Women and Spirituality 2

I guess that when one publishes something as part 1 there is an obligation to continue on to part 2, and so on.  I am not sure how many “and so ons” there will be but here goes part 2.

 

The quote I ended with in my first post on this, if taken on its own, may come across as rather arrogant and belligerent.  I don’t think that it was made in that frame of mind – that is my understanding from reading Sr. Joan Chittister’s book, Called to Question, and some of her other writings. 

 

The statement is forceful but one that both women and men need to understand.  I believe it is a statement about the worth of the person, regardless of gender.  And I believe that God calls us to the sort of wholeness that does not allow us to use others or to be used by others in ways that diminish our real value as bearers of his image.  

 

 believe that my highest calling in life is to serve God.  I don’t think that this is any different for males or females.  In this we are equal before God and equally created in God’s image.  That said, I also believe that God calls us as individuals to a whole assortment of tasks to carry out the work of his kingdom and requires us to be faithful to our calling.  I believe that the calling of God on our lives supersedes any limitation our culture wishes to place on us due to gender, race or social standing. 

 

Sr. Joan states this as, “I was not born to wash a man’s socks.  He was not born to make my decisions.”  I also do not believe that the highest calling of a woman is to serve men in these ways.

 

I think that we see this played out in the story of Jesus’ visit to the home of Mary and Martha.  Martha is doing exactly what her culture demands of a good woman.  She is rushing around in the kitchen getting together a meal and criticizes Mary for not living up to meeting those same expectations.  A woman in that culture should not be sitting at the Teacher’s feet listening while there is work to be done in the kitchen.  Jesus states that Mary, by choosing to be a disciple, to listen and learn at his feet, has chosen the better way.  She wasn’t following the cultural norms, but then Jesus lets us know on numerous occasions that his ways are counter-cultural.

 

In much the same way as Martha I think the church culture expects women to behave in certain ways in order to be classed as “Godly women.”    I know they do this because they do not want to misinterpret  the laws they see set down throughout history, interpreting the patriarchal systems as orders set in place by God rather than a broken order set in place by our sinful nature. 

 

When people hear women say that they were not created to “wash a man’s socks” care needs to be taken to listen carefully.  I believe that one can say that and still wash the socks without worrying that one is giving up some sort of status as an individual of value. 

In our house we both “wash the socks” , we serve each other in order to make our household run.  We have specific tasks that one of us will do better than the other.  They do not always fit the gender stereotypes.

 

Choosing to serve another freely out of a sense of responsibility, out of love and concern, is to serve as Christ taught us.  And regardless of our gender, we will only be truly happy when we do this and allow each other the freedom to respond to the work God calls us to without throwing up gender barriers.

  

 

I guess that when one publishes something as part 1 there is an obligation to continue on to part 2, and so on.  I am not sure how many “and so ons” there will be but here goes part 2.

 

The quote I ended with in my first post on this, if taken on its own, may come across as rather arrogant and belligerent.  I don’t think that it was made in that frame of mind – that is my understanding from reading Sr. Joan Chittister’s book, Called to Question, and some of her other writings. 

 

The statement is forceful but one that both women and men need to understand.  I believe it is a statement about the worth of the person, regardless of gender.  And I believe that God calls us to the sort of wholeness that does not allow us to use others or to be used by others in ways that diminish our real value as bearers of his image.    

 

I believe that my highest calling in life is to serve God.  I don’t think that this is any different for males or females.  In this we are equal before God and equally created in God’s image.  That said, I also believe that God calls us as individuals to a whole assortment of tasks to carry out the work of his kingdom and requires us to be faithful to our calling.  I believe that the calling of God on our lives supersedes any limitation our culture wishes to place on us due to gender, race or social standing. 

 

Sr. Joan states this as, “I was not born to wash a man’s socks.  He was not born to make my decisions.”  I also do not believe that the highest calling of a woman is to serve men in these ways.

 

I think that we see this played out in the story of Jesus’ visit to the home of Mary and Martha.  Martha is doing exactly what her culture demands of a good woman.  She is rushing around in the kitchen getting together a meal and criticizes Mary for not living up to meeting those same expectations.  A woman in that culture should not be sitting at the Teacher’s feet listening while there is work to be done in the kitchen.  Jesus states that Mary, by choosing to be a disciple, to listen and learn at his feet, has chosen the better way.  She wasn’t following the cultural norms, but then Jesus lets us know on numerous occasions that his ways are counter-cultural.

 

In much the same way as Martha I think the church culture expects women to behave in certain ways in order to be classed as “Godly women.”    I know they do this because they do not want to misinterpret  the laws they see set down throughout history, interpreting the patriarchal systems as orders set in place by God rather than a broken order set in place by our sinful nature. 

 

When people hear women say that they were not created to “wash a man’s socks” care needs to be taken to listen carefully.  I believe that one can say that and still wash the socks without worrying that one is giving up some sort of status as an individual of value. 

In our house we both “wash the socks” , we serve each other in order to make our household run.  We have specific tasks that one of us will do better than the other.  They do not always fit the gender stereotypes.

 

Choosing to serve another freely out of a sense of responsibility, out of love and concern, is to serve as Christ taught us.  And regardless of our gender, we will only be truly happy when we do this and allow each other the freedom to respond to the work God calls us to without throwing up gender barriers.

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Comments Off on Women and Spirituality 2

Filed under Dealing with stuff

0 responses to “Women and Spirituality 2

  1. I was going to read your series here, but the “read more” link takes me to a different post…

  2. Linea

    Marc – I see. I believe Prairie Fusion is working on the problem. Meanwhile I reposted the whole article in the first section.

  3. Thanks, Linea!

    (It’s doing the same thing on the first post…)