Sunday, October 26, 2008

They're Here

The family arrived Saturday night. After church this morning, their stuff was unloaded into the storage unit and our basement (thank you, Jubilee people). Trinity's room is arranged, and she already seems quite cheerful and contented. Her mommy says she was fussy during the move, so perhaps she now realizes that she has "landed" and it happens to be at Papa and Grandma's house. She got here just in time to don her Tigger costume and go trick or treating down the street with Mommy and Daddy today. It was drizzly and cold, so the fleecy Tigger costume was just right. Rex the dog is fine, except he keeps looking for his bed. The cats (especially Princess Patches who has had her kingdom invaded) are wary. There is a fair amount of hissing and caterwauling going on. Kris and I are looking for places to put her plants, and they are finding their clothes. Son in Law has a job interview tomorrow. :-) Good night...yawn.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Really Wanted to Be Hepburn....but

And now for something light and fluffy...

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Doris!


You are a Doris -- "I must help others."

Dorises are warm, concerned, nurturing, and sensitive to other people's needs.

How to Get Along with Me

* Tell me that you appreciate me. Be specific.

  • * Share fun times with me.
  • * Take an interest in my problems, though I will probably try to focus on yours.
  • * Let me know that I am important and special to you.
  • * Be gentle if you decide to criticize me.

In Intimate Relationships
  • * Reassure me that I am interesting to you.
  • * Reassure me often that you love me.
  • * Tell me I'm attractive and that you're glad to be seen with me.

    What I Like About Being a Doris
    * being able to relate easily to people and to make friends
  • * knowing what people need and being able to make their lives better
  • * being generous, caring, and warm
  • * being sensitive to and perceptive about others' feelings
  • * being enthusiastic and fun-loving, and having a good sense of humor

What's Hard About Being a Doris
  • * not being able to say no
  • * having low self-esteem
  • * feeling drained from overdoing for others
  • * not doing things I really like to do for myself for fear of being selfish
  • * criticizing myself for not feeling as loving as I think I should
  • * being upset that others don't tune in to me as much as I tume in to them
  • * working so hard to be tactful and considerate that I suppress my real feelings

Dorises as Children Often
  • * are very sensitive to disapproval and criticism
  • * try hard to please their parents by being helpful and understanding
  • * are outwardly compliant
  • * are popular or try to be popular with other children
  • * act coy, precocious, or dramatic in order to get attention
  • * are clowns and jokers (the more extroverted Dorises), or quiet and shy (the more introverted Dorises)

Dorises as Parents

  • * are good listeners, love their children unconditionally, and are warm and encouraging (or suffer guilt if they aren't)

  • * are often playful with their children

  • * wonder: "Am I doing it right?" "Am I giving enough?" "Have I caused irreparable damage?"

  • * can become fiercely protective

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Five: Location Location Location

I'm hosting the Rev Gal Blog Pals Friday Five today.

My daughter, her husband, and their toddler, Trinity Ann, are moving from Minneapolis, Minnesota to our place. It's a long story, but the short version is that they will be loading a Ryder truck on Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon we will unload it into a storage unit in our town. They will move themselves, their two cats and their BIG dog into our place. Yes, there will be issues, but this Friday Five isn't really about that. (Prayers for jobs for them and patience for all of us are most welcome, however.) This post is about locations. My husband has lived at 64 addresses in his life so far (16 with me) and he suggested the topic since we have moving trucks on our minds. Therefore, tell us about the five favorite places you have lived in your lifetime. What did you like? What kind of place was it? Anything special happen there?

1. "The El Dorado house, Pacoima, CA." That was the name of our street, and it is the first house I remember. It was an old house but it was on a double lot, so the yard was enormous to the child me. We had about a dozen olive trees, a long driveway, a big palm in the front. I used to pull on the long palm fronds and watch them spring upward. To me they looked like horses tossing their manes in the wind. I had many friends, my family was still intact, we had dogs, cats, birds, was not a nice house, but I was a kid and didn't really care about that. The ice cream man came by at least once a week in his little truck with bells, I could climb olive trees, I played Robin Hood and Maid Marian, cowboys and Indians, pirates...we were the only family on the block without a television. That was probably a good thing.

2. "The house on Woodman Street, Mission Hills, CA." Our family moved from a "rough" neighborhood into one about five miles away--to what seemed to me then like a very fancy house. I was eleven. The house had a beautiful yard with many kinds of flowers, a big walnut tree in the front yard, a hugh fireplace, a "sunken" living room, and three roomy bedrooms. I had a room of my own, at last! I lived there when I met my husband-to-be, we kissed for the first time on the back patio of that house, I cooked spaghetti for our friends, we had wonderful times there. There were also horrible things that happened when I lived in that lovely house, but I don't associate them with the house like I do the good things.

3. "The apartment on Pacific Ave." This was the first place Ken and I lived in our married life. It was a small apartment in Oceanside, California. Ken was in the USMC and was stationeed at Camp Pendleton. We did not live there long. We moved into (awful) base housing after about four months in the apartment. But I recall the fun of decorating my first place, making it homey with free things gleaned from Good Will stores. The apartment was one block from the beach! Imagine! I didn't know it till after we moved to base housing, but I probably conceived my daughter there.

4. "Tarawa Terrace, Jacksonville, NC, near Camp Lejeune." This was another awful base housing unit. But I met Iro there, a Greek neighbor who taught me many things, I enjoyed my little baby daughter, I planted flowers, and I grew as a person, a wife, a mom. It has good associations in my heart.

