Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Shalom and Gender Justice
Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing for Sojourners, says she wishes that women and girls weren’t considered to be a special case “and we could just talk about humans and the human family.” But instead, a relationship that God created to be good became broken as humanity turned from God’s ways. Men began seeing women as inferior, regarding women as their property rather than as their equals. “It wasn’t supposed to be this way,” claims Harper in this article from Faith in Action, the monthly newsletter of Sojourners. She says this about Genesis 1:26:
“God created both men and women in God’s image — in the tselem of God. The Hebrew word tselem means representative figure. The writer of Genesis was communicating a revolutionary truth to the original readers. To a culture where women were considered property to be traded for goods, to an ancient world where women had no rights at all, the writer of Genesis proclaimed that both men and women are divine image bearers. As God’s representative figures we are both endowed with the inherent dignity reserved for royalty!”
When this truth is forgotten, neglected, or denied, and faulty religious teachings are used to subjugate women and block them from developing to their full potential, can we be surprised at the widespread poverty and associated violence in today’s world? Harper believes it’s a question worth pondering—and then doing something about it.