Women Facing Stones

There he saw a well in the open country, with three flocks of sheep lying near it because the flocks were watered from that well. The stone over the mouth of the well was large. When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.
“Why don’t you water the flocks so they can get back to grazing?” Jacob asked. “They’ll be hungry if you stop so early in the day!”
“We don’t roll away the stone and begin the watering until all the flocks and shepherds are here,” they replied.
As this conversation was going on, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.
 
Gen 29:2-3; Gen 29:7-10; Mark 16:1-4
Three flocks, three women. One well in the open county, one tomb in a lonely place. A large stone.  “Who will roll the stone away?”
How can we go on with our lives if the large stone remains as a cover for that which we seek to get to? Whom will we have to wait for? How long will we have to wait?
Yet there is one who has the promise to bless all nations within his body, who is able to roll the stone away. Who will not wait for the “correct” setting or correct time. Now is the time for the one who carries the promise of the Messiah within himself.
My husband and I have been going through studies, material, scriptures, and thoughts all searching through this idea of women in ministry. God vs women. The curse, the restoration of all things, the Messiah and Eve (and Adam). Who wins?
As people who are interested in this debate, we are those who are coming forth in the open country side. We ask ourselves, what will it take to find our identity in an eternal God who is not gender bias?  The scriptures themselves have been taken by bad shepherds who merchandise in the souls & flesh of men, and they have laid a large & heavy stone over top. Sealing us outside the source of what we so desperately seek to come unto.
Our journey has been hard.
Yet, we’ve been surprised by the picture set before us, as we come closer and closer. Something very strange. Something very different than we expected.
It’s not there.
The very large stone, that had always kept us waiting in line, and had made us waste precious hours of the day. It gone. It’s been removed. Now there’s a new man standing, waiting. Familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Loving and broken hearted. Excited, relieved, tired and renewed. Who is it that stands before us?
 “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”  And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it.  And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.  Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Rev 5:2-5
For better or worse, the Lord opens to us that which no one else can open. Our delight is that this opening, revealing gives us a sending. The times ahead maybe perilous, but the compare to the glory that is about to be revealed, it’s a small thing to endure.
There is something beyond us. Bigger than us. Yet we all get stuck on small biers. Thistle and thorns have kept us from coming sooner. Bad fruit that we were given to eat. It didn’t seem right at the time, and it surely wasn’t. It didn’t take us where it promised; it didn’t lead us to where we wanted to go. But there is the promise of redemption still.
In our journey to seek God’s face, to see how God feels about women, and what the whole of the Bible says, we have found ourselves aligned with stories of those who have fallen. Fallen for sin, or fallen for Love. Every turn has redemption in it.
We find it impossible to read all the way to the New Testament and find grudge-holding to be God’s ideal. Neither does the blame-game seem relevant anymore.  Instead,  when to comes to the issues of women, we have found God there in every turn, with love in his eyes. Heartbreak and love. Love always wins with God. God’s love swallows the heart break that was once there, until there is only love. It’s like Jesus…
It’s like Jesus and the women who was “caught in the act of adultery”. The whole issue seems to be summed up here:
“Where are your accusers? Are there any left?”
“No.”
“Then neither do I accuse you.”
Throughout the Bible there is reconciliation and redemption. Eve, Adam, and God. Paul, Junis, scriptures. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.
There are no long held grudge match against women in scriptures. So where are those modern scholar’s who are without sin? Will they continue to hold their stones and point at women’s “short comings” while denying their own ancient faults? It’s impossible to be justified before Christ while holding onto that stone, holding onto that power, and holding onto the blood thirst.
As it turns out, even if no one else will place aside the stone (whether large or small) God has already set a redeemer to his Beloved, and the daughters of God no longer wait on anyone else.
The well is open, the tomb is empty, redemption has begun. It is up to each of us now, to decide whether we’ll drop or stones as well, or wether we harbor contempt for a woman who was set up and deceived. And where is that man who fell into sin with her? Has he alone been redeemed, forgiven, set free?
We must reconsider that facts, from God’s point of view. Least we let the letter of the law ensue within us blood thirst for one of God’s precious ones. Careful now…
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Letter to Modern He-Man Woman Haters Club

Dear Men,

Thank you. Thank for listening abilities and your instinct to solve a problem. But sometimes just listening and understanding how this feels is good enough. We don’t typical need you to solve a problem for us, we just need to know you don’t think we are the problem.

