I read a passage in Wil Gafney’s A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church this morning that really stood out to me—especially as it related to two things I’ve recently written. A few weeks ago, I wrote about Easter hope, acknowledging that
[a literal] resurrection is something that’s hard for me to wrap my head around, but I figure that if I can try to muster the belief in the impossibility of the resurrection, I can have the belief that we can overcome racism, fix poverty, and solve other seemingly impossible tasks facing us.
I was disappointed this morning to see this article in the Salt Lake Tribune. The article reports that BYU professor Sarah Coyne “became the target of online bullying and hostile emails” after discussing “her child’s years of wrestling with gender dysphoria, including suicidal thoughts and agonizing mental health issues” in a class she was teaching. According to the article, this is something that she has done for several semesters, but this time, her action “made it into a critical article in a conservative off-campus newspaper… which was retweeted by Utah Sen[ator] Mike Lee on his personal Twitter account.
Yesterday, I wrote a post on Jephthah, a figure in the book of Judges who makes a commitment that if God helps him out in battle, he’ll sacrifice the first thing that exits the door of his house when he returns home. Robert Alter notes that there’s been a lot of rabbinic and scholarly effort to make sense of this but that in “any case, it is a rash vow.” Indeed, the vow goes wrong, and Jephthah winds up in a situation where’s he believes he’s committed to offer up his daughter in sacrifice.
Some of the most troubling passages in the Christian canon have to do with the sacrifice of children in the name of God. Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac is perhaps the most obvious example of this, but there are other examples that (ought to) raise as much concern in the mind of the believer. Perhaps the most interesting (to me) story along these lines is found in Judges 11:31 (I’m using Robert Alter’s fantastic translation throughout this post), where one of the eponymous judges, a man by the name of Jephthah:
I’m glad the article identifies Art as an apostle for Community of Christ, to emphasize that it’s entirely possible to be affirming and Christian. Coming from Mormonism, I’m not used to the idea of apostles standing up for queer causes, so as gross as the book removal is, I’m grateful for Art’s example here.
link to ‘Independence schools ban book for gender content – The Beacon’