If you’ve been reading my blog this year you know I’ve been writing chronologically from the chapters of my book and relating in new ways the “resiliencies” that have helped me to bounce back from life’s hardships.
I’ve shared with you how to:
- Accept the paradoxes inherent in Life
- Find meaning in our Suffering
- Rise Above Self-Pity
- Transform Toxic Anxiety into Sacred Anxiety
Just to name a few…
But summers are a time to switch things up—
So I’ve decided to write about: A God who hates; a Prescott aid worker murdered; what still rockets me through the roof in mainstream Christianity; and how it all ties together.
For nearly a year, I, along with a terrific team of people, have been working on bringing a community wide event to Prescott called the “Pain, Power & Promise Event,” slated for the spring of 2020. The premise for the event is to tackle suffering and its painful sentiments head on. Suffering is everywhere. Thousands die every hour from cancer or trauma, and hundreds of thousands learn that their loved ones are suddenly gone (that is comparable to the population of a small city being swept away every day leaving families and friends devastated in the wake). So “Where is God when all hell breaks loose?” and “What if God doesn’t fix it?” We plan to hear from 3 keynote speakers and their own pain-to-power-to-promise stories, along with a worship team and Christian comedian. We hope to laugh, cry and be inspired.
Psst…Lew and I just had lunch with a couple, Kathy and Chad Robichaux, who have a painful and powerful story they will be sharing at our PPP event. To whet your appetite, you can check out a you tube video here of Chad speaking at Liberty Christian University. (this will not be the speech given at our event but it is excellent and timeworthy)
So, I was also looking into Kayla Mueller’s story, wondering if any members of her family would (or even could) speak about her horrific kidnapping, torture and ultimate death in 2015 at the hands of Isis. I spent several days scouring articles, videos and news feeds and was sickened by it all. I haven’t yet contacted her parents but I wonder how her death and the tragedy surrounding it has affected her parents beliefs. When we are faced with a major loss in our lives our faith is rocked to its core.
That research then led me to read A God Who Hates
by Wafa Sultan, a Syrian-born, Arab speaking, Muslim woman who spent the first 30 years of her life in her native country. She was trained as a doctor in psychiatry before immigrating to the U.S. Here is a summation from the back of her autobiography.
Her eye opening viewpoint, provocative views and opinions were hard won. She grew up under the thumb of a culture ruled by a God who hates women and all they represent. It is from this kernel of female hatred at the heart of Islam that Wafa builds her case against the mullahs and their followers bent on destroying the West.
I’ve had conversations with my husband, whose military career spanned 21 years, about the Middle East, their culture and beliefs, their disparaging treatment towards women and children and a variety of other topics, but Wafa’s insights were beyond anything I had contemplated. She not only confirmed everything my husband had told me but delved deep into Islam’s ideology and sacred book, the Koran. Here are just a few of her insights from the pages of her book:
A large number of Koranic verses deal with women, yet not one of them moderates the severity of the crisis caused by the verses. One verse reads: “Your women are your fields: go, then, into your fields as you please” (2:223). According to Al-Jalalayn’s commentary on the Koran (the most significant tafsirs commentary for the study of the Koran) this expression means that woman is where you plant your children and do so, as you please.
According to this same commentary this verse means that a man can sow his sperm in any position he may wish the woman to assume during the “planting process.” A woman, therefore, is like the land—the dirt—while the man is the farmer who plows that land and casts his seed into it. The dirt cannot protest as the Farmer furrows it, nor can it determine the time or place of planting. The whole operation takes place under the man’s control and is carried out in accordance with his wishes. Can the dirt protest? Can the dirt decide how it is plowed and planted? For 14 centuries Muslim women have been the dirt of Islam that Muslim men have trod on and “planted” in their role as the farmer.
A woman may not step beyond the limitations of her role while the man permits no infringement of his. This stilted relationship has created untold generations born without the benefit of a loving relationship between the men and women who created them. A healthy and loving relationship between a man and a woman in no way resembles the relationship between a farmer and his land. Relationships that are not based on an equal respect for each other’s feelings cannot produce a generation sound in mind, spirit, and emotion. A woman is not just a plot of land for a man to cleave with his plow. A woman is a human being with a mind, a soul, and feelings and a man should not be modeled as a sort of farmer who uses a woman as he pleases.
