Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Owl's Kitchen

I forgot to mention that I started a new blog. Partly it is for me to keep my favorite recipes easy to find. Partly it is to share. I'm always looking for a good recipe! You are welcome to visit, make a comment, try a recipe--or share one of your own.

Here is where you will find it: THE OWL'S KITCHEN.

The picture is of my daughter and me (and Trinity, about a month before she saw the light of day) in my kitchen.

IF you tried the link and it was broken, try again. I fixed it.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

We are back from MO. Our rear ends are a bit sore from long hours driving home. All in all, it was a really good conference.We heard from several of our AG leaders, all good, and Alton Garrison (our new assistant general superintendent) was terrific and very funny (to my surprise). I am so happy with our present leadership and have great hope for needed fresh perspective and change. One might not think so, considering that our leadership is not young--but their vision, passion, and insight was so refreshing. We were encouraged and challenged. We ate too much southern food. We heard and we sang lots of good music. We did not sleep all that well. Oh yeah, we hung out with chaplains and their spouses. It is always interesting to do that.

The crowd at the AG chaplain's conference is unusual in terms of both genders being represented among the ministers present, racial diversity (black, white, Asian, Pakistani, Hispanic and others), and the banquet is always fun in terms of dress. The military chaplains turn out in their dress uniforms, the rodeo chaplains wear cowboy hats, the biker chaplains wear leather vests and boots--the only ordinary-looking chaplains are usually the health care or corrections people. It is a rather remarkable group of unusual, wonderful, dedicated folks who often are isolated, unheralded and unknown (except to God).

The first night, Ken wore my favorite tee shirt. Hee hee!

We have heard some very interesting comments about this shirt. Just for fun, here are two from a while back--and they are remarkable in how they demonstrate that a woman minister is apparently an impossibility in some minds:

Two young men stood behind us in a restaurant line. They did not realize we could hear them as they discussed the shirt at length. Eventually one said, "Well, I'm just completely confused. Do you think he is saying he's gay?" (This in spite of the fact that the two of us were holding hands.)
A realtor was showing us a model home and she kept glancing at the shirt with obvious puzzlement and curiosity. Finally she asked, 'Uh, so which one of you is the preacher?" I managed not to say, "Did you READ the shirt?"
This trip, someone came up behind Ken and said, "So I take it you aren't Baptist?" LOL! At least that made some sense. (Sorry, all my wonderful egalitarian Baptist buds.)
This picture is me (the round one with her eyes almost closed) and Amy Maxwell (the tiny, young one): wife, mommy of two, seminarian at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, blogger, fellow REV GAL, and Army chaplain in the making. Isn't she cute? We ate (sorta) Mexican food at Chipotle and talked for over two hours. We could have talked longer. It was so nice to meet you, Amy! You can visit her at Gentle Whisper.com.

This morning I visited my mom in the nursing home. I took along a vanilla shake, knowing she loves sweets and also knowing that she is growing dangerously thin. She drank the whole thing, but it took about an hour of help and coaxing. I am frightned to see that swallowing is getting almost impossible for her. I'm not really sure she knew who I was. Then I was off to my church office to open mail and answer phone messages. While I was away a single mom and her baby were in a horrific auto accident that could well have been fatal. She blacked out, hit a post, rolled over once or twice and then hit a culvert and flipped end over end three times! The car is totalled, but mom and baby are all right. I hear that yesterday fourteen teenagers headed off to camp, and a phone call today let me know that good things are already happening there.

Thanks be to God--life goes on and among all of it we are assured of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Oh, I almost forgot! I LOVE my new GPS! Much2Ponder, we will never be lost again! Woo Hoooo!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Five

I'm hosting the Friday Five over at RevGal BlogPals, and I wrote:

We will be at a chaplain's convention when you all are answering the Friday Five Questions. I'll look forward to reading your answers next week when I get home. At the moment we are trying to get the car loaded so we can hit the road, so this will be a simple F.F. This running around madly in order to leave has me wondering: what are the five things you simply must have when you are away from home? And why? Any history or goofy things, or stories?

