Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Wave your flag

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 liberating.

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!

1 comment:

  1. You go, girl! I remember so well those moments of extraordinary insight that came during my training as I wrestled so hard with the Biblical text, with the record of church history and with all the big questions we had to tackle. It was the most fulfilling and transformative period of study I've ever experienced and I'm so grateful to have had it.