Lynn Willis, LEAD’s Spiritual Guide, attended the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto November 1-7. She will be sharing her experiences and reflections in a series of newsletter articles.
“Words have power,” says Jan Peppler, who holds a Doctorate in Sacred Myth, “we must translate accurately.”
95% of church women have never heard a sermon about abuse.
And yet 83% of Pastors have counseled victims of abuse.
How can this be?
Religious women stay longer in abusive relationships because they identify with Bible stories. They turn to Job or to Jesus. “Suffering is my cross to bear. I must pick up my cross and suffer.”
And yet, if we look carefully, we see that Job teaches us to call out the abuser. God is not the abuser in that story. Jesus found a third way – not a victim, but not seeking revenge.
There are strong women in the Bible who need to be held up as role models.
Esther saved her family (which is, by the way, the number one reason that women finally leave – to protect their children).
To the outcast Samaritan woman Jesus says, “you are worthy, you are mine, go and tell the good news.”
Mary Magdalene was the first to be entrusted with the news of the resurrection.
The stories are there. They tell the truth about how God wants people to be treated. But tribal customs find “evidence” in sacred books.
We must, as Dr. Peppler says, translate accurately. And tell the truth. And tell the stories. Silence increases violence.
Even just changing the name given to the stories can change the message conveyed. How about changing “the Woman Caught in Adultery” to “Jesus Breaks up the Boys-Will-Be-Boys Club”? *
*While I heard this quote at the Parliament, I originally read it in this Patheos article by Bert Montgomery.
Others in the Parliament of World’s Religions series: