Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Post-Easter Exegesis

One of the great problems Biblical Christians encounter at this time of year has to do with the circumstances of the original Easter Sunday. Although the Gospels according to Matthew and Mark is clear that it was women who first saw our resurrected Lord, St. Paul, who was clearly without sin (despite his protests to the contrary) makes it equally clear that women must not teach. All of which means, of course, that the first people to whom Jesus chose to reveal Himself couldn’t teach anyone about what they saw.

There exists a number of theories explaining this apparent paradox, although most GAFCON theologians prefer to ignore the matter altogether, and pretend the men were actually first. While understandable, and a generally commendable strategy when it comes to exegesis, there’s really no need for Bible students to hide in the closet as far as I’m concerned. Especially when an absolute plethora of alternative explanations exists.

For example, Bishop Quinine has recently become most entranced by the theory of little Dean Jensen, from St. Andrew’s Cathedral Sydney (with a name like “Jensen” he’d hardly be from Grace Sheboygan, now would he?) which holds that all confusion and evil in this world originated withVirginia Woolf. Then again, Bishop Quinine hasn’t consumed anything other than the Sacraments and chocolate-coated toadstools since Maundy Thursday, so I’m not sure he’s much of a recommendation for anything.

Other so-called Bible-believers argue that what St. Paul meant by “teach” was actually “run the church” – thereby permitting women to do all the hard work of preparing and delivering sermons etc. without having to pay them a male Vicar’s stipend. This view is particularly popular in a small section of Binghamton, New York, as well as among other Gafconeers who wish to enjoy the misogynist fellowship of their more orthodox brethren, without incurring the additional expense involved in obtaining a genitally qualified locum to fill their pulpit while they’re off gallivanting around the Communion putting their noses into everyone else’s business.

According to these supposed-Christians Jesus was quite within his rights to first appear to people without penises, and even to contradict St. Paul by urging them to speak of what they’d witnessed. Yet Biblical Experts like me can’t help drawing attention to the fact that the following verse reveals the two ladies said nothing “to any man”, for the very proper reason that “they were afraid”. As fine Christian women they wouldn’t have subscribed to any liberal notion that just because Jesus says it’s ok to do something it’s alright to contravene Church Leaders who clearly know better. No; they were afraid to do what they knew would be sinful, and today we admire them for this. Further, the two Marys obviously had a good grounding in the Pauline Epistles, and they certainly don’t seem to be under any nit-picking illusions “teaching” actually meaning “being in charge”. No matter what some of the more apostate liberal GAFCON primates like ++Kenya, ++Uganda, ++Rwanda, & ++ West Africa might claim, Big Pete Akinola’s refusal to let women teach is clearly the only understanding of the Scriptures that these ladies acknowledged. Although in the Province of Nigeria’s case it doesn’t seem that the men teach anything either, but that’s another story…

The third view, and as the one I hold it’s obviously the only true one, is that Jesus was simply mistaken that morning. After all, he’d been through a lot in the past few days, and He isn’t the first Christian Leader to have had problems telling if a weaker Christian is a girl or a boy. Clearly He meant to first announce the Good News to a man, and got things wrong. Naturally he quickly sought to rectify the problem as soon as possible – but not before some tattle-tale Gospel writer hanging recorded the blunder for all posterity.

Just think about this for a moment: He may be the Glorious Risen Son of the Perfect and Omniscient Lord, but that’s no reason to think he couldn’t make a mistake, and one can’t in all seriousness suggest He would have knowingly contravened patriarchal interpretations of St. Paul’s throw-away lines. Jesus simply got things wrong for a moment, and that’s all there is to the matter. It’s not as if that’s something with any theological implications. After all, it’s not as if Christ is inerrant like Scripture.

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

PS. Consuella ordered me to remind you all that Easter is in fact 50 days, and to ask all our Facebook friends to go here and join the continued celebration. So you'd better do as she says, because it takes a braver man than me to ignore the teachings of a woman like her.

4 comments :

Robert said...

Wow. At last I understand the place of women in the Church. I'm eternally grateful to the good Rev. Dr. sir for explaining things so cogently!

PseudoPiskie said...

I wonder if Jesus was disappointed that only his gal pals showed up.

MadPriest said...

Hang on!

I'm might be wrong, because, like most busy theologians I have never had the time to actually read the Bible. But, it's in the back of my mind that when the ladies turned up to hoover, and do a little light dusting, in the tomb that morning, the first person they saw was a man, sitting inside the tomb.

Yeah, like Jesus wouldn't have arisen and not passed the time of day with this bloke (that would have been impolite and, being English, Jesus was renowned for his politeness). So there is very good case to say that Jesus did reveal himself, in the first place, to a man.

This has always been the traditional way of doing things. Even today, we still hear of very famous people, like George Michael, for example, revealing themselves first to a man. You don't have to be a leading anthropologist to see the distinct similarities between a small tomb built into rock, and a rocker in a small public convenience in Los Angeles.

Laura Toepfer said...

I'd say something...but that would be wrong.