Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Is the Holy Spirit a Man?

Okay…this article may not go down well with a few Christians so if you are sometimes averse to hearing other people's point of view it may not be a bad idea to pass now. This is not going to be a stinging article at Christians or Christianity because I am a Christian too, but I'm just eager to share some of my uneasiness with regards to certain happenings within the Anglican church now and no before you ask am not an Anglican. I'm just a girl who is interested in world affairs especially that which affects me in some ways.

If you've been following the news closely the past few weeks you will be aware of the storm brewing in this traditional church and one which threatens to divide it. First it was the ordination of a gay Bishop, second it was the solemnization of a marriage ceremony between two gay Priests and more recently it is the debate to allow women be ordinated as Bishops. The tradition of only allowing men to be priests in both the Anglican and Catholic stems I believe from the teachings in the bible. 1st Corinthians 14:34-35 reads that women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35, If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Take note of the reference to the law in the verse which means that long before Apostle Paul's teaching, it had been in place not to allow women take to the pulpit and this was widely practiced in Corinth. People who've read the story of the Apostle Paul will know how holy and spirit filled he became after God turned him into a new leaf following his persecutions of Christians in Damascus. He went on to write several letters to all the early churches in Ephesus, Galatia, Corinth etc and the letters he wrote them is what forms most part of the teachings of the new testament. No doubt Apostle Paul was highly qualified to teach what he believes was the mind of God in most matters. For this reason, are we then to accept that the holy spirit was sanctioning this practise through the teachings of Apostle Paul? Is this really God's mind or just an extension of a tradition and law that has for long relegated women to the back seat and to further manhood and patriarchal ideology?

Most indication from the bible shows women's role within the society as secondary. Where men are involved they are expected to play second fiddle. Proverbs 31: 10 downward describes the woman who is worth far more than rubies which obviously could be seen as the epitome of perfection and for other women to emulate. I struggle to find a similar passage for men. Someone help me out here. What happened to God's instruction about the man tilling the ground to provide for his family in Genesis when he booted Adam and Eve out of the Garden. Plenty of chapters down it is the woman who suddenly has to travel far and wide to bring her food like a merchant ship. I find it irksome that women are expected to dedicate their whole life to the service of their husband and keeping their home and must be happy to do so. Anything contrary to this arrangement and she's bound to incur the wrath of the law and its custodians. However God used women like Deborah, Ruth, Miriam Tabitha etc to carry out his work on earth and this to me shows that God is not gender biased no matter how much some of the teachings in the bible seem to portray this. To me this bias infiltrated the teachings of the bible through the laws and customs that already governed the people. It doesn't matter to me that God is often referred to in pronouns such as Him or He because I know that God is a spirit and has no gender.

Doesn’t the bible teach us that we all carry an anointing and all have gifts according to that which the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon us? So how come it is only men who just happen to have the gift of becoming a Priest or Bishop? What gives more right for a man to stand at the pulpit to teach the bible, prophesying, healing people and calling them to repentance that makes a woman incapable of doing the same? I know certainly that when there are two masters on a ship, there's a high chance of that ship capsizing but I'm saying there shouldn't be gender roles for men and women when it comes to profession. Anyone should be able to choose to do what they want to do provided they have shown the skills and mental aptitude needed to undertake such profession. I know order is needed in a society and there is a need to distinguish sometimes, but not when it comes to things that brings genuine fulfilment and that which God will not generally frown upon. I am a woman, I love being a woman and I recognise that there are certain things expected of me as a woman, but I will only do those things as long as it pleases me and I know am not displeasing God. I know Jesus Christ did say give onto God what is God's and on to Caesar what is Caesar's which means that he recognises some of the laws that govern peoples' lives but I doubt he recognises a law that persecutes and discriminates against women.

