Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bible Update: The Book of Maude

The Bible is many books in one. It is a historical treatise, albeit one built on a lot of allegory and story. It is a text book. It is a recitation of moral law, or how we can live in God's image. And it represents civil law for the time it was written.

It is read literally and it is read figuratively. Either approach runs into problems so it invariably gets read with lots of explanations and deductions and caveats. You know. Little footnotes to explain away the aberrations.

Indeed, it has some famous amendments to accelerate and firm up re-interpretations. The most popular of these is the New Testament, where Jesus through his apostle Paul and a few other loyalists recasts how we should interpret God's ways. For example, there were admonitions in the Old Testament that had become outdated. Like the ban on eating pork. In the New Testament, we find that pork is no longer considered "unclean".

Why? Because pig meat is no longer diseased and dangerous.

Religious leaders also wanted to create a kinder, gentler Creator, rather than continue to portray God as the One who relentlessly rained violent destructions up on the planet. Pestilence and plague, wars and starvations.

So the Old Testament got amended and Christianity flowered.

Another amendment is found in the Book of Mormon, penned by the American prophet Joseph Smith just a couple of hundred years ago. The amendment was not voted on but was simply adopted by a certain committee of believers, and the Mormon Church has been going gangbusters ever since.

Well, you know, I figure it is high time that we construct a new amendment, a new book. There is one area of the Bible where the amendments of the New Testament and Book of Mormon have simply not kept pace with modern knowledge and values.

No, no. It does not involve foreign investment or libel or even right of reply, or reproductive health, directly. It is more basic than that.

We need to explicitly revise the Holy Bible to recognize that women do not belong in harems or trailing behind their hubbies or earning half what a guy earns. Or kept out of the pulpit or out of church decision-making bodies.

If a woman can speak, she can preach. If she can think, she can write church policy.  And it is offensive to our sense of fair treatment and non-discrimination that we recognize that modern civic laws and the values that mandate equal treatment.

Why is the Bible allowed to present a conflicting view to what we know is wholesome? Why are men ruling the roost in the most dominant of Filipino churches?

The Catholic Church adheres to the old Bible and refuses to follow the same laws that corporations are required to follow. Non-discrimination by gender.

So we deal with pigs differently in modern times, but not women? Women are considered diseased and dangerous, or what?

It grates on the brain, like running fingernails across the chalk-board. This is not right.

Here are the offending sections of the New Testament, which, as we learned above, supplemented or struck out many of the weird and out-of-sync rules of the Old Testament:

  • 1 Corinthians 11:3-10  But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.  Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying, disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying, disgraces her head; for she is one and the same with her whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.  For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;  for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

  • 1 Corinthians 14:33-35  . . .for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says. And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.

  • Titus 2:3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,  that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.

Boy howdy, and that Titus, he brought age into the deal, too, a double no-no, as if old women were by definition malicious gossips and drunks.

I'm sure fewer than half are.

So we need to correct that. We need a book of the women, for the women, by the women.

If we popularize such a book, the Catholic Church will have two options:

  1. Ignore the new book, as the Jews ignored Jesus, and see the confident and competent women within their congregation trample the men to get to a church that recognizes the new book.

  1. Revise their discriminatory doctrine and practices.

Either is a right and proper result, so it is up to those Old Guys of the Church to see if they have the wisdom to grant that God can think modern, and reasonably, and gender-equal.

Well, we need our own profound prophet, and she has to be she. My wife is not adept at this kind of critical thinking, being totally subservient to me only on writing and lording it over me on all other disciplines. I'd ask Cha, but she is very busy, I know. Fortunately, Cousin Maude said she would be happy to take on the task of providing for her sisters.

Here is her fine work in draft form. She says she welcomes edits by the Society's cerebral men and women. She apologizes for how short the book is, but says, rightly so, the whole American Bill of Rights, Constitutional Amendments 1 through 10, can be written on the head of a pin.

The Book of Maude (Version 1.0)

Chapter 1

1.1 Let the Good Word ring true, that God our Maker is vast of being and vision and act, able to cast stones from the mountain toward the sea on rivers of  churning water or flumes of fiery rock. Let no man or woman question the power of His Holy Magnificence.

