God has been good to men. He gave
His Only Son their souls to save,
And then he made a second gift,
Which from their dreary lives should lift
The tyrant's yoke and set them free
From all who'd throttle liberty.
He gave America to men —
Fashioned this land we love, and then
Deep in her forest sowed the seed
Which was to serve man's earthly need.
The gospel of Luke records that one woman was so impressed with Jesus that she sought to give him honor by shouting out, “Blessed is the womb that bore thee and the paps which thou has sucked.” (Luke 11:27) According to one writer, she was basically saying, “You are a wise and great teacher, Jesus – wasn’t your mother’s reproductive system wonderful!” (1)
I remember a church board meeting years ago, where one member arrived highly indignant. I have mercifully forgotten the issue, though it was probably something like a special music piece he thought too secular-sounding, or someone had gone up front wearing a wedding ring. Back then, those seemed very important.
The award winning movie, The Blind Side is based on a chapter in the life of Michael Oher, offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens football team. The son of a single mother trapped in the prison of addiction, Oher was left to fend for himself as a teenager and eventually became homeless. Enter Leigh Anne Tuohy, a privileged and opinionated White southern Republican, who was so moved to compassion that she “adopted” the socially disadvantaged descendant of African slaves into her family.
Martha wanted to be a disciple of Jesus. She wanted to follow him and learn from him. But she was held back by her social conditioning that said women have their roles and their place. Theological studies were what men did. Women were to care for men’s physical needs so that men could devote their time to study. Preparing meals was important work. But Martha longed to discuss deeper spiritual matters and the things of God.
Among the few things we know about our ancient past, we know that since time immemorial sex was sacralized. Religious celebrations often included sexual activity. Evidence abounds indicating that religion centered on fertility. The oldest clay figurines most commonly found represent fertility goddesses. In the Old Testament she is known as Asherah or Astarte, the goddess also known as Ishtar. The Old Testament bears witness to the centuries-old struggle within the people of Israel against polytheism and in favor of monotheism.
Why does dogmatism correlate so naturally with rebellion against the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit?
As everyone knows, when someone proposes that a metaphorical (rather than literalistic) reading of Genesis 1 and 2 might help Adventist scientists communicate their belief in Creation, the inner Inquisitor of dogmatic traditionalists bestirs itself from slumber. “That would betray scripture,” it says. “That would deny official church teaching. That should not be allowed.”
One of the most interesting and exciting stories in the gospels is found in Luke, chapter 13. There we read that Jesus, deliberately and intentionally chose the time and the place to forcefully confront the cultural taboos surrounding women and the church.