resources, lack of access to basic social services, to training and capacity development opportunities, to information and technology, as well as to decision-making in the state, the judiciary, development and private sector organizations, and in communities and households.


The goal of CIDA's gender equality policy is to support the achievement of equality between women and men to ensure sustainable development.


The objectives of the policy are:

  • to advance women's equal participation with men as decision-makers in shaping the sustainable development of their societies;

  • to support women and girls in the realization of their full human rights; and

  • to reduce gender inequalities in access to and control over the resources and benefits of development.
World Vision has a statement on women as well. I am saddened to see that such a large part of the Christian community does not favour functional gender equality.

Violence against women in India

I live in a city of many cultures and I don't really want to pick out one. But there are faces that haunt me, women and girls whose eyes I can't forget. I know them for a few years and then they move on. Sometimes a young teenage girl is sent back home to marry.

Don't get me wrong, I also know some of the most wonderful people of all cultures. This story is not about one culture, it is about all cultures, which contain within them the seeds of these transgressions. It is not about all people but about some people. I know these stories. Some people shut their eyes to them. What else can you do?

Violence Against Women in India

Violence against women is partly a result of gender relations that assumes men to be superior to women. Given the subordinate status of women, much of gender violence is considered normal and enjoys social sanction. Manifestations of violence include physical aggression, such as blows of varying intensity, burns, attempted hanging, sexual abuse and rape, psychological violence through insults, humiliation, coercion, blackmail, economic or emotional threats, and control over speech and actions. In extreme, but not unknown cases, death is the result. (Adriana, 1996) These expressions of violence take place in a man-woman relationship within the family, state and society. Usually, domestic aggression towards women and girls, due to various reasons remain hidden.

Cultural and social factors are interlinked with the development and propagation of violent behaviour. With different processes of socialisation that men and women undergo, men take up stereotyped gender roles of domination and control, whereas women take up that of submission, dependence and respect for authority. A female child grows up with a constant sense of being weak and in need of protection, whether physical social or economic. This helplessness has led to her exploitation at almost every stage of life.

The family socialises its members to accept hierarchical relations expressed in unequal division of labour between the sexes and power over the allocation of resources. The family and its operational unit is where the child is exposed to gender differences since birth, and in recent times even before birth, in the form of sex-determination tests leading to foeticide and female infanticide. The home, which is supposed to be the most secure place, is where women are most exposed to violence.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Where is my comment widget?

I just installed my new widget and now its gone again. I republished an old post and oops, now you see it, now you don't. I'll put it back up in a bit.

A commenter, Sam C, reading a post of Ruud's on 1 Cor. 11, asks,
    Is anyone (Suzanne?) able to comment on the validity of Bushnell's take on the Greek in verse 14? See par. #230 here:
Please join in. I have no new thoughts on 1 Cor. 11. There comes a time, I think, when you say, enough is enough. I really do not need to research the gender passages any more. I will, of course, but just not tonight.

Monday, July 07, 2008

stubble anyone

I have been seriously trying to decide whether to get the dog shaved for the summer, but he looks so pathetic furless and then with the fur growing back in, very sad. But they do say stubble is ....

Here is the full text from the local newspaper. What can I say? Women can be very silly. This is for all you men readers of this blog. Can't win, no matter what, right! Read to the last sentence and don't say I didn't warn you. But if you have your picture taken casually this summer, a candid shot, for sure, stubble looks very sexy.

Stubble is sexy, most women say

Misty Harris, Canwest News Service

Published: Monday, July 07, 2008

Homer Simpson, sex symbol? That's the implication of a new study that reveals women overwhelmingly prefer men with facial stubble when seeking a partner for love, sex or marriage.

Researchers publishing in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found women are drawn to men who, like the ever-scruffy Homer, flaunt one to two days of follicular growth.

The look is reminiscent of the "designer stubble" popularized in the 1980s by Miami Vice's Don Johnson and now worn by leading men such as Matthew Fox, George Clooney, Jason Statham, Ryan Reynolds, Christian Bale, Will Smith and Brad Pitt.

If the metrosexual revolution judged men as the sum of their grooming products, its backlash measures them by their five o'clock shadows.

"The results were very clear cut," says lead author Nick Neave, an evolutionary psychologist at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom.

"The face that had the light stubble was thought to be much more attractive, much sexier. It was preferred for a short-term partner, it was preferred for a long-term partner."

In a pre-test, shaven male faces were rated by women for attractiveness.

Researchers selected only average-looking subjects (men who were neither very handsome nor ugly) from those results for the study.

Using advanced computer software, each face was then given five different facial-hair appearances, ranging from clean-shaven to full-fledged beards.

After evaluating the various degrees of growth on 15 subjects, the majority of women agreed light stubble was most appealing. Men who boasted the smoothness of a dolphin or the hairiness of Red Green rated lowest; the former was dismissed as lacking social maturity and masculinity, while the latter was viewed as too aggressive, the least attractive and overly dominant.

"Preference for facial hair is clearly a cultural thing, but I think the underlying mechanism is that it signals masculinity," says Neave.

"It starts off very wispy and very pathetic, really, and then gets much thicker and finally, with older people, gets scraggy. So it's a sign of sexual maturity."

The tides of follicular fashion began changing in 2006, when a rebellion against metrosexual manscaping saw hipsters sprouting lumberjack-style beards.

Two years later, the trend seems to have settled between the two extremes, with "designer stubble" being the Switzerland of styles.

"Females seem to have a preference for faces that are masculine, but not too masculine," says Neave. "They don't want these hulking cavemen, yet they also don't want faces that are too immature."

Sarah Dalziel, a 29-year-old from Edmonton, thinks her boyfriend's five o'clock shadow is the height of sexiness. She's baffled by women who want their men waxed and polished like fresh linoleum.

"I really don't like clean-shaven anything on men," says Dalziel, who adds she still likes to see a man well-groomed. Her only regret about her guy's stubble is that its texture "definitely does not feel good on the face when he gives me kisses."

When getting up close and personal, women prefer the baby face. "They don't want a stubble rash," explains Neave, adding that the fairer sex's contrasting preferences might leave men feeling as though they can't win no matter what they do. "No change there," he says, laughing.

(Okay, this is my contribution to the gender debate for today.)

A Nonhierarchical-Complementarian Viewpoint

Here is an article by Alan Johnson which presents A Christian Understanding of Submission: A Nonhierarchical - Complementarian Viewpoint. Its a good read for anyone, lots of interesting historical stuff. I don't agree with everything in it but overall it is a good piece of writing.

I want to cite a couple of passages. First, here is a note of appreciation for the statement that wives should submit. This is just a humourous aside. More from this article later.
    Shortly after the Southern Baptist Convention’s revision of its “Faith and Message” statement, which appears to embrace a patriarchal social order, a Jewish law professor at Northwestern University wrote to the Chicago Tribune
    and said,

      Though I yield to no person in my commitment to the accepted tenets of gender equality, I actually took some satisfaction in the Baptists’ pronouncement since it implicitly repealed their controversial 1996 resolution to preach conversion to the Jews. What, after all, is more likely to drive Jewish females away from evangelists than raising “submissiveness” to a religious requirement. I do know a thing or two about Jewish women (including the one to whom I have been happily married for 20 years). And while she is extraordinarily gracious in many situations, you can be absolutely assured that “submission” is entirely absent from her behavioral repertoire. . . .

