Long ago I copied the following quote of Dorothy Sayers out of Phillip Yancey’s book, “The Jesus I Never Knew”:
“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man — there had never been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged about them, who never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never mad arch jokes about them, never treated either as ‘The women, God help us!’ or ‘The ladies, God bless them!!’; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously, who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be ‘feminine’ or jeered at them for being female; who had no ax to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unselfconscious.
“There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words of Jesus that there was anything ‘funny’ about woman’s nature. But we might easily deduce it from His contemporaries, and from His prophets before Him and from His Church to this day.”
Contrary to the opinion of many in regards to the ‘Biblical’ view of women being subservient to men, as Sayers points out, Jesus’ treatment of women is never seen in that fashion. As a matter of fact, He was continually treating women with much more respect and honor than was the custom of his day. In spite the inequities that yet remain within much of the Christian church, there is no other religion that has fought harder to elevate women from the subservient role. It is easy for people to point at the Bible verse that says ‘women submit to your husbands’ and mishandle it. Yet, we forget to point out that the same Bible says, ‘husband love your wives.’ How many other holy books will you find that in?
The Fox News website had an article on their blog today about “What the Bible Says About Women.” It does go as far as I would have liked, but at least it went in a positive direction.
Jesus is to be the exemplary model of what a Christian should be and that includes a lesson on how to relate to and treat women. I think Ms. Sayers got it exactly right.