This would be laugh-worthy if unsuspecting women (and men) didn’t fall prey to the facile, if easily exposed, excuses and explanations. But religious feminists don’t get to have it both ways. If God is not “bound by cultural convention” or religious rules now, why was He bound by them in the first century?
In practice, many religious feminists will argue that Jesus was restricted to choosing only men for his inner circle of disciples because the patriarchal culture would reject him if he included women. Now there are many directions an argument against this could take and I’m sure you’ve already thought of one or two. But let’s just accept it as it is for the moment.
Jesus was bound by the cultural conventions of His day.
The Junia Project is promoting a series of blog posts, winners in a recent contest. The latest is given the category “Women in the Old Testament” and touches on the story of Hannah. Honestly, I had a hard time understanding why the writer thought Hannah’s the best story to help structure a self-focused piece about women having their, “songs squelched by the gatekeepers of the church”. And the appearance of Hannah is really incidental to the biggest problem in the post. Because, the important claim is that …
God is not bound by cultural convention *or* religious rule-making.
The author is concerned about the work to be done on earth and that there are too many suffering people. So, she writes that the “church needs all the leaders it can get, using all of their gifts to the fullest”. Leaders? Last time I checked, it wasn’t “leaders” making sandwiches for the homeless. I’m not familiar with many “leaders” working in refugee camps, building wells for clean water, teaching literacy, cleaning bed pans and bathing sick patients. I could go on, but you understand. It isn’t leaders we need, it’s people willing to muck in, getting their hands dirty (literally and figuratively) in the awfulness some people suffer. People who do so willingly, out of love and without hope of recognition in this world. People who would stare in disbelief in response to a question about whether or not their voices were squelched.
But the religious feminist will never be found complaining that no one will let her scrub toilets. No, she’s concerned about her song being squelched because the world needs her to lead, or something like that. Properly put in context, it really is one of the most shamefully self-absorbed laments that can be made. And it is done on the back of a glaring contradiction in the arguments they make in support of their cause.
So, bound then, not bound now. Which is it?
The answer is: Bound neither then or now. Jesus came in the fullness of time. He came when the time was right and he challenged the religious rules and rulers of the day.
Try as they might, religious feminists can’t have it both ways.
See also, In Praise of Patriarchy