Sometimes I fancy myself a fine Corinthian lady, perhaps bejeweled and elegant with braided hair, perhaps a former pagan priestess, a recent Christian convert married to someone who does not yet share her faith.
Or I could well be a lady of another church, one who will not cover her hair, one who sows seeds of disharmony and resentment, surrounded by women with no hair at all who are veiled and plainly dressed, perhaps grieving, perhaps living in poverty, perhaps former prostitutes, likely also recent converts.
I should also mention that it appears as if I suddenly have 16 husbands…..
Well, really only five husbands this week, because I have only been whacked upside the head with Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” five times this week from random strangers, which compels me to wisely not quip, “excuse me, but are we even married??”
And of course there is always 1 Corinthians 14:34, three times this week, “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.”
I jest a bit here about being a fine Corinthian Lady, but for goodness sakes, context is everything and the importance of reading those words in the spirit in which they were written, in the context they were intended, is so important. Does anyone ever read something and ask “who, what, where, and why” anymore? Perhaps not.
Also, I have wisely chosen not to quip, “ya know, there’s a whole book written around those two passages, and many, many more words of scripture you might consider reading. They supply the context! ” To be honest here, I can think of nothing sadder then someone who knows only Wives, submit yourselves, especially a man, because if that is not the surest way to deprive yourself of all wisdom and understanding, I don’t know what is.
See there’s this thing about wives submit, it is actually out of your hands, it is between her, her husband, and God, it has very little to do with you. You can of course, run around trying to whack women over the head with that one until the cows come home, like so many on the internet try to do to me, but it will avail you nothing. In fact, it does more harm then good.
Even more harmful is to run about declaring “Women should remain silent…” Speaking is kind of like a life line for women, words are important, having a voice matters to us. Telling women they must be silent always would be a bit like me declaring husbands are mandated to be celibate always. Also, that phrase is often horribly out of context. Are we even in church?
These things entertain me, I find them a bit amusing, I know exactly what’s happened when someone starts preaching 1 Corinthians 14:34 or Ephesians 5:22 to me. I’ve either bumped into a red pillian or someone who is angry at women in general. Let me tell you it is like walking face first into a wall too, there is no chance for communication at that point. I am trying to speak to someone who cannot and will not even hear me.
There’s a darker side to all this however, those snatches of scripture taken out of context often drive women away from faith. Should they? Of course not, but they do. They do. For some people you are the only bible they will ever read, you are representative of what faith means to them. To make matters more complicated, there are people who have been spiritually abused in the world, who know what scripture misappropriated looks like. If all I ever knew of Jesus Christ was encapsulated in those two pieces of scripture, I myself would have quite rationally, run in the other direction.
I love Paul’s words, I love the beauty of scripture, I love how marriage is used as a metaphor for Christ’s relationship with the church, I love what scripture teaches us about men and women, I love the entire concept of submission. I love wives submit, but also, love your wives least your very prayers be hindered. I am immersed in the wonder of The Word. I am not a feminist by any means, but I am not a complete moron either.
And a bit sadly, I am also not really a Fine Corinthian Lady.