Friday, October 31, 2008

Never a Dull Moment

Ray and I had great fun getting our marriage license this week. It became even more memorable than we were expecting when a complete stranger insisted on paying for it! Before we knew what was happening, the rather strange man behind us in line was giving us his business card, telling us about some movie called Pass It On, wishing us good luck, and declaring quite loudly that he most certainly was going to pay for our marriage license!

As Ray said, "If God wants to use peculiar means of blessing us, who are we to stand in the way?"

The stranger gave us a bit of parting advice: "Find a good church and be sure you talk to each other!" (We're doing well so far!)

And so, we went on our way, with a marriage license and a good story.

By the way, the other part of the marriage license story is that I left the house with strict instructions from my mother to "go get the license, then come right back home again!" Apparently, we have mentioned eloping a little too often. (Only three more weeks to resist the temptation to elope!)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Election Poll

I'm guessing that the readership of our blog doesn't exactly reflect the American public at large, so I thought it would be interesting to find out who our readers are voting for in the presidential election and compare it to the actual election results.

So, go ahead and vote in the poll on our sidebar! If you're too young to vote, feel free to participate and mark who you would vote for if you could.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Voted for Chuck Baldwin Today...

...just in case anyone wondered who I had decided on. It was very neat to actually be able to participate in our nation's election process!

Fall Campout

We all had a wonderful time on our fall campout last weekend, which we held at Rocky Creek Park on Lake Somerville.

We set up camp... went down to the shore to go wading (The lake was one of the nicest bodies of water we've seen in Texas. You could actually see the bottom!)...

dug channels on the beach...
watched the para-gliders down the shore...
greatly enjoyed the two kayaks, which one of the other families generously shared around...
watched the deer (I'd never seen so many in one place before)... and the sunrise.
We went hiking on Saturday morning...

discovered this hollow stump... played Frisbee...
roasted marshmallows...

played volleyball with a make-shift net...
rested and visited...

sang around the campfire...
and enjoyed a time of worship and sharing Sunday morning.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October Newsletter

From Laura, 9 … Lately, I have been very busy with schoolwork. I’m hardly finding time to do a few projects that I’ve been interested in. Most of them are knitting, reading, writing letters, and making a quilt. This is how you make it: In the kit there’s a cloth with squares on it that say things like, “This is me,” “This is my family,” and, “This is my world.” You’re supposed to color them following what they say. Once you’ve done that, you sew a blue cloth onto the back of it and it’s done!

Right now, the new house isn’t very pretty, but hopefully it’ll improve by the time we move in! The more we go over there to work, the less I am able to do. Usually, there are a few little jobs here and there, but the others are starting the painting, which I am not able to do.

From Becca, 12 … I am having a great time helping fix up our house. I painted baseboards and that was a lot of fun. I’ve never painted before and I found that it is harder than I thought. Before, I didn’t understand what was the big deal about painting, but I found that you have to make sure it is even, and make sure there are no thin spots, no lines, and no drips. I “un-textured” walls. That means scraping all the little bumps off the wall. It was about as fun as painting, but I didn’t have to be nearly as careful as I did when I was painting. I could just run the scraper all over the wall really fast and all the little blue bumps would fall all over me like rain. I worked on picking off all the little bits of carpet pad from the stairs. It was a little bit of fun. I did some demolishing of walls and a lot of sweeping too.

From Seth, 15 … Lately, it seems like I have been very busy. Right now we are working at our new house two days a week, and every Thursday night we attend a small group through our church. In addition to that I have all my school work. Also, I just got another lawn job, so now I am mowing two of my neighbor’s lawns. Added to everything above, we also do things like have people over for dinner, go on camping trips, help with conferences our church hosts, go to the orthodontist, etc, etc. At least I don’t have to worry about being idle! Also, I think that being very busy helps develop diligence, discipline, and good dominion over your time.