Sometimes it your skeptical looks and brash words seem more against us than the actual problem itself. Nothing is worse than having to fight on all sides, and having an internal battle as well. If you’ve got our back, then find the sincerest way to say just that. Like all human beings sometimes we self-implode. Don’t freak out. Don’t critique us while we’re down, because we’ll never forgot the words of someone we once trusted. We’ll rebuild. We’re resilient. But if you wrong us, you’ve poisoned your own self.

Sometimes it’s better to be harmless, instead of helpful. Sometimes.

You maybe over thinking this “leadership” thing just an ounce too much. It’s not really about one person being higher than others. It’s not really about men being above woman. It’s not really about being the front-man, and it certainly isn’t about discarding childhood dreams of superheroes, Pirates, Knights, G.I. Joe guys, inventors, or incredible athlete. The world needs people who understand how to use their own skills, training, minds, hopes, ambition, and heart to become something no one else expected of them.

Someone once said courage isn’t the absence of fear, but merely the decision that something is more important than that fear.

And it takes courage to know what it is to be a man without someone else specifically telling you what that means. But take a look around! There’s a lot of bad advice and bad results, but you, you are not a statistic. You are the real deal. You are the one in million chance to change the course of history by doing and being only that good which you were made to do.

We’ve all been through bad things on various levels, and for those of us who have made it today…we still have a chance. A chance to be different than before, different than we’ve seen, different than the fate that’s been handed to us. But it takes practice and persevance. …Maybe that’s why I’m writing? Maybe you didn’t know, but you need to know: you’re not alone.

I took a peek at what it must be like to be you. You can’t imagine the outrage anger I felt. Well…maybe if anyone can imagine it’s you. I don’t know how to say it any other way, expect to say you’ve been lied too. Bombarded with lies, from what I’ve seen. There’s more arranged truth falling under the titles of “modern man” and “biblical manhood” than is fathomable for any truth seeker.

You’re not alone.

Even if you think you’re made to be a leader, out front, you’re not alone.

Not that you understand us or want us, but we’re here. Not that we’re going to make you drink tea and dress up, unless you’re into that kind of thing. Not that we need a hero, but that we’d welcome the one that you are. Not that you’d understand this…but you were never alone. We were always part of you, and when you push us away, you’re ripping off a piece of your chest, a piece of your core, and tossing it aside. God… That has to hurt!

But we were made to work together.

You know that crazy piece of scripture? “Neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female…for all are on in Christ Jesus.”  That’s how it was in the original design, all one, working together, distinctly different but still one. And that what Messiah came to redeem “the restoration of all things”.

So when someone tells you to be a man by standing out in front as the leader, or to be a gentleman by opening the doors. Guess what? We do that too. And we do it because we come from your created life. We don’t come from the dirt that you were formed from, we come from you. We’re meant to be along side you. We were assigned to the same post. We were together once. We were together until the day Adam disowned us.

Once we were “bone of my bone…flesh of my flesh” then another terrible day we became “that woman you gave me”. In between we were always together. Even sin and shame didn’t separate us. It wasn’t until a man disowned a woman that history bore this ever ugly scar. Now… They try to keep us apart. How terrible!

I’m not sure what to say. I think you’re still mad. Christ Jesus came to bring a restoration of all things, but so many “Christian leaders” would rather die saying “that woman” than to ever acknowledge the oneness of “bone of my bone…”

What has happened to us? Sin and shame didn’t separate us. A curse didn’t separate us. What happened to us?  The worst part is to see you …angry, alone, accusative, agitated, vindictive, and emtpy. You can do some much more than that. You were built from order, fruitfulness, life-giving substance, solid materials.  You are made as something which is very good. But you haven’t been told that, have you?

I am telling you.

We were made for more than we’ve been told. The simple wisdom of God offers more than the rearranged truth that has been published in the name of big-name, multi-million selling Christian authors. You don’t need someone to interpret the Bible for you. Persevance and a pure heart will reveal truth.

It’s like I said earlier, it’s not about one person being over another, I’m not trying to tell you what to do. I’m just a small voice of many. I’ve seen the shackles, the pain, the contortion on your face… You’re not yet become who you were created to be, and it’s because you’re missing a basic feature. Bone. Flesh. Heart.

