Saturday, February 25, 2006

Sacred Space

I was looking around about prayer wor tonights worship component and found this really cool site.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

1 Timothy 3:12

This discussion Matt initiated has transitioned into a completely different discussion of marriage and divorce within the conservative Christian population.

Somehow, Christians have become more likely to be divorced than any other faith group besides Jews, additionally, they are more likely than even agnostics or atheists. (see the comments under "gune" for the statistics).

If the Way of Christ, the Good News, is truly a better way to live, then I would think we should see better results than in the general populace. This suggests to me that something we teach about marriage, divorce and relationships is not Christ-like.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Reading about Labyrinths

We pass from obscurity to greater obscurity, and enter with Moses into cloud and darkness; deep calls to deep at the sound of the cataracts of God, and, circling in circles, the spirit goes forth and returns to its own circuits. We endure labyrinthine errors and guide our blind footsteps by the thread of Christ. - Jerome, Preface to Book 2, Commentary on Zacharias

It amazes me how interwoven everything is: from "gune" to divorce and polygamy, to leadership, to how we define our relationships before God. What does it mean to truly love God and love everyone else?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Less Disconnected

Thanks y'all for getting me to blog - I feel immensely less disconnected from life.

Superficial social interactions never really cut it for me, they're tiring. I like to talk about what people are thinking about and dealing with in real life. This sort of stimulating conversation really is a anti-depressant when you've been sick and dealing with sick kids for two weeks straight.

Thanks again!

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Albrecht Oepke wrote this article for the TDNT, so give him credit where credit is due. My understanding of Greek is rudimentary at best.

Gune, generally from the time of Homer, refers to a) female, as distinct from male, b) wife.

In the Contemporary NT world:
Attic (Athenian?) Greeks despised and oppressed women according to their surviving literature - viewing them as having inferior status, fickle, a misfit, having no claim to culture.
Doric (Spartan?) Greeks in Plutarch's literature, endowed women with more freedom and influence, and attributed them with proud and heroic natures.
Generally, the Greek ideal of woman was lofty, both physically and spiritually. "Plato in the Republic makes the demand, revolutionary in the Attic world though common in the Doric, that there should be an equality of women, even in respect of exercise in arms. In fact the capable women, especially in Hellenistic Asia Minor but also in Greece, could occupy a surprisingly independent and influential role even in public life." (Vol 1, pg 778)

Marriage was mostly monogamous but serial divorces could lead to a type of polygamy. Oepke quotes Ps.-Demosth. against Neaira: "We have harlots for our pleasure, concubines for daily physical use, wives to bring up legitimate children and to be faithful stewards in household matters." No legal restrictions existed. Divorces were not uncommon, occurring by consent or unilateral action of either spouse. Apparently, "eleven, even twelve wives, were not uncommon."

"The husband had only mild superiority which constantly diminished." No seclusion for women as the Attic Greek's did, equality in education was pursued. Marriage was monogamous, like the Greeks excepting intercourse with slaves or harlots, but there was only one mater familias.
Roman women in later times counted years by their husband - eight marriages could be contracted within five autumns. Oepke seems to be saying that the women became more divorce prone, like the Greek men had.

Oepke points to various passages alluding to women's status as chattel but balances it with her freedoms. He names the variety of OT women who attained extraordinary influence through their men, as well as Deborah, who led Israel.

"Woman is openly dispised."(pg781) Rabbinic literature attributed empty-headedness, witchcraft, extravagance in teaching her the Torah, she should not bear witness, instruct the children, pray at the table. In the synagogues, the women's place was behind a screen or in special chambers.
On the good side, the godly wife is praised, she is thought to have greater promise before God than her husband.

Marriage is permissibly polygamous, but the expense and problems made monogamy more practical. "The real evil in the Jewish and the Hellenistic world, together with divorce and prostitution, was successive polygamy...Strict Judaism opposed not only adultery and unnatural licence, but also extramarital intercourse..." The divorce laws were protested against regularly, but never to much effect.

Two points: man and woman should join in inviolatable monogamous marriage and "the lordship of God radically removes all the differences which separate them" (pg784).

Oepke says Jesus "is the Saviour who gives Himself especially to the lowly and oppressed and calls all without distinction to the freedom of the kingdom of God." (pg 784) In that sense, women are specially singled out, as are other sick and hurting peoples.

"In the early community, there was no doubt as to the full membership of women (Acts 1:14, 12:12). In Paul, practical conservativeness contrasts with theological equality. Later apostolic writings continue Paul's contrasts. Historically, women exercised less and less official functions as time passed.

Okay, that was 13 pages in more than a nutshell. But an interesting background to put behind some of the scriptural references.

If Oepke is accurate, then Matt's post regarding 1 Tim 3:12 would be answered thusly. Gune is wife, not spouse, in both historical literature and other scriptural references. If I remember my Greek correctly, precedence indicates importance. My interlinear notes word order of: Deacons let be of one wife husbands, children well ruling, and their own households. Given Kittel's cultural context lesson, it would suggest that this particular verse is speaking against divorce and successive polygamy. Contextually, Paul's letter to Timothy has a lot more to say about women.

But it's midnight and I'll stop here for now.

