I like the word for how it sounds. And I also like it because I think it more or less describes my position in the complementarian/egalitarian discussion. You could take that to mean one of several things:
1. Eclexia is very balanced. She shies away from the pitfalls of either extreme. (Ah yes, that would be a lovely conclusion to come to 🙂 )
2. Eclexia is very compromising. She avoids taking a strong stand and instead waffles around in the middle, neither hot nor cold, and so is about to be spewed out (a double-minded man–oops, woman–unstable in all her ways.)
3. Eclexia is very unconfident and full of self-doubt. She’s afraid to state any view strongly and confidently, because that might invite somebody to disagree with her.
4. Eclexia thinks if these things have been being argued about by great scholars who read and understand the original languages better than she can ever dream of, she’s probably not going to figure it out, so she might as well stay open to hearing both sides, thinking deeply about what she hears, learning from the whole discussion, but setting aside the need to come to any firm or final conclusions.
Number 4 is the way I choose to apply the word to myself. I had to throw in #3, because I often am labeled as unconfident and full of self-doubt, but I think those labels seriously misunderstand and underestimate me. And if they are accurate labels, well, I also don’t happen to think self-doubt or lack of confidence are as serious of flaws as they are often cracked up to be. (So, even if I don’t have enough confidence and have too much doubt, my self-image can handle being that way 🙂 )
I don’t like arguing with people about topics like this, not because I’m afraid as much as (1) the intensity can overwhelm me to the point where I can hardly hear what I think and feel about what’s being said and (2) I don’t find arguments to be especially productive for me, although I know some people find them invaluable as part of the process of fleshing out their theology or politics or other major opinions!
All that to say, I’ll probably follow along with the discussion at Complegalitarian, but not engage in too much of the dialogue.
However, from the safety of my own blog, where I can be clear on the fact that I’m not making a statement about anything or either side, but rather reflecting out loud, I wanted to mention a library book we ended up with this week (my children and I wander aimlessly around the library, randomly and eclectically picking up books, so we always arrive home with quite a variety.)
This particular book is called How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt, and inside the front cover, in large letters is this question, “Can Woman Ever Conquer Man?” What’s this? Some sort of modern day feminist allegory? Well, actually, the book is loosely taken from a story on the papyrus scroll titled “Egyptians and Amazons”.
Even if you don’t like the story, you’ve got to love (well, if you’re a language lover like me) the hieroglyphs. Most of the pages have a phrase from the story printed at the bottom in three levels: 1st the hieroglyphs, then the transliteration and finally a literal translation into English. My 4 year old loved looking for similar glyphs in the two phrases on each page. The hieroglyphs with literal translations would be a fun first linguistics lesson, figuring out some of the rules of Egyptian grammar, noticing what symbols combine to make others, etc.
On the first page are these words, “There the Amazon women lived free, without men. They rode horses and hunted and were happy at their will.” Hmmm, it should be interesting to see where this story goes (I hadn’t read it before we set down to read it together). My 12-year-old, lover of non-fiction, immediately said, “Mom, this story is crazy–you could never have a land of just women, because how would they reproduce?”
The story goes on to talk about how the Prince of Egypt comes and the two nations engage in war. “Each Amazon fought like ten men. The Egyptians dropped their weapons and fled.” The prince of Egypt wasn’t fighting that first day. As he stood atop a hill and watched what was happening, he became enraged: “Women defeating my soldiers? No! Tomorrow this army of women will suffer a painful defeat. It will be beautiful after the bitterness of today.”
That night as he partakes of rich food and strong drink, he decides that the next day he and the Queen of the Amazons must engage in single combat (in case you wanted to know how to say “single combat” in Ancient Egyptian, you learn that it would be “er aha wa irem ef”. )
There is some heavy insulting and cursing at the beginning of the battle: “…you worm…You will be to me as an insect in the mouth of a bird. I will smash your face into your neck. I will break your legs into your heels!” The reply comes back, “…you will flee from me as a gazelle from a lion! Your limbs will weaken. Your knees will tremble.” (You’ll have to read it to see who gives which insult. Any guesses?)
At the end of a long day of fighting, the Queen suggests that they stop fighting and the prince agrees that fighting shouldn’t happen after dark. The Queen then asks the prince why he came to the Land of Women. And from here, the story takes a twist that caught me by surprise. And yes, this is a spoiler warning, so if you want to read it yourself, stop here and go check the book out.
Here’s the Prince’s response, “I heard stories of the Land of Women who fight. And I came here to see your Amazon warriors with my own eyes. I never believed women could conquer man….Now I am so moved by the courage and strength of you and your woman warriors that I will put down my sword and stand by your side.”
The narrator pipes up with, “It was then that Prince Pedikhons looked at Queen Serpot and saw that she was his equal. And he did not know where on Earth he was, from the great love that entered into him.” (In Egyptian, that last phrase would be, “em-djer ta merut aat nety ak en im ef” or “because of love great which entered in to him.“) “And it was then that Queen Serpot looked at the prince and saw that he was her equal. And she did not know where on Earth she was, from the great love that entered into her. And later Serpot and Peikhons made an alliance and conquered India together.”
At the end of the book is a section that tells the history of this story, another explaining Hieroglyphs and the fact that the transliterations are really best guesses. This section also clarifies that the story was originally written in Demotic, not hieroglyphs. Finally there is a section explaining the symbolism of the paintings in the book.
Well, I offer no great conclusions or applications or points from the story (well, okay, one point–I never have gotten the whole business of conquering. I know “everybody does it”, but I still don’t like it! I was sad that once they got over the need to conquer each other’s nation, that the benefit of their alliance was being able to conquer India.) I did think, however, it was a fun and interesting read that fit rather nicely into the part of my brain that looks forward to following along with the discussion at Complegalitarian.