Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dang, but this young lady "gets it" about men

Read My path to women's ministry. I'd skipped it when I saw it earlier, frankly, because the title didn't grab me. But then m'man Craig recommended it, so I went there, and was soon slack-jawed.

Worth the price of reading all by itself: "I believe that a man feels most loved when he knows that he is respected."

Whoa.
Read that one again. Then join me in saying:

Sure you could say more. But saying that, you've said a lot, and said something that is not said clearly nor often enough. Christine either has been affected by someone of marked insight, or is such a person -- or both. Read between the lines here, and you see a young lady who (A) had a good, Biblical, Christian upbringing (from her mother?), and you see that (B) it took.

Marrieds may sniff, "That's easy for a single girl to say." I have three thoughts in response.
  1. What does one's station in life have to do with whether a thing is true or not?
  2. If she marries one day and falls short of the goals she sets out here, will that make the goals less Biblical, and so less God-centered, God-honoring, sane, true and right?
  3. Sometimes one views a thing more clearly from without, than from within.

50 comments:

Chris said...

2 things...

1. About #3: I think there are things about marriage she won't understand until she's in it, but hey... she's got what the Bible says about it down. And I think being outside of marriage provides clarity for that.

2. At first, it seemed to me that she was disregarding the woman (and man for that matter) who would never marry. After I thought about it, I think I've decided that she means that living as a good Christian woman will look the same as preparing for your future husband... whether or not there is a future husband.

CraigS said...

These young ladies amaze me with their humility and grace...they make me think us guys need to lift our game...

David Castor said...

"I believe that a man feels most loved when he knows that he is respected."

Fair enough, but I dont really think that those espousing an egalitarian view of marriage would disagree with that sentiment. They would merely add that mutual respect is an integral element of any healthy marriage.

DJP said...

So they'd do their best to ruin her excellent and Biblical observation by mushing everything together into a shapeless mess?

Typical, that.

ckhnat said...

DJP - thanks for the support. These thoughts of mine began to formulate during my under-grad years. I was able to bounce my ideas off of my mother and father during my visits home and they helped me flesh them out. But much of it was through my own study of God's purpose for the marriage union, my experiences, and observing those around me. I suppose one could say that I learned from their victories and mistakes.

Chris - Indeed, that was, in fact, what I was attempting to say. At first glance it would appear to contradict so much of my other writings, but my point was that pursuing godly living is what one ought to be doing whether one marries or not. But if one does, it is the best means of preparation for that union.

I've never been on a date much less a committed relationship ... until a little over a month ago (see here for THAT story).

I've been a bit of an enigma to those around me. So strong and independent ... very willing to share my dogmatic opinons with anyone who would listen ... always moving ... never standing still ... revelling in my ability to be pushed along by the wind as a leaf ... no roots. I was single and proud of it ... knowing God had a purpose on my life in it all. My walk with Christ defined who I was as a person ... not my relationship with a man.

Still does.

But now ... now, that God has brought Michael in my life ... I'm enjoying the path he and i walk together, serving each other, encouraging each other, and growing together. Our separate life experiences have prepared us for this point in our lives when God has intersected out paths.

Kim said...

If this young lady begins marriage with such an attitude, she will begin on a very good note.

David Castor said...

"So they'd do their best to ruin her excellent and Biblical observation by mushing everything together into a shapeless mess?

Typical, that."

Would you explain precisely how I am doing that, Daniel?

Your tone certainly seems a little aggressive. What do you object to so strongly in my previous comments?

DJP said...

You spoke of egalitarians in the third-person; I assumed you knew better.

I don't know where you're coming from, but I believe in Jesus, and thus believe in the Bible as the Word of God. Therefore I accept everything Scripture says about men, about women, about men and women, and about marriage.

Therefore I am, to say the least, not an egalitarian.

David Castor said...

As far as I could see, we weren't really have a debate about the merits of an egalitarian versus a traditional view of gender roles.

I'm simply astounded that you would rail so heavily against my suggestion that women are entitled to respect as well as men within the marriage relationship. Is that so unacceptable?

Michelle Pendergrass said...