5. "Our Trinity Trailer, Ellendale, ND." This was a campus mobile home, buffeted by the icy North Dakota winds. Our back door had ice on the inside during the winter, the bedrooms were tiny, the colors were 70s ugly. But our daughter Kris, a first-grader then, and our new little guy, Josh, loved it there. They were free to safely roam the fields, the town, the campus. We had friends who were like family, we loved learning and growing. I fought with my calling there, and I lost the battle. North Dakota is not a place I want to ever live in again, but those days in the "married housing trailers," marvelling at the wonderful sky, northern lights, sparkling snow, the fields of sunflowers, the horrific winds were good. I did not know it at the time. I was trying to be a mommy, an employee, and a good student all at the same time. I had a meltdown about mid term each year. Looking back, it was one of the most wonderful times of our lives. Our children were a joy, and we were very naive. Hopeful, naive, idealistic.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This and That at the Owl's Nest

Here are a few snippets of conversations from the last two weeks. They'll tell you a lot about what is happening in my world without (for once) a lot of long paragraphs from me.

Nursing Home Conversation With My Mom:

S.O. Would you like to eat something?...Change your shirt?...Sit here and talk?...
S.O.'s Mom mostly silence, maybe a head nod

Conversation With New Couple at Church:

S.O. We are glad to have you as part of our church family!
Them: We love this church...your sermons--we are learning so much...we like the worship...etc. Why is this church not bigger? This should be a big church. I've been inviting people all the time. We just really don't understand it!
S.O. Me neither.

Conversation with Daughter:

S.O. So she made an offer on your house?
Kris: Yep! And we will load the Ryder truck on Saturday and unload it into the storage area on Sunday. Will there be some people from your church who can help us?
S.O. I'm sure there will be. I announced it. And the beds are up, and the other room is ready for Trinity's crib...etc. etc.
Kris: Oh, finally Daryl has a job interview on Monday! We drop off the truck in City at the Foot of the Wisconsin Lake, and then he goes for an interview.
S.O. Hooray! Maybe this will be faster than we think, and it will good for all of us, for a while.
Kris: It will be nice to sit together around the table for meals.
S.O. Yes, it will. And we will learn some things.
Kris: You think? Heh heh heh...

Conversation with Husband:

S.O. We need to work on our tag team marriage sermon.
Hubby: Yeah. While I am home recovering from surgery and have to sit around, I can put some notes together.
S.O. Let's get this done before the kiddos move in, okay?
Hubby: Oh, yeah. Once Trinity is here it will be harder.
S.O. Enjoy the quiet while you can!
Hubby: Heh heh heh...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chartreuse Ova and Her Lil Sprout Come to Town

Chartreuse Ova and her family live about three hours away from me. C.O. and her daughter, Sprout, are taking a mom/daughter vacation and they included time in it for me! So today Ken cooked us omelets for lunch and then Li'l Sprout played with Patches the Cat while C.O. and I got acquainted--in person version. It is odd that a cyber friend can know some very intimate details about your life yet never have met you in person, but such is life in the 21st century! We sipped coffee and talked about life and church and callings and our husbands--and stuff. In the pictures below, Sprout is pretending she didn't hear her mom tell her not to stick her tongue out. And in the next one she's hiding behind us. Chartreuse Ova and I decided we could talk for several more hours, but both Patches and Li'l Sprout voted against it. So we'll have to wait till next time!

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Heirs Together, Part 6: Who Gets to be the Head Honcho?

This sermon is largely taken from a previous post in my "Husband as Head" series.

Peter 3:7 “...Live with heirs together with you of God’s gracious gift of life

In previous sermons I have noted that the Bible does not say that the husband is the head of the home nor of the family, but the head of the wife. The Bible also does not say that the man must always lead. Some parts of the Church have long taught many things about marriage—much more than the Bible actually says. Besides Eph. 5:22, which is about wives submitting, the main one is Ephesians 5:23: “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.”
From this rather simple passage, and a couple of others, have come a myriad of teachings that are extrapolated from the text.

EXTRAPOLATE: To infer or estimate by extending or projecting known information.

It is sometimes necessary to extrapolate from a text. When we do so, wisdom and humility would say we had best be careful to avoid dogmatic assumptions. To extrapolate is to infer. To infer is to derive by reasoning; conclude or judge from premises or evidence, to guess; speculate; surmise. One may believe that the Bible infers that the husband must be a servant leader, but that does not mean the Bible actually says this.

Here are some examples of teaching that have been incorrectly extrapolated from this verse:

The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is of the church. Thus, the husband is prophet, priest and king of the home.
The husband is the “leader," or the "authority" of the home.
The wife needs leadership from the husband.
The wife must always graciously submit to the leadership of her husband.
There is a hierarchy of the home. God is the supreme head, and under God's leadership is the husband, then the wife, then the children.
The husband must exercise “headship.”
The husband must exercise “servant leadership.”
Someone must be in authority in the home. God says that is the man.
The man should consider his wife's opinion, but he has final say.
The man will be held responsible, not the woman.

The Bible actually says NONE of these things.

Remember, the New Testament was not written in English. What we have are various translations. It is very important that we not impose meanings that come from English word usage, metaphors or idoms.

In English the word head has 38 meanings! Two are adjectives, six are verbs and thirty two are nouns. However, two are most common.
1. the round thing on top of the neck where the brain is housed and where the face is set
My head hurts. My head is too big for this hat.
2. the one in authority, the leader, the boss.
He is the head of this department. She is the head of the women’s ministry committee.

Please note that there is only one meaning for the English word “headship.” Headship means “authority over” or “rule.” The Bible never says the husband has “headship” over the wife. So, like “helpmate,” can we just stop saying it?

Okay, so the husband is the head of the wife….but that is in English which has almost 40 meanings for the word! So, what is the word in Greek?


Kephale is not the word Paul uses when he wants to say authority. Kephale is a head—”the round thing that houses the brain and where the face is set. “ Want to see some examples?

Some of us have heard, read, and been taught that the husband is the head so he is the leader for so long that it is very difficult to read that scripture passage any other way. So let's use a different English word that means head. Let's use noggin. If we read "The husband is the noggin of the wife, just as Christ is the noggin of the church..." we would likely understand that noggin was a metaphor. A metaphor is never literal; it is an emblem, a symbol. We would know that the husband is not the wife's literal head (noggin), nor is Christ the literal head (noggin) of the Church.