      My good, assertive, outspoken, forceful Jewish wife will simply never be fodder for conversion to a creed that expects her to be submissive, graciously or otherwise. There is no submission in our family and not much “servant leadership” either. What we have instead, in a tradition dating back to our matriarchs, is debate, disagreement, dialogue and then more debate. I always thought that approach made our marriage happier, stronger, and certainly more interesting. Now it has the added benefit of making us immune to proselytization. (Steven Lubet, 6 September 1998)

Rebecca Merrill Groothuis

Rebecca Groothuis, one of the editors of Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy, has started a blog recently. I highly recommend this recent post, The Basics of Biblical Equality: Belief & Practice.

Here is how she interprets the "submission texts."
    The submission texts do not speak of the authority of male over female as a timeless creational mandate, but rather of the biblical principle—emphasized especially in Christ’s teaching and the letters of Paul and Peter—that all believers should be submissive to one another rather than seeking to rule others, and should, as well, submit to the civil laws and cultural standards of the day to the extent that they do not require disobedience to God’s law. Thus women in the New Testament church, who were in many ways culturally and legally subordinate to men, were instructed to comply with their social role in a manner that brings glory to God—yet with the understanding that within the Body of Christ there will be a mutual sharing and edification through gifts and callings as determined by the Spirit and not by gender or race or any such old covenant classification.
This is her chapter in Discovering Biblical Equality. Browse her site for articles.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Summer Fun

Bonnie has started a women's only - no guys - blog meme. I am going to prove that I too love pets as much as any other woman blogger, and do not, contrary to popular opinion, have to be writing about something serious all the time.

It is the summer time and I get to spend a good part of every day with my very own dear dog. Actually this is not a picture of my dog exactly but he is too big to fit on the blog, so I just hijacked this pic. I hope every one is getting a bit of a holiday this summer.

The dignity of choice

In my real life I am a resource teacher. That means that I work part of the day teaching grade one kids how to read, part of the day teaching language arts or math to small groups or whole classes, and part of the day with special needs kids.

Each year I only work with three or four special needs kids. Some are hearing impaired, mentally handicapped, severely learning disabled, and this year a 12 year old girl with Down's syndrome. I see her two or three periods a week and the aide is with her the rest of the week.

It has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my career to work with children like her. She has the vocabulary of a 3 year old, largely unintelligible speech and reads at an early grade one level. She has limited intellectual potential even for her diagnosis.

However, she is absolutely delightful to be with. She has a wonderful sense of humour and enjoys books more than any other child I can remember. She talks to the characters and anticipates what will happen on the next page. Of course, she knows what will happen on the next page because she reads every book at least 20 times.

As she reads, the letters stimulate her to pronounce the sounds better. She can now make most of the sounds one needs to speak English. This was a big struggle for her, but she loves associating each letter with the alphabet chart on the wall. She loves each animal, E for elephant and so on. You get the picture.

Her programme consists of reading, and writing, mostly single words or up to three words at a time. This is very difficult for her. She also has to learn to count out items matching quantity with a number. She loves music and PE. She has a computer and can use great phonics websites and programmes. is a big hit.

But the big success is the snack event. On Tuesday, we read a book about food, breakfast, or fruit or how to make a milkshake, or something like that. On Thursday, she makes a list and goes shopping with her aide.

On Friday, she prepares the food with her aide, and then she serves it to a group of students who are working on a class newspaper. She passes around the food and we all have a taste. For example, one time we put out pieces of three fruit, strawberries, banana coins, and grapes. Then we talk about which fruit we like the best.

On a chartstand there is a bar graph with the three different fruit along the bottom. Each student puts a happy face in the column above the fruit that they like best. Then we see which food was the most popular. We photograph the chart and we put it in the newspaper. Some students also learn how to turn the chart into an Excel chart.

The learning goals for the Down's syndrome child are to have her identify and express her choice or personal preference. The student also learns appropriate group behaviour and how to act as hostess and leader of the group. She plans, buys and prepares the food. She cleans up. She passes the food around and passes the pen for other students to record their choice. It is her event.

