Friday, July 23, 2010

Treating women as equals

So, where was I? Oh yes, Jesus and women.

Well, we need to go back a bit first to a week last Tuesday's bible study at Zac's. The leaders of the early church had been discussing whether circumcision was necessary for Christians; they came to the conclusion it wasn't. 'After all,' James (brother of Jesus) said, 'let's not make it difficult for gentiles to become Christians.'

Put another word in the place of gentiles - addicts, prostitutes, Muslims, homosexuals, take your choice from any number - and the message is the same for today's church. Let's not give people numerous hoops to jump through. Concentrate on what Jesus said was important: loving God and your neighbour as yourself. Many of us have enough trouble loving ourselves.

Now let's go to prison last Sunday morning. The chaplain was talking first about the good Samaritan (another story from Jesus about what is a neighbour) and then the sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus had gone to visit them and, while Martha was busy being the hostess, Mary sat at Jesus' feet to listen to what he had to say.

This was going against the ways of the day when only the men could listen to a rabbi teach and a woman's place was to wait and serve. Martha was tired and grumpy and she complained to Jesus that Mary should be helping her not sitting around doing nothing but Jesus replied by saying that Mary had chosen the best way.

In other words he was turning custom on its head by treating ethnic minorities (the Samaritan) and women equally with Jewish men.

He is such a lovely man/God. He turns everything upside down. 'So the last will be first ...'


jay said...

Yes, indeed. Too many churches require too many hoops to be jumped through. Some make them too high too. And of course, there are those who find the hoops a little higher than others.

Interesting post!

Leslie: said...

My biggest problem with the "church" is the fact that so many take the words of the Bible so literally and deny women equality. It's what made me stop attending, although my faith does not waver.

Gledwood said...

I do believe Jesus spent a lot of time hanging out with the more "colourful" members of the community!

But when they became Christians, surely they dropped their "unrighteous" habits ... after all wasn't Mary Magdelene said to have been an ex-prostitute?

(Though I don't think the scriptures actually state this expressly. Some believe she is the woman who had led a sinful life who washed his feet with a bottle of incredibly expensive perfume and her hair, but that lady isn't named.)

In between the words I quoted from Revelation a couple of weeks ago

(the Pearly Gates, River of Life flowing from the Throne of God, etc) there is a verse saying fornicators, liars, those into the occult... basically sinners of all kinds will not be in this new world. So they (and I) will have to give up these errant ways at some point between now and then :-)

Have a cheery weekend.

Regards to George!

James Higham said...

And equal need not mean the same, of course.

Furtheron said...

" loving God and your neighbour as yourself"... hmm - always the last bit of that I wince at - I think that has given rise to many abuses within the name of Christianity - it should be "love others as they would want to be loved" in my humble opinion... In Western Christianity - since the adoption by the later Roman empire Christianity became a vehicle of the state in many cases, the crusades etc. etc. all done in the cause of "loving others how we wish to be loved"... yes but do they? little empathy there. I still think the tenet of that statement is wrong is implies imposition of my will over your will or God's will... mind you I'm suggesting here to change the "word of God" aren't I? In another age I'd have been burnt at the stake for writing this down... this is why I never get any organised religion :-)