Monday, May 26, 2008

The Bible & me

After many years working with and alongside the [Evangelical] Christian Union at university, I have had many discussions and downright arguments as to why I am not a Conservative Evangelical (please note capital letters). I respect the Bible, but many of the interpretations that seem to come automatically as part of Conservatism/Evangelicalism do not make any sense to me.
Many times, my interpretation of a particular passage is at odds with the 'traditional' interpretation, but to me (& I'm sure many others) makes more sense and indeed seems to be more likely to be true. However, I then am told that my interpretation is wrong. Why? Because it's not what the Bible teaches. Apparently.
An example - Women covering their heads in church.
In the times in which these verses were written, it would have been shameful for the women to go without headcovering. To me, this is not a religious regulation, but a guideline on how to interact with local culture. Going out with their head uncovered marked these women as dressed like prostitutes. That is not a good thing for a Christian woman to do. Now, this is not the case! I do not feel the need to cover my head in church or anywhere else. However, if I attended a church which asked me to do so, then I would because that would be culturally appropriate in that church. My interpretation is that it is ok for a women to not cover her head, but it would not be appropriate for her to go out dressed in clothes that make her an sexual object or a prostitute. That would be demonstrating that she had more freedom in Christ than she really did. She is a daughter of God, and as such should have respect for herself and thus should dress appropriately. Covering her head would actually have the opposite effect - that she is somehow not fully worthy of respect and she is somehow a lesser human being compared to her husband or any man. To me this is simply untrue. She and any women on God's green earth are made in his image and are loved by God as his daughters.

But I have said this before and have been accused of not understanding the passage, twisting it for my own ends, of being a Liberal, of being a feminist (meant in a bad way), or simply of having no respect for the Bible. All of these (except maybe the feminism one), I would dispute.
However, I'm not sure that would achieve much here.

Instead, I would like to direct you to this post on Bible Deism. I'd be very interested to hear the thoughts of anyone who reads this post or Peter/qaya's.

God bless.

1 comment:

Coffee Catholic said...

This is a well-written post but with all due respect it is nothing short of a Straw Man argument.

The Church has *never* officially, dogmatically taught that by covering her head a woman is less worthy of respect by men.

The Church has *never* officially, daogmatically taught that a woman is a lesser human being then her husband.

The Bible does not teach these things either. Therefore, your argument is based on false information and this might be why you feel conflicted when you are told that the above is what is taught in the Bible or the Church.

If you belong to a church denomination (notice lower-case "c") that teaches such utter nonsense about women they are in error and you should remove yourself from such heresy.

Another issue here is that YOU are attempting to interpret the Bible on your own. How can you be 100% certain that YOU are coming up with the proper interpretation opposed to interpreting based on what you want to see and hear in order to satisfy your personal desires? Christ never told us to be our own personal interpreters of the Bible. He gave us a Church for a very good reason...

My suggestion to you is that you research the writings of the early Church ~ and have a good look at what is actually taught about women in Christianity. Compare these teachings with the Bible and you will see, amazingly, that they match ~ and none of them contain hatred or dehumanization towards women.

After all, Jesus was born of a woman, two women stayed with Christ while He was crucified (while all except one man ran away...) and woman was the first to see Jesus after He rose from the dead. If women were so despised by the Bible and the Church why would these facts have been kept in our Holy Scriptures?

Sadly many modern churches have lost touch with the writings of the early church so you might be forced to dip into Catholic bookstores and websites. I highly reccomend www.catholic.com where you can look up early writings, purchase books about the early writings, and ask honest questions on the forums ~ regardless of what church you hail from.

God bless!