Kephale must be a metaphor. So what did this word mean to the original readers (hearers)? What was the Greek (not English) metaphor?“Kephale" didn't have the normal meaning of "authority" or “leader” in Paul's day and in the Greek language. There were other words for "authority." Here are three examples:

I Cor. 5:24 “…He will put down all rule and all authority and all power.” arche or archon

Heb. 13:17 “Obey those that have spiritual rule over you, and submit yourselves for they watch for your souls. hÄ“geomai

I Timothy 2:2 “Remember kings and all that are in authority over you…” hyperochÄ“

Paul used "heart" (not head) for the intelligent control of the body, which was the Greek way of thinking. There was no knowledge of the "head" controlling as we know it today.

KEPHALE is a literal word for head (noggin), but a metaphor for SOURCE.

Kephale means "source." This is important because it teaches the Ephesians that women were created from the same substance as men. It refutes the pagan idea that women were made of an inferior substance between that of man and animal. Paul, therefore, undermines this pagan notion by referring to the man as the kephale ("source") of the woman in creation and exhorts husbands to love their wives as their own bodies (vs. 23). She is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, (Gen. 2:23)--a fitting and equal partner. Eddie L. Hyatt & Susan C. Hyatt

Most translations just translate kephale literally as head, but here is what can happen when we use English metaphors where they do not belong:

"The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church…” The Message

“The husband has authority over the wife in the same way that Christ has authority over the Church.” Today’s English Version (Good News Bible

In my opinion, this is simply wrong, bad hermeneutics, bad translation work! Remember, kephale means “head” (noggin) in Greek. But, unlike in English, it does not mean leadership or authority or rule. Let's go back to Ephsians and read it using the word source when the Bible says kephale.

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband [or man] is the source of the wife [or woman] as Christ is the source the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Doesn't Jesus Christ have rule and authority over the Church? Yes, certainly. But given the context, is this passage more likely to be speaking of Christ’s rule and authority over the church, or is it speaking of his love, his care, his death being the source of life for the church? Which fits the passage best?

Remember Genesis? The man was the source, the origen, of the woman, wasn’t he? Wasn’t the woman “taken out of the man?” Wasn’t she “bone of his bone…flesh of his flesh?”

Lets look at another passage that is often used to teach that the husband is in authority and that the home is a hierarchy of command, I Cor. 11:3, 11 and 12. And let's see what happens when we use source where the Bible uses kephale.

“Now I want you to realize that the kephale [source] of every man is Christ, and the kephale [source] of the woman is man, and the kephale [source] of Christ is God. In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.”

These verses are not about hierarchy and who gets to be boss over who. Both the language and the context of the passage fit beautifully with kephale as source. Paul is affirming our interdependence, both on God and on one another. Yes, woman came from man, but man now comes from woman. All come from God. How much more clear this passage becomes when we stop thinking that "head" means leader or one in authority!

The title of the sermon today may be silly, but guess who gets to be the HEAD HONCHO? The Bible never says the husband is in authority over the wife. We know that we all submit to one another our of respect for Christ: wives honor and respect their husbands and husbands love and sacrifice for their wives. God is the head (and this time I mean the AUTHORITY) of the Christian home. Under God the husband and wife are partners, heirs together of God’s gracious gift of life.

The man is the kephale, the source, of the woman, as Christ is the source of the church. We express our mutual dependence on God and our honor for our mates by showing love for one another and by having a heart that is willing to submit in humility - because of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Review of the Marriage Series

Tomorrow I will post part six of the marriage series. Here are some highlights from previous weeks

Week One: An Introduction

1. We are commanded to be discerning. 2. Discernment is a sign of spiritual maturity. 3. Discernment is damaged when leaders compromise, or when error is taught as truth. I John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. Christian marriage is in trouble, in spite of an excess of books, tapes, seminars, radio programs and sermons about marriage. We must learn to listen to the Word of God, and to the Holy Spirit. We must discern false teaching when we hear it, even if it is from a famous or well-meaning book, article, preacher or teacher! We will look at what scripture actually says instead of what we have been taught it says. We will allow God to renew our minds, our marriages, our attitudes. We will invite the Holy Spirit to be part of the process and lead us into truth. We will look for biblical principles—truths that stand in any time, any place, any culture. And we will use good hermeneutics (tools for interpreting scripture)—putting things in context, considering the culture and customs of the time, thinking about what it meant to the original hearers, not making a major point from an obscure passage, remembering other scripture, not putting social norms above biblical truth, and remembering the Bible was not written in English!

Week Two: What is Marriage?

1. Traditional teaching about marriage is not as firmly founded on the Bible as many believe.
2. We have expectations that are completely unrealistic.
3. We have allowed others to tell us “How it Ought to Be.”

Pat Gundry notes that marriage is like a kaleidoscope. With a few simple ingredients it is ever changing, showing new facets of each other and the pleasure of working and living and loving as a team. A marriage can be whatever you want it to be. It can become better and better. It can change as a husband and wife learn and grow and change. Whatever else marriage may be, it is always a relationship. Your marriage is your very own. It belongs to no one else.

Week Three: Back to the Garden

We found out that there are two creation accounts in Genesis. The first was an overview, and the second added specifics. There was no suggestion of a hierarchy or a chain of command in God’s original plan. We also discovered that there is no such word as “helpmeet” or “helpmate.” Instead, we learned that the woman is made to be the man’s EZER KENEGDO, a suitable help --“one who is the same as the other and who surrounds, protects, aids, helps, supports.”

