Wednesday, 23 January 2008


So, some very wise people I was talking to earlier said that you can a lot more from someone by listening to the questions they ask than from hearing the answers they give. And questions are very reflective of my life at the moment, as usual I have far more questions about things than I do answers. So, when I think about christianity and feminism and the link between the two I have some really key questions that I honestly have absolutely no answers to:

- The first question is about the sex/gender of God. I think its pretty clear that God, who created humans, exists beyond the binary notions we have of the sexes, and thus is neither male nor female. But thats not the end the question. Is God as much a mother as God is a father? What do I call God if I don't say he? What does a God that isn't 'masculine' as I understand it, mean for my faith? And how does the fact that Jesus was a man affect his ability to understand the temptations and problems I go through the way the bible says he does?

- and of course, what about sex? What is sexual morality? What is marriage? Does God really think homosexuality is wrong, and if so why? (I just don't see it.) What did Paul mean when he said wives were to submit to their husbands? Was Paul just a bit sexist? Was Paul even the one that wrote that or was it added later? (And is that heresy? How does that affect my view of the divine inspiration of the bible?)

- Should the church be political? And what do I mean when I say the 'church' the institution or the living mass of people that follow Jesus? And what should our politics be? Is there really a 'christian' political perspective? And if there is, why do people who follow Jesus disagree so much? And how can the church be a community when we exist in a hierarchy?

- and what about abortion? What is life and when does it start? Does it matter? Why do I have to choose between life and choice? What if the only option is a compromise? What does that mean?

Questions are important. Being willing to ask questions is important, and its important not to assume that you'll find answers, some things are just confusing. For now we see through a glass dimly (plagarised from Paul) but eventually, I hope, it will all become clear.


Abi said...

Those are good questions.
As another christian feminist, they are things I have wondered about too.
My rather flippant answer to the first question was always that if God was neither male nor female, and Jesus was male, then for symmetry's sake, the Holy Spirit needs to be female...
I have never understood *why* homosexuality should be wrong in itself, although I have been told some reasons why it might have been a bad idea for the society at the time - starting with the small number of people and the need to produce children, which is not the situation today!
And I really struggle with Paul - as far as I can see he was either misinterpreted, or sexist, and I don't know enough about the Bible to say which!

Christian Feminist said...

Thanks for your comments Abi. For my part, I often think that Paul was misinterpreted, theres a really great essay by Catherine Booth called 'A woman's right to preach the gospel' which talks about other ways to look at a lot of what Paul says, you can find it by googling it. When the desire of a patriarchial society is to control women, it seems likely that everything in the bible will be used for that end. However, given the time and culture, in all probability Paul was a bit sexist, but I don't think anything like as bad as how some people interprete his letters.