Archive for the ‘Womanhood’ Category

Women in the Reformation

Posted: November 23, 2010 by Scott Kistler in Biography, Church History, Family, History, Womanhood
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Justin Holcomb, writing at The Resurgence blog, writes short descriptions of the lives of several women that God used in the 16th century.  Here was one that I found particularly interesting:

Olimpia Fulvia Morata was an Italian scholar born in Ferrera as the oldest child of a humanist scholar, who, after being forced to flee his city to northern Italy, lectured on the teachings of Calvin and Luther. Olimpia flourished in her studies, especially in Latin and Greek, exhibiting impeccable scholarship. She wrote Latin dialogues, Greek poems, and letters to both scholars (in Latin) and less educated women (in Italian). In her “Dialogue between Theophilia and Philotima,” she encouraged those who feared that their gross sins obstructed their way to God:

    Don’t be afraid … No odor of sinners can be so foul that its force cannot be broken and weakened by the sweetest odor that flows from the death of Christ, which alone God can perfume. Therefore seek Christ.

Hat tip: Justin Taylor

If you aren’t sure if a pair of pants or shorts is tight, or possibly even too tight, here are a few tests to as measure:

1. If you are constantly pulling them out of your crotch

2. If you can see your underwear/panty

3. If you can see parts of your gluteus maximus (butt)

The same would go for skirts/dresses.

My how we have lost the purity and sanctity of our sexuality.  As the days grow older, the trend of “more” is better seems to grow- more skin and bodily parts, that is.  From the dawn of time, women have this need to feel, well, needed.  It’s quite natural, and unfortunately a curse of human kind.  Women tend to look for gratification, satisfaction in their worth through use of their bodies.  I’m not totally against having a sense of ‘style’.  After all, even the early pilgrims and prairie girls think their style is good (which I am increasingly likening).

Finding modesty in the world is one thing, but it’s sad that it’s sometimes hard press to find modest feminism in the church.  By modest feminism, I mean feminine (appealing women’s apparel) that is attractive yet modest in expression of such.  The world has abused and misused (as is what it does) the word feminine/feminism.  It has turned what is meant to be good and perverted it.  No surprise.

As for a woman of godly character, to these guidelines should she aspire:

1Tim2:9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

So what if the world thinks you’re weird?  You’re to be set apart- different.  For where is your treasure?  In the world’s acceptance?   So shall a woman not think herself ugly or unacceptable if she fails to show cleavage or wear lowriders so that her belly may show and “appeal” to coolness.  Do you contemplate how to “strut your stuff”?  It shows our vanity, our insecurity, our great selfish need of attention. “Look at me, look at me” says the self-centeredness of me.  This is not the mind of the godly.  Those parts, though beautiful, are reserved- if single, for your marriage; if married, for your husband.  Now I know that some would say “that’s the old way of thinking”, “that’s so traditional”.  So is 1Tim2:9 irrelevant for today?  I think not.  Only if you desire to satisfy your own ways, tread with care.  Will you cause another to stumble for the sake of your liberty?  May it not be.  For you are to put others before self.  We were created as sexual beings but also to use self-control.  Our sexuality is sacred and is not to be used in a debased way.  As a believer, we are to use them to the glory of God.  (1Cor6) Your body is a temple for God’s use.  Just because we were created as sexual creatures does not mean that we have liberty to do what we will, that is, IF we are seeking the will and honor of our Christ.  I pray that we women would be aware how we should take care in how we present ourselves in public, for our lives are not just about us, but first about God, then others.  For it is said, “Love God first, then love your neighbor”.  (Matt22:37)  It is not said, “put yourself first, then think of your neighbor”.  It’s a tough balance of understanding and loving.  I know, this is radical.  Somehow, God’s word is, well, radical.  Are we loving our brothers and honoring our sisters by how we dress and adorn ourselves?   By loving our brothers, I mean, causing unnecessary offense or stumbling.  Your breasts are precious and sacred for a greater purpose than to expose them for sake of “style”.  Private parts are named that for a reason. There’s a reason the bible speaks to lust and sexual immorality and fleeing from it!  It’s still relevant for today!  Our bodies have special purposes.  And in ‘honoring our sisters’, I mean are we considering their husbands consciences, protecting their minds & their eyes.  Are we considering their brothers, their fathers, their sons?  As I begin to deal with a teenage son and the world of lust and desires of a man’s heart, I am more and more sensitive to these issues.  I pray the church, at the least, would humble themselves in this issue, and consider the brother and sister, and love them in how they use their bodies.  May we women use our bodies to the glory of Christ, in good works, in modesty, not flashing body parts unnecessarily and inappropriately.

