Saturday, May 7, 2011

Women Who Don't Shut Up

I spent the weekend at Princeton, listening to distinguished alumni talk about a number of issues, mostly about their career paths and their efforts to balance their work lives and their personal lives. In a discussion of work-life balance led by New York Times writer Lisa Belkin, class of 1982, a young woman stood up and explained that she was a graduate student in molecular science, and that she was pregnant. She said she had no idea how to manage being a graduate student in such a rigorous field with being a mother. She asked, with an unmistakable tinge of desperation in her voice, if Belkin or anyone else in the room had any advice for her. A woman at least fifteen years her senior stood up and said, “I’m a scientist and a mother of three; you can do it.”

When I saw this graph, I thought about that woman. In addition to facing the challenge of balancing a demanding career with motherhood, she also has to contend with being one of the few women in her lab or in her department.
--Chloe Angyal, "... Women in Science"

I have joined the author team over at Biblioblogs and hope to increase the number of British contributors. But the biggest call is to increase the number of women who blog on the Bible. If I can make the top 50, you can. I have only been blogging three years, the same number of years I have had puzzles about faith and the Bible to work through. I am not an academic theologian. 

You need to log your blog with Alexa which gives you exposure and tracks your hits. 

You need to let me know here that you are blogging. There will be a new feature at the top where I can store links to women's faith and bible blogs and then we can send recommendations over to Biblioblogs. 

Seminaries and theological colleges are chock-full of male lecturers, lovely as they are, bible-related scholarship is also under-represented on the female-front. We might begin by increasing women's contributions to this growing forum - please let me know what you think. It's time to 'open up the floor' .... I'm saying nothing about dinosaurs.
--Rachel Marszalek, "Biblioblogs and ...

Wow. I guess these guys' athletic prowess and the money/name they could make for the university was more important than the safety of the other students. Nobody in authority apparently thought it important to take any precautions or keep tabs on young men entering the university with criminal records. And this was supposed to be a "Christian" university!

The only thing TCU can say is that the woman's claims [that she was drugged and raped in a campus dormitory by two TCU basketball players and a member of the football team] were "blown out of proportion"? Wow.
--Kristen, speaking up again (at) "After Women's History Month"

I am so sorry to read these things. I am so sorry that young women are being taught such doctrines. My heart goes out to readers of this teaching. The Bible does not attribute strength or the ability to provide to men over women. This is not to be found in the Bible. On the contrary, in Proverbs 31 we read of the eshet chayil, which literally translated is the "mighty woman." I don't think a literal Bible translation actually exists. It is too bad.
--Suzanne McCarthy, "Women were created to imitate who?"

What are these eight little verses that control how women through 5,000 years of Jewish and Christian history are portrayed? What are these eight little verses that are used to keep women in their proper silent and submissive place in both The Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament? Here they are:
1 Corinthians 14:33b-35....  1 Timothy 2:11-15.
If you just went “Huh?” (or even WTF?!?), don’t worry, you’re not the only one. It’s shameful for a woman to speak in church? A woman has to keep silent because of Eve? And my personal favorite: Women “will be saved through childbearing.” (This is my favorite because my husband and I have chosen not to have children. Guess I’m unsaveable.)

So, what are we in the 21st century supposed to think about this? Do Christians (particularly Christian women) have to be held in rigid gender roles based on these verses? Do women have no choice but to sit down and shut up because these eight verses are used to marginalize and negate any Scripture regarding women working, women making their own decisions, and women in authority? That’s the way these eight verses have been used through the 2,000 years of the Christian Church. But I’ve learned that just because something in the Bible has been interpreted in a certain way for millennia doesn’t that interpretation is right. Look at slavery. Over 100 years ago Christians were using passages in the Bible to justify slavery. Now no American is going to use those passages in Scripture to justify slavery today. We recognize, that even though endorsed in the Bible, slavery is wrong. It’s unethical. We’ve changed how we interpret the slavery passages in the Bible. Why can’t we change how we interpret the passages about women? ....  I’m going to show the different ways these verses can be translated.
-- Shawna R. B. Atteberry, "Women Who Didn't Shut Up ... Why"

Let Obama be "weird" and "foreign" and "womanly." And also let Paul. And let their words be accurately translated to convey the sense they intended. With regards to Paul-- it's high time.
--Kristen, still not shutting up (now on) "Weird, Womanly Words of Obama"

Modern Women, Old Testament: A Jewish-Christian Conversation with Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, author of "70 Faces: Torah Poems," and Elizabeth Adams, author and publisher. On Sunday, May 8, Christ Church Cathedral will host a book discussion with Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, author of a recently-published and highly-praised book of poems which approach the five books of Moses from a questioning, modern perspective.

As a longtime poet and writer, newly-ordained rabbi, and recent mother, Rachel's work helps us look at these texts from new and personal perspectives. How can modern women and men engage actively with these early Hebrew scriptures, while still loving and respecting the Bible and remaining faithful Christians and Jews? What does the tradition of midrash have to offer to Christians? How can poetry -- a tradition deeply embodied in the Hebrew Scriptures -  free us to think and feel creatively about the human issues the Bible addresses in these stories?

-- Rabbi Rachel Barenblat (the Velveteen Rabbi), "... tour ... "

What I've come to, after a lifetime 
of wondering, 
of working through the biblical evidence for and against, 
of reading widely on both sides of the 
whole male/female thing,
of arguing with others and with myself and even with God - what I've come to is this: 
the thing I'm called to do is,
to live the other truth.
As a trusted counselor said to me this morning,
"That is the revolutionary act."
And I've stood astounded,
mentally open-mouthed,
when men (and women) whom I love and respect 
say and do things that are stunningly at odds 
with what they say they believe.
Because, as I have learned to my chagrin 
and sometimes very deep personal pain,
 giving mental assent to an idea, to a doctrine, to a denominational stance ...
and living that truth in day-to-day practice are 
two very different things.
Anger was not going to do a thing to bring change.
 But living that change just might make a beginning.

So that's what I've tried to do - 
to live the change I hope for, I pray for, I long for.
I've been a woman in ministry for 17 years, 
serving the church in a denomination 
that has been ordaining women since 1974.
But that same church has not been proactively engaged in making that act a reality in the day-in and day-out life of the local church until fairly recent years.   
I thank God for my denomination.
I love who we are and who we are becoming.
But getting here has been tough sledding.
Real progress is being made, now on an almost daily basis.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

I'm glad you posted this, Kurk. Thank you. And I'm glad Huldah didn't shut up when she was asked to give the word of the Lord in the time of Isaiah. I'm glad that Deborah and Mirium and Mary Christ's mother didn't shut up when it was time to sing to their Deliverer. I'm glad Phoebe didn't shut up when it was time to deliver Paul's letter. I'm glad Priscilla didn't shut up when it was time to teach Apollos. I'm glad Junia didn't shut up when it was time to do the work of an outstanding apostle.

"Complementarians" need to understand that men need the complementary voices of women-- or the message will be unbalanced.

Thanks for helping our voices be heard.