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Thursday, 25 May 2006

Aren't we there yet? OR You've got a long way to go, baby.

Jumping in on July 12th to add one more thing on the TNIV:

I was just visiting the TNIV website and noticed a long illustrated list of testimonials from pastors, scholars, and at least one rock musician. There are nearly 100 names on the list; guess how many of them are women.

If you said 50%, you guessed about 50 times too many.

Now, back to the original post:

A couple of things happened to me in the past week which bear on the issue discussed over the past dozen or so blogs. I'll probably save the most recent for later, and begin with my visit to a Gender Sensitive Church--I'll call it the Shoetown Union Church.

This church is perhaps not quite so Gender Sensitive as it could be, but it's pretty close: while both the assistant pastors and almost all the other staff members are female, the Senior Pastor is decidely of the Male persuasion. This particular Sunday, however, he had no visible part in the program.

The sermon, which lasted all of 19 minutes, included about an 8-minute video clip from a Hollywood production of which I'd never heard before, which directly related somehow to that Sunday's Gospel Lesson. The rest of the sermon was read by the first women I've ever seen wearing a clerical collar; it appeared to have been sewn into the neckline of her dress.

Yes, she was wearing a dress. I don't know if that is standard feminine attire for the pulpit at Shoetown Union or not, but none of the other pastorettes were thusly attired; one was in jeans. Strike one against Full Gender Equality!

All Bible reading was from the same version as was represented in the Pew Bibles in front of me: the Gender-Sensitive NRSV. But a peculiar thing happened at one point in the service: we all joined in together in a recitation of The Lord's Prayer, and it sure sounded just as I had learned it nearly 4 decades back. I grabbed a Pew Bible as soon as the prayer was over and checked; nope, not only do the relevant passages in Luke and Matthew (which, I might add, relegates the closing clause of the prayer to a footnote) shun the archaic language of "Art" and "Thy," the introduction specifically states that such language is no longer an appropriate way to refer to Deity. Strike two against Modern Language Versions!

I was struck by what a small portion of the building the Sanctuary occupied; perhaps due to the 3 services that are held each Sunday morning, no more space is presently needed. But a building program is in the works, I discovered; led, it turns out, by a Male. Strike three against the elimination of Gender-related Roles!

Yes, despite all the efforts over the past 40 years to eliminate all distinctions between the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve, they stubbornly remain--even in the most progressive of denominations.

So shouldn't they remain in their Bibles too?

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