Friday, May 22, 2009

What Is Hidden In SOS


Back to my assertion that the Song of Solomon is not just about sex.

I saw another preacher the other day talking about it. He, like most preachers, asserted that it WAS all about sex. It's not about gardens and vineyards and farms. It's about sex.

At first I was a bit miffed.
But I saw this preacher AFTER I saw what my Internet friend said to the Atheists she engaged in friendly (for the most part) debate.

(For those who didn't read the May 20th post, she said that God wasn't a triabalistic, patriarchal misogynist. But He was dealing with that sort of culture and so therefore may come across that way.)

And thinking about it, if God wanted to hide messages in His Word about the uplifting of women from the place of property, slavery, and second class citizenship, where better to hide it than in a book that men think is all about sex???
What would any red blooded male of any nationality do with a book about sex sanctioned by God?
First of all, make sure it is never lost to posterity. And if they were trying to get together a Big Book about God, and there was a book about sex from God, you know that the majority of the boys are going to make sure it is included.
What if it was a book about uplifting women with no mention of sex? Might one of the boys accidentally misplace it?
Okay, I'm done with my little diversion. I know I can't speak for God on this one. But it really makes me wonder if my pondering has any basis in truth.

So looking it over, perhaps on the surface it is about gardening, and the first level beneath that is about sex. But the level after that appears to be about uplifting a female, bringing her healing, and setting her in a place of maturity and authority.

Next blog post, we are going to look at an overview of Songs, where it starts and where it ends up and why I think it's about more than just sex.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Big Picture

Before I deal specifically with SOS, let me tell you about a lesson I taught my preteens.

I drew a picture of a mountain scene with trees and a lake and wrote on it "Overview" and "Big Picture" and taped it to the wall.
Then I took another piece of copy paper and drew on it a flower, an ant, a mushroom, a leaf, a butterfly etc... I wrote "focus" and "details" on that piece of paper and taped it to the wall under the "Overview" picture.
Under that, I taped a picture of balanced scales with Proverbs 11:1 on it. God abhors a false balance.
Then under the balance I put up a paper with the two greatest commandments according to Jesus and the Golden Rule. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all you strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. And do unto others what you would have them to do unto you. And I labeled these as foundational truths.

I explained to the children that these picture show the way we should look at the Bible. First we need an overview of what it is about, who God is, where things started, and where things are going. Since I'm helping my kids to memorize, or at least become familiar with the names of the books of the Bible, whether they are part of the law, history, poetry, etc... , I used that as an example of an overview.
And since we are memorizing John 5:1-5,14 and John 14 1:1-7, I used that as an example of studying the details.
And the balance had to do with balancing the overview with the details.

Then I shared with them the story of Atheist, Nate Phelps who was abused by his pastor father. The story was particularly about an abuse against Nate's mother, the pastor's wife.

Then I started another column of pictures.
Only I taped the first one even with the "details" picture in the first column. On this picture I wrote, "over focus", "hyper focus", "warped view". And I drew a row of mushrooms under the words.
On the second paper I drew a balance with a red circle/slash over it pointing out that Nate's father's over focus on isolated Bible verses gave him an off-balanced view of the Bible.
Then I drew a picture of a giant mushroom/toadstool and labeled it "Warped Overview" and "Wrong Big Picture"

We were able to discuss in the class how Nate's father broke the 2 Greatest Commandments and the Golden Rule in his zeal to use I Corinthians 11 to hurt his mother.

Having been a part of a slightly off-balanced, somewhat spiritually abusive church before, one of my concerns as a teacher, is to help others get the critical thinking skills they need in order to see through off-balanced teaching. So that's what I tried to do, or at least start to do with my class.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Approach

Yep, I've not posted for two months.

Part of it is because of the Sunday School class that I'm teaching to preteens. It's taking up some of my limited extra time since I'm making artwork and poster boards to help explain my lessons a little better. And I'm really enjoying my class. They are a bunch of bright, active young men and women full of all kinds of intelligent questions and a bit of mischief.

But I've also not written because I need a new approach on talking about SOS.

You see, I've visited the No Longer Quivering site, which led to (more) interaction with people who have been hurt by the Patriarchy/Quiverfull movement and even some interaction with (more) angry women who have been hurt by Christianity in general.
Some of these women are now Atheists.
Others have turned toward one form of Agnosticism or another.
Some still hold onto a form of Christianity while hating the excesses of certain male favoring doctrines that has permeated much of Christendom.

But I've also met those who minister to such women.
One of them said something that I appreciated. I can't quote it word for word. But I'll try to give the gist of it here.

She said that when she speaks with Atheists they say:
"Your Jewish/Christian god is a woman-hating, tribalistic, patriarchal god. It's clearly there written in your bible"
She would say:
"No. My God was trying to work in a woman-hating, tribalistic, patriarchal society."
They would say:
"Stop making excuses. Your god is a woman-hating, tribalistic, patriarchal god as evidence completely there in your bible."

I thought that her laying it out like that was very interesting and it helped me to consider somethings.

If, for sake of argument, God wanted to make an impact on a woman-hating, tribalistic, patriarchal culture and had to entrust His words to men who thought women were, in fact, completely inferior to them and to be subjugated in every respect, even if God did not think that, what would He do? If God knew that these men were simply not capable of comprehending the idea of women being equally the image of God and on an equal footing with men, where would God begin? If He felt women should have rights that men didn't feel like letting women have, how would He start.

God would probably have to ease into it slowly, integrating the concept that men were not only to honor their father (in a patriarchal culture) but that they should also honor their mother who gave them birth, and so on.

Perhaps God would also hide nuggets through out what would become today's Bible for men and women to find that would reveal His true heart for women.
If God is not a woman-hating, tribalistic, patriarchal God, (and I don't believe that He is) where are the Scriptures that say otherwise to counteract the accusations of both Atheist and those who do promote Patriarchy in Christianity?
Do they even exist?
Or are we just making excuses for a God who really does love men more than women?