Hands up all those who will admit to dozing off in the middle of a turgid sermon. Or if not actually snoring in the pew, found their mind wandering about what might be served up for lunch later.
No such aberrant behaviour has been observed at First Church, primarily because of the unrelenting quality of Jim Veitch’s services. And of course the lusty singing.
This month, to further bolster the congregation’s enthusiasm we had the benefit of a lecture from visiting religious academic Professor Joan Taylor. She happens to be a kiwi but has spent much of her distinguished career in the hallowed halls of Harvard Divinity School Kings College London’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies. And more latterly Victoria University and the Australian Catholic University of Melbourne. She was therefore eminently suited to talk about her topic and book “Women Remembered – Jesus’ Female Disciples.”
This sounded as if it could be an equivocal topic to misogynists who might think the role of women as encapsulated in the Bible is limited to a handful of stalwarts like Mary Magdalene, Mary, Martha, Sarah etc. Wrong.
A careful re appraisal of the evidence – biblical texts – especially the archaeological art of depicting many women undertaking the full range of biblical functions – leads to the conclusion that their role has been gravely understated.
Joans supposition is that this minimisation was partly deliberate suppression due to male domination which was the social mores of the day. Emperor Constantine was one of the main villains. These fascinating topics of stellar interest to both academics and church goers are under ongoing inspection and revision.
Last word however goes to Bertie Shooster when he observed, “If the facts change I change my story”. Another Bertie (Bertrand Russell) said that every grown-up needs to travel sceptically. And finally, if in doubt, try an alternative view of events from Mr. D. Trump.
Meantime we applaud the stamina and erudition of Joan Taylor for shining a light on her entirely plausible version of the truth.