All this book learning is turning me into an extremist. Now before you send the men in white coats (or some other more sinister government agency) round for me, let me explain myself! I'm talking about extremism for good ends, extremism for equality. I'm getting more and more riled up about it, sitting here at my kitchen table with piles of reading for my latest essay around me.
Being a woman in an
institution that fundamentally discriminates against me may seem like
utter lunacy to most people. It probably is really but as I've said
before I have this odd attachment to it, this bizarre thing called
church, like holding a broken bird in my hand and I just want it to
get better with everything in me.
Having an attachment to
the Bible probably seems like an even greater lunacy (here come those
men in white coats again) but I've always loved it since I picked it
up for the first time seven years ago and read it cover to cover.
Yes, it contains the verses that are used to bash me and many other
over the head and into submission but if someone hits me over the
head with a spade does that make the spade the problem or the person
who is using it all wrong?
So what is getting me
particularly excited is having this time to steep myself in the New
Testament. To dwell in all those sticky passages, all those places
people get hot under the collar about and to find there, with great
excitement and the companionship of some fabulous scholars, that
this faith, this book, this message, is fundamentally one of
equality. Yep - race, sex, background. Forget it. Irrelevant. THAT is how it should be.
Of course this isn't
the first time this has dawned one me and likewise I've got it
massively wrong many times, said so many dumb things, made dumb
judgements, that I wish I could take back. But now I'm finding the
hard evidence for this very real conviction, that I so want to live
out, from much more intelligent people than me. It is utterly
Now you're probably
thinking, 'Equality? Doesn't look much like any church I know.' Trust
me there is a great irony in making these intellectual discoveries
alongside being at a University where the mantra is 'you are the
elite!' and a church where status is way too often everything. Here
we are again with the broken baby bird. With a nasty nip when you try
to help her. Oh yes, there is some healing to do but I feel like I am
making foundations, in my life at least, for everything I attempt to
do in that area with all my own frail, fudged up attempts.
So there we are, waving
my flag, Extremist for Equality!