From Anna, 18 … I’ve been asked a few times lately what I’m doing now that I’ve graduated. This question is a bit difficult to answer, since I don’t do any one thing full-time, so I don’t have one easy answer, but I thought I’d try to give you all a snapshot of my life right now. First of all, I am still working through physics and 12th grade English. I had started both of those later in my senior year, and then had so much else going on that last semester that I didn’t actually finish those up before I graduated. I guess they qualify as post-high school studies now, but, in any case, I’m trying to chip away at those as often as I can.

I’m also helping quite a bit with family projects. I’ve helped with the work on our new house, and I took care of a lot of the preparations for doing the check-in at a conference that our church hosted earlier this month. I also do some of the cooking and house cleaning, and I make our family grocery list each week. I oversee our family’s sharing table ministry and the church name badges. I try to update this blog regularly. I keep up my music (piano, fiddle, and hammered dulcimer) and my Spanish (which enables me to translate the letters from the Mexican pastor we support and help the younger ones with their Spanish). I babysit our neighbor’s two children one morning each week, and I teach Laura piano lessons. I also participate in all our family’s activities, such as church, small groups, nursing home ministry, and hospitality. Then there are one-time family projects that come up, such as something to research, making some additions to our copy of the church directory, or helping address wedding invitations.

In the midst of all this, I try to stay caught up with personal correspondence and projects, and sneak in some reading time whenever I can!

So, I manage to stay very busy—sometimes so busy that I feel like I’m fighting just to keep on top of the essentials! Despite sometimes feeling a bit overwhelmed, I wouldn’t trade any of it. I love being a stay-at-home daughter, and I’m so grateful that God has given me the abilities that He has, and the opportunities to use them.

From John, 24 … A couple of weeks ago, out church hosted our 2nd annual Family-Integrated Church Conference. The conference served two main purposes. The first was both to educate attendees about the biblical reasons for taking a family-centered approach to evangelism and discipleship and also to give practical advice regarding the details of how a family-integrated church works. The second purpose was to provide an opportunity for attendees to network and fellowship with likeminded believers. The conference was a great encouragement to many of the people who came from around the country, but it was also a blessing to the members of our church to see the many ways God is working in people’s lives.

From Katie, 26 … Twenty-eight hours until I see Ray again... four more days at my job... three more Sundays at church as an unmarried woman... 26 days until my wedding. So many countdowns! As I close one chapter of my life and begin another, I'm thankful for all that the Lord is teaching me, and for the countless blessings he is pouring upon me. The family camping trip this past weekend was a very special time for Ray and me, as it pointed out all that the Lord has done in our lives this year. It was at the campout last April that we really got to know each other and saw the potential for being a good match. Now, we're only a few weeks away from our wedding! The plans are continuing to fall into place. In some ways, it feels like the wedding will never get here, but in other ways, the time seems to be flying by. We are looking forward to our marriage with great excitement, but also striving to savor this special time now. Thank you to all of you who are praying for us!

From Judith …
I wrote about mosquitoes last month. Well, I’m pleased to announce that it appears to have been a temporary population increase! We’re back to normal in terms of what one would expect here at this time of the year. By the way, Houston is gradually recovering from Hurricane Ike. There are lots of new signs and fences popping up everywhere, but many yet to be replaced.

It’s interesting how different life can be one month from another, one year from another, and so on. Sometimes we’re just rolling along with not many hiccups in the routine. Then we head into a season of many changes. Right now, it’s all about happy and thrilling times! It’s a joy to look forward to the emergence of a new family devoted to the Lord, namely Ray and Katie next month. It’s also very exciting to be restoring an old house and thinking about how the Lord will use it. We see it as a great fit for us personally, but also, particularly because of the apartment it includes, as facilitating service to others.

Gerald is taking Wednesdays off, so, along with Saturdays, that means two workdays over there each week. John helps when he can. The rest of us, who are mostly unskilled laborers, join him for varying amounts of time on the workdays to do whatever we can. This project has come at a good time in Seth’s life. He is gaining useful knowledge, skills, and experience in this process. (That is happening with the others also to one extent or another.) Be sure to check back here for updates on the house project.

