Support the Café
Search our site

Genesis, gender and justification

Genesis, gender and justification

Ministry Matters has a great new post exploring the roots of gendered identity, titled “Genesis, gender and justification.”

“Children see that there is a difference in our language and in the way we dress. They see gender roles and gender expression. They perceive that we treat people differently, that we use different language for different people, and they ask, “Why?”

Do you find it interesting that children have to ask why? That they aren’t born knowing why? At some point, we all have to have gender explained to us.

Most parents answer their children with a biology lesson. “Boys have penises and girls have vaginas,” as though that explains dress and hairstyles, football and ice dancing, My Little Pony and Transformers, pay inequality and patriarchy. It explains nothing. It’s what we call “biological essentialism,” although we could also call it a “red herring.””

 

The author, Dave Barnhart, examines the creation accounts of Genesis and shows that they can be understood as either prescriptive or descriptive.  For example;

“For the religious, we have sacred texts. Genesis 1:27 says: “God created humanity in God’s own image; in the divine image God created them; male and female God created them.” Some people read this descriptively: every human being, regardless of gender, is created in the image of God. Others read this verse prescriptively: God decreed that every human being should be one or the other”

The author then draws upon the experience of ancient Israel to favor the descriptive, and from that show that such a reading leads us to an inclusive view of who can be among the people of God.

“I read the Genesis text from an inclusive perspective: It is not just men who are made in the image of God. Keep in mind, the people writing this text were Hebrews who had a memory of slavery in Egypt, where all the gods looked like the rich and powerful who oppressed them. The Hebrew theology makes a radically inclusive claim: All people are made in God’s image, regardless of their power, their gender or their social status. God is no more limited by gender or human categories than God is limited by time. No one image of humanity can describe God, because God’s image is stamped on all of us.”

The article then shows how such a descriptive, inclusive perspective plays into contemporary debates over the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons.  It’s a clear and concise article worth sharing with anyone who struggles over this issue in their faith lives.

Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café