Another weekend, another Monday catching up on my Bible readings. I don’t feel bad about this. I’ve been reading the Bible religiously (hah!) for almost a month, and if I skip a day or two and make it up later, at least I’m doing it. And I had a great weekend, so nanny nanny boo boo.
Today’s reading, which I’m actually looking forward to, is from Ephesians 5.21-33, Ezekiel 16 and Isaiah 45. Why am I looking forward to it? Well, I saw the topic header for Ephesians 5.21, and it says “Wives and Husbands”. Paul is notoriously misogynistic, and I’m hoping that this will result in some good blog fodder. I’m also hopeful that Ezekial will have another plastic fantastic drug adventure, and that Isaiah… well, I’m not that hopeful about Isaiah. That whole book has just been more bland Psalms, this time written from the perspective of the spoiled brat Creator.
HAH! I knew you wouldn’t let me down, Paul, you raging woman-hater. The first lines of this reading are the classic “Woman, put man first. He is to you what Christ is to the church!” Christians really shouldn’t take relationship advice from Paul. The guy refused the company of women, and comes across as totally clueless about them. I’ve heard it opined that Paul was gay, but I don’t really think it matters. What matters is that, gay or straight, he was a pig who treated women badly in his words and either was not attracted to them sexually or saw them as an enemy to be overcome. Either way, not a good guy to hit up for relationship advice.
Now, I’ve also heard some people defend this statement without being Moral Relativists. They say that it says that the husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself and as much as Christ loved the church. Sure, that sounds like a nice sentiment, but the whole still separates the man as more important than the woman. You can put whatever sweetheart dreams you like on it, the man is still the boss of the woman for no better reason than he possesses a penis or reasonable facsimile.
It’s nicely summed up in the last sentence… “So each husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself, and each wife should respect her husband.” Men should love their wives, women should respect their husbands. You see, when a man loves his wife, he won’t likely do anything to hurt her as he wouldn’t hurt himself. When a woman respects her husband, it means she does as she is told, assuming that he has her best interests at heart. But aren’t women capable of knowing what’s in their own best interests?
No according to Paul…
And speaking of HOLY CRAP, EZEKIAL… Okay, I admit that maybe I am reading this with my own distorted perceptions about God in place, but God’s description of Jerusalem in this section borders on the vile and the lecherous, and possibly the incestuous. It basically comes down to this:
Jerusalem, nobody wanted you when you were a baby, so I saved you from death, and when you became a woman, I clothed you and protected you like a father, and I bought you pretty things and everyone liked you. Then you became a whore and you cheated on me, so now I’m going to beat you like the whore you are.
Yikes. I guess God reads men’s magazines…
Is this what God wants to happen to prostitutes and promiscuous women? He wants them mobbed, humiliated, stoned, and dismembered? Of course, there is no punishment to the many men who had sex with her… They were just poor shlubs. It was, as it always is, the woman’s fault because she was a whore, or in this case, worse because she didn’t even charge money.
Christian women, this is how your God sees you. I have no idea how that can be acceptable to you.
I’m sure that there are those that would argue that this is just a metaphor. God obviously wasn’t really sexually attracted to Jerusalem, nor did he see her as a prostitute. It’s all a figure of speech. But the choice in words is telling. He could have described it as a business partner who had screwed him over. He could have described it as an errant child who was being punished for appalling behavior. He could have described it as a dog which begs from the tables of anyone it meets. But he didn’t. Those things weren’t dirty enough. The dirtiest thing he could come up with was a woman who slutted it up.
Isaiah is more of the same, with God saying that Cyrus would be the one who rebuilt Jerusalem. This matches the historical record of Cyrus the Great, a Persian king who ended the captivity of the Jews. God then says that everything’s going to be okay, and that they will one day they would have all the riches and treasures of Ethiopia and Egypt, and that the people of Seba would be their slaves. Ah, slavery. You gotta love how God keeps encouraging it.
He then says, “But Israel, I, the LORD, will always keep you safe and free from shame.” I think the “except when I choose to shame you and make you unsafe, in which case just suck it up for a few generations until I calm down and restore your city to you” was implied.
Thus ends my reading for Saturday. God, if you’re real and you’re listening, you’re a sick bastard.