MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Fashion’s Effect on Men and Women

August 31st, 2006 Viewed 40574 times, 1 so far today

Warning- You may find the original photo offensiveIt is no secret that the culture today is pressing onto men and women a certain look— and that look is not one of inner beauty, but it is an appeal to the carnal desires of the world. God made men and women to be appealing to one another to look upon– for obvious reasons. But ever since the fall, there have had to be barriers put into place to protect us from inappropriate desires and to lead to sexual thoughts and sin.

Indeed, for as long as there has been modest clothing, there has been immodest clothing. If we take a chance to look back through history we will find that prostitutes (no, it’s not the world’s oldest profession, since Adam could be considered a farmer or engaged in husbandry even before there was a woman on the face of a planet) were identifiable. Why these women chose to do this is a discussion for another time, my point is that they dressed in a way to advertise what they were selling, and it was clear what they were doing.

The Proper Place for the Sexes in the Church

August 30th, 2006 Viewed 3090 times

Woman Praying

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. – 1 Timothy 2:12

So is one of the lightning rod verses of our time. What does Paul mean? Is this a cultural thing for the time, or is it something for all time. As more and more women achieve greater degrees of education, denominations start accepting women in the pastorate and leadership positions, and women start believing that they have a personal call to the ministry we find ourselves smacked in the face by this passage where we either have to agree with it or rationalize it away.

So, what is the context of the passage? This passage starts in verse 8 and starts with the men of the church. Actually, verse 12 may be one of the less challenging verses, because we find Paul making these commands for what women should be doing in church:

  • Women should adorn themselves in modest and not flashy apparel being adorned with good works
  • Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
  • Women are to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
  • She shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

In these verses, at this time period, Paul puts a lot of the responsibility of women on what she does, how she learns, and to whom she ministers. It’s interesting what he points out as a single man.

First, he does not want a woman to be concerned as much about her outward appearance as her inward. He wants her covering, as it were, to be that of good works, of holiness. What should attract a man to a godly woman isn’t necessarily her looks, her fine clothes or jewelry, but her character. This seems to be something that our culture continues to war with as we seem to continue to draw attention to the body and ignore the character of the person.

The Last admonition is something that all parents must have to be fully Christ-like– we need to have the attributes of holiness and purity and have them continue on in our children. Matthew Henry states it this way:

Though the difficulties and dangers of childbearing are many and great, as they are part of the punishment inflicted on the sex for Eve’s transgression, yet here is much for her support and encouragement: Notwithstanding she shall be saved, etc. Though in sorrow, yet she shall bring forth, and be a living mother of living children; with this proviso, that they continue in faith, and charity, and holiness, with sobriety: and women, under the circumstance of child-bearing should by faith lay hold of this promise for their support in the needful time.

It is this middle piece, however, that we find ourselves most interested and conflicted. What does Paul mean by being silent and usurping authority, and does that apply today? One church in New York believes that it does, and instructed a female teacher that she was no longer to teach men.

In order to appropriately address this passage, we first need to verify what Paul originally said. Fortunately, Stephen Kingston did a really good job of this in an earlier post:

There is no reason to suppose Paul meant anything but “authority” in this passage of his letter, and it is quite inappropriate to surmise anything further from the Greek.

So finally to the point in hand – the most likely interpretation for Paul’s words here is exactly what it appears to be – Paul will not suffer a woman to have authority in the churches of God.

The verse is problematic (as has been pointed out) but we have no valid reason for believing Paul meant to say anything different. We know however that Paul does not discount women from being deacons, although he seems to forbid them from being overseers. He does not forbid them prophesying and he affirms their role within the church.

So, he pretty much says that Paul actually meant that women should not have authority. I do find it interesting that Paul switches from “that the women adorn themselves” to “let the woman learn in silence” and that can be a topic for another time. What I want to do is go beyond Kingston’s analysis and ask the question: Is this for us today, or something that was specific to the church at which Timothy was a pastor?

I believe the key lies in Paul’s reasoning for having the women not be in the authoritative position. Paul could have said, “Timothy, these women should not have authority because Matilda has a weakness for the bottle, Estabula is known to gossip, and Julianna is not learned enough in our doctrine,” or something along those lines. He could have talked to their mental abilities, their testimony in the home, or anything else that would have been germane to Timothy’s church at that time, but he did not.