Experiencing and expressing personal autonomy is essential to psychological health. These students are more than just trainable. We do not train even a child of the most limited ability as if she were anything less than fully human. She also has the experience of being the leader of the group. She controls the pace and responses. We each need the experience of functioning as a leader. We ask this for all of us, that we would also be able to experience and express choice in ways that are respectful of other people.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Role Calling

Mike at Role Calling has written a post linking to my Response to the Open Letter. I had read Dr. Grudem's challenge to egalitarians before, and I wanted some complementarians to know that egalitarians have thought about it and responded.

I wrote to Mike and we had a friendly exchange and found also that we have a lot in common. I asked Mike to first read a few posts on my blog, so that he would know that I am strongly confronting the ideological complementarianism which teaches male-based authority. He still agreed to link to my blog. Thank you very much, Mike. Some day soon I will try to post on the remaining 3 points in the Open Letter.

Shields vs Ware

You will not want to miss this post at Unrelated ramblings. Sam C has gone to a lot of work to summarize the work of Martin Shields on the creation narrative. It is excellent reading. I enjoyed reading Shield's paper some time ago. Thanks, Sam.

Discovering Biblical Equality

I have been asked for some resources. This is the only major work on men and women in the church that I own. Therefore it is the only one that I can recommend without reserve.

Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy
by Ronald W. Pierce (Editor), Rebecca Merrill Groothuis (Editor), Gordon D. Fee (Editor)

Here are two good reviews.

M. Aley (hmm - do we know her? thanks Molly)

I found this book *incredibly* helpful as I sought to understand the Scriptures that referred to gender. Having grown up and then attended a Bible College in highly complementarian/patriarchal camps, when I began asking questions about whether or not the "males-rule-females-submit" theology was sound, I wasn't sure where to go for help. (All my life, I'd only been taught the Scriptures in one particular way. Yet as I studied the Scriptures on gender for myself, I began to see something quite different)...

I ended up ordering about 10-12 books explaining egalitarian views, and while some were good, I found *this* book to be wonderful. The chapters handled Bible passages and complementarian/patriarchal arguments with clarity and, always, with a deep scholarly bent. I think I appreciated the footnotes as much as the actual text, and many chapters ended up being "jumping off" points that introduced me to topics I would then study in more depth. In short, I can't recommend the book enough.

Even if a reader ends up disagreeing, he/she will at least gain an accurate understanding of Scriptural backing for why egalitarians don't see male hierarchy as God's ideal. I've heard comp's teach "what egal's believe" often, but rarely do they accurately portray egalitarian thought. Many of the things I'd been *told* egals believe were corrected as I read this book.

The book is not a "novel" but more like a textbook (ie, not for someone looking for a "light read," but rather for study), though I found the writing style to be engaging and highly interesting. If the study of gender and faith is one of interest, this is a book that is a "must-have" in your library.

Here is Adam's review

Rebecca Merrill Groothuis and Ronald Pierce have done the church an extraordinary favor editing this much needed volume that vanquishes the pitiful stereotypes of "evangelical feminism." Far from being sold out to cultural mores, the authors examine biblical and historical sources carefully examining their hermeneutics and philosophy showing the position of universal gender hierarchy to be erroneous and detrimental to the church.

The book's chapter "Equal in Being; Unequal in Role" is worth the money alone in that it delivers a devastating blow to the nonsensical paradigm of "complementarianism." Richard Hess also delivers a fine chapter on "innocence and equality before the fall." William Webb introduces the important "redemptive movement" hermeneutic that is beautifully applied by I. Howard Marshall, and Gordon Fee graces us with his exegetical gifts in delineating the right meaning of Galatians 3:26-28. Not only so, but the ethical chapters on homosexuality, abortion, and abuse are outstanding.

To be sure, there are some weaknesses. Linda Belleville's chapter on 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is helpful at points, but doesn't fully deal with all the issues raised by Kostenberger et al. Giles' Trinitarian thinking is in the right direction, but is triumphalistic and ignores some important facts. However, the books is a winsome apology for the vision of "complementarity without hierarchy" that honors the humanity of both sexes sufficiently and harmoniously.

