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

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