And now I am posting from the "business center" in the motel so will be quick...no laptop for me.  Wah!
my five things?  CDs.  Must. have. music.  And my digital camera.  If I had a laptop I'd bring that, but since I don't I'll say my cell phone.  I hate cell phones, but with mom in the nursing home it has become essential. A sweater.  Never know.   And....hm.....my purse.  Gee, that was lame, but someone is waiting to use the computer.  Bye!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Heading to MO

Today I'm cleaning, taking the cat to the vet, taking my mom (and her broken glasses) to the ey doc, finishing laundry and packing a suitcase.  Ken and I are leaving early tomorrow to drive to Springfield, MO (know as "Mecca" by AG preachers) to attend the Assemblies of God Chaplain's Convention.  This year's agenda looks good.  I may post some from Springfield, but not certain, so I'll post when I get back.

I have not forgotten about the "Husband as Head" series.

Have a good week, everyone.  

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Worship at the Lake

We had our church service by a lake cottage today, singing worship songs to the strum of an acoustic guitar. The congregation sat on lawn chairs or just on the grass. Frogs and birds joined in the singing.

Oddly, our church building does not have a baptistry. Since we are of the church tradition that baptizes by immersion, this means we either borrow another church space and baptistry, go to a swimming pool, or baptize people in a lake (only a summer option). A baptistry in a church building is good, and both a baptistry and a pool are nice and clean with no weeds or mud. However, there is something about a baptism in a lake that I particularly enjoy--the more natural setting, the sun glistening on the lake water as the congregation stands on the shore to sing, watch, and pray for those being baptized--and it makes me think of the Jordan and John baptizing Jesus as others watched from the banks..

The woman below, Donna, has been taking some classes from Global University, an Assemblies of God correspondence school. Today she preached her first sermon and did a great job, sunglasses and all (she has to wear them outside because of an eye problem.). Some of her relatives were in town for a visit, so it worked out that they could join us for the service.

Bob, Mark, Brienne, me, Patti, Claire, Faith, CJ and Aaron
These eight people standing with me were about to get baptized. What a joy it was to see several of our young people taking this step. I had some help out in the water, becasue it is slippery and because I have a sore shoulder. Only afterwards did it occur to me that it is pretty unusual to have two women baptizing folks.

Brienne is a special blessing to our church family.

As for Patti, this is a truly life-changing moment. Bob, her son, would enter the water soon too.
Mark, our guitar player is another of our wonderful young people.
Steve prays for three of the guys.
Aaron shares with us why he is being baptized, and says he will seek, by God's grace, to live in a way that brings glory to the Saviour.
It was a beautiful day, and God's presence was with us. There were prayers and hugs and tears and much laughter as well. God is good.

Afterwards I changed out of wet clothes and discovered I had two little lake snails with me--one in the right pocket and one in the left!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rev Gal Blog Pals is Three Years Old Today

Three years ago today, a group of women preachers began a webring, opened a cafepress store with t shirts and mouse pads and stuff (the mouse pad is shown above), and started a communal blog. In honor of this auspicious occasion I have taken the liberty of penning an ode, a sonnet, a poem okay I'll call it a limerick to celebrate Rev Gal Blog Pals. I've met preachers and their friends from many denominations and walks of life. I've shared joy and heartache (both mine and others) rethought some of my assumptions (some I discarded and some I kept), and found friends.

Three years ago today,
RevGals was on it's way,
The preachin' gals,
And preacher's pals,
Made history that day!

The blogs are fun to do,
The Preacher's Party too,
And Friday Five and all that jive,
Give us a place to play!

We gripe and pray and blog,
And sometimes go whole hog,
With cyber parties, real ones too,
There's always something new!

So Happy Birthday, Gals,
And Happy Birthday, Pals,
Three years today--Hip hip hurray!
It is a party day!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Time For Some Campaignin'!

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Friday Five: What's in a Name?

Bearded Eagle hangs up our mandella outside our lodge.
Much2Ponder and her husband, Little too Much.

RevHRod at Rev Gals shares this week's Friday Five about names, asking:

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog?

My husband (Bearded Eagle) and I like to play dress up. No, not what some of you are thinking. We like to do primitive camping/reenacting of the American fur trade era, which encompasses a period from the 1600s to the mid 1800s. It is called "rendezvousing" because that is what the gatherings of yankee mountain men, Indians, french voygauers, and company men were called. They were generally held in spring and fall and were for the purpose of turning in beaver pelts, but a lot of other things went on--as you can imagine when people who spend months in the wilderness get together with other human beings, some friend and some foe.