She seems to have forgotten the part of God's Word that says the older women are to teach and encourage the younger women.

I'm sorry for the women of that Bible study if they're reading her blog. Sometimes it's better to be silent.

DJP said...

I'm simply astounded that you would rail so heavily against my suggestion that women are entitled to respect as well as men within the marriage relationship

Quote the part where I do that.

DJP said...

Michelle, I've misread you, or you've misread Christine. She was pressed for an answer. She should have absolutely refused to affirm what the Bible says?

I feel sorry, too; but I'm not sure it's for the same persons or reasons as you.

ckhnat said...

It's not the first time i've been misunderstood ... certainly due to my amateur writing skills. I find that I often have to go back and explain my point of view. My bad.

With this post tho ... sheesh ... i've never done so much explaining ... not JUST with Michelle. I think Michelle and I agree ... however, maybe there's a huge communication barrier.

Lorie said...

Like I recommended on Christine's blog, the book "For Women Only" does a great job of describing what it LOOKS LIKE to respect your man. A lot of women would SAY they respect their men, but learning how to communicate that in a way that is understood by him is a different story. And, for some women, they may say they respect their man and be sorely misled as to the actual state of their hearts or what they are showing him and the world.

I think that this principle of men receiving love through respect applies to all female/male relationships---brother-sister, father-daughter, male-female friendships. So all of us women would do well to learn and practice that principle in the relationships we currently have in our lives, regardless of our marital status.

DJP said...

Lorie -- the book "For Women Only" does a great job of describing what it LOOKS LIKE to respect your man.

That sounds very valuable indeed.

A lot of women would SAY they respect their men, but learning how to communicate that in a way that is understood by him is a different story. And, for some women, they may say they respect their man and be sorely misled as to the actual state of their hearts or what they are showing him and the world.

True, that.

Christine -- ....i've never done so much explaining ... not JUST with Michelle

Do you mean that you already explained to Michelle what I just explained to Michelle?

ckhnat said...

yup ... down in my comments on the original post

DJP said...

Christine -- oh, dear. Maybe you need to read THIS, and THIS.

BugBlaster said...

Not to disagree with Christine, because I don't... Just needed to say that.

And not to judge the women in that group or their husbands... Needed to say that too.

But... it's an indictment on the husbands that their spouses don't respect them.

It must be hard to treat your husband like you respect him if he doesn't act in a manner that attracts respect. I know that I have presented my wife with this challenge many times.

I really doubt that she would joke and be publicly disdainful in the manner that Christine described, but there have been way too many times when she would have been justified in doing so.

As the wife is responsible for her behaviour and not her husband's, we husband's are responsible for leading and walking in a manner that engenders respect from our wives and children. If we don't do it, we are failing our stewardship.

DJP said...

So you feel, Buggy, that if you do the right thing, others will always also do the same?

And you feel that if others do what is wrong, the cause can be traced to you?

If so, I could not disagree with you more heartily. I'd cite Matthew 5:11-12; 1 Peter 2:19-20; 4:1, 12-19; and the whole book of Job, for starters.

CraigS said...

She seems to have forgotten the part of God's Word that says the older women are to teach and encourage the younger women.

Rather, our teachers in Christ only have authority when they are true to the teachings of scripture. We are to "test the spirits", and to reject what is unwholesome.

Christine did exactly the right thing.

I rather hope some of the women in the group read Christines blog...

Michelle Pendergrass said...

I assure you djp, I am not a troll nor a lazy reader or anything else you listed. I took the time the other day to read nearly your entire blog and I posted a few remarks. I checked back but thought you didn't notice that I left comments.

I think Christine and I DO agree. I agree on everything Biblical that has been said. However, since I am a former atheist I think I have a valid point of view that a lot of life-long Christians lack. Also, just repeating verses over and over won't help people who already don't understand.

Sometimes it takes love and teaching...the kind of teaching Jesus did. The kind that uses analogies and stories and kindness. Some people do just need a verse. But some people need more.

And I firmly believe that the first step is always to bring them closer to Jesus. A woman will never change her ways towards her husband if she doesn't change her ways toward Jesus. It is Him we must first draw near to. Doing a Bible study or following rules won't help. Understanding the grace God gives IS what will change a person and motivate them to see they've been wrong.