Women have always considered to being at the mercy of the debilitating condition i.e.. their monthly flow but does that make them incapable of handling the work of God. Perhaps some of it flow from the tradition that a woman on her period in impure in the sight of God therefore she cannot be fit to come into the presence of God all the time. Leviticus 15:19 " 'When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. I went to a catholic school and I know when all of our sisters are on their monthly because they don’t wear there normal attire which I find rather ridiculing because everyone will know she's got the pees. This may be the reason why men who have for as long as we can remember have been at the helm of affairs decided to instil an institution that will make it illegitimate for women to do certain things. There are a good number of female vicars but why cant they be made Bishops as well if they fully merit it? Don't men have discharges too? In Leviticus 15 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 2 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When any man has a bodily discharge, the discharge is unclean. 3 Whether it continues flowing from his body or is blocked, it will make him unclean. Reading further 'When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening. 17 Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed with water, and it will be unclean till evening. Now for Vicars in Anglican churches who are allowed to have wives and all, wouldnt it make it impure for them to be in the house of the Lord and carry out their duties. Double standards right there. One rule for women and another for men.

Am tired of typing but the whole point of my bleating is that let's not confuse the things that God is really concerned about with the pursuits or our own tradition or beliefs. Christianity is not about either. Its about the call of a people to be holy and to love God with all their hearts while serving him in spirit and in truth. It overrides gender or racial differences. It doesn’t matter whether you're man or woman and once God has given you a mantle to lead let no church tradition or society norm hold you back because the holy Spirit is not biased, neither is it man or woman.


naijalines said...

Aha... fuuursst again. Where is Afrobabe?

Preach it sista! Cos some of us need to hear it. That's the real problem with the Bible, isn't it? Where do God's words start and where do the Jewish customs and tradition of that time end?

The truth is we'd never know cos man has put his spin on it! I'm glad that apparently knowledgeable christians like yourself can highlight these issues for further debate. Most christians like to take the Bible literally and that just does not work in the light of so many things that we know today!

Everything in the Bible is a matter of interpretation. You and others may not agree but that's a fact. And yes I'm a christian but I'm very liberal and I'd like to think... logical in my views.

OluwaDee said...

If the son sets u Free u r Free indeed.
If d law was enough 2 save us, Gos wont have sent Jesus Christ.

Me I am a free being, n am bounded by no law, whether its written in Leviticus or Corinthians. I live now by FAITH in Christ, who loved me & gave his life 4 me.

Howz things @ ur end.

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Jarrai said...

Very insightful and intriging...i like the fact that you can see between the lines. What most people forget is that the Bible and all the other religious books was written by someone who had certain laws, traditions that could influence his interpretation of what the "WORD" is...

Some people take everything literally and try and apply it in their lives. God made us the superior species for a reason, so we can think for ourselves. He is not gender biased and religion seems to hide that under its many cloaks.

I am muslim and sometimes i cannot belive how people interpret the koran so literally up to the point that they will become blinded by thier faith. This i call blind faith..i am just baffled by the whole thing. Ignorance is a dangerous thing to carry around.

Me, i believe my God loves me and he doesn't want me to be second best to any man...whatever the books may say....i stand by this

Loved this post, loved loved it....xxxx

NikkiSab said...

I tink if a male or female wishes to dedicate dia life to christ like nuns, priests - then I say i doubt God minds if de r female or male. Its like d sexes battle doesn't av a boundary. hmmm...sad.
Parakeet. I tagged u so u can get d rules from my page. mwah!!!

Free-flowing Florida said...

this is just stupid! d church that ordained a practicing gay bishop & wedded 2 gay priests is debating on weda to ordain women bishops!!!!!! apparently, it's worse 2 have a female bishop dan a gay bishop!!!!! such nonsense!!!! am so very angry right now. i shall discontinue b4 i blow up

Afrobabe said...

Naijalines, Afrobabe no quick see the update jare...
Dont get used to the position oh...

Lmao @ booted out of the garden…no be small booting oh..

I have always believed most of what is in the bible is their opinion or interpretation of the real time, culture and personal believes has long ago added a spin on things...

AlooFar said...

True talk Afro.

One question though... when is this world coming to an end? It's taking too long?

Dammy said...

Well written!
I hate the way religion is practised in our world today! Mark my use of the word "HATE"

Religion is the cause of most of the problems in the world today!I hate to join in this unwarrranted tussle for supremacy with one religion claiming to be superior to the other and yet we call on ONE God! What an irony!

What about the evils that men do in the name off religion? So called men of God have enriched themselves at the expense of the poor masses whose search for meaning has made them become enslaved to the antics of such wicked souls who parade as servants of God! How do you explains the killings of children and women in the name of religion???

I long to have a relationship with God! One that is devoid of any mediation or distortions by men. Just me and my God, together forever!