You weren’t made for a platform, a pedestal, an isolating position. Your job isn’t to gain money, protect, lead. Your purpose is tend, care for, collaborte …with us…working together. We’re not a stepping block. We’re not weaker (believe me if we were weaker we would have stood up under these millenniums of oppression.). We are not inherently sinful or stupid. We are not “that woman you gave me”. We are partners in truth, in caring for, tending to, collaborating with. We are bone, flesh, heart. We are the second beauty that God created as very good. Second like an update, not like second place. We don’t know second place. We only know how to share first place. …or nothing.

Yeah it hurts to get kicked aside, but we learned it happens. We tell our daughters, nieces, granddaughters that it will happen. We are resilient. But you… Is it the same for you?

Is it enough to fellowship with other earthen-made vessels or would it be cooler to see a side of yourself present in a totally different way. “Bone of my bone…flesh of my flesh”? Would it be cool if two separate components could become one, strong, focus, ecstatic force of good? That’d be some “leader” wouldn’t it? That’d be some life. That’d be so uniquely original.

Division was never really God’s thing. So why support it now? If Christ came to restore all thing, why not work towards that now?

No one wants to take your place. I just thought you might like someone to stand next to you. I don’t want you to miss out just because you thought it’d be more manly. God didn’t think it was manly to be alone, but… If it’s working for you… Go ahead.  Just know we’re still here, whether you wants us or not, because we were made for this. And we were made very good.

Proverbs 31: the Last Great Mystery

Here’s a phrase that causes my hair to bristle down my spine (so to speak), “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

Really it’s cute little phrase, however I believe it’s highly misdirected. Women are often told this is the standard for them to live up to. This is the stigma for what wife really ought to be. Just so we’re clear: It’s not.

Actually I have no idea how anyone reads the previous 30 chapters of Proverbs, a book of wisdom, parables, & idioms, and then comes to chapter 31 and suddenly it’s suppose to be freakishly literal? OR… maybe there’s something we’ve missed? (like maybe the previous 30 chapters of Proverbs and their writing style)

How about we take a chance to talk a little bit about how Proverbs 31 isn’t about a woman or all women, but it’s about the church, the Bride of Christ? How about talking about the beautiful poetry and idiom used in Proverbs 31 to hide God’s wisdom from those who call themselves “wise & insightful” and authors, but instead revealed it to the least of these, “the lost generation” …me… maybe you? Maybe whoever is willing to consider these things without looking for a quick & cheap version. Whoever has the time to read all 31 chapters of Proverbs and therefore has built insight and humbleness, so that they can have their hearts ready for the most outstanding mystery of all: the church.

“She is far more precious than jewels.”
Jesus seems to come across the issue of money and what to do with it rather frequently. Strangely enough I don’t think Dave Ramsey or any other “money saver”, budge-lover is going to quote much of Jesus.  When Jesus says cool things like,
I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings
or
So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?
or
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
It’s very different approach than the most trusted name-brand Christian teaching, which is elapsed in weirdness by the fact the Proverbs 31 say of the Bride of Christ that “she” is more far more precious than jewels. …or riches or wealth or money or the pathetic things we usually (even if secretly) find our own worth in it.

Yet it starts to make sense that “she” is more far more precious than jewels, when you think of Jesus saying, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
or
God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.
Indeed these are the description of things that are much more precious than jewels! This dedicate you’re whole life, get-down-on-your-knees goodness. This is the church, the Bride of Christ, uniting with Christ and bring the Kingdom of God upon the earth. St Paul calls this a “profound mystery” the uniting of the church & Christ. Indeed, although weaves a beautiful pattern to make it clear throughout the whole Bible, we rush pass the big picture to find “what can I get out of this” and certainly such an attitude will not bring us to being united with anyone or anything. Yet we’re here now, let’s consider a few things.

