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Sunday, June 22, 2008


I have been away for a bit on other blogs. First, I have tried to engage with a couple of complementarian blogs in a non-combattive way. Second, I have been reading some blogs of girlfriends so I could find some words to express how I feel.

Here is an example of what I found,
    So when I read books like How Women Help Men Find God, I well up inside with so much frustration because I can not believe that an otherwise intelligent person would write in this way. Intellectuelle

    What I am leading to is this: women are justified in being angry at the injustice, inconsideration, and just plain wrongness in probably 90% of the rhetoric touting itself as biblical womanhood and manhood, or any other mistreatment. Intellectuelle

    Like an abused caged wild animal newly set free, most any movement made me flinch and anything that looked like a cage wall made me snarl and run. Compegal

    The hardest part about the change wasn’t in making the change itself, but in grieving the loss of some hopes and dreams based upon the old beliefs, in knowing I had been a part of giving people “Christian” advice that wasn’t really Scriptural at all but was harmful, and in missed opportunities and other wrong choices based on the old beliefs. CBE blog

    On Monday, I burnt four marriage books. I was very angry. The enemy was there, controlling, menacing, ever strong. I need to work on my reactions to the enemy’s victories, but it hurts so much! MRB

    I have discussed this topic with several women and have been a little bit surprised by their reactions. It seems to me that women would be glad to know that the idea of submission precedes the fall. This shows us that the headship of the husband is not rooted in a punishment, and perhaps even an unfair punishment where woman was given the harsher penalty of having to submit, but is rooted in the very purpose and creation of mankind. Yet women have told me that they prefer to think that submission is a product of the Fall. Challies
I can't express how I feel myself - way over the top of what you read here - except to say that it is a pain that crashes in my head. The pain of knowing that the Bible was used to enslave me for being a woman. Since clearly this affects how I interact, I have resorted to borrowing the words of other women to help me express it here.

So, this is just to say that if you see me saying untoward things sometimes, it comes out of this kind of pain. I'm sorry. I know that when other people say things it comes out of their pain.

Fortunately this is mostly about Bible translation, and not about the rest of my life. My kids are great, my dog is healthy, my grass is cut, and I love my job. So, no, I am not having a nervous breakdown. But Bible translations being used to enslave women causes me pain, a great deal of pain.

Now, I will try to listen harder to other people and their issues.


At Sun Jun 22, 03:33:00 PM, Blogger Iris Godfrey said...

Thank you for your honesty. Your borrowing words from others blesses me too. The pain is deep and only can be healed in us by the truth of the Savior. I am so thankful He doesn't have a problem with me teaching and preaching His Word -- like He told me too!
Bless you,

At Sun Jun 22, 03:37:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks Iris. I felt that it was just better to speak openly about what I am feeling. You do bless me by visiting here.

At Sun Jun 22, 03:44:00 PM, Blogger Bob MacDonald said...

It is not only the Western tradition that has abused women - you touch a deep and difficult problem that affects all humanity. As a male, I have done and continue to do what I can to alleviate the misery caused by such a bias. All my stories have women who are language experts - I am glad to have read your teaching as one of such company. May they be more than fictional characters in the days to come.

At Sun Jun 22, 10:38:00 PM, Blogger Kevin A. Sam said...

Thanks for expressing your feelings publicly about your deep pain. There are a lot of us who are with you.

At Mon Jun 23, 05:06:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

The pain of knowing that the Bible was used to enslave me for being a woman. Since clearly this affects how I interact, I have resorted to borrowing the words of other women to help me express it here.

So, this is just to say that if you see me saying untoward things sometimes, it comes out of this kind of pain.

Isn't this the suffering of Jesus? Doesn't he oppose using the scriptures to enslave? Doesn't he resort to borrowing the words of others to express? Don't we see him saying untoward things sometimes, that come out of this kind of pain? οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον κατηρτισμένος δὲ πᾶς ἔσται ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ "Crashing" in Greek means μετανοεῖτε. Thanks for your exemplary post.

