When I was young, my church taught that women were to be submissive, under the authority of some male: father or husband or church leader. Women were not to have authority over men. This is a common teaching in Christian churches, but that did not make it easy for me to accept. It felt wrong, even though I could read in the Bible where it was clearly right. But if it were true, why did it feel so bad? The older I got, the worse I felt, until one day I realized that either something in me was going to die, or I had to figure out how the church had made a mistake.
My first step was to analyze why it felt so wrong. The “Aha!” moment came when simple reasoning showed that if God didn’t want women to teach or have authority over men, then God would have no cause to speak to women or give them a message or insight or anything worth mentioning. God wouldn’t need (or particularly want) women in the church. That clearly made no sense, so I decided the “if” statement must be wrong.
I spent years looking deeply at the Bible passages used to justify the church’s teachings. I learned Greek. I read the words in context. I learned that not only was the apostle Paul badly translated (sometimes so badly that one begins to wonder if a conspiracy was afoot) but badly interpreted.
So I was happy. I’d done my homework, I was grateful for knowing that I had a place and a voice (even if my church wouldn’t accept it for the present or near future), and now my task was to figure out a way to spread the good news.
In this state of blissful smugness, I found myself at the college library one day. I don’t know why or how I was in a particular section that had this particular book, but I was idly scanning the shelves when I saw a title: “Is The Homosexual My Neighbor?” Immediately my thought was, “Oh, no. I’ve solved my problem; this is NOT for me.”
And I heard The Voice say, “One day, you will have to put the same focused intent into this issue as you have just put into your issue.” And I knew it was true.