Whenever I see something that causes my soul to despair the opening line of Paint it Black (Rolling Stones) hums in my head.
This morning, skipping church to look after Dixie, I had a little internet with my coffee and I discovered that the same people who brought us The Mask You Live In (the trailer of which I shared with you yesterday), also did a documentary entitled Miss Representation. Based on its trailer, it’s about the distortions our culture teaches boys and girls about the value of women.
I’m not going to share the trailer, though, because it might be hard on those who are struggling to overcome a pornography addiction.
Sad, sad, sad: A documentary on what we teach boys and girls about the value of women and the images in the first half of the trailer are so pornographic I can’t show it to you.
I see a red door and I want it painted black.
The trailer blames advertising and the media, I blame the church.
More accurately I blame the devil, who declared war on women way back in the beginning. I blame the church for playing into his crafty hands.
I’ve written about this before. Search “War on Women” at the top of my blog if you’re interested (or click here).
In Purple Reign I explained that, contrary to popular belief, God did not create woman as an afterthought. She was not created merely to meet man’s need for companionship. Man and woman were created together, at the same time, and given a joint purpose.
Now let me explain about the fabled rib.
Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. Genesis 2:22
The word translated rib here is the Hebrew word tsela’. It is an architectural term that means “side, beam, plank, leaves of a door” (think 2 sides of a double door). The only place tsela’ is translated as “rib” is here in Genesis 2.
Anytime a word is translated a certain way only once, it raises a red flag. Especially when the 41 other times it is used it is translated as side, plank, beam, etc.
Actual ribs are mentioned only once in the Bible. Daniel 7:5 refers to three ribs of an animal. That portion of Daniel was written in Aramaic so we cannot do a direct word comparison but the Aramaic word translated “rib” in Daniel is ‘ala.
So how and why was tsela’ mistranslated in Genesis 2:22?
The idea that Eve was made out of one of Adam’s ribs has its origin in rabbinical lore. One story says, “Eve was made out of a tail which originally belonged to Adam.”
Rav, the great head of the Babylonian rabbinical school, declared, “Eve was formed out of a second face, which originally belonged to Adam,” and another rabbi declared, “Instead of a rib taken from Adam, a slave was given him to wait upon him.”
(Remember when I told you the Hebrew word translated “suitable” or “help meet” in Genesis 2:20 is neged? And that neged means “in front of, in the sight or presence of, before the eyes of, face to face”? I’m guessing Rav got his “second face” from a misinterpretation of neged – “face to face.”)
But it’s Rabbi Joshua’s disdainful commentary that has provided the fable which has been most promulgated by Christian Bible commentators.
Rabbi Joshua wrote: “God deliberated from what member He would create woman, and He reasoned with Himself thus: I must not create her from Adam’s head, for she would be a proud person, and hold her head high. If I create her from the eye, then she will wish to pry into all things; if from the ear, she will wish to bear all things; if from the mouth, she will talk much; if from the heart, she will envy people; if from the hand, she will desire to take all things; if from the feet, she will be a gadabout. Therefore I will create her from the member which is hid, that is the rib, which is not even seen when man is naked.”
This is the inane fable which lies at the basis of the idea that Eve must have been made out of Adam’s rib, a fable still being told in the church today.
(Info on the rib fable taken from Dr. Katharine Bushnell’s, God’s Word to Women, paragraphs 42 and 43.)
A misogynistic Rabbi wrote a fable which was included in the Talmudic teachings (the Talmud was not Scripture, it was more like a collection of rabbinical commentaries), and those teachings have worked their way into the church.
“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees,” Jesus warned His disciples. (Matthew 16:5-12)
But someone, some many were asleep at the switch.
Need proof that the yeast of the Pharisees has permeated our Christian bread?
Open your Bible to 1 Corinthians 14 and read verses 26-35.
Now shift your eyes back up to verse 34, “[Women] are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.”
Law? What law?
Notice the lower case l.
The “law” to which the verse is referring was likely the Talmud (remember: not Scripture but a collection of rabbinical teachings.) Here is a sampling of those Talmudic teachings: “Out of respect to the congregation, a woman should not herself read in the law.” “It is a shame for a woman to let her voice be heard among men.” “The voice of a woman is filthy nakedness.”
The upper case “Law” is the Torah. The Torah is Scripture, it’s the first five books of the Bible, aka the Pentateuch.
