Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sandi Glahn on _Informed Consent_ and one of St. Paul's teachings on women

I enjoyed Sandi Glahn's first solo medical suspense, Informed Consent. I'll let Sandi describe it:

Jeremy Cramer, the next Einstein of research, is a medical resident specializing in infectious diseases. While working on a way to revive water submersion victims, he makes surprising discoveries, while also living with massive guilt over incidental infections that occur (which he could have prevented). Even as his marriage teeters, his career continues to skyrocket. Then, with a few twists along the way, he finds everything he has fought for threatened by the most personal, most heart-wrenching, choices of all.

I love exploring bioethics, and this book allowed me to consider end-of-life issues, patient rights, a compassionate response to HIV-AIDS…lots of edutainment.

And what I really enjoyed is the way she inserted a lot of interesting technical medical information without letting her research show. Her main character was a doctor who also did research, and patients' symptoms and the doctor's discoveries all were enumerated very naturally in dialogue and exposition. Sometimes by the villain(s?), heh heh.

Plus, the characters were unique, believable and likeable. The reader really cares when anything happens to any of them! I had to email her at one point and say, "NOOOoooooo!" LOL So, it was a page-turner with a happy ending.

On another subject, Sandi, if you could be a fly on any wall at any time, when and where would it be and why?

I would love to rewind and go back to Corinth when Paul’s first letter arrives so I can get some insight into what he was talking about when he brought up the whole woman/head/covering thing in chapter eleven.

Meeee, too! What is that all about? I mean, Philip had four prophesying daughters in Acts, as Paul mentioned when he and Luke and their other companions visited Philip, and he didn't say the women prophesied to the dust bunnies. LOL

And Ephesians 5:21 says to submit to one another. And nowhere does the Bible say the husband is the head of the house. Please share your thoughts with us.

Are you sure you want to get me started?

Go for it! LOL

Interestingly enough Paul never uses the word "headship." Or leadership. Or lead.

In both English and Greek it says head. But in English, we use head as a verb AND a noun. "I head a committee" = head as a verb. It means to take charge. But in Koine Greek "head" is only a noun--a thing--and in Ephesians 5 it means "top body part."

He uses a metaphor of a head attached to a body. We often make "head" a synonym for leadership/authority (in Koine Greek the primary meaning for "head" was "top body part") and in the process we lose that Paul's emphasis is not on power or even responsibility but on oneness. Two become one. What God has joined together. Picture a human head/body.

When Paul thinks of a Christian marriage, he does NOT tell a man to make the final decisions. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 7, he tells couples talking about abstaining for the purpose of prayer to make a mutual decision ("agreement") in a spirit of unity.

He goes on to say that the wife has authority over the husband's body (as does hubby with hers). If that is a hierarchy, it is one weird circular chain of command!

We often hear taught that Paul teaches husbands to lead, but the biblical command is not to lead but to "love"--of the agape variety. We see distortions of this when we find stuff in the popular Christian press about how the Bible suggests women are made mostly for love and men made mostly for respect.

In saying that, the authors mean "phileo" love (warmth, hugs), but when Paul commanded husbands to love, he used the word for the kind of love that means sacrifice (agape)...the hard kind--the kind that looks a lot like submission by another name.

Both a man and a woman need a spouse who sacrifices and who respects. Peter tells husbands to treat their wives with respect. Elsewhere, Paul tells wives to love their husbands of the phileo variety.

I'm not saying he teaches mutual submission in Eph 5:22. That happens a verse earlier in the context of the entire church submitting to one another (putting others' needs above our own).

I'm saying he teaches husbands to sacrifice (of the daily variety and not just taking a bullet) and wives to submit. Two sides of the same coin.

He never warns against husbands being overbearing or abdicating authority--the two extremes of leadership. Rather, he commands husbands to love sacrificially, to nurture their wives because their wives are their own selves, connected at the neck.

The wife submits because the husband is "head." That's a noun, not a verb. Something he is, not something he does or "should" do. A body comes under a head when it's attached. To use horrible grammar: He are her and she are him. They are one. Connected.

Sexual intercourse is another picture of this. I think the Bible teaches that the primary purpose of marriage is oneness.

So Paul's teaching on "headship" is this: Love your wife as yourself because "she are you" below the neck. Nurture and cherish your wife because she "are" your self. You two are one.

The counterpart to head (noun) is not submit (verb) or submission; the counterpart to head is body (noun). The counterpart to submit is not lead. It's agape love.

And I love it!

Sandra Glahn, ThM, teaches in the media arts program at Dallas Theological Seminary, where she edits the award-winning magazine Kindred Spirit. The author of six books and co-author of seven others, she is pursuing a PhD in Aesthetic Studies (Arts and Humanities) at the University of Texas at Dallas . She recently released her first solo medical suspense novel, Informed Consent (Cook). She is the co-author of three other such novels, which include the Christy Award finalist, Lethal Harvest.

Read more about Sandi Glahn at her website, Aspire2.

And Friday, Sandi visits Dineen Miller's blog.

Thank you for being here today, Sandi.


Anonymous said...

What an awesome, eye-opening study from Sandi Glahn on equality in the marriage "relationship." Next time I'll remember to study the Greek before trying to force myself to believe anything that doesn't feel right in my spirt. Thank you, Sandi!


Heather said...

thanks for posting that about eph 5!

San said...

You're welcome. Thanks, Margo, for hosting me and letting me rant and pontificate. :)