Hi! Welcome back to Proverbs. Today is a good day for contextual study of asking who writes the proverbs and who does not. You might not know what I mean yet, but spoiler alert, there is a lot of talk about boobs coming up in today's reading. Haha. You might think wisdom has something to do with the brain, but you would be wrong, it clearly has something to do with breasts. Okay, I'm done being silly now. (for now) Let's read and find what inspires us for our daily living!
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about God?
What does this teach me about humanity?
What does this teach me about the author of proverbs? What does it reveal to me about the 'authors' of the things that influence me today?
- My Thoughts -
As Jackie would put it, today is a good 'litmus test' for a literary contextual study of who writes the content that goes into the Bible. This was clearly, CLEARLY written by a man. Who else would possibly spend an entire chapter talking about how awful women are, how they are good for nothing except being a seducer except of course when you are holding their boobs in which ok I guess they are okay sometimes. I have so many questions. So many thoughts.
I've always harped whenever I would teach the Journey's class that we need to read the Bible contextually and one of the easiest ways to start doing that is to ask the question "whose voice is NOT being heard in this scripture?" In this case, the wisdom of women is not included in the library of proverbs. I can only assume that the foreigner is not included, or nor the impoverished. So, the only voices we are hearing come from educated males (who as we have learned are those with strong connections to the temple). That's not exactly wisdom, that's a curated lesson. That's one of the thing that makes the gospels such a gorgeous story we turn back to time and time again versus other books of the Bible. Jesus openly has conversations and teaching time with those that are not lifted up in the wisdom literature.
As for our daily living we should be asking this same question, "whose voice is not being heard or represented?" We should ask this from our churches, from our places of employment and the places we invest in. How diverse is the staff? (Racially, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc.) How many people of color serve on the board of directors? Harvard Business Review shared in an article from last August the following:
"The underrepresentation of Black professionals is especially bleak in the highest echelon of corporate America: boards of directors. Although newly-appointed directors are increasingly diverse, 37% of S&P 500 firms did not have any Black board members in 2019 and Black directors comprised just 4.1% of Russell 3000 board members that same year."
Further, in 2018 the Washington Post shared "A new report from professional services firm PwC shows just how little age diversity there is among these pivotal figures who govern America's largest corporations. Directors younger than 50 make up 6 percent of the seats on S&P 500 boards — drop the age to 45, and it's less than 2 percent. There are more directors 75 or older than those 50 or younger. And only a third of companies in the S&P 500 have at least one director younger than 50 who is not also the company's CEO."
As Jesus would say "do not pick out the splinter out of your neighbors eye if you do not first address the log in your own." In other words, sadly, I do not think we can still use the old adage of "It's just how things were back then" when it comes to the suppression of voices and leadership for the comfortable majority. We have work to do. We have the work of Christ's kingdom to do. And it begins by making our boards look like Jesus' disciples.
Our prayer today is inspired by hymn 154 in our United Methodist Hymnal - All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name. I hope you will take a few minutes to pray along by humming, singing, or reciting the words. (If contemporary is more of your thing there are plenty of cool contemporary versions of it as well! I've shared one below the first video.)
1 All hail the power of Jesus' name! Let angels prostrate fall. Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all. Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all!
2 O seed of Israel's chosen race now ransomed from the fall, hail him who saves you by his grace, and crown him Lord of all. Hail him who saves you by his grace, and crown him Lord of all!
3 Let every tongue and every tribe responsive to his call, to him all majesty ascribe, and crown him Lord of all. To him all majesty ascribe, and crown him Lord of all!
4 Oh, that with all the sacred throng we at his feet may fall! We'll join the everlasting song and crown him Lord of all. We'll join the everlasting song and crown him Lord of all.