Gender Roles in the Church

This is not what you are thinking it is. I am not talking about women as pastors or deacons. This is more about how the church has been raising men to look at women and how women are pressured to fill this ideal. Maybe this isn’t true in your local church or the church in which you grew up, but in my church family (have you heard of the GARBC?) this was the norm.

Timothy’s mother and grandmother have been held up as examples on women homeschooling their families. I Peter 3:3-4 along with many other verses are held up as how women should look. Proverbs 31 is used for the character of the perfect wife. Let’s actually look at these, especially Proverbs 31.

One of my best friends and I have been discussing this for ages. There is a horrendous shortage of good, Bible-believing, God-following, trusting-Jesus men in our church and lives. To add to that, those we do have have been raised that women have very specific roles in the home: mother, teacher, homemaker, wife, charitable – in no particular order but all at once. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. My own mother would have loved to be a stay-at-home-mum. It’s Biblical. Proverbs 31 shows a woman who cares for her family. She’s up before the sun to prepare for the day, makes sure everyone is clothed appropriately, is not idle, cares for those in need. Those are all amazing qualities to be respected.

We’ve noticed though, that other verses in that passage are ignored. What about how she does business? She seeks out quality merchandise for her household. She profits from buying and tending to land. I personally love that last bit from verse sixteen. “She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.” When people tell you the Bible does not allow women to have rights, look at this verse. “. . . her profits. . .” Not her husband’s profits. Hers. So, why is it so wrong nowadays for a Christian woman to want and feel called to go to college for something outside of secretarial or education or women’s counseling or nursing? Why are we told by Christian guys that no Christian guy would a want a girl with higher education like a master’s degree or a doctorate? Now, I do believe that part of the becoming one with marriage means that a joint bank account – profits – are a huge part of marriage success. What I take from this verse is that the wife can and should be contributing to the household from outside the household.

Now, let’s look at appearance. I had a poster of 1 Peter 3:3-4 hanging on my closet door all through junior high and high school as a reminder that looks aren’t everything. I should be spending at least as much time on my character as on my outward appearance. To barely touch on the constant reminder we, as young Christian ladies, are told all through teen years: make sure you’re dressed modestly; we wouldn’t want the boys’ minds wandering because of something you’re wearing or not wearing.

That’s not our job! Yes, we are taught by Paul in the new testament to not cause another to stumble, but that doesn’t mean our job is to dress in a habit or be covered head to toe to try to keep the boys thinking of something else. Want to know something? Boys are going to be wondering about what’s under our clothes whether we’re in a bikini or in hijab (Muslim female dress). God made us in His image! Take pride in that! Note: this does not advocate going about in the nude or in a string bikini. He does instruct modesty.

Look back in Proverbs 31 verse 17, “She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.” She takes care of herself physically. She hits the gym or buys a jumprope. Does yoga. Taking care of yourself properly will automatically emphasize or highlight your natural, God-given beauty. Don’t be ashamed of that.

Now, if you know that your boyfriend or a close male friend struggles with pure thoughts when, say, you wear a tank top. Don’t wear the tank top. Grab a t-shirt. That’s on both of you. That’s what Paul meant. It’s the same vice versa. If a guy knows that you might struggle with pure thoughts when he goes shirtless, it’s wrong on his part to go shirtless around you. That’s on both of you.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that our skirts have to be no shorter than two inches above the knee. Nowhere are we told that we aren’t to work outside the home. We’re told to raise our children right, loving God, wanting to follow Him and do what is right. We’re told that our husbands need to be able to trust us. From the beginning – Genesis – says we’re to be help-meets to our husbands. However, we’re also told that our worth, as a virtuous woman, is far above precious jewels. We have a huge job. We need our other half to treat us as their other half. We don’t need, and we don’t deserve to be hidden away.

 

 

**Bible translation referenced is New King James Version.

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Who Am I? I am a Shadow.

We’re always told – at least I was told – that high school and the friends you meet there are great, but college is the time to establish who you are and make life-long friends.

This is not going well for me.

