Women and the God of the Bible - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 06-07-2011, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 I have pasted, below, a link to an adapted exerpt from Frank Schaeffer's new book, Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway. I'd love to hear everyone's comments! I was just commenting to a friend that, now that I spend less time reading the Bible and more time tuning into the Spirit, I am finding it so much easier to respond to myself and others with compassion...and I think it may have something to do with the Bible's take on  women.
 
http://nolongerquivering.com/2011/06/07/magic-menstrual-mummies/

 

(edited to correct a typo)


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#2 of 16 Old 06-08-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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Very interesting.  I think that it's so important to remember that the Bible was written by men who were, of course, influenced by the time and culture of their day.  The Bible is inspired, but it's also a product of human beings, and I think that fundamentalism forgets the human-ness (not a word, sorry) of the Bible and that causes all sorts of problems. 

 

Menstruation being 'unclean' is something that is found in cultures and religions all over the world, and not just in monotheistic (where the God is 'male') religions.  I don't have the link handy, but I posted it on another thread not too long ago, a book written by a secular college professor who found through his research that this 'fear and loathing' of women and women's bodies/bodily functions is ubiquitous. 

 

Since realizing those two things (that the Bible is very much a product of humans living in a specific time and culture, and that this particular view of women is not confined only to Abrahamic or monotheistic faiths), I find that I can read the Bible and really not be offended by what it says about women.  There's a much bigger picture, and Fundamentalism misses the point of a lot of what the Bible says, imo. 

 

The way I've heard it described is that the Bible is inspired but written for humans in a way that people could understand, but it's basically God's baby talk.  God meets people where they are, in other words, in order to help lift us up.  So, during the time the OT was written, it was considered normal to think of menstruation as 'unclean' and so God worked with that.  It was considered normal for people to have (or be) slaves, and God worked with that, as well.  And if we think that there won't be things that we find completely normal and morally acceptable in our time/culture that people 100 years from now (or 2000+ years from now) will find abhorrent, then we're sadly mistaken, but God loves us and works with us anyway.

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#3 of 16 Old 06-08-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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I couldn't even finish that diatribe. It reads like it's written by a 5th grader squicked out about girl cooties. Maybe it's that I never was a Protestant so I don't understand where he is coming from, nor do I agree with the assertions he made about God being appalled by women? None of it makes any kind of sense to me.

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#4 of 16 Old 06-08-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

 I have pasted, below, a link to an adapted exerpt from Frank Shaeffer's new book, Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway. I'd love to hear everyone's comments! I was just commenting to a friend that, now that I spend less time reading the Bible and more time tuning into the Spirit, I am finding it so much easier to respond to myself and others with compassion...and I think it may have something to do with the Bible's take on  women.
 
http://nolongerquivering.com/2011/06/07/magic-menstrual-mummies/




Love the article. And yes, this is one of the many reasons I cannot be an xtian anymore and do not raise my children that way. The culture of women and self-loathing has got to end. Too many women have been harmed.
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#5 of 16 Old 06-08-2011, 09:56 AM
 
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I couldn't even finish that diatribe. It reads like it's written by a 5th grader squicked out about girl cooties. Maybe it's that I never was a Protestant so I don't understand where he is coming from, nor do I agree with the assertions he made about God being appalled by women? None of it makes any kind of sense to me.


 

Frank Schaeffer is a bit controversial, as far as I can tell.  Anyone know if he's still Orthodox?  I think he's in the Greek Orthodox Church.  I'd have to read the rest of the book before making a judgment based on this except, though....I have a feeling that more context would be very helpful in understanding exactly what he's trying to say.

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#6 of 16 Old 06-08-2011, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's great to see three responses already!

 

Purple Sage, I agree with what you say about the humanness of the Bible. I see what you mean about God meeting people where they are at -- up to a point. For example, I don't expect my children to understand everything at an adult level -- yet I do encourage them to develop empathy to the extent that they're ready to. So I honestly don't believe that the stories, for example, of God telling men to go on a raid and take wives for themselves, or of God telling the Hebrew men to divorce their unbelieving wives and rip apart those families, are about the real, true, God.

 

I see it as human authoritarianism parading as "the voice of God." I feel the same way about Paul's statement that he didn't allow women to teach or have authority over men because woman was the one who got deceived into sin.

 

I still believe God can speak to me through the Bible -- but God has also spoken to me through Tao Te Ching and other writings, such as the things James Redfield has written.

 

Arduinna, what I got from Schaeffer's comments about God being appalled by women and seemingly wondering, "Oh, no, what are we going to do about all this icky blood?!" was basically sarcasm. The Bible says we're created by God and everything God makes is good, and at the same time, everything pertaining to womanhood is "unclean." You're even unclean for a longer period after giving birth to a girl than you are after giving birth to a boy. What's that all about?

 

As he supported his wife at the hospital with her bleeding problem, in the room with the rape kit for collecting evidence, he suddenly realized that the God that's portrayed in the Bible doesn't really love women -- and he loved his wife!

