Big picture. Let's look at the message to women in the New Testament. Take the apostle Paul as a case study, again the big picture, the over-arching message. What was it?.
First, let's explore from a time projection view where words were intended to transcend time and culture and be understood literally today. What Paul said to women then, is what he would stand up in church today and say. Verbatim. In fact let's consider Paul to be on a televised recording, recorded 2000 years ago and played back today. By the way, did he know we were going to use this recording for the next 100,000 years (just throwing this number out there) and apply it Verbatim? Did he plan his words to apply to 5,000 future generations?
Secondly let's look at a more realistic Paul, were he to appear on stage today. Let's determine what he would say, if his words were relative to the culture and time of his day, and he were to try to translate his concepts into words we could understand. If Paul was not really thinking about us, not fully aware of our time, when he wrote before, this is probably the more accurate way to hear him than the Verbatim version. We're after fidelity here. We don't want to get the wrong idea about what he's trying to say.
|Women in Need. Source...|
Okay the stage is set. What's Paul going to say to women today? First, let's go to Paul the talking head. He' right here on this computer screen... He says that women are allowed in church! Wow that's cool. They are not really allowed to talk openly but there they are singing and worshiping with thir families. In fact the men are to be kind and respectful to them. They are to work on their marriages (both the men, and the women). Way cool since women were kind of like property back then. Women are to still respect their husbands and honor them as the head of household rather than as equals in the house. "This authority is a minor point, though," he says; "the men are to be kind and to treat the women like fellow children of God. Let's keep some semblance of the societal order or the family will fall apart and women will be completely disgraced in society." Wow, this Paul guy is a genious. Too bad he wasn't aware that we needed him to speak a little more PC because we need that Verbatim interpretation
|Project Renewal.. Source...|
Okay now the real Paul is on the stage, trying to best phrase his message (like any good preacher) so that we can really get it. Not just the letter of the law meaning but the real point that should continue to apply when the fabric of our experience changes. What? He's saying something about radical freedom. Something about leading our society in how to love and respect one another. He says that in spite of all our effort the world is still having problems affording women the respect they need and deserve. They are powerless in many situations. They can be discarded by men so easily, left there hanging with the kids. But they can't get the good jobs or good pay. They suffer so much more from poverty and exploitation, but don't have a voice to complain. The church is to radically lead the way and teach the world how to fix this. Paul says, "Look, let me explain it clearly. When women walk in that door of the church from the streets of their town or village, should their freedom and honor increase, or decrease, or be about neutral? If increase, how much should it change? Church, it should be a radical, night and day difference increase! When women walk in that door, they should be FREE. They should be honored and cared for. They should have an equal voice. Let's show the world how to do it! If the world still perpetuates injustice, then let's fight it!. Good night and Amen!"
"By the way, is that me on the screen? Wow, I was looking goood back then. I started my mission for women's rights back then and I'm still struggling to be heard! Do I need to shout?"