Ann Nyland

There are many things that I need to write about. However, I was reviewing my links and I noticed that Ann Nyland's works are no longer available online in the original places. I am aware of the reason for the controversy.

I have read Nyland's The Source and some of her other articles. While I don't agree with every single thing she says, same here as for anyone - sometimes I don't agree with myself on a few details - I have learned a tremendous amount from her translation and other works. I heartily endorse them as full of insight about Greek not found elsewhere. I don't think her contribution to translation should be overlooked.

For those who want something a little safer, here is Female Ministry by Catherine Booth.

our flawed human nature

I have received a few emails and read lots of comments so I will just write for a few minutes. I am protesting the placing of prior blame on the woman because she "rebels against authority."

If we look back at Gender and Grace, page 44, by Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen we read,
    In Gen. 3:16, the woman is being warned that she will experience an unreciprocated longing for intimacy with the man. … "[she] wants a mate and she gets a master, she wants a lover and she gets a lord, she wants a husband and she gets a hierarch.”

That's a little more like it. I argue that men and women both, humanly and in their flawed way, long for intimacy and resist giving someone else the authority/permission/liberty or what-have- you to love them. Women and men both, abuse, abandon, and betray. We are a sorry lot.

For some of us our longing for intimacy will never be reciprocated. So we just need to do all the things that make us fully human. We need to be active, have friends, and belong to a community. We need to feel that we have those for whom we can make a difference. We need to understand the fullness of friendship, engagement with ideas, expression of self, and service for others. We need to have fun.

I am trying to confront the serious extremes of complementarianism. No, I do not think that complementarians as individuals are any worse or better than anyone else. Absolutely not. And I don't worry about who is who on this blog. Yes, if you write a book that caricatures women, I may very well critique it. But I know you won't do that. Thanks to eveyone who reads here my disorganized thoughts.

And if you are "soft comp" then I officially seek forgiveness for any implications that all comps are alike. Anyway, we are all alike, fallible.

I will get down to my email soon.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The debate continues

Some of you might be interested in reading a discussion between John Hobbins and myself at the CBE Blog. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New Links on Spousal Abuse

I will be adding a few new links on Bruce Ware's sermon here. I will only be picking a few useful responses. Here is the original sermon.

Religion Dispatches
World according to Bruce
Real Liberal Christian Church
Snopes This thread has a particularly fascinating commentary on the early church including pictures of Paul and Theoklia. I recommend also going back to page one and reading the entire thread. It is great to see such balanced and informed voices.
Faith Trust Institute

Authenteo: Resources

In this article by Dr. Kostenberger he writes, page 13,
    41These two references are: Philodemus (1st cent. BCE): “Ought we not to consider that men who incur the enmity of those in authority (συν αυθεντουσιν) are villains, and hated by both gods and men”;

    and BGU 1208 (27 BCE): “I exercised authority (Καμου αυθεντηκοτος) over him, and he consented to provide for Calatytis the Boatman on terms of full fare, within the hour.” For full Greek texts and translations, see Baldwin, “Appendix 2” in Women in the Church, 275–76. (in the PDF page 13)
Here are the two references,

BGU 1208

My argument is that these two texts are not suitable evidence and that we need to go with later evidence that says that authenteo means to rule as a master over a slave; or as God, Christ, the Spirit, a planet or later the pope rules. I argue that it is something which no one should do in church leadership in the NT scriptures.

I am unfamiliar with commentaries but those articles and books which support the point of view that authenteo in 1 Tim. 2:12 has a negative sense (providing evidence) are, to my knowledge, the following,

Linda Belleville a summary
Linda Belleville b Exegetical Fallacies
Linda Belleville c Discovering Biblical Equality
Ben Witherington First and Second Letters to Timothy

Please read these first and then discuss. I regret that these are so limited. There are many more, but I do my own research from primary materials most of the time, so I don't know who else to recommend.