At Mon Jun 23, 07:36:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

The beginning was to stop playing God and to stop trying to change things that I really didn't have any control over.

You're invoking the 1st of the 12 steps of AA. I've long believed that Jesus practiced his very own life transformation along the lines of what a few Americans first formulated in the 12 steps. He "grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and humans." He "he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion." In Gethsemane, and elsewhere, he trusted a few (even God his own father) who proved to be untrustworthy.

But the irony of your addressing Suzanne and the women she quotes! You say to her right here in public (and what safety is there for any of us by your doing that?) : "Ah, yes, but you may say what I am worrying about is very important. How much change in others opinions have I really accomplished thus far in life, and have any of these 'victories' contributed to my, or their, on going happiness?"

None of these women are the woman who was brought to Jesus by the Pharisees. But what about her, that adulteress? Would you have stood there and said to her what you write here? In the public trap of the pharisees was she "playing God and . . . trying to change things that [she] really didn't have any control over"? Of course not. For you to warn against ego stroking, whether you use the scriptures or the 12 steps, does seem a bit ironic.

I'm glad you are speaking up for others and for yourself. You en-courage some of us who get preached at for advocating ego change and social change, which is desperately needed in the church of all places.

At Mon Jun 23, 03:41:00 PM, Blogger Ruth said...

Yes, it hurts to be told "you are equal, submission is a blessing" and all that bla de bla by someone who won't submit to the word of God.

That's my pain. My enemy.
It's a lack of proper teaching, and as you say, of proper translation in some cases.
How accurate is the Luther 1985 (I think) translation? And the Elberfelder? Schlachter? (husband is German)

I appreciate your scholar work. I'm not a scholar. Your zeal is a blessing to people like me, who rely very heavily on the accuracy of translators.

God bless,

At Mon Jun 23, 08:24:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Darum soll die Frau eine Macht auf dem Haupt haben, um der Engel willen. E

"a power on the head have" 1 Cor. 11:10

Ich erlaube aber einer Frau nicht, zu lehren, noch über den Mann zu herrschen, sondern [ich will], daß sie sich in der Stille halte, E

"dominate/lord it over"

Ich empfehle euch aber unsere Schwester Phöbe, die eine Dienerin der Gemeinde in Kenchreä ist,


I don't have a copy of the latest Luther. But the Elberfelder is very similar to the original Luther.

In 1 Cor.11, there is no addition to verse 10 so it says that a woman shall have a power on her head.

In 1 Tim. 2:12, Elberfelder says "lord it over" and Luther originally said "be the lord over."

For the Germans Junia is always Junias, masculine, as far as I know. No one wants to stand up to Luther on that one.

And Phoebe is a serving girl.

I don't know the Schlacter version.

But the Germans do have a common word for humans or people - Mensch. So it makes a nice change from English.

More than anything, however, one has to ask about the meaning of Mitmensch, the fellow human being, or nachste, the one who is next to you.

While many base their egalitarian beliefs on Gal. 3:28, I prefer to think of the theme that runs all through the scriptures of treating one's fellow human being the way you want to be treated yourself.

Even though economies and societies have been structured in different ways, what does it mean to treat someone else with respect. Sadly it is not something that we can demand for ourselves. I know that for many it means setting boundaries, and living with less intimacy than they would have liked. It also means taking risks and giving of oneself. But there are limits.

I don't have any answers. I do know that some people are fortunate to make this journey with their spouse, and some are not.

There are lots of good books on egalitarian values. I think once you start thinking about it and reading, it can open up new opportunities.

It also helps to know that other people are experiencing the same difficulties. We have our humanity in common.

At Tue Jun 24, 06:10:00 AM, Blogger Ruth said...

"While many base their egalitarian beliefs on Gal. 3:28, I prefer to think of the theme that runs all through the scriptures of treating one's fellow human being the way you want to be treated yourself."

Thanks for the insight, Suzanne. I do find interesting how the word "Diakonos" is translated differently when speaking of a woman.
I agree with you that treating others as you would like to be treated is the best law to live by.


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