In his speech to the nation about the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama thanked the men who carried out the operation. Fitting, certainly. What I found fascinating was this response by a commenter on the Huffington Post:
"Good speech, but I'm not overjoyed about the instance of sexist language. ("We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation. ..") I know he doesn't MEAN anything by it but a little vigilance would be nice." --Anannya
Anannya would make a perfect poster child for Bible publishers today. She is exactly the sort of young woman that they claim to be trying to reach by removing the sexist bits of the Bible.
Where are the sexist bits? It turns out they're everywhere! 'Fathers' is out, and 'parents' is in. 'Sons' is out and 'children' is in. 'Man' is out, and 'people' is in. 'His' is out and 'their' is in.
But let me ask you a question. Do you think that will make the Bible any more palatable to Anannya? Will this attempt at neutering the sex markings that are used all over the place actually make her any more willing to hear what God has said? Or course not! How do I know? Because President Obama couldn't make her happy! Obama is not a sexist. Nor is he careless when it comes to choosing his words. If the man who rode the feminist wave into office is unable to make her happy, how could Zondervan ever succeed? It's impossible.
But if you are inclined to argue with me, listen to the Apostle Paul. You know Paul, right? That man person who is famous for being "all things to all men people, so that [he] [they] may by all means save some." Today we call that "contextualization," which is exactly what the Bible publishers claim to be doing by modifying the language of Scripture. They are contextualizing for Anannya so that she won't be turned off by the language of Scripture before she gets to hear the Gospel Grace.
But Paul, that great father parent of contextualization says that he will *not* modify God's word.
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2)
But Paul! Don't you want Anannya to hear the gospel grace? She's never going to listen to you unless you change the way you talk a little bit. Plus, didn't you say there was "neither male person nor female person in Christ"? You of *all* men people should understand the importance of what we are doing here! We are trying to unveil the gospel grace so that Anannya can hear it without being offended, and then she'll undoubtedly accept it! Don't you see, Paul?!?
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
Paul, I'm ashamed of you. It makes me sad to hear you say that. How could you be so cruel and heartless? That's a terrible thing to say! And it's not very loving, either! Don't you see that we have the power to keep her from being offended? Don't you see that we could get her to make a decision if we just changed the words we use slightly? We know you mean well, but you are still severely confused in how you talk about gender. We have the knowledge of what our culture today will not accept. You can go back to 40 A.D. We don't need you in 2011. You are making our job of getting people to accept Jesus as Lord friend much, much harder.
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:5-7)
How dare you accuse us of trying to promote ourselves! How dare you accuse us of claiming God's power for ourselves! Judge not lest you be judged hated!
Isn't it strange how difficult it is to accept that the gospel is offensive? But really, there is nothing that can be done for Anannya except to call her to repentance, and pray that God would remove her heart of stone and give her a heart of flesh. If we are going to tamper with God's word to make her happy, let's just skip straight to the end, and change the Lord's Prayer. "Our Mother Earth..." Until we are willing to do that, Anannya will not listen to God's word. And as soon as we tamper with God's word, she isn't hearing his word even if she does listen.
The gospel will be hidden from Anannya unless God lifts the veil that is covering her heart. And that's a good thing.