Sunday, September 24, 2006

She Ain't June, But You Ain't Ward Neither

We had another Moon howlin’ last week. That’s when some friends and I get together and talk about faith, families, politics, music, about anything at all.

We build a fire out near this old barn/shed thingie and plug an iPod into speakers. It is a time for holding each other accountable, a time for talking of things of great import and of no importance at all. Sometimes the moon is up (hence my silly little name for this gathering), sometimes it rains.

When a tough question is asked it is convenient to have a fire to poke, to toss another log on (yes, there are other types of logging on!), grab a moment to gather our thoughts before answering.

Today I’m inviting you to pull a chair close to the fire (try to stay out of the smoke) while I poke the embers, kick unburnt portions in, and deliver a rambling soliloquy about marriage and life.

About once a week someone finds my blog by googling something like:

“Job’s wife” or “How do I make my wife be obedient?” or “Woman’s tongue scriptural reproof”.

Well... let me see if I can answer that sort of question, all in the spirit of sitting around a fire you know... Just some guys talking.

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
--Ephesians 5:22

Ah... I see some of you have squirmed a little. Hang in there. I see a few others out there have smiled, and a couple of you puffed up a little, pleased with where this might be going.

It’s that last group I wish to address.

I understand your frustration. Ever since the (mythic) bra burnings of the 60s, the rants of Bella Abzug, and the rise of a myriad of feminist magazines, it seems that the place a man has held in society, perhaps even in his home, has been under attack.

It seems unfair you can’t follow Ward Cleaver’s footsteps into the kitchen to see what June has cooking for dinner. After all, you work hard, you sacrifice your time away from your family, your home, your favorite chair, and dang it, there ought to be some tangible rewards for being forced out of your bear’s den to go and hunt down the proverbial game and fling the bloody carcass on the dining room table.

There is that admonition to your wife for her to submit:

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
--Ephesians 5:22-24

It seems pretty clear.

Wait a moment...

What was that last part? “ the church submits to Christ...” That passage isn’t just talking about wives. It’s saying we are all supposed to be submitting. Are you a Christ-follower? Do you submit? Do you yield to the authority of the Church (Christ)? Do you recognize the authority of our Lord over you and are you obedient? Check out the plank in your eye, brother. It is pretty easy to say your wife needs to yield, but do you? Do you back down? Cave in? Capitulate? Surrender? Knuckle under?

“Woah! Hey Curious Servant! Where do you get off talking like this? Why don’t you just go back to telling us about your skin problems, or the angst of raising special needs kids, or, ah heck, I can even handle the stuff about your dead kid, but let’s lay off the submit to the church stuff, ok?”

Hmmm... OK. Fair enough. I can move on, but remember, this is just a little chat around a fire, and the rules are that I can say what is on my heart. I can say what is real, in my view, and you can poke the coals, or drop another log into the fire, or go get a beer out of the fridge in the shed, or even make some noises about it getting late and jump in your pickup and go home.

It won’t hurt my feelings. We’re big boys here.

The passage under discussion implies that being the head of the household is a God-given right. There is the view women should just suck it up and do their duty. If they would just be obedient then everything would be fine.

Well, first of all my friend, my brother, she is probably more likely to be obedient to that scriptural admonition if you are truly doing your part.

You see, there is more to that passage:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
--Ephesians 5:25-27

Let’s let the fire crackle a bit...

A bit more...

Love your wife... Make her important. Hold her up, hold her close, hold her dear.

Love your wife.

Love her.

And it doesn’t stop there. Make her holy. Make her clean. Wash her in scripture. Wash her in prayer. Care for her.

Listen, if you owned a horse you would take care of it! You would curry the snarls in its coat, you would clean its hooves. Treat your wife tenderly. Love her. Don't you think that the person you swore to love until death you do part deserves at least as much?

Love her.

How much?

In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—
--Ephesians 5:28-29

Love her as much as you love your body. How much did Christ love the Church? Enough to be tortured to death for it. Do you love your wife that much?
Love her more than you love your body.

Bottom line: You want your wife to submit?


Lead and follow. Lead your family by submitting to the Lord and doing your part.

Enough said. I’m going to grab a beer. Can I get you one?


Ame said...

can i have a glass of red wine instead? ;)

love this, cs . . . absolutely love it.

