Monthly Archives: January 2015

Stuff I teach my kids: Lines of Authority

Just one of those things… I guess I thought everyone did something like this, but I’m trying to remember that not everyone is me.

My husband is out of the house on the order of 12-14 hours, 5 days/wk.   We are -shock- not the same people, and we don’t have the same priorities.  So.  I run the house and the kids… but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to come in and “break” one of my rules.  This is how I deal.  This is how I have always dealt, and this is how we don’t have a big fuss about this in my house.  Again, I thought everyone did something like this, but apparently other people like confusion and discord.  Those things give me a headache, both literally and figuratively.

“Mommy is the boss of you (speaking to the kids).  Daddy is the boss of Mommy.  Therefore, whatever Daddy says, goes.”

So if something wasn’t allowed (or was) on Monday, and on Tuesday, after Daddy has made his feelings known, it is either now allowed or not allowed – that’s what I say.  This is how I keep the rules clear for the kids – nothing more confusing than rules that change – and how I teach them about authority.   It’s also a good example of obedience.

Oh, and it makes my life a lot simpler.

*Don’t be dorks.  If there is some factor, some information that my husband doesn’t know about and is relevant, I tell him.  I’m not a fluffball, there are usually reasons behind the ways I set things up.  But we do that privately!  And then he still makes the final decision, by which I abide.

I am not a man

I am a woman.  I am not superior to a man, nor am I a poor copy.  I’m something different.

So much of the war between the sexes seems predicated on the idea (frequently subconscious) that one sex or the other is inherently superior, that the way they go about doing things is better, that we should emulate this way-of-being.  (Insert your own examples – I don’t want to rabbit-trail).

And then we start divvying up lists of virtues and assigning sexes to them… strength is male, kindness is female.  Bravery is male, gentleness is female.  And then, having divvied them up, you get to start arguing about which list is better than the other list.  Better yet, you get to say, “but we are TOO …, see ’cause we do …” -rolls eyes-

Could we please stop?

The list of virtues in the Bible is for both men and women.  We manifest those virtues differently.  A woman’s bravery doesn’t look like a man’s – that makes her no less brave.  A man’s kindness doesn’t look like a woman’s – this makes him no less kind.  When we start playing this game, we’re playing into the enemy’s hands.   We end up singing pride or self-hate.  We aren’t building each other up in the faith, that’s for sure!

Our world is confused and full of untruths.  Stand up and be who God made you.  If God made you a man, be the best man you can be.  Don’t try to fake being something you aren’t.  If God made you a woman, don’t try to be someone you aren’t.  As my friend TxB was fond of saying, “Keep your eyes on your own paper”.

We want to remind people what women and men really are?  Well, best start living it unapologetically.  I like men, I appreciate them.  I don’t want to be a man.  If I tried, I’d be sure of failure.  I’m a woman… I can at least *try* to be a good woman.  I can give my all to being a good wife, a good mother, a good friend.  I can look up the verses in the Bible especially about women, and strive after those things.  I don’t think I’m a shining example of a woman of God… but unfortunately enough of the lights in this world are out that my poor little light is shining whether I feel worthy or not.

If we want to represent Truth incarnate, the first thing to do is stop beating around the bush about the truth of who *we* are.

I am not a man.  And that’s just fine with me.

Beauty and truth

Horsehead nebula

Natural beauty is one of the ways in which our Lord is revealed.

While the saying, “Truth is beauty, and beauty, truth” is not Biblical, it is wise.  When our modern world left off looking at beauty, left off admiring it, enjoying it, considering it… we lost some of our reverence for the Creator.

That natural hearts are tugged towards beauty, from the day we are born, is well-known.  The modern considers this naive.  Always we must search out the ugliness beneath, because somehow *that* is what is true.  Beauty becomes confused with falseness, because of the antics of those who choose to whitewash and plasticize all that they see.

Why is this?  I think CS Lewis was more insightful than he realized, because I do believe it is demonic.   Thus, choosing beauty – true beauty – becomes a radical act.

You understand by now that I’m not simply talking about a pretty face or a nice dress, as much as I write about those things elsewhere.  I speak also of a lovely garden, the soft sounds of a brook over stones, the sight of animals running in the distance, the majesty of a storm over the sea.  I speak of art – paintings or music or dance – that reminds us of those things, that evokes awe and reverence.

Living a life without access to nature, without access to true beauty, stunts our ability to worship.  It causes our innate wonder to atrophy and dissolve.

I believe that creation of beauty is a revolutionary act, and that spending as much time as possible gazing at and participating in beauty can only draw our hearts closer to our Creator.

Piety vs. Propriety

Piety and propriety hang about together so much that they’re often confused for one another – but they are not the same, and while piety can produce propriety, the reverse is rarely true.

The pious person, because of their relationship with the Holy Spirit, lives in such a state that none can put a law against them.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”  

As an example, society’s rules about modesty of dress change – but a modest person does not dress with the intent to attract notice, and thus is always modest.  The inside state reflects itself in the outer man.  Piety thus produces propriety.

But propriety, as much as we would like it to, does not produce piety.

Matthew 23:25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Propriety, serving only itself, turns quickly to hypocrisy.  For propriety is the *outward* manifestation of correct behavior.  And if only your outside is correct, you’ll soon find yourself indulging in what your heart desires, so long as no one can see.   The solution is to clean the inside of the cup, not the outside.  And only our Lord can do that – only our Lord can entirely change its contents.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

Christians have oft been accused of hypocrisy – and especially now that social propriety has begun its divorce from piety.  The World is on the one hand waiting for us to get with the program and go along to get along, and on the other declares that we have no authority over them, that our piety is meaningless to them, and that our propriety does not come from the heart.  If only that was not true – but it is.  I’ve long wondered about the point of expecting someone whose heart doesn’t belong to Christ to act like a Christian.  We listen to sermon after sermon telling us that Christian conduct depends on the presence of Christ in our hearts, the strength of the Holy Spirit in our lives… why are we surprised that our Worldly friends are tired of being asked to live up to a standard that they didn’t agree to?

Certainly all of God’s laws are good.  And could we all live up to them – if we could only all live up to the 10 commandments – then we would have a substantially more peaceful and pleasant planet to live in.  Being human, we see this life… but I do not believe that our Lord bled and died so that people could live nice lives bereft of Him.  “Would that thou wert either cold or hot…”  We humans are tempted to believe that a lukewarm heart could be warmed… but our Lord *transforms* the heart, He doesn’t slowly warm it like a coddled egg.  And He leaves us in no uncertainty about how He feels about the tepid.

Revelation 3:15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,

Human as I am, I too mourn the black horror of what this world is, has always been, and what the Western world is rapidly becoming.  Propriety, divorced from piety, is a fragile shell without meaning.  But this gives us opportunity.  For it is in the darkest night that even a tiny candle can be seen.  And so – let us not mourn, but rejoice.  In all things, rejoice.

We are called to a life of piety.  And what He has asked us to do, He will make us able to perform.  May it be so.