Toward feminist theology in Upper Myanmar Methodist Church
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The primary methods which will be used in this study are library research and theological reflection. I will focus particularly on the ideas of Phyllis Trible and Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza. In addition, I will consider some official documents from my Church and from interviewing. This thesis is divided into three chapters.
Within Chapter I, I will describe the cultural and ecclesiastical backgrounds of my people who live both India and Myanmar. At the same time these are the backgrounds of my Church — the Upper Myanmar Methodist Church. As my people celebrated a hundred years of Christianity, now is the right time to convince my Church and my people to accept and practice the ordination of women.
In Chapter II, I will mention the theological considerations on Women's Ordination for the Methodist Church, Upper Myanmar. And I will also discuss Feminist Theology's potential for providing a solution. In so doing, I will focus primarily on the ideas of Phyllis Trible and Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza. For example, in Genesis. 2:18, we are told that the female was created as a helper to man. But in Hebrew the word "ezer" does not mean "helper" as it is traditionally translated. According to Phyllis Trible, "companion," "mutuality" or "equality" is a more accurate translation, meaning that woman is one who is neither subordinate, nor superior.
In Chapter III, I will challenge the patriarchal interpretation of the Bible, and show how the Mizo Church uses the Bible to perpetuate the oppressive situations of women. Here I will discuss the topic of "adultery" through biblical text in John 8 and show how the interpretation affects the situation of women in the Mizo Church.
In conclusion, I will encourage the readers to recognize the liberating power of women, their tenacity and survival in the patriarchal culture. The "handful" metaphor was originally used for a fund raising project by women in the Church. The collection of the handfuls of rice became tremendous and the money raised was considerable. The handful of rice project has become a big fund raising project in the Church. Its success suggests that it has the potential to capture the imagination of both women and men in a powerful way. Toward that end, I will then suggest to the Conference meeting that they form a theological commission that may study the subject of women's ordination, and that the statement of such a study be circulated among all the districts for consideration. I would present it to the Conference in such a way that the matter of women's ordination should be dealt with in the Leader's Meetings of the Church in which men and women share almost equal opportunities.
I believe that if the Conference could pass a resolution for ordaining women into ministry the status distinction between male ministers and women workers will automatically be wiped out. If the ordination of women is adopted, I do not feel it necessary to maintain the status of women workers any longer in my Church. I expect my project will be fruitful and encouraging for women's ordination in my Church.