Women Teaching

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glow
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by glow » Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:08 pm

thankyou Michelle,

You brought up alot of good questions.I'd like to know further answers on those also!

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Homer
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Homer » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:41 am

Michelle wrote:
I immediately thought of Priscilla, but dropped the idea of mentioning her because she, along with Aquila, taught Apollos in private, so it didn't seem to apply to your question.
If I take your implications to their logical conclusion, women are allowed to expound on scripture only in private.

I'd like to ask where you see instruction that women are restricted from ever using, explaining, or expounding on scripture, even to each other? Are modern women, based on your interpretation of scripture and due to our society's reclusive nature, restricted from all forms of teaching?
Glow's post prompted me to go back over the post from Michelle. I appear to have not answered fully the questions I have been asked. However I am asking questions myself in an effort to test my own position that I have held in the past without much depth of study to back it up.

As mentioned by Michelle, the case of Priscilla and Aquila is often brought up. It is an interesting one. I have heard it said that Priscilla was the more prominent of the two and took the lead in teaching Apollos, based on her being mentioned first. Then I noticed she is mentioned first in Acts 18:26 in the NIV, NASB, and AS, while in the KJV, NKJV, and Young's, Apollos is mentioned first. Apparently based on different manuscripts. Here is an excellent short article on the name-first argument:

http://bible.org/article/aquila-and-pri ... hians-1619

Regardless of the who is named first argument, which appears to prove nothing, I think we can say Priscilla took part in "explaining" to Apollos whatever was lacking in his knowledge. To me the more important issue that is brought up is that, as Michelle mentioned, it was done in private. But then, if women can teach men, or even teach at all, what does "in private" mean?

As I mentioned earlier, Paul, in !st Corinthians 11:18 said "when you come together as a church" which would seem to indicate that all gatherings are not church. We realize that when a church has a softball team that when they gather together to play ball they are not "gathered as a church". But what does constitute "coming together as a church? And what do we mean by "private"? I would think that our Wednesday evening bible study, which is limited to people from church that we know, is private. If we invite a neighbor who does not attend church, is it then public, or is it only public when it is open, as most churches are, to anyone who happens by, and appeared to be the case at Corinth?

On March 15 on The Narrow Path program, "John" from Portland was in a discussion with Steve (beginning about 1/3 into the hour) wherin John asked "So when Christians come together for instruction its inappropriate for women to be teaching or assuming authority over men?" to which Steve replied "I believe so, yeah". So now I have another question. What is "instruction"? Is it "authoritative" instruction in that an elder is saying what must be done or believed, or is it "explaining" as Priscilla and Aquila appear to have done? And is it an open discussion as in our home bible study where I am leading the group in Matthew but we go off wherever we want in response to the group's concerns?

So many questions to sort out. Perhaps Steve will see this and explain his position further.

Blessings, Homer

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Re: Women Teaching

Post by steve » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:03 pm

In my opinion, Paul's concern is not really with the "teaching" function but with the "authority" side of the issue. I realize that Paul mentioned both together, but I suspect that, in the average church in Paul's time, congregational teaching was almost exclusively done by the recognized church leaders, which would mean that "teaching and having authority" would summarize the functions of the elders. This leadership (obviously, from 1 Timothy 3:1ff) was expected to be male.

To split hairs over what constitutes, apart from being an elder, the activity of "teaching"—e.g., is it private or public "instruction," is it "exposition," is it group exhortation, or private counsel?—would be, I think, to miss Paul's point, and to reduce his concerns to an unrealistic and unworkable legalism, with which, I expect, he would be unsympathetic.

In other words, I think Paul would allow a woman to do any of these things, probably, either in public or in private, so long as she was not perceived to be the leader of the congregation. For example, I attended a Sunday night church service where Elisabeth Elliot was a guest speaker. I did not concern myself with whether or not her presentation was "expository" or otherwise. I could see nothing for anyone (including Paul) to object to in her speaking there. However, I would have silently objected (as would she) to her being an elder of the church. My comment to "John" was based on his inclusion of "assuming authority over men" in his question.

Also, I don't think it is always wrong for a woman to exercise some kinds of authority over some men—e.g., commanding her own adolescent sons, or instructing the workmen who are remodeling her home. I have long believed that Paul's comments on this, in 1 Timothy 2, are strictly related to the question of eldership qualifications (that is, after all, the context). Paul clearly was not so unreasonable as to object to the legitimate contributions of women to the body of Christ. In the two books where Paul discusses limitations on female outspokenness or leadership, he is, in both cases, concerned with decorum in the church. That the church should reflect the patriarchal design of God, as does the family and the pre-fallen human race in general, strikes me (and has struck most women, it seems, through most of church history) as reasonable and non-oppressive.

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Homer
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Homer » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:18 pm

Steve,

Thanks for you reply; I was hoping you would comment. Your answer is close to what I was thinking. In my thinking I had paraphrased Paul's statement like this:

1 Timothy 2:12: I do not allow a woman to teach (authoritatively) or exercise (usurp) authority over a man..."

You also wrote, and I would add in parenthesis:
In other words, I think Paul would allow a woman to do any of these things, probably, either in public or in private, so long as she was not perceived to be
(,or is in fact,)
the leader of the congregation.


God bless, Homer

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Re: Women Teaching

Post by glow » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:28 pm

Steve or who ever,

Now I am wondering, My sister goes to a church that has "fill in" pastors until they can get a permanent one to stay.The one they have as of now is a woman.She teaches the whole congregation.They call her "rev Deb".

Would this be considered correct or in correct? She is acting as an elder as I view it, but she is temporary and is signed up as temporary in her job description( men also take this temporary position), no matter what church she fills the void in.

Thanks, this has been very fascinating or eye opening to me in sections,

Deb( no! It is not me in disguise...lol)

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Re: Women Teaching

Post by kaufmannphillips » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:27 pm

Danny wrote:
The reason why we may never come to agreement on certain theological points, such as the role of women in the church, is that I don't approach the Bible in that way. My starting point is that we have a living guide in the Holy Spirit. We can therefore drink from the same fountain that gave forth the scriptures. I recognize the scriptures as authoritative but not all-inclusive or uncoupled from their original context.

Homer wrote:
And neither do I. I believe when specific commands are given we are to obey them. And I believe Jesus and the Apostles taught principles of broad application. When Jesus said to make disciples, baptizing and teaching them, I believe we must do as He said, and in the order He said if at all possible. We are not to be guided by the same spirit that animated Naaman. And when Jesus said to go the extra mile, I do not say "well this doesn't apply, there are no longer any Roman soldiers around". I take it as a broad principle, instructing me that when someone requests or needs help that I am not to try and get by with doing as little as I can.
:arrow: Jesus and other leaders in the very early church may have “taught principles of broad application.” But who were they teaching? Their audience was comprised of persons who lived in first-century Near Eastern and Mediterranean cultures. It is not necessarily the case that they would have taught the same way on every topic if they had been addressing a sixth-century East Asian audience, or a twelfth-century Polynesian audience, or a seventeenth-century sub-Saharan audience. Or a twenty-first century American audience.

So one should be wary of the stance that “when specific commands are given we are to obey them.” When, exactly, do we find leaders in the very early church giving commands that are specifically given to twenty-first century persons? It would be imprudent for a twenty-first century person to indiscriminately follow directions that were not addressed to them, and perhaps would not have been addressed to them.

:arrow: If one regards Paul’s being “all things to all people” as more than a sheer marketing ploy, then one might imagine a divine concern – however limited, yet considerable – for relating to persons within the patterns of their respective contexts. Various behaviors will carry different significance in different contexts; what is abominable in one culture can be estimable in another. And though there may be divine standards that override cultural values in certain cases, there also may be matters where the eminent divine standard is to respect a cultural value, simply because it is the culturally prevalent value.

Now, if a leader in the very early church considered it appropriate to respect certain social decencies as understood in first century hierarchical societies, that same leader might – after some consideration – consider it appropriate to respect differing social decencies in twenty-first century egalitarian societies.

:arrow: As for “going the extra mile” – your “broad principle” is inadequate to Jesus’ point. The issue at hand was not a mild matter of “request[ing] or need[ing] help.” Roman soldiers were not asking for assistance; they were forcing subjugated peoples to perform drudge work – in effect, forcing them to contribute to their own subjugation.

If twenty-first century persons are to carry over a lesson from this, it should be more challenging than mere willingness to be generous when helping somebody out. A worthy analogue in our time might be for a Tea Partier to not only pay higher taxes for “Obamacare,” but to donate beyond that to the health-care program.

But somehow I don’t expect to see many Christians in the Tea Party movement doing that. After all, it’s one thing to stand firm against homosexual activities and uppity women; it’s another thing to surrender mammon.
Homer wrote:
Your example of the practice of slavery prior to the Civil War is a strawman and irrelevant to the question of the role of women in the church.
Perhaps you would explain how the example of slavery is “a strawman” and “irrevelant to the question of the role of women in the church.”
Homer wrote:
...[P]eople often read something in the scriptures and it seems unreasonable to them, so they try to explain it away, often going to great lengths to do so. A good example is the biblical condemnation of homosexual acts. A most famous example from the Old Testament is the story of Naaman. His spirit is alive and well today.

{and}

I think the word "ludicrous", or its equivalent, was in Naaman's mind.
Naaman was given a direction that was manifestly intended for him personally. If Naaman had been trying to determine how to apply the “Mosaic law” to his own life – directions given to some other persons, in some other context(s) – then we might have a closer basis for comparison.

It is not “going to great lengths” to take the interpretive stance that directions given to a specific audience in a specific context are not necessarily applicable on a universal scale.
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"The more something is repeated, the more it becomes an unexamined truth...." (Nicholas Thompson)
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Homer » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:26 pm

Hi Kaufmanphillips,

You wrote:
It would be imprudent for a twenty-first century person to indiscriminately follow directions that were not addressed to them, and perhaps would not have been addressed to them.
Well, that takes care of all of the Old Testament and New Testament. No need to bother with studying that stuff. Wasn't addressed to us and might never have been.

And:
Various behaviors will carry different significance in different contexts; what is abominable in one culture can be estimable in another. And though there may be divine standards that override cultural values in certain cases, there also may be matters where the eminent divine standard is to respect a cultural value, simply because it is the culturally prevalent value.
So we may never know whether the temple prostitute business at Corinth was actually bad or not since it was culturally prevalent. Hmm. That could apply to a lot of things.

And:
If twenty-first century persons are to carry over a lesson from this, it should be more challenging than mere willingness to be generous when helping somebody out. A worthy analogue in our time might be for a Tea Partier to not only pay higher taxes for “Obamacare,” but to donate beyond that to the health-care program.
Do you have a thing with giving to the government as opposed to helping the poor yourself? And what about doing latrine duty for someone disabled? Is that less honorable than giving something extra to politicians? Did you give some extra to the Bush administration, and if not, why not? Beware of the leaven of hypocrisy!

And:
But somehow I don’t expect to see many Christians in the Tea Party movement doing that. After all, it’s one thing to stand firm against homosexual activities and uppity women; it’s another thing to surrender mammon.
Are there Christians in the Tea Party? I don't know you or any Tea Party folks. Perhaps you can enlighten us with some facts about the charitable donation practices, or lack thereof, by these Tea Party Christian folks and how your own giving compares.

And:
Perhaps you would explain how the example of slavery is “a strawman” and “irrevelant to the question of the role of women in the church.”
Perhaps you can tell how you see an analogy between the practice of slavery and the role of women in the church.

And:
Naaman was given a direction that was manifestly intended for him personally. If Naaman had been trying to determine how to apply the “Mosaic law” to his own life – directions given to some other persons, in some other context(s) – then we might have a closer basis for comparison.
Namaan's problem was simple: unbelief. He thought he knew better.

And:
It is not “going to great lengths” to take the interpretive stance that directions given to a specific audience in a specific context are not necessarily applicable on a universal scale.
As far as it goes, you are right here. But if we find a consistent idea from Adam and Eve to this day regarding the complementary roles of men and women, then the complementarian position is sensible. Even nature would teach that, if one is at all observant, but perhaps you have never noticed.