Eat Apple - by dkg
– Image by dkg

Instead, Paul appealed to Genesis:

For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Why don’t you want women usurping positions of authority over men, Paul? Because it was God’s choosing– Adam was created first and Eve was deceived first. Ever think through exactly what happened at the Fall? Eve was deceived, but Adam partook knowing that it was sin. Adam had heard God say it to him personally.

There’s a truth here that Paul is getting at– and it’s about what God knows about men and women. God knows our makeup, our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. He knows the stuff we are made of and He knows who to place in the right positions. That being the case, I believe that this is not a cultural command, but a command that’s based in how God created us and the way we are supposed to work together. I think that one of the side effects of our culture is to mix up the roles and cloud God’s judgment and declare that we have a better way.

There certainly may be women out there that would make better preachers, teachers, etc. than certain men– but that’s not the way Paul said it should be in this passage, and that’s not the way it should be in our churches.

What is Indecent?

August 29th, 2006 Viewed 2331 times
Eat Apple - by dkg
– Image by dkg

Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden without sin. As part of this sinlessness was the absence of shame. They were naked in the garden (and the climate was probably more conducive to a lack of attire) and there was no problem with it. They enjoyed a closeness and oneness that we can never know. They were one with each other and they conversed with a holy God just as they were. Then came sin, and after partaking of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, many things were changed.

  1. Their relationship changed: They were no longer two sinless beings, they now had sin in the way. Also, they had chosen to follow each other rather than God– they were stuck in the same boat.
  2. They would now die: It’s unclear just how long they would have lived– if not forever– had they not chosen to eat the fruit. They now had both age and pain during childbirth to face.
  3. They now had shame: They realized that they were naked, and the first thing that the Bible has them doing after they knew they had sinned is fashioning aprons for themselves out of leaves.

Powerful Women Yield Weak Men

August 28th, 2006 Viewed 6799 times

Father and SonWhat makes a man a man? I would propose that it is a complex mixture that includes who he has to be and what he has been trained that determines just who that man is. Unfortunately, both of these things have changed.

It used to be that the man was considered the primary breadwinner. He went out to do the work and bring home the money to provide for the family. He was the one that was supposed to know how to fix things that were broken. He was the person looked to for strength, support, and for teaching young boys to follow in his footsteps. He was the leader, the lover, the protector, and the friend. There are songs dedicated to “Daddy’s hand” being soft and gentle and yet tough as steel.

However, feminism has had an impact on this man. First, feminism took away the man’s requirement to provide. Women are now capable of holding a job– and getting perks that men cannot get. They get time off for having a baby with guarantee of having their job back after six weeks of absence. They get flexible hours or part time hours when men do not. They push for equal pay, through all of these things. They have placed restrictions on workplace conduct and talk. They push the envelope on what they can wear, and should a man have a problem with it– it’s his problem.

Women feel they can be self supportive. They can have Flexible Spending plans for daycare. They can have their children, their house, and their friends. They don’t need men– and don’t believe that men haven’t taken notice. Men know they don’t have to marry because they can get physical pleasure or companionship without the price of commitment.

Joe Callender, 47, a retired New York City corrections officer, has had four children with two different women he has lived with but not married, because (he says) he doubts his own capacity to be faithful. “Marriage, that’s sacred to me,” he says.

Tom Ryan is an electronic specialist who spent years touring with a rock band. He touts traumatic fears of divorce as a reason for his middle-aged celibacy. After living with a girlfriend for six years, and buying a house with her, he had to suddenly come up with the cash to buy out her share of the house after the breakup. His girlfriend, who had lived with him for six years, had wanted to get married and have children. He loved her, he says, but he “did not feel ready.” He still holds out that marriage and/or children is not “totally out of the question.” Mr. Ryan is 54 years old.

Two WomenI believe the saying goes: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Men don’t need to marry, and they don’t feel that they have to support a wife and children because women are constantly saying that they don’t need the men.

Women first got into the workforce when the men were overseas, and they didn’t want to leave. They believed that they could have it all: work, family, children, etc. and what they’re now realizing is that they may try to have it all, but some feel unfulfilled.

Second, men are also being trained that women are peers and equals– marriage being a 50-50 partnership. The Bible says that God made the man to be the leader of the home, and the wife to submit to his authority. In our current culture, in order to achieve equality, women are being forced to be educated in things that do not benefit the marriage (in fact they can even work against the marriage) by people that say they care for them the most– their parents.