Busy Day

And what constitutes a busy day for a stay-at-home Mom, on a Saturday that Dad's home too? Holding sick children all day, dealing with sick-in-need-of-sleep children in the evening when Dad is going out to play poker. Putting cranky (all of the above) children into bed when they need it but don't want it. Deciding whether to go to bed myself because I'm emotionally exhausted or get some "me" time in, so maybe I'll sleep. I'm tempted to put in a workout video, because my exercise for the day involved shifting child/ren on my lap and changing diapers. I did get somewhat of a mental workout however. Twenty three pages of The Idea of The Labyrinth by Penelope Reed Doob. Basically, the intro and a couple pages into chapter one. Reads like a masters or doctoral thesis. 129 pages into Labyrinths & Mazes by Jeff Saward, whom the book says is the "leading authority in his field." Given that I've spent about an equal amount of time reading both books, it might lead an observer to conclude Saward's book is more accessible. His book is certainly an easy read, simply a survey of labyrinth occurances geographically and historically. I'll probably finish his book first, with 76 pages left (do you think??). I'm glad I read some of Penelope's first because they are two very different viewpoints on the subject and already contradict one another :) Yea! I have a feeling that I'll like her book better because it is more information like I wanted - specifically, the meaning of labyrinths historically and culturally. Matt's latest post also provoked a flurry of reading. We have Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament a great greek resource of unmatched breadth and depth. Its age (original publish date 1964) means there are some things that have been updated since, but the scholarship is great. Kittel's is renowned for not only examining the use of particular words in the Bible, but also available extrabiblical literature, ie. how other greek authors used the words. It's a great thing for looking up words like "gune" from 1 Timothy 3:12. Thirteen pages of very small type. Very interesting, I learned more in thirteen pages of Kittel than I did in 4 hours of reading on the internet after Julie's bloglink to N.T. Wright. Of course, I found more diversity of thought on the internet. Ms. Doob would have characterized Kittle as mid-level reception, "interpretations of texts and visual images by skilled readers whose comments refect competence but not the idiosyncrasies fo genius..." Okay, so to dig into Kittel...I think I'll post these separately.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sick kids

Both kids are in bed after not napping all day. Corwin has run a fever as high as 102.7 several times today and is nearly incoherent with exhaustion. I am nearly incoherent with exhaustion. Matt is at Vision Team - and I wish I could have gone, but better that he is there and I am here. No need to pass the germs any more than necessary. Besides, it just means I'll talk too much and listen too little again - a real struggle for me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Women in ministry

Julie Clawson brought up an interesting link to a talk on women in ministry (here).

Should women minister?

I wrestle hugely with this issue. Both my husband and I value the scripture and treat it as the inerrant word of God, correctly understood. We also believe that scripture is internally consistent, again, correctly understood.

Which, as a very VERY proactive, strong minded, extroverted, not afraid to speak my mind, kind of gal - gets me in big trouble with men of the religious persuasion who believe Paul meant all women, everywhere, at all times, should be quiet in church. I'm not quiet. And I think they're wrong, which means I explain. At which point, I somehow have become "feminist" and my salvation is at question (I only exagerate a very little).

It would seem universally agreeable however, if I minister to children (yes, I may talk there) or be a missionary to some other culture. Just so long as I don't cross their path.

Hmmm....of course they are not being contradictory.

So back to the talk. Thought provoking moments:

Mary and Martha - never linked her sitting at Jesus feet to Paul's comment of sitting at the feet of Gamaliel. That seems reasonable. However, regarding the parts of the house - thought the Jews were much more relaxed about male/female social boundaries. Well, I went online to see what I could find. Hah! Too much of an indeterminate nature. Some sources say women are honored, some say they are not. Nothing specific about women's and men's areas of the house. Anyone have any information to back this up?

Can I just say I'm beginning to be sorry I started to write about this? I spent several hours looking around last night and several hours this morning off and on. This is just not worth it - the issue is really only important to me from a personal standpoint, all honesty intended. And really only important when I'm doing something I should be doing and someone tries to stop me.

So, what do I think? I think all people should love God and love others - and in loving them aid them on whatever path God is taking them. He is the one who blesses ministry and if He is behind it, do we want to go head to head with God? If He doesn't bless the ministry, it will die on its own, right?

Or maybe I'm really just too tired to think clearly about this whole thing...


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Art for children's sake is still art

Monday, February 13, 2006


According to Mirriam-Webster Online - (girasol) an opal of varying color that gives out fiery reflections in bright light

GiraSoul - When divinely illuminated, an iridescent soul that flares with fiery reflections

Haven't you experienced that?

The moment when it all comes together, nothing seems like it can go God is so totally on your side it almost seems like you have exactly the same plan, the same goal.

And it happens, perfectly...

You're trying to say something really intense and meaningful - and you can't believe that you just said that perfect something, even though you usually stumble over all those words...

You've been asked to do this thing way outside your comfort zone, and it goes off beautifully, even though you still really don't have the faintest clue how it was supposed to really occur - it just all came together...

Truthfully? And most of the time, these things don't. Instead of the perfect something, it's the perfect foot into the mouth (couldn't I have just shut up?!!)...or the fumble, bumble, boy I'm in trouble, couldn't someone just bail me out, type of flop that I wonder why I ever volunteered for in the first place.

But I wish, I wonder, what would it look like to be an iridescent flaring reflection of the Divine Light.
And shouldn't we be?