Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Monday, April 30, 2007

II Ruth & Karen

In talking about the issues we discussed previously, I failed to take into account the opportunity afforded those who could misinterpret or infer from my comments something alien and contrary to my intent.
I in no way meant to infer that women are of no value except as baby factories. It was not my intent to mean that women can not achieve significance or personal fulfillment aside from having children.
I in no way intended to mean that women who are single mothers or those who are unmarried or widows must or would even consider their only options for life to be that of employment in prostitution or pornography.

The discussion was to point out the conceptual, theological and perhaps unrealistic ideal of the intended and original parameters of the male/female relationship. These parameters include the results of the original sin and the subsequent curse and prophesies concerning the punishment and redemption of the original creation. The opportunity that this kind of study affords us, is that we may in light of understanding apply or incorporate into our relationships aspects of this knowledge. We also have the ability through this incorporation to speak into the lives of those around us, who are struggling in their marriages and relationships.

1 Timothy 2:12 states, "...I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet."
1 Corinthians 14:34 states, "let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted for them to speak, but they are commanded to be under silence..."
1 Corinthians 11:3 states,"...I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man;..."

These scripture references seem very pointed in their ---- positioning of women in a subjective place, under the authority of men. The word used for silence actually means 'in fashion still', 'tranquility arising from within', "peaceable". It returns the thought of the passage back to the woman exercising authority over the man, its intent is not to say that a woman is never to speak, prophesy or exercise spiritual gifts, it is to say that the usurping, undermining, or grasping for that which a man is to be called, and in the sense of abdication that which a man should not be turning from, is not to be the primary ambition of the woman. In the same sense the subjugation of the man to the authority of Christ defeats the notion that a man's function as a tyrant is acceptable. This is really not a discussion about tyranny and oppression, although for the most part that is the current issue, but about the mutual cooperation of men and women working and living together in unity and peace, reflecting the God as servant and redeemer relationship through flesh and blood. There is a mirroring of the subjection of Christ to the Father's authority and the sacrifice and obedience required of Him in order to attain that redemption for us. God calls men to that Adam-like position, which requires us to redeem, (not the word I would like to use?) or restore the faithful execution of the office or role through the sacrifice we make to build into our relationships the trust that is needed to obtain a willing subservience (again not the best word) or acceptance to/of a man's authority.

In Joel 2:28 we read,"...and it shall come to pass, afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:..." there appears to be no indication in this prophesy that women are excluded from the edification, exhortation, comforting or speaking in the church. This passage of scripture follows a line of thought from God whereby He is restoring to the Kingdom of Israel not only the spiritual fruit of his blessing, but, also the physical and subsequent emotional fruit of the blessing of His provision. It is only after this bodily provision that we see the further expression of God through the spiritual gifts of prophesy and the outpouring of the Spirit of God and the manifestations of His power. I think there is a relationship between the visible and the fundamental sustenance in there order of delivery. In the restoration of the male/female relationship there must be an order of delivery as well. As Jesus spoke of feeding the hungry and giving water to the thirsty, in like manner, we as men must feed the women, not necessarily food, but a nurturing of their souls, a delivering of ourselves in the role of leader of a home to them in an assurance of their proper care and benefit. In the same vein there must be a yielding by the woman to that leadership and a trusting, so that the man is affirmed and strengthened by her support for, acceptance of and willingness to be lead. And yes this is very idealistic, however there is a place for the institution of these principles, and however strict or domineering they may appear, the obedience to the structure of authority has the possibility of revolutionizing our culture and society. A church with no divorces, or families without financial troubles (No! I do not believe this is gender specific), cooperative husband and wives, enough said!

1 Corinthians 11:10 states, "...therefore the women ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels." The word used for authority in this verse means the power to act, it derives that meaning from the sense of 'given leave to' or 'permission', 'the ability or strength with which one is endued'. It is used here, in context of the veil, as the symbol of the subjection of the woman to the man, and his authority over her. There is also the ability of the woman to remove the veil, she has that power and authority in her ability and as opportunity affords to exercise that which lies within her jurisdiction to perform. This is more accurately laid out in Number 30:10-15 the statute was instituted to maintain and establish that the man should rule or have authority in his home. It is the veto power in the event that the health and well-being of the home should be disrupted or usurped by another or perhaps superior relationship, or a motivation in opposition to God's ordained order entertained by the woman. It is in this authority of the man that we have the greatest of difficulties and it is in this circumstance that we see the greatest opportunity for abuse and untrustworthiness. A man called to the leadership of his home should make decisions in a sacrificial, selfless, manner indicative of his understanding of the servant-leader concept represented by Christ's sacrifice for the church-bride.

Paul's intent is to maintain the order and respectability of the community of believers in conduct, in appearance, and in moral fortitude. The man/woman relationship is not an insulated, isolated, segregated, independent, or self-subsisting association. It is one which requires the utmost of understanding, acquiescence, sacrifice etc..1 Peter 3:7,"You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." The male/female relationship is the realization of the ideal of redeemed humanity represented by the bride, the Church.

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