In high school, I was the varsity athlete, the member of student council, the alto in choir who could hit 1st soprano if needed, and especially the scholar. I was published in different books and papers. I received many, many awards. I graduated with an above-perfect GPA, and that was even after they cut a few of my elective credits to try to make it less above perfect. I was comfortable with having a group of good friends and not a lot of super close friends. I was excited for college. If high school had ended on such a good note (There were problems, but in the long run, they were nothing – a fact I recognized even at the time.), college was bound to be absolutely amazing. I would be set for life.

I’ve come to realize that’s not happening.

My first two years at a community college were ok. I did not make many connections for after graduation, but I did make a new friend with whom I still talk. I coached and babysat to pay for school, but I didn’t leave the bubble of my church and high school community. I got a full-time nightshift job outside of my safe bubble. That increased my number of professional connections. I also gained a few people in my social world I can call friends, but only with one or two am I at the good friend level. I moved to a private university. Being a full-time nightwalker still, as well as a full-time student commuter left little to no time for a social life. I kept telling myself: senior year. Senior year I will call off work and go to events.

Senior year came. Everyone had friends with which they planned for events. The guys and the girls were coupled up. Guess who had neither? I did network out amazingly, but in friends for life, I am sorely lacking. “That’s ok” I’ve been telling myself. “I have my fire department family.”

I’ve been on my fire department for several years. I’m still an outsider even though it’s a small-town department which has had a member of my family on it for 4 generations. I’m the only one who went to a different school. I am one of 2 in my age group who went to college, and the other one quit coming to trainings and non-glorious calls. Make no mistake – I’m not disliked. They don’t intentionally exclude me, and every single one will have my back when needed. I’m just invisible.

Would I do anything different? Yes. I’d go to events all years of college, even if they were just study groups. Use PTO time or trade for parties, not for a night off before a big test. I would make more of an effort to make friends early on in the experience.

Being an adult has been a challenge in other ways. Not only am I missing the social life I’ve had, I’m also missing the sense of identity. I knew who I was. I’m not in choir; I’m not athletic. I was great at academic challenges. Now I feel as if I’m failing with less than an A in most classes. I no longer even feel like I have a high level of intelligence. Nobody comes to me for homework help or study tips anymore. Who am I? Everything that gave me confidence is gone. I am a shadow of my former self just trying to stay hidden from attention where that fact would be brought to light for people to wonder “what happened?”

The Way It Was

When was the last time you took a moment to get outside of the city, to a park or a field or anywhere you can stand on clean grass away from concrete? Health educators of various specialties are encouraging this action after studies show that it increases one’s health status by decreasing stress as one connects with nature again.

Connects with nature again.

Do you ever look around and imagine what the area looked like before the wires and poles went up? Before the buildings were built and the roads were paved? When it was wilderness. When animals roamed free to play and live wherever they desired without being caught in headlights before being hit. Can you picture the natives setting up camp, laughing and talking as they did? Can you picture the hunters creeping around the trees as they stalk the food needed to feed their families? Laying the grass, staring up at the sky – maybe in the same spot where someone my age lay centuries ago as they escaped the stress in their life.

This is my idea of connecting with nature.

A favourite quote of which I do not know the author is “God made the country; man made the town.”

God created the Garden of Eden as paradise for humans, not New York City or London or Paris or Sydney. A garden!

The next time you start to feel stressed or overwhelmed, close your eyes. Tune out the sounds of the 21st century as you focus on the birds singing. Find a tall, old tree and sit beneath it thinking about the stories it could tell if trees could talk. (An incredibly interesting story and invention is shared below. Maybe they can’t actually talk, but this is so cool! I still get goosebumps listening to it.)

When you get away from everything, try to picture what it was like before pollution and the disturbances on the horizon view.

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/what-do-tree-rings-sound-when-played-record

Serial Victims

Our police officers have become serial victims. They are being targeted for similarities in their profile (can you tell I watch Criminal Minds?) by random people. Those similarities? They want to help people. They want to protect us. They want to enforce the Constitution in which they believe. They’ve sworn to uphold the law.

