By grace, men have been saved

It’s been a while since I looked over the Four Spiritual Laws. Mind you, I heard them enough times growing up to be able to cite them from memory, but when Slacktivist mentioned them in a post, I decided to refresh my memory. I have to admit, then, that it came as something of a surprise to discover that they don’t apply to me.

Man is Sinful, they announce. Man was created to have fellowship with God; but, because of his own stubborn self-will, he chose to go his own independent way. That makes a lot of sense; men certainly are stubborn, always refusing to stop and ask for directions. I’m just glad that I was created differently . . . Oh. You mean they aren’t just talking about male humans, but all humans? Well then, never mind.

The funny thing here is that this isn’t a matter of “Biblical literalism,” whatever that is. None of the Scriptures they cite call humanity automatically male. Instead, they say things like “all have sinned” and “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” John 3:16 doesn’t say “for God so loved men”; it says “for God so loved the world.” Of course, male-centric expressions do appear elsewhere in the Bible, but the point is that Campus Crusade decided to make them up even when they weren’t there.

And this is what frustrates me about discussions about gender and the Bible, from either perspective. You have the conservatives staunchly insisting on inserting maleness at every opportunity, just to make their point, and you have the liberals inserting femaleness wherever they can, even if it means rewriting Scripture. It’s as if accepting the Bible as a sacred canon necessitates internalizing the worst prejudices of every time period it reflects. (Or at least those prejudices that fit nicely with our own.)

I don’t believe that, as an article we read in Feminist Theology asserted, a male Savior can’t save women, or that Christianity’s canon must be rewritten in order to make it relevant. Nor do I believe that Biblical depictions of relations of dominance — male over female, free over slave, Israelite over foreigner — mean that those relations need to be perpetuated in our own time. But it’s funny how that apparently moderate position seems to mean walking a thin tightrope, these days.

Incidentally, I’ve got half a dozen entries written and ready to be posted — several about food/cooking. I’ll try to get them up soon, now that classes are winding down . . .