I am in the process of making links in the sidebar to different types of posts, but if you have time and the inclination here is a post from a few years ago about an amazing rendezvous on the shores of "Gitchee Gumee."

This collage of Trinity and her mommy and daddy are pictures from a rendezvous--all but one, which you will readily identiy. Unless Indian toddlers wore pink.

ANYWAY, my husband gave me my "camp" name because when I am happy I sing--also because absolutely everything that happens to me reminds me of a song--and because (bless his sweet heart) he thinks I am wise. So SingingOwl was born, and it was easy to just take that as my cyber name as well. The blog name, well, what else could it be? :-) Sometimes people tell me owls don't sing. I know. This one does.

Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there?

When my blog began I was fairly anonymous, but as circumstances changed so did the blog, so I don't use the code names much anymore. Except my own--not that anyone who wants to know who I am can't find out in short order.

What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun?

I think some of the Rev Gal blogs have the most delightful titles. Just go to the side and read down the side bar. My absolute favorite blog titles? Pink Shoes in the Pulpit, and St. Casserole. That just about covers it all, doncha think? . :-)

What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog of course!

Dr. Platypus--my long-time cyber friend, theologian, preacher and writer.
In Case You Were Wondering--Much2Ponder's blog. She used to attend my church, always thinking, my dear friend.
The Scroll--the blog of Christians for Biblical Equality.

I'm in a rush, so not linking, but all have links in my sidebar.

Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?

I belong to a cyber community that I have been part of for more than ten years. When some started blogging I started reading, and then decided it was a good thing for someone like me. Dr. Platypus didn't convice me, exactly, but he and others from the group were encouraging.

Bonus question: Have you ever met any of your blogging friends? Where are some of the places you've met these fun folks?

The Festival of Homiletics! Sadly, there was little time for real conversation, but still fun to see people.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Climbing the Stairs

Not long ago I posted about the late Larry Norman. Last week I found myself singing an odd combination of songs. One was from Larry's first album, one that started a revolution in Christian music. The song was "Walking Backwards Down the Stairs." I had not thought of the song for a long time, but remembered that I had thought it was about growing complacent or lazy--"backsliding" as we said in my childhood church. Now, as the words drifted through my mind again after many years, I heard them in a very different way.

The other song, "Higher Ground" (also remembered from long ago) was written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. and composed by Charles H. Gabriel.

One is about going down, the other is about going up. I found Larry's song, and then I found a bluegrass version of "Higher Ground" -- and I liked it, though I'd never heard it that way before.
The poem is my attempt to sort out conflicting feelings Singing both those songs for a week, I realized they expressed different parts of my heart longings. The italicized verses are the stanzas and chorus of "Higher Ground."

Micah 4:2 "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD.. .

Phil. 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Daunting stairways are
just a way to rise up higher!
Love and I run up the stairs!
Together we just cannot fall!
First alone and then with one
and two and three then four and more,
we link arms, and we go up.
We long for God, and higher ground!

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

As we together climb the stairs.
And others come and help us,
Breath catches in my chest and heart,
Not easy, running up these stairs!

Here come some “friends” with gifts and smiles,
And strong arms, and new vigor,
Come, let us climb the stairs with you
We’ll take you so much higher.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Why is it now that those who climb
the stairs are growing fewer?
Why don’t we see we cannot rise
by pushing others downward?

My comrades on the stairs are less,
though others joined us on the Way.
And some don’t see, as they retreat,
they’re walking backwards down the stairs!

I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

Shadow Man, astride the stair,
contempt and pride are in your eyes.
What do you have to do with me?
You shall not stop me on my way!

Move aside and let me pass!
You know just who I am.
Child of the King and loved by God,
and who are you to block our climb?

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground

The Shadow moves as we press on
And link our arms and hearts once more.
Yet feet are slow and stumbling now,
What became of hope and joy?

Salty tears flow down my face,
and once, then twice, I slip and fall.
Blood mingles with the tears and sweat.
We’re sick and weary---some have died.

I cannot see the top above.
The stairs grow longer as we go
Where is the Spirit in this pain,
this walking backwards down the stairs?