The President of the United States of America always swears to uphold the law of the Constitution. Once upon a time, that used to mean something, but apparently the oath of office is now just words – kind of like when we would recited some vocab definition which we do not remember now.

During this slaughter of our local heroes – our police officers – the White House has been silent. For almost the last decade, they have encouraged lawlessness. This is the result. Some very, very naive people have said something along the lines of “oh, maybe they don’t realize there’s a war happening on our streets.” “What do you want them to do?”

What I want them to do: apologize for encouraging the murder of our men in blue. I want them to increase financial support for local law enforcement to be used as the boards and chiefs of local departments see fit. I want them to issue formal apologies to the widows and children to the families of our fallen heroes for their losses due to previous actions. I want them to feel remorse. And I want that remorse to be public.

I don’t want to see that a kid in Texas (important: I do think that teacher should face charges for a false alarm or at least lose her job.) get invited to the White House because he was suspected of having a bomb disguised as a homemade clock. Crime in schools has gone up. There have already been gunmen in schools this semester. Teachers are within their rights and are obligated to report threats. Now, if this kid had a history of causing problems, no one would be upset. In this case, the teacher showed a lack of judgment, but that child is not a hero. Why is he being called to the White House for public recognition when our law enforcement officers are being shot down without government support or recognition? Why can the government acknowledge the injustice (debatable) of a potential bomber being held on suspicion of terrorism (the week after the 9-11 anniversary during which terror watch is always high) but not acknowledge the true terror happening on our streets nationwide?

I saw a headline today about California (notoriously the most liberal state in the Union) wondering why they cannot find police officers to fill their dwindling ranks. The answer: CA supports every other decision made by liberal politicians; why should this war on law enforcement be any different? Why should law enforcement swear to uphold the laws of a state when the state(s) will not take action against those making police officers victims?

Until our police departments and officers have backing from the state and federal government – including the president – they will remain serial victims. Without our LEO to protect us, there will be many, many more drive-by shootings where more innocents will be killed. There will be more rapes, more burglaries. More chaos and lawlessness.

The moral of this story? When you see idiots like the barista at Starbucks or the server at Arbys mocking and treating our protectors like trash, support our police. Make sure they know they have your support. It will make their daily sacrifice that much more worth it.

Note: the writer of this blog is not in law enforcement nor is anyone in the family. They are a family of firefighters, EMTs, and nurses. They stand by their brothers in badges.

 

 

23 September

Since this post was written, new information has come out about that Texas kid which results in a change of mind concerning that teacher. They did 100% the right thing and should not face charges or loss of job.

We Need a Hero

I wrote this in June but wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to post it. The poor thing has been saved, just waiting, on my computer since then. Until now.

We Need a Hero

Growing up, I read very little outside of American history – biographies, autobiographies, historical fiction. I had this idea in my head of how America, how the United States of America, worked and the sort of people who ran it. That idea fit – about 200 years ago when my heroes lived. Now? Well, when I have children, I pray they’ll have the same heroes. The so-called leaders of the America of my time and, as of now, the America of their time will not be worthy of their admiration.

My ancestors came to this land in the early 1600s. I have had at least one ancestor fight in every, single, American War since that time. Some have not returned home. It sickens me that the America for which my family fought is in its current state of chaos. We’ve regressed.

Our elected officials have been members of the same families and circles for generations. This was fine back in the early days of our country with the John Adams and John Quincy Adams serving as President. The big difference between then and now? They both lived through the creation of and fight for American freedom. They lived under the tyranny of a strong federal government. They saw the flaws in that system. They advocated States’ rights and the rights of the People.

Davy Crockett, an American hero slowly become forgotten in the minds of Americans, served the Unites States of America as a Congressman. He had made his way in the world, on the frontier, at an early age. He knew the People because he was one of the People. Did he retire and sit around pushing his own agenda when his terms were finished? No. He went back to the People and served alongside them at the Alamo where he took his last stand and died defending freedom.

Clara Barton, a heroine among American nurses at one time, was all about helping people. She was not about numbers and how could she benefit from the ill-fortune of others. She started the American Red Cross and served numerous American soldiers during the Civil War. Afterwards, she honoured our dead by giving naming them in their final places of rest.