From Gerald … We went camping last weekend with a group of friends. It was good to get away for a couple of days, to relax and enjoy the company of others. It is too easy to stay so busy with our projects that we don’t take time out. It is important to keep a balance in our lives. I tend to be very focused on what I do, so it is especially important for me to look up from time to time and see what else is happening around me.

Our Love, Gerald, Judith, Katie, John, Anna, Seth, Becca, and Laura

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why I Don't Attend Showers

There is a tradition in our culture upon which Gerald and I have taken a pretty hard line. It regards gift showers. I don’t attend gift showers because of the heavy obligation it places on the invited guests. We have known of women who didn’t attend a shower because they couldn’t afford a gift or were self-conscious about their gift being substandard and having everyone see it during the gift-opening time. Other women have quietly confessed they didn’t really want to go, but felt obligated. This is all quite distasteful, to me especially, but Gerald agrees with my position also. We sincerely believe that, if someone really wants to give a gift, he or she will do it, shower or not. It’s also sad that showers almost never include the men and boys of the families.

Celebrating these joyous events with the passing along of wisdom and blessings can certainly be achieved in myriad ways, though, in reality, an event is not required in order for people to express their hearts to the newly married couple or the parents of a newborn baby.

Here’s the difficult part of this choice. As our children approach their weddings and births, there will be those who will want to give them showers. They are free to accept, but they will have to understand that Gerald and I, along with our minor children will not attend. Our only hope is that, if they do accept showers, they will be able to respectfully explain our reasons for not being present. We’ll be sorry to put them in this very awkward position, but our only other choice is to compromise our resolve in this matter, resulting in inconsistency. It’s a matter of principle for us. For our part, we will simply challenge our adult children to carefully think through what the purpose of showers is and whether or not there are alternative ways of achieving those purposes without the heavy gift obligation or female-only environment.

Perhaps we just need to be a bit more creative.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Remodeling a House Is Very Educational

I've been tagged by Mica, so here are six things I've learned while working at our new house:

1. How to take out carpet.

2. How to rip sheet rock off of the walls.

3. How to mix up cement.

4. How to patch small holes in the sheet rock.

5. How to destroy cabinets.

6. The fact that studs are very important, since, if they're rotten, your second floor will be saggy. (Okay, I already knew that, but I have now seen first-hand the rotten studs with saggy floor, so hopefully it counts!)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Operation House-to-Home: Walls

We decided to take out a wall between what was formerly a formal living room and dining room, to make one large dining room. This wall happened to be load-bearing, so we had to build a beam across the room before taking out the old studs. Once that was done, out they came! It was definitely easier to visualize what our room would look like once it was really one space.
We are very excited that we are ready to start painting upstairs! It will be so much fun to get things looking presentable and do something that will make such an improvement!

In preparation for that, we patched all the holes in the walls and scraped off some of the excessively heavy texture in two of the bedrooms.
Then it was time for primer!
We had to build this temporary wall in the living room while we replace most of the studs and beams in the external wall. The old studs were so rotten that there was nothing supporting the second floor for about 25 feet!!!!

A Few Thoughts on Beauty

The culture says there can never be too much beauty. It is not necessarily wrong to make ourselves more beautiful if we have the right intentions about it.

The scribes and Pharisees are a good example. According to the gospel of Matthew, they are like “whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Another example is in James where it talks about how, just as a “rich man in the midst of his pursuits fades away,” so people’s beauty also will fade away.

We do not have to make ourselves more beautiful even if it seems like everyone else has. And if God has made us beautiful then we should not brag about it.

Making ourselves beautiful will not take us to heaven. Everything in this life will pass away, including beauty. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Darwin's Bulldog on How the Gospel Stands or Falls with Genesis

I found this portion from an article about Thomas H. Huxley, known as Darwin's bulldog, fascinating. This committed Darwinist recognized that if we deny the literal veracity of Genesis, we have no basis for believing the gospel. You can read the whole article here.

