An affirmation

A huge coincidence.

I went to a new church on Sunday with M and his roommates. I don’t often hear a man preach anymore since both the churches I attend regularly have gifted women leading them. This pastor is in his 70s and soon retiring (as the church’s website told me). So, when I saw the sermon title, I realized it might be the last time I would step foot in that church.

*”A wife’s obligation to her husband.”

I don’t know if I fully believe this was a coincidence. I don’t often go on tangents about women and their relationship to the church. And on a Sunday I don’t go to one of my usual churches, after a week of researching Biblical feminists and feminist theology, I get a sermon on one of the passages commonly used to keep women in a position of subordination to men? I don’t think I have ever heard a sermon on this particular passage (Ephesian 5:21-33), or on any issues pertaining to women’s roles, for that matter.

I spent most of the worship time trying to make sure my mind was open and focused where it should be.

And then, when he started to talk, I almost cried. I think I have been reading too many blogs by men insisting that the Bible is very clear about the place of women in the world, combined with a somewhat hostile point of view from the guy in my last post. So, to have the passage interpreted from the pulpit by a man coming at the passage from an intellectual, but spiritual angle was a powerful thing.

I wish I could link to his sermon, but that particular church doesn’t seem to post them anywhere. He said a lot of good things, discussing what the original Greek actually says and the context of the time, which so many people are so happy to throw out especially in the letters, which are the most context driven.

Ultimately, he described a relationship of submission to one another, defined by submission, together, to Christ. It was an affirmation of my belief that that passage is meant to be something beautiful and not hurtful and oppressive.

I guess the sermon was a lesson in not jumping to conclusions about what someone is going to say before they say it. I am completely guilty of that.

[* My first reaction to the title was to grumble about why we always talk about a wife’s duty to her husband and never a husband’s duty to his wife. Almost as soon as the sermon started, I was corrected: this is the second part in a series that started a few weeks ago (they have more than one pastor and they don’t necessarily seem to do consecutive weeks). The first was “A husbands obligation to his wife.”]

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “An affirmation

  1. Laura

    However, I can’t say I’d like to be a single person in that church.

    • This is a whole other issue that this particular church doesn’t seem to do well. The College and Careers group is for singles only, and information about it can be found under the “Youth Ministries” section of their webpage. Like you’re not an adult as long as you’re single.

      Similarly, I picked up a pamphlet about Women’s Ministries while I was there. Your only option for connecting with other women in the church community is Coffee Break, which is all well and good, except that they have it on a week day morning. I guess you’re not really a woman until you have a husband providing for you and a few kids at home to take care of. And you certainly aren’t a woman if you decide to go back to work fulltime after having said kids.

      I was reminded by one of the people I went to this church with that no church is perfect. Every church is going to fail at least one group of people. Unfortunately, these tend to be the groups that are most likely to get the short straw.

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