 

After all (and I'm adding my own thoughts here) according the the Bible, rape is basically a sin against the male who owns the girl or woman (it would probably technically just be a girl since it only seemed to count as rape if it was a virgin, and girls were usually married off and no lnger virgins by around age 12). And it's only really rape if it occurs out in the country where no one can hear the victim's screams. If it occurs in the city and the victim is possibly to shocked to make a sound, or does scream but doesn't succeed in getting others' attention and assistance, then, according to the Bible, she's as much to blame as the rapist.

 

Honestly, the more I look at this stuff from outside the box, the more and more impossible it's getting to swallow the idea of a loving God "working with" this sort of woman-hating mentality.

 

philomom, what gets me is the fact that there are still so many women being harmed by misogynistic theology.


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#7 of 16 Old 06-08-2011, 10:07 AM
 
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Frank Schaeffer is a bit controversial, as far as I can tell.  Anyone know if he's still Orthodox?  I think he's in the Greek Orthodox Church.  I'd have to read the rest of the book before making a judgment based on this except, though....I have a feeling that more context would be very helpful in understanding exactly what he's trying to say.

 

I'm astounded that the guy that wrote that could be an Orthodox convert. 
 

 

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#8 of 16 Old 06-08-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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Honestly, the more I look at this stuff from outside the box, the more and more impossible it's getting to swallow the idea of a loving God "working with" this sort of woman-hating mentality.

 

philomom, what gets me is the fact that there are still so many women being harmed by misogynistic theology.



Ok after reading his biography on wikipedia and this, I can see why he makes no sense to me. I have nothing to add to this thread. 

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#9 of 16 Old 06-08-2011, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, well, I just went ahead and read the Wikipedia biography as well as the part of my post that Arduinna quoted...and...I can't say as I really have anything to add at the moment, either, but I'm sure I'll be back later.


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#10 of 16 Old 06-08-2011, 10:58 AM
 
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Frank Schaeffer is a bit controversial, as far as I can tell.  Anyone know if he's still Orthodox?  I think he's in the Greek Orthodox Church.  I'd have to read the rest of the book before making a judgment based on this except, though....I have a feeling that more context would be very helpful in understanding exactly what he's trying to say.


Regarding him being Orthodox, I did some googling and came across this article about him in the Orthodox Observer

 

 

I also did a little reading on his blog. hmmm I'm not sure I can say anything about him that is charitable. 

 

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#11 of 16 Old 06-08-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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Honestly, the more I look at this stuff from outside the box, the more and more impossible it's getting to swallow the idea of a loving God "working with" this sort of woman-hating mentality.

 

 



Outside which box, though? 

 

I was thinking about this last night for a while.  I wonder what things in our modern culture that we find completely morally acceptable - and not controversial at all right now - that people will look back in a few generations' time and think How could they do this?  It would be awfully arrogant to think that there's nothing in our culture that fits this description.  I'm talking about things that aren't even on our radar as being potentially immoral, not things like the death penalty which most Americans think is okay but some people (myself included) think is wrong.

 

My point is that God is still here with us now, loving us, and coming down to our level to help us, even though we are right now doing things that we don't even know are wrong. People in future generations will be appalled by us for doing these things and they will be saying the same thing as you - how could God work with us?   So why doesn't God make it clear to us right now what we're doing is so wrong?  God knows all the wrong things we do, just as he did thousands of years ago.  All I know is that I need to focus on humility and repentance and not blame God for the wrongs that people do, myself included.

 

 

Regarding Frank Schaeffer...yeah, controversial.  I'm not going to spend time thinking about him.

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#12 of 16 Old 06-09-2011, 03:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Purple Sage, I wasn't taking exception to the fact that God loves us all, regardless of our mentalities. I was talking more about the idea of God telling people to take slaves, subjugate women, and so on. I simply see that stuff as man's word at that time -- not God's word.

 

Yes, I think you are right that future generations will have insights that we don't have at this time. Strangely, though, I have a feeling that future generations will find it easier to look upon us with compassion than we sometimes find it when we strongly disagree with people today. I think we're gradually moving into an age where love and respect will be as natural as breathing.


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#13 of 16 Old 06-09-2011, 09:33 PM
 
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I'm astounded that the guy that wrote that could be an Orthodox convert. 
 

 



 

The man's got some issues....


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#14 of 16 Old 06-10-2011, 03:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The man's got some issues....



Don't we all?

 


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#15 of 16 Old 06-10-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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He's rather public with his issues. He wrote some intro books on Orthodoxy, one for those from Catholicism, another for Protestants. They are so polemical that an inquirer I know said, "He called me a heretic in the first three pages."

That's why we never recommend his books and for first reads on Orthodoxy always suggest two quite balanced books by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (an Englishman who became Orthodox in the 1950s).

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#16 of 16 Old 06-10-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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Quote:
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I was thinking about this last night for a while.  I wonder what things in our modern culture that we find completely morally acceptable - and not controversial at all right now - that people will look back in a few generations' time and think How could they do this?

 

Boxing! How is this even allowed as a professional sport. It just seems absolutely barbaric to me!  Just had to throw that in there.

 

Not much to add on the general discussion save that I agree the Bible was written by men in a specific time and place. I follow a more metaphysical, metaphorical interpretation of what's in there.


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