“Woah! Hey Curious Servant! Where do you get off talking like this?" you know what ... i think i remember you writing that you began this during a difficult time and now that it's over you're not sure of the direction of this blog - you may correct me if i'm wrong or read into what you wrote incorrectly. but you know what? your journey and your transparency through that journey has earned you the privalege to share such truths as these. and not only your journey, but the fact that you are LIVING these truths gives you the privalege and the authority upon which to speak/write the truths of God.


Jim said...

No thanks, my medicine won't allow it.
Mrs. Jim and I go over ALL those scriptures quite regularly. There is a tall order for the man.
BTW, in our marriage vows, Mrs. Jim promised to 'obey.' The preacher hadn't mentioned it, just dropped it on her. Had she known before hand, well ...
Your guess, I'll never know.

Jada's Gigi said...

I think you've just about nailed it brother...there needs to be a whole lot more lovin going on so the submitting part comes much more naturally...and I have to agree with Ame...don't preach it if you ain't livin it...:)I think the ones preaching the submission of women are usually the ones having the most trouble loving their own wives...and are the most fearful among us too...:)
Everything revolves around love...

Kathleen Marie said...

And we are to LOVE our neighbors as ourselves...wonderful!

Coco said...

I LOVED it!!
Yes, I also loved how you wrote it, and paced it ; )

I'll take a beer...dark, please ; )

Take Care!


Ame said...

You know, on the flip side of the coin, wives need to let their husbands lead. Women tend to like to be in control of everything all the time, but there is a time to step back and let him lead - without telling him how to lead - without trying to change his leadership personality. I admit I wasn't always good at this in my marriage - it was something I really had to learn and then to work on. It was a catch 22, though. He wanted to be the leader without leading. This wasn't the marriage breaker - certainly something we were capable of working through had there not been more serious issues.

Fox's Mom said...

Just the right piece to read by firelight on a crisp fall evening:) I'm going to print this, and if I ever find the right guy, I'll give him this to read. Thank-you.


PS-I finally did the things I meant to do-after I wrote that blog; you're right, it was a matter of perspective:)

jollybeggar said...

i like the image of the fire in this post.
it serves as a visual 'selah.'

Felisol said...

Dear Curious Seervant,
Thank you for visiting. I'm fine, but busy at the moment.
Love your latest blog. It gave me teenage nostalgia. Endless theoretical discussions over the man/woman theme of the Scripture.
Guess I was about to drive our old pastor mad..

I've been staying with my old parents for awhile recently. They live the Bible, by honoring each other and allways supporting the weaker part.
It's moving how they strive together. My mother by doing most of the family-administrative chores, which were my father's dominion previous to his brain haemorrage. My father heroicly not complaining in spite of his pains, being helpless but still clare and concious of the situation. As allways he'll try to protect my mother..
I think that's what a relation should be about. Being there for each other, fullfilling each other, mutual respect and responsability in sickness and in health.
I hope our daughter can say the same about my husband and me, when our time is running out.
Love E

bjk said...

Throwing my own log in the fire.

I am blessed I know that my husband and I have come to love each other better...BUT IF my husband hadn't come to his own understanding of loving me like Christ loves the church...

Sitting back and watching it crackle I answer my own question before I even ask it.....I would have had to submit to him even if he failed to love me the way I wanted because I knew...heard....what God wanted wanted me to do.....

Thanks for inviting us to sit with you.....I'll be thinking on this and alot of other stuff going on online today....

Looney Mom said...

Amen! We ALL need to submit. I'm ok with all that. Well said.

Judas Hate said...

I'll take a beer if I can have a handshake to go with it;-)

Well done Will! And long overdue for someone to point it out to those who didn't "get it".


Maripat said...

Nicely said.

byHisgracealone said...

Your symbolism of the fire....reminded me of a poem I am working on ....I am standing near the middle of the fire reaching for husbands hand to pull me through and he turns and walks away......the end result is I was strong enough in my faith to walk through the flames with Him, but not strong enough to continue with the endless rejection in the marriage.......enough said...i am rambling...

please stop over to my blog and take a peek at my new grandbaby...she is precious....

excellent post Will...thank you and God bless.

curious servant said...

I'm still around folks... very busy!

Gotta go!

McSwain said...

Our youth pastor, a VERY wise young man, preached last Sunday. He stated that when he prays, he asks that his wife would be a woman who is beautiful in the Lord's eyes. He then asks that he would become more like the Lord. See how that works? profound words from an under-30.

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