Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What if women could have been apostles?

A female New Testament professor at Vanderbilt asks the question at Beliefnet. Here's her conclusion, which I agree with:

And, rather than ask how Christianity would be different had women "been given an equal seat at the table," we might note that Jesus' teaching is not ultimately about getting a seat at the table. In antiquity that location easily signaled elite status. Jesus' message is not to sit at table, but to provide food for those who need it, not to be served but to serve. Christianity taught then, and it teaches now, that the hungry should be fed, that people in prison should be visited, that the sick should be cared for, and that the stranger should be welcomed. Who in antiquity did most of the feeding, the visiting, the nursing, and the welcoming? The answer has not changed over the past two millennia.
In the long run, I worry less about what the church would be like if women had greater roles in antiquity, and wonder more what it would be like if everyone, male and female, decided to serve rather than be served.

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