One of my favorite phrases in Proverbs 31 is, “She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens
This isn’t about being a workaholic. This is about the church who finding itself in dark times arises and becomes that which she was always made to be. Often many modern “fundamentalist” consider the first many chapters of the book of Acts to be the image of what church is suppose to be. Ironically, this “first century church” is really just the Deuteronomitcal church, mean that is what God’s people were told to be back in the book of Deuteronomy. It isn’t a new pattern, but a solid classic pattern of who God’s people were always meant to be. That’s probably one contributing reason why it really took off at that time. It was probably the most Hebraic thing those Jews had ever seen! And in a world where the Roman/Greek culture was threatening the stability of Jewish culture at all, it must of been some crazy revolution to start being truly Hebraic at that time. A really back-to-the-roots kind of moment!

One time someone pointed out to me how in the stories of Jesus life they always have these phrase “then the next day Jesus went here” “then the next day” “then the next day”  but when Judas betrayed Jesus suddenly the authors happen to record “and it was night“.  Indeed nothing feels like the darkest times, such as night, like betrayal. Yet in Proverbs 31 “she” gets up at night and does what she always does.
Many of the old preachers get up there and say how these are dark times, the last days, things are getting worse, ect. I’m sure if you’ve had to sit in church for a year or better, you’ve heard these things more than a few times. …But so what!? If we are the church, let’s get arises. Let’s get to it. There’s work to be done.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” -Galatians 6:9-10

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.  She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.  She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.”
– Proverbs 31:13-20

Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
 Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
– Isaiah 55:1-2

This is the image of the church. This has always been the image of God’s people. This isn’t just something God does, but it’s something he asks us to do as the Bride of Christ. Because God is relational, this is something that God wants us to be in on too. Yes God can and will do these things alone if necessary, however we are fortunate enough to find that God doesn’t find it necessary but is willing to include us.

What we do as the people of God is a big deal to God. Jesus makes that super clear when he tells the parable know as “the sheep and the goats” in Matthew 25:31-46. God wants to be in on what God is doing around us, yet we can choose to say “oh that not my thing” “that’s not my calling” and if that’s what we choose God will let us make that choice. Because it is the willingness of our hearts that make “our thing”. It the willingness in our hearts that will make it so that we feel it’s necessary for us to be what God is continuously describing in the Bible. It’s the willingness in our hearts that makes us to see that what we have obtained through Christ Jesus is profitable for those around us. They need it, we got it. but we have it to share it.

There’s this crazy beautiful, poetic, heart-wrenching verse that says,
You (God) will arise and have compassion on Zion,
    for it is time to show favor to her;
    the appointed time has come.
 For her stones are dear to your servants;
    her very dust moves them to pity.
– Psalms 102:13-14

It ought to be the church who is the servant who has compassion & pity about this “dust” & “stones” of Zion. It ought to be the church, because it’s God’s compassion and it’s God’s chosen time to favor his sweet Zion.
And Zion is much more than just the church, but that’s for another time perhaps.

Here’s perhaps one of the most bold and otherwise crazy statements in Proverbs 31:
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. … She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
I can only begin to guess at this bold phrase.
It brings to mind the famous Isaiah 1:13 which states: “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.

This is forgiveness, redemption, and beautiful freedom all wrapped up into one. It’s like the church isn’t afraid of the dark, it isn’t afraid of the cold, it isn’t afraid of the systems which the principalities can throw-down, because the church (the people of God) are washed clean of this  world’s sentiments and wrapped up in God’s wisdom and Christ redemption. We have nothing to fear in these times, or the times to come.  It’s like this tiny bold phrase is talking about the stuff that the saints and martyrs are made out of. …the beauty of holiness, the tears of Zion, maybe that’s what it means when it say “or all her household are clothed in scarlet“. It’s joy just to read this mystery and consider the deep implications of what we are and what we can be as the Bride of Christ, as the church, as the people of God.

Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
I find no way to mistake this as any other great man, than the Messiah himself. The judges always sat at the gates, and of course Jesus is given all authority & power to be the judge of all. Could it be anyone other the he who is betrothed the Bride of Christ, Jesus Christ himself? The reference seems so plain to me.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Again we have a vivid picture of what the church truly looks like. An intrinsically familiar picture that can’t be disfigured by modern systems that call themselves “church” but then don’t apply these same characteristics. The church who speaks the words of God through the wisdom of God that speaks a language that our spirits can actually connect with when deep calls unto deep. And yet it’s not just talk, it’s for real. This something that’s so familiar, even though it’s sadly so foreign in our modern society.

