I’m not talking about the Proverbs 31 sermon. If I have to hear about gold, flax, “clothing my household in scarlet” and waking up early in the morning again, I might become a Proverbs -31 woman, and you don’t want to stick around to see what that means.
I’m not referring to the Valentine’s Day message filled with deprecating jokes about the inadequacy and incompetency of men, after which we get flowers on our way out the door. I’m not talking about women’s retreats, where we are sent to a cabin three hours away to enjoy coffee while refocusing on the simple task of balancing God, husband, kids, work, other family, holidays, vacations, dreams, goals, church, practice, meetings, The Great Commission, and breathing.
I’m talking about the expository sermons on these crazy verses that seem–on the surface–incredibly sexist. If it weren’t for our rock solid belief and knowledge that God is good, perfect, and loving…we would’ve packed up and headed out a while ago.
“So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‘Get up; let’s go.’ But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.” -Judges 19:25-28
This is gang rape. And while I know that neither the Bible nor God condones sexual assault or violence of any kind, why have I never heard that from your podium? If it’s because it seems to be such an obvious truth, then why do we hear “Jesus loves you” over and over and over?
Why have I never heard a sermon on domestic violence?
Why is the church, by and large, silent on the fact that 1 in 3 women will face physical or sexual violence? If the universal church allowed more women into the clergy, do you think such silence would still exist?
Where are our support groups, Bible studies, messages, songs, and encouragements for those who are the victims of sexual, physical, and mental abuse? Especially when it is in the name of Christianity, such as is sometimes the case with complementarianism.
But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her, and said to her, ‘Come, lie with me, my sister.’ She answered him, ‘No, my brother, do not force me; for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do anything so vile!…But he would not listen to her; and being stronger than she was, he forced her and lay with her…Her brother Absalom said to her, ‘Has Amnon your brother been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother; do not take this to heart.’ So Tamar remained, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom’s house. – 2 Samuel 13:11-12, 14, 20
“He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.” -1 Kings 11:3
“It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, ‘Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant.’” -2 Samuel 11:2-5
Why do you read Scripture during the Sunday morning service and skip over the part where God gave a king one thousand wives and concubines? Why do you not refer back to that, if even for a moment of clarification, as if we are fully versed in the reasons events like that are completely compatible with a perfect God? Had these mentions been of homosexuality or any other “clearly abominable sin,” they would not have gone unexplained.
We don’t know. We are confused. We are hurt. We are cautious. We are curious. Will no one explain these aspects of our glorious God? Because they don’t seem very glorious. If a spiritual leader will not tell me, who will? Don’t entrust us to the trenches of Google, Pastors.
Please forgive what may seem a full-fledged, unwarranted attack. Perhaps I am trying, and failing, to place the blame on anyone within reach for the little girl who will be molested tonight. For the teenager who will be gang raped. I am trying to shout for the woman walking home after dark who will be silenced.
I am overwhelmed with confusion and aggravated. Sometimes I feel like shouting, but all you need to do is speak.
Kelly McAvoy’s current life goal is to get through college without failing algebra. She is not always right, as evidenced by the fact that she swore she would never date back in middle school, only to buy a wedding dress this past September. She says “katchup,” not ketchup–but she knows she’s right on that one. Jesus is her passion, and for now, His calling has led her to writing. She blogs regularly at precariosities.com and if she had a dying wish, it just might be that you visit it. (It definitely would be that you visit it.)
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