Now I don't know what kind of wife was sitting in that room, but I can't assume that every single one of them was raised with the "good Christian" background that Christine had.

I find it hurtful that you think that the reason she's at this place is because of a "good, Biblical, Christian upbringing" that "took." It is certainly a compliment to her parents and to her. I wasn't so blessed, and reading that sentence just made me feel like dirt.

By God's grace my husband and I have the best marriage out of anyone I know personally. We got there by God's grace. Not because we followed some rules. And obviously not because of how our parents did things.

Christine, if you're reading, that's where the legalism comes into play. But I'll address that further to you on your blog. I do agree with you. On all Biblical aspects of it (and we've already discussed the Titus point.) I just know from MY experience that people turn away from such harsh and critical judgement. I'm not saying shy away from sin. But some people just need to be loved before they can see anything else. As I live and as Christ molds me to His image, I learn this more with each breath I take. I can see your heart is full of Him and it escapes everywhere you go. I just don't want to see you hurt the way I was.

Though, it may be inevitable. Or it may not happen at all. It's just what was on my heart as I read all this. After all, I wasn't raised in that good, Biblical, Christian upbringing. (And see, that's where it stings the most.)

So maybe I went into reading Christine's post with a little bit of pain smeared in my eye from reading this blog first.

Christine, I apologize if you--in any way--think I'm arguing or trying to discourage you. That is the LAST thing I'd want to do. You're talking to a woman who wants nothing more than to help other women. And I do my best every day to lead those women that God has put in my life gently to Him.

I'm getting too wordy here.

djp--if you want to accuse me of being some kind of troll, lazy reader, whatever. Feel free. But do me a favor. Do it to my face. I'm a big girl. I can handle it. If the comment was meant for someone, I apologize. It looks like it is in a round about way meant for me by directing Christine to read the same post twice.

It kind of proves my point though, I read your quite a bit of your blog and a good sampling of Christine's blog before I commented. I don't think I was given that same respect.

Michelle Pendergrass said...

craigs, I can assure you that not all people want to beat down with God's word.

You and djp have put words in my mouth. I'd love to see in print where I said that she should have done anything other than stand on the Word of God.

DJP said...

Michelle --
I'd love to see in print where I said that she should have done anything other than stand on the Word of God.

Well, that's fairly easily done. Your first post at her blog, copied and pasted by you here:

She seems to have forgotten the part of God's Word that says the older women are to teach and encourage the younger women.

I'm sorry for the women of that Bible study if they're reading her blog. Sometimes it's better to be silent.


Now, to this: I wasn't so blessed, and reading that sentence just made me feel like dirt.

I did not have a Christian upbringing, either. I wasn't talking about myself, and I wasn't talking about you. I was talking about Christine.

I'm truly impressed by the reading you say you did, and I do take your word for it. However, to make the mistaken statement you made on Christine's blog, be patiently corrected, and then to come over here and simply repeat it verbatim does fall somewhere in the behavior I criticized.

Everyone makes mistakes. Your first response to Christine was a mistake, and you were corrected. But then you seemingly followed her around and repeated it. That's problematic.

Assuming Christine's version of events, Christine did the right thing. I thank God if it gave those ladies pause. Their husbands may have been pleading God for someone to give their wives some perspective. She may well have been an answer to those prayers.

Regardless, what she said was true, and it was tactful. And it reflects the love of the Jesus of the Bible, who said "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent" (Revelation 3:19).

CraigS said...

craigs, I can assure you that not all people want to beat down with God's word.
Sorry - I don't understand that phrase?

You and djp have put words in my mouth.
I don't see how.

You said Christine had ignored that part of God's word saying that younger women should be taught by older women. I said that we need to test the words of our teachers by scripture. That is, if our teacher is saying nonsense, we must reject it.

Regardless, reading Christines story it was plain that she listened in silence, and only commented when asked to.

And, as Dan pointed out, Christine answered your comment on her own blog. I can't understand why you felt the need to repeat it on Dan's blog.

The Borg said...

