I Don't Know Any Better I Want To
Sleeveless dresses? Who knew?
Peg and I signed up for, and went on, a mission trip in June 1970. Our first, and it was a lulu. It was to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. When we arrived, the director of the trip told the ladies that they shouldn't wear any sleeveless dresses unless they were either covered up, or something with sleeves was worn underneath. It seems that a sleeveless dress was a sign of, shall we say, a slatternly woman in Haiti.
If I'd been a Baptist then, or hadn't known the director of the crusade, I'd have been all "freedom in Christ" oriented and would have pitched a fit (on behalf of all those oppressed females on the crusade); as it was, I didn't know the difference. And I was always a compliant child, anyway.
The crusade director was correct, of course. Our witness was important to them, and hopefully to the Haitians around, and we needed to adapt what we did in light of the Haitian standards (without, of course, compromising Scriptural standards).
When I read the Bible, and go back a couple thousand years, I wonder if the same sort of thing went on back then. And if so, would God's instructions to the people back then have been to take the societal context into consideration in what they did?
Would God have wanted Peg to put on a sleeveless dress in Haiti, and tell the locals to wise up and quit majoring on the minors?
I don't think so.
So why all this flap about women in the ministry? What's the deal?
Most of the controversy connects to Paul's statement to Timothy that HE (Paul) did not permit a woman to teach, or usurp authority over, a man. Well, I wonder why Paul would've said that. Perhaps the women around Paul, who would've been the ones teaching and/or usurping, weren't the sort of women of whom God would approve. Perhaps in that society, such would have been unthinkable. Perhaps that would have been the social equivalent of sleeveless dresses in Haiti.
I won't even broach the subject of why Paul didn't INSTRUCT Timothy not to let women teach. Nobody seems to want to even TOUCH that!
I am overwhelmed at the instances which reflect that women were "second-class" people back in biblical times. And the advent of Jesus wouldn't have immediately changed those views overnight, would they? Wouldn't the assembly of scripture and its dissemination have been required before a whole society would change its views?
WOW. With just a tiny bit of looking, I got more stuff than I can type in a month, so I'll just hit a few highlights.
- Men could have all the wives they wanted, but women were not so free.
- Sarah told Abraham he could have sex with her handmaiden Hagar, but doesn't seem to have consulted with Hagar about it. Care to try that with your wife or your maid today?
- When the men of Sodom mobbed Lot's house and wanted the good-looking angels (men) to come out so they could "know" them (check the Adam & Eve story for the meaning of that little gem...), Lot offered his daughters to them, for sex, and was still considered an honorable man worthy of saving.
- Men (who were presumably pigs, like we are today) could have all the concubines they wanted, but it seems to have been a no-no for a woman to have a lot of whatever the male equivalent of a concubine was.
- Pharaoh ordered killing of the male children. Women didn't count, apparently.
- The census seems to have counted men only. That even carried forward into the New Testament accounts of feeding 5000 with a small sack lunch. That was only the men!
- The last commandment is not to covet a lot of stuff of your neighbor's, even his wife. She's apparently in the same class as his house, his servants (female AND MALE!), and his 1969 Z28 Camaro (that goes double for a ZL-1).
- Slaves got to go free every 6 years. But only if they were men. If they'd married, the wife didn't get set free.
- If a lady was expecting, and some guy hit her in the tummy and she miscarried, the malefactor had to pay a fine. TO HER HUSBAND!! What .. she didn't count?
- A man who had sex with his neighbor's wife apparently committed a grievous offense against his neighbor. NOT against his own wife! I mean, hubbies could go visit prostitutes and apparently not offend their own wives.
And that was the society into which Paul told Timothy that HE didn't let a woman teach. Since he didn't tell Timothy not to do that, I presume there was reason, where Paul was, with the women in his presence, that Paul didn't do that.
**Edit Note** I knew I'd forget something, so let me add this: Check out Miriam, Huldah, Deborah, and Noadiah. They're referred to as Prophetesses. And that word [HT: Strong's] seems merely to be the feminine form of Prophet, and we know what their function was, I suppose. AND, God says Deborah judged Israel. Hmmmm.......
So I am forced to wonder .. did God make a mis..... a mis .... uuhhhhh ... uuhhhhh ...
NO, doggone it, I can't even say it. **End Edit**
Someone made a comment on a blog somewhere about "Let's be consistent". To that I say "Amen". So .... which is it going to be.......
____ Women are to be treated in accordance with all scripture, including the OT references alluded to above, or....
____ Women are to be granted honor as a fellow heir of the gift of life, and in accordance with the sovereign gifting and inheritance of God Himself.
You needn't actually cast a vote ... your actions will do that for you.