June 12, 2008
I finally got around to watching The Kite Runner earlier. It was an above average movie, really worth watching, but I think I expected more from something that is screening for so long already.
At the UP faculty of Theology as well as the Department of Ancient Languages a strong emphasis is places on the Biblical Social Values research of Pilch, Malina and others. We read the Afrikaans translation of Windows on the World of Jesus (Vensters wat die Woord laat oopgaan) in our first year, this book is accesible for anyone, even without any theological training. We used the Handbook of Biblical Social Values from time to time, read a number of articles over the years dealing with this, and I’ve also bought the Synoptic Gospels and the Book of Revelation social values commentaries, and been using them whenever I preach from these books. By year four we’ve generally become sick of honor and shame (some of the most prominent values), but it was so much part of us that we’d probably never again forget about it.
Funny that the world of Biblical interpretation took so long to realise the value of knowledge on these social values. The Kite Runner again pointed out that these values are still very strong in the Middle East. The movie can be used to illustrate honor and shame, family relationships, group relationships, the role of the father, the place of woman in ancient society (which differ from modern chauvinism), the marriage process and I believe a whole lot more.
April 22, 2008
OK, I’m not going to go into the mighty men conferenceat this stage. I wasn’t there, so yes, I know I cannot speak about something if I didn’t attend bla bla bla… but still, I’m uncomfortable with the whole idea. Also, my thoughts on Faith like Potatoes was published here, here and here, so I don’t care to say another thing on that either.
I come from a church tradition where the “woman’s ministry” has always been very prominent, however, we never saw many “men’s ministries” rising up. Maybe that was because everything was the “men’s ministry”, and the woman got the “woman’s ministry” and the “children’s ministry”, but even over these the men ruled. This idea haven’t disappeared yet, on our church council meeting last night we had one woman and about 15 men, guess who had to take the minutes…
But in many other areas of life, woman are now considered equal partners. Our theology classes at TUKS are about 50% woman and 50% men, the university itself is quite equally divided, in business woman are playing a more and more important role (while attending a meeting of all the most important business people in our area a while ago I was struck by the amount of woman attending, and also about the prominent role they play in the conversations). Maybe this is the reason why suddenly more and more “men’s ministries” or “men’s camps” are rising up, while the “woman’s ministries” are closing down.
I was trained to look at the New Testament through the lens of studies in Biblical Social Values, and although I’m haven’t opened a book to post this (so I’m open for corrections from others familiar with this approach, as well as from those not familiar with it) a few thoughts come to mind when thinking about men and woman. I’m gonna summarize it very shortly:
In new testament times we find very well defined role distinctions between men and woman. This concerns the terrain in which each must function, there roles in society, the privileges they have etc. (on a side note, this also included certain areas which was forbidden for men) The New Testament, although I still a mostly patriarchal document from a patriarchal time, make some very definite changes to this, opening up the church and it’s leadership to both men and woman (and yes, I am aware of what 1 Corinthians 14 say, please look beyond that one verse to all the richness of the New Testament tradition). It breaks down the definite role distinctions of the surrounding society.
I’ve been thinking about a biblical antrhopology very hard ever since watching Apocalypto, and again got thinking about this while listening to conversations regarding mighty men. So this is my thought on the whole think, not very systematic, and not quite well worked out yet: Maybe we miss a theological anthropology, a way of saying: “how do we consider the idea “human”, what is the meaning fo being human, looking at this from our thinking about God”. Therefore we go back to role-destinctions of men and woman to define who we are, and miss the fact that our theology make much more about our being human, both men and woman, than about the meaning of being part of a specific gender.
OK, so I’m quite a feminist (with respect to my female friends), but really, all this might men things and mighty woman talk bla bla bla really just gets me…