Week Four: Weeds in the Garden

We saw how sin entered and spoiled God’s beautiful creation. Shame, fear, pain and suffering, damaged relationships, toil just to survive, separation, rebellion, and death entered the world. We asked ourselves some key questions:
Do we seek to perpetuate the bad things that happened because of sin?
Do we refuse to use weed killer?
Do we refuse to find labor-saving devices or ways to make work easier?
Do we refuse to use scientific discoveries to alleviate pain and sickness and death?
Do we call it “God’s plan” when relationships are broken or we blame each other or live in pride and rebellion against God?

So why do we say that this one verse “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you“ is God’s “divine order for marriage?” We learned that because of sin, the serpent and the earth were cursed. We learned that man would seek to dominate woman, and woman would turn to man in unhealthy ways. But we remember that God promised that the “seed of the woman” (the coming Messiah) would defeat the serpent (Satan and Spiritual Darkness)!

Week Five: Marriage in Grace

Next we thought about the contrast between what sin brought to the world and what grace through Jesus Christ brought us. We looked at Ephesians 5 and saw that we must live a new kind of life—a life “filled with the Spirit.” And we found out that everyone is told to “submit,” not just wives! “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ….” Eph. 5:21 This “mutual submission” is how we relate to one another in a Spirit-filled way! We also found out that in the original letter from Paul to the Ephesians, written in Greek not English, verse 21 and 22 are not separate paragraphs or even separate sentences! They are one sentence. “Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ, wives to your own husbands as to the Lord.” The verses following correct errors and give us specific ways that we work out this mutual submission in our lives. They are about attitude. Every time you hear someone teach verse 22, I want you to think, “What about the first half of the sentence in verse 21?”

Tomorrow I'll post week six. Next week I'll be doing something else, so there will be no post in this series, but I'll come back on the first Sunday in November as my husband and I finish up with some practical and biblical advice of how a marriage of mutual submission might work.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Coin Toss Friday Five

Songbird at RevGals shares this weeks' Friday Five.

1) When was the last time you flipped a coin or even saw one flipped in person?
I have no idea!
2) Do you have any foreign coins in your house? If so, where are they from?
We have some coins from Norway, where my husband's grandfather lived for many years. I think we have some from Russia where Ken took a misssions trip a few years ago. He and some other guys were helping to turn a former Communist Youth Camp that had stood empty for a while into a Christian Youth Camp.
3) A penny saved is a penny earned, they say. But let's get serious. Is there a special place in heaven for pennies, or do you think they'll find a special place in, well, the other place?
I don't think there is a specail place for pennies in either spot. As for why the US mint still coins pennies--I cannot fathom. There is a special place for them in our house, however, and we save them up and turn them in when we are about to go on a vacation. Once we had $300 worth of pennies!
4) How much did you get from the tooth fairy when you were a child? and if you have children of your own, do they get coins, or paper money? (I hear there may be some inflation.)
I got a quarter. Stingy fairy. Except one, on a trip to Texas, my Grandpa sneaked up stairs and put a dollar under my pillow. I pretended to be asleep, but I was wondering, "How did he know I lost a tooth?"
5) Did anyone in your household collect the state quarters? And did anyone in your household manage to sustain the interest required to stick with it?
Ken started to, but as far as I know he gave up.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Colors in Wisconsin

Into the Woods

Maple Trees
This orange tree was astounding!
Ken looks over the valley below.

A leafy path through golden trees.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Heirs Together Part V: Marriage in Grace

Peter 3:7 “...Live with heirs together with you of God’s gracious gift of life.”

In Genesis 1 and 2 we read that God created a beautiful world and finished by creating humans. Let's begin with a review.

God’s plan was that the man and the woman were made to rule together. The woman was made to be an ezer kenegdo, a strong help, the man’s equal and partner in every way. What went wrong? What happened? Sin happened. The Enemy tempted Eve and she listened to him. Adam followed suit, and death began to come to the world. The partnership God had originally designed began to disintegrate. Results of sin on humans were: shame, fear, pain and suffering, damaged relationships, toil just to survive, separation, rebellion, and death.

We read in Gen. 3 that a further result of sin would be that the man would seek to dominate the woman. Instead of loving her as a part of himself (bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh), he would increasingly think he was superior. He would “lord it over her.”

The woman’s “desire would be for her husband.” Some believe that this means woman will seek to dominate the man, so a battle ensues. Others, and I'm among the latter group, believe that this means the woman will turn towards the man even when it is not wise or good to do so. Either way, after disobedience and rebellion messed things up, the relationship was not the one God planned in the beginning.

All too often, God’s people are applying the results of sin, calling it "God's divine plan" for men and women. It is a dreadful thing to attribute the work of evil to God, even with the best of intentions. Remember that in the Gen. 3 passage we were not told that this battle of the sexes was good. It is not good. It is tragic and sad, just like the other things that were coming on the world. God promised that the “seed of the woman” would defeat Darkness! This was the first of many prophecies that an “anointed one” would come from God to conquer sickness, sin, pain, and death!

Romans 5:12,15,17- 19
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death to everyone…But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.


Do you see the contrast between what sin brought to us and what Christ’s grace brings to us?

Today we are going to discover another biblical principle: MUTUAL SUBMISSION.

Let’s look at the message of freedom in Christ that scripture teaches, reclaiming the truth of equality and partnership in our marriages. Remember, whatever else marriage is, it is always a RELATIONSHIP! There are only a few passages specifically about marriage, but there are many scriptures that deal with healthy relationships. Some of them have the words “one another” in them. Let’s consider just some of those “one another” directions.

Be devoted to one another.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Live in harmony with one another.
Love one another deeply.
Accept one another.
Instruct one another.
Agree with one another.
Serve one another.
Care for one another.
Do good to one another.
Be patient with one another.
Make allowances for one another’s faults.
Bear with one another.
Teach one another.
Forgive one another.
Encourage one another.
Build one another up.
Spur one another on to good works.
Be sympathetic to one another.
Act humbly with one another, avoiding pride.

