Sunday, June 23, 2013

You Break It ...

There is a verse in the bible that, for years, has been presented as a justification for the concept of women being the "weaker sex". I admit, for years, I too had thought the same. Let's take a look at the verse:
"Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered." 1 Peter 3:7 (NKJV)
In my article "Cliché Christianity", I talk about looking at the value of the entire verse over pulling parts out of it. For the sake of this particular article, I'm going to focus on just a specific portion - or the length of this article may get out of hand! Keep in mind, that the parts that I do not focus on will become even more clear after I'm done - so make sure you go back and look at the rest of the verse in light of this.
When I was a kid, and had first heard the "weaker vessel" concept, I had this image in mind of a woman being like a china doll. What do you do with a china doll? You place it high on a shelf and admire it - preferably from a distance. Looking at the "vessel" that way, what purpose, or function, can be derived? A woman is something to look at and admire - but DO nothing.
Now, that idea does  fit the concept of "honoring", but something doesn't jive when you look at the "being heirs together (or 'joint heirs' [KJV]) of the grace of life". When you match that up with Galatians 3:28 ("… there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" [NKJV]), it's difficult to give the china doll vision much credence.
What if it isn't "china doll", but more like "chinaware"?
Remember when you were a kid, and your mom or grandma would tell you to set the table? So, you pulled out the dishes and glasses …
Side story: I was home from the Navy when we had a surprise party to celebrate my parents' 25th wedding anniversary. One of the gifts was a set of glasses - similar to the kind you would get from a bank for opening a checking account. I remember my dad proclaiming, "Twenty-five years of marriage and finally a set of glasses that match. Honey, throw out the jelly jars!"
… and started to set the table, when she would say, "Not those. We have company coming. Set out the fine china." Did you do anything differently? Did you handle the dishes any differently? Sure you did. You GENTLY placed the plates on the table. The crystal glasses were positioned just so. The good silverware polished and set out according to size (or whatever!) When the meal was over, did you just stack them up and stick them in the dishwasher? Heck no! Each dish was handled individually: hand washed and dried, and carefully put away - most likely in a china cabinet with glass doors to show them off.
Now wait a minute! Don't they do the same thing as the regular dishes? Don't the china plates hold food like the regular ones? Can you drink the liquid out of crystal the same as "jelly jars"? Of course! So why the difference? The VALUE of the china is higher than the regular plates, and thus should be treated appropriately. You  know: honored.
Men and women are equal in function and purpose, but not in value. Therefore, husbands are to HONOR their wives as such.
Women are fine china. Men are CorningWare®.
© Emittravel 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Stuff My Brain Says #66

The Boy Scouts of America recently voted to allow gay (defined as "homosexual" - not "happy") boys to join starting next year. After that WILL come gay adult scout leaders - it is inevitable. Don't believe me? Pandora's Box people.

Once you allow so-called gay marriage, you then HAVE to allow everything else. Anything less would be considered "intolerance". Now it's gay Boy Scouts, next gay Boy Scout leaders.

And after that I expect a full, PUBLIC apology to the Catholic priesthood for all of the grief given to it, for the apparently faulty prejudice against the claims of pedophilia. (I know that not all gay adults are pedophiles, but one of the main reasons against allowing gay adult scout leaders has been the fear of possible pedophilia.)

© Emittravel 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cliché Christianity

Philippians 4:6 - "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…" (New King James Version)

Ever quote only half a verse? You know, the part you LIKE? I call that "Cliché Christianity". Whenever someone is hurting we spout off these partial verses, sometimes even out of context, and pat ourselves on the back for being a fount of grace and wisdom to a needy brother or sister. Now, I'm not saying that it is wrong to encourage someone, but by grabbing only a part of a verse we can lose some great gifts from God.

The above verse is a good example of this. I purposely only gave you half the verse, because it is (actually more often than not) quoted as such. There is great truth that we miss when you don't bring the second portion into it:

Philippians 4:6 - "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (New King James Version)

I was "breaking bread" with a dear friend one evening (okay, it was steak, not bread - but I AM writing about clichés here), and he was sharing with me some difficult times he was having. But even in the midst of his torment, he had peace. He didn't really understand why, but he did. Other people were judging him; rubbing salt in his wounds (ANOTHER cliché! They just keep coming!). Yet, he KNEW that God wasn't. He knew the situation he was in was not the ideal - the perfect - but he was honest with God, and he KNEW that God was okay with it. Not saying that God was condoning or approving, but that, like a truly loving and empathic God, He cared. And by empathic I mean that God, by His Son Jesus, experienced the joys and pains of humanity and therefore feels WITH (empathy) us, not just FOR (sympathy) us.

Let's look at the above situation in relation to the verse - in total. Did my friend have reason to be anxious? Sure he did. And if he couldn't come up with a reason, I'm sure many of those other people would have given him substantial reasons to. But what does the verse say? "Be anxious for nothing…" I'm thinking of another cliché when I read that: "Be the ball". But the verse does not say to BE anxious, it says to be anxious for NOTHING. Remember, this is not the elimination of anxiousness - you can still be experiencing it in the midst of peace - just not BE it.

What did my friend do? He prayed. With thanksgiving. He made his requests known to God. He poured out his heart. THEN what happened? The peace of God. Now, I was having a little difficulty in phrasing that last sentence. I wanted to say something like "The peace of God was bestowed upon him like a gift." But that didn't fit the verse. The verse said that the peace of God will GUARD your heart and mind. The peace of God is not like a locked door, but more like a sentry. The first is an inactive barrier. The second is ACTIVELY keeping you secure. That means the peace is a presence. The Holy Spirit? A guardian angel? Perhaps. Sure fits.

One thing more: the peace of God "surpasses understanding". That means you will not be able to grasp it. Like finite trying to grasp infinite. You don't have to understand everything. Heck, where do you think the concept of "dark matter" came from? A math formula wouldn't work out to explain something in the universe, so "dark matter" was devised to make the formula work. And since the formula works, then it has been determined that "dark matter" MUST exist. Talk about mental gymnastics! But see? Wanting to understand is part of our nature. But you don't HAVE to. Sometimes it is best to just "let go and let God" (sorry, couldn't resist at least one more cliché!)

So remember: clichés sound good, but are rarely what is needed. Take time to be with someone in their hurt. A little empathy goes a lot farther to comfort someone. Remember: don’t judge until you've walked a mile in someone's shoes . . .

© Emittravel 2013