"Huxley, although an unbeliever, was thoroughly familiar with the gospel, and had little time for Christians who compromised their position by supporting the anti-biblical belief of evolutionary naturalism. He wrote:

"‘I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how any one, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures. The very conception of the Messiah, or Christ, is inextricably interwoven with Jewish history; the identification of Jesus of Nazareth with that Messiah rests upon the interpretation of passages of the Hebrew Scriptures which have no evidential value unless they possess the historical character assigned to them. If the covenant with Abraham was not made; if circumcision and sacrifices were not ordained by Jahveh; if the “ten words” were not written by God’s hand on the stone tables; if Abraham is more or less a mythical hero, such as Theseus; the story of the Deluge a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome—what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which is so much less clearly enunciated? And what about the authority of the writers of the books of the New Testament, who, on this theory, have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?’

"Huxley added that ‘the Universality of the Deluge is recognized, not merely as a part of the story, but as a necessary consequence of some of its details.’ And then, concerning the attempts of theologians to say the Flood was only a local event, he wrote, ‘A child may see the folly of it.’

"‘I venture to ask what sort of value, as an illustration of God’s methods of dealing with sin, has an account of an event that never happened? If no flood swept the careless people away, how is the warning of more worth than the cry of ‘Wolf’ when there is no wolf.’

"He continued:

"‘When Jesus spoke, as of a matter of fact, that "the Flood came and destroyed them all," did he believe that the Deluge really took place, or not? It seems to me that, as the narrative mentions Noah’s wife, and his sons’ wives, there is good scriptural warranty for the statement that the antediluvians married and were given in marriage; and I should have thought that their eating and drinking might be assumed by the firmest believer in the literal truth of the story. Moreover, I venture to ask what sort of value, as an illustration of God’s methods of dealing with sin, has an account of an event that never happened? If no Flood swept the careless people away, how is the warning of more worth than the cry of “Wolf” when there is no wolf? If Jonah’s three days’ residence in the whale is not an “admitted reality,” how could it “warrant belief” in the “coming resurrection?” … Suppose that a Conservative orator warns his hearers to beware of great political and social changes, lest they end, as in France, in the domination of a Robespierre; what becomes, not only of his argument, but of his veracity, if he, personally, does not believe that Robespierre existed and did the deeds attributed to him?’

"Concerning Matthew 19:5 (‘Have ye not read, that he which made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the twain shall become one flesh.’), Huxley wrote,
‘If divine authority is not here claimed for the twenty-fourth verse of the second chapter of Genesis, what is the value of language? And again, I ask, if one may play fast and loose with the story of the Fall as a “type” or “allegory,” what becomes of the foundation of Pauline theology?’

"And concerning 1 Corinthians 15:21–22 ('For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.’), Huxley wrote,

"‘If Adam may be held to be no more real a personage than Prometheus, and if the story of the Fall is merely an instructive “type,” comparable to the profound Promethean mythus, what value has Paul’s dialectic?’

"Summing up the position of theologians who compromised the words of the Bible, Huxley observed that ‘the position they have taken up is hopelessly untenable’. "

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why I Believe that Women are Biblically Unqualified for Civil Service, Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

3. It Is Inconsistent to Forbid Women From Church Eldership Yet Allow Them Into Civil Service

A defense of the eldership being limited to men is beyond the scope of this blog post, but, assuming that one agrees with me that women should not be elders/pastors in the church, it is logically inconsistent to allow them into civil service.

Just as there is no verse explicitly saying, “Women shall not be in civil service,” so there is also no verse that says, “Women shall not be elders.” The arguments for male-only elders are generally based on the created order, the fact that the qualifications for church leaders seem to assume that they will be men, the stated role of women, and the fact that women are told to submit to their husbands. These are the same arguments that I use to support male-only civil leaders. If you deny their validity for civil leaders, how can you turn around and use them regarding church leaders?

