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The hope was that after the ethno arts workshop, we would have a couple of days break and then start recording songs and stories onto mp3 players and sd cards and the like. Since the Canadian team unable to come, we took the decision to postpone the recording but still to run the arts workshop. Lots of people came to get involved, so it was very exciting.
While at the arts workshop, an interesting situation came up. One of the ladies present is the second wife of a man. As a result, she is allowed to attend church and make an offering, but she is unable to be part of the choir, or attend other events, or be part of church life in any other way. There was quite a discussion about her participation in the arts workshop. She has an excellent voice and loves to sing, and was very excited about the idea of writing songs. However, not everyone was happy with her participation. In fact, an elder drew the line at her being involved in the recording. Apparently, it would jeopardise the ability to distribute the recording because people won't listen to it if she is involved.
I was mystified, maybe even a bit pissed off about it. How dare they judge a lady for that! How dare they decide who is and isn't worthy of worshipping God! How dare they decide who can and cannot come to a church programme!
And what of the man? He has the two wives! What sort of church are they when they say 'no' to someone? God is love, and I believe Jesus wants to hear her songs – to glorify him.
Talk about pot and kettle!
The Bible does have guidelines and standards, but who are they for? What would I do if a gay or a lesbian wanted to join my church band? I know it is not the same thing, but multiple wives is a cultural problem. It is banned by law in England ad so we don't have to deal with it. The UK is about to allow same sex marriage. How are we going to deal with that?
We're struggling to differentiate between culture, theology, law, preference and interpretation of all the above!
What would you do?
Allow attendance but not recording?
Say no to it all?
Allow participation in everything?
It is very easy to judge through our own cultural filters – different isn't wrong simply because it is different, but it might be wrong when measured up against the Bible.
Time to read up on the apologetics of multiple wives.