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.
This is the successful story, or end of the story, when it all comes together. When Jesus receives a glorious bride who’s innocent & blameless & without stain, as it’s said it will be, then indeed those who are preserved by the perseverance of the saints, and also Jesus Christ himself, may in that day both truly say how they’ve longed for this beautiful occasion to come. This is an opportunity we have in front of us, if we choose to seek God, seek truth, and dwell in the beauty & wisdom of the Bible. Then we might just be the people of God act like that which God has created us to be from the beginning.
…Working together as a people of God, as we preserve God’s words & wisdom by investing them into the next generation, by living them out in our own lives, by working together, and by believing in God’s wisdom above & beyond any great worldly advice or temptation. Then, indeed, that’d most likely be a era where such a proclamation as “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all” would be heard. Let’s strive to give God this opportunity, and the kids of the future this opportunity. Let’s not steal from them what ought to rightfully be there, and that being the chance to make this declaration in the times to come.

Indeed we can only end with: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Again I simply state that God has called us into a working relationship with him. Although God is perfectly capable of running history and the whole Earth (universe really) on his own, that’s simple not what God wants to do.  God wants to work with his creation (you & me) and God wants us to take part in the privilege of setting things right. We can choose to mindlessly go with the systems of the world or systematized “church”, but God has a greater calling on our lives than those wisdoms can perceive. Yet for those who seek, for those who are willing God gives his Holy Spirit to counsel and direct our spirit, and lead us through the Bible, teaching us to be the people whom God has always meant for us to be.

There is hope beyond the cliches and truisms that we’ve been taught, and pray there’s enough life left in us to seek it out, to find it, and to emerse ourselves in God’s words & wisdom. Let’s we merely become a people who keep repeating our forefathers mistakes. …and therein we’d truly become the lost and the last generation.

Proverbs 31 it isn’t about a woman, it isn’t about how women or females should be. It’s about us as the Bride of Christ, the church, the people of God. It’s us being what God has always meant for us to be. It’s possible. It’s different. It’s perfect. We can do perfect when we do it together.

Love & grace,

Women: Misunderstood

I remember riding in the car and avoid the question, “What makes your blood boil?” I knew the answer immediately, well there are many things, but one thing that has long gotten to me… and I was avoiding answering it because I can be simply too fiery about it. When I sit here and type, I can measure down how provoked I may seem, but face to face, in a small space like a car, and with a new friendship …surely I could see overbearing and unnecessarily opinionated. Yet strangely since that time, it’s been coming up again & again, and it begs me to participate, to listen, to consider, to reconsider, and to engage.

I love this issue: Women.

Women, misogyny, modesty, submission, equal parts, the curse of Genesis chapter 3 (and thereafter), things the apostle Paul didn’t really say, Greek mindsets, sexuality, barefoot pregnant and in the kitchen, self-worth, dating, …and on & on it goes.
It’s an explosion that possibly has no end.
It’s intertwined with pretty much everything. …But just to make it a little more complicated than it already is, I like to add God into the mixture.  Although God often sweetens the deal (so to speak) this is one issue where it really brings out the bitter components, and it isn’t too easy to figure out just why that is.

I spent 10 years trying to really truly know the heart & core of whether or not God hates women. My question came from the actions & philosophies of Christian pastors, authors, speakers, and especially from young Christian men. It was the worst case of the “blame game” that exist in human history, and it’s alive and well today.

Most recently I’ve been fairly “out of the loop” with Christianity, women, and modesty. I figured I’d get back to these issues at some time… but I was wrong… at sometime they’d come creep upon me and beg again for answers and for compassion. Recently, that’s exactly where I’ve found myself. Just today, I watched a movie, read through a dozen blogs, googled, took notes, looked up scriptures, made more notes, and scoffed here & there in between. Shaking my head and bulging my eyes at the ideas which STILL exist in such open-ended conclusion that I wonder if deep down, even the people who are writing and saying these things, know they’re still missing something. I wish I could talk to these people. Not type, but really talk over coffee or even an empty table, and just spend hours with questions, stories, realities, unrealities, and searching for the deeper truth.

