September 17, 2003
The sublime and the ridiculous

The Bible I'm reading for the Mark blogging is the HarperCollins Study Bible, which I picked up on Telford's recommendation after I got frustrated with another study Bible's lame and condescending footnotes. I try not to look at footnotes too much when I'm reading, but they can be helpful in the obscure bits, such as all the then-current political events mentioned in Isaiah.

When it comes to lame and condescending, though, it sounds like my old Bible was nothing compared to Revolve, a new hybrid crossing the New Testament with a teen-girl magazine. Christianity Today has a highly entertaining decimation:

In a sidebar titled "Top Ten Things to Know About a Revolve Girl," rule number one is that "Revolve girls don't call guys." In a September 14 interview in The New York Times Magazine, Whaley tried to defend this rule by saying: "There's no indication from Scripture that Mary Magdalene ever picked up the phone and called Christ."

No, she never phones him. She just left her home and followed him all over Judea, and by some interpretations, kissed his feet and bathed them in her tears. She knew how to play hard to get, that girl.
It's a bad comparison however you look at it. But interviewer Deborah Solomon outdoes Whaley's anachronistic phone analogy. In an unmistakable sign that she got her Bible knowledge from that reliable historical source The Last Temptation of Christ, Solomon tells Whaley: "But Mary Magdalene, who was Christ's girlfriend, favored low necklines and loads of jewelry," and "You could argue that Christ was drawn to [Mary Magdalene] precisely because of her flamboyant clothing."

Yes, that's why after he escaped the Cross they got married and founded the Merovingian line ... oh wait, that's a different book.
But at least one of Solomon's pronouncements is right on: "It's positively regressive for Revolve to suggest that God made men to be leaders in romance." Not only is it regressive; it's unbiblical. The "Revolve Girls do not call guys" rule sounds like something that belongs not in the Bible, but in a teen version of The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right," Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider's manual that teaches women how to deceive the men they want.

In one of the few examples available to us from the Bible, the protagonist of the Book of Ruth takes the initiative. At her mother-in-law's suggestion, she lies down at Boaz's feet to let him know she is, ummm, interested. If she lived today, I'm sure she would pick up the phone and invite him to dinner.

Lying at a guy's feet ... now there's a strategy I hadn't thought of.
Add to this a great sense of caution over girls and guys praying—yes, praying—together present throughout the book. The editors published the opinion of a boy in "Guys Speak Out" who believes that girls and guys should not pray together before engagement! Another boy, when asked if girls and guys can pray together, advises everyone not to "get carried away."

Wow, who knew that prayer could be a form of foreplay? What was Telford really up to in all our prayer sessions after church? Yikes!

OK, this is like shooting fish in a barrel, and I have to get back to work. But it's kind of creepy to think what effect this is having on thousands of teenage girls out there.

(Via such small hands.)

Posted by Camassia at September 17, 2003 12:18 PM | TrackBack

Lying down at their feet, kissing their feet, bathing their feet in tears - I've heard of guys with foot fetishes, but I little realized it was focusing on their own feet that would really do the trick!

Posted by: Jessamyn on September 17, 2003 05:40 PM

Actually, in the OT, feet is a euphemism. Seriously. "Feet" wink wink. I learned this at seminary, so I'm not just making this up with my dirty mind. Now think of Ruth lying at Boaz's "feet." Yes, the Bible is definitely "R" rated!

Posted by: Jennifer on September 17, 2003 06:40 PM

In my Evangelical days, I attended the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (which seems to have changed its name to the Institute in Basic Life Principles).

One of the things they stressed was that dating couples should not pray alone, because spiritual life and sexual life are closely linked. It's an easy point of view to make light of, but in my experience, there is a lot of validity to it...

Posted by: Naomi on September 21, 2003 03:44 PM
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