1.2 Let us know as well that Our Father is Himself no stone. He is not a chunk of granite pushed upright and rigid from the bowels of the earth to sit unbending and inert for all eternity. Nay, he is heaven's Master, fluid and forceful and mindful that he has spun upon the earth a journey for us, from dust to dust, and the paths we may choose, free of will, are gifted by Him to us.

1.3 We would be in error to believe that God holds us to one eternal course, inflexible as to knowledge or decision, bound by Man's interpretation of good as though it were a fixed picture caught on one well-defined day on historical earth.

1.4 Nay, God challenges us to think, to have heart and kindness, to face the challenges He sets before us with intelligence and new knowledge, to strive for the richness that can only come with compassion and enlightenment and the ability to think for ourselves.

1.5 Our Mighty Maker does not say "bow to the cloth", or "bow to the crown", or "bow to the pulpit of Senatorial confusion". He says bow to goodness, to kindness, to love, and to the enrichment of explorations and learning and personal growth.

Chapter 2

2.1 Many men on earth, God's servants, have held to inflexible rules, words that bind mankind to behaviors meant only for a time, their time, man's time.

2.2 Cast out these blind enforcers, the men whose works benefit their own interests, the maleness amongst them, rather than the whole of mankind, which includes womankind. Shout to them, "Get thee out of thy darkened male closet!" "Remove thy mask of male insecurity!"

2.3 Men who insist that men define God's place on earth are men of little reason, little courage and even less comprehension.

2.4 Cast out those who would restrain the good works of woman. Woman was not meant for bondage any more than Jesus was meant to rest upon a wooden cross of man.

Chapter 3

3.1 How did God bless woman? He blessed her with the triumph and exquisite joy of bringing new life onto the earth.

3.2 God did not bless her with a mop or a bucket or a spatula welded to her hands. He blessed her with intuition and insight and intellect quick with wit, words and ideas.

3.2 Let it therefore be known that the women among us are commanded to walk upright, equal in calling and capability to the men who would have them sit down. They are commanded not to let a period in history define them, limit them, restrain them.

3.3 God commands that you go forth, good women, heads up, eyes clear, pure of heart, striving for good works and higher enlightenment, equal in all material ways to the very best of men.

3.4 Let not the preachings of the insecure and confined hold you back. Let not any man say you are the lesser of God's children.

_______  &&&  ________

Yeah. That should do the job just fine.

Thanks Maude.


  1. 1. Just last week, I was reading an open letter in a Sydney paper from a young Muslim woman wondering why she was no longer allowed to go out and play. Before she hit puberty, she could play outside with her male siblings and cousins. She could chase around with them, laugh with them, and even tease them. Then all of a sudden she couldn't. She could no longer run - run! -with them.

    2. It may have been last year, and on the telly I saw this young Muslim woman being interviewed, asked why she had to wear a scarf. Her answer was, "In order to hide my beauty".

    3. I cannot comprehend a mindset that says a child can no longer play because she is a she. Aren't children playing in the fields a celebration of the miracle of existence?

    4. I also cannot comprehend a mindset that says a beautiful woman should hide her hair, face and body. Do the flowers of the field veil their radiance?

    5. Men, and I mean men of the male gender, with twisted minds have used their brute force to condition and subjugate arguably the better half of the human race.

    6. There should be no need to speak of "women's" rights.

    7. The Abrahamic religions are passe. We need a new God/Goddess, a new religion, a new gospel to put women beside men where they properly belong. To the left or to the right does not matter. The Book of Maude - meaning powerful battler (or is that battleress?) - is a good start.

    1. I believe "battleaxe" may be the term you are struggling to find.

    2. Certainly the rules of both Catholicism and Islaam are shaped by old men. Old men willing to cast responsibility for the world's ills on others and accept none for themselves . . .

      Hippies had (have?) a better grasp of how love should rule the world.

  2. When I walk down that aisle, I'll have the high priestess to read the Corinthian to my future wife.

    Who said I do not believe in God ? I believe in God if it benefits me.

    Goodness I have Corinthian to put fear in women. Thank you, Maude.

    1. "For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake."

      I'm trying to gather up the courage to explain this to my wife.

