Wednesday, October 30, 2019

PSALM 146--GENDER EQUALITY & INCLUSIVENESS






Alleluia!
     Praise God, O my soul!
I will praise the Holy, Almighty, Immortal One, as long as I live;
     I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in mortal rulers,
          nor in any child of earth,
     for there is no help in them.
When they breathe their last, they return to earth,
     and in that day their thoughts perish.
Happy are they who have the God of Jacob 
     and Leah 
          and Bilhah 
               and Zilpah 
                    and Rachel [1]
          for their help!
     whose hope is in the YHWH their God;
Who made heaven and earth, the seas,
     and all that is in them;
          who is steadfast and faithful forever;
Who gives justice to those who are oppressed,
     and food to those who hunger.
The Holy, Almighty, Immortal One sets the prisoners free;
     and opens the eyes of the blind;
  God lifts up those who are bowed down;
     and loves the righteous;
  God cares for the stranger;
     and sustains the orphan and widow,
          but frustrates the way of the wicked.
God shall reign for ever,*
     your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
Alleluia!



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[1]  It  is significant that the traditional rendering of this Psalm only names Jacob. It is also significant that in addition to the connection between Jacob and Rachel--whom he loved--there were other women who bore the sons, and a daughter--Dinah--who are characterized as the forebears of the 12 Tribes of the Hebrew people. This significance is made more impactful given the later text: "(God) gives justice to those who are oppressed."

The shortsightedness that cruelly attributes all offspring to the male parent--without so much of an acknowledgement of the female parent--even when the mother is named--it seems more of an afterthought.


I name the four women that the book of Genesis names as the mothers of Jacob's children. The lack of mention is this psalm brings to our attention the ways in which women are depicted as second class persons. God shows no favor to gender. God  does  not discriminate based on gender.  God creates, redeems, and sustains creation with a mutuality of regard and loving kindness of all. 

It is far, far past time to seek equality. As within the Kin-Dom God grants equal access to all that it is good and beautiful and holy, it is imperative that we read and understand Scripture as being in need of revision to remove all bias and cultural favoring of one gender over the other. Being male, truly male, means being in the world as those who instill, protect, and assure the equality of women. Anything less is a brokeness that is symbolized in the concept of "original sin" and all other forms of evil.