(This is a rant, having nothing to do with clothing but everything to do with reinterpreting religious or spiritual womanhood and leadership. You've been warned, and I promise not to do this too often, or at least start another blog in which to do it.)
I just watched the documentary The Vagina Monologues as part of the cast prep for the show (Feb. 17,18,19-- tell your friends) and I have a message for all my empowered laydeez (and those who love them) out there, especially those of us who work in ministry:
There are now officially more women graduating from seminary than men. It's time to make the church into a place that faces and ends violence towards women, not counsels an abused wife to "submit to her husband" or "pray" or commits some such act of complicity in the abuse. I cannot tell you how many women mention "the church" as the main silencer of their voices, and folks: that just ain't Christian. "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin... Those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me." John 15:22-16:3
Yeah, God's referred to in the Bible as male, and women were seen as property or second-class citizens, or somewhere in Leviticus it says that a woman should be stoned if she wears a ponytail on a Tuesday or whatever. But I say that no one in their right mind would pray to a God that sanctions violence against women -- in fact, I would posit that this is part of why the church is dying: because allowing our God to be one who values men over women makes all of us look like crazy woman-haters. OK, so there's a lot of misogyny in the Bible. But just because it was OK then doesn't make it OK now, especially in light of Jesus' message of love and protection of those who have been or are being victimized.
I'm putting the unrelated soap box away now. I'm not sure how to take specific steps about this except to tell the abused woman who comes to me for help that God loves her and isn't teaching her some lesson about submission but that she should get the hell out of there, or that Jesus loves her and doesn't want her to endure sexual abuse no matter how high up in the church her abuser might be. I will never, ever, ever use God as a weapon of oppression.
My fellow seminarians: won't you join me? If some can use selective interpretation to condone, then we can use it to condemn.
"See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are." - 1 John 3:1 NRSV
"For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." - Gal. 5:1
"Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you." - Matt. 7:6