Search your memory, search your concordance, search God in prayer. Can you come up with one instance when the Law or the Prophets or Jesus said that women are not allowed to speak in church?
Can you come up with a single instance when any of them said a woman must be in submission?
I couldn’t come up with one either, and believe me, I searched and researched.
I did, however, find plenty of instances where women were allowed to speak, and where God elevated their status above the culturally prescribed submission. Here’s my list:
Sarah (Genesis 21); Miriam (Exodus 15); Deborah, a judge and a prophetess through whom God spoke (Judges 4 and 5); the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27); Huldah, another prophetess through whom God spoke (2 Kings 22); Job’s daughters, whom Job elevated once he saw the Lord clearly (Job 42); Anna, another prophetess through whom the Lord spoke (Luke 2); the various women Christ compelled to speak in public (Luke 8:47, Luke 13:13, John 4:1-42, John 20:1-18); the females whom Jesus invited into His church’s very first small group (Acts 1:12-24). There are plenty more but I’ll save them for you to add.
So here we are in 2017 despairing of a dire and dangerous Miss Representation of women and it’s all because of a misrepresentation of Scripture and a failure to beware the yeast of the Pharisees.
Failure because some like the yeast.
Failure because some chose a long time ago to side with the devil in his war on women.
I see our misread Bread and I want it painted right…
Sing with me.
I watched a documentary on Netflix today. I’ve watched a lot of Netflix on my computer these past 11 days, camped out on my living room floor with my beagle while she recovers from abdominal surgery. Three more days.
But that’s another post.
The documentary is entitled The Mask You Live In.
If you have Netflix, watch it.
Or stream it from The Representation Project website here.
“That was well done,” I said to my daughter, who joined our little camp out to watch the film with me, “It makes me want to do something.”
“We need to have another retreat,” I continued, “for women, because seeing those young women happily participating in their own dehumanization makes me sad.”
My daughter shared snippets from recent conversations she’s had with young women who are in families that actively teach that it is all about the men. A woman’s only role is to make men happy.
“In this day and age,” I shook my head.
“If I had had a son, I wouldn’t have raised him the way the men in the film were raised.”
“I know you wouldn’t have,” she replied.
“I feel sad that I’m too old to really have much of an influence,” I said, “but you’re young, you can do things both personally and professionally. If you have a son you can rear him to be a fully human being. As a therapist you can help young men become fully human through counseling and you can help the moms of boys to rear them well.
“Young men won’t generally go to counseling unless they are mandated to go,” she said, as she folded up her comforter and headed upstairs.
Where my daughter works, counseling is mandatory and some of the men she counsels are really opening up to her as they become re-humanized. It’s a beautiful thought. And a sad thought. A tears-just-below-the-surface thought because she is starting a new job in a week – one where counseling is not mandatory.
I’d love it if you would watch the film and tell me what you think. Tell me how you were raised. Tell me what we can do. Help me plan a retreat.
We wanted to do something fun, since it was her birthday, so the two of us headed to Northville to have lunch and look around.
We had plans to go out for a big celebratory dinner, so we decided on a light lunch at Lucy and the Wolf.
The fish tacos were just the thing.
And then I spotted the mini donuts with bourbon smoked sugar and maple syrup. You know me and donuts.
“But they’re not chocolate,” my daughter pled.
So we headed across the street and down the block to share a carafe of French Press coffee and a Nutella crepe.
If you look closely, you can see a skeleton seated on the Bistro’s patio. The town is loaded with skeletons. Just about every establishment is adorned with one or two.
This one, with rollers in her hair, is my favorite.
Though the spaghetti tester outside the Italian Ristorante is pretty cool, too.
The skeletons reminded my daughter of an article which, she said, was not a parody. She pulled out her phone and read me excerpts as we walked.
“We think because we are not performing any demonic rituals or human sacrifices,” she read, “that we are on safe ground, but did you know that as soon as you dress up, whether you color yourself or put on a costume, the enemy owns you? Because by doing so, you have turned over your legal rights, and you have dedicated yourself and your kids to celebrating the devil’s holiday. You have just made a pact with the enemy, and you are already sacrificing your children spiritually by dressing them up and changing their identity.”
Celebrating Halloween might be akin to neglecting to tear down Ashera poles, I thought to myself, but…
“That’s kind of extreme,” I said.
