Zip It Up, Baby

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. (1 Corinthians 14:34)

Don’t look at me. I didn’t say it. This is the Apostle Paul, the guy who toured the third heaven, the guy who got his butt kicked on the road to Damascus by none other than Jesus himself. This is the dude who claims authority straight from the Godfather, the guy who pretty much invented Christianity (though he did agree to keep the original poster boy). We’re talking the same guy who gave us virtually every major doctrine known to Christendom and a bunch of others that most folks seem clueless about. Paul is no fringer; he’s the spokesman for the right way to do Christianity. You cannot ignore Paul and remain a Jesus freak of good standing—well, according to him anyway.

Let’s be blunt. Paul thinks that in church women should keep their mouths shut. It’s the law, he says. He doesn’t offer any qualifications or exceptions. He doesn’t chant “Ding dong the Law is dead!” like he does other places. He doesn’t eggshell his way through cultural relativity or historical social structures or religious distinctives. He doesn’t play the “In Christ/Get Out of Gender Free” card, even though he designed that card himself. Nope. Paul is excruciatingly point-blank about it: Ladies can blab all they want elsewhere, but in church women should shut the freak up.

Now, there are three conclusions you can draw about this:

1) Paul is full of shit. Granted, this is an extreme position, but for many women this is the instinctual (although often internalized) response. Paul may be inspired when it comes to theology, but he’s a complete jackass when it comes to gender issues. After all, it’s Paul who refers to women as the “weaker sex.” He’s clearly a world-class misogynist. The disadvantage of writing Paul off on the babe thing is that, if he’s screwed up on this one, who’s to say he’s not wrong about some other important things, like salvation or sleeping with your father’s wife. Of course, the advantage of this perspective is that you can take Paul with a shovel full of salt on just about everything he teaches. If you don’t happen to like what he says, you can pitch it in the manure pile.

2) Paul is right for his time and context but not for ours. In other words, Paul’s only half full of shit. Paul is addressing a male-dominated society and talking to those who are steeped in Jewish tradition. He’ s telling them that the best way to model freedom in Christ is to keep the women in submission; once the girls start yapping the whole Jesus thing is pretty much shot to hell. Back then everybody knew that women were rebellious, jabbering sex-pots with little restraint and even less brain. These days we have to treat women as equals, mostly because they get really bitchy if we don’t. Paul didn’t have to deal with modern females, so his teaching has to be adjusted for conflation.

3) Paul is inspired by the Holy Ghost on this matter. In other words, Paul’s cool, but God’s full of shit. We all know that God’s never really gotten over the Eve thing and has had it in for women ever since. Sure, God allows women to get saved, but he’s not all that happy about it. With them in heaven it’s going to be a long eternity. God must housebreak them now or most of the male citizens of the New Jerusalem will move to hell for relief. As a guy himself, God knows how touchy dames can get, so he wimps out and orders Paul to lower the boom for him. Being under contract, Paul has no choice but to do the dirty deed. And there you have it.

None of this probably matters. Like always, women are going to do what they’re going to do; and, like always, the men are going to let them do it. God has only himself to blame for this situation; after all, sex was his idea—which is about the only good thing to come out of it.

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3 Responses

  1. Count one vote for Number 1. Hey, what can I say? I’m an extreme kind of guy.

  2. 3 days to go until WHAT? Did I miss a previous announcement, or sign in the sky, or ??? Hopefully Our Daily Fred doesn’t expire in 3 days–say it isn’t so! (Oops . . . should the man at our house be asking these questions?)

  3. I think 3 days until ODF reaches the one year mark. Any luck with the publishers, Fred?

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