I have seen many parents use the excuse “well if you don’t get married…” or “if he leaves you/dies…” then you have to have a college education. And this college education isn’t in things that would build the marriage– like how to be a good wife/mother/etc. It’s how to have a business. It’s toward a profession. I once asked a friend of mine in college what she would do if her husband wanted her to not work, homeschool or something. And she said that she’d be willing to follow his lead. I remarked something about spending eight semesters getting a degree she wouldn’t necessarily need.

Office Arm WrestleJust this past week, an article on Forbes.com advised men to stay away from the professional woman. You get a flavor of it with how it begins:

A word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don’t marry a woman with a career.

Why? Because if many social scientists are to be believed, you run a higher risk of having a rocky marriage. While everyone knows that marriage can be stressful, recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. A recent study in Social Forces, a research journal, found that women–even those with a “feminist” outlook–are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I want weak women. What I want is complimentary couple that gets the most out of the differences that men and women have and serves God best. A family that can impact the world needs to have the members of it functioning the best way they can. They need a leader/provider husband that knows his roles and fills them. They need a loving/supportive wife that’s able to fill in his gaps and to compliment him. They need children that honor and obey their parents and are examples for those around them.

I just don’t think that our current cultural norms are accomplishing what is truly best.

Duties of a Pastor’s Wife II

August 27th, 2006 Viewed 19918 times

Smiling Bride
It’s interesting how our culture has affected the roles of men and women, and what more fitting a case to look at today than how our culture has affected the Pastor and Pastor’s Wife. It is this couple that many look up to for their standard, their friend, and their confidant.

Let’s start by looking at the Pastor’s Wife. I don’t know that we can find an example of the Pastor’s Wife doing anything in the New Testament. I think that you could make the argument that perhaps Priscilla of Acts 18 is the closest we get, and yet we see her functioning as someone that aided her husband Aquila in training up Apollos and ministering to Paul. She could be the closest we find to the modern day Pastor’s wife, but there seem to be no spiritual qualifications laid out for the Pastor’s wife. There are some for the deacon’s wives:

  • Be Grave – Reverent
  • Not Slanderers – Not speak Maliciously of others
  • Sober – In conduct
  • Faithful in all things

This is a tall order for any woman, and one would think that a pastor’s wife should have these qualities as well– but they are not listed. I know what you’re thinking: Perhaps Paul thought that pastors would not be married. I guess that’s possible that he figured that they would all be devoted to the Word exclusively. And at the same time I can’t help but think that he also believed so much in the Lord’s return in his lifetime that along with his comments about how it was better not to marry this was just something he assumed would be temporary. I’m sure that he could not foresee what is going on now!

The Pastor’s wife’s duties are really defined by their family, and yet the church easily falls into the trap of believing that they are the recipients of a two-for-one deal. They pay for one person to minister and they get two people. In fact, some women are wired this way, and you will find them teaching Sunday School, organizing the nursery, leading Bible Studies, singing, etc. And then you’ll find some that are fine with blending into the background. Are either of these wrong? I don’t think so.

For first and foremost the woman’s place is at his husband’s side, steadying him. She is his helpmeet– not an employee of the church. She must stand on God’s side if her husband is in the wrong, but if it’s a question between a matter at the church and her husband, she should side with him and seek his best interest.

It is her family that comes first. How often have we seen a Pastor’s family ruining his ministry because of their behavior, their sin? I believe that Satan has specific plans to tear pastors down through their family so that they can cease to be effective ministers of the Gospel. The prayer for her family and the raising of her children cannot take a back seat to church ministries (and I would argue the same for deacons and other church leaders).

Pastor’s wives are sinners too, and sometimes face as much of the scrutiny and more of the stress than any other lady in the church in regards to who she has to be friendly to, how she has to dress, and what expectations that can come along with a job you are married to. It’s not that surprising to see rash things when that kind of pressure is on a person.

How Our Culture Has Impacted Men and Women

August 26th, 2006 Viewed 1584 times, 1 so far today

Our theme for this week’s posts is an exciting one and very relevant to our day in age. How has our culture impacted men and women? That’s what we’re going to find out.

Each day we’ll have a discussion regarding an area of how things have changed because of how our society is portraying men or women and look at what the difference is from what God’s Word has recorded for us about what happened in the past and the ideal standards it lays out.