Lol @ Aloofar, bros, abeg make the world never end ooo1 still got a lot to accomplish! I just start bros abeg. Lol.

princesa said...

My feelings exactly!
I have always said that most of what's in the bible was influenced by the Jewish traditions but mba we choose to follow doggedly without applying our own common sense.

U talk am well jare.

Zephi Fahrenheit said...

I'll have to come back and adress this..this is a vey interesting topic..

NigerianDramaQueen said...

*The truth is that the Bible often gets misconstrued. Alot of the Bible was written in terms of its relevance to culture and society at that time-and is not to be taken so literally today.
*For instance, In 1 Tim. 6:1-2, Paul tells Chris­tian slaves to respect their Christian masters, and he never commands the masters to free their slaves. Paul wasnt necessarily supporting slavery, as many 19th-century Americans argue. He was simply going along with culture, so the gospel would not be seen as an enemy of society.
I believe the same rule applies when considering the role of women in the church..
*What matters is our hearts, because thats what God looks at.
~Thanks for being bold to touch on this and speak your "church mind". I enjoyed reading this!

Favoured Girl said...

Nice post, and I agree with you that so many of the biblical teachings we read now were relevant to the customs of the time, but probably not nowadays. Now we have the Spirit of God in us, and we are called Sons and Daughters of God. Females should not be held down because of ancient traditions. I know so many female ministers who are a blessing to the body of Christ and whose ministries have blessed me in many ways. If they were not allowed to become ministers then it would be a great loss.

Standtall said...

Did you remember when you referred to me ad “a woman after your heart”? I think I can say the same about you!!! This is one of the reasons I refused to conform to what I call outdated traditions and beliefs. We have being relegated to the background for so long that some of our gender even feel is the right thing. If I ma to keep quiet and allow men to rule and do other things, why has God given the gift to be leader, to speak up and feel I have the passion to rule? SO, my talent will go to waste cos that is the tradition? No way!!!

I believe equality in all aspect of our lives and I have refused to believe otherwise. It’s even so sad that in this 21 century a lot of people still refuse to wake up and be very objective in their approach to issues. No one can stop an idea that has germinated and begin to grow. If women are to keep quiet like it was said in Cor. How would they not end up knowing too much? You are taking in information at all time, there will be a time you will want to give back and of course the time to give back is now!!!!!

Afronuts said...

Ok. I think mnay people keep getting it wrong.

God never said man was more superior than woman. He only gave both sexes roles to play and man right from the onset has always been put in the role of leadership while the woman is his second in command.

Thats why the man is the head of the house. But note that no matter the second position a woman occupies, she has an influence over the man.

I dont think women shud be contesting for postions that God instructed men to occupy. Thats why i see this women's lib thing as crap. Both sexes should work together as a team woteva the positioning God places them

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NikkiSab said...

Parak!!!! Hmmm ....i'm just inspecting ur blog to see if u've done d music blog and u avn't. I've got my eyes on u...hehehe..

It's all relative said...

hi i am a first time reader of ur blogs and i must say i am very impressed by the level of thought u have put into this blog and i must say i agree and disagree with u for reasons i say will never find an end but i will say this the level of hypocrisy in christianity is reaching aa level only equal to ridicilous. I mean we shout out the name we say we want to follow his teachings but we really cant follow even the basic commandment (love thy neighbour as thyself) of the religion can we really say we will see heaven?
i mean do u really follow that basic rule and dont forget ur neighbour is everyone regardless of their religion ,color country or what their father did to yours.

It's all relative said...

oh and by the way i will be visiting again and yes i am really single

naijalines said...


Who said God gave fixed positions to men and women? So you 'hate the women's lib thing'. I bet you hate the submission thing(as in women should submit to their husbands)too!

That's the whole point... Everything is so conveniently arranged by men... for men to always claim superiority and claim divine authority for it. Don't get me started o!

The only advantage men have over women is biological and nothing more! Yes women have children and our bodies go through changes that yours do not. It does not make us any less intelligent or give you priority over us. You do not have prority over clergy positions and we are not your slaves or your running mate!!!!

The 'complementary roles' mentioned by you is a cop out because the undertone of your comment is obvious. If you really understand what women's liberation is all about you will know that it is about EQUALITY between men and women. And if you REALLY believe that men and women complement each other, then you would understand that part of that is about letting every individual be what they want to be. Do not hide under some imagined divine authority for your male chauvinism. As a woman, I find that insulting.

