This has nothing to do with music or television or media or anything else I blog about on a regular basis. I just kinda thought I'd put it here.
I attend a nondenominational evangelical church here in Wisconsin. I love my church, but the one thing I don't like about it is its position on women in the church. I am an Egalitarian Christian, which means that I believe that gender roles (apparently the new verbage is to call them "rôles" if it's about gender or race. I guess I'll do that.) are not biblical, and that passages about them are often mistranslated by (originally) mysoginists and (later) people who had been taught for all there lives that there were gender rôles (or just rôles? I give up) and thought that they were misunderstanding texts about women and such because of what they'd learned. My church takes a Complementarian stance, which means they believe women should be homemakers/child-rearers first, and men should be the ones to provide to the women, and it must work that way. That, therefore, forbids women from being clergy, even though there are several specific passages in the Bible that refer to priestesses, deaconesses, and prophetesses on an equal par with their ess-less (bad pun meaning male) counterparts. Here is the essay, which was originally a letter to my pastor (I emailed it to my pastor and it didn't go through, so I decided it wasn't such a good idea after all. It's kind of well-written though):
Dear Pastor ▓▓▓▓▓▓,
I remember in ICD class that we were taught that women were not generally allowed to be pastors, elders, etc. by biblical passages such as 1 Timothy 2. After reading my bible and various interpretations of this verse, I have come to disagree with this stance. I found the post at http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2009/01/07/was-1-timothy-2-written-to-the-church/ particularly helpful. In it, the author describes the error in the common Complementarian interpretation of this scripture. It explains how the scripture is frequently misinterpreted, as the passage referring to "a woman" is singular in Greek, leading us to presume that Paul was referring to one particular example.
Also helpful in that article was mention of Priscilla, which I will further clarify later. Priscilla, as is well known, was one of Paul's "fellow workers in Christ" (Rom. 16:3). Some translations misinterpret this passage as "helper," a diminutive noun, when in fact the Greek quite literally means "co-worker" or "colleague." She is described as equal in ministry to her husband Aquila, and, by total word count, is actually referenced more in all of the texts of Scripture. Priscilla is portrayed as teaching to both men and women in Paul's presence. How, then, can we assume that Paul's words in 1st Timothy apply univerally? Paul also references Phoebe in Romans 16:1 as the deacon or minister of the church at Cenchrea. She is the only deacon mentioned by name in the Bible. Why, then, are female deacons and ministers objected to today? Some [mis]translations go so far as to change the word to "helper" or "servant," when in fact the Greek word is "diakonos", which literally means "deacon" or "official servant (as of a ministerial body)", and is in fact the word from which the English "deacon" is derived. In Romans 6:7, Junia and Andronicus are described as "outstanding amongst the apostles." Junia is a female name. Some more recent translations have plucked the letter "s" out of mid-air, turning it into Junias, a male name. Some go so far as to change "outstanding amongst the apostles" to "men in high esteem" (Amplified translation) or "men of note" (RSV), when in fact the original Greek contains no reference to their being men, of course because one of them wasn't.
Acts 9:36 refers to a female disciple, Tabitha (her Greek name was Dorcas) who was revived by Peter. In Philippians 4:2, Syntyche and Euodia, both women, are described as Paul's active evangelical co-workers. As far back as the early Old Testament, Deborah was a high judge and military commander in ancient theocratic Israel. Miriam, Moses' and Aaron's sister, was one of Israel's triad of leaders during the Exodus. Perhaps most tellingly, the original Hebrew in Genesis 2:18 describes Eve as being Adam's "ay'-zer". That term literally means a co-worker, a word implying equal status. However, almost all translations of the last 300 years use the diminutive "help mate" or "helper." This was simply not the original text. Recent translations such as the NRSB and the CEV use the somewhat more correct "partner." Huldah or Huelda (alternate transliterations) was clearly described as a prophetess in 2 Kings 22:14 and later in 2 Chronicles 34:22, who verified the accuracy of Deuteronomy and brought about a religious revival. According to Karen Jo Torjenson: (directly quoted from http://www.religioustolerance.org/femclrg5.htm)
“… An ancient mosaic which shows four female figures. One is identified as Bishop Theodora. The feminine form for bishop (episcopa) is used. A 3rd or 4th century burial site on the Greek island of Thera contains an epitaph referring to Epiktas, a "presbytis" (priest or presbyter). Epiktas is a woman's name. A 2nd or 3rd century Christian inscription in Egypt for Artemidoras, whose mother is described as "Paniskianes, being an elder" (presbytera). A memorial from the 3rd century for Ammion the elder (presbytera). A 4th or 5th century Sicilian inscription referring to Kale the elder (presbytis).”
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this.
(Notice that last names are replaced by ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓. This is the internet you know.)
(Another footnote: ICD is like our church's non-Catholic version of CCD. Except it's only a year. For those of you with no religious history whatsoever, that means a class about religion.)