Some friends of ours have five kids, two boys and three girls. The girls and their mother were very much into their horses. One day mom was thrown from her horse and banged up pretty badly. Her teenaged son immediately informed his mom she must "get back up on that horse or you will never ride again!" Tell me of one girl who would react like that.

Blessings, Homer

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Re: Women Teaching

Post by kaufmannphillips » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:00 pm

kaufmannphillips wrote:
It would be imprudent for a twenty-first century person to indiscriminately follow directions that were not addressed to them, and perhaps would not have been addressed to them.

Homer wrote:
Well, that takes care of all of the Old Testament and New Testament. No need to bother with studying that stuff. Wasn't addressed to us and might never have been.
Evocative of a perspective that many Christians hold toward the ritual components of the Torah.

And reminiscent of a perspective many persons have toward historical matters in general. Why bother studying about a bunch of dead people?

It is one thing to study and learn from the past. It is another thing to reproduce it, unnecessarily, in the present.
kaufmannphillips wrote:
Various behaviors will carry different significance in different contexts; what is abominable in one culture can be estimable in another. And though there may be divine standards that override cultural values in certain cases, there also may be matters where the eminent divine standard is to respect a cultural value, simply because it is the culturally prevalent value.

Homer worte:
So we may never know whether the temple prostitute business at Corinth was actually bad or not since it was culturally prevalent. Hmm. That could apply to a lot of things.
One might complain that contextual variation would complicate attempts to derive G-d’s present will from a biblical text. But if G-d were eminently concerned about making interpretation of the biblical text uncomplicated for a twenty-first century American interpreter, then the text might not be entrenched in ancient languages and foreign contexts.

Perhaps it might have been feasible for G-d to articulate a laundry list of universal standards, and to have prophets transcribe this list in every language throughout human history. But the bible is not so convenient and uncomplicated a work.

What then?
kaufmannphillips wrote: As for “going the extra mile” – your “broad principle” is inadequate to Jesus’ point. The issue at hand was not a mild matter of “request[ing] or need[ing] help.” Roman soldiers were not asking for assistance; they were forcing subjugated peoples to perform drudge work – in effect, forcing them to contribute to their own subjugation.

If twenty-first century persons are to carry over a lesson from this, it should be more challenging than mere willingness to be generous when helping somebody out. A worthy analogue in our time might be for a Tea Partier to not only pay higher taxes for “Obamacare,” but to donate beyond that to the health-care program.

Homer wrote:
Do you have a thing with giving to the government as opposed to helping the poor yourself? And what about doing latrine duty for someone disabled? Is that less honorable than giving something extra to politicians? Did you give some extra to the Bush administration, and if not, why not? Beware of the leaven of hypocrisy!
You may catenate these sorts of rejoinder to your heart’s content. Then I may thank you for strengthening the impression that your own perspective is inadequate to Jesus’ point.

Don’t you think that there were freedom-lovin’ Jews in Jesus’ time, who would have had a slew of retorts to the notion that they should put extra time and sweat into supporting a government that they loathed? Remember that the seminal point in the discussion was not that Jews should be generous helpers – it was “do not oppose an evil person.”

As for “the leaven of hypocrisy” – I am relatively irreproachable in this case. I am not Christian, so I am not subscribing to this standard. I’m just explaining it.
kaufmannphillips wrote:
But somehow I don’t expect to see many Christians in the Tea Party movement doing that. After all, it’s one thing to stand firm against homosexual activities and uppity women; it’s another thing to surrender mammon.

Homer wrote:
Are there Christians in the Tea Party? I don't know you or any Tea Party folks. Perhaps you can enlighten us with some facts about the charitable donation practices, or lack thereof, by these Tea Party Christian folks and how your own giving compares.
:arrow: Certainly there are Christians in the Tea Party.

