Sunday, May 1, 2011

Anne Bradstreet

I'm prepping up to moderate a book group this summer reading Anne Bradstreet's work. I've enjoyed the remembrance of reading "On the Burning of My House" in high school. I have been heartily enjoying reading, "Anne Bradstreet: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Puritan Poet" edited by Heidi L. Nichols in prep for this group. Here is just one nugget of timely (in all times) wisdom from her book of maxims:

"We see in orchards some trees so fruitful, that the weight of their burden is the breaking of their limbs; some again are but meanly loaden; and some have nothing to shew but leaves only; and some among them are dry stocks: so is it in the Church, which is God's orchard, there are some eminent Christians that are so frequent in good duties, that many time the weight thereof impairs both their bodies and estates; and there are some (and they sincere ones too) who have not attained to that fruitfulness, although they aim at perfection: And again there are others that have nothing to commend them but only a gay proffession, and these are but leavie christians, which are in as much danger of being cut down as the dry stock, for both cumber the ground."

God save us all from being but "leavie Christians" rather than true, fruitful stock.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Standing up for submission

I was recently reflecting on a conversation with a dear friend. The sweet lady is, to put it mildly, a woman with a full life. She has a husband, three girls, a home that is often used for hospitality, she leads a ladies' Bible study, sits on several committees, and works to disciple younger ladies. On top of all this, she is a world-class nurse who has, since she became a mother, kept up her certification and still puts in a few shifts and teaching stints a month.

In the midst of all this, her husband asked her to homeschool their children. Homeschooling had never really been her personal plan or preference, and she didn't have much "spare" time to begin with. Still, this was her husband's desire for her and for her children, so she submitted, and began to make plans and preparations to embark on this grand task. Naturally, people wanted to know why. Soon friends, family, the teachers and parents at her oldest daughter's school were curious why a seemingly reasonable and busy woman would pull her daughter from a public school and take over her education. At first, while she was still wrestling her heart into a joyful submission, she recited all the excellent and sound reasons her husband had laid out before her.

However, as she worked to bring her heart in line with that of her husband's, she realized that reasons, good though they were, were not the reason why she was homeschooling her husband. She was doing it because it was what her husband, her head, had asked of her. She was convicted to speak the truth, to say what would surely seem like looniness added to eccentricity when people asked her why. Certainly, one would hope that the conversation would go like this:

"What made you decide to homeschool?"
"My husband thinks it is best for our family and I am submitting to him."
"That is wonderful! Why does your husband think this is the best course for your family?"

She could then expound on the well-thought out points he had laid before her, leading to a stimulating and respectful conversation. In her heart, though, she knows that the conversation is more likely to go like this:

"What made you decide to homeschool?"
"My husband thinks it is best for our family and I am submitting to him."
"Are you crazy? You are so busy! Don't you realize that you will have to give up all your free time and probably even your job to do this? What kind of husband would make you do that? Why don't you stand up for yourself? Just because he says so, doesn't mean you have to do it. Haven't you ever heard of the feminist movement?"

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior." - Ephesians 5:22-23

There is nothing popular or pretty about the idea of wifely submission in our culture. The very idea that a woman would sacrifice her own desires, plans, goals, and energy in favor of her husband's will evokes images of victimization. The submissive woman must, by her very nature, be one who is worn down, passive, full of suppressed, sublimated fury and despair. Real women make up their own minds. They pursue their own dreams. They are doing it, whatever it may be, for themselves. As women of God's word, we are, for the most part, happy to pooh-pooh feminism and reclaim godly submission as a model of feminine strength, not suffering. Of course, we mostly desire to do this in our own circles when our efforts are met with encouragement, smiles, and nodded heads.

The question becomes, then, are we willing to stand up for submission before the world. Are we willing to boldly state with our lives AND our words that we are submitting to our husbands to the glory of God and the sanctification of our hearts? When we are asked, "Why are you doing that," will our response be first that we are submitting to our husbands and second the sensible reasons why?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Table

We had a delightful Easter dinner this year with 10 grown-ups and 6 kiddos. It was loud, a bit crowded, a little eventful, but all-around wonderful.
Here is a picture of our Easter table- inspired by the care and love that the sweet ladies at Femina Blog take in putting up their Easter table!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So sad...

It think this article is endlessly sad in its detailing of a growing trend of women who are turning to abortions because of the "economic crisis."

As an antidote, I offer this blog post.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Brain damage

I think something is wrong with my brain. I cannot believe that I actually just purchased this book. I am sure it will be just awful. My only defense is that I nearly fell over laughing just from reading the first few lines.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Green is the new god

Well, here begins my first Blogger post. Hold your breath, we're diving right in.

Thanks to my husband, I have been thinking lately about what morality looks like without God, without Christ, without the Church. Mostly it looks like the Social Responsibility commercial that has been playing nonstop lately. Joe Floppyhair picks up a child's toy and returns it to him; this action kicks off a chain of consideration that results in an act of kindness for the originator, Mr. Floppyhair. It is the doctrine of pay it forward. Enlightened self-interest.

This is the best that atheism has to offer us.

The latest incarnation of godless morality, and my new pet peeve, is Greenism. DISCLAIMER: I believe that God created the earth for man, that we might have dominion over it and care for it. I am all in favor of sensible use of resources, replenishing what we take, and avoiding wanton destruction. That having been said, it sickens me that a very commonsense movement has become a driving consumer force.

Think about it...
Clothing store are schlepping whole lines of t-shirts that proclaim the wearer's Greenliness; t-shirts that will move to the back of the closet when a new fad hits and into the landfills two more fads later.

Companies are doing everything in their power to prove to the consumer how green they are or have become. They tell us, "Don't buy fewer products, buy more products because they are greener products." The whole repackaging, remarketing makeover is to convince you to spend your money on their product, not to help Mother Earth.

A whole subset of evangelical Christianity cares more about Bibles made from post-consumer material than the slaughter of our unborn children.

Disney/Pixar's 2008 yearly blockbuster was a fable about the dangers of consumer waste and the glories of recycling. Poor Wall*E has become the lone inhabitant of a garbage-ridden planet. How did they market this movie? Why, with an armada of cheaply produced, garbage-destined, chochke tie-ins, of course. Indeed, it is nearly impossible to find a children's cartoon today that doesn't have at least one episode devoted to saving the earth! It makes me miss the days Captain Planet; sure, it was propaganda, but it never claimed to be otherwise.

Ultimately, the marketing campaign is working flawlessly. Why? Because a nation with no moral compass, no divinely instituted standard is spiritually adrift. We love the amorphous, fuzzy feeling of doing good and the social approval "doing the right thing." Thus, for us, greenliness is next to godliness. We seek to do what is right in society's eyes, to plaster over the depravity of our own hearts with a fine veneer of self-made righteousness. And we all know what Scripture has to say about that...