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Archive for the ‘gender’ Category

for the uninformed, Titus 2 is a place where Paul lists “sound doctrine” for older and younger men in the church, slaves, older women, and, obliquely, the younger women.

for younger women, he says for the older women to

encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored. (Tit 2:4-5 NAS)

All young, married women are plunked into one basket, as such–and sure, it’s a general letter to several churches, so Paul wasn’t into writing huge, detailed lists, just hitting the basics with a broad brush.

These things were first written in a letter to one young guy, and it was probably passed around, copied, read, re-read, etc. And nowadays, all young women can read all these instructions and pore over them extensively. I doubt we’re that different from the ladies of long ago. And one hard thing about recieving these instructions is that it requires a huge level of maturity to not immediately start comparing, judging, feeling yourself better or inferior, being proud or just self-focused, yada, yada.

It’s a trap we can constantly step into, especially when we’re in the thick of things, making decisions, forming who we are as individuals and as individual families.

Women compare too much (from Alana L on youtube)

It’s strange because I don’t think the other groups mentioned in this chapter are that prone to comparison. Are older men that tempted to compare who is more temperate, dignified, or sound in faith? I think they compare other things maybe. Are younger men prone to compare themselves to each other to see who is more sensible? Are slaves (by extension, employees) tempted to compare who is more “not argumentative”?

I think it’s perhaps because young women feel that their entire life, meaning, existence is wrapped up in these spheres. Just having a husband, children, and a home takes up enormous amounts of our time, energy, so much of who we are …

that it’s easy for these instructions to become almost the whole of who we are. And I’m not sure that is what was intended here. But this is why we become so personally invested in this and why we tend to sin in comparing ourselves, or feeling condemned by these verses that have instructions that can have endless applications–and hey buddy, i’m right there with the rest of us!

I don’t think that Paul was intending these verses to become the end-all of femininity, the end-all of the married woman. It’s just sensible guidelines God has given us as we grow in Christlikeness and godliness, these are the ways it will be manifested.

As we grow in Christlikeness, older women won’t gossip, they’ll be reverent, not drunken. Older men will be dignified, temperate; younger will be sensible. And the naturally busy younger women will be encouraged to stay on track with what they need to be busy with at that phase of life with the sweetness of Christ.

I needed this reminder and perspective.

P.S. I think I’ll sign up for an online homemaking class soon, put my love to study to good use!

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DSCN4110Paul had instructed Titus to appoint elders in the churches in the area where he left him, so of course, he told him what kind of men to look for.

It’s long interested me how the elder’s “qualifications,” as we so strictly term them today, are often wrapped up in his wife.

It’s like, the elder candidate has to have an assumed unity of godliness with his wife.

Because how many wives could wreck this stuff:

  • having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion—in the final analysis our kids make their own choices. But what choices are we making, as their parents, while we have these childhood years in our hands?
  • For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward
  • not fond of sordid gain—not greedy—are you ready to be content and not nag about money? to not even worry? I have failed in this, for years even, so I won’t get on my high horse while I’m having a secure moment. But God is really working on me with this.
  • hospitable—this takes some investment and trust; some versions add “hospitable to strangers.” I think of this as not just having people over, but actually housing those who have real needs, financial or otherwise. I’m not good at this in some ways. Like it’s hard for me to cook and have friends over. But it’s pretty easy for me to open my doors for needy to live with us long-term. Want to think about how to more diligent in this though.
  • loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled …
  • holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching—going off on any weird tangents? what titillating doctrines are you amused with? is the pure Word enough, or do you need something a little different? exciting? controlling? prescriptive? or wild? and out there? Thinking about this myself.

These are questions I’m asking myself. Because Paul’s instructions are assuming that the elder’s wife is unified with him in these qualities.

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I’m pondering Paul’s instructions to Titus in his brief letter to him. I’m thinking of older and younger men in the church, elders in the church, bondslaves, false teachers, older and younger women.

So as I was photographing the flowers today, I was thinking of women in the church.

Groups, shades, similarities, togetherness, beauty:

DSCN4126unique but alike

DSCN4180lovely

DSCN4176“deeper” thoughts are coming.

God is cleaning out my angst about gender and the church. I love when He does that. And it’s surprising me, honestly.

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some of the complementarian response to the feminist movement tends to portray marriage and motherhood as some highest good thing for women in a way that just rubs me as being a little off. I liked this paragraph on Wendy’s blog:

Motherhood is not the greatest good for the Christian woman. Whether you are a mom or not, don’t get caught up in sentimentalism that sets it up as some saintly role. The greatest good is being conformed to the image of Christ. Now, motherhood is certainly one of God’s primary tools in His arsenal for this purpose for women. But it is not the end itself. Being a mom doesn’t make you saintly. Believe me. Being a mom exposes all the ways you are a sinner, not a saint. Not being a mom and wanting to be one does too. We may long to get pregnant, looking at motherhood from afar. God sanctifies us through that longing. We may lose a pregnancy or a child, and mourn the loss of our motherhood. God conforms us to Christ through that as well. We may have a brood of children of various ages, and heaven knows God roots sin out of our hearts that way. It’s all about THE greatest good, being conformed to the image of Christ – reclaiming the image of God that He created us to bear through gospel grace. And God uses both the presence and the absence of children in the lives of His daughters as a primary tool of conforming us to Christ. http://www.theologyforwomen.org/2010/05/for-moms-former-moms-and-wannabe-moms.html

That’s some good food to chew on. It’s not about male or female, marriage or singleness, motherhood or not (as important as those things are in their place). Being transformed into Christ’s likeness is God’s goal for us.

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