One of the wonderful things about the bible and Christ’s teachings is how unifying that message is, how it speaks to a diverse number of people from all walks of life, as if were not tailor-made for a specific group, but tailor-made for the human experience.
I love to talk to people from different backgrounds, different experiences, find out how they perceive the world, and then discover we are both on the same page when it comes to faith. There may be only one way to the Father, but there are many paths to Christ Himself. The fact that so many of us all coming from different directions, somehow manage to all arrive at the same place is downright miraculous. In faith all those human divisions, rich, poor, race, gender, assorted human hegemonies, eventually just fall away, and there we all are.
Personally I am quite grateful to have grown up within some pretty militant atheism because it forced me to have a personal relationship with Christ Himself. There was no leadership, no teaching, no “indoctrination,” into faith, it was just He and I walking alone. I read a lot and I talked to God and those outside of me just relentlessly said I was wrong, until even their voices just faded into background noise.
This idea that there are some awful Christians over here or some bad churches over there, or this appalling perversion of scripture coming from this quarter, wasn’t even a part of my world. I have this personal relationship with Christ and other people’s words, perceptions, behavior, are totally irrelevant, do not define that relationship. There is always this chain of command going on, God first, people second. People have biases, wounding, perception problems, misinterpretations of scripture, and assorted personal issues. Sometimes I can see those issues clearly as in “that’s not God speaking dude, that is totally you.” I am not easily deceived, too much water under that bridge, Living Water.
So in the course of blogging, I encounter the churchian gamers, mostly wounded broken, bitter men, attempting to distort scripture into their own personal validation system, where male superiority reigns supreme. As is the nature of broken people, they immediately use scriptures to try to point fingers at others, mostly women. Should wounded men harboring such resentment and anger be trying to teach women about faith? Absolutely not. That revenge based, show no mercy, I hate half the human race attitude, comes through loud and clear and taints everything they say and do.
I want to beg them to be selfish, to stop, to look inside and seek His healing, His grace. There is redemption there, you are loved, you are forgiven. Focus on yourself, find peace inside, avail yourself of His joy. You sow discord and wrought destruction, because you seek to tear women down as if that will elevate you in His eyes. It simply doesn’t work that way. I’m sorry, but it is what it is.
Then I flip around and there are the atheist evangelizers, talking those same angry little words, distorting scripture themselves, and trying to lecture me about the hostility Christianity allegedly harbors towards women. Stuff and nonsense, men sometimes harbor hostility, but Christ Himself was all about loving women, a rather miraculous thing in and of itself, considering biblical times.
So all in good humor here, but I find it really interesting when people from diverse beliefs and non beliefs see fit to send me the same bit of scripture all on the same day, in this case, 1 Peter 3:1-7. Serius posted it in my “Lessons for Christian Ladies” thread and I received it in two other emails from atheist evangelizers, as so-called “evidence” of how oppressive Christianity is towards women. Then some well-meaning angry Christian man sees fit to email it to me too, as if I am too uppity, and must be reminded of my place.
Scripture needs to viewed with a humble heart, with a desire to learn, with an ear tuned to the Author who will teach you what it means and how to apply it. 1 Peter 3:1-7 is not a weapon to be taken out of context and used to whack women over the head with, because that takes something beautiful and tries to make it ugly.
So, that dance between men and women, the one that occurs in a marriage context is a beautiful thing, a very sweet thing, not oppressive at all. It is simply the reflective nature of love, it is freedom, it is intimacy, it is a great blessing, full of some strife, but for the most part a rather joyous thing. One flesh. One does not tear another down as if that somehow is going to elevate you, you lift each other up. To try to tear someone down is to tear yourself down. Where one goes, the other goes, too. You would no more stomp on your own foot then you would stomp on your spouse.
There are some beautiful concepts in 1 Peter 3:1-7, and it’s somewhat sad to see it so maligned. “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” giving honour unto the wife…heirs together of the grace of life….
My plea today, my prayers, are that more people will look within themselves and seek Him, rather than reading scripture as if it only applies to others. Something just wonderful happens when you take yourself out of the equation and just let God be God.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” Hebrews 4:12
It’s not a sword one uses to stab other people, it’s a conviction within our own hearts. Be selfish and let it speak to you. There is freedom to be found there.