Hope you’ll join us for what should be an interesting look at men and women and the parts that they played and have played here at MInTheGap!

New ‘Survivor’ Divides Groups by Race

August 26th, 2006 Viewed 1157 times

Survivor Cook IslandsThe T.V. Reality Game Show Survivor is in a lot of hot water because of what is slated to happen in the upcoming season.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, the show takes people from all different areas and backgrounds, picks the ones it thinks will have the most T.V. chemistry and strands them on an island in different teams with different levels of supplies. Each episode shows some time with the group and usually two challenges– one for things that will help them in their quest, one for to see who will be kicked off the island. As the numbers go down, the teams merge and eventually the last seven to be eliminated choose between the final two as to the winner of $1,000,000.

In previous episodes they have used all different means to select the teams. They have selected them randomly, pick-em style with captains, men versus women– whatever they can do to draw attention and to test the people in the groups. This time they have chosen to have four teams based on race– and people (mostly people of color) are screaming racism.

Why this is a big deal, I do not know. Personally, I would have expected more outcries when they were divided by women and men– except the women took it as a challenge and as a chance to prove themselves. If the people of color took it this way too, we wouldn’t have a problem.

Those that are crying “racism” the loudest are, in fact, those most racist. Since they do not know how the different groups will turn out, it is they that assume that those of color will fail or will be made into foolish figures. One would figure that they wouldn’t be singing this tune if a person of color (Hispanic, Black, Asian) wins or if all the white people are kicked off the island first– so they have to be expecting the worst.

It’s sad when the people that are showing the most racism are those that are of that race.

A Valentine Story

August 26th, 2006 Viewed 1351 times, 1 so far today

“Just a little lower,” cried a man standing on a stage below. “That’s it. Now, the other side.” The giant “Cupid” figure came to rest in what would be it’s final resting spot. A scrawny boy of twelve climbed down a ladder, wiped his hands off on his jeans, and walked over to the man. “That’s a very good job, Jimmy,” the man commented.

“Thanks, Mr. Smith,” replied Jimmy, just as he was bumped into by a kid walking backward.

“Hey! Watch where you’re going!” The boy cried.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to–”

“Look. Just stay out of my way, okay?!”

“John? What’s going on up there?” A voice called.

“Oh. It’s just the stage crew getting in the way again. Nothing to worry about,” replied John.

“Let’s take it again with your scene with Sarah,” said the voice. Giving Jimmy a little push, John took his place next to Sarah.

“Don’t let him get to you Jimmy. He’s not–”

“It’s okay Mr. Smith. I don’t mind. Let’s see if we can get some paint on that set.”

 

“All right, class. It’s time to vote for class representative. I’ve looked over the qualifications, and only three people in this class fit: Harry, Jimmy, and Helen.” The class turned and looked toward Harry, who grinned. “Everybody get out half a sheet of paper and vote for the two people that you think should represent the class this semester.” Getting out sheets of paper, the class began to write.

“Hey, Jimmy,” a friend whispered.

“Yeah, Cody?”

“Do you really think that you can win?”

“I don’t know, why?”

“Well, I’d– Never mind. I hope you win.”

“Thanks.” The class passed in their ballots, and the teacher took them outside.

“I think that I’ll go to the bathroom,” Cody stated, with a grin. He took off, and then returned to report on the counting. “It appears as though it will be you and Harry.”

“Wow! Me. Our class representative. Oh, here she comes now!”

“Class, the winners of the election are Harry and Helen. Congratulations.”

 

“Hey, Jimmy. This is the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich I’ve had this semester,” stated Cody.

“That’s great Cody. Hey, let’s go do something tonight.”

“I’m sorry, Jimmy, but I’ve got to go to my Aunt’s house and help them move in. It’s my dad’s idea of family bonding.”

“Cody, you know there are sometimes… Oh, never mind. I’ve got a lot of work to do tonight myself.”

“Hey, Jimmy. Thanks for coming tonight, we sure could use the help.”

“Not a problem, Pastor Chris. I like working on stage.”

“Well, I don’t know what we’d do without you. These props and sets are going to be great for our play.”

“Well, I can’t say that it’s the best set–”

“It’s great. Let’s go downstairs and see if your mother needs any help cleaning up.”

