Remember Pinocchio, the marionette made by the woodcarver, Gepetto? He was created a wooden puppet but he dreams of being a real boy.
But what was wrong with being a puppet? After all, that’s the way his creator made him, carefully crafting each part of the lifelike marrionette with love and expert craftmanship.
Sometimes when I study the Bible I feel like Pinocchio.
I know I’m supposed to become more and more like Jesus as I mature as a Christian. But … but … but … Jesus was male, the SON of Man, and, … well, I’m not male.
Jesus was not a Christian. He was an observant Jew, and the fact that He was surrounded by His male disciples meant that they always had a minyan, a quorum of men for certain religious practices, including the study of Scripture (Torah) and the observance of Passover at the Last Supper. Women didn’t count in constituting a minyan and weren’t allowed to study Torah or recite various corporate prayers. So Jesus’s and His disciples’ maleness wasn’t just a quaint but inessential detail of history.
So where does that leave me in my journey to become more like Jesus?
- Am I supposed to pretend I’m a man when I read about becoming more like Jesus?
- Or am I supposed to comb through the Bible scouring it for scant clues about how the Holy Spirit works within women?
- Am I supposed to see myself as an evil temptress constantly tempting otherwise virtuous men to sin just by my very existence?
- Or am I to believe that the words, “man” and “son” and “brother” and “father” and “heir” all mean me too, because those are universal terms in the Bible that apply to all people?
- How should I read passages that instruct me on how to treat my wife?
It’s exhausting to keep bouncing back and forth between these alternating demands on my imagination, and wondering which of them I’m supposed to invoke as I read the passage at hand.
I find myself feeling like Pinocchio, wishing that I were a real person instead of just a woman. My relationship with God’s Word would be so much less complicated if only I were a man!
And let me be clear here. Wishing I weren’t on the losing side of Patriarchy has nothing whatsoever to do with questioning my gender identity. I know which gender I am. I just wish that either (1) what I am wasn’t regarded as less-than, or (2) I had been born the other flavor.
Either way, I imagine I’d have a lot less trouble reading the Bible.