4. Women Ruling is a Sign of Judgment

In Isaiah 3, we see a description of God’s coming judgment on Judah and Jerusalem and the current state of sin that the people were in:

(Verses 6-7,12,16-17) “For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: ‘You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule’; in that day he will speak out, saying: ‘I will not be a healer; in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people…’ My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths…. The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet, therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.”

Here we see that men refused to lead, women were ruling, and that God was going to punish women for their haughtiness. With some verses in this passage, I’m not entirely sure whether what is being talked about is what the people were being punished for, or if it was the punishment itself. Either way, though, the abdication by men of a leadership role and the rule of women is tied to God’s judgment. Not only that, but in the same passage speaking of women ruling, we see that women were sinfully putting themselves forward and exhibiting haughtiness.

Surely, we don’t want to support or embrace something that is either a cause for God’s judgment or a sign of it!

Which Brings Me to An E-Mail I Received…

“I'm sure you all are hearing both sides [of this issue] as well from Christians. So I wonder if there would be some rare cases that the Lord would call a mom/woman to step into a position [like this].”

Because I believe that a woman is not qualified for a position of civil service, that such a position violates her role as a woman, and is a sign of God’s judgment, I don’t believe God would ever call a woman into that position. He may allow a woman to hold a civil service position in order to work His perfect will in the lives of individuals and nations—just as He has used all sorts of less-than-ideal situations throughout history— but I don’t believe He would call her to it.

So…Who am I Voting For?

So now I come to the other comment on my other post: “Will you be voting for Obama then?”

I believe that there are two assumptions behind this question. One is that because I believe that McCain’s VP pick is not qualified, I will therefore not be voting for him. The other is that there are only two candidates in this race, so if I’m not voting for McCain, I must be voting for Obama.

Regarding the second assumption, I know of at least six candidates in this race: John McCain, Chuck Baldwin, Ralph Nader, Barack Obama, Alan Keyes, and Bob Barr. Now, please don’t sigh condescendingly and say that there are only two real candidates, who could actually win, so why throw away your vote on someone else? For one thing, if everybody stopped saying that, we would no longer be stuck with two entrenched, monopolizing parties which seem to be getting more and more similar all the time. More significantly, though, I don’t believe it’s our job to win elections. I believe that it is our duty as people who are Christians first and American citizens second to vote for the candidate whom we believe to most closely line up with the biblical qualifications. Once we’ve done that, the results of the election are up to God. I truly believe that He is sovereign and can do all His holy will, and I would much rather follow my conscience and leave things in His hands than connive and strategize to try and control things myself.

Now, for the first assumption, which leads to this question: If women are not biblically qualified for civil service, is it always wrong to vote for them? This is a sticky issue, and I can’t say that I’m completely settled on this issue. Right now, though, I believe that it is not necessarily always wrong.

Before you shoot me for inconsistency, let me explain. Ideally, when faced with an election, we can evaluate several candidates, choose one who is biblically qualified, and vote for him. All too often though, we are faced with an election where none of the candidates are qualified. So, yes, I believe that women are disqualified, but I also believe that polygamists, atheists, and those who support murder are disqualified for civil service. What do I do then, if all possible candidates are disqualified?

Some would say I shouldn’t vote at all, but, personally, I believe that this is rarely the best choice. There may be an instance when all the candidates really are all equally bad, and we have no basis for choosing one over another, and I wouldn’t fault someone for saying we should never vote for anyone who is not biblically qualified. I do think, though, that because our form of government gives me the opportunity to make my voice heard, I should endeavor to do so as often as possible, and, generally, there will be some difference on which to base a choice. Also, I don’t believe that when I cast my vote I am saying that I think this person is qualified, that I agree with all his policies, beliefs, and goals, that I like him personally, or even that I think he’ll be a good leader. All I’m saying is that I prefer for this person to be in office rather than any of the others who are running.

So what do I do if I’m faced with a choice between a man who supports the murder of the unborn and a woman who believes that all life is worthy of being protected? Is the disqualification of being a woman or of supporting murder greater?

