Friday, September 2

Wimminfolks and Contextualisation

One of my coworkers and I were talking about religion yesterday (shockhorror, I know).  He is what I would refer to as a generic (non-denominational) protestant of a slightly evangelical stripe.  One of his beefs with his generic, protestant of a slightly evangelical stripe church is their acceptance of women in 'positions of teaching authority'.  I asked him to define that more practically which comes out as a woman in the role of pastor (or higher).  Sure, ok, whatever.  I don't agree, but he is as entitled to be wrong as I am, so live and let live.

This morning, he sent me a link to a substantive article which shows the biblical basis for his conclusion.  Or, at least, it purports to.  Almost all of it revolves around  I Tim. 2:11-14.  Since this is all about context, I'm going to zoom out a bit and quote verses 8-15, which bounds the discussion while italicizing verses 11-14.

"In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy. And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do. Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty."

The point here is that Paul is writing a private letter to Timothy and telling the lad what he (Paul) feels the Church should look like and what he (again, Paul) permits/allows.
I want men to pray everywhere (not just in temple). 
I want women to wear 'decent' clothes (can you hear your grandmother's voice in that?). 
I don't permit women to teach or have positions of power over men.

Given the time and place in which this is written, as well as the constitution of the church (recall that they are still considered Nazarene jews at this point, not a separate religion) it all makes sense.   But, there is no God in those's all Paul and what Paul wants.   

This ties into the bigger question.  Who makes a priest? a bishop? a deacon?  If we believe in ontological change and the Divine calling those who are ordained, then it's the Divine who makes the priest (etc.) and She can make a boy-priest just as easily as He can make a girl-priest.

There's a lot more here which could be said, but I think I'm probably homilizing to the sopranos.

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