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Posts Tagged ‘Women Religious’

As I mentioned the other day, I am participating in a Lenten Bible study.  It’s fantastic. The evening group I am in is a mixed and lively one and quite large: I think we are averaging 16 attendees.  Our focus each week is the Gospel readings for the upcoming Sunday of Lent.

I am not sure why, but the leader is having us use, as source material and background, a series of pamphlets called Sunday by Sunday, published by Good Ground Press.  These pamphlets  aren’t awful, but they aren’t good, and oh boy, I sure shake my head over some of the stuff I read in them.  For instance, this little reworking of the first reading for today, from Exodus.    Here is the NAB version:

Meanwhile Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

2
There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed.
3
So Moses decided, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.”
4
When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.”
5
God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.
6
I am the God of your father,” he continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
7
But the LORD said, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering.
8
Therefore I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites…
13
“But,” said Moses to God, “when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”
14
 God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.”
15
God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. “This is my name forever; this is my title for all generations.
Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15

Now, here is the version in the helpful Sunday by Sunday:

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian.  As he led the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  There an angel of God appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush.  As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed.  So Moses decided, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.”

When God saw Moses coming over to look more closely, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.”  God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.  I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah; the God of Isaac and Rebecca; the God of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel.”

Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.  But the Holy One said, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know  well what they are suffering.  Therefore, I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

“But,” said Moses to God, “when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is this God’s name?’ what am I to tell them?”

God replied, “I am who causes to be.” Then God added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.”

God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: The Holy One, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, the God of Isaac and Rebecca, the God of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel has sent me to you.  This is my name forever; this is my title for all generations.

See that?  see how all the patriarchal references have  been helpfully removed?  See how artfully they added those names of the matriarchs to the list?  Isn’t it nice of Good Ground Press to correct Scripture for us?  We all know that the Jews are just a bunch of sexist pigs anyway, which is why the Bible is full of fathers.  Father this and father that.
In past weeks, I noted in group discussion that the prayers provided by Sunday by Sunday with which we open and close our sessions scrupulously avoid calling God, the Father.  “God the Creator,” “life-giving God,” “Spirit of God”… A litany of New Agey, somewhat Goddess-y, person-centric description of an omnipotent He/She God.  I stated my complaints to the leader and the group.

Blessedly, nearly the entire study group agrees with me that this is offensive.  (Our group has two men, the rest of us are women.)  The only one who does not, has a master’s in Theology, circa 1970.  Perhaps you will draw the same conclusion that I did regarding this fact.

By the way, Good Ground Press is “A Publishing Ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet“.  Honestly, I did not investigate them as I said to myself I would.  But I gotta think that this is no doubt one of those groups of religious women who have not responded to the questionnaires of the Apostolic Visitation

I also wonder if, like the other intractable Women Religious orders here in North America, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are aging themselves into oblivion.  If their order is as off-the-rails as I suspect they are – and I have every reason to believe they are based on their shameless rewriting of Scripture – then to that I say:

Good Riddance

 What do you think?

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