A lot of things in that paragraph. I'll try not to sound nitpicky.
|I find a lot of wisdom in the Bible, one verse even gave me the last kick to apply for leadership within LLL. However, there are definitely parts of the Bible I have a very hard time with. I especially struggle with the image of women in our Judaic-Christian culture and I am literally sick of the concept of original sin. How can our menstrual cycle be a "curse" and labor a punishment when at the same time children are considered to be a blessing?
It wasn't God who called the menstrual cycle a "curse". That's a cultural thing. The actual verse has to do with bearing children and different translations and commentaries have different opinions of what exactly it means.. Furthermore, Even wasn't the only one given a serious consequence for rebellion against God. Keep reading and Adam gets it pretty harshly too. Both
Adam and Eve, after the Fall, now have to work and struggle and sweat to recieve those blessings which previously had been handed to them.
|Where do I belong in a faith in whose name women have been burned at the stake, abused within marriage, denied electoral, possessive etc. rights?
Where do men belong in a faith in whose name men have been burned at stake, abused by the powers that be, and denied electoral and possessive rights? Historically the majority of men lacked education, opportunity, and power along with women. Both men and women in feudal societies were mostly powerless. And both men and women could join religious communities which were often their once chance at education. We belong in this faith because those abuses are not teachings of the faith, but constructs of power-hungry people who grasped at anything in order to maintain and expand their power. Those abuses directly oppose what Christ and his apostles taught. Including within marriage. The Scriptures on marriage do call for submission, but they leave no room for abuse. Period. A man who oppresses or abuses his wife is in direct conflict with Christian doctrine on marriage, and thus in sin, and furthermore in great danger of a broken relationship with God.
|How am I supposed to grow when I'm expected to live in submission?
All Christians, male and female, are expected to live in submission--to Christ, to the laws of God, to the authority within the church, and to each other. Submisison is not oppression, and does not hinder spiritual or personal growth. Submission is an individual choice. If we submit to God, we refrain from disobeying him. If we submit to each other, we refrain from doing those things which would injure, or be a cause for sin, or other hurtful things. I suppose it very much depends on your definitions of "submission" and of "growth". If by growth you mean doing whatever you feel like doing, because you want to, then probably submission would hinder that. But that is not a woman-only restriction, but an overall principal of Christianity, not to do our own will and please our own flesh, but to put self aside and follow God.
I do not feel that even my view of fairly conservative gender roles is something to make peace with. I'm already OK with it. I know that God created me, loves me, and that Christ died for my sins. I know that my gender has nothing to do with my salvation or my value to God. I believe that the social "rules" for men and women in the Bible are broad principles, not legalistic rules to control the minutia of life. I know that God demands
that my husband love me, cherish me, and treat me with the same care and consideration he would naturally give himself. And because my husband believes these to be true as well, and believes that God's Word trumps his feelings or his cultural upbringing, I have no worries, and no resentment for him, and no feeling of being "less than" or oppressed.