Friday, March 18, 2011

Déjà Vu...

This evening I came across the biblical passage that caused me to lose my the Bible - as a relevant, comprehensive and contemporary expression of God's purpose in my life. Hmmmm, is my seminary showing? Anyhoo, here it is...

Wait...context. I was a young girl. Fourteen years old, I had on a turquoise skirt suit with a black geometrical pattern down the front and sensible black Etienne Aiger pumps. Ugh, I also had on those cheap black sheer stockings that stuck to my butt and kept me from breathing from the waist down. I was flipping through the B.I.B.L.E as I was wont to do...engaging my faithisms when my eyes landed on "Paul's" letter to Timothy. (Quotes are there cuz some folks think he might not have written it, it was mostly likely written in his name AFTER his death - but I didn't know that then...) Okay, yeah:

 8 I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument; 9 also that the women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing*, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes, 10 but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. 12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty. (*only part I DO agree with ... smile)
Whaaaaaaaaaa? Modest? I knew I was fucked. Let's work backwards shall we? I thought, "Wait a second. I didn't personally eat the fruit...I wouldn't have been deceived, I'm smarter than that chick (I think anyway - if it were yellow peeps - humankind is totally fucked). Continuing along...SILENT?....All I could think about was the countless evaluations from my teachers noting the same nauseating thing...Rebekah talks too much, she won't be quiet, even when we put her in the corner!!! LOL. She has such POTENTIAL...blah blah blah   And just why can't I teach a man? The boys in my class were stupid and the ones in church were even dumber (and still are).... The entire verse totally confounded me.

Seriously, it's funny now but I was full of despair in that moment. The church was the center of my life. All of my friends were there, all of my family attended there; my family had been attending this church since my grandfathers generation and he was born in the year 1900! No seriously, October something 1900! To fathom losing all of that was terrifying. I was a young girl who professed 'reverence for God' and had no desire in life but to do God's will and be his [sic] vessel on earth. Word. But I knew, in my heart, that there was no way that I could be this girl. She was quiet, and demure, and probably sat with her hands on her desk in class...I, however, was a tomboy, who was ghetto loud, played soccer with the boys everyday, and let's not mention my rapidly developing taste for expensive shoes and patterned spandex skirts (read: not modest).

So I spent the summer going to all the men in church asking them to explain it to me - they were suppose to be the teachers after all, no?

I hit family first:  Me: Do you think women should be silence and submissive Uncle Tony? Cuz that's what this verse says.... UT: Uhm, where's your mom?... Me: Upstairs, Uncle Tony, answer my question I need to know this...UT:Well, I mean, that's what it says...Me: Uhmmmm, and do you think I should be silent?...UT:Where is your mother!?

I barely got a straight answer but conclusion slid in somewhere around 'yeah probably it should be that way but I'm not saying that to a little girl who is going to go back and tell her mother exactly what I said...' But I read between the lines and knew that it meant what it said and said what it meant. I knew then that the God that wanted that woman didn't want me(why does that sound familiar??). I tried so hard to be quiet in class, and be modest but it just was not natural to me...or pleasant. Soooo in my heart...I rolled out. A baby feminist in the making!...Funny how I found that verses tonight. I'm sure that is significant somehow..I will let you know later...

This love and dedication to an authority figure that I felt rejected me and could not love me as I was and am became one of my central themes (metaphorical dragons if you will) ...further contemplation required.

Off slaying dragons.

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