As I walked the streets of my small midwest town praying for the people and the churches of the town, the words came to me, "Make bitter waters sweet." Those words made no sense at the time. Surely if those words actually came from God they weren't about me. I, the pastor's wife, had a life that other women in my church envied. Shortly after that, my life fell apart and the bitterness that lurked beneath the surface came to the top. But God did not leave me there. Just as He can make crooked paths straight, raise valleys, and lower mountains, so also could He make bitter waters sweet. This blog contains bits and pieces and large chunks of my ongoing journey from bitter waters to sweet.
The famous Tim Challies, who has caused a stir in the blog world by declaring that women cannot even read scripture out loud in the public assembly has decided to quote Horatius Bonar. In fact, he entitled and entire post "Soft, Effeminate Christianity" in order to quote Bonar. He says this about Bonar's quote that he reprints.
Tim Challies: "Bonar is warning against a kind of soft and, in his word, effeminate Christianity, that may come about when Christians are too afraid to fight for what is right and to protest against what is wrong."
Because of his hypocrisy and blatant hatred of the feminine. These pushers of gender roles force women down into a soft, submissive, subservient role THEN show hatred for such things in the church.
Well, let me tell you Tim Challies, who wants to turn women into little helpless lambs. Let me tell you this. You and your cohorts' relentless pursuit to dis-empower and bring into bondage, women, half or over half of the body of Christ... This pursuit is blowing up in you face.
More and more women are done with all the rules men keep making up for them.
These are mother grizzlies and lionesses who are not afraid to fight for what is right and to protest against what is wrong. And your stance on women reading scripture in the public assembly and your support of C.J Mahaney are both dead wrong. These women are not afraid to declare it. They are very feminine. But they are strong and powerful, able to preach and teach men of their wrong. And yes, they are able to prophesy in the name of Jesus. No amount of Scripture twisting by you and others is able to take away from them the promise of Almighty God.
The real problem in all of this is your refusal to hear about the wrong that you commit against all of your sisters and many of your brothers.
I probably liked this movie more than it was worth. But how could I help it. I enjoy the acting skill of Denzel Washington, and it covered a topic that I called one of my passions in my previous posts.
Nearly all the Bibles had been destroyed in this post-apocalyptic culture. And the villain of this movie was on the hunt to find any remaining copies of this book in order to use it to control and manipulate people. He wanted to use it to increase his power on the earth.
A true villain, indeed.
He is, of course, thwarted by our hero, Eli, well portrayed by Washington.
Hence, I like this movie because the good guys win and the Bible isn't misused by those who are corrupt.
So, anyway, if you haven't seen it, don't mind the grittiness and violence of post-apocalyptic films, and like seeing those who want to misuse the Bible thwarted, you might give this movie a once over.
I understand that my obsession with Driscoll is not shared with most of my readers. Why the heck am I so obsessed? Well, speculating, I think it has to do with two passions of mine. And when you have two passions at work, it's hard to deny it.
Passion number one is my frustration concerning those who turn the Bible into a book for controlling others. Many branches of, so-called, Christianity do that. Driscoll does it. But he's not the worst at it, by any means.
Passion number two is my love of the book of poetry in the Bible called "The Song of Songs" or "The Song of Solomon". I love this book because of all the beauty and uplifting of the feminine contained within it's chapters.
My frustration with Driscoll, as you already know, is with how he has taken this uplifting book, stripped away all the uplifting, healing, and encouraging parts and turned it into a sex manuel to make sure that he and the men in his church get enough sex. In the past, he has even gone so far as to make claims that certains verses are commands from Jesus Christ himself, concerning what a Christian wife owes her husband in the bedroom.
So yeah, that really ticked me off. And yeah, I'm sure I spend far to much time here on this little side issue.
Anyway, for the one, or two of my readers who don't mind following me down the road of my little Driscoll rants and comments, I have a link. Those who are bored with my rantings on Driscoll, don't bother following it. It is to WenatcheeTheHatchet's postscript on his guest series that appeared both here and The Wartburg Watch. It is interesting to those of us who are concerned with the influence of one of the most influential pastors in the U.S. I made a couple comments under his post:
My husband and I got some terrible news last week. A man we both loved and respected committed suicide. I could go on and on about how exceptional and wonderful this man is and about the hundreds and hundreds of people that attended his funeral, and might still do it in a later post. But instead, let me just say that I will miss him terribly and wish to God that he were still with us. In so many ways, he reflected all that is good and right in a human being. And I have to stop right now because I'll start blathering if I don't. I keep his family in my prayers.
I bet you didn't know that Song of Solomon Addressed Misogyny. Actually, it really only gives a picture of it as anger of brothers against a sister, the Beloved, and the Chorus's and/or Lovers drawing her away from it to a safe place.
First, the verses where the Beloved admits the anger of her brothers and their ganging up on her and oppressing her, making her their servant rather than their sibling or equal.
Songs 1:5 “I am black but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, Like the tents of Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon. 6 “Do not stare at me because I am swarthy, For the sun has burned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; They made me caretaker of the vineyards, But I have not taken care of my own vineyard."
Her brothers are not treating this nobleman's daughter (SOS 7:1) as a fellow heir but as something less than themselves, a servant or slave, someone for them to lord over. Though she had her own inheritance, her own vineyard, she's not allowed take care of it. She is persuaded or coerced or forced, by her brothers, to take care of their vineyard, their vision, their calling. Her brothers do not allow her to own her own vision/vineyard. She's not allowed to develop her own talents or take care of her own business. And she's been burned by their harsh treatment. What follows in chapter one, is the healing and protecting powers of the king working toward the beloved because those who should have been looking out for her well being were too busy taking advantage of her and stealing from her. Her brothers are referred as her mother's sons. They can be symbolic of anyone who is abusive towards us within or without the church.
[Edited to remove very long link. It was shutting down the blog.]
This very long link leads to a google image of a braid. I picked this particular image due to the colors of the individual strands or threads.
One problem with the way modern, western civilization read the Bible is that they look upon it as an owner's manual or instruction manual. You can see this in their application of Ephesians 5 toward marriage and you can see it in Driscoll's application of the Song of Solomon.
I've got news for people. Poetry is so far removed from instruction manual material it is laughable. When the Bible was written, no one ever heard of an owner's or instruction manual. They didn't think in those terms. We think in those terms because we live in an age of technology and having to know how things work in order to get by.
But even in our modern age, do we feel the need to look at modern poetry as instructions for life? Why this compulsion to make Biblical poetry into such a thing.
What is poetry? It is many things, some of which are hard to pin down. One reason for this is that poetry can have many threads making up the whole. And the threads are woven together. Modern writers do this in both fiction and poetry. Why is it so difficult for some blockheads to see this?
WTH: "I have been convinced for years that Driscoll has the world's biggest tin ear for poetry. He doesn't think in poetic terms but in terms of propositional statements and formal arguments. This isn't just manifest in his approach to Song of Songs, it's also revealed perhaps even more tellingly in the fact that in fifteen years he's never done any substantial preaching from the Psalms. He did some okay work in the 2004 Advent series going through the songs in Luke but that was obviously more than half a decade ago." From a comment under his part 4b post.
I've complained in the past that the Songs have been mishandled by perverted men. I appreciate further understanding that another mishandling is by men who have no grasp or understanding where poetry is concerned. Men who try to shove poetry into an instruction manual mode have no business handling the poetry at all. They destroy and crush rather than teach and open understanding.
Song of Solomon is not a single thread of erotic and explicit, sexual instruction. Making it into it does violence to the text. Rather it is a many layered poem with many threads, probably more than three, woven through out. One of those threads is sexual. Another of those threads is allegorical or typological. Another thread is on healing. Another thread is raising up of the downtrodden Another thread is empowering the feminine against the anger of misogyny among men (supposed brothers).
There is much woven into this poem. It can be many things to many people. It can meet a point of need within a person's life. It can help with marriage. It can help with our relationship with the Almighty.
Smacking it down into one-size-fits-all is thievery and a great injustice. Glimpses of eternity can be found in it. Forcing it into a finite box is done by fools who rush in where angels fear to tread.
[This is a repost from 2009 for those who joined us after that time]
One of the reasons I see healing in Song of Solomon is through reading about the Beloved in the first and last chapters.
In chapter one it says: Song of Songs 1:5 I am black but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, Like the tents of Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon. Vs 6 Do not stare at me because I am swarthy (dark), For the sun had burned me. My mother's sons were angry with me; They made me caretaker of the vineyard, But I have not taken care of my own vineyard.
Above she confesses that she has been pushed into the position of a common laborer by her brothers who were angry with her. She worked for them because they made her do it. And they oppressed her to the point that she neglected her own property, her own vineyard.Elsewhere in SOS, the Beloved is referred to as a nobleman's daughter, so it is curious that she was forced to work as a servant by her brothers in the first chapter.
Now let's look at a couple of verses in the last chapter of SOS. Song of Songs 8:11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he entrusted the vineyard to caretakers; Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit. Vs 12 My very own vineyard is at my disposal; The thousand shekels are for you, Solomon, And two hundred are for those who take care of its fruit.
I read a commentary somewhere that said that the Beloved's vineyard was her face/appearance. That she couldn't take care of her looks and became sunburned. I disagree with this since the last chapter also mentions her vineyard and the money she has made from it. So unless they had super models back then, thinking of the vineyard as being her face and her making money off of it... This might imply she was a prostitute, which we know is not true. So she must have really had a vineyard, like the Proverbs woman did.
But the difference in chapter eight is that she no longer talks about the oppression of her brothers or her sunburn. The Lover (whom she is married to at this point) has his vineyard but does not require the Beloved to work in it. He has hired men for that.
The Beloved is now in charge of her own vineyard rather than being forced to neglect it. In fact, she doesn't work in her own vineyard but also has hired men that she pays to work in it just like her Beloved, Solomon. No longer oppressed, she is in the position to be generous with her Lover. And out of gratitude or love she willingly hands over money made off her vineyard to him.
Quite a change from chapter one to chapter eight. The Beloved has been raised from an oppressed servant to manager of her own affairs. From my reading, the progression from chapter one through chapter eight, is a progression of healing and being raised up from a lowly place to an exalted place by the love, care, and generosity of the Lover.
And this, my friends, is why I hold that Song of Solomon is not just about... uhm... sex. It is about healing and is an allegory or picture of God's love, care, and generosity toward the church and individuals in the church, working to raise them from the muck and mire of worldly darkness and into His marvelous light.
This also goes directly against the assertion by Mark Driscoll that the Song of Solomon is not a progression and not in chronological order, an assertion that he makes as though it were fact though he gives no support whatsoever. And there are reasons that he makes this assertion. Because if Song of Solomon were a progression, then his teaching would have the Lover and Beloved engaging in fornication, sex outside marriage.
But enough on that. The point of this post was a first and last overview, where the Beloved started and where she ended up after just eight chapters of being showered with unbridled love and affection from the Lover of her soul.
The Bible says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. It also says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers.
Part of me wants to accuse Driscoll of being a thief for stealing away the spiritually healing and empowering qualities of Song of Solomon.
But after reading WTH's assessment of Driscoll and seeing how important the marriage healing side of Song of Songs is to him, I have to back off and refrain from calling Driscoll, himself, a thief.
But his Peasant Princess series on the Song of Solomon and the error contained in it, this error is most certainly a thief.
There is healing and refreshing for the soul and spirit of the downtrodden in the Songs. There is also tenderness and a way of closeness to God, unparalleled anywhere else in the Bible. There is also the lifting up of the feminine from a low place from the muck and mire of this fallen world up to a high place of strength, maturity, and authority. I know it's there. I found it. It is a strong thread completely overlooked by Driscoll who is too busy looking for erotic, explicit sex under every rock and tree so his libido can be ever serviced.
The beauty and depth in Song of Solomon and the opening up of understanding of the Infinite is not something that should be brushed away lightly. Driscoll does the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, a great disservice when he mishandles the Songs as he does.
The healing, lifting up, and empowering of the Beloved by the Lover is a strong theme that shouldn't be sacrificed on the altar of Aphrodite and Eros. But I digress.
By now, any readers here will understand my concern over the thievery of Driscoll's doctrine. But with all my talk about him and the Songs, some of you may be wonder what sort of healing, empowering, and drawing near to God I'm thinking of. So I feel it would be good to repost some of my earlier writings on the Songs so that you may begin to see why the thievery and armed robbery of Driscoll's error bothers me so much.
By now the massive audio library of sermons at Mars Hill church demonstrates that Driscoll has absolutely not problem at all invoking the biblical metaphor of husband and wife when it deals with the ancient near-Eastern AUTHORITY STRUCTURE within marriage. He can accept the part where the Groom dies for the Bride. He can accept the part, certainly, where the Bride must submit to the Groom, not least in his various teachings of male headship and the authority of church leaders. He's got problems if that conjugal metaphor ever breaks the bonds of propriety, service, and obligation to take on an element of ecstatic, self-forgetting admiration for the other. Driscoll may think he's secured himself from imagining a Jesus who wants to sexually penetrate him, but he may have done so at the expense of allowing the canonical compreshensivesness of the conjugal metaphor to have it's spirit-inspired way. Christ choosing to die for the Bride on the Cross expresses a love that has no sense of discretion or restraint. The love of Christ for the Church was so strong He embraced the Cross, scorning its shame, and He conquered death by death because of His love for us.
In Song of Songs we are told that love is as strong as death. We know what love that is most obviously and immediately talking about, even if we subscribe to an allegorical second meaning. We can see cases where an old spouse dies and the widow or widower dies within a year of the death. We all get that love is as strong as death in that way! But Christ's love is stronger than death.
By rejecting a typological approach as even possible in Song of Songs what we may be seeing is that Driscoll has granted the high flown poetic hyperbole as being legitimate for erotica love but shudders as the thought that a comparably powerful, or even more powerful love animated Christ to go to the Cross for us. WTH first three paragraphs from WTH on Driscoll's part 4b http://frombitterwaterstosweet.blogspot.com/2011/10/wth-on-driscolls-sos-part-4b.html
The problem with much teaching on marriage and gender is the hyper-focus on structure and roles. All problems can be solved by men and women playing their parts perfectly, Men leading as they are supposed to (even though the Bible never instructs them to do so) and Women submitting as defined by the teachers who over-focus on such structure.
As a pastor's wife counseling married couples, I kept running into, "Well if she would just submit to me likes she's supposed to then everything would be fine," and less often "Well, if he would just love me like he's supposed to all would be well" (and her definition of love rarely reflected what the Bible said.)
With all the obsession with what the other was doing and supposed to be doing and the obsession I saw among teachers to teach the roles according to Paul, I saw that the most important element was being left out. The bedrock of the Words of Jesus Christ.
I began to wonder if we needed to focus on what Jesus said about authority and love rather than what Paul said. And I began to wonder if we were over emphasising Paul's words in Ephesians 5 at the expense of Paul's definition of love in I Corinthians 13 and at the expense of pretty much everything John said in his epistles.
The structure of the relationships, the roles, the positions have taken up more importance than what Jesus came to do. And the power of the Love of Jesus has been lost in a limited and deeply impared understanding of the function of that Love.
Driscoll is all about authority and submission in marriage and in our relationship with Jesus. He's also all about wild-and-crazy, inhibitions-thrown-off sex in the bedroom. But he cannot grasp the even more powerful, limitless love of Jesus. A love more powerful than death and that is even able to conquer death. It's not about structure, authority, or roles. It is about Jesus throwing off all restraint, stepping down from His position (or role, if you will) to give all. On the Cross Jesus demonstrates for us this love without restraint, that love that is more powerful than death. It is a love that is not structured or limited to a role. It is infinitely beyond that. It is hard to grasp. And it will never be understood when the starting and ending points are shoved down into a box, the man-made structures, imposed upon it by Driscoll and others like him.
Song of Solomon, when seen as a type of the love of God for us, opens limits and displays infinity to the finite in ways that flawed and limiting human structures cannot touch.
There is no present-tense expression in any age of the Church this side of Christ's Second Coming in which unreserved adoration and praise for God's people is given. Jesus is the Groom who rebukes and cajoles His bride for Her continual failures and worldliness thus it is unsurprising that a man like Driscoll, in rejecting Song of Songs, can never ultimately have a vision of Christ's people that can exult in Her. It is only in Song of Songs where a husband and wife are shown speaking to each other with unbridled affection. It is only in Song of Songs where there is any "now" to the beauty of a marriage filled with mutual affection and by extension the marital metaphor for God and His people that Driscoll feels compelled to reject.
Thus a pastor like Driscoll only knows how to speak to the betrothed Bride as someone who isn't worthy of the Groom. She'd better clean up, get her act together and stop being so bad because her sins are bad enough that Jesus had to die for them... but it's not quite clear that Driscoll knows how to articulate the depth of the Bridegroom's love for the waiting Bride. Driscoll could preach for years on Hosea and mention the promise God makes to speak tenderly and winsomely to the wayward Bride. But where could we turn in the scriptures to see HOW God might speak in such a winsome and tender way to such a Bride.
Well, obviously NOT in Song of Songs as Driscoll expounds it because in it he sees only wifely stripteases and holy blowjobs. Driscoll's understanding of how a pastor should speak to the Bride is as a Hosea or an Elijah telling Israel she's a whore or an apostle telling the Corinthians they should be ashamed of themselves. In other words, at the risk of stretching the metaphors a bit, Driscoll is fine with the Hosea who says God "will" speak tenderly to His people but can't accept that Song of Songs could be where God DOES speak tenderly to the Bride of His people. --WTH last three paragraphs from WTH on Driscoll's SOS part 4a http://frombitterwaterstosweet.blogspot.com/2011/10/wth-on-driscolls-sos-part-4a.html
I hear a lot of reasons why people are falling away from the church. The Wartburg Watch has a post on why young people are turning away. Certain sectors of Christianity are worried about men not going to church and are blaming women and the feminization of Church and society.
But I have noted that many women are falling away because God has been presented in a, never-satisfied, hard-hearted, male-favoring light. God has been presented as a grumpy patriarch with no tenderness and little to no concern over the things that might concern women. God has been presented as one who is only concerned about women preforming their role of wife and mother and not even wanting to speak to women except through their husbands, fathers, and in some cases, even their sons.
I know women who are falling away from the church because of this presentation of God. Preachers and patriarchs in these circles are far more concerned with keeping control over their women and making sure their women are meeting the human standards that are set up than with the need of the woman for tenderness.
I know for myself, learning of this tenderness of God that exists but not mentioned much has greatly enhanced my relationship with God and has healed the hurt places. I had found it other place in the Bible.
Zephaniah 3:17“The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
Matthew11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
They are like hidden treasures where God expresses joy over us, or desire to gather us to Him or refers to Himself as gentle and humble. But even in these places, they are short at best, and as in the Luke 13 passage, it is mixed with sorrow over their sin.
But in Song of Solomon, it is concentrated, mutual adoration, a place where tenderness abounds. It's not, "I love you, but you fall short, are sinful, etc." It is just, "I love you, no buts!" No buts, no shaming, no pointing to flaws.
Actually, a couple of places in the Songs the bride points to her own flaws but the Bridegroom is right there to build her up and hold her close.
I still have a few comments on Wenatchee's guest post on Driscoll. But going into the weekend, I thought I'd share a clip on Vikings. I think it is up on Bing for two reasons. The movie "Avengers" has Thor in it who was a Viking deity. And apparently, because of the movie, some people are dressing up as Vikings for Halloween. Those who have been with me know that my heritage is Danish and I like a few of the things that have been passed down to me. A few other things, not so much.
But one thing I'm proud of is number seven on their count down of things you didn't know about Vikings which is...
#7 Viking women were the most respected of their time. They could even pick and divorce their own husbands.
As he put it in his book Confessions of a Reformission Rev, Driscoll was very unhappy with his marriage and particularly the state of his sex life at that point in his life. He thought he'd go through Song of Songs and see if it could improve his marriage. He went into the book with an agenda that colored his approach. Now, it seems, Driscoll can't disengage from his love affair with Song of Songs as the canonized sex manual that fixed what he wasn't happy with in his marriage. Driscoll's hermeneutic of erotica toward Song on songs is such a treasure to him he can't see that what is has done to his view of a biblical book is transform that book's message within the canon. Instead of "It's all about Jesus!" it must now be "It CAN'T BE about Jesus." --WTH, from the last paragraph in his guest post here, on Monday 10/10/11 http://frombitterwaterstosweet.blogspot.com/2011/10/wth-on-driscolls-sos-part-4b.html
As Christians, we put our trust in a lot of things besides Jesus. I'm guilty just like everyone else. WTH's observation on Driscoll here can actually be seen all over. We are a fallen people in need of saving. Our marriages need saved, our relationships, certain aspects of our culture, etc.
But the problem is, if something works for you, or helps you, you can raise that solution above where it belongs.
I can see this concern that WTH has toward Driscoll and apply it to myself. Song of Songs has been such a tremendous blessing to me, spiritually and in my perception of the Love of God for me, that I could fall into the trap of elevating my take on the Songs above everything else even to the point of asserting that my take is the only take on the Songs. And anyone else who disagrees with me is wrong or even evil.
I try not to do this. In my dealings with my disgust over Mark Driscoll's position, I've still tried to continue to make room for other positions. If counselors have had success using the Songs in marriage counselling, then far be it for me to pronounce judgement on them for not looking at the Songs as I do.
Also, I can now see why it is so important for Driscoll to teach the Songs the way he does. He feels it saved or enhanced his marriage and he wants others to benefit from it. I cannot fault the man for feeling this way.
But at the same time, I am very glad that my husband doesn't have the 'revelation' of the Songs that Driscoll has. Whereas Driscoll intent may have been noble, he has trampled over boundaries of decency in his zeal. He has rushed into the book, looking for and finding erotic sex under every rock and tree and pretty much every verse of the book, including those that have nothing to do with sex. Thus, he has turned the entire book into erotica leaving no room for anyone who may have benefited from a more allegorical or typological reading of the Songs. People like me.
So, whereas I don't want to rob those who have benefited from the marriage counseling use of the Songs, Mark Driscoll tries to declare my take on it as a lie and steals away from the church whatever benefit that my take has to offer.
[Guest post by Wenatchee The Hatchet concerning Mark Driscoll's Song of Songs series, Intro & Part One]
Mark Driscoll has been a polarizing figure for years and if the sound bites associated with him any given year are any indication he plans to be a lightning rod in American Christianity for as long as he can. Though there are number of topics about which he has chosen to say controversial things that he says are simply statements in the Bible, he has become most famous for his remarks on sex and gender.
I intend to summarize a few observations about what Driscoll has said about Song of Songs. Though Driscoll presents himself as just preaching what is in the Bible Christians have questioned the viability and propriety of Driscoll's handling of Song of Songs. In the last few years there have been two objections. The first is that Driscoll's approach to Song of Songs is so explicit as to turn Song of Songs into a kind of Christian porn. The most famous exponent of this first objection is John MacArthur who, in "The Rape of Solomon's Song" accuses Driscoll of transforming a biblical text into Christian pornography. The second objection is that by being deliberately cavalier about allegorical typological interpretations of Song of Songs Driscoll is choosing to ignore a venerable interpretive tradition within the Christian faith.
Here I intend to demonstrate that while both objections have their merits there is a third objection to make to Driscoll's handling of Song of Songs. The problem in Driscoll's handling of Song of Songs does not reside in his emphasis on marital love; it also does not reside, strictly speaking, in his refusal to concede a metaphor in Song of Songs for God loving His people. The problem resides in Driscoll's hermeneutic of erotic at the expense of both the perspicuity of scripture and of Jesus' own words about His fulfillment of Scripture. This can be broken down into four issues:
1. Driscoll's rejection of Christ typology in Song of Songs forces him to reject the words of Christ about scripture regarding Himself.
2. This rejection also compels him to reject the Bridegroom/Bride metaphor only for Song of Songs while affirming it in every other genre.
3. This rejection of Christ typology in Song of Songs transforms the book into a type of Christian porn that has no teaching value for the unmarried, for the widow, or for a child. In Driscoll's hands Song of Songs is no longer a gift given by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the whole church and instead becomes a sex manual of special value to the married.
4. This rejection of Christ typology in Song of Songs of necessity rejects the one place in the Scripture besides the eschatological Wedding Feast of the Lamb in which the marriage between God and His people could be presented in a positive light.
ISSUE ONE: MARK DRISCOLL VS THE WORDS OF CHRIST ABOUT SCRIPTURE
The first and most difficult issue is that if the Song of Songs cannot in any way refer to Christ then Driscoll must account for Jesus' words in John 5:39-47. Jesus declared that the scriptures pointed to Him. In Luke 24:25-27 Jesus is described as explaining the things concerning Himself in Moses and all the prophets and in all the Scriptures. Now if Luke and John testify that Christ said the Scriptures pointed to Him before His death and explained to disciples after resurrection how the Scriptures pointed to Him, then the only way Song of Songs could be omitted from these two statements by Christ about Himself and the Scriptures is if Song of Songs ISN'T SCRIPTURE.
Driscoll can't resort to such a claim because he affirms Song of Songs is canonical. After all, he wouldn't preach the book if it weren't in the Bible. He even mentions in his preaching about the book that Song of Songs has been read at Passover so one could make the case that the association of Song of Songs with Passover even predates Christ Himself. Driscoll, generally, has been eager to say that all Scripture properly understood points to Jesus. As Driscoll is so fond of saying, "It's all about Jesus!"
Except for Song of Songs, which has to be about wifely stripteases and holy blowjobs and date nights. In fact Driscoll has joked that if the Groom in Song of Songs is actually Jesus then Jesus is doing things to him (Driscoll) that make him feel uncomfortable. Driscoll has so sexualized the content of Song of Songs in his personal handling of the text he actually CAN'T let himself see the book as a testament to Christ. If this is so then Driscoll testifies against himself about whether or not he believes all Scripture is ultimately all about Jesus.
(Guest post by Wenatchee The Hatchet concerning Mark Driscoll's series on Song of Songs, Parts Two and Three]
ISSUE TWO: DRISCOLL VS THE PERSPECUITY OF SCRIPTURE AND CANONICAL METAPHOR
Driscoll notes in his first sermon in the Peasant Princess series that Song of Songs is traditionally read during Passover, and that excerpts of the Song of Songs are sung in public settings. This, he would have us believe, shows that Jews are not as squeamish about sex as many Christians historically have been. Driscoll grants that there are some spots where there can kinda sorta be some typological things about Jesus and the Church in Song of Songs but that this is not primarily what the text is about.
But if the Song of Songs isn't about God's love for His people why on earth has it been read as part of Passover celebration? The whole point of Passover is to celebrate and remember how Yahweh delivered Israel out of bondage in Egypt through His servant Moses, and the Passover is the highest feast day in the Mosaic covenantal community. Does Driscoll just expect all Christians everywhere to NEVER connect the dots here? Throughout the prophetic literature Israel is described as a bride who has become wayward. Driscoll can accept that metaphor because it's in the Bible. If the Bible says God views Himself as a husband and His people as His wife that's in the Bible. We better stick with it.
All right then, when, exactly, did this courtship and betrothal of Yahweh to Israel happen? The whole of the Prophets and the Wisdom literature (i.e. Psalms, Job, Proverb, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs) seem to suggest that the beginning of God's relationship to the nation of Israel had to begin with the Exodus and the time in the wilderness. In other words, the exodus and the encounter with Yahweh through which the covenant was given constitute the beginning of the marriage. If Song of Songs were merely a celebration of married life it would have no plausible role in the corporate worship of Israel, still less as part of its most sacred celebration. It makes far more sense to understand Song of Songs as a poetic reflection not merely on a generic marriage or a specific human marriage but also as a reflection on the marriage of Yahweh and Israel as His people. If that's NOT why it is integrated into Passover than Driscoll has to assure us that all the rabbis and all the people who observed Passover even before the coming of Christ were just horndogs who took time off from revering Yahweh to consider wifely stripteases.
Curiously (or not!) the Puritans had no problem affirming the allegorical element of Song of Songs. They had no trouble at all affirming the book as describing the love of God for His people. Jonathan Edwards, Richard Sibbes, William Gurnall and other Puritans (whom Driscoll claims to admire) happily affirmed the value of Song of Songs as a meditation on God's love for His people. Now, to be sure, there are allegorical interpretations of Song of Songs that have peculiarities. To suggest that the woman's breasts represent Moses and Aaron is stretching things quite a bit. But if allegorical interpretations err in transforming the breasts of the woman into Moses and Aaron, Driscoll errs in his resolve to insist that Song of Songs 2:3 has to refer to oral sex.
ISSUE THREE: DRISCOLL VS A SCRIPTURE WHICH IS TRULY GIVEN TO ALL BELIEVERS
Driscoll has happily justified teaching on Song of Songs by citing 2 Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture is God-breathed and suitable for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, and for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be fit, equipped for every good work." On this rationale Driscoll spent 11 weeks discussing Song of Songs and the nature of marriage, with a few occasional remarks about how singles should be sexually pure in their singleness.
Yet how does Driscoll's interpretive gloss on Song of Songs 2:3 constitute the use of Scripture to equip all the saints so as to be fit for every good work? Is this the interpretation of Song of Songs 2:3 that Driscoll will present to his daughter Ashley? If all Scripture is divinely inspired and given to us as a gift through the Holy Spirit then the Scriptures are a gift that should be of benefit to every believer in some way. I don't see how Mark Driscoll's daughter Ashley is likely to benefit from knowing that some day, if she gets married, she can give her husband oral sex because "Papa Daddy" says that Song of Songs 2:3 says she can totally go for that. I don't precisely see how Driscoll's son "Buddy Zach" has any reason to study Song of Songs now if Song of Songs 7:2 can only be interpreted as the husband admiring his wife's genitals. Prepubescent children have no need to have the Song of Songs mentioned to them if in Driscoll's hermeneutic the only role book has is as sanctified erotica.
Christians have affirmed for millennia that the Scriptures are a gift given to all the saints to tell us about Christ and that all the scriptures, properly understood, can be read in this way. Yet Driscoll's interpretive approach toward Song of Songs not only makes it a problematic book to discuss with children, it also transforms the book into a rhapsodic account of sexual techniques and positions that not all Christians participate in even within marriage, and which, expounded at any length, present unmarried Christians with a host of potentially new temptations.
When a person explicitly rejects an allegorical reading of Song of Songs in favor of techniques and positions this can be construed as a hermeneutic of erotica or pornography. Driscoll used to advise that a Polaroid of the wife as a Bible bookmark was a great idea so long as nobody else read that Bible. Driscoll’s handling of Song of Songs reveals a peculiar contradiction between his formally stated view that all scriptures points to Christ while denying allegorical or typological elements pointing to Christ in Song of Songs because of his commitment to a strict hermeneutic of erotica toward the book. The case that Driscoll has pornified Song of Songs derives from Driscoll’s own contradictory hermeneutic toward Song of Songs in contrast to other biblical texts and not from any simplistic accusation that Driscoll encourages people to go expose themselves to porn.
[Guest post by Wenatchee The Hatchet concerning Mark Driscoll's series on Song of Solomon, Part Four A]
ISSUE FOUR: DRISCOLL'S SELECTIVE APPLICATION OF THE BRIDE METAPHOR AND PASTORAL CONSEQUENCE
Driscoll readily grants the husband/wife metaphor everywhere ELSE in Scripture. He preached from Ephesians and Revelation and readily identified the husband/wife metaphor there. Yet Driscoll rejects the Groom/Bride metaphor in Song of Songs for the simple reason that if he accepts an allegorical or typological elements then he suspects Song of Songs promotes a weirdly homoerotic relationship between himself and Jesus. But Driscoll must surely know that Jesus Himself said that in the age to come no one will be given in marriage. Driscoll's jokes that Jesus might be having gay sex with him in Heaven if Song of Songs is an allegory about God's love for His people is simply a specious case of wanting to have things both ways. He literalizes a metaphor for the sake of illustrating why he rejects the metaphor. He never adequately addresses what the canon-wide basis for the metaphorical understanding would be. In fact, he affirms the metaphor in all other biblical literature, which makes his refusal to accept its application in the Wisdom literature even stranger. Where Puritans like Jonathan Edwards or Richard Sibbes or William Gurnall comfortably went Driscoll dare not go, apparently.
The metaphor of husband and wife in the Scriptures consistently reveals the marriage to be in a continual state of crisis. No sooner has Yahweh betrothed Himself to Israel in the wilderness than they create a golden calf. God appoints judges who turn Israel to idolatry. God grants a king and kings turn Israel away and become pioneers in idolatry. God sends prophets and the prophets are not heeded. Hosea and the other prophets take up the husband/bride metaphor to exclaim that Israel is a whoring wayward wife. Driscoll will never reject this metaphor.
Anyone who has ever attended a Mars Hill Church Good Friday service will see that the dominant theme is to reflect upon how our sins put Jesus on the Cross. Christ gave Himself up to death for the sake of His Bride, the Church. Mars Hill has emphasized this and it is part of the story. Yet it is not the whole story. That the Bride has been a wayward, sinful whore whose sin is so great it required Christ’s death is just half of Jesus’ heart toward His Bride. Driscoll's pastoral and poetic imagination falters at the point where hymnody often begins.
What wondrous love is this, o my soul, o my soul?
What wondrous love is this, o my soul?
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul ...
Driscoll’s been unable to consistently articulate that Christ, in love, chose to bear the Cross for us and share death with us to reconcile us to Him. He has, however, been adept at going on at some length about the dreadful curse.
It is unsurprising that Driscoll confessed in early 2008 that he had been told by C. J. Mahaney and John Piper that he has failed to articulate the love of God for His people. This is not surprising. Let is consider the nature of the husband/bride metaphor in all of Scripture if it must be excised from the Song of Songs. Throughout the Law and the Prophets the husband/bride metaphor is used is in a setting where God’s people have to be rebuked for being disobedient to God in some way. In the Torah Israel is going to face the reality of apostasy and exile. She is already unfaithful and will remain unfaithful until disaster, rejection, and exile. In the prophets Israel is told she is a wayward, whoring wife. In the wisdom literature we get shown that if we do the right things we’ll avoid the wayward women.
In the New Testament Christ dies for the Church but the apostles, after going through what may be dubbed the honeymoon of Acts, pass through that honeymoon into the exasperating world of having to write epistles to real churches with real sins. A new Exodus has led to a new age of wandering through the wilderness of Sin until the Land of Promise is reached. Only now we do not go rushing to meet the Promise, the Promise will come to us. Yet even though in the book of Revelation we are told of the promised Wedding Feast of the Lamb, when the Church will be the spotless Bride of Christ, this is not who we are. Revelation opens with seven letters of reproof to the churches in Asia given to John the Revelator by Christ.
There is no present-tense expression in any age of the Church this side of Christ's Second Coming in which unreserved adoration and praise for God's people is given. Jesus is the Groom who rebukes and cajoles His bride for Her continual failures and worldliness and thus it is unsurprising that a man like Driscoll, in rejecting Song of Songs, can never ultimately have a vision of Christ's people that can exult in Her. It is only in Song of Songs where a husband and wife are shown speaking to each other with unbridled affection. It is only in Song of Songs where there is any "now" to the beauty of a marriage filled with mutual affection and by extension the marital metaphor for God and His people that Driscoll feels compelled to reject.
Thus a pastor like Driscoll only knows how to speak to the betrothed Bride as someone who isn’t worthy of the Groom. She’d better clean up, get her act together, and stop being so bad because her sins are bad enough that Jesus had to die for them … but it’s not quite clear Driscoll knows how to articulate the depth of the Bridegroom's love for the waiting Bride. Driscoll could preach for years on Hosea and mention the promise God makes to speak tenderly and winsomely to the wayward Bride. But where could we turn in the scriptures to see HOW God might speak in such a winsome and tender way to such a Bride?
Well, obviously NOT in Song of Songs as Driscoll expounds it because in it he sees only wifely stripteases and holy blowjobs. Driscoll’s understanding of how a pastor should speak to the Bride is as a Hosea or an Elijah telling Israel she’s a whore. Or an apostle telling the Corinthians they should be ashamed of themselves. In other words, at the risk of stretching the metaphors a bit, Driscoll is fine with the Hosea who says God “will” speak tenderly to His people but can’t accept that Song of Songs could be where God DOES speak tenderly to the Bride of His people.
[Guest post by Wenatchee The Hatchet concerning Mark Driscoll's series on Song of Songs, Part Four B]
By now the massive audio library of sermons at Mars Hill Church demonstrates that Driscoll has absolutely no problem at all invoking the biblical metaphor of husband and wife when it deals with the ancient near-Eastern AUTHORITY STRUCTURE within marriage. He can accept the part where the Groom dies for the Bride. He can accept the part, certainly, where the Bride must submit to the Groom, not least in his various teachings on male headship and the authority of church leaders. He’s got problems if that conjugal metaphor ever breaks the bonds of propriety, service, and obligation to take on an element of ecstatic, self-forgetting admiration for the other. Driscoll may think he's secured himself from imagining a Jesus who wants to sexually penetrate him, but he may have done so at the expense of allowing the canonical comprehensiveness of the conjugal metaphor to have it's Spirit-inspired way. Christ choosing to die for the Bride on the Cross expresses a love that has no sense of discretion or restraint. The love of Christ for the Church was so strong he embraced the Cross, scorning its shame, and He conquered death by death because of His love for us.
In Song of Songs we are told that love is as strong as death. We know what love that is most obviously and immediately talking about, even if we subscribe to an allegorical second meaning. We can see cases where an old spouse dies and the widow or widower dies within a year of that death. We all get that love is as strong as death in that way! But Christ’s love is stronger than death.
By rejecting a typological approach as even possible in Song of Songs what we may be seeing is that Driscoll has granted the high flown poetic hyperbole as being legitimate for erotic love but shudders at the thought that a comparably powerful, or even more powerful love animated Christ to go to the Cross for us. After all, Song of Songs CAN’T be pointing us to Jesus now that Driscoll has established it’s about techniques and positions. It CAN'T be about Christ's love for the Church because Driscoll interprets that as Jesus preparing to have homosexual intercourse with him.
For a man who has said "It's all about Jesus" he sure seems to have managed to transform his teaching about Song of Songs into a kind of "It's all about Driscoll" hermeneutic. As I said at the beginning, Driscoll must know Jesus said there would be no marriage in Heaven. Why would Driscoll even think a joke of this sort would even make sense? Those who interpret Song of Songs typologically aren't imagining genital penetration are they?
Well, to the degree that anyone can begin to guess at an explanation, let me refer to Driscoll's 1999 sermons on Song of Songs. Driscoll has been steadfast in revisiting this material. Driscoll's persistent introduction to Song of Songs includes his speculative fantasy that Solomon and Abishag were sitting in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g. This is fanciful nonsense. Solomon’s first wife mentioned in scripture was an Egyptian and that was, as scholars such as Iain Provan pointed out, a foreboding of how bad things would go in Solomon’s reign where faithfulness to the Lord was concerned.
Iain Provan and V. Phillips Long, both of whom contributed work to the study notes in the ESV translation, have addressed Solomon's accession in ways that show the Abishag fantasy to be particularly silly. Provan, in his commentary on 1 & 2 Kings, notes that Abishag was chosen to assist David because he had trouble keeping warm at night. Abishag’s presence in the court highlights what ends up being a story, at every level, of royal impotence (of every kind) in David’s final years. The narrative thread from “could not keep warm” to “did not know her sexually” to Adonijah deciding he had a shot at the throne is strongly implied in the narrative.
Provan and Long have both broached what Driscoll avoids--rumors of David's sexual impotence were taken as a sign of administrative impotence and failing health. At this Adonijah, like his brother Absalom, sees in his father's weakness a shot at the throne. Nathan and Bathsheba get wind of this and trick David into formally appointing Solomon as his successor both to save Solomon's life and to perform an end-run around Adonijah.
The idea that Solomon killed Adonijah because he was in love with Abishag himself is pure fantasy. Absalom (under Ahithophel's counsel) took some of David’s concubines and had sex with them in public both to shame his father and show that he was made of kingly stuff at the crudest level. By this time in Israel there was a precedent that if you took any woman who belonged to the king you were making yourself known as a claimant to the throne. Solomon didn’t have his brother killed because he and his father’s servant girl were carving their names in some nearby tree. It was a bluntly political gesture. Solomon knew his brothers had habits of forming insurrections to get power or were rapists. If he didn’t put his foot down in the sternest and most irreversible way possible he’d lose the kingdom and it would divide.
But in Driscoll’s make-believe Song of Songs Abishag is the peasant princess who won the heart of the king. Why? It's a fantasy he seems to have come up with back in 1999 when he first started reading, studying, and teaching Song of Songs. As he put it in his book Confessions of a Reformission Rev, Driscoll was very unhappy with his marriage and particularly the state of his sex life at that point in his life. He thought he'd go through Song of Songs and see if it could improve his marriage. He went into the book with an agenda that colored his approach. Now, it seems, Driscoll can't disengage from his love affair with Song of Songs as the canonized sex manual that fixed what he wasn't happy with in his marriage. Driscoll's hermeneutic of erotica toward Song of Songs is such a treasure to him he can't see that what it has done to his view of a biblical book is transform that book's message within the canon. Instead of "It's all about Jesus!" it must now be "It CAN'T BE about Jesus!" Yet the Lord’s words in Luke 24:25-27 and in John 5:39-47 aren’t going anywhere and must be accounted for, even when we’re discussing Song of Songs. I propose, in Driscollian parlance, that this is the Big E on the eye chart that has been missed for a decade not only by Driscoll's critics and fans but by Driscoll himself.
My new Internet and blogging friend goes by Wenatchee The Hatchet, WTH.
I met WTH on the Wartburg Watch where he made some intriguing and thoughtful comments on Mark Driscoll's mishandling of the Song of Solomon, SOS. I asked for further clarification of some of the things he said, and I began to understand that he had a grasp on the situation that went beyond anything that I had encountered before and beyond my own understanding.
Because SOS is near and dear to my heart as a place for the wounded soul to go find healing, I feel the need to counter act Mark Driscoll's high jacking of SOS and turning it solely into a sort of Christian Kama Sutra, or sex manual, for married couples.
WTH's ability to get to the root and heart of the matter with clarity and limited bias made me realize that I wanted his thoughts preserved on this blog for others who care about the issue and for myself and others to refer to when dealing with the mishandling of SOS.
WTH is uniquely qualified to write about this for several reasons.
For one thing, he attended Mars Hill, Driscoll's church, for nine years (1999-2008). And during his time there he served in four different ministries, the longest being with the Theological Response Team, where he handled questions. He got the position with the response team because he was known there as a well-studied Christian.
During his time with the response team he noted that the questions changed over the years and so did the handling of the questions. One of the changes in questions concerned the misuse of scripture. At the same time he began to have some reservations about the way Mark Driscoll handled certain scriptures.
His present attitude towards Mars Hill can be summed in this quote, "I have friends and some family at Mars Hill who I love a great deal and there are things I find admirable at Mars Hill but at length I came to disagree with them on more points than I agreed and had to find a new church home."
And concerning the debate over that which is Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll, he has this to say:
"I have found over the years that both the defenders and detractors of Mars Hill generally and Mark Driscoll in particular have too often lacked a true scholarly approach. Generally people come to the subject of Mars Hill and Driscoll with their minds made up in ways that prevent them from examining his teaching in a substantive way. Nowhere has this been more apparent to me than in how Driscoll has handled Song of Songs and how his self-appointed blogging allies and adversaries have discussed it. At my own blog, Wenatchee The Hatchet, I have attempted to include observations and criticisms of Driscoll that are predicated neither on unquestioning loyalty nor a reflexive dislike but on, when possible, a serious examination of the actual content and application of what Driscoll says and does."
For those that haven't noticed yet, WTH's blog has been added to my roll, the third male to have ever receive this honor.
Also, a confession. I have a "reflexive dislike" of Driscoll. I cannot help it. Not with what he has done to SOS. However, I know the best arguments are the ones based on serious examination like the one WTH has sent me. It is thorough and well-thought out and most needed in this debate.
I will be posting it in four posts:
I WTH's Intro and Part One
II WTH's Parts Two and Three.
III WTH's Part Four A
IV WTH's Part Four B
I'm doing it this way so that I can keep the entire content together yet in digestible sections that are easily referred back to.
I started this blog sometime ago and named it, "From Bitter Waters to Sweet" for a reason. Okay, the initial reason was because it was an assignment for a class. But as I tried to come up with a topic or theme, I kept coming up dry so I had to think, "What really lights my fire?"
Well, one of the things that lights it is the combination of my love for God and the Scriptures and my repulsion, disgust, and sometimes shock at how people mess with God's word to make it into something else. How they form the scripture after their own hearts rather than allowing the scripture to get a hold of their hearts and change them.
This blog also has become a way for me to express my journey from bitter waters to sweet. I write in hopes to continue the journey and to share with others some of the things that I have learned along the way.
This journey has taken me to some very unexpected places in the Bible. One of those places is the book, "The Song of Solomon" affectionately referred to as SOS.
Those of my readers who have been with me a long time have seen my angry and very sharp reaction to some faulty teachings on SOS. I actually had a pretty violent reaction that I leave up for the sake of posterity. My anger had been softened over time even though the teachings still disgust me. The reason they disgust me is because they steal away the healing properties of SOS for the wounded and bitter soul and turn SOS into the Christian husband's manual for turning his Christian wife into his own private porn star so he doesn't have to deal with his porn issues and poor attitude towards sex and twisted view of what women are for.
Okay, I admit it. I still have some serious attitude. But I'm happy to say that I've come in contact with someone who is able to cut through the garbage of the pornification of SOS to the root of the problem. He deals with the issue deeply and thoroughly and in a manner that kicks the legs out from under this popular teaching that is perverting the hearts of many people.
Next post, I'll introduce you to my new friend and tell you a little bit about him and how and why he qualifies to take on this serious topic far better than me.
Also, I've gone ahead and added KR's blog to my blogroll and moved the blogroll up because those blogs are more active now than I am and I don't want anyone checking in here to miss the opportunity to see what else is going on in those blogs.
It's no secret here that I have an appreciation for fiction and in particular, speculative fiction. I've mentioned Star Trek here more than once and did a series on Apollonian and Dionysian and the affects of stories and especially Single Stories have on us.
Well, I follow a number of blogs, more than what I have listed on the side here. I follow a fictional blog in the genre of speculative fiction that also happens to be Christian. Now don't freak. It is NOT of the CBMW or Patriarchy variety. I have no stomach for fiction from those crowds.
No this is a far more mainstream Christian Spec. Fiction blog that includes Catholics and Mainstream Protestants. It is called Avenir Eclectia. Don't ask me how to pronounce it.
Mostly I have just followed it on my own, not mentioning it here because I saw little connection between it and what we talk about here.
However today's fictional post is on a topic a little nearer to what we talk about than usual so I thought I share it. Cultic misprophecies.
The lovely thing about Spec. Fiction is how it lends itself to exploring and resolving the issues we deal with today and even reoccurring issues that come up from time to time in Christian Circles.
So please, if you have time, take a peek at this piece by Walt Staples, "Stony's World: Apocalypse Preempted".
I still check in to look at my blog roll to see what other people are talking about, but I have little time to create any posts myself.
So, as entertainment for those who still check in here from time to time, I thought I'd share a youtube video that I feel helps us remember what is important to God. If you don't love children, don't bother with this one.
Relating my experience on 911 ten years ago over on Elizabeth Esther's blog has opened some deep places.
My children were young, home school age, boys: 12 and 11, and girls: 8, and 4.
My boys' friends came over and talked about joining the military. They were afraid that the terrorists would bomb our small town, population 2700, located over an hour away from anything that could be considered even a small city. I assured them that the terrorists were not interested in little ol' pop2700 us. That we were most likely safe.
But that moment got me thinking of when I was their age. Back then there was a different kind of war going on. It was "The Cold War". It is hard to explain to anyone who is too young to remember. Movies that could help to understand would be "The Iron Giant" and "War Games".
Back when I was in school, we were taught that the U.S. had nukes and the Soviets had nukes and that, whoever started a nuclear war, it didn't matter, we would all die, either immediately or later from radiation sickness or lack of food and water or some other complication. And it was put forth, or implied, or somehow I picked up that a nuclear strike could happen any minute. It could happen while I was at school or sleeping in my bed or playing with friends. It was something that always hung over my head.
911 was a terrorist attack that happened during a time of assumed peace. There was never a strike during that time of restrained hostility between two world powers, or The Cold War.
I would imagine that the children and young adults of 911 were traumatized worse than the children of The Cold War. 911 trauma was powerful and immediate. But those of us who grew up during The Cold War, some of us were also traumatized over the long term. And I don't know about the others, but I felt alone in my fears. I went to bed every night wondering if that was night that we would all be incinerated in our beds. 911 was a collective, nationally, even internationally shared trauma.
At the bottom of a lot of our fears is the fear of death, for ourselves, for our loved ones. The death of one person in our lives or facing death ourselves is a traumatic thing. 911 and The Cold War magnify this fear. The fear of death is a fear that covers people. It was this fear that lead me to the only Being who cold defeat death, our mortal enemy. And those of us who know Him take comfort in His power over death. We hold on to the One who defeated death. Hanging onto Him gets us through these things like 911.
Isaiah 25:7 And on this M0untain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all nations. Vs 8a He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces,
Elizabeth Esther asked people to relate their memories of 911. So I did. I don't have the strength to do so again. So if you are curious, head on over there and read her memories, my memories, other people's memories and add your own if you feel so inclined. I think I'm comment number 10, or something like that.
The mama bear instinct is alive and well in women, no matter how hard the gender hierarchalists try to stamp her out. Every time I travel down I-55 in Illinois, I see a sign about one, little known historical figure named Mother Jones.
I got back Tuesday from visiting my 94 year old grandmother 1000 miles west of here. I don't know if I will see her alive again or if my next trip west will be to her funeral.
Today, I take my oldest daughter to University. I'm launching my baby out into the world where she will either sink or swim. But I have confidence in her. She's wise, strong, and beautiful and can take care of herself. She'll do fine. I'm just really going to miss her being around the house.
Naomi King Walker has an excellent Blog Post on Scarcity thinking, something I have been aware of for some time but wasn't sure what it was called. It so much applies to Hierarchy and Patriarchy thinking that has infiltrated the church and cause so much heart ache in men, women, and children. Families are being broken by this false doctrine parading around as "Christian" and "God's divine order".
If you have a chance, bop over to Naomi's blog and read. You won't regret it.
As I gear up for my trip out west, I have little time to put my thoughts down on this blog. But I still get on line from time to time and come across some really good stuff. A lot of what is going on in my blog roll is good, although I have one sad note. My friend Charis, who comments as Gem here, is closing down her blog, "A Wife's Submission". Her thoughts on these things will be sorely missed. But as happens from time to time, we have to move on. And that is what she's has to do.
Also, I often visit Sierra's blog via Lewis's blog roll. She comes at dealing with fundamentalism from a different angle. Her post today touches on things I believe deal with what we talk about here. One of those things is the structures set up by men concerning women that have little to do with what women really think or the real reasons women do things. I could go on and explain, but Sierra at "The Unspoken Words" does a much better job. So if you have time, hop over and give her blog a view.
Both Darcy and Hillary are talking about the drive among patriarchs to make women... wives, daughters... weak and helpless. (see links below). I am worried about this in church and outside church. My daughters were into the Twilight series and the emotionally needy Bella was concerning me. So I was delighted to see this montage of Buffy the Vampire Slayer verses Edward. I showed it to my daughters and now my youngest and I are watching the Buffy series on Netflix and last night we watched season 3 episode 20 where Buffy was voted "Class Protector" and given a cute, little, pink umbrella. I feel it is important to show my daughters images of strong, capable, heroic women to counter balance both culture and the bad things going on in CBMW and Patrio land.
Anyway, females are not weak. Have you ever seen a mama bear robbed of her cubs? Me neither, but I've heard about it more than once and from the sound of it, it can get pretty bad. Anyway, here is Buffy vs Edward, first. And below that Hillary's and Darcy's posts on the topic.
For my readers still suffering from PTSD from having Ephesians five shoved down their throats, let me tell you the reading assignment I'd give you if you asked me for one.
I'd say, read Ephesians chapters 1-4, skip 5, and if you are okay with chapter 6, read it. If chapter 6 also causes a degree of PTSD then skip 6 as well.
Now some would scream that I'm not respecting the family or the Bible or whatever by giving such advice. All I'll respond with is this. If I read all of Ephesians minus chapter 5 half a dozen times, it still wouldn't make up for the hundreds of times I've hear messages from chapter 5 while the teacher ignored the rest of the book. So in suggesting such a reading assignment, I'm not negating any part of the Bible. I'm simply bringing balance to an area so far out of balance in so many circle it is sick.
I knew a woman so traumatized by the word "submit" that if she saw it in completely innocent places like, "please submit paperwork to..." she'd have a panic attack. This is how bad it has gotten. And I'd really like people who have been traumatized to gain some benefit from the incredible book of Ephesians.
However, if just the word "Ephesians" traumatizes you, then you are better off reading Galatians, over and over, until God reveals to you the liberty that Paul is trying to get across.
One other little note on Ephesians 5 & 6: As I've noted, neo-patriarchy and CBMW are hard at work creating an image and 'single story' of womanhood that strips women of being Deborahs (leaders), Huldahs (prophets/preacher/teachers), or Junias (apostle/elder). Their version of womanhood makes women small, weak, and helpless. This is wrong and not in keeping with how Christ handles his bride. First He gives his Bride all authority (check out Retha's link below). And according to Ephesians 6, he arms her to the teeth. This is a far cry from what Patriarchs and CBMWers do. They are too busy disarming and discouraging their women to see what they should be doing, what Christ does, arming and empowering.
Getting back to my thoughts on MLK, Jr., Nichelle Nichols, and Star Trek, I want to look at King's words to Nichols from the link in the 7/21/11 post. In fact, in this post, I simply want to lay out the basics of the conversation and make a few comments on it.
MLK, Jr.: "You have one of the most wonderful roles. Images are so important. The manner in which you have created this character. We have great pride." NN: "I'm going to miss my costars" MLK, Jr.: "What are you talking about?" NN: "I'm leaving the show." MLK, Jr.: "You cannot do that." NN: (I was dumbfounded.) MLK, Jr.: "You have the first non-stereotypical role on television. For the first time the world sees us as we are supposed to be seen, as qualified, beautiful, intelligent people. And you are not a menial. You have to stay there."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood the importance of images, the things people see. He understood how American television in the Sixties portrayed the typical African-American and how important breaking from that visual was. I read somewhere else that when Whoopi Goldberg first saw the character Uhura on television, she got excited and ran to tell her mother that there was a black woman on TV who wasn't a maid. This was big stuff. And M.L. King Jr. understood it even if the magnitude of it was lost on Nichols in that day. But we see from the interview in the link that Nichols gets it today.
Images are so important. And narrow or 'single story' images must be counteracted. For example, the image of Sarah calling Abraham 'lord' must be counter balanced with the Old Testament story of God changing Sarah's name from Sarai to Sarah, which means female ruler and the image of God telling Abraham to obey Sarah at one point. And the images of Deborah, Huldah, the Proverbs 31 woman, Junia, the Chosen Lady that John writes about, and many others must be held up in contrast to the images that are pushed by CBMW and Neo-patriarchy.
Images are important. And as a mother of both sons and daughters, I understand the need to provide better images than what CBMW influenced churches want children to see.
Busy, busy so haven't had time to construct my last "You have heard it said" post or follow up on why in the world I would bring up Star Trek, Lt. Uhura, and M.L.King,Jr. When time is more on my side I hope to get to both of these. Until then, let me direct you attention to a former Mix Martial Arts (MMA) fighter's take on Driscoll's obsession with MMA and his foolish attempt to connect it to 'biblical manhood'. It is called "Confessions of a Cage Fighter: Masculinity, Misogyny, and the Fear of Losing Control"
Back in the Sixties there was a new television show that featured a multicultural cast, something never done before.
