Psalm: 37
Old Testament: Deut 7:6-11
New Testament: Titus 2
Gospel: John 1:29-34
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a sermon of St. Leo the Great

Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to answer back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Saviour (Titus 2:9-10)

I think I’ve talked about slavery before on this blog. The letter to Titus stands out as one of the epistles which seems to uphold all kinds of negative stereotypes; submissive wives, obedient slaves, and docile seniors.

I don’t know what to tell you except to acknowledge that these biases simply exist within the text, and we have to wrestle with it. 😛

The chapel at my seminary made attempts to address this issue in its worship….especially when it came to clearly patriarchal language in the BCP:

O GOD, the Creator and Preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men ; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for the good estate of the Catholic Church; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those, who are any ways afflicted or distressed in mind, body, or estate; [* especially those for whom our prayers are desired;] that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them, according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

In praying this collect we were asked to substitute “humankind” for mankind and “all sorts and conditions of mortals” in place of men.

This is a good practice in and of itself, but it does beg the question (originally brought to my attention by my friend Marty Levesque over at Rouge Preacher and rector of St. Andrew Memorial) of what are we doing about the history of our Church??? Are we really being transparent in recognizing the biases that existed in Elizabethean England??? Why hide patriarchy by trying to ignore it?

It’s a good question……and I don’t know the answer. 😛

So I might as well throw it out to those who are reading this blog. What do you do when you come across oppressive language??? Do we leave it in??? do we take it out??? Do we substitute something else??? Leave a comment, and et me know what you think. +