11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
These are Paul’s words to Timothy in his First letter to him. This was the first time I had become aware that the man to whom so many looked upon with veneration, was essentially a chauvanist pig.
Now, I am aware that those schooled in the church would tell me that these words and others from Paul that have so completely held the church back from progressing with the times, were uttered not out of chauvanism, but because of the times in which he operated. I was told that at the time I first asked the questions.
So, I went searching through the four gospels looking to see what Y’shua had to say about women. Interesting, he was an egalitarian, more than his upbringing would have even lead him to be. So, I don’t buy the excuses, except that the men giving them, liked what Paul had to say better than they liked Y’shua’s teachings. That is, in large part why I am not a Paulist.
There’s another incident that made me stop and think about this man whom so many adulate. In 1st Corinthians, Paul laid into the church like there was no tomorrow because they were reportedly tolerating the fellowship of a man and his two lovers, a mother and daughter, making sure that the church reckoned with the idea the even the “Pagans” did not tolerate such behavior. Yeah, I like that one. He taught a Helenized Gospel, after the pagans of Rome, not the chaste faith of the Jews, and would have folks despise the very people whose attitudes he would have them adopt in all but name when it came in fact to the traditions of his forbears.
Well, back to the story at hand, in 2nd Corinthians, after that diatribe that went on forever in the 1st letter there is a tiny phrase of half apology for being wrong, justifying the harangue as having been for their own good.
Now then, let’s discuss this “soldier for the cross” who, when walking through Athens jumped up on top of a monument raised the the unknown God and like a hawker in a circus yelled to the people “Come one come all to the greatest show on earth”. Quite different impression, the painting from the real thing, eh?
Ok, now I am sure you have the drift of why I am not a fan of Saint Paul. Of Paul a human being with many frailties, I have nothing but compassion and sympathy. He also wrote some pretty fine stuff on love, read that same book I fussed at him about above, and you will come across one of the finest passages on Godly love in existence.He wrote a lot about love throughout his letters, yet his behavior did not back up his words. I believe this is why so many Christians feel it’s OK to speak love out of one side of their mouths while torturing others out of the other side. This man was not a model of balanced humanity.
I have wondered if Paul’s intense rant against gentiles converting to Judaism in order to follow the “Christ” was that then he would lose his audience. If a gentile were to learn the Mosaic Law, he would actually learn that most of those laws had to do with living a compassionate life. The other laws that seem so harsh to us today had to do with keeping a strong sense of purity among the people of G-d.
These studies would also make the Gentiles realize that Y’shua’s teachings were actually intended to bring a mature, mystical perspective to the walk of the pilgrim. This was so that one who chose to walk such a path would see that joyful, humble service to Hashem was not so much a matter of obeying the behavioral laws, though Y’shua said and meant his listeners to understand that they were important as well, but he was teaching an inner obedience of the heart. If the gentiles Paul was preaching to had realized the main points of Y’shua’s teachings, they would not have needed Paul, and would have realized he was a lot of hot air.
He was a an ambitious and dedicated itinerant preacher, and as long as he and his teachings are treated as those of a human being, not some God appointed spokesman for all of mankind, I can tolerate his foolishness, but when you start acting as though I should model my life and my faith after his pattern, well, not this life time, and, perhaps, none in the future, either.
August 6, 2008