Aftershocks of Hierarchy

Staring at the Gospel of John, chapter 8 specifically, my eyes began to water and the weight of the burden sat on my chest; not of the content, but the expectations held for me in this week’s Greek II assignment. Each week, we divide up the labor of translation within our translation team. As we’ve just exited out of our grammar book and are making a transition to actual text translating, so far I’ve only done a step that is transferring information from the Greek text into English. No major value judgements, no mess, no fuss.

This week? I’m stepping into analyzing the text for important moves, forms, and it’s place within the cannon. Next week? Theological significance.

Holy. Moly. 

It’s not that I haven’t done this before, I have, many, many times…but never outside of the light of what it’s like being a woman; going outside that harshly-drawn gender line is causing all sorts of issues.

The weight and anxiety I feel doesn’t exactly overwhelm me, but it does supplant the idea of “And who exactly are you to be doing this? You can’t do this task well; you’ll never be able to understand this like your {male} classmates. You should just stick to the cut and dry stuff, no insights to offer here.”

I wish I were kidding. I wish my internal voice didn’t berate me and undermine my deep, God-given gifts of intuition and analytic thoughtfulness. I wish my default mode would not be to fade to the background while I push my {male} classmates ahead for fear that my work will never be as good, innately.

But these are the aftershocks of a hierarchical system. And while there are days (more now than ever) that this assumption that I’m not sufficient and that my male counterparts are more suited to ministerial or theological work don’t win out, there are certainly still moments when I am shockingly reminded that I am still trying to overcome the narrative that I accepted for far too long.

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