What kind of deity is it whose limited powers of imagination dictate that the relationship between a man and a woman should be similar to that between a farmer and his land? For me, that deity is nothing but a failed poet whose versus we can well do with out.
In another hadith, Mohammed told his followers: “oh ye women, you are the majority of those who dwell in hell, for when you receive you express no thanks, when afflicted you show no patience, and when I keep aloof from you, you complain.”
Or this hadith: “if a man summons his wife to his bed and she refuses, the Angels will curse her until the morning.”Who is this God who asks his angels to devote their attention to cursing women who refuse to bed with their husbands?
Muslim women live as men’s slaves and will remain so until they release themselves from this mistaken conviction. Can you imagine how enslaved a woman must be if she believes this hadith from her Prophet: “A man has the right to expect his wife, if his nose runs with blood, mucus or pus, to lick it up with her tongue.” Can you imagine the conceit of the man who believes that his God has entitled him to such a position that his wife must lick up the filth that comes out of his nose?”
When I began to learn to read, the Koran was the first book I opened. I can never remember anyone explaining these verses to me in a more merciful and tolerant way than I understand them today. Today most Muslims attack me unmercifully. They accuse me of picking out from the Koran those verses which serve my purposes, just as I would pick the best cherries out of a boxful. Naturally, I like this simile, and cannot see anything in it that reflects badly on my reliability. The box that God reveals is not supposed to have any spoiled Cherries in it. If God does exist, the most basic moral principle is that this God should be utter perfection. As far as I’m concerned, any impairment of perfection diminishes the authenticity of god. A God who subjugates women in the ugliest ways possible cannot possibly possess the necessary quality of perfection. If I can pick out spoiled cherries from a box that is supposed to have come down from God then I have every right to cause you to doubt the authenticity of that God.
The status of women in Muslim countries is a human catastrophe that the world has ignored for centuries and for which it is now paying a high price for ignoring. An oppressed and subjugated woman cannot give birth to an emotionally and mentally well-balanced man. The invisible Muslim woman has been and continues to be the hen who incubates the eggs of terrorism and provides them with the necessary warmth to hatch the terrorists.
I was both shocked and disgusted reading A God Who Hates.
And I only shared a snippet from her writings.
Wafa ultimately trashed a God who hates in search of a God who loves. We Christians believe we have found Sovereign Love, for scripture plainly teaches, “Beloved, let us love one another. For everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God for God is love.”
And YET, though the Christian faith does not appear to oppress or subjugate women, its mainstream teachings still do. Do a quick Google search on Complementarian vs. Egalitarian views (make sure you look up Christian egalitarianism for it is much different than secular egalitarianism).
Complementarian vs. Egalitarian
The complementarian view teaches that men and women have “different” but complementary roles and responsibilities and men are to be leaders in the church and home. Whereas, egalitarians believe that the Bible, properly interpreted, teaches the fundamental equality of men and women of all ethnic groups, all economic classes, and all age groups, based on the teachings of Scriptures such as Galatians 3:28:
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (NIV 2011).
Egalitarians believe that the Bible calls women and men to share authority equally in service and leadership in the home, church, and world and that there should be no gender-based role distinctions or limitations placed on women.
Why does the complementarian view still rocket me through the roof?
BECAUSE, it still promotes inequality and does not embrace the revolutionary Gospel of Jesus.
Its fundamental doctrine still makes room for abuse, win/lose scenarios, and man over woman. As a professional counselor, I have both counseled and heard from Christian couples where domestic violence and a belief in male leadership (supposedly ordained by our Christian God) has lead to the same subjugation and oppression of women seen elsewhere.
When I finished Wafa’s book and thought of Kayla’s torture at the hands of a worldview that decimates females created in the Image of God, I wondered: Why would a Muslim woman who practices Islam, leave an extreme ideology where women are de-valued to the nth degree and embrace a Christian worldview where women are still relegated to lesser roles and subject to male dominance?
It makes no sense to me at all when we have a biblical interpretation that engenders equality and sets ALL people free!
Those are my summer musings…I hope to hear from you. What great books have you been devouring lately?
“Yet there is one ray of hope: his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day.” Lam. 3:22-23
May you find a new mercy today,
For additional resources, check out:
Christians for Biblical Equality
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