I'd like to believe this is true. That I can stand before Jesus and be fully known and fully loved and fully capable of being used by him for the church. But I often feel as if someone is digging holes beneath my feet, because they don't like the fact I was born a woman.
It's kind of hard for me to understand. You see, I can't really change that I have ovaries and my breasts are larger than a man's. I can't change the fact that I have more estrogen than someone else. And in fact, I don't really want to change those things - they make me unique. They are part of who I am as a woman, and I'm not ashamed of them. I'm proud of them, really.
But the church seems to keep telling me that these things make me less valued by God than a man. That I am not capable of teaching men. Sure, you can quote me this verse or that verse. I know them all, and I still don't buy the argument. Instead, I ask myself whether we are trying to duplicate what the New Testament says down to the letter or whether we read it according to the spirit of the passage, asking God for the wisdom to apply the principal of the message to our context today.
So here's my run down for you:
- Eve wasn't present when God gave the command to not eat of the tree, making her more susceptible because of an indirect command
- Creation order doesn't indicate primacy or importance - in fact, the word for "helper" used for Eve is the same word applied to God later in the Psalms as a saviour or rescuer
- It was part of the Fall that men rule over women -> it's part of the curse, and it is wrong. It's not something we should champion, but rather, something we should try to overcome.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
- Again, there should be unity in the church, not hierarchy. We are all one in Christ, and in him, we are a new creation. "The old has gone, the new has come." Part of this new kingdom is recognizing our equality before Christ.
- Junia - the apostle. This is a woman. And she is an apostle. Look it up. Or hear this talk by N.T. Wright.
- learning in quietness and full submission is good teaching for anyone who is just learning and hearing the Torah - women hadn't had the opportunity to hear instruction before
- Jesus welcome women into his circle of disciples - he wants them to learn directly, unlike before. A generation of women must learn before they can claim authority - Paul's telling them he WANTS them to learn.
- Be patient and gracious until you learn. Remember what happened to Adam and Eve, who had indirect experience of God's word. This is still what was happening at that point.