Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Acts 9:1-6, (7-20)

Easter 3 - Year C

Acts 9:1-6, (7-20)

When I recently re-read the following paragraph by Dorothy Soelle in The Window of Vulnerability: A Political Spirituality, it led me to wonder about this Saul to Paul conversion as part of a conversion from patriarchy to feminism. I know it is easy to put Paul in an anti-feminist group, but remember that even sudden conversions have a learning curve to them a situation in which they abide.

"Let me give an example of how theology can change when women do it; that is, when new subjects reflect on theological tradition. Sin, in the dominant, Protestant-influenced interpretation, is "wanting to be like God." It is the search for power, for superiority; it is overestimation of the self; it is pride; it is disobedience. But women who have become aware of their situation and have asked themselves, for the first time, whether they would really consider this type of sin to be the worst of all have come to quite different conclusions. They have said it is just the opposite. Our sin is not that of self-exaltation and pride; it is self-denial, selflessness in the bad sense of the word, the surrender of any kind of genuine self, underdevelopment of the self, conformity to the dominant structure, lack of pride in being a woman, obedience. Sin is submission to this sexist model of society. It is failure to realize God's image in oneself, and bowing in fearful humility. That means that we need a totally different definition of sin if we want to talk seriously about the ways in which we mess up our lives and how women are destroyed in our society, how it happens that they never really come to life, and what is the source of all that."

Now that sin can be seen as not simply power, but also submission, how do you apply those to their appropriate situations and what might be a third and fourth helpful definition of sin that will continue deepening your insight into your own way of being as well as broadening your application of it in the variety of lives you encounter. Again, definitions of sin are not the goal, but they aid in an analysis that allows seeing farther, seeing more, and transforming life situations.

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