Given by Rev. Madison Shockley March 27, 2022

Our readings today are part of the hidden gospels. The question most people don’t ask is who edited the Bible. This editing was a historical process over several centuries. There are many writings that were not included that still represent traditional Christian expressions. Today we ask the question, why is the first creation story (that shows equality) ignored and the focus centered on the second creation story (the emphasis on gender hierarchy and patriarchy)? In the second story, Eve is punished for seeking wisdom. There is a double standard. Men are praised for seeking wisdom but not women. Those subjected to oppression are often denied access to education. Thecla sought knowledge to help her on her spiritual journey so she could preach the Good News. She heard from Paul a way to reverse the “curse” through chastity. She could gain wisdom while avoiding being ruled over by a husband and going through childbirth. She would be free and equal to a man. She stood as an example that one’s fate could be changed. Women now had a choice. Some men continue to try to regain their advantage. That is what ultimately went wrong in the garden, inequality.