These are good advice for all of us in the Church of Jesus Christ—and would you say they are good advice for friends and partners? How about for marriage?

Lets’ take a look at Ephesians 5. When it comes to marriage, this is one of the most quoted, and probably most misunderstood, chapter in the Bible.

Verses 1-2 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Note that we are admonished to live the kind of life Christ led, meaning a life of SACRIFICIAL LOVE.

At verse 18 Paul begins with a command, “Do not be drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit.” Then follows a series of participles telling them specific areas where they will need to leave the old ways and to be filled with the Spirit—practical working out of this new life in Christ.
Verse 21 just sort of stands out. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
This mutual submission is how we relate to one another in a filled-with-the-Spirit sort of way!

Greek culture of their time and place was rigid in structure and hierarchical in form. They even had “household codes” which spelled out exactly how they were to relate: Husbands to wives (and man to mistress, which was a given), masters to slaves, parents to children. One said prostitutes and mistresses were for “pleasure and companionship.” Wives were to “bear and rear children and manage the house.” The power and authority was completely unequal.

Many Bible translations begin a new sentence or even a totally new section at verse 22. Most teachers have begun with verse 22 as well. But in Greek to divide verse 21 and 22 into two sentences, and even two paragraphs, is not possible. Verse 21 and 22 are a CONTINUOUS SENTENCE. The word ‘submit” does not appear in verse 22! So the text reads like this:

21"Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ, 22 wives to your own husbands as to the Lord."

Those of you who have been following this series know I said that from now on when you hear that a wife is a helpmate you are going to think EZER KENEGDO or strong, suitable help. And from now on when someone begins a sermon, or a chapter of a book, etc. with verse 22, “Wives submit to your husbands, you are going to think, “But that is the second half of the sentence. Go back and start at verse 21.”

Let’s read the passage. I've edited it a bit for the sake of time and also because we will consider some of the other parts next week. For now, let's look at the directions to wives and husbands.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, wives to your own husbands as you do to the Lord… as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, people have never hated their own bodies, but they feed and care for them, just as Christ does the church… "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

In Greek "submit" is a big word: Hupotassomenoi. Used the way it is in this passage, "submit" is not a demand for wives to be under a husband's authority. It is a call to voluntary submission by all believers to one another.

No one really had to tell a wife in Ephesus to submit. She had no choice. But there certainly was need to tell her how to do so in a Christian manner! She was to respect and honor him, like she would respect and honor the Lord Jesus. And it was to be “in everything” meaning not only when he was looking or she was concerned someone would tattle on her.

This has been taught in all kinds of minute ways with all kinds of suggestions and directives added to the text. This obscures the real point: it is all about the wife’s attitude! It is instruction to the Greek wife--a woman who was not considered her husband's equal. Don’t you think it would be temping to feel rebellious, angry, spiteful, and manipulative? A Ephesian wife could cause harm to her husband’s things in underhanded ways. She could gossip about him, criticize him behind his back, dishonor him and more. Frankly, and sadly, I have seen the same kind of behavior among Christian wives who feel the husband has all the power. Some books even instruct Christian wives how to manipulate to get her way, though of course the languge is moch more "spiritual" than that. Is this the way of grace? Paul says the Christian wife is called to a higher standard.

Next, the husband is instructed how to apply this principle of mutual submission. A Christian husband was going to be different than his neighbors. He was not only going to see his wife as a mother and housekeeper, as he was used to doing. Paul gave him an entirely new kind of household code. He was to LOVE her! And not only love her, but love her with deep compassion and care, the same way Jesus Christ loves his Church!

Sometimes husbands are told that they have the more difficult thing to do, an almost impossible task. This is true, to some degree, but Paul is not speaking of some mystical, impossible thing--some impossible love that no one can attain. He is being practical. A Greek husband had almost total power over his wife. To love a woman as he loved himself was radical! THIS RAISES HER TO THE SAME LEVEL AS HE IS!
The grace of life in Christ helps bring us back to God's plan before sin entered the garden.

If the husband loved the wife and raised her to equal status with him, and if the wife respected and honored her husband as she did the Lord --even in a rigid, patriarchal culture it was possible to live lives of being equal persons, living in mutual submission and support!

How sad it is that we have used Eph. 5 to paint a picture of hierarchy, and of “who wears the pants?” thinking. The relationship of mutual submission shines out! And, by the way, it is not just a principle for marriage even though that is the focus of this series. Paul goes on to apply this new kind of Spirit-led behavior to two other unequal relationships, that of master and slave and father and child. In every walk of life and in every situation, we are of equal value before our Creator God and we should act like it. How much more peaceful our marriages and our families and our workplaces--and our churches--would be if we heeded this principle.

As for a husband and wife, living in a marriage of mutual submission does not mean that no one ever gets his or her way. It does not mean that both of you get to be equally unhappy. It does not mean that no one has any power. It does not mean that no one ever leads. It does not mean that you must become a doormat for your spouse. It does not turn us into androgynous, unisex shadows of our former selves. It does not mean chaos will be inevitable. It does not mean that each gives half—the 50-50 thinking.

Our final release from the curse of sin is yet to come. In this world, our relationships will be imperfect. Mutual submission is an ideal that all of us will fail to perfectly practice. But it is a life where each supports and lives in a way that considers the welfare of the other. Both will love, and honor and respect. All those healthy “one another” principles of relationship will apply to marriage too. We will stop giving each other bad relationship advice and telling each other that someone always has to be in charge. It means that we can live in a relationship that is more like God’s original plan—a marriage "where the Spirit of the Lord is"—thus a marriage of freedom--a pair who live together, reflecting the image of God.

Is this possible? Only as we remember Eph. 5:18 “Be filled with the Spirit.”

It is the Holy Spirit who can show us as individuals and a unique couple how to live our own lives and marriages according to this principle. The Holy Spirit was sent from the Father to be our guide and teacher and to lead us into all truth.

