Sunday, April 10, 2005

The truly inclusive Bible


As I was reading the TNIV verses, like "Blessed are those who do not walk in the counsel of the wicked," I felt, that's me! God includes me, and I can't wait to get a copy of the TNIV simply because, as a woman, I'm included. I'm not suggesting that the TNIV doesn't have its problems--every translation does--but why are we so quick to discard over half of the body of Christ and tell them to "just figure it out"?


Unlike the letter-writer to World Mag (3/26/03), I found the TNIV to be a grave disappointment. Oh, it had a promising start. But when I got to Prov 31, with all its female pronouns, I suddenly felt, that's not me. God doesn't include me. I can't wait to throw away my new red-lettered, leather-bound, gilt-edged copy of the TNIV simply because, as a man, I'm not included. I'm not suggesting that the TNIV doesn't have its strong points--every translation does--but why is the TNIV so quick to discard over half of the body of Christ and tell them to "just figure it out"? Why can't the figure in Prov 31 be a househusband and stay at home dad? :-(


P.S. Before sending this, it occurred to me that perhaps I was being a tad unfair. So I kept on reading. But the situation only got worse, much worse. For when I got to the Gospels, do you know what I found out? A woman was still the mother of Christ! That's right. Can you believe it?

Now, you can't get any more sexist than that. Do you know how it makes me, as a man, feel to read that Jesus had a female mother? I mean, it is so not fair!

As long as the TNIV team feels free to make things up, why couldn't they give us a unisex virgin birth? Or would it be a unisexless virgin birth? Whatever. Point being: They could make Mary the mother of Jesus in Matthew, and make Joseph the mother of Mary in Luke. After all, every enlightened person now knows that a child can have two mommies, right?

Or, the TNIV could tweak the miracle a bit further by giving Joseph a uterus as well. That way, Mary and Joseph could work out a time-sharing arrangement for incubating the Christchild. He'd be in Mary's womb during the week, and Joseph's womb on weekends.

For the very first time in church history, men reading the Gospels would suddenly feel included, truly included, in Christmas!


P.P.S. On second thought, this still leaves too many folks feeling left about. For one thing, why does Jesus have to be a man, anyway? Just because he was a man doesn't mean he has to be a man in the Bible. Why can't the TNIV team make him a woman in the Gospels of Mark and John?


P.P.P.S. Upon reflection, this is way too heteronormative, cuz it leaves all our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Sophia out in the cold. At least in one gospel, the TNIV team needs to make the Messiah a homosexual man, and make him/her a lesbian in another gospel. That way, everyone would feel special.


P.P.P.P.S. I woke up tonight remembering that this still excluded all the transgender church-members. So, in at least one gospel, the TNIV team needs to make the Messiah a hermaphrodite. Or they could have him undergo a sex-change operation. Sorry, I mean a gender-reassignment procedure.

Now I'm beginning to worry if we have enough Gospels to juggle all of these sexual sensibilities. Is four enough? Maybe we could supplement with the Gospel of Thomas. Of course, that's named after a man, and has a male Jesus. But the TNIV team could make all the necessary adjustments.

Come to think of it, the canonical Gospels are also named after men. How offensive! Okay, then. Instead of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Thomas, what about Matilda, Marcia, Lucy, Joan, and Tina? And just to give the TNIV team a jump-start on the second printing, let's see how we can work out the distribution.

1. The Gospel According to Matilda

Joseph is impregnated by the Holy Spiritualist.

2. The Gospel According to Marcia

The Messiah is a liberated career woman, rising to the rank of Centurion in the Roman army.

3. The Gospel According to Lucy

The Messiah is a lesbian in a covenanted union with another lesbian, who left her husband and six kids.

4. The Gospel According to Joan

The Messiah starts out as a straight woman, but undergoes gender-reassignment surgery to become a straight man, after which he undergoes psychoanalysis, discovering that he's really a repressed homosexual. To be continued in The Gospel According to Tina (see below).

5. The Gospel According to Tina

The Messiah starts out as a homosexual man, but undergoes gender-reassignment surgery to become a holy hermaphrodite.



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