by Brandy Brooks
Ha-ha! Am I the first person who gets to declare herself unclean this month? (I'm looking for small accomplishments.)
This one isn't my fault, unless you call being born a woman a "fault" ... and sometimes it's hard not to get the impression from Leviticus that there's something wrong with being female. We're all around less valuable (see Lev. 27:1-7) and clearly dirtier somehow (see Lev. 12:1-5, where it takes twice as long to purify one's self from a female childbirth than a male one). What's with that?
As a modern woman, I am constantly wrestling with this issue in the Bible; despite occasional instances where the LORD specially favors or honors women, or where we are declared equal in the sight of the LORD, as a rule we're not considered equals - in marriage, in leadership or teaching, in value. This chafes, to put it mildly, especially on the intellectual/leadership level; I'm not being prideful when I assess my abilities in that area as equal to (if not exceeding) most of the men I know at my similar age and experience. So my girl parts make me less than they? Whatever.
I do recognize that there's a difference between men and women, but I don't get why the LORD seems to value one of us over the other. I want to say that this power dynamic is the result of the Fall, when relationships between men and women were damaged so early that we've never been able to figure out what they were supposed to be ... yet the LORD's statements seem to support this dynamic not as sinful, but as the natural order. Maybe I just need to be accepting of my place in this order, and stop feeling insulted by it; maybe the problem is that I keep making the comparison, when that's not the point - in the end, God does value me as one of His children, regardless of my price based on the sanctuary shekel.
I also feel like so much sin and excuse for injustice comes from the interpretation of women as less valuable, but it is hardly the LORD's fault what we humans choose to do with his Word; we have a knack for turning just about anything into an basis for sin.