Entangled in emotions

I took my emotions out of the debate long ago.  This was a result of several conversations where I had mentioned that I felt very hurt when males in my life told me that I couldn’t teach simply because I was a woman.  Instead of kindness and gentleness in return, I received the retort, “Feeling hurt doesn’t make it any more biblical for a woman to teach!”  They discounted my feelings as if God hadn’t made emotions for a reason.  Truth was defined as reason without emotions.  Without a doubt, this line of thinking => the scientific method.  But does it fit the Bible method?  Without emotions, we are robots.  But if God really wanted us to reason without emotions, he would’ve created us devoid of them.

I thought that if I took my emotions out of the debate, then I could present evidence that was logical and acceptable.

But I am coming to terms with the reality that it hurts me to pretend to be an automaton, because I am subtracting something from myself that God purposely added.  The truth is, when it comes to this subject, I am all entangled in emotions.  The injustice makes me sad and angry, inspired to do something and yet discouraged that I’m not getting anywhere — but knowing doing something is better than nothing all at the same time.  Many people say they don’t care about this topic because it doesn’t directly affect them.  Men don’t hit this brick wall, so they can potentially live their whole lives without dealing with this issue.  The women who don’t feel gifted to teach or preach say they don’t feel it’s their battle.  And in truth, it really does seem an issue that is so far removed for most.  It’s hard to get people to care about something that doesn’t seem to impact their lives.

In reality, though, to not fight for the truth means that the whole church is missing out — no — dying from all the voices it is silencing.  For me to stop being angry or stop feeling sad and hurt or anguished over this issue means that I stop fighting passionately.  Fear that I will hurt or offend others means that I will water down the message as I try to make it more palatable to the masses.  But people don’t just sit politely and say child sex trade is bad, they stand up and get livid about it.  The injustice to women should cause the same response.  To do less would take the power out of the message.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Well said! Thanks for reminding us that it is OK to be passionate about something, even if it directly affects us as well as others

    Reply

  2. Posted by Gilbert Gong on February 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Hmm, I’ve long pondered the concept of “logic.” I think a lot of people don’t truly understand the concept of logic. Logic is a way to reach conclusions. However, logic does not define where you start from. You can start with postulates, assumptions, etc – and these are not the purview of logic. Logic can not inform your starting point, it can only take them to a “logical” conclusion. But your starting point will greatly influence your ending point.

    That said, I even question the validity of using logic to interpret scripture. Logic is basically taking mathematically provable concepts and turning them into words. If we really want to use logic to interpret anything, we should be able to write a computer program to validate the logic of the conclusions. Would anyone argue that a computer program can validate the interpretation of scripture? Logic can conclude that 5 is more than 4, we can write a computer program to validate that. It can conclude that a ferrari is faster than a pinto, we can write a computer program for that.

    The typical human application of “logic” includes so many arbitrary assumptions and judgement calls along the way, it can’t really be considered true logic. Logic and reason are immensely valuable tools (and I say this emphatically as a computer scientist), but people’s understanding of what logic is leaves much to be desired..

    Reply

    • This is so great. I love the way you’ve articulated this. It was hard for me not to be so confused about all this since the issue is so deeply personal for me. It really cuts to the heart of my calling and therefore my identity.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Gilbert Gong on February 18, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    And on the other side, scripture models that emotion is important. And that values like justice, mercy, sacrifice, and love are worthwhile. The idea of being merciful is not a logical one. Likewise, logic does not instruct us that we should pursue justice. Rather, we understand as humans that justice is a thing to be valued, and we use reason and logic in service of justice to make a better world.

    Reply

  4. This is a lot late…but I love this post, MaryAnn! I can’t even believe that people have minimized your emotional experience with such a belittling response. That infuriates me. Especially when it’s to defend a stance that isn’t’ so black and white.

    Reply

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