Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Crooked Island, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: E-SE 15-20 knots

Our conversation from Saturday, with the Reverend Morse, keeps haunting me, even now that I’m back at the boat. I’m thrilled to have been able to update the website and to have access now to the internet, although using it does involve Nappy’s complicity and some elaborate subterfuge. I used the web for a long time yesterday, not quite being able to update the whole site, but able to read all of my brother and sister’s blog entries and all my important emails.

(Isn’t that cool? I just figured out how to add html links offline. I think. Let me know if they work--upon posting this, I realized they don't work after all. I'm going to have to add them manually. Darn.)

But the Rev. For one thing, it opened up that whole can of worms from my childhood about women and the Bible. I’ve been taught from when I was a toddler that the whole Bible is inerrant, utterly true, a doctrine I still believe to this day, although perhaps in an unorthodox way that my orthodox forbears may not accept. Still, though, how can a woman, believing in the full equality of the female sex, accept the Genesis story? Even St. Paul interprets it by saying, in 2 Timothy 2:11-15:

“Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in fath and love and holiness, with modesty.”

And this is the same man who says, in Galatians 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” How in the world can I accept both of those two statements? I will be saved through childbearing? Are you kidding?

Maybe I keep wrestling with this thorny theological dilemma because my latest topic in my lovely Dolphin Reader is “Masculinity and Femininity.” I’ve been reading fantastic essays on the topic by Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Sayers, and Tom Wolfe, in between doing such women’s work as washing the dishes and cleaning the toilet. (Yes, I finally cleaned it, thank God. How much do I hate that thing? Let me count the ways.) What it boils down to, as the Christian Dorothy Sayers so succinctly puts it, is “are women human?” Paul’s, and Genesis’s, and the Rev’s, interpretation of Biblical myth is that they aren’t, really. They don’t have the same rights or the same strength or the same responsibility as men do. They’re supposed to quietly accept their curse from God, in Genesis 3:16, that “your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

That’s the interpretation I do not accept. What I accept is the word of Christ, who accepts female disciples along with men and reveals himself resurrected to women first, to the dismay of the apostles. I believe Jesus when he says that he has come to fulfill the law. I believe Paul when he says there is neither male nor female.

Remember Setarcos, from way back in Annapolis, last December? Although I disagreed with him profoundly, as I disagreed with the Rev, still he made me think about what we were doing, what our purpose was out here. Maybe there’s a Setarcos for each country we’ll visit, and the Reverend Morse is my Setarcos for the Bahamas. Maybe I needed to think and write about what it means to be a Christian and a woman.

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