Archive for July 7th, 2008

My caveat: This blog post presupposes complementarianism (not that I’ve settled on that conclusion, but that’s what the post is about).

The other day, my husband and I pulled into a gas station to fill up.  I told him that I wanted to go inside and pick up a snack.  He told me that he didn’t want me to.  I asked him why not.  He gave me this answer: “Because I said so.”

Now, before anyone freaks out, please know that my husband was joking.  However, it started a great conversation between us about headship and what his beliefs are about it.  I’m not going to go into those, but I did come to some conclusions after our discussion.

“Because I said so” is the kind of answer a parent gives to a child when they simply want to assert their authority and make the child obey without giving an actual reason.  This is not an answer given between adults.  I can hear the objections now: A boss can give his employee this answer and it must suffice.  Okay, that may be so.  However, we are talking about a much more intimate relationship here.  I have to believe that it goes deeper than this.

I think this kind of answer is often given by men who simply want their wives to know that they are in charge and that even this kind of answer should suffice.  It seems to me that, in this case, what matters to the husband is the assertion of his authority and not the actual issue being discussed.  After all, if we, as women, start accepting these answers full stop, what separates us from our children?  Are we just another child to our husbands?

I came to the conclusion that it behooves husbands to find a way to “assert his authority” in a way in which his wife will gladly receive it.  In other words, he’ll treat her like an adult and come to her with loving admonition if he feels that she is being disrespectful.  He won’t treat her like a child and he won’t discipline her as he would one of his children.  In a sense, I think, he is submitting to her in this way.  It is simply being courteous and, dare I say, Christian.  It is the kind of “one-anothering” so often found throughout Scripture.

So, what about wives?  How do we graciously respond to our husband’s leadership?  I would like to submit that we treat our husbands as we would like to be treated: with the respect and dignity owed to them as full image-bearers of God.  That is certainly the way WE want to be treated, isn’t it?

The Christian life is the life of a servant.  Can we find a greater servant than Jesus?  The King of the Universe stooped to wash his disciples dirty, sweaty, disgusting feet.  I can certainlly do some laundry without complaining, right?  The Christian life is a life poured out in the service of others, whether it be our husbands, our children, people in our church, the bum on the street… it is a life of constant giving.  That call is given to women AND men.

When I think about it, what “troubles” me most about submission is probably what troubles any woman who has difficulty in doing it: pride.  I don’t want to think that someone is “over” me.  I don’t want anyone else telling me what to do.  Why should he get two votes and I only get one?  I could go on and on and on… but, at the end of the day, its my pride that gets hurt when my husband pulls the headship card (which rarely ever happens, by the way).

Isn’t pride a vice that must be crucified?

In the end, I’m not quite sure it matters who is in charge.  Strike that.  It does matter.  What matters is that Christ is in charge!  When a husband and wife make it their primary goal to serve Christ by serving the other, when they place their pride aside (the husband’s sometimes bossy assertion of authority, the wife’s prideful rejection of it) and just pour out their lives to minister to and build up the other, does it really matter whose vote carries more weight?


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The Peace of God

My father was our choir director growing up. I tend to think he was pretty good at it too. My parents were both professional musicians, and I grew up surrounded by music. When I came back to Christianity, some of the hymns I’d been hearing my entire life took on new meaning. “They Cast Their Nets in Galilee” is one.

They Cast Their Nets in Galilee

They cast their nets in Galilee Just off the hills of brown;
Such happy, simple fisherfolk, Before the Lord came down.

Contented, peaceful fishermen, Before they ever knew
The peace of God that filled their hearts Brimful, and broke them too.

Young John who trimmed the flapping sail, Homeless, in Patmos died.
Peter, who hauled the teeming net, Head-down was crucified.

The peace of God, it is no peace, But strife closed in the sod.
Yet, brothers, pray for but one thing—The marvelous peace of God.

Here were the apostles, minding their own business, fishing, making a living, and doing fine. Then along comes the most amazing man they’ll ever meet. Not just any man. God, in human form. He is standing before them, beckoning them. And without question they turn and follow him.

Never again would life be easy. Prosecuted and persecuted they spent the rest of their lives trying to communicate even just a glimmer of who the Lord was, and why He came.

Only John died of old age. Yet, he was still alone. Banished to Patmos. And we’re supposed to pray for that?

Yes. Yes, we are. The Lord doesn’t make any promises that our lives on earth will be easy. He only promises to never leave us alone. The reward we’re after is not here. It is in the approving gaze that will one day be ours when we look at our Father and at His Son and we hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And yet, we’re often not good and not faithful. At those times it is God who is faithful to forgive, uphold, and see us through, even then.

Ultimately the suffering of the apostles wasn’t for nothing. They teach us so much about pain and sacrifice, and the value of it. Their sacrifice has echoed over 2000 years, and gives believers strength even now. Which is why I can say that I know God has a plan. Even if I can’t see it. Even if it hurts. Even if I wish it was different. There is a bigger picture. And no suffering we endure for our faith, our beliefs or our God is without worth and value.

The peace of God, it is no peace, But strife closed in the sod.
Yet, brothers, pray for but one thing—The marvelous peace of God.

Thank you, Dad, for the gift of liturgical music.

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