Tongues. Prophecy. Women.
As a teenage Christian in a secular high school, I felt I needed to hold weekly press conferences to field questions about the Bible, pitched up most often by surly atheists looking for a fight. I remember this one coming up quite often:
“Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”
1 Corinthians 14:34-35
Oof, that one is hard. They would ask, “Do you think that women should never speak in churches?” I would reply, “Of course not.” So they would say, “So, you’re saying the Bible is wrong?” And I would go, “Um…” and secretly pray for an earthquake or something to distract me.
“Women should remain silent in the churches” is about as cut and dry as “a man who lies with a man should be stoned to death,” and yet, the majority of Christians think that one still applies while the other should get removed.
I think that most Christians must live in this ambivalence (a word I have been using a lot recently). They must read questionable passages, think briefly, and then discard them, hoping to never really think about it again. If they are ever questioned about it, then they always have the “I don’t pretend to know everything about the Bible” comment to fall back on.
I have been trying a tactic for a little over a year now – Show ‘em what doesn’t add up. I know anti-gay Christians who have been divorced, some multiple times. So I would show them Jesus words about divorce, and how fervently he opposes it. So I say, “Look at this, how do you explain this?” They either make an excuse or say “I don’t retend to know everything about…” yeah, yeah, you get it. I retort with passages like this, or with Paul’s condemnation of consuming rare meat, and such. Always those two answers – neither satisfying.
Then when I further press them, they say, “Why are you trying to change my mind? I’m not trying to change yours.” But God, it feels like they are trying to change my opinion, just by… having that freaking opinion in the first place. My own father suggested to me, “Why don’t you live your life and we’ll live ours and just accept that about each other?” Good, sound advice. Understanding. Civil.
Why am I do dissatisfied with this “you be you, and I’ll be me” attitude? Isn’t that the liberal go-to standpoint?
This is a huge me problem, one that has only been heightened by this project. I have come to few conclusions so far (the only significant one being that any faith I might have will have to include the premise of a fallible, or at least contextualized, scripture). I have earned more questions than answers.
I do care what people think about my sexuality, most importantly my family and friends. And I wish to God I didn’t.