Monday, November 28, 2011

Speaking Truth to Worldly Power in the Feminine Voice

Please consider these three women who were in positions of speaking truthfully about inherent risks and dangers to the US and international financial systems: Elizabeth Warren, Brooksley E. Born and Christine Lagarde. All of them have consistently, wisely and courageously held to the truth revealed by their experiences, education,  and informed understandings, even at the risk of being sidelined and dismissed. Most women and men would give up in the face of such relentless pressure, but we should be grateful for whatever familial and professional support these women have had that has encouraged them to persevere. 

Godly, strong women in scripture are depicted in the roles of judge, prophet, warrior, queen, spiritual leaders, and economic providers. All of us who summarily dismiss the feminine voices in our lives which speak truthfully endanger ourselves and others. The voice of Wisdom in Proverbs is feminine. The voice of Proverbs' Alien or Strange woman is also feminine. (Proverbs describes her by her unrepentant actions of promiscuity, adultery, and her misleading of others while being blind & deaf to the truth.) Spiritual maturity necessitates the discerning of whose voices to listen to by attending to the fruit of their lives. Some of the wisest voices in my life have been/are women's, and yet, some of the most threatening, divisive, violent and abusive voices I've ever heard were also female - and one was a close relative! Hearing well and wisely heeding may mean the difference between life and death. Proverbs certainly indicates so. (cf. Prov. 7-9)

One of the major contributors to the dismissing & ignoring of godly women's voices in the US, in business and other spheres, is an attitude that can prevail unchecked in any male-dominated environment, among them religious circles (not only Christian, but including them). From my perspective and training, it seems to be the metaphorical "fruit" of "reading" reality as one might read Genesis 3:17 erroneously as literalistic, in a way that self-justifies, self-elevates, and promotes a "rule over" mindset. (I read Genesis 3 as a metaphorical, poetic and theological description of the status quo and the results we observe in the human actions and interactions around us. It describes "what is".)

Human responsibility & accountability require that we hear and discern Truth in the male and female voices that constantly clamor for our attention. In this world, men's voices have to soften and welcome women's voices to be heard, and women's voices need assertiveness and confidence to continue speaking despite the ongoing opposition to the feminine voice for being feminine. As Christians, we believe in the God who reveals Godself to us as grace and truth, incarnate Word in the Son, Jesus Christ, and present with us in the indwelling Holy Spirit, through all members of Christ. We receive the words of those who tell truth and whose lives evidence godly ways and wisdom. Any person's repeated and stubborn denial of evident, revealed and living truth should be a warning sign for each of us to walk cautiously when in their presence. Truth, holiness, grace and light journey hand in hand. When men and women, together, reflect God's image faithfully, we more clearly see the world we live in. 

For more on Brooksley Born and her gutsy confrontations of men in power, cf. this Washington Post article from 2008.       

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