Saturday, December 09, 2006

Caution: Rant

On that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. Whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, once the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its places of assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night. Indeed over all the glory there will be a canopy. It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain. ~ Isaiah 4:2-6

Reading this passage from the daily lectionary was like feeling my heart swell with the kind of tender beauty that Isaiah evokes so well, only to have it ripped out and stomped on by that dreadful phrase, "the filth of the daughters of Zion."

How shall I count the ways it offends me?

~ by equating idolatry with women's "uncleanness"

~ by assuming women's "uncleanness" in the first place

~ by laying the woes of unfaithful people at women's feet

~ by doing all this in a societal context in which women are powerless relative to men to begin with: they can't hold property, they can't decide whom to marry, they can't charge a man with rape without male witnesses, they have no parental rights separate from the husband's, they are regarded as property... and guess what, folks, there are plenty of places in the world where what I have just written exists today.

So, I who long for that glorious day on which the branch of the Lord flowers, when the glory of the Lord will serve as our shade and our canopy and all is reconciled... I long for the eradication of this kind of language and thinking to go along with all that. Can I hear an Amen???


Anonymous said...


On another blog, I once saw someone try to claim that there is no sexism in the Bible. Reading this text from Isaiah, such a claim boggles my mind. I almost wonder if they're reading the same book!

Magdalene6127 said...

Arggghh... no sexism in the bible??? I thank God that my church tradition does not require me to do mental gymnastics to affirm that absolutely everything in scripture passes some kind of litmus test. I look at this document and I see much that is priceless and Spirit-born, and also much that is, I think, a product of understandings of God seriously limited by time and place, more than a true reflection of the Divine.

Christine said...

amen, sister, amen!

Christine said...

And thank you so much for the poem!!!! I so couldn't find it! You're the best. And I heard the Rebel Jesus on The Next Voice You Hear album of JB. LOVE it.