Biblical feast of femininity and the harvest | Jesus’ Creed


This article first appeared on CBE International’s blog, Mutuality, on 10/28/2021 can-dress-biblical-womanhood -your-churches

By Katie McEachern.

Katie works for CBE International as Head of Publications and Education as well as Executive Assistant to the President. She holds a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Seminary and is interested in helping people bridge the divide between theology / Bible studies and real life. Originally Michigander, Katie currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her cat, Mazel.

7 Ways To Dress Up As “Biblical Femininity” For Your Church’s Harvest Festival

For those of us who live in the United States, Halloween is just around the corner. Before I get into the snark you knew was coming when you saw the title, I first want to acknowledge that this is a big deal. Around the same time last year, any kind of gathering was strongly discouraged due to the pandemic (and lack of a vaccine). But since the CDC has given us a tentative deal to celebrate Halloween this year, there’s a good chance that right now your church is getting ready for their annual harvest festival or trunk or candy extravaganza.

This all also probably means, if you’re a procrastinator like me, that you always need to find a costume to wear. Well you are in luck because I would like to suggest that this is the year when we are free to have fun in a subversive way. Let me explain.

Earlier this year, The making of biblical femininity by Beth Allison Barr has taken the evangelical world by storm, opening the eyes of countless readers to the harmful constructs of modern and complementary “biblical femininity” and its counterpart, “biblical virility”. God be praised!

It has also elicited many rebuttals and reaffirmations of these unified complementary models. Sigh.

While I deeply appreciate Barr’s book, watching this conversation unfold has exhausted me. Why do we still have to fight the complementary notion that (1) there is a unified biblical concept for womanhood and (2) it is calm and submissive submission, while Biblical manhood is, well, “muscular, bold and heavy ”?

The truth is, I am tired! And I guess you are too. So this year, I ask that we use your church’s harvest festival to show rather than say why biblical femininity (and biblical manhood) is not as clear or monolithic as complementary leaders would have them believe. Christians.

Here are some ideas I found to get the ball rolling:

Symbols of biblical femininity

1. A bloody tent stake, with human brains hanging down

This one is awesome because not only is it biblical, but also creepy! When asked that on the green earth of God you are next to your confused colleagues, probably horrified, just say biblical femininity. When they inevitably question you further, tell them the story of Jael of Judges 4, who welcomed the enemy general of Israel into his tent, cradled him in a false sense of security, and then killed him with it. a tent stake in the head, delivering the victory into the hands of the Israelites. And if they have any questions as to whether this is something the Bible praises, read them the following hymn in Judges 5, where Jael is called “the most blessed of women.”

If you have a friend or partner that you can dress up with you, you can make it into a two person costume, where one person is Jael (I suggest his costume has a glass of milk and a blanket) and the other is Sisera, with a tent stake stuck in his temple.

2. A signet ring, a rope and a staff

To get the most out of this costume, you will need to recruit two friends. When asked what you are, you can again just say biblical femininity. When inevitably pushed, you can tell the story of Tamar in Genesis 38, one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Tamar was unfairly relegated to precocious and childless widowhood by the family of her late husband, especially her stepfather, Judah. Instead of accepting her destiny without a future, she tricked Judah into making her pregnant by dressing like a prostitute. In the process, she also requested that he give her his seal, rope and staff.

Later, when Judah found out that Tamar was somehow pregnant, although unmarried, Tamar used her seal, rope, and staff to turn her impurity against him, revealing her injustice. If your friends are wondering if this is something the Bible views favorably, share how Judah himself said that Tamar “is more righteous than I” (Gen. 38:26) and how Tamar and the children she had. designed with Judah through this story are included in Jesus’ genealogy (Matt. 1: 3).

3. A woman from Proverbs 31, aka a working mother

For this costume, you can channel the spirit of the valiant woman of Proverbs 31 by disguising yourself as a working mom no matter what that sounds like to you. Certainly, if you are a working mother, maybe the last thing you want to do is play it for your church. But for the rest of us, this costume offers a unique opportunity to expand on the conservative notion that the woman depicted in Proverbs 31 is a complementary and submissive wife. When asked what you are say biblical femininity. When asked to prove that a working mother is a “biblical woman,” quote Proverbs 31, especially verses 16-18 and 24. You can read it for them, on the spot, if they need help. ‘a reminder.

Biblical women living biblical femininity

4. Lydia

I must say, I love Lydie. She was such an important person on her own that Luke didn’t even bother to mention if she had a husband (Acts 16: 11-15). Instead, she is defined by her business acumen. She was also powerful enough that her whole family converted to Christianity when she did. For these reasons, I recommend you pull out your purple pantsuit for this one (and if you don’t already have one, it’s a perfect excuse to buy one).

5. Deborah holding the court

What were the judges of Israel wearing? While this costume isn’t as easy as finding a mighty purple pantsuit, I’d probably go with a hammer and some sort of flame badge. What’s going on with fire, you ask? Well Judges 4: 4 says that Deborah was a judge and a “lappidoth wife” (literally eshet lappidot). Many people have pointed out that although this could be (and was) translated as “wife of Lappidoth”, assuming that lappidot refers to a man, it could just as easily be understood to mean “woman of torches” or “woman of fire”, because Lapp means torch. Including fire in your costume could be a great opportunity to learn about gender biases in Bible translation for your church community.

To really hammer home the idea that the Bible wants us to remember Deborah as a fiery woman (with or without a husband), you can make her into a couples costume, where your partner dresses like the palm Deborah under which. reigned.

Costumes for couples demonstrating biblical virility and femininity

6. Priscilla and Aquila

One of my favorite questions to ask is, if God ordained it for women to be complements to the dominant male leadership, where are all the shining examples of this pattern of marriage in the Bible? I haven’t found one yet that doesn’t require any sort of qualification. There are, however, examples of egalitarian couples that don’t require any qualifications – and Priscilla and Aquila are the gold standard. Always named together, with Priscilla named first several times, these two were a God-honoring couple and clear. team.

You can get creative with how you want to convey this egalitarian marriage through the costume, but I recommend that part of your schtick include, where possible, smoothing mansplainers, ideally on topics biblical / theological. While I admit that it may not be entirely correct to categorize Apollos as a “mansplainer”, Acts 18:26 makes it clear that he preached “boldly” on subjects he did not know enough about. , which are at least adjacent to the mansplaining.

7. Elisabeth and Zachariah

This costume idea is simple: one person dresses like an elderly pregnant woman and the other dresses like an elderly man. The person dressed as Elizabeth speaks for the couple for the night, according to the story we find in Luke 1. I recommend Elizabeth to point out, as she explains the costume to your friends, that the impact of this story doesn’t It’s not that Zechariah is unable to speak for the time that Elizabeth is pregnant. No, the impact of this story is in the fact that it is Elizabeth who, because of her faith, has the privilege of speaking on behalf of the couple by God while their miraculous pregnancy unfolds – something that is specifically portrayed in Luke 1: 56-57.

These ideas are just the beginning; you are strongly encouraged to think about your own “biblical femininity” costume ideas to add to this list. If you think of a good costume let us know! Better yet, tag us on your photos @CBEInt!

Be encouraged that the underlying theme connecting these costume ideas, and the real point of this article, is that true biblical femininity and biblical manhood are not monolithic. The Bible shows that God uses us based on our gifts and strengths, not on our gender. Hopefully, we can communicate this to our faith communities this year, whether it’s through fun costumes worn for the harvest festivals (or making jokes about potential costumes) or through conversations and relationships.

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