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

The Shadow Man is back again,
delighting in our fear of death.
He thinks he’s winning as he laughs,
at pilgrims walking down the stairs.

Oh Water of Life, we pray to you!
Please come to us, the thirsty.
We’ll share the water giv'n to us,
and then, refreshed, keep climbing.

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till Heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground

There is no fear of death—no sting,
The Saviour won the battle!
And we will yet be bold and strong,
And climb again these stairs to God!

Jesus, my God and King and Lord,
awaiting our arrival,
feels sorrows for our loss, our grief,
but smiles to know we shall press on.
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is Sorry, but Did He Repent?

I rarely post anything political here, but I can't resist a comment or two. If you have not heard the ruckus, the Rev. Jesse Jackson is in a bit of a pickle because of crude remarks about presidential candidate Barack Obama. He recently commented (in a mic he did not realize was on) "He talks down to Black people. I'd like to rip his n**s off." Some say he said, "out."

With friends like that...well you know the rest.

Jackson has issued the expected apology. He is "sorry" he says, "for harm my remarks might have caused." Obama accepted the apology from Jackson. But a spokesman said Obama would not refrain from calling upon fathers to take greater responsibility in their children's lives.

As for Jackson's apology, he also had this to say on CNN, "And then I said something... regretfully crude but it was very private and very much a sound bite and a live mic."

This is not the first time that Jackson's private mouth has caused him trouble.
In 1984, he called New York City "Hymietown," referring to the city's large Jewish population. He later acknowledged it was wrong to use the term (darn those live microphones!) but said he did so in private to a reporter. Seems he tends to forget that Someone is always listening.

My church family is familiar with me illustrating what it means to "repent" as I march one direction on the platform, then say, "I repent" and turn and march the other way. It is clear that Jackson is sorry--that he mic was on. But does it not remind you of the parental admonition, "It is one thing to be sorry you got caught, and another to change your behavior"? Maybe little Jesse wasn't listening.
Every one of us has said something we wish we had not. I certainly have, more than I like to think about. However, as a very public clergyperson, perhaps Jackson needs to remember Jesus' words in Luke 6:45 "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

Jesse Jackson is often referred to as having been one of a number of young African Americans who were mentored by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A recent news article called him an "acolyte" of Dr. King. What has he done with that? A national platform comes with responsibility.

Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy

I can't speak for the Black community in America, obviously. But I can speak as one who also has the title "Reverend" in front of my name (though I don't often use it). I cringe that he is always referred to as "the Reverend Jesse Jackson." In my opinion, he is an embarrassment to America and to people of faith, and to Christians, and to clergy. It is time for his microphone to be turned off permanently.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Husband as "Head" Part Four - Prophet, Priest and King

I suspect some of you are wondering if I am ever going to get around to discussing what I think it means that the "husband is the head of the wife." I promise, that post is coming soon.

It seemed important to me to highlight why I think the current teaching (so overwhelmingly popular in certain segments of the Church) is incorrect and damaging.

So please allow me just one more post before getting to the heart (or the head) of the matter.

When I began thinking about all this I posted here about why I believe the teaching that the husband is "the priest of the home" is not biblical, noting that no scripture states such a thing. On the contrary, the Bible tells us that all those who are followers of Jesus Christ are a holy nation and a royal priesthood!

I received a few emails about that post. One recommended I read a particular book, one written for Christian husbands. The book, a popular one I'm sad to say, purports to give the biblical rationale for the husband as priest of the home. I was familiar with the book. I read it a few years ago when it was given me to pass on to someone in my congregation. Since it sat on my desk for a couple of weeks before I saw the person it was intended for, I took a look inside.

The author is a popular speaker and writer who, along with his wife, travels nationally with the sponsorship of a large Christian organization. The two of them give seminars on marriage--and much of what they say is sound and could be helpful. Nonetheless, a little error takes on a life of its own and can do great harm. The book made me angry. So angry in fact, that after reading for about half an hour I threw it across the room. I'm a pretty mild person, most days.

Why was I so upset?

The book, in my view, borders on idolatry. The author tells his readers three things. One, the husband is the priest of the home. Two, the husband is the prophet of the home. And three, the husband is the king of the home.

Prophet, priest and King--those are considered "offices" of Jesus Christ!
However, said the book's author, since Ephesians 5: 23 states that the husband is head of the wife as Christ is of the Church, abd the husband fulfills the same roles with his wife that Jesus does with the church, why, that means that the husband is prophet, priest and king. The book instructs the husband in great detail just how he is to fulfill those three roles in his home. I had read about ten pages in each section before becoming so disgusted I could not read any more--and the book went sailing across my office and hit a wall.

Why stop with prophet, priest, and king? Why those three things? Why not say the husband is savior, redeemer, sanctifier, and healer?

My husband is a man who loves God, who loves me, who loves his children (and now his grandchild), and who seeks to be a blessing and an encouragement to me. When I need help, he helps if he can. If I need direction, I can ask and he will give what advice or suggestions he can. He prays for me. He critiques my sermons if I ask him (and once in a while even when I don't). He protects me when the situation calls for it. Occasionally he pushes me (not physically, figuratively). I would not be preaching today if not for his persistent encouragment and umm, nagging. :-)

For all this and more, I am grateful to him and to God.

He does not presume that he, as a male, should speak for God in some way that I cannot do. While he is, in some ways, a priest in our home, he knows that I am as well. And as for being KING? Because Jesus is King and he, as the husband, fills the offices that Jesus fills? This book claims exactly that. NO WAY! That is idolatry.

Again, the follwers of Christ are all called a royal priesthood. All of us.

I will not put my husband in the place where only Christ should stand. That is a burden no man should, nor indeed could, bear. I am responsible for my own walk with God, and my own spiritual life. Can my husband help me? Yes, indeed he can. And I can help him as well.

"She's So Artistic" Award

To my great surprise, Diane at "Faith in Community" gave me an award for being artistic. Isn't it a thing of beauty?? Thank you, Diane. I'd better get moving on awarding my own statues, because a pick or two that I had in mine got snagged by someone else first.
This coveted award comes with responsibility (figures, doesn't it? ;-) )! I must post and adhere to the following rules.
1) Pick five blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of Arte Y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award -- which is here: Arte Y Pico.

My picks are in no particular order of preference:

My first pick is "Much 2 Ponder" someone I know well in my real life. Our church building has lettering and artwork on several walls that she created for us. A pencil drawing of the two of us hangs on the wall behind me. Her blog, "In Case You Were Wondering" is mostly about her journey with God, and she manages to find the most wonderful images to add to her posts. I don't know what she uses for search words, but the visual illustrations she finds are always powerful.
Late to Life is Jules' blog. Jules has an amazing and powerful testimony--and I just realized that she doesn't link to it on this (a new) blog . Well, her words are thoughtful and truthful and down-to-earth and her photographs of nature are simply astounding. She posts many of them with her blog posts, but if you click on "Who is Jules" you can then click on the link to her photography blog. Her photography is absolutely not to be missed!

Sally blogs at Eternal Echoes. I suspect someone may have given her this award already, but she deserves to get it twice! She lives in the UK, so my chances of meeting her in person are slim, but this is a woman I'd love to sit and walk with for hours. She is wise, honest, open about her struggles, and a deeply spiritual woman, IMO. Along with blog posts, Sally posts great music and pictures and poems and reflections. Some are from others and some are her own.

Presbyterian Gal should be published, and I hope that one day she will be. Her blog is funny and interesting, and if you go there you can click on her story emporium and read some of her stuff! P.G. can write!
If any of you folks have already been awarded this lovely statue, my apologies. If you have two, however, you can use them as bookends!
UPDATE: I don't know what happened, but Proclaiming Softly fell off the post. I intended to give her an award for her "other" blog, Lady of Imaginative Sewing, where she shows us some wonderful odds and ends of creativity. I love her quilts. Check out the nasturtiums!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Husband as Head Part Three-- So the Husband Gets the Blame?

Does God hold the man responsible in some way that a woman will not have to face? As the "head" will he stand before God on behalf of his family? After all, doesn't "head" mean "leader?"

I just did an online search using the words headship, husband, marriage, and wife. The result was a bit overwhelming, but I checked out several web pages. Except for some sites that I would consider radical, the opinions and statements about what "the Bible teaches" tended to sound very similar. Most were kind in tone (not all!) and instructed the reader that the woman is not inferior to the man. She is equal in being and unequal in function. The man, I was assured repeatedly, must lead by example, must exercise "godly headship" and should, if he is smart, consider his wife's opinion. His headship is a matter of position, not of ability or intelligence or worth. The word "role" or "roles" was used a great deal. I also read about "God's order for marriage" or other similar terms.

Depending on the opinion of the writer, the way we are to interpret just what the husband's or wife's role is varied sharply. Some said the wife should submit in everything. After all, Paul said 'in everything" in Eph. 5. Others said that the wife must obey unless the husband is instructing her to sin. No one described just who got to decide what was sinful and what was not.

There was a lot of extrapolation about just how the husband is to lead and just how the wife is to follow, with a lot of extra teaching tossed in (without any Bible backing whatsoever).

Here is a quote that I find similar to "the man is the priest of the home,"meaning it sounds spiritual and religious but there is no biblical basis. I wish I could say it was extreme, or unusual, but I have heard it, or similar statements, many times.


"The husband should consider the input of his wife. However, the final decision rests with the husband. Relief, ladies - God holds him responsible as head of the family, not you!"

First off, the Bible does not say the husband is the head of the family. The Bible also does not say that if he is smart he will get input from his wife, but he gets to decide, and if he he blows it she can say, "Not my problem, sweetie pie." Ah, the writer even used the word 'relief."

This constant place as leader is a burden no man should bear. This is also a burden no woman can always avoid. More about that later, but I can hardly imagine a teaching more likely to appeal to our selfish natures than to say to one, "You are always in charge" and to the other, "You never have to be responsible."

I've already noted in a previous post that God did not ask Adam what Eve had done. God asked Adam, and then God asked Eve. Adam was responsible for his own sin, not Eve's (Genesis 3:11-13). In the example of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10), Peter did not say, "Sapphira, since your husband was exercising his divinely ordained role as leader, he is responsible, not you." She did not protest, "But Peter, Ananias had final say!"

Another example (I Samuel 5) is Abigail. She was married to a greedy, wicked, fool. But when her husband makes a dreadful decision Abigail does not sit back smugly and say, "Not my problem. God can deal with him." She got up and she got busy and she did something about it. In the process she averted disaster. How very unsubmissive of her! Yet David blesses her in the name of the Lord.

I am using this as an example of one teaching that results from a misunderstanding of Ephesians 5:21-25. There are many more. Some of these teachings are relatively benign, but the level and degree of "man is the leader and woman is the follower" can become quite extreme. I could give you links, but I won't.

More later.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

On the Lighter Side--Books, Books, Books! Okay, some are Heavy!

I copied this from Iris. This is from something called 'The Big Read' from the NEA. They came up with a list of their top 100 books, and they estimate that the average adult has only read 6 of these books. I will highlight the ones I've read. Cut and paste into your blog and let us know which you've read. And then maybe hop over to Amazon or take a trip to Barnes and Noble for some summer reading material.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks1
8 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Forty four for me. Not bad! Still, some of these I've always wanted to read and haven't. Some I tried to read and couldn't get into. Some I've never heard of. Some I read, and they were good, but not even close to being what I'd considerworthy of inclusion in the the top 100. About five absolutely do NOT belong on a list of the 100 best books. (Dan Brown? Who are they kidding? That's a bad joke.) And some are not included that absolutely should be. (What? No Mark Twain?) Absolutely not to be missed book from this list? Watership Down.

Husband as Head Part Two -- A Few Things to Note

This is me. I look pretty harmless. Kind of matronly, actually (dang it all). Let me note and/or assure you of a few things before proceeding, only because these are all things that have come up in the past, either on line, in emails or in person.

1. Ephesians 5:22 (that verse about wifely submission) is in the Bible.

2. Christian women of the world are not to rip Eph. 5:22 from the pages of scripture.

3. I'm generally not considered "butch" by anyone, unless being a preacher means that is a given.

4. You are not a heretic if you do not agree with my conclusions.

5. There are much more scholarly, complete, and well-done discussions than what I will attempt here. I will try to refer you to some later.

6. I don't have all the answers.

7. I love my husband. I don't brow beat him. Well, not often. ;-)

8. I am not angry at the male half of the human race. Actually, I generally like men.

9. I am not a new ager, nor goddess worshipper, nor an aging "women's libber" of the 60s. I was very traditional in my understanding of all this until much later in my life.