Applying man-made marriage "rules" and "roles" leads to struggles and misery--even when we call it God's plan. We can choose to refuse a marriage defined by a curse. We can rejoice that even though sin brought destruction and despair, Christ came to show us a new way.

We can choose marriage in grace.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Radically Communal Christian Ethics

The following post is copied from The AG Think Tank. They are posting a series on the elections: Who Should I Vote For? Wow! The quote from Hauerwas and Willimon is meaty food for chewing on. I might have to buy their book. Read on for a message to the evangelicals and the mainliners and all of us who call ourselves the Church!

“I am in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” — John 17:23

In my lifetime, the evangelical church has often attempted to assert its influence in America through political means; endorsing candidates, vying for platforms within the Republican party, boycotting Disney, etc. When we feel our country start to lean in the wrong moral direction we simply apply political or economic pressure in order to right the ship and “reclaim our nation for God.”

But is legislating morality the best way to influence our nation and our world?

“Whenever Christians think that we can support our ethic by simply pressuring Congress to pass laws or to spend tax money, we fail to do justice to the radically communal quality of Christian ethics. In fact, much of what passes for Christian social concern today, of the left or of the right, is the social concern of a church that seems to have despaired of being the church. Unable through our preaching, baptism, and witness to form a visible community of faith, we content ourselves with ersatz Christian ethical activity - lobbying Congress to support progressive strategies, asking the culture at large to be a little less racist, a little less promiscuous, a little less violent.”“[The church’s] most credible form of witness is the actual creation of a living, breathing, visible community of faith”… “a place, clearly visible to the world, in which people are faithful to their promises, love their enemies, tell the truth, honor the poor, suffer for righteousness, and thereby testify to the amazing community-creating power of God.” — Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon from
Resident Aliens

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Politics, Schmolitics!

Edited and excerpted from an email I sent out yesterday, in response to yet another hate mongering, fear inspiring, empty-of-verifiable-facts email:

We have a lot to worry about these days what with energy shortages, Wall Street swooping like an out-of-control amusement park ride, a crashed housing market, looming recession, outsourced jobs, radical Muslim terrorists, our overtaxed military--and this election. But sending more emails that are designed to make us fearful, or unkind, or judgemental is certainly not going to help.
Judgement begins at "the house of God' does it not? Who, after all, is the author and finisher of our faith?

We all know that the world, and the USA especially, is under threat from Muslim extremists. That is not news. And if you think there is no profiling going on at airports, you have not spoken to anyone who looks middle eastern. They are almost always stopped and checked (along with little old ladies).
I know, and I am glad, that our country began with a strong reliance on "Divine Providence" and that some of Amerca's values were based on Judeo-Christian ideals. I absolutely deplore the lack of truth and honesty in many of the nation's current history textbooks. I an distressed when someone says he or she did not realize that the pilgrims came here for religious freedom. However, if you think our founding fathers "died so we could be a Christian nation," you need to check your history. People are Christians, not governments.

Contrary to this incredibly foolish email, the Book of Revelation does not describe the “anti Christ” We learn most of what we think we know about this mysterious man (which is actually very little) from the books of Daniel and Ezekiel. Revelation does not say that he will be a man in his forties. It certainly does not say that he will be of Muslim descent, since there was no Mohammad and no religion of Islam for many centuries after Revelation was penned. Ezekiel does seem to imply that a coming man of evil power will be “a son of Abraham” but that is as close as the Bible comes to saying, and that could be a Jew as well as an Arab (not necessarily a Muslim). I don’t think any Anti Christ, whoever he is, and whatever he does, is likely to be directing worship or prayer to ANY god but himself, Allah or otherwise.

This is yet another urban legend, a way to make us needlessly suspicious, cynical and afraid. God is not the author of fear, right? I have seen more cruel, unchristian, bigoted and hateful things in my inbox from "Christians" this year than I ever would have believed possible. I am distressed and disheartened by our mean-spirited...uh...can I say...stupidity? Is this Christlike behavior? Is this loving others as we love ourselves? It isn't confined to the "right" either. I mean, plenty of us will be glad to see him receede in our rear view mirrors, but G.W. Bush is not Satan, okay?

I am so weary of political emails, of political speeches, of “I approved this message” TV ads from both the right and the left. Please stop adding to my weariness and my cynicism. I will go to the polls this year, as I have for a long time, feeling less than thrilled about my options. People seem to want to know what I think, or at least to influence me to vote "like God wants" me to.
All right. I think Obama is an untried, youthful, charming man who, among other concerns, is too inexperienced to be commander in chief. I think of that whenever someone mentions Palin's lack of experience. And I find his stance on babies born alive after abortions to be despicable. But I don’t believe he is a closet Muslim, extreme or otherwise, nor the anti Christ, nor refuses to salute the flag etc. I like the thought of someone who is more likely to think towards the future than the past. Biden, in my opinion, doesn’t even deserve a mention.
McCain is a patriotic American for whom I have great admiration, and he also has some character flaws I do not like at all. We have been strangely quiet about the "family values" of McCain, haven't we? I am concerned that he is not forward-looking and if he is elected it will be more of the same old, same old. As for Palin, I was initially sort of excited about her. I loved the fact that a young woman with a family, someone not a "Washington insider" was chosen. But she has been less than thrilling in the days since, hasn't she? I am saddened to say that I am already tired of her voice, and if she refers to "soccer moms" one more time I may throw something at the television.
So I’ll pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven, and I will vote, but I won’t be throwing a post-election party, no matter who wins. Truth is, GOD is our hope and not McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden.
Boyd was right in that the Church has been looking to "Caesar" (in our case, Uncle Sam) for far too long. The kingdoms of the world will never get the job done, dear friends. Yes, America has been blessed. I love the USA, and I will keep right on loving and praying for her. I will not bash nor malign her. But I weep for her sometimes. Let's face it. She is not "Christian." She is sick. Maybe she is terminally sick. I hope not.
That does not mean that the Church has to be sick right along with her...
Enough, already. I’m feeling old and crotchety today, and I’m tired of the whole mess! Sorry for the rant. Election day can't come soon enough for me.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Calling All Red Blooded Patriots Who Are Also Church Goers

I love America. I love American history. I think we have been profoundly blessed. I am married to a former Marine...oh, I forgot. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Semper Fi. At my church I also mention praying for the candidates and for the election process and I (quietly) encourage folks to vote.