DJP:

So they'd do their best to ruin her excellent and Biblical observation by mushing everything together into a shapeless mess?

Dude, I like your style.

And your content.

Taz said...

"I believe that a man feels most loved when he knows that he is respected."

Words of wisdom, that. But I have a question: as a person who has recently traded up his singleness for a beautiful girl, how can I in the same way demonstrate my love for her? Is it the sacrifice of myself for her?

David Castor said...

Me: I'm simply astounded that you would rail so heavily against my suggestion that women are entitled to respect as well as men within the marriage relationship

DJP: Quote the part where I do that.

I say two things in my first post:

(1) Egalitarians would affirm that wives should respect their husbands; and

(2) Mutual respect between wives and husbands makes for a healthy marriage.

Now I can't really see how (1) would provoke your outburst, unless the term "egalitarian" operates as a hypnotic trigger sending you into hysterics.

Assuming that this is the case, I take it that your strong objection is to (2), but I don't really see on what reasonable basis you could make a principled objection. Perhaps you could clarify upon the basis of your objection to my comments?

DJP said...

David

You seem to be in non-responsive broken-record mode. I see now that my first two responses were actually adequate.

If you're unaware of what the Bible teaches, that's one thing. If you want to peddle a hostile viewpoint (i.e. egalitarianism), go somewhere else.

Plain enough?

BugBlaster said...

DJP: So you feel, Buggy, that if you do the right thing, others will always also do the same?

Nope, not what I meant or said.

And you feel that if others do what is wrong, the cause can be traced to you?

Without absolving others of their own responsibility for their own actions, and attempting to pay attention to the log in my own eye, the answer is a very solid sometimes.

I assumed (very possibly wrongly) that there was some meat in those women's complaints about their husbands.

It is up to me to do the right thing, no matter what others previously or subsequently do.

I shouldn't be a cause for others to stumble.

I the husband should endeavour to ensure that if my spouse is complaining about me, that her complaint is not justified, irrespective of whether she herself is sinning in the manner and means of complaining.

Capiche?

David Castor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David Castor said...

DJP,

It would seem that it is you who is not responding to my question. I asked you what is so objectionable about the statements I made in my original post - I think that it is a reasonable question which deserves a reasonable answer, given your rather hostile response.

Libbie said...

Buggy.. it was entirely right for you to exhort men to be good, faithful biblical husbands. I am glad you said it, because it bears saying again and again.

I am equally glad that wives are exhorted to be good, faithful, biblical wives by many here. Too often, the response to such a suggestion is by saying 'yes, but men have to etc.'

As you say, we are each responsible to be faithful to the call we have. It is certainly my husbands responsibility to be worthy of my respect, and I think he so is. But it would still be my responsibility to respect, even if it was very difficult indeed.

Libbie said...

That is, respect him. Not doing too well today with blogger comments...

Lorie said...

Hmmm...interesting that this has kind of taken on a life of its own...

It must be hard to treat your husband like you respect him if he doesn't act in a manner that attracts respect. I know that I have presented my wife with this challenge many times.
The author of the book I mentioned, "For Women Only", actually addresses this by suggesting that we have it wrong when we talk about "unconditional love" and "conditional respect". As women, we should practice "unconditional respect" with our husbands. Of course this doesn't mean taking any crap he chooses to dish out, but it does mean respecting him in the same way we say we love him---in SPITE of when he doesn't "deserve" it. NONE of us deserves love and respect, but we are commanded to extend it, regardless. Thinking in terms of unconditional respect, as well as unconditional love, is revolutionary.

And, I must say, I think everyone has been WAY too harsh with Michelle. I read her original post on Christine's blog and I feel that she picked up on some of the same concerns I did (which I also addressed there). It's not about what was SAID, or even the theological/biblical soundness of it, it's about the attitude of our hearts. I'm reminded of that passage that says "Not many of you should desire to be teachers..." because there is a HUGE responsibility to remain humble and gracious in our hearts if we are going to presume to teach/lead/instruct people in godliness. And I do think that there was a certain attitude that came out in how Christine said she felt about those women. Of COURSE we all experience that frustration as well, and have to recognize and fight against it---and there is certainly a tension in living out bold love and accountability for sin and extending grace---but I think (and correct me if I'm wrong) that THIS is the issue Michelle was trying to address, and that has gotten lost in all of this.

DJP said...

Actually,Buggy, you did say that.

You said But... it's an indictment on the husbands that their spouses don't respect them.

An indictment is "charge, accusation, serious criticism, or cause for blame."

So, you blame the husbands for their wives' sin.

When I see people sinning, I tend to focus on them and their sin, not on asking myself who made them sin. That's why I'd never make a good liberal, if that's not an oxymoron (which it is).

These wives reportedly were tearing down their husbands. That was wrong. Next subject?

It seems to me in what I've constantly read and heard that marriage is the one place left where we forget what we should know from the rest of the Bible. One very popular author starts a book saying that, if something's wrong with a family, he always looks to see where the husband screwed up. Neat, and stupid, in equal measures.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard the formula, "If the wife is [insert sin here], the husband must be [insert sin or idiocy here]." Not only is there no Biblical grounds for that, but the Bible is very much against it. People who would never dream of saying, "Gee, Bob cheated on Gina; wonder where she messed up?", have no problems saying, "Gina's always angry and depressed and badmouthing Bob; wonder how he's failed her as a husband?"

My sin is my sin. A wife's sin is her sin. That's why I'm commanded to love my wife, period -- and I can't offhand think of a verse that explains how it is my wife's fault if I don't love her. Can you?

Ditto wifely respect.

So if that's what you're saying, me too, and we're agreed. If not, boy are we not agreed.

BugBlaster said...

Hmmm. Not sure how to respond. I suspect we agree, but not sure.

I should have said "...potentially an indictment on their husbands..."

I did not say anything like your paraphrase of me: "if I do the right thing, others will always also do the same"

1) It was reported to us that these husbands were not acting like a good husband should.

2) It was reported to us these wives were not speaking of their husbands like a good wife should.

I was speaking only to #1. I wasn't discounting the wives' message merely because of the sin involved in the telling.

My wife is responsible for her own sin. No argument. If she doesn't treat her husband properly, it is her sin, no matter how much of an idiot her husband is.

I am responsible for my own sin. As the husband, I think it is sin for me to act in a way or say things that may cause my wife to stumble and sin herself.

My point extends to all of this and extends no further than this, and if anything I wrote previously is inconsistent with this, then I repent and abrogate my previous drivel.

So what do you think? Do we agree?

candyinsierras said...

Well. The comments are fine until it hits home. My daughter informed me today that she and her husband have been separated all summer and just putting on an act like they are together so that they don't hear what they need to do to stay together. I had sent her the article in question...but how to approach an issue when two people are hard hearted, both rebellious and both selfish. They have four children. I am sure it will be easy for them to blame their parents who went through divorces, and the parents will sorta in our minds blame one or the other of them for their sins and bad choices. But hey....right now....it just hurts.

CraigS said...

Really sorry to hear that. Prayed for you.

DJP said...

Buggy -- you propose "potentially an indictment" as an improvement. Then you say this:

1) It was reported to us that these husbands were not acting like a good husband should.

Where? Did I miss that? I went back and re-read the article to see where that was "reported," and if it's there, I missed it. (I'm not being sarcastic; I do miss things.)

Here's what was reported: I began to squirm at the blatant disdain most of the women felt towards their husbands. They were failures as husbands, fathers, and men. I clenched my fists

So, let me ask something. When you hear a man start tearing his wife down, showing disdain for her, deriding her -- do you immediately think, "Gosh, what a ____ she must be? That poor man!"?

I bet you don't, decent guy that you are.

No, you probably think what I think: "Gosh, what a jerk this guy is! That poor woman!"

So why does it flip, when it's women griping?

I say don't play God, deal with what you know. Are the women sinning? At the moment, that's all we're talking about. Because otherwise, we get right back to where I started with you: whom to blame, other than the sinner.

Assuming the accuracy of Christine's reporting, these women sinned. Period.

So do I think guys should be jerks? What do you think? It isn't what we're talking about, and I think it actually weakens Christine's excellent, precisely-aimed, Biblical comment to start "Yeah-but"ing about what idiots we guys can be -- as surely as Jello-brained egalitarianism.