10. I am generally considered theologically pretty conservative and I'm from a theologically conservative denomination. I hate labels. I'm not as conservative as some of my theologically conservative friends or peers, nor am I as liberal as some of my more "progressive" or liberal friends." My point simply is is that I do not hold my opinions on this subject because I am buying into a "liberal, feminist agenda."

11. I have a high regard for the veracity of the Bible.


I really do not think that those who may read or comment here are going to try to fight with me. I mean, I do know who tends to read my blog. :-) But just in case, understand that I will not be debating nor arguing points in the comments. That is not my purpose. My beliefs on this subject did not come lightly, easily, nor without some painful consequences.

My thoughts on this could be about 150 posts long. I will not do that. I do not know how many posts it will be, however. You've been warned. Proceed at your own risk.

Okay, maybe I shouldn't have said that last part. Smile! This will be fun!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Husband as "Head" Part One -- Ephesians 5:23

First, I want to alert you to a rare phenomenon. My beloved husband has commented on a post (guess which one--hee hee) in which I am happy to note that he says he is both glad I am married and glad I submit to God before submitting to him. He says something else interesting and perhaps relevant to the discussion. He notes that when people used to question him about his wife preaching, leading, pastoring--whatever--he would reply, "She is in submission to me, and if she did not preach she would not be a submissive wife since I have instructed her to use her spiritual gifts to the fullest..."

I have lost count of how many times I have asked a traditionalist about that. Once I had several times been called a "Jezebel" and a "rebellious feminst" because I dared to teach men. The name-caller desisted when I sweetly (!) asked, "What is a wife to do? You tell me I must learn in submission and I am out of order. I am aware that scripture tells me to submit to my husband. And my husband has told me I must preach. Do you have any advice for how I stay submissive and do as he directs--but not do as he directs since a woman preacher is an abomination?" I have NEVER received an answer to the question, even from the most hard-nosed patriarchialist. (Being called a jezebel, rebellious, and an abomination is another issue for another post. Or maybe not. Poor man. Yes, it really happened.)

ANYWAY, that was not the purpose of this post. The purpose of the post is not to address issues of women preachers, pastors or leaders. It is to continue about the "husband as home's priest" that began here.

There were several comments and I also received a few emails. They confirmed what I have noted--which is: husband as priest is based on Ephesians 5;23 where the husband is called the "head of the wife as Christ is of the church." To begin, let's look at this in a few translations, but let's back up to verse 21.

We will start with the New Revised Standard Version, the version of choice for many mainline denominations:

21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Saviour. 24 Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...

Here it is from the New Living Translation, the Bible I most often use on Sunday mornings with my mostly blue-collar congregation:

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her...

Or perhaps you prefer the most popular Bible version among "conservative evangelicals," the New International Version?

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

Oh, we cannot forget the venerable King James Version.

21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it...

Or maybe you prefer a nice, clear paraphrase? We'll take a look at

The Message

21 Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. 22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands. 25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor—since they're already "one" in marriage.


Here is a quote from Pat Robertson that I found on a website with a title I can't repeat here (let's just say it is not complimentary to Christianity).

I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period.

You don't care for Pat? Well he is only stating what I have heard from more preachers, websites, books and articles than I can recall. Okay, let's face it--how much more obvious can it be? The Bible clearly states that the husband is the head of the wife. The head is the leader, right? Everyone knows that. So we know scripture tells us that the husband is to provide headship and godly leadership to his wife. Perfectly clear.

Or is it?

More later.

Play is Work

I did not take many pictures last week because I kept forgetting to bring the camera. I was happy to note that Trinity does not, as she sometimes seems in her pictures, look like a three year old! There is still roundness to her face, her legs are still chubby, and she has not quite started reading as of yet. ;-) The only pictures I managed to get were a couple of her as she played with blocks in her Uncle Josh's back yard. She did this for over an hour, with the greatest intensity. She was clearly working!
She has the sweetest smile, and I tried to get her to smile at me for a picture, and when she finally did glance up, it was with a look that said, "Grandma, can you not see how busy I am?" I could almost hear the gears whirring in her little head.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

"Indian" Flower Girl

Mommy and Daddy and Trinity at a Rendezvous! Is the headband cute or what? We will be going to see them at the end of the week.
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