Monday, November 21, 2011

Gimmicks for God

Valerie Prado, a student in my class this fall (RS 304 Women & the Bible), sent me the link to an NPR report last September about a woman's experiment with trying to live strictly by the various statements about women in the Bible.

I'd heard the report then but let the woman's antics slip by without any comment.  They do, however, deserve a rebuttal because she is turning them into a book that claims to be about "biblical womanhood."

Taking statements out of context without any consideration of the purpose for which each one was written, Rachel Held Evans lived for a year by passages ranging from Proverbs 31 to Ephesians 5:22.

Because Proverbs 31:23 says, "Her husband is known in the city gates," she stood at the "Welcome to Dayton" (Ohio) sign and held a poster saying "Dan is awesome."

Doing that and other things like letting her husband choose which Netflix movie they would watch clearly had nothing to do with what God wants from us humans. It was just a publicity stunt for her book. 

Rachel chose to ignore Ephesians 5:20, "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ," so she could act out the next verse, "wives to your husbands as to the Lord."  She also chose to ignore the last 37 years of biblical scholarship by women who care about this issue, starting with All We're Meant To Be by Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Nancy Hardesty in 1974. 

But hey, maybe her gimmicks and her book will cause people to think about what "biblical womanhood" really is... to move beyond the simple imitation of various random references to good/bad women and reflect on how the genders should relate and what it means to be a person who serves and praises God. 

Micah 6:8 clearly answers the second question for both genders:
"What does YHWH require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"

1 comment:

Sarah J. Flashing said...

I also wrote an evaluation of her blogposts on biblical womanhood, you can read it here: