By Cindy Koch –
I know, I know. Ladies, don’t be too hard on him. The Man has posed an honest question about our society and our faith. He observed that men can look like sexist jerks by believing the word of God; so where is the honor for women today? He tried to stand up and defend our freedom, but we know how very short that answer falls. It’s easy to wonder on the outside, rather than to be the woman who must mold her life in the midst of the muck.
This position is not unique to our well-dressed friend about town. I have had many a contemporary conversation with a fresh mind who would applaud these naïve words. Out with the old, in with the new, women have been oppressed by society, blah, blah, blah. As cliché as this topic can become, it’s really a beginning to a good conversation. A fun conversation about what is True and beautiful and good, all things which The Man very much appreciates.
Most often, young freedom fighters make a dangerous assumption about the counter cultural relationships found in the Bible. They see society’s values at work when women are encouraged to submit, rather than the creative work of God. They see a broken world telling men to rise up and take charge, rather than a solemn responsibility to live like Christ. They observe the struggles between man and woman simply the product of a culture’s restrictive fickle mindset, rather than the result of ignoring God’s words long ago. They can’t comprehend that God would give his gifts in such a shameful way.
So what is really true? In the beginning, God created woman to help and bear children. She had a beautiful purpose from her first breath. God saw that is was good. This was before sin or anything ugly entered into our world. When death, strife, worry, struggle, and independence entered her life, God saved her from that by his Son. Christ restored her as God’s beloved creation, once again free to serve.
What follows from that simple amazing truth is a bit surprising. Women hear, believe, and confess those words of life and promise. Through Christ, we are placed back into that loving relationship with our Creator – and we happily submit. We begin to appreciate His wisdom while listening. We ache less for control over men. We start to want the things we were created for. We find beauty in the gifts of God, given to his beloved women.
And so, our earthly relationships between a man and woman conveys more than just decorum at the next cocktail party. It is a representation of our life with Christ. As redeemed renewed creations, we believe that woman submits to man and man submits to Christ. If our imperfect fathers can reveal glimmers of our Father in Heaven, marriage reminds us of this mysterious love and headship of Christ. And so, you can understand our concern when one starts accusing the head of improper love and compassion; you are picking a fight with the Head, Himself.
Like most things that the world misunderstands about the mysteries of faith, we really don’t care what the culture has to say about us. Is my husband a jerk because he attempts to love me like Christ? Is my church a bunch of a**holes because men actively lead and protect their women? The ears of faith really don’t see it like that. St. Paul praised his beautiful Corinthian church for remembering God’s gift of creation among men and women. If only we had such proclaimers to remind us of who we are in this mixed up world.
Oh wait. We do. She is not quite as sexy as a tattooed potty-mouth pastorette. But she has been there the whole time telling you God is providing as she changed your diaper. She softly reminds you God has reconciled His creatures when she rocks your son to sleep. She puts His love into every turkey and cheese sandwich that she made for your lunch. It’s not loud and glorious – but she is right there.
Our beloved Christ killed all these silly questions long ago. He rose up our new confidence to love our men, even when they don’t deserve to be loved. Christ made us free to wash your dinner dishes or serve tequila at a bar for minimum wage. Wherever He calls us to help, we are women, and we are right here.
More than the voices for women, I despair the voices against. These voices are not the dumb jokes or meaningless banter about rights. The voices who hurt us the most lead us to mistrust our Creator’s words. They tempt us to believe Christ’s restoration isn’t quite enough. When the shiny apple of self-importance sparkles in front of our eyes, it is truly impossible to resist. Our life chews on the bitter bites of our mistakes, and we want to share our deadly fruit with anyone who will eat it up. So don’t be the voice that encourages us to hate our men, don’t counsel us to doubt our Creator. Love us more than that.
Composed while listening to the cries of a sleepy baby on my shoulder, in between laundry loads of whites and darks.