Theologizing the role and worth of women

Dear Editor,

I prefer to evaluate my way of looking at things as “a progressive moderate”.

On theological and social issues, I always try to allow the factual information to color my opinion, and I will hold that conclusion until I am shown relevant, intelligent and factual differences.

How we think

A person’s educational and social environment shapes his theology and sociology.

I remember as a child, how I perceived God as a UBP (United Bahamian Party). My mother’s Nola’s Baked Crab business was mostly patronized by some of this country’s richest, most influential white men of the ‘50s and ‘60s. They were all members of the United Bahamian Party. By childish extrapolation I concluded God was also one.

Serious theologians, sociologists and academicians make an ongoing effort to re-evaluate fixed personal conclusions, as well as those society has made.

Are women human?

An urgent national imperative in need of re-evaluation is the role, worth and value we, as a nation, place on the females in our country.

The role, function and styles of men and women are markedly different, yet the “humanity” of the individual is undeniable the same. Gender determines function but does not heighten nor diminish the individual’s humanity.

Scholars interpreting the creation story emphasize that Adam is the “progenitor”, Eve picks the fruit, but God holds Adam accountable. He is head of the woman, yet it is God the supreme creator who further concludes that Adam is incomplete without a woman.

Adam, it would seem, was comfortable by himself, until God said it is not good for him to be alone.

A cursory interpretation of this text lifts it at the level of meaning sex and procreation. The deeper reason God said it is not good for man to be alone was not merely procreation, but if Adam is to more accurately image God and make the invisible, visible, he does so in a covenant union with a woman.

Male and female created

Adam needs Eve to accurately reflect God.

Man is made from the dust; a woman is made from a man’s flesh. The first cesarean birth was performed on a man. Indeed a man was the first “mother”.

If we, as a patriarchal-dominated nation, were to lift our worth of women from being mere physical objects to reflect ourselves as men, we would eradicate much of the social quagmire that vexes us as a people.

It is a man’s world

All seven living presidents of the Bahamas Christian Council, indeed all of them since its inception in 1948, have been men.

Our first premier was male. All of our prime ministers were males. Can we envisage a Bahamas where gender, race or denominational tags are no longer the factors which determine a person’s opportunity to serve his or her country on a national level?

Woman, you are free!

I have concluded that the more women we place in the highest offices in the land, we help to lift men and women from the degrading philosophy of “keeping them barefoot and pregnant”.

The physical abuse, rape and degradation of women, so prevalent throughout our land, if we elevate the roles women are called to play and lift it to the high level God intended it to be on when he said, “And the two became one flesh,” we, I believe, will witness a better Bahamas.

A woman’s strength

A strong woman will not emasculate the man in her life; she makes him the best he could possibly be and then some. Only a weak man is afraid of a strong woman.

A woman can change a man by her love for him in a covenant relationship. Yet and more fundamentally, a man can change and transform himself by his love for that woman in that covenant relationship.

Jesus lifted women

In the social culture of the New Testament era, women were not considered fully human.

A Rabbi would be considered a suspect if he were seen conversing with a woman in public.

A man could divorce his wife if she burnt the food – but she had to go through hell if she wanted a divorce, even if he were at fault.

Women sat in the back court behind the men in front of the Gentiles and strangers. The seating arrangement showed their inferiority.

Women experiencing menstruation could not enter the Jewish temple.

Jesus, throughout his short public ministry, totally transformed all these archaic traditions and lifted the status of women as daughters of Abraham with equal worth and value as men.

The Bible is Christ-centric and must be interpreted using Christ as the guideline.

Women are needed

Some time ago Pope Francis said, “The feminine genius is an imperative when we seek to initiate revolutionary transformation of our nations as a people of faith.”

Someone noting the difference in male and female leadership stated “women take care while men take charge”.

If a person is qualified, his or her gender ought not hinder him or her from national office.

Turks and Caicos, Barbados, African and Asiatic countries have all elevated qualified women to the highest posts in their countries.

It is hard not to notice that in some of these places where women sit in high office, the egregious crimes against women have also been lowered.

The tiniest change in perspective can transform a person life.

If more of us were to affirm the worth and value of the women in our land and see them as God does, then we can transform our society.

– Bishop Simeon B. Hall

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