BGU 1208

I have been asked to make the BGU 1208 available online. You can read the Philodemus fragment here. These are the two pieces of evidence that Dr. Kostenberger and Dr. Grudem cite as evidence that authenteo means "to have authority."

I invite anyone to provide a translation of this text. It is full of never seen before Greek words and should be a nice challenge.

Date: 27/26BC ; Location: Herakleopolite

(If this link won't generate so go to Perseus Project, Classics, Papyri, Texts, BGU: Aegyptische Urkunden etc., Table of Contents, Volume 4, Document 1208.)

[Τρύφω]ν τῶι ἀδελφῶ[ι] χαίρειν1 καὶ διὰ παντὸς
[ὑγιαίν]ειν. καταντή[σα]ς ἐκ τῶν ἄνωθεν
[τόπων] [[ε̣]] ἐκομισά[μη]ν̣ διὰ Σωτηρίχου
[.c 6] ὃ ἐπιτέθ[εισα]ι̣ τοῖς παρ' αὐτοῦ
5 [πιττάκ]ιον, δι' οὗ [μοι] ἱστορεῖς τὴν
[Καλατύ]τεως πλ̣[άν]η̣ν, ὃ ἀναγνοὺς
[.c 7]ξάμην [τὸν] στρατηγὸν ἐφ' ἧι
[ἐστιν μ]ισοπονηρίαι2 , ἐξ ὧν Ἀπολλώ(νιος)
[.c 6] ἔγραψε [....]τωι. θέλω οὖν σε
10 [ .c 16 ]τ̣ων σημῆναι καὶ
[ .c 16 ]ν̣ ἀ̣ν̣α̣γγέλλοντα
[ .c 12 περὶ] ὧν ἔ[γρα]ψ̣α̣ς̣ ἐντεύξεων
[ .c 20 ]λ̣ε̣ι̣....ρ̣η̣ν̣α̣ι̣
[ .c 16 ]α̣ιν τῶν ἐνκα.
15 [ .c 16 ]α̣ν π̣ε̣ρ̣ὶ̣ φ̣ων...
[ .c 15 τ]ὴν ἀποτομίαν

τῆς ἀναβάσεως [οὐ μό]νον χρεωκοπηθῆναι3
ἀλλὰ καὶ χορήγησιν ποιεῖσθαι, εἰκός σε μετειληφέναι
παρὰ τοῦ πολυτιμήτου Ποίλ̣ι̣ος τοῦ μὴ μετα-
20 μελομένου. περὶ οὗ γράψαντός σου εἰς τὸ μὴ
διατρῖψαι4 αὐ[τὸν παρ]αγενηθεὶς εἰς Δικωμίαν
ἠσπασάμη[ν ἐπιθ]έ̣ντος αὐτοῦ πιττάκιον καὶ
ἀποτριβομένου5 μ̣ο̣υ̣ καὶ ἵνα μὴ ἐκπέσηι ἀπο-
τετρῖφθαί6 με αὐτὸ ἐδεξάμην. ἵνα δὲ εἰδῇς
25 τὸ ὄρθριον τοῦ ἀνθρώ(που), πέπομφά σοι ἣν τέθειται
μίσθωσιν, περὶ ὧ[ν ἐ]μ̣νήσθην ἁλ̣ι̣ευ̣τ̣[..].σ̣ι̣ο̣λ̣ας
δὲ̣ ὑ̣π̣ὸ̣ τ̣ο̣ύ̣τ̣ο̣υ̣ π̣ρ̣ὸ̣[ς Π]ετεῆ(σιν) μὴ προσεχ̣[....]
παρ' ἡμῶν. τὸ δὲ [πά]ν̣τ̣ων χ̣ε̣ί̣ρ̣ω̣ τ[ὸ .c 510] τουν̣
π[ο]ρθμεῖον τῆς [τῶν] προβάτων ὠ[νῆς .]ης
30 τῶν ἕως τ̣ο̣ῦ̣ συνκεχωρισμένου̣ τ̣..τα̣σ̣νω̣ε̣.[.]
ὠνῶν ἐπιβαλομένου Ἀντ̣ι̣λ̣ό̣χου καθάπερ ἐ̣π̣ὶ̣
τῶν ἄλλων διαμισθο̣ῦ̣ν, καὶ σ̣ο̣ῦ̣ μ̣ν̣η̣σ̣θέν̣τ̣ο̣ς̣ δ̣α̣ν̣
το̣ῦ̣τ̣ο̣ν̣ συνχρησάμενον τῶι ἄνωθεν ἐπιν̣..α̣ι̣ τῇ̣
χ̣ρ̣ε̣ί̣ᾳ̣ σ̣ου διαμισθοῦν δόξα̣ς̣ συ̣νκαταριθμεῖσθαι, τῆς
35 ληγομένης ὠνῆς σοῦ μνησθέντος εἰς τὸ νῦ(ν)

