In early May 1997, my wife Jean and I were at Southern Seminary to receive an alumni award, when we noticed several signs posted on the campus, which read: "Seminary Wives Preview Night: Seminary Wives Institute (SWI) is designed to help train you to be better equipped as God's chosen helpmeet to your husband in his place of ministry."
How would the sponsors of this seminar respond if they should arrive in glory and see God in the form of an African woman seated upon heaven's highest throne?
Soon after this illustrious gathering, we traveled to Australia to promote the Contemporary English Version of the Bible. We were met at the airport by Rev. Jim Payne, General Secretary of the Bible Society of Australia, who immediately said, "You may consider me a heretic, but I think the worst thing a person can do is to hand a complete Bible to a new believer."
To this I replied, "You may also think I'm a heretic, but I agree with you completely." So began our friendship.
Many people avoid reading the Bible because it has been used as support for colonialism, race supremacy, male domination, anti-Judaism, slavery, child abuse, mutilation, programmatic rape, and ethnic cleansing. Yet we continue to translate, publish, and distribute Bibles without a word of warning!
In a recent article entitled "Reading Scripture Is like Rock Climbing," (Word & Way, June 14), Ms. Mimi Haddad approached 1 Timothy 2.11-15 from a unique and promising perspective. However, the passage itself does not truly represent what we know about the attitude of Jesus toward women. Fortunately, the person and the teachings of Jesus taken together constitute the final standard for understanding the role of women in the life of the Christian community!
What we really need is a "Concise Christian Canon" that challenges contemporary readers with the person and teachings of Jesus! In the eatery of a local bookstore, "Naked orange juice" was on the menu and has become a source of inspiration for me:
"Lord, we're standing in the need of Scripture Stark Naked – biblical truth, pure and undiluted!"