How is it in the year 2015 that we still have no better mass conclusion than to say “men are responsible for their thoughts” (internal life)  but “woman are responsible for their bodies and clothing (and sometime for the man’s body as well)” {external life}, and on mass Christianity except this as a good conclusion?!
What about the two become ONE flesh? What about in Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female? What about in Christ Jesus there is NO condemnation? What about the body is more than clothes? What about faith & works, works & faith they go together? How can so many people support a Christianity that say the men do the work in their minds and the women must be responsible for all their outward things? That’s not Christianity! That’s ancient Greek pagan philosophy, and it was disgusting!

Where are the Christian authors, speaker, theologians? Why 15 years later am I still reading the same opinions in other people’s mouths?

These are spiritual matters of the heart and inward person. Modesty, sexuality, love, relationships, attraction (and many others) don’t start outwardly work their way into our heart, spirit, and faith -sometimes in a corruptive matter- No!  These are things that start inwardly with how we view other human beings, what we hold as worth, how we gain power or control or servanthood, how we choose to live socially …these things all come from inward decisions of morals, worth, value, sentiment, priorities.

How long will Christian continue to snub Jesus for the sake of Aristotle, Augustine, Tertullian?
How long will generation after generation of young women will have the unfortunate experience of asking the same question I wrestled for a decade, “Does God hate women”? This questions shouldn’t even exist, especially in the Christian realm, but it does and I hate that.
It makes my blood boil.

It makes me want to make a change in this ol’ world. But what can I really do? For now, I write, I research, I take notes, I talk (mostly to my husband), I hope and pray. I don’t think these task are world-changing, but it’ll have to do for today.

Come up to Zion. Come out from Babylon

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.  She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.

She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.  She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.

She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.  She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.  Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”

-Proverbs 31:10-31

“The perfect woman, who can find?”
If you read this whole excerpt you might think that’s what it says at the beginning, but it’s does not actually use the word perfect… nor woman, in this one, come to think of it. It says “excellent wife” or “virtuous wife” or “virtuous woman” all are acceptable.  Many of the translations I’ve read say “wife” instead of woman, because that’s the implied context of this “lady” it’s referring to.

Unfortunately this often gets taken more literal than most of the other Proverbs which have great literal advice. After all, if it says woman or wife surely it means exactly that. What other context could it be in?

This scripture is often used to explain what the standard is for women who are thinking about getting married in a Christian marriage context. Yet that’s really sub-par to the bigger picture. Two big things should be noted really quickly:
1. This is the last chapter in Proverbs a book of wisdom, which teaches anyone who’s willing to learn about the greater, smarter truths that need to prevail in the midst of each of our lives.

  1. When Proverbs refers to a “woman” it is more often a parallel for a greater concept, possibly the imaginary of a reproductive entity with charisma and attractiveness, and then from there, the words that follow really tell you what exactly (good or bad) that particular Proverb is talking about.

One day as I read this passage of Proverbs 31, I realized that it is talking about the church. Not the buildings, gatherings, systems, programs, events, or other things claiming to be “the real McCoy” but the beautiful, loving, welcoming church also known as the Bride of Christ. I started tearing up and crying without realizing it. She’s so beautiful, and somehow I never say her right there in the midst of the poetry! I loved her instantly.

St Augustine is quoted as saying,
“the church is whore, but she’s my mother and I love her”
I am quoted as saying, “I love the church, she’s my mother! …and that’s not her.”

Let’s set this record straight!
The church who is the Bride of Christ is not a whore.
She’s a blameless, stainless, pure. She’s beautiful. She’s welcoming (Revelations 22:17). She’s loving. She works through the night (times of darkness), she still cares for the poor and needy, and yet never neglects her own household. She works hard because she cares. She is not afraid and she even laughs, knowing what is to come. She’s strong, dignified, perceptive, diligent, and loved, so very loved and honored by her husband (who is Christ Jesus). Who would dare call Christ’s Bride a whore? Not this woman!

I recognize her. I recognize her voice, her smell, her smile… that’s my mother. That is the church, or maybe you know her as Zion. I love her! She makes me proud. I love the way Jesus smiles at her. I love her song in the midst of the worst times. She’s fearless and ever loving. She never stops loving. I know her so well, and yet I wish I knew her more.

No one can step into these shoes and call itself church. I know my mother too well to believe that. No one can be “the church” and neglect the fact that she is also Zion. She doesn’t “replace” Zion, she was known as Zion before I called her my momma, before you called her the church. She’s one in the same, the radiant Bride of Christ.