ἐν μηδενὶ ἀντιλογία7
γενηθῆ(ναι) ἐξέστην. καὶ ἐμοῦ8
αὐθεντηκότος πρὸς αὐτὸν
περιποιῆσαι Καλατύτει
40 τῶι ναυτικῶι ἐπὶ τῷ
αὐτῶι φόρωι ἐν τῆι ὥραι
ἐπεχώρησεν. τὴν δὲ
μετὰ ταῦτα ἐξηκολου-
θηκυῖαν ὕβριν μετα-
45 πε[μ]φ̣θ̣εὶς ὑπὸ ωοῦ ὁ
[Καλατ]ύτις ἐξηγή-
[σατό μ]οι ἀκεραίως.
[τὰ δὲ] ἄ̣λλα χαριε̣ῖ̣ τ̣ο̣ῦ̣ σ̣ώ̣μ̣α̣(τος)
[ἐπι]μ̣ε̣(λόμενος) ἵ̣ν̣' ὑγιαίνῃς9 , ὃ̣ δὴ̣
50 μέγιστον ἡγ̣ο̣ῦ̣μ̣[αι].
ἔρρω(σο). (ἔτους) 4 [ ? ]

1 χαιρεν Pap. 2 [μ]εισοπ[ονη]ριαι Pap. 3 χρεοκοπηθηναι Pap. 4 διατρεψαι Pap. 5 αποτρειβομενου Pap. 6 αποτετρειφθαι Pap. 7 αντ[ι]λογια Pap. 8 καμου Pap. 9 υ̣γ̣ι̣ε̣νης Pap.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Internet Sit-in

If you disagree with the subordination of women in creation, go and add your two cents worth to this post. You don't have to be a Christian, you don't have to believe in women as ministers, you can just be anyone at all that disagrees with the subordination of women in creation. Put the comments over 1000.

Getting Shrew'd

This is about Taming of the Shrew. I have seen the play very well performed and incredibly funny. It was the Christopher Sly version, one of many permutations of the play discussed here,
    Some years ago, an English director named Michael Bogdanov did a staging of Shrew that took the psychological warfare aspect of the play quite seriously. Petruchio broke Kate to the point where she gave that awful speech as almost a robot. The wedding guests were appalled and slunk away, and at the end, Petruchio was faced with the knowledge that he'd destroyed his wife. Not much of a comedy, maybe; but completely true to the text.

    Another way to do it might be to use the Christopher Sly induction, have the same actor play Petruchio, and at the end reveal that it was all a male fantasy dream while Chris's wife (played by the actress who played Kate) drags him home by the ear.
And that version was hysterically funny to a woman, since the domination of Kate by Petruchio is presented as the fantastical hallucination of a poor drunk whose wife won't let him in the door at night. A pitiable sight he was too.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Authority in the church

I have written a lot about authority but always felt that something was missing. How could Paul, who was Jewish, have a view of authority which resembled that of the early popes? And why do some churches say that the church elders, leaders, etc, have "authority?"

