Say it out loud quickly. This weekend I drafted a nine post series on 1st Timothy 2:12-15. Now say it again. Owa Tafoo Lameye. Unless... maybe I can show all my personal cards before I get into the business. Be gentle with me. Here goes...
On paper, I'm probably somewhere between a 'comp' and an 'egal'. I'm not really sure. I was raised with traditional ideas of husbandry and responsibility, but in real life, I'm a pragmatic egalitarian. To me, it's real simple - both in church and in marriage. If a sister in Christ wants to and can do something that helps in the body, or in the family, we absolutely should want her to do it, especially if she does it well! (I feel the same way about brothers. We shouldn't generalize. We should specialize. Most of all, we should all get our exercise!)
Our Texas house church ('03-'06) was mostly (at the time, unfortunately) passive males letting women do all the work, but our Georgia house church ('96-'03) had a strong sisterhood whose veto power and leadership efforts made their regular and substantial contributions absolutely vital to the spiritual lifeblood of the church. (The Georgia brothers were no slouches. The Texas guys may be a bit better now, from what I hear.) In any place, personally, I would just as soon cut myself off from half of Christ as expect half the church to not function. Again, it's real simple. In theory, I just couldn't be anti-clergy and also be anti-equality. In practice, I was thrilled with the positive benefits. (Not that anyone's perfect. Of course.)
I didn't have the privilege of growing up with biological sisters, but then I was blessed with the wonderful grace to encounter the Lord's feminine side in Atlanta. The only time we brothers in that church ever heard the word "submit" was when our founder said (if you get what he meant) that he'd never read those verses, himself. After all, he was a man. Since those verses were written to women, he figured they weren't written to him. Therefore, it wasn't his place to explain them, whatever they meant!
I thought that was simply brilliant, and honest, and true.
Some man might quickly say it's irresponsible to avoid forming an opinion on those verses of scripture. No. Not if we trust our sisters in Christ, and not if we trust Christ in our sisters. Whatever application of those verses may or may not be appropriate, that ought to be purely between Christian women and their Lord. I say again, we men have enough of a burden attempting to live up to Paul's injunctions on us. Read Ephesians again, O man. Do you still disagree? Well, Mister Splinter, meet Mister Log.
Personally, I figure I've got no right to fuss at women who don't "submit" until I can live up to Paul's exhortation that husbands love their wives as much as Christ loved the church. Those who know me can testify this has not happened yet.
Since I've not yet fully laid down my life --- not to mention because of the fact that my wife has already been so incredibly, exceedingly merciful in caring for me, despite all my failures and flaws, and because she's been wonderful in more ways than I could ever have asked for --- and thus for far more than merely principled reasons, I can't even begin to judge my wife or any other female believer on whether or not she "submits" properly. Whatever that means.
And that's all I've got to say about that!
Now, then. Having said that.
If you'd like to see me explore some unique thoughts about what Paul might have been thinking in 1st Timothy chapter 2, come on back tomorrow. At that time, my interests will aim just about where they usually do: Christ (in the church). Story. Historical Context. Mathematics.
"What, Math?" you inquire. "Yes, Math." I say hopefully. The seven-day, seven-part series will be called "Gender and Number in 1st Timothy 2". Two more posts after that will explore things again through the lens of my own Pauline Chronology.
That makes nine posts in all. (Drafted, of course. I'm sure to re-edit and tweak, so feel free to comment daily.) I certainly won't swear that any of my ideas on this passage are rock solid, or that my arguments will build anything like total proof, but I do think these posts are worthwhile enough to seek feedback about. Isn't that why we blog?
Stick around. Set me straight. Should be fun.
Owa Tafoo Lameye. ;-)