As I've continued to read and write about the Bible, I've occasionally come perilously close to being offensive, but have always maintained that I wasn't out to talk theology. But with Paul having been the narrator of so many books of the New Testament, I've really struggled with that. I can't, for the life of me, take to Paul. And after today's post, in which I'll compare Paul to Chris Brown, I suspect my readers will have assumed I've snapped.
Every time I read something like "I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet" (1 Timothy 2: 12), I think, surely people aren't defending him this time, are they? But of course, they are. While very few online comments support the comments outright (though I'm sure I could find those, too, if I tried hard enough), people seem to bend over backwards trying to rationalize and make his comments more palatable to today's readers. It was a cultural thing, something was lost in the translation, it's figurative, it's contextual, etc. Very few come out and say he was a chauvinistic pig. Why? I'm guessing that it has something to do with liking the other things that Paul said. (It wasn't all about the inferiority of women.) And that's how it reminded me of Chris Brown. I've struggled to see how so many people come to his defense after his deplorable behaviour, but I think it's just that some people might like his music and find it hard to reconcile that. I don't like his music, but I have struggled with similar feelings with other musicians. Finally it just got to the point where I wasn't able or willing to give up on so much music simply because I disliked the artists behind it (Morrissey, Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Kanye West, Paul McCartney, James Brown...) Perhaps I shouldn't read the online comments because when I really think about it, those bother me more the books of Paul. I'm okay with an imperfect narrator, I'm not okay with those who can't acknowledge imperfections.