African-American Nichelle Nichols was cast as the communications officer, Nyota Uhura. This sort of thing is no big deal now. But back in the day, this was unheard of.
But Nichols was a stage actress and grew tired of the work that went into a television series and considered quiting. Only an encounter with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made her understand the magnitude of her role and the revolutionary boundary pushing that Star Trek was in its day.
On July 24th, 2010 a group of men and women, led by Shirley Taylor, demanded an apology from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) for their teachings that diminish women and exalt and encourage men to think more highly of themselves than they should.
CBMW teaches complementarianism which states that God created men to be the leaders and women to be the followers and bars women from positions held by women of the Bible like Deborah, Huldah, and Junia.
Complementarianism is not as rigid as outright patriarchy, but, their teachings support and add power and credibility to patriarchal teachings. Their teachings are also false, based on the traditions, doctrines, and commandments of men and cherry picking proof texts rather than on anything half way resembling good Bible exegesis and hermeneutics (see link for definitions below link to Shirley's blog.)
As Shirley notes today on her blog, we are no closer to getting an apology from CBMW. Nor am I holding my breath for that apology. Those people are locked in their mindset. Some of them know the little lies that are being told about the Bible that are needed to uphold their doctrine, but still they tell the lies. Only God really knows why they hold onto the lies. Perhaps it's a, "The old wine is better" thought pattern. Who can say.
Men who won't let women be all that they are called to be, work long and hard to take away any and all biblical examples of women outside the worshiped patriarchy boxes.
If that sentence didn't make sense to you, let me try again.
Neo-patriarchs and CBMW do all that they can to hide or explain away all examples of female leadership in the Bible.
In case you have never heard of Junia, which is possible because it really is better to ignore her all together than to get involve in the quagmire of all the explaining away it takes to make her go away, then let me direct you to this link which talks about Junia who is well known among the apostles. (I love it when I'm busy and someone else makes my job so much easier. Also, I link this because it links all of Suzanne's [of Suzanne's Bookshelf] posts on Junia all in one place.)
Deborah is hard to cover up. Two entire chapters in Judges are dedicated to her. One of those chapters is written, at least in part, by her. The other part was written by Barak, who looks to me to be honored anyway by having his words recorded in the Bible. Anyway, she's hard to ignore so instead men have tried to explain her away.
Well, Huldah was a prophet back during the time of Jeremiah. I suppose we shouldn't get too upset that we haven't heard much of her. Jeremiah wrote two whole books found in the Old Testament. Huldah is only mentioned in nine verses. II Kings 22:13-20 and II Chronicles 32:22-28.
And I might not think much of it, except that, have you ever heard of Jabez? He's mentioned in two verses I Chronicles 4:9 & 10. Yet there is book and an entire movement based on his prayer in verse 10.
Anyway, when a book of the law was found, hidden in the temple, the king had no problem calling Huldah rather than Jeremiah or any other male prophet of that day. And her prophecy was true.
So, according to the Old Testament, women can be leaders and can prophesy to men, including kings. So what's going on today that some men cannot accept women in leadership or the fact that a woman can hear from the Lord just as well as any man?
It is in the best interest of all people to become more familiar with the entire Bible, to read it for themselves, rather than to let certain teachers decide for us all which are the important verses and which verses should be ignored.
God could not find a single decent man in all the land to become the next judge of Israel. And since all those men were so worthless God had to resort to raising up a woman to judge. Her name was Deborah. At least that is how I've heard it taught before.
The problem is, if you read the account without the idea that women can't lead, you realize there is nothing written to imply that God chose Deborah because there were no qualified men. This is never said or even implied. It is something imposed on the text by men who would rather insult and emasculate ALL the Hebrew men living in Deborah's day rather than to admit that God simply picked Deborah because He wanted to use a woman this time.
The account of Deborah is in found in Judges 4 and words that supposedly imply that Barak was weak and afraid and that God wanted to punish him for it are found in vss 8 & 9.
8 Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” 9 She said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.
It is assumed from this that Barak was being punished for his lack of faith. But if you read it carefully, there is no real rebuke in verse 9. In fact, the verse could just as easily be interpreted as Barak trying to honor Deborah by asking that she go along. But even with this honor, Deborah reasserts that God wants this to be a woman's story, an example to those to come that God can and wants to work through women. God wants there to be a witness in His word to His daughters that women can be strong and mighty too, that this sort of faith is not reserved for men. Leadership is not reserved exclusively for men.
But even so, sometimes little things just strike me funny about the topics we cover and I just have to share.
You remember that song, "Put Another Log on the Fire" by Tompall Glaser? If not I'll link if for you at the bottom of this post.
One of the classic lines from his song reminds me of John Piper and the "Keep Sweet" conspiracy that is infiltrating portions of the church. The line goes like this: "So sit here at my feet cause I like you when you're sweet. And you know it ain't feminine to fight."
An honorable mention also found in this song makes me think of Mark Driscoll and his comment about pastor's wives letting themselves go: "Don't I warn you when you're getting fat."
And of course the last line is: "Come and tell me why you're leaving me." Which is exactly what women need to do with ministries like Piper's, Driscoll's, and every form and expression of patriarchy and CBMW.
I've been aware of Suzanne for some time, for longer than I've been blogging. I first became aware of her on the CBE forum and then saw her other places that I went to. When I learned how to make a blog on my blog roll, Suzanne's was one of the first to go on it.
The fight to keep every expression of Christianity from becoming another Taliban religion has many fronts. The numerous blogs on my blog roll come at it from completely different angles. Suzanne's comes from a, keeping true to the original languages, position.
There is a Jihad force among certain Christians to push a certain, gender off-balanced version of the Bible into the hand of every Christian. This same force is hell-bent to malign another translation that is more gender inclusive. I could say more, but then I would reveal my ignorance in this area. So let me close by saying, I am so glad that Suzanne is around, has her blog, and is being faithful to the original languages in spite of the raging war to malign her and Bible translations that are more in keeping with the original languages.
I noticed something the other day. I was watching a TV show and there was a scene where teen mother needed help comforting her newborn. She didn't know that newborns liked to be wrapped up tight in receiving blankets or else they don't feel secure.
Now, I already knew that, having had four children of my own. But for some reason when I watched that, it came to me:
Being wrapped up tightly in a receiving blanket to a baby brings security just as being wrapped up tightly in legalism brings security to many new believers.
If one comes from a place where rules and regulations makes one feel safe, it's not hard to imagine transferring that need for security onto faith in God.
I guess what I'm saying is that I've seen many people go through this works base/legalistic phase of their Christian walk. I went through it myself. I've seen some get past it and on into true freedom and others get trapped in it and keeping their "security blanket" of rules and works long past the time when they should have gotten rid of it.
I Corinthians13:11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Too many Christians are still dragging around the receiving/security blanket of salvation by works and legalism. It is way past time to do away with childish things.
I'm sure you have. Everyone has.
There is nothing that strikes fear into the hearts of men more than the dreaded "SPIRIT OF JEZEBEL"!!!
And everyone knows what that spirit is. It is a controlling spirit, found most often in women, that has the ability to castrate men and turn them into sniveling little Ahabs, the wimpy, less-than-a-man, a man to be hated and pitied for not having enough testosterone to fight his way out of a paper bag.
But here is the problem.
When you actually look at the spirit of Jezebel, it is not about a controlling woman at all. It is about a woman who teaches people to sin.
Revelation 2:20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.
One of the things the spirit of Jezebel teaches is fornication or pornography. I know this because when I looked up "acts of immorality" in the original Greek in a Strong's Concordance the Greek word used is the word we get both fornication and pornography.
So instead of the spirit of Jezebel being this awful, man-hating, male-castrating feminist spirit, it is actually more along the lines of a Play Boy, Hustler, pornography spirit that entices and exploits human sexuality and promotes prostitution and human trafficking.
The spitting hell-fire and brimstone preachers who warn against this Spirit of Jezebel have it all wrong. They don't know what they are talking about. They are preaching the superstitions of men, the witch-burning kind, and using scriptures that they ought to be applying to the porn problem that is running rampant in churches today.