Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"I'm Glad I'm Not Colored"

   Do those words make you cringe?
   They should.
   But they were not spoken from a racist heart of hatred and discrimination. In fact, they were not spoken at all. But they were the clear thoughts of a small girl [not yet five], as she held the hand of her mother and looked down a hillside in Bermuda, watching orderly lines of uniformed children walk along the breezeway outside the classrooms at the colored school.
   That was in 1961. And such was the impact of that sight, and my great relief that I was not colored, that the moment is emblazoned on my memory as if it were yesterday. 
   Such was the sociological climate of the times, that a child barely past babyhood, could grasp the concept of caste. A mere child could understand that to be born "colored" (I use the vernacular of the time) was a terrible disadvantage that could (from her perspective) never be overcome. And though I did not have the ability, as yet, to judge the rightness or wrongness of the paradigm, as much as an almost-five-year-old could, I understood the implications. 
   Not one smidgen of racial hatred influenced my childish thoughts as I mentally uttered words of relief at not being born colored. I was just being honest with myself. It was the way things were.
   Long before I reached adulthood, I realized, along with most other reasonable people, that a paradigm, like the one, in 1961, that made me so very glad I was not "colored," was very very wrong. 
   Yet, that terrible paradigm had already persisted and thrived for hundreds of years. At one time, it was even touted and preached from pulpits as "God's Design." Imagine, God was blamed for men's hatred and prejudice, until people finally became fed up with the lie and forced the issue. Prejudice against people of color may still exist in evil hearts, but social progress has been made. And, today, white children and black children go to school and church together. Most pastor's, today, would never dare to preach that white supremacy is "God's Great Design." They know better. 
   Yet male supremacy, is preached louder than ever, and lauded by complementarian leaders, as "God's Great Design."
   When I heard a young man  (during a conversation about complementarianism) admit that he had actually felt relieved that he had not been born a girl, I understood exactly what he meant. He was being transparent about his relief at not being born into the servant-female caste. It was much better being born into the ruling-male cast.
   His words were totally logical. They made perfect sense, and transported me back to that Bermuda hillside, where I had stood with my mother, almost sixty years before, watching a procession of "lower caste" children move in single file on the walkways outside their classrooms. I felt again, as fresh as if it had been yesterday, the immense relief that I had not been born into that caste. Only, now, I could also feel and understand the wrongness of a caste system that could have such a strong impact on a child, who was only a year and a half out from being classified as a toddler
   The complementarian system, that reigns in churches today, and causes little boys and young men (even adult men if they would admit it) to feel relief that they were not born into the lowest caste, is just as wrong. A system that produces such sentiments cannot flow from the heart of God, nor can it be found in the clear teaching of scripture.

Woman this is WAR! Gender Slavery and the Evangelical Caste System, examines Bible commentary and translation practices which have historically been androcentric (male centered) and even misogynistic (anti-woman). 
   These have adversely effected understanding of the scriptures, relations between women and men, the happiness of men and women, and, in general, has hindered the work of the gospel, by forbidding women to preach, pastor, or serve as elders or deacons. The book chronicles the early history of the women's rights movements, as well as the role of church leadership in aggressively suppressing both women's rights and the historical record of Christian initiatives within the movements. 
   Through the complementarian movement, many of the same arguments used to support the institution of slavery, are still used today in suppressing the rights of Christian women. This book documents identical arguments used by Christian leaders against both movements and is an unparalleled resource for all who desire an in-depth study of gender equality from a historical and Christian perspective. 
   This book traces history of women’s rights, much further than usual, to the very first feminists…who were Christians—godly women, who brought the issue of women's rights to the forefront as they struggled to alleviate the suffering of others, and found they were hindered in doing so for no other reason than the fact of their sex. This work, provides valuable historical insight into Christian initiatives in the movements for women’s rights, that are rarely included in Christian literature.

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