“When you were three, I dressed you up as an adorable little lamb with a little red heart, carved of wood, pinned to your chest. We went to a few houses in grandma’s neighborhood. You, a Light in the darkness, me holding your little Lamb of God hand. No ownership was transferred that night.”
Which brings me to this creative little video:
So what do you say, Halloween yay or nay?
P.S. Click the quote to read the full article.
Jesus didn’t involve Himself in politics when He lived among us and that’s one of the things I love about Him.
His people wanted and expected their Messiah to be their champion, to render powerless any political authority over them. And since Jesus had no interest in politics, He was disqualified and rejected.
And so with the intention of entangling Jesus in His words – a political strategy still in use today – those who rejected Him sent a delegation to ask: “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”
Jesus answered, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.”
So they brought him a denarius.
“Whose likeness and inscription is this?” He asked.
“Caesar’s,” they answered.
“So render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away. (Matthew 22)
Let’s marvel at the little phrase, “and you do not care about anyone’s opinion,” because it’s one of the things I love about Him. He didn’t care about being politically correct or about being popular. He knew who He was, He knew His mission and He knew the truth.
Case in point: James and John. They wanted to sit at Jesus’ right and left in glory, so they asked if they could.
When the other ten heard about their bid for power, they became indignant with James and John.
So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
It’s not about power and prestige, it’s about heaven.
Jesus sent a bunch of guys (72) out ahead of Him to every town to which He was about to go. “I’m sending you out like lambs among wolves,” He said. He sent them with the authority to bring peace and healing to households.
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
That’s His mission – not to defeat political, or even spiritual, enemies – but to write names in heaven.
So I cringed a little, one recent Sunday, when I passed this sign on my way in to worship:
Not because I disagree with it but because it’s political. And Jesus wasn’t.
I want people of all nationalities to feel welcome everywhere.
But the sign, in typical political fashion, oversimplifies the issue.
It’s not about where a person is from, it’s about how a person behaves.
I decided to ignore the political implications and embrace the sign at face value. I began to hum along with Mr. Rogers each week as I approached it.
And then last Sunday our pastor announced that the sign was found tossed in the bushes.
And a message had been spray painted on the back of the church.
And I wondered two things:
1. What does the sign have to do with worshiping devils?
2. Are we glad our paint-can-wielding neighbor is our neighbor?
I wondered whether we should put up another sign, spray painted in the parlance of the perp, “No matter how you express yourself – as long as you do so legally, peacefully and respectfully – we’re glad you’re our neighbor.
Because the issue is, after all, behavior.
As the pastor set the Eucharist table he said all are welcome – even our graffiti spraying neighbor.
That’s what I like about him.
If you haven’t seen this on Facebook yet, and even if you have, I am about to make your heart very happy.
The stills of that little chicklet could not possibly be any cuter, but those little chicken feet walking so confidently down the street tops all cuteness for all time.
When I was a kid I read Jelly Side Down by Erma Bombeck every whatever-day-of-the-week her column appeared in the Detroit Free Press.
Somewhere in my subconscious I wanted to write a column, too.
And that, right there, is the beauty of blogging.
You don’t have to wait until you’re invited to write a column. You don’t have to work your way up, or know someone; you don’t have to hope and pray someone will publish your words.
For that matter, flashing back to today’s earlier post*, you don’t have to blow anything or anyone up in order to be heard. We may not have even had a unabomber had blogging been available back then (except that Ted hated technology).
So what if you don’t get paid.
So what if only a handful of people read it.
Or is it that you didn’t want to write a column so much as you wanted to be a rich and famous columnist?
“Do what you love and the money will come,” Dr. Morris said.
And I say do what you love even if the money has no intention of coming.
If you’ve always wanted to be a coach, coach little league.
If you’ve always wanted to be a counselor, volunteer – the non-profit will train you.
If you’ve always wanted to be a mom, be a foster mom.
You get my drift.
I’ll never get to be Perry Mason without first going to law school, however, and knowing what I know about how the legal system works, I’ll never get to be Perry Mason even if I do go to law school.
But I got to kind of live out my desire to be Perry Mason and my desire to be a counselor all in one during my juvenile court days as a social worker.
And now I get to kind of be Erma Bombeck, sans her humor and her audience.
What have you always wanted to do that you are kind of doing?
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and I could say, “I used everything you gave me.” – Erma Bombeck (one of my heroes)
*Forgive me for breaking my no-more-than-one-post-per-day rule.