Do not slate women's lib if you don't really know what you're talking about. Women's lib has changed the lives of women all over the world, challenging injustices and unfairness against women in all realms of life - including the subject of discussion in this post - sexism in the church. A lot of women including myself are eternally grateful for what women's lib has achieved.

@ Parakeet: Sista, I'm not hijacking your blog o. Sorry for the long comment but some people have to be told. Thank you.

Buttercup said...

hmmmmmm....yet another thou-provokin post...i just wish life had a how-to-use(or live, in this case) manual, so we dont jump into any wrong conclusion bout anythin...but hold up, isnt that the Bible??

Uzezi said...

lovely one.

it's sad really teh way certain verses in the bible are taken and over interpreted by some zealots, including the covering of hair in teh church and a woman not wearing what men's clothing. nobody is perfect or absolutely correct at all times, while there is a good reason why women must have been relagated to a back position in ages past, times are changing especially with the realisation that a woman's role cannot be overlooked.
I have no issue with women preachers, i lovvvvvvvvvvve my pastor's wife, and anyday, i will listen to Nike Adeyemi take the pulpit, and the thing is, give a man and a woman the same topic and they will preach it differently, each according to how he or she understands it, and from his or her point of view.
And women pastors definitely know those verses that are bias to women and understand it deifferent from what some trouble seekers understand.
The Holy spirit doesn't differentiate between male and female when he shares his gifts and neither does God frown today when a woman preacher wins him a soul.

But then, truthfully speaking, what matters today, the only thing that counts, is faith, it isn't by the works of our hands that we are saved, but our faith. That is it. We don't know the heart of God. He said it Himself that His ways are not our ways. How can we know the criteria that will be used in judging us?

Faith! powerful. How sure are we christains that those gay people don't have a sound relationship with God? Hope i am not blaspheming? At the end of it all, it isn't this enclosure that will return to God, no, not our bodies that makes us differentiate our sexes, but the spirit within us.

I talk too much. Been a while, How have u been?

Smaragd said...

"he that is from above is above all", i dunno how relevant that is, but it came to mind as a thought in response to this lovely, deep post.

Parakeet, u been thinking in the bathroom again huhn? *wink*

for the love of God, babe, remove this verification Scheisse!

uNWrItten* said...

mmmm...i dunno sha..let me think about this real well and ill come back with a well thought out versed answer..its really not as one sided as we might think..
at the end of the day its all about worshipping the one true God and believing in his son Jesus..
how are u sha? :)

guerreiranigeriana said...

...well done parakeet...well done!!...i love people who can open their eyes and read between the lines and what isn't there...those who actually think and not just accept everything without question...

...i have struggled with religion and its role in oppressing, discriminating, enslaving and ultimately killing of people...growing up mormon, you can imagine the confusion i experienced reading what was supposedly 'the word of God'...wondering why God would be so biased against what he created; black people and then women...

...anyway...more people need to take a more critical look at their so-called beliefs and 'the words' they subscribe to...this does not mean you don't believe in God...its just reality...religions and all religious books may have been inspired by God but created and written by man, heavily influence by their biases and beliefs of the times...

..splendid post dear....

naijalines said...

I would like to expantiate on what I mean by man having an unfair advantage biologically.

I'm referring to how a woman's life is affected (mostly economically) by the usual life stages. For instance when a woman is doing well in her career and takes time off to have children, this is capitalised on by men (i.e. society) as being a disadvantage. By the time she gets back, her male colleagues have moved on. Of course this is only a 'disadvantage' because society does not place an economical value on the significant role of women in bringing up children.

This is just one example of how women are generally seen to be at a disadvantage. The low value placed on traditional roles seen as 'women's work' does feed into sexism in other realms of life. It contributes to the erroneous and stupendous assumption that there are fixed roles/duties for men and women to occupy in society...that a woman's place is in the home...and that men are best placed to occupy positions of public authority such as in the Church.

We know this is wrong and it does not take an Albert Einstein to figure that out.

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tobenna said...

Spoken with some deserved spite.
I feel you.
And I agree with you.
I am anglican, but I believe religion is a personal way of life. So, I am not bound or little bothered by what others may think.