Jesus said, “my sheep know my voice”. He said this because sheep are known for scurrying away from anyone who approaches them, but whom they do not recognize the voice, and rightfully so. Sheep are animals who are commonly attacked & eaten as prey of other creatures, they have to remain on their guard. But OH, the voice of the shepherd can be trusted!  However, I simply propose that it’s not just Jesus’ voice that we must recognize for our own safety, but also the voice of his Bride. We must also hear the call of Zion to come up!

Not very mommy-like

I woke up Friday morning and felt a certain inclination to start writing some thoughts down, while the words “feminine, maternal, motherly” arose in my spirit. 6hrs later I noticed had been writing for a little while and had better check to see what time it was, oops! All that time writing and I didn’t not truly write anything about the feminine, maternal, or motherly aspects of living this life. Did I miss it?

Well first off if you don’t know me very well just yet, which I often think is like everybody except my beloved husband because we spend way too much time together -thank God!-, I should say I am not maternal. I am a terrible person who makes other people gasp or hold their breath because when my husband & I married and everyone asked that next question, “Are you guys planning on having children?” I said straight and severely “No.” Such youthfully ignorant statements were written off with “Well you’re young. Maybe later on you’ll change your mind” or the most popular “…EVER?!”
Who knew simply getting married could make me into an instant birthing machine? I had no idea!

Let’s get two more thing straight.
One: I didn’t get married at 18 or 20, or the next couple of guesses. I have an idea of how to get pregnant and/or what being a mommy really takes. I feel sure that birthing children isn’t my ideal desire of life. That doesn’t mean I’ll never raise children, lots of kids already need homes. I might be someone’s momma someday, but as for now…
TWO:  I am Aunt Kim.  If you don’t know what to call me, I’d hardly be offended by anyone at any age calling me this. I love this title and I’ve been told I do it well. I like to stick to what I am good at. Screaming children is not what I am good at. Maternal is not one of my top qualities. Getting holes in every pair of my jeans from playing with kids, playing with the dogs, and gardening -that’s what I do. Not very mommy-like as far as I am aware.

Books like Kisses for Katie (by Katie Davis) give me hope that I’d have some potential to be motherly to someone at some point, just merely by continuing in my Aunt Kim ways. That lady, Katie Davis, now she has some serious mothering skills! I adore the example of faith she’s displayed before us, and I am so thankful for that book. It’s very precious indeed.

But me? At my computer..? What was I doing? Writing, sure but writing what? Writing like a mother, and writing like one of the beautiful woman of faith who’s willing to sift through all the words, faces, and pseudo-baggage to find my children, who the children of the faith in a Living God who draws out us out of the mire even when that mire is set mechanical systems that steal life rather than engages life as a living organism would.

I could talk or write theology, I am more well-versed in that than I desire to be, but that’s not the calling. Indeed there’s too much related to God and God’s heart that’s already been man-handled into something called “theology” but hardly having to do with the study of God at all. Maybe we all need to relook at this thoughts and somehow strain ourselves to hear what’s behind it.

In her book “Kisses for Katie” Katie Davis tells the story of how she was driving along one of the roads talking to her father who was visiting from the States when suddenly Katie pulled off the road and stopped her van. When the father asked why, she said she heard one of her children call out “mommy” to which her father replied “everyone around her calls you mommy. How did you know it was one of your girls?”  and simple as could be Katie says “When its one of yours you just know that little voice over the rest”

When I see articles written about how the Millennials are leaving the church and the end resolve so low that they ultimately just step over this issue and go on about their lives as usual, I find myself dumbfounded at such sluggardish ways! Something in me raise up within me against these authors who participate in the blame game as if there is no actual problem. Ok fine! Then send them to me.

Millennials are a problem for your “church”, but said-church doesn’t care enough to find the core problems. Ok. Send your Millennials to me.

Don’t just wait for a new & better generation to arise. It’ll be this one or none ever again!
I am not motherly, but I can’t stand this. Something must be said. Truth must be found. We don’t just let kids walk out and walk away into darkness. Not the church. The church never acts like that, and I mean never! If you see this happening, wake up! It’s not a generational gap, it’s a testimony about who’s who and what’s what.

It’s time to rethink church.