If I read you right, we're in agreement everywhere except your apparent assumption that these guys were doing anything wrong. Because I'm sure you know what all Biblical Christians like you know: it does not take two to sin.

(Rant over.)

DJP said...

Oh, Candy, I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say in a public forum like this, except that I'm sorry and, like Craig, will pray for you and them.

BugBlaster said...

Dang! I surrender.

Praying for you and your family now, Candy.

DJP said...

All right, Buggy, I'll put down my squirt gun.

(c;

Michelle Pendergrass said...

Thank you Lorie. I was hesitant to come back to this hostile environment, but I'm glad I did. It's nice to know someone read what I wrote in the context that I meant it.

ckhnat said...

see ... i agree with you and Lorie ... but going back and reading it through I'm not sure where the attitude and position of my heart were out of line ... my heart was broken for these women ... i fear that you are under the impression that at the time (and even now) that I felt hostile towards these women.

i don't write this to continue a debate but i have sincerely been struggling with the issues you brought up ... examining my own heart and intent ... if I am in the wrong please help me.

Michelle Pendergrass said...

I just got your email Christine. Thank you. I will email you back by Monday afternoon.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Great thoughts here, Dan.

DJP said...

Christine -- whatever self-searching you feel appropriate aside, don't lose this focus, please:

1. What you said was true
2. What you said was necessary
3. What you said was unpopular
4. What you said will irk guilty consciences
5. Leaps beyond what you said, to judge you for what you may have felt, are out of bounds.

You may have been surprised that what strikes you as such Biblical common-sense was so rankling to others, at that meeting and since. Don't get straightjacketed by over-introspection, caused by anyone who seems to set aside your point in favor of challenging your heart.

Oldest trick in the book is the Blame the Messenger game. If the preacher's sermon is convicting about a personal sin -- hey, how can I respect someone who wears a tie like that? And besides, I don't think his tone was loving when he said it! (Look! I don't actually have to think about the sermon anymore! Yayy!)

4given said...

EXACTLY DJP.

Christine... I loved your article. It was dead-on.

DJP wrote: Oldest trick in the book is the Blame the Messenger game. If the preacher's sermon is convicting about a personal sin -- hey, how can I respect someone who wears a tie like that? And besides, I don't think his tone was loving when he said it! (Look! I don't actually have to think about the sermon anymore! Yayy!)

sadly amen. I have gotten e-mails from people in which the only thing they focused on in my post was the fact that I misspelled a word. :-)

I ran into my pastor and his wife at the dentist. Mind you, my pastor had been there for hours with his jaw wide open and when I saw him and his wife, I said "hello." She said hello and gave me a hug. He grunted... so I found this to be a fun opportunity to say, "I m so hurt right now by the fact that you did not say hello to me. I do not know if I can get over this. I may need counseling." as I turned to his wife, she and the dentist burst out laughing.

Anywho, all that to say, people look for excuses all the time not to face the Truth. We are blameshifters by nature. And the name calling game is all apart of that.

Will the fact that my pastor did not say hello to me at the dentist's office because his mouth was propped open and full of gloved dentist fingers and sharp instruments really affect me? No. But there are people out there that would have been devastated and would have left the church because they were not considering the context.

Lorie said...

I totally disagree. 1 Corinthians 13 is very clear that, while we may speak in the most beautiful language (or all the truth in the world) or have faith that can move mountains, etc., that counts for nothing if I have not love. And so the attitude of our heart is MORE important than the words we speak, even if it is truth.

DJP said...

So, Lorie, do you find 1 Corinthians 13 "very clear that" Paul's point is that we judge others as to how loving we think they are?

Or is his point to judge ourselves, as to how loving we are?

And as to others, should we bypass their convicting words in search of judging their heart, in spite of the fact that Paul says in that very letter that we can't know their heart (2:11), and in spite of the fact that he tells us to give others the benefit of the doubt rather than the doubt of the benefit (13:7)?

I reaffirm my previous comment. The situation we're discussing isn't really that complex, Biblically understood.