 

Driving home in the car, Jimmy’s mom turned to him and said, “You got some mail this morning, and I put it on your desk.”

“Thanks Mom.”

“How was your day?”

“A rough one, but I’m just happy that I can go home and get to bed.”

“Well, if you need anything–”

“That’s okay. I’m just tired.”

Walking in the house, Jimmy and his mother carried in the groceries. Jimmy headed up to his room to go to bed, when he noticed the letter on his desk. Reaching over to open it, he looked at the address. There was no name on it, just a return address. He ripped open the letter and took out its contents. There was a sheet of folded notebook paper, and a piece of construction paper cut into a heart.

Looking first at the construction paper, he unfolded it, and looked at it for a second. All it said on it was “Happy Valentines Day.” Opening it up, he read, “Thank you for making my day brighter and happier. You’re a good guy, and good guys are hard to find. Hope this day sees you well and happy too. Love, A friend.” Then it stopped.

He looked all over it trying to find a name, but found nothing. He looked at the paper and read its brief contents. There wasn’t much on it, for it was a flier for the play he was working on. Written on the bottom were the words: “With special thanks to Jimmy Russell for all his hard work and good spirit.” He placed the two things on his desk, and got ready for bed. Climbing inside his covers, he turned out the light. As he sat in bed, a tear trickled down his eye, for someone stopped to take notice of him, more than thanks for coming, or you’re doing a good job.

 

More special to a person is someone who shows that he cares by going above and beyond to minister in little ways that seem so small at the time, yet make such a difference in a soul that just wants someone to take a little notice of the little things. It is small things that make a difference, and small people that can be used mightily. Take time to do something unexpected for someone sometime, for that is what encourages the most.

New Method Makes Embryo-Safe Stem Cells

August 26th, 2006 Viewed 1088 times

Robert Lanza, M.D.One of the toughest problems that we face in pro-life circles is that we defend life from the time where it’s not recognizable as a human– when it is still a rapidly dividing group of cells. People have a hard time visualizing anything that they cannot see, especially in today’s day in age. We live at a time when we see everything from birth to death, and the microscopic just isn’t that much “fun.”

So, when we try to defend the unborn’s right to live, and that killing baby humans at any stage is wrong, it’s hard! Fortunately, medicine has shown us that it’s not only embryonic stem cells that have medical benefits, and that some of the wild claims that they believe they have are not true.

The latest news on this front came out this week. A new approach, which would take a single cell from the embryo instead of destroying the whole thing, could be the key to defusing the issue. Maybe:

Some stem cell researchers complain that the new approach, though it may hold future promise, simply isn’t as efficient as their current method of creating stem cells. That procedure involves the destruction of embryos after about five days of development, when they consist of about 100 cells.

Meanwhile, hard-line opponents of stem cell science argue that the technique solves nothing, because even the single cell removed by the new approach could theoretically grow into a full-fledged human. Some also object over the possibility the procedure could harm the embryo in an unknown way.

Although this new way may have more questions than answers, the best way to do this research is still with adult cells. These humans aren’t allowed the ability to choose, and it’s still the result of fertility practices that God never condones– He alone opens and closes the womb.

Wife Needs One-Day Marriage After Drunken Divorce

August 25th, 2006 Viewed 2161 times, 1 so far today

In what seems to be a far off place with strange rules and customs, another woman has fallen victim of an Islamic law that says that if a man says that he divorces his wife three times in repetition, they are divorced. The twist comes in how the couple can get back together:

Under the rules, the woman, who is a mother of three, must marry another man and obtain a divorce from him before she can be reunited with Ershad, the clerics in the local mosque said.

The clerics have said the man the woman marries temporarily must be 70 years of age, Parida said.

If it was absurd to say that a verbal statement said when drunk or asleep can render a couple with children divorced, it is even more absurd to say that marriage to a 70 year old for a day will rectify the measure. In Mosaic law, a woman that divorced and then married another was not to go back to the first husband. She could if she just divorced and had not married another.

I don’t understand why, in terms of marriage, anyone woman would want to be a Muslim.

  • You’re property
  • You have to wear a burqa
  • You may be one of four
  • You can be divorced by your husband saying the same thing three times, and even if he didn’t mean it, you’re still divorced
  • To get back with the father of your children and your kids you have to marry a 70 year old…

It’s just absurd.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.