:arrow: The core issue in Jesus’ teaching about “the extra mile” is not charity – it is how to respond to the imposition of an evil person. The charitable practices of yourself or of myself or of Tea Party Christians – these practices are not germane to the issue.
Danny wrote:
Here's an example of what I'm getting at: The NT doesn't specifically address the evil of slavery beyond admonishments for owners to treat their slaves well and slaves to be loyal and hard-working. Prior to the American Civil War, slave owning Christians used the same methodology you are using regarding women to defend their practice. They quoted Eph. 6:5-8, Titus 2:9-10 and Col. 3:22-24. They claimed "I know of no statement in the NT advocating the abolition of slavery." They were right; there was no specific statement in the NT advocating the abolition of slavery. But of course the entire spirit of the NT pointed towards equality and treating others as you would be treated. ...

In Paul's day it was hard to imagine a world without slavery. The best advice he could give was how to cope within that system. Likewise, in Paul's day it would have been hard to imagine women with equal roles, opportunities and education to men. But over the last two millenia, as the Kingdom of God has slowly permeated throughout civilization (and continues to do so, for there is a long way to go) things have slowly changed. I think this is what Martin Luther King meant when he said "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

Homer wrote:
Your example of the practice of slavery prior to the Civil War is a strawman and irrelevant to the question of the role of women in the church.

kaufmannphillips wrote:
Perhaps you would explain how the example of slavery is “a strawman” and “irrevelant to the question of the role of women in the church.”

Homer wrote:
Perhaps you can tell how you see an analogy between the practice of slavery and the role of women in the church.
After some experience in dialogue with Christians, I should not be surprised to find an attempt to foist the heavy lifting in argumentation onto me. But you are the one who has made the claim here, and it is your responsibility to support it adequately. So my challenge to you, sir, is to step up your game or step off your claim!
kaufmannphillips wrote:
Naaman was given a direction that was manifestly intended for him personally. If Naaman had been trying to determine how to apply the “Mosaic law” to his own life – directions given to some other persons, in some other context(s) – then we might have a closer basis for comparison.

Homer wrote:
Namaan's problem was simple: unbelief. He thought he knew better.
You may like to think in simple terms. But simple terms are frequently inadequate and inappropriate in a complex world.

Naaman had difficulty believing in a directive given to him specifically and personally by a prophet. This sort of scenario is distinct from the question of how to engage directives that are given to other people in other contexts.

One can believe in the divine inspiration of such directives without reservation - but question how those directives might and/or might not relate appropriately to one’s own situation. This is not a flat question of unbelief; it is a question of discernment.
kaufmannphillips wrote:
It is not “going to great lengths” to take the interpretive stance that directions given to a specific audience in a specific context are not necessarily applicable on a universal scale.

Homer wrote:
As far as it goes, you are right here. But if we find a consistent idea from Adam and Eve to this day regarding the complementary roles of men and women, then the complementarian position is sensible. Even nature would teach that, if one is at all observant, but perhaps you have never noticed.

Some friends of ours have five kids, two boys and three girls. The girls and their mother were very much into their horses. One day mom was thrown from her horse and banged up pretty badly. Her teenaged son immediately informed his mom she must "get back up on that horse or you will never ride again!" Tell me of one girl who would react like that.
Have you had much acquaintance with girls since the Nixon administration? :| You must be putting me on.

In recent times, one could cite Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir as women who could handle rough seas. But one could go back further. Catherine the Great. Elizabeth I. Gráinne Ní Mháille. Zabibi and Samsi.

Millions of women throughout human history have “gotten back up on the horse,” in myriad ways. And I don’t know what Stepford enclave you have been cloistered in, if you have never in your life encountered a strong, perseverant woman.
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"The more something is repeated, the more it becomes an unexamined truth...." (Nicholas Thompson)
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Re: Women Teaching

Post by steve » Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:19 pm

Homer wrote:
Perhaps you can tell how you see an analogy between the practice of slavery and the role of women in the church.
This was directed to kaufmannphillips, but he declined to take up the challenge. Therefore, I would like to put the same challenge to anyone out there (if kaufmannphillips, cannot think of a sensible reply). In my opinion, kaufmannphillips was shrewd to dodge the challenge, since there can be no rational comparison of the plight of slaves in old times to the plight of women in the church at any times. So I throw the question to the public: Can anyone find any reason to appeal an analogy of the institution of slavery when evaluating the biblical teaching about women's roles?