Tonight, in the fray over here at Denny Burk's blog, where the comments have gone over 900, and are heading for 1000, a group of women are staging an internet sit-in to protest the complementarian interpretation of Genesis. We defy categorization. We are women whose lives have been touched by complementarianism. We are not secular feminists infiltrating the bibliosphere. We are former/quasi complementarian women who protest our condition as "created for subordination."

Thank you, Bonnie, Molly, Corrie, Gem, Paula, Quixote, Madame, Kathy, Cheryl, Ellen, (on the other side, but also a friend of this blog) We want to buck and chafe against the teaching of eternal subordination. Wouldn't you?

In that conversation, the submission of Christians to the authority of church leaders was mentioned. Here is the verse, Hebrews 13:17,
    πείθεσθε τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶν καὶ ὑπείκετε αὐτοὶ

    Be yielding unto them who are guiding you, and submit yourselves; Rotherham

    Obey your leaders and submit to them NASB

    Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: KJV

    Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. NIV

    Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, TNIV
Oops. Wow. Ideas that are introduced the this text are "obey," and "authority." Odd, these are the words that are so often also added into marriage relations. If these words were not in the text, why do they need to be added into the text? What impulse causes translators to insert words into the text?

In fact, in the Greek NT, I cannot recall any mention that church leaders have authority over anyone at all.

Luther discovered this very same thing. Its too late for me to dig that out now. Here is how he translated Hebrews 13:17,
    Gehorcht euren Lehrern und folgt ihnen

    Obey your teachers and follow them
Notice how Luther interprets this, "your teachers." The difference between that and the KJV, "those that rule over you" and the (T)NIV, "their authority." The text is coloured by translation and sometimes I don't like the colour.

One could just as properly translate this text as,
    Trust your teachers and follow them.
The authors of the epistles were Jewish, right? And what was the Jewish notion of authority?
    In modern Judaism, central authority is not vested in any single person or body, but in sacred texts, traditions, and learned Rabbis who interpret those texts and laws. Wikipedia
Think on these things.

Do I allow a woman to teach men?

A very good question, Michael. Do you? I need to store this post somewhere and my favourites don't work as well as the blog. This post has a long comment thread which has embedded in it something I am reading about. Hmm.

Men and Women are both God-like

This was Bruce Ware in 2002. (read it in context)
    Women, meanwhile, must "embrace responsibility for respectful, joyful, willing submission and creative assistance in all matters of home and the family," Ware said.

    Referring to Ephesians 5:33, Ware called on wives to submit to and respect their husbands. Just as husbands loving their wives counteracts the effects of the fall, he said submission does the same thing for women.

    "The fall introduced this illicit urge and tendency toward usurpation -- bucking his authority," Ware said. "What this [verse] calls for is respect for his authority and who he is as husband."

    The reason for such a response in women is because it mirrors the relationship of Christ to the church.

    "For how much is the church responsible to submit to Christ?" Ware asked. "In everything."

    Women should recognize that submission is "Godlike," Ware said. "Christ came in submission to the Father. It's not only Godlike to be the authority. It's Godlike to submit to authority."

    As mothers, women are responsible for displaying their respect to the children's father, Ware said, and for requiring the children to respect and submit to his authority.

    "Resist the cultural movement to mock husband and father as a mere buffoon," Ware exhorted workshop participants.
Women are full of illicit urges and are bucking the authority of the husband. You know what has to be done about that. But, no worries, submission is God-like. Women resemble God in their submission, and men in their authority. "It is not only God-like to be an authority, ... "

This is why I believe this is pagan, non-Christian and not something we can deal with. This is the authorized teaching of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.