“One of the consequences of our culture’s slide away from the true faith has been a marked rise in Christians making their peace with various forms of uncleanliness — in food prep, in personal hygiene, with tattoos, in dumping litter, in sexual practices, or how they keep their living rooms and yards. “

One my good buddies Nick Smith (Pastor of Nampa United Reformed Church) gets a hat tip for pointing me to Wilson’s post,  “Jesus. Reason. Soap.” The quote above comes from Wilson’s post.

Ouch, but he’s right. Part of the creation mandate was to cultivate, and I would say beautify or maintain the beauty of creation. Because of sin, creation has been affected, but it still retains much majesty and glory. Part of the Mosaic law spoke to matters of hygiene, what to do with one’s body, etc, for the intention of separating Israel from the nations in their lifestyle. While I am not advocating that we keep the ceremonial law, it is important for us to note that Christ fulfilled the law…He was a lamb without spot or blemish. He was pure. He was clean.

Christ seeks to restore beauty in our lives, both inward and outward as part of His redemptive work in our lives. While the ceremonial law no longer applies, the substance of it still speaks to us…that we should cultivate a clean and beautiful life. It was to mark Israel as distinctly clean and beautiful. We also are to be marked off in such a way that our lives proclaim to the nations that our Lord is beautiful, that His ways are good. The way we dress, the way we eat, the way we host guests, all of these things matter. The Proverbs 31 woman beautifies her surroundings because she has a beautiful heart. Her husband and children are blessed because of her. Paul also said that outward training has some value and that we do need to tend inwardly first, but Paul didn’t say that tending outwardly was on no value, just puts it in its proper perspective.

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These are rough notes from the community group I lead:

In the Beginning…God officiated a wedding

In the Beginning, God gave a bride to Christ

In the Recreation of all things, there shall be a wedding

–          All of this is a “mystery”

–          Ephesians 5:32 (ESV) — 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Genesis 1:26–28 (ESV) — 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Us – God is one, but 3, relational being

Image – man (male and female) reflect God’s image, different be design, reflects unity and complementary roles

God blessed them – beatitude and benediction upon the created order

Creation Mandate –

–          Fruitful, multiply, fill: children

–          Subdue, dominion: subdue does not mean to press down, but rather to exercise authority in a way that begets harmony in the created order. God rules providentially by means, though not confined to them.

  • They were co-regents over the created order

 

Genesis 2:18–25 (ESV) — 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

LORD GOD – Yahweh, God’s personal intimate, covenant reference, shows relational nature of God’s dealings. Generic Elohim was used in Chp. 1  

Not good – general concession for all, requires a special gift to remain single and to be relationally fulfilled. In the immediate context, it was impossible for God’s mandate to fill earth and beget a multitude of people who would be born into God’s creation.

Helper fit for him – subordinate in function, complementary,

A man shall leave his father and his mother mother…holf fast…one flesh – the ongoing normative pattern considering that God will no longer just create fully mature males and females and pair them.

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My husband and I watched “The Blind Side” the last week and these are just some of my thoughts of the movie being based on a true story.  This is definitely a touching story, one of the generosity of a woman, namely (mostly) Mrs. Leigh Ann Tuohy (pronounced too-ee) and her family.  Though I wonder how much it accurately portrays Leigh Ann, who comes across as an independent, controlling, steamroller-I-will-it-it-done attitude.  While I do commend her matter-of-fact-take-charge and care of the situation posture, (I myself am a lot like that, but learning how to not be so overwhelmingly controlling though), I hesitate to commend her seeming disregard and totally brash strategies.  She was portrayed as having a hard exterior but having a soft heart.  She’s afraid of showing the “softer side” of her emotions, like crying or sadness,  which is true to some extent for many, if not all, of us- namely called pride.  She’s a strong, independent working woman who manages her home with great vigor.  She didn’t stand for nonsense (which I respect) but was also rude and obnoxious (which I don’t get away with much).  I must admit, I was cheering her on when she gave her lunch friends a what for when they were criticizing and down-playing the care and concern she had for Michael Oher’s well-being.

I was also not crazy about the way in which she was portrayed in her attire- sleek, tight and revealing clothing.  She seemingly was high maintenance in her appearance to which I’m sure her job played a big role.  She came off to me as the one who “runs the show”, while her husband sits idly for at her beck and call.  I have had some reflections on this myself as I seek to understand and honor God in how I balance the character of a Proverbs 31 woman yet submissive and honoring of my husbands role as head of our home, thus me as well.  I struggle with knowing how much to put forth without overstepping my bounds as a wife.  As I tend to be a lot like Mrs. Tuohy, much more so before I married, and as I continue to grow in my understanding and love for Christ and respect for the order in which God has created, I must learn the great balance of the Proverbs 31 woman I desire to be and the wife I am to my husband as well.  Great challenges for me indeed.  (more…)