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“I want to do it. It’ll be a snap!” I shouted over to Nancy. “I can do this, I really can.”
“Sure you can.” Nancy rolled her eyes and shook her head at me. She turned and started to walk away.
“I can do it!” I yelled after her. “Just give me a chance!”
Nancy turned to look at me. “You want a chance? Ok. I will let you try, but if you blow this, don’t ever ask me again!”
I let out a howl. “Deal!”
“I want you to understand something. I don’t believe for one minute you know what is entailed in all this, but if you think you are capable, go ahead.”
I threw my head back and laughed. “Nancy, Nancy, Nancy! You are just too melodramatic.”
Nancy sighed taking a deep breath in and slowly releasing it.
“I think you are too confident, but this Tuesday, you will be in charge of my university class.
I couldn’t wait to get home and prepare for the lesson. I wanted to discuss what the bible teaches on the role of women. This will be a breeze. Easy as can be. A snap!
Tuesday morning came and I wolfed down my breakfast; then dashed over to Salmon Tomas Hall at the University. I watched as the laughing, chattering students, mostly young women, piled in the room and filled up the seats.
“I am filling in today for your professor. My name is Sandy. Our topic for this morning will be the role of women according to the bible.”
Groans erupted across the room.
I looked out at the sea of faces and instead of the eager willing students I anticipated, I saw a crowd of uninterested, bored faces staring at me.
‘This will be a snap,’ I had told Nancy but now I wasn’t so sure.
“You all look pretty excited so let’s just delve right in.” I tried to maintain my composure. I was in over my head. I noticed some students talking to each other and others drawing or writing on their notepads, uninterested.
“Class, if this topic bores you, then tell me where you want to go with our topic.”
A young woman called out from the back of the room, her voice clear but defiant, “How can God allow women in the bible to be raped? What message does that send to woman today; that rape is ok?”
Stunned at her question, I stood staring at her, not knowing what to say.
From the other side of the classroom, another student jumped to her feet. “What about daughters being thrown outside to be taken by a group of homosexuals because an innkeeper insisted they do not touch his male guest?” (Judges 19:22:29)
Another woman shouted from the front row. “What kind of father would sell his daughter as a sex slave?” (Ex.21:7-11)
National statistics tell us one of three girls will be sexually assaulted by the time they are twenty one.
I looked across room at the faces of the young women present. How many of them were the victims of rape, incest, or sexual harassment?
I didn’t have the answers for them. I myself couldn’t grasp why some terrible situations were written about in the bible, in which women were subjected to rape and other atrocities and in many of those cases it appeared to be sanctioned.
These bright articulate students needed to challenge the bible in ways that made sense to them. They were not afraid to look at controversial scriptures that posed more questions rather then gave answers. I stood there knowing I should be proud of the these women. They were thinkers, and one day, they would make the world a better place. I needed to let them speak and to hear their hearts, their voices, and their souls as they sought real answers to touch questions.
I sat down on the edge of the desk, closed my bible and put away the notes I had laboured so diligently to compile.
Teaching Nancy’s class was definitely complex. She knew and respected her students.
I cleared my voice. “This class is now open for discussion. Voice your opinions and your thoughts and let’s try to make sense of this together.”
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