The only comparison I can imagine would be that Paul urged the submission of slaves in some of the same passages as those in which he urged the submission of women. But then, he often included exhoratations about the submission of children to their parents in the same passages. Is anyone here ready to start a movement for the abolition of all three of these institutions, simply because modern western civilization has outgrown one of them?

Actually, the real circumstances of children with their parents is a much closer analogy to slavery than is the biblical teaching about women. Should we therefore abolish parental authority simply because we have abolished slavery? If someone wishes to thoughtlessly argue that some children are abused by parents (and some slaves were abused by their masters, and some women abused by males in society), then I would suggest that we remember that some adult children abuse their parents, and some women abuse and victimize men. This is irrelevant, since the New Testament (from which we are seeking the policies for the church) nowhere authorizes one person's abuse of another. Cases of criminal abuse are the province of the courts. They do not warrant the dissolution of every one of society's foundational institutions—especially those that are established by God (sexual distinctions and parental authority clearly originate in the creation order—where Paul locates them. Slavery does not).

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Re: Women Teaching

Post by Homer » Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:41 pm

Kaufmanphillips wrote:
Don’t you think that there were freedom-lovin’ Jews in Jesus’ time, who would have had a slew of retorts to the notion that they should put extra time and sweat into supporting a government that they loathed?
Yes, Jesus took one of those "freedom-lovin' Jews" named Simon (the Zealot) into His group of twelve apostles along with Matthew the publican, who we might expect that Simon, previous to meeting Jesus, would have been glad to kill. He learned better from Jesus. Amazing! Who would have thought to put those two on the same team?

And:
Remember that the seminal point in the discussion was not that Jews should be generous helpers – it was “do not oppose an evil person.”
I think you are in error here; I understand this instruction to be primarily about how we are to react to persecution. I think Matthew 5:41 is more in line with 5:42:

Matthew 5:41-42 (New King James Version)
41. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.


Whether there are Christians who are involved in the tea party movement is of no concern to me. There are Chistians who are Democrats and those who are Republicans, and I suspect God is not a member of either party. Both parties could stand to have even more Christians among them.

And:
Have you had much acquaintance with girls since the Nixon administration? You must be putting me on.

In recent times, one could cite Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir as women who could handle rough seas. But one could go back further. Catherine the Great. Elizabeth I. Gráinne Ní Mháille. Zabibi and Samsi.

Millions of women throughout human history have “gotten back up on the horse,” in myriad ways. And I don’t know what Stepford enclave you have been cloistered in, if you have never in your life encountered a strong, perseverant woman.
Women have made many gains in recent years. Many beneficial, and many that have harmed them greatly. Now they get to pretend to be men.

One of our nieces suffered greatly before her death just over a year ago. She was a good Christian woman. Her husband went bad - very bad. He was imprisoned for a horrible crime against another relative, for which our niece legitmately divorced him. She had three teenagers at home at the time, yet, due to our liberal feminist ideas and laws that now exist, in the divorce settlement her husband got half of everything, with nothing deducted from his half to help support their children. Prior to the Nixon administration, she would have gotten everything.

You do not seem to realize that Christianity teaches a reciprocal submission, with the husband arguably getting the hardest part, that is, his model is Christ who gave up his life for His bride. And historically men have labored to support their families in jobs that were dangerous, and prior to OSHA, claimed many more lives than today. Consider the great many who have died mining coal. I wince when I look at old pictures of men in factories, working around unguarded machinery. And I can scarcely believe the dangerous things I did at work when I was young - things that were considered routine. And I would have never put my wife in that position.

I vividly remember a column written by the Pulitzer-prize winning columnist regarding the benefit children get from the complementary roles of mothers and fathers. He wrote of observing their reactions on the playground when their child was hurt on play equipment. The mother was quick to sympathize with the pain suffered and to comfort the child while the husband encouraged the child to dust off, get up, and try again. Children are shortchanged if the parents both fill the same role. If that is the case, one of them is redundant. And God, in His infinite wisdom, has recognized that truth in all of life, and certainly in the church.

Homer

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