Thursday, May 28, 2015
Doing the Religion Thing Again
I got an email from a great guy. I looked back in my inbox and realized we've spoken to one another as far back as 2012. Back then he had hoped his wife would accept his submission. She loved him doing chores but accepting him as her submissive was something that made her uncomfortable and so she never did. Just recently I received another email and the real crux of her issue was revealed. She didn't know how to mesh Scripture with female dominance or male submission. He asked me for perspective - which I am by no means a guru in Scriptural knowledge and insight. Nevertheless I'm going to take a stab at this topic again.
Here's where everyone gets hung up.... On Ephesions 5:22-23. It reads as follows:
22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church
OK, so there you have it. Case closed. Crime solved. Book finished. Race won. Right? Well let's consider one more thing.... context, context, context.
Here is the full passage. As you read it, look who is being told again and again to love her to the point of dying (sounds like submission), to respect, to lift her up (sounds like submission to me). Read in vs 31 who leaves who. Who goes to who? (hmmmm). And then read the very end..... who loves? who is told to respect? In verse 27 who is doing the work of making sure the other is cast in a positive light? (again, sounds like submission to me)
OK, I'll let you read.
21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 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. 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. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”c 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
So that's the New Testament version of who leads, who follows. In the old testament there is also a verse that his pulled out and shoved into the face of women. It's in Genesis where God first creates Adam and then says 'I'm going to make you a helper".... often interpreted as a lesser being. At least that's how I was taught and I bet you were too if you went to church. The word helper in Hebrew is EZER. You can do a google search and explore it further if you wish. I found 21 uses of the word in the Bible and listed them below, capitalizing the word HELPER or HELP (which is EZER in Hebrew). Please note in almost every situation who is helping who. It's God helping us. God helping Israel. God coming to the aid. God coming to the rescue. So the question that needs to be answered is this: If God is HELPING (Ezer) isn't he the more powerful one? If so, then how does one reconcile Genesis 2: 18 and 2:20 where women are coming to HELP man?
Pardon the old English. I cut and pasted from a website. Again, I'll let you read.
Gen 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an HELP meet for him.
Gen 2:20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an HELP meet for him.
Exo 18:4 And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine HELP, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:
Deu 33:7 And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an HELP to him from his enemies.
Deu 33:26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy HELP, and in his excellency on the sky.
Deu 33:29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy HELP, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
Psa 20:2 Send thee HELP from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;
Psa 33:20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our HELP and our shield.
Psa 70:5 But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my HELP and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.
Psa 89:19 Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid HELP upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.
Psa 115:9 O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their HELP and their shield.
Psa 115:10 O house o Aaron, trust in the LORD: he is their HELP and their shield.
Psa 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their HELP and their shield.
Psa 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my HELP.
Psa 121:2 My HELP cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
Psa 124:8 Our HELP is the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Psa 146:5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his HELP, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
Isa 30:5 They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be an HELP nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.
Eze 12:14 And I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him to HELP him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them.
Dan 11:34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little HELP: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.
Hos 13:9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine HELP.
I grew up having a belief in God. I still do. I believe there is a heaven and a hell. I believe there is a spiritual world we cannot see but exists. I believe in God.I believe there is a devil. I believe in the Bible. So, as a man that suddenly came to see myself as a submissive I needed to reconcile whether or not I could live as a submissive and still follow scripture. I believe I can. I believe I can because there are 19 instances in which Ezer is the bigger,stronger, wiser dude helping the littlier, smaller, wimpy one. If that's the case then it sure seems like the woman God created to EZER Adam must also be of similar salt. She must be his equal and nothing less. And then if you look at the full context of the Ephesians passage and don't get caught up on the single verse you begin to see trends that need to be considered. Further, one needs to understand that back in that world where swords and death were so common that it really was a 'might makes right' way of life. Sounds like a bit of Isis world to me. Women, because they are physically weaker had to rely on the strength of a man to sustain them. Yet God tells the strong brute to love her, respect her, to even die for her (that's the parallel of man loving his wife like Christ loved the church). Man was told to leave home and GO to her (not she to him) and marry. There is much material for those women that are on the same fence I was to see how LOVING female dominance can have it's place within Christianity. That's the conclusion I've come to and as a result I feel quite content living to please and love my Katie in the way I do and trust her to make decisions regarding sex, money, time and life on our/my behalf. How am I not loving her by giving up the selfish part of me for her to decide, lead, and direct? Is that not love?