The new women’s ministry director invited all adult women to a brainstorming meeting. “We want to help you become the women God is calling you to be,” she explained as she passed out sheets of paper with each phrase of Proverbs 31:10-31 on a separate line. She read the passage, then did a bit of contextualizing to help us re-imagine the language of the Ancient Near East in our suburban experience. For example, the director noted, “She selects wool and flax, and works with eager hands” (vs. 13) could be interpreted to mean, “I have a good attitude about my work in the home”.
She instructed us to take a few moments to reflect on our lives and circle the words in the passage where we felt we were the weakest. “I’ll be using this information to plan Bible studies and other events that would target the areas where the women in the room suggested they might be struggling.
The whole thing seemed an exercise in both misreading and misapplying the text. I was already planning on writing a protest statement on my sheet and talking to the director later when I caught the eye of one of the single women present in the room. She looked like she’d been stabbed in the spleen, which I later learned was a pretty fair reading of her emotions at that moment. [Read more]