An American hero, an American leader, is not one advocates their personal agenda. They are not one who pushes for their political party. An American hero advocates the American People regardless of the personal sacrifices involved in such an endeavor. Currently, we have no one in power in America who can later be written and thought of as an American hero. Instead, we have selfish bigots who are so busy looking out for their personal gain that they are slowly but surely stripping We the People of our freedoms. We need a hero. We need a hero worthy of being named with Davy Crockett, Clara Barton, Ethan Allen, Nathan Hale, and so, so many more Early Americans.

26 June 2015

Where my Money Goes. . .

I have been told so, so many times in the last few years, “You shouldn’t shop there because that company supports abortion.” “You still get your coffee from there? They support gay rights.”

Here’s my thing:

  1. You do not want me to go without coffee, and since the coffee shop in question currently has a monopoly in my area, well, I will be going there!
  2. The corporate company supports those things, not necessarily the branches to which I go.
  3. I do not support those unbiblical acts, but I do want Americans to have jobs.
  4. If action is taken to where those companies cannot support those things, what’s to stop that same action stopping Christian corporations from supporting Biblical groups?

A lot of companies were originally Christian companies. The current leaders may not support those original beliefs, but there’s still hope that the future leaders will get back to what originally made their company successful.

If I were going to start my own business, say some sort of pastry or accessory to coffee, my business would not support gay rights or abortion. If that coffee shop were to approach me and request a partnership, I would turn them down. We have different moral beliefs and values which we support. I will not partner or go into business with an organization who goes against God. This is a completely Biblical decision.

Do not tell me though that I am supporting gay rights or abortion because of where I choose to shop or buy coffee. If everyone did their research and only frequented places which supported Biblical principles, we would be back to the good ol’ days of raising sheep, harvesting wool, carding and spinning that wool, weaving our own material, dying that material, and then fashioning clothes. And that’s only one aspect of daily living.

Are you able to do that? No?

I actively support pro-Biblical groups. What amuses me is taking and posting pictures of Christian activities being hosted in those stores. Bible studies being held in that coffee shop. They’re supporting spiritual growth; they just don’t realize it.

That being said, there is a store I will not frequent again until they come under new management and make changes because of their political and spiritual stances, but that’s a different post.

Restless

How do you know God is about to shake things up in your comfortable life or plans? For me, I get a restless feeling – incredibly restless. I had my college plans all set; I was accepted and classes planned. I got that feeling. I tried telling Him no no no no no no no! I do not want to change my plans, but I lost all interest in the school. I was still planning on going there until I figured out where God wanted me, but I knew it was not there. Then someone mentioned my current college. I looked online and knew immediately: this is where I need to go. I did not even visit before applying and being accepted. The first time I went was to schedule classes and meet with my program director. I actually felt the restlessness settle into comfort.

The senior pastor of my church died several years ago. Some of us noticed that our beloved youth pastor seemed restless. Others did not know what that meant, but my family and I just waited to hear he was leaving us and prayed it was not out of state. The deacon committee to find a new pastor to present to us the congregation found one in which they were completely confident. A lot of us younger members – teenagers but out of high school – requested multiple candidates to compare as we prayed. We were basically brushed aside. Now most of us are looking elsewhere for a church home. We truly hate to do so, but all of us have that restless feeling or feeling of being lost in our own home church where most of have attended for over 20 years. It’s absolutely gut-wrenching, at least for me.

I have been using my nightshift job and school as a reason to avoid attending. This morning, I tried to drive the hour to my old youth pastor’s new church (yes, he was called in-state) but was unable to actually attend due to a miscalculation of time. I thought his new church would be the answer to my restlessness, but I don’t know if a 3 hour round-trip every Sunday is the right choice. The restless feeling is still present, so I’ll keep looking.

I did not realize how much regular church attendance meant to me until I got this restless feeling and no longer attend on a regular basis. Basically, I am realizing how blessed I have been to not get this feeling until now. I have never understood how people can change churches so many times, but now I know: they’re trying to get that comfort back. That feeling that says, “welcome home.”