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Part 6: Injustice of Voice Final Thoughts

Hagar names God yet returns to Sarai and remains an enslaved person. Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah, uses her voice and actions to deceive Judah and restores her status in the patriarchal social structure. Tamar, daughter of King David, uses her articulate and assertive voice to try and reason with her half-brother, yet she is raped and later silenced. Finally, the Samaritan Woman dialogues with Jesus and is empowered to tell her story. These biblical women experience marginalization of their voices in the existing power structures of their daily lives. As a result, the experience of women in the Church today mirrors the experience of biblical women. Some voices are heard clearly after an encounter with God. Some women find ways around power structures. Nevertheless, others experience silencing and subjugation. A woman's voice is lesser than a man's, and the female voice is not valued.

When we examine who is speaking, how and by whom the story is being told, and the power structures in place, we can see a complex dynamic of marginalization and injustice faced by women. The value of women is still in question within the Church. On the one hand, we see examples of women who are able and empowered to use their voices, much like the Samaritan Woman and Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah. Nevertheless, on the other hand, there are women like Hagar and Tamar, the daughter of King David, whose voices are silenced, and justice is not restored. The message is clear that women are not valued.

The Samaritan Woman's encounter with Jesus changes the model of interacting with a woman. Her voice is heard, is engaged, and is valued not just by Jesus but also by the people in her town. Jesus dialogued with her, but it was her voice and action of evangelism that led others to follow Christ. Because of her voice, there are more believers. I believe that the dismissal of women's voices denies the church the complete revelation of God and God's work among human beings. Women's voices need to be acknowledged and amplified, untangled from complex dynamic systems of marginalization. The questions become: Who is telling women’s story? How are they telling the story? Moreover, what power structures are in place? Finally, why are women’s stories so difficult to tell?

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