Friday, November 26, 2010


I've often heard that the Husband is the leader, and he is to "lead" his

I've done a search, of at least the NRSV, for the term "leader" in the
NT and I can't see that it is applied to any Christian. I see the
"leader of the synagogue", the "leader of the Jews" the "leader of the
Pharisees". Once it is applied to Christ (Acts 5:17), but never to a

I don't think we should automatically ascribe the description of the
husband as the "head" to a proscription that every husband should be a

What is the leadership of a husband if it isn't Christ like love and

Should we change the way we talk about a husband having "leadership".
Yes. I think so. I don't think it's a helpful or a Biblical term to use.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's cruel to submit

When I suggested to my mother that we might read Ephesians 5 at our wedding. She reacted very strongly. Totally out of character for her. "You should not read that. You shouldn't submit to your husband! I don't submit to your father!"

However, I can remember plenty of times when she has "submitted" to my father. Her idea of what the word "submit" meant, was obviously different to mine.

Through conversations with other non-Christian friends I've come to realise that to many people to "submit" means, primarily, submit to cruelty. That a wife should not speak up about being beaten. That a wife should just do whatever her husband wants, no matter what he asks or what his motivation. To blindly obey.

The idea of "submitting" to something good, in my opinion, isn't contemporary use of the word. This is especially so in the case when you're commanded to do it (in this case, by Paul).

What did the original, Ephesian audience think of a wife "submitting"? That it wasn't particularly controversial. Of course a good wife will submit to her husband.

If it wasn't anything controversial, why did Paul have to say to do it? That reason is left unsaid in Ephesians, but it is stated in Titus:

"being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited."  Titus 2:5

In the letter to Titus, the behaviour of "submission" is guided by the principle "so that the word of God may not be discredited".

In a society where the thing which most strongly discredits God's word is charges of misogyny - how are we to interpret these verses.

Though submission does have strong negative overtones in our society, respect for your husband remains a very positive thing. Instead of encouraging Christian wives to submit (and thereby derailing they whole purpose by using a confusing term, and by inviting charges of misogyny from others). Let's put our energy in encouraging our wives to respect their husbands. To be devoted to them. To encourage the good in them. To overlook the bad. Under Christ to be devoted to them, and to their wellbeing. Who wouldn't want a wife like that?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why Gay marriage is not marriage

I've been thinking about marriage and in what ways it could possibly
reflect Christ's relationship to the church (see Eph 5).

Here's what I've come up with:

1. Both illustrate what it's like to have a relationship with someone
who will hurt you. What it's like to (try to) remain faithful when the
other person, in big or small ways, will not always be faithful. For
Christ and the church, the relationship is asymmetrical, for us, it's

2. We, falliable humans, learn from a first person perspective what
Jesus' experience of us is like. He loves us dearly, he admires so many
of our qualities, he loves spending time with us, but we continue to
"act stupid" even though we love him too.

3. Because of this, we learn about grace. To give it, and we learn the
humbling experience it is to receive it.

4. All this, we learn, in the context of loving, someone who is
fundamentally different to us. Christ loving his fallen human-only
church, and us loving the fallen other gender. This is why I'm not a
supporter of gay marriage. As humans we tend to love people who are the
same as us. To love someone who is not only different to you, but
designed to be different from you and aiming at being something
fundamentally different to you gives us a glimpse, (it's deep and rich
experience but still just a glimpse) of what God is like.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Check this out!

Here's an interesting article, with fascinating comments. At least they're fascinating for me, being a student of people. You can just see the cogs turning in people's minds as you read through these comments. I want to comment on a few things myself - but don't really feel I can until I've read all the previous comments, and that's going to take me more than one evening.