  3. God, if we were to believe what the bible says, does not seem to have a high regard for women. To start with, we were supposedly created as an afterthought, more because it didn't seem good for man to live alone, and so a "suitable" companion had to be found.. Then as punishment for the first woman eating the forbidden fruit and enticing first man to do the same, the rest of the sisterhood was then made to suffer the pain of childbirth. Imagine having that thought while you're in labor!

    Anyone familiar with the pain of childbirth (especially those who elect to forego the anaesthetics) would think that the thought alone of any one cruel enough to inflict such pain as punishment for an offense one did not even have anything to do with, should be enough reason for any woman, every other woman, to abandon the Church that preaches such mysoginistic absurdities.

    1. Many Filipinos tease me, as always, for cooking for my wife. Washing dishes after. Doing her laundry. SERIOUSLY.

      I do all the "traditional" women's chore. I AM AN ATHEIST.

      I adore women like I adore my 1993 convertible SAAB. It would be a sorry sight I take care of my car and my wife is bedraggled doing the kitchen chasing after children. I'm not her slave. I chose to be her slave. To get back at the Corinthians. :)

    2. Mariano, That's awesome. I used to do the vacuuming, still do odd jobs around the house though not so much. I'm retired, my excuse.

    3. I am not an atheist nor do I want do be a-tiis
      We are still poor but had excellent quality of life. We always planned to retire in the Philippines so we brought our children every time to come home for a visit to accustom them to return back to the Philippines with assurance, acclimatization and peaceful attitude.

      I worked hard, my wife did not, so we spent all our savings paying for household chores. Why should we be a slave earning a living then come home everyday working again to live good?

      Every Friday we invited friends at home, we provided all the food to be cooked to last one week for us and their take home. we had good time party every weekend, dancing, mahjong poker karaoke, basketball tennis and swimming.

      We retired early living on pension as soon as our children were financially settled on their own in US, help in Philippines is cheaper yet still scratching by financially. It is not a sin but living life to the fullest is great for body health. Individual preference is subjective.

    4. Anon, what a wonderful, wonderful approach to life. You deserve to feel proud, a quality kind of proud, for the principles you live by and how it embraces others. My guess is that your children bear your mark as well. Tremendous.

    5. Joe
      Life has been good, can't complain. No headaches, no mortgage, no credit cards to pay. Children doing well, law abiding compassionate, reminding me all the time to give 20% tip to waiters/service workers because they knew how their classmates worked hard while studying. Simple thought but noteworthy.

      Surely, everybody is satisfied with their way of life although it could be better to many. One might be comfortable living in rural areas watching mountain ranges or the ocean or waiting for the bait catch a fish while others could not live a day without a trip to the urban mall for shopping or a visit to the corner pub every weekend or counting their money in the bank daily or working past their prime or tending the garden/house.

      Most important, one lives with 3H, happy, healthy and hopeful daily prayers for the downtroddens.

      Johnny Lin

  4. 1. Really cant wrap my head around that doctrine of putting one gender above the other. Still looking for a credible explanation from the hierarchy, other than tradition.

    2. Sharing my experience with misogyny:

    Im a frequent commenter on online news sites. On an RH article, I met a commenter named Charles Lopez, who was duking it out with most of the pro-RH crowd. Curious, I did a background check on him. Turns out he was a real world priest, affiliated with the local Opus Dei and Kapuluan Study Center. I shared this info online.

    He becomes sarcastic and replies to me that I may not be a real man because I made "tsismis" (gossip). Only women, according to him did that.

    That made me reply: Your reply revealed something about your character- you look down on women and gays (which I am not) because you imply that gossiping is a lowly activity done only by them. No wonder the Church has so many enemies.

    That shut him up. Anyway, there are many anecdotes as well from my past experience, as I went to a Catholic school for grade school. There is misogyny (though moderate, in my estimation) among priests and brothers - probably repression of natural desires? They make snide remarks about women's weaknesses, lower intelligence, noisiness, etc.

    1. There is a certain limitation of intellect, of enlightenment, that holds to values that were good 2,000 years ago, or I suppose in fundamentalist Muslim communities today where education comes either at the point of a gun or from a very narrow mind. It's like the robed men are hanging onto superstitions rather than free will.


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