Nonetheless...I ask, have you been given a "voter's guide to the issues" that looks like a brochure for the Republican party? Do you feel the need to send scurrilous emails about political candidates, pointing out their sins, flaws, parentage etc.? Are you engaged in getting everyone you know to be patriotic and vote their "Christian values?" Are you planning on moving to Canada if your candidate is not elected? (Just kidding.) Then this article, "On the Campaign Trail" by the always thought provoking (and a teensy bit bit controversial) Greg Boyd is not to be missed.

Here is a snippet of the whole.

"... Several representatives of... (a conservative Christian political action ministry) shared why they felt America was a Christian nation and why it was the responsibility of pastors to encourage their church members to get out and “vote their biblical values.” (Are Christians tempted to vote the values of the Koran, Tao Te Ching or Humanist Manifesto unless their pastors remind them what they believe?)...I asked “When did Jesus ever do anything like what you were just asked to do? “ ...the church’s one and only job is to look like Jesus, humbly manifesting God’s love in sacrificial service to all people at all times, including our enemies...the church in America is, as a whole, failing miserably. Christians are known for a lot of things, but humility and self-sacrificial love, especially for enemies, isn’t among them. The tragic truth is that the church in America is profoundly broken... We aren’t doing what we’re called to do, in part because we’re so busy trying to get Caesar to do it! ... Instead of feasting at the banquet of God’s humble, servant love, we’re joining in the world’s scramble to scarf up a morsel of power that falls from Caesar’s table...Folks, for people who profess to follow Jesus, this is pure insanity! ... In the Kingdom, we vote with our lives, not in a booth expressing our opinion about what Caesar should do...Keep your eyes fixed on Christ where your life is hid (Col. 3:1-5).

I'll be honest. I'm not sure I agree with everything he said. The whole article might challenge some ideas, make you a little angry, or maybe it will make you shout "Amen." Read it for yourself--I dare you!

P.S. And stop, stop, STOP sending me those insane emails. The Book of Revelation does not say that the Anti Christ is charming, 40, and of Muslim descent....

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Heirs Together Part Four: Weeds in the Garden

If you would like to start at the beginning of this series, just click on the link to "Egalitarian Marriage" at the bottom of this post or in the sidebar. 

I Peter 3:7 “...Live with heirs together with you of God’s gracious gift of life.”
Today we are heading back to the garden to see what happened to God's creation after he pronounced it "good."

Does God have a plan for man and woman in marriage? YES! Last week we learned that there are two creation accounts in Genesis. The first account, an overview, is found in Genesis 1:26-28. Let's take a moment to review them.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

The second creation account is Genesis 2:7, and 18-24.

“…And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground…and man became a living soul. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…. …And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam…and he took one of his ribs, and…the LORD God made…a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man...”

Those two words, “help meet” or “suitable helper” are from two wonderful Hebrew words EZER KENEGDO. God created woman to be so much more than an assistant (helpmate) to the man. EZER KENEGDO means: “ one who is the same as the other and who surrounds, protects, aids, helps, supports”

Many sermons, books, articles and workshops have told us, “God’s plan is a chain of command with the man given authority over the woman.” So far, scripture does not say this was God’s plan. In the first creation account, God creates the male and the female together as humankind. Both are made in God's image. The man and woman are together given dominion over creation. The woman is “like” the man and she is a strong help, side by side with the man. There is no suggestion of a hierarchy, of defined “roles” or some sort of creation order in the relationship. We are designed for partnership.

God’s plan was that the man and the woman were made to rule together. The woman was made to be a strong help—the man’s partner in every way. This is GOOD NEWS for all of us!

What happened? Let's move on to Genesis 3. It tells us the sad story of what we often call "the Fall of Man."

Now the serpent…said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.‘ “

Doubt about God begins (and the woman adds to what God said). The Enemy of your soul always comes in disguise, always brings mistrust of God and reconstructs God's intent.

"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.

The serpent lies and again inserts doubt about God’s trustworthiness. He appeals to her PRIDE (something else he always does) —and mmm mmmmm --it did LOOK GOOD! And wisdom is a good thing---right?

She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Adam is not off somewhere cavorting with lion cubs. He is with her. Her mistake was not forgetting to talk to her husband, and his mistake was not in refusing to lead. They both were tripped up by listening to the wrong voice. How important the words we choose to listen to can be. And then there was pride--and thinking they could be their own little gods! The same sin that got Lucifer cast out of Heaven got humankind cast out of the Garden!

I don't have time now to go into this, but if you'd like to see an interesting parellel, take a look at the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and you will see the same pattern.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD… among the trees of the garden.

When we sin our first impulse is often to run and “hide” from God. (Foolish, isn’t it?)

But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?

And God in love pursues us!

He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
And [God] said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

What is happening to God’s beautiful plan!? Eve gets seduced by beauty and promises of wisdom. Sin brings fear and separation from God--and the man blames the woman—and the relationship is damaged.

So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you…
GOD CURSES the serpent…not the people. The other stuff that follows is an inevitable result of sin.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

Satan will especially hate the woman, it seems. We have seen this thoroughout the ages. Perhaps partly it is because through her will come other men and woman…humans…including the one who will destroy him! Satan will do damage, but he will eventually be CRUSHED!

To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children. our desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.“

Pain enters the world, and a change in the male/female relationship.

To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you…By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…

The earth is cursed...and God tells the man that painful toil will be his lot in life. Was Adam’s sin listening to his wife, or disobeying God?

…until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Death comes to all creation. Does this sound like good news? Does God call any of this “good?”
Here comes more bad news.

…the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken….he drove the man out…

Apparently they did not leave when God told them to. God had to force his rebellious children to leave. This was a loving thing to do, because living forever in a sinful, broken state would be more than anyone should have to bear!

So the hideous results of sin on humankind are: fear, pain and suffering, damaged relationships, toil just to survive, separation, rebellion, death. Notice that God did not curse his children. Sin brought a curse on the serpent and the earth.

WAS THIS HORRIBLE MESS GOD’S PLAN? NO! Damaged relationships, pain, rebellion etc. are not God’s plan for us!

QUESTIONS: Do we seek to perpetuate the bad things that happened because of sin? No, not usually. Do we refuse to use weed killer? Do we refuse to find labor-saving devices or ways to make work easier? Do we refuse to use scientific discoveries to make labor and delivery less painful and safer, or to alleviate pain and sickness and death? Do we call it “God’s plan” when relationships are broken or we blame each other or live in pride and rebellion against God?

No. We don't.

So why--out of the entire miserable scene--do we say that this one verse: “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you“ is God’s “divine order for marriage?”
Why do so many teachers and preachers say this? Why does it come up all the time? Why is it featured in almost every men’s or women’s conference on the planet? For that matter, why did two not-so-well-known preachers, Chaplain Bearded Eagle and Pastor SingingOwl [no I won't really call us that in church], say this? The answer to those questions are not easy, are they? I can guess about some. I know why I did. I can’t speak for the others.

The result of SIN, not God’s plan, meant that the man would seek to dominate (rule over) the woman. Have we seen this in the world? From Genesis 3 on, the Enemy hates women, and in all places, and times (and all but a few cultures) women have been second-class citizens (to put it mildly). Sometimes the man’s “rule over” her has been benevolent and at least somewhat kind, and sometimes cruel. The man is the physically stronger of the two, generally, and this can be a blessing to the woman, or a curse. When sin enters the equation, it is a curse.

The result of SIN, not God’s plan, meant that the woman’s desire would be for her husband. What’s wrong with that? Well, many commentators and teachers say that the woman would try to dominate her husband. The New Living Translation even translates it, “And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” However, The Message puts it this way, "He told the Woman:…You'll want to please your husband, but he'll lord it over you.“

So which is it, dominate him (NLT) or try to please him (TM)? We’d better look at the Hebrew.

TESUQUA means “turning toward.”

So the woman would turn toward the man. Remember, this is not some sort of blessed divine order of things. God is speaking of the damage that will come to them because of sin and a cursed world. It is my opinion that this is not just saying that the woman will want to please the man, it is saying that she will “turn towards him.” Woman will seek the approval of a man even when it is unhealthy, even when he lords it over her, even when she should be turning to God, who is our real source of strength.

Women can certainly be bossy and controlling and even physically domineering, and men can seek a woman’s approval more than God’s approval. However, look at the world around you. Think of yourself. Think of people you know. Who tends to dominate, rule over, be verbally and physically aggressive? Who tends to seek approval, even when the results are bad?

This is the “way of the world.” The strong dominate the weak, the weak look to those more powerful for help, but they resent their need for help. So sometimes the weaker ones manipulate and misuse and dishonor the strong, exploiting the other’s weakness where they can. Those with power exploit that power and rule over those who are weaker. This destructive cycle permeates all relationships!

All too often, God’s people are applying the results of sin, calling it "God's divine plan" for men and women. It is a dreadful thing to attribute the work of evil to God, even with the best of intentions. Could this be one of the reasons why Christian marriages are in trouble—and the divorce rate among conservative, Evangelical people is as bad or worse than for unchurched couples?

Do you want to live under a curse or under the grace of God?
God has provided a way for this destructive cycle to be broken. In "Heirs Together" Pat Gundry says the following:

"Salvation restores us to fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit not only give us back the lost access to God but also enables us to know how to reunite with each other again as equals...It is this banner of freedom in Christ and the equality of believers that carries us on toward reversing...worldliness which teaches us to exploit and manipulate...we can go on to where...each person is of equal value and has equal opportunity to experience and express full personhood."

Remember, God promised that the “seed of the woman” would defeat Darkness. God’s words in the Garden were the first of many prophecies that an Anointed One would come from God to defeat sickness, sin, pain, and death! Let's look at a few scriptures that speak to the Good News of redemption through Christ:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned…Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
The Prophet Isaiah

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.
The Angel Gabriel

"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
John the Baptist

For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule…But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this man, Jesus Christ.
Apostle Paul

Are we choosing the law of sin and death, instead of living in the freedom Christ provides?
From Romans 8
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus…because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death…God…sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay…For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers…long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.2 Corinthians 3:17 b
“…and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”Galatians 5:13
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.Colossians 2:8
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

We can begin right here and right now! We can join many others who are looking at the message of freedom in Christ that scripture teaches, reclaiming the truth of equality and partnership in our marriages.

Can we affirm that we will seek to live in life-giving relationships? Can we step out of calling the result of sin the “plan of God?” Can we live as sons and daughters of our wonderful God, who came to set us free? Can we stop living under a curse and start living under God’s grace?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Who's Primative?

This short post by our Methodist friend, the Questing Parson, is not to be missed. Reminds me of an O' Henry story.

"Somebody say Amen or Oh me" the old timey preachers used to say.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Praying for the Upcoming Election Process

The Assemblies of God is providing a 31-day election prayer calendar that you can use to pray for a variety of issues and people in the days leading up to November 4th. You can download a color or a black and white version here. It begins this Sunday, October 5th.