I’m not going to answer that question here. In real life, I’m sure there would be more than two issues, so it would be much more complex than that. I believe this is a matter where every Christian voter needs to cry out to God for guidance and wisdom, seeking to know His will in every decision. For myself, I really don’t know for sure which I would choose in that particular scenario, but I wouldn’t fault a sincere Christian who, after carefully considering his options and the biblical qualifications, chose either one.

To return to the original question: I haven’t decided yet for whom my first presidential vote will be cast in November, but I know it won’t be Obama!

May God grant all of us wisdom, humility, and grace as we seek to follow His perfect will in these matters! May we do His will when we know it, and be content to leave the results in His hands!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why I Believe That Women are Biblically Unqualified for Civil Service, Part 1

I received a comment on this post with the following question:

“Where does God prohibit women from civil service?”

First off, let me establish a working definition for civil service. For the purpose of this discussion, I will assume that participating in civil service means filling the role of an official, elected or appointed, of the government, at any level, and exercising authority over the people/subjects/constituents under that official’s jurisdiction by making or enforcing decisions or laws which affect the life, options, or actions of those under the official’s jurisdiction.

Now, there is no verse that I know of that says, “Women shall not fill government office or engage in civil service.” Neither do I know of a verse that says, “God exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are fully one in essence and purpose,” yet orthodox Christians believe it, because it is the necessary explanation and conclusion for many concepts in Scripture. Similarly, there are several concepts in Scripture which I believe demand that it is not biblical for women to perform civil service.

1. The Old Testament Requirements for Civil Leaders Assume Men

In Exodus 18, Jethro advises Moses to choose leaders to serve under him and gives the following qualifications in verse 21:

“Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.”

The same situation is recounted in Deuteronomy 1, and the qualifications are reiterated in verse 13:

“Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.”

Now, one could argue that the word “men” in these verses is generic and really just means people, and therefore women could have been included. I make no claims to being a Hebrew scholar, but, from what I’ve read, this Hebrew word usually specifically means men. The fact that the same word is used in Genesis 17:23 to refer to those of Abraham’s household who were circumcised seems to bear this out.

In Deuteronomy 17, Moses gives Israel qualifications for the type of king Israel should choose. Verse 17 reads:

“And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.”

This passage does not specifically say that the king must be a man, unless you count the fact that it specifically says “king” not “ruler,” but the reference to wives shows that it is assumed that the king will be a man.

2. A Position of Civil Service Violates the Role of Woman As Outlined in Scripture

In Genesis 2, we are told how God first created man and gave him a job to do:

(Verses 20-22) “The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”

So, God originally created woman to be “a helper fit for” man.

In Numbers 30:3-16, we see an example of how this created order is applied in the instructions for women who make vows. An unmarried woman’s father or a married woman’s husband had the authority to nullify any vows she might make. This passage doesn’t specifically say that men should hold the leadership positions in society, but it is assumed that they do, and so they are given instructions for how this leadership is carried out.

This concept is further elucidated in the New Testament, particularly in the following passages:

(1 Corinthians 11:3, 8-9) “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God…. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.”

(A side note on the above verse: I think that the comparison here between the relationship of husbands and wives with that of God and Christ is very significant. Even as God and Christ are equal in worth and Godhood, yet Christ submits Himself to the Father, so also husbands and wives are equally human, both created in God’s image, yet wives are called to submit to the loving headship of their husbands.)

(1 Timothy 2:12-14) “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”

(Ephesians 5:22-24) “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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”

(Titus 2:3-5) “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

Putting all of these together, we see that wives are to be under the headship of their husbands just as Christ is under the headship of God and men are under the headship of Christ, and they are to submit to their husbands as the church is to submit to Christ. Women are not to be in positions of authority over men. They are to work at home, or, as some translations read, be keepers at home—in other words, they guard, nurture, and care for their homes, prioritizing their homes and families above outside pursuits. They are also to love their husbands and children. These defining aspects of the role of woman is based on the created order itself.

Can a woman in civil service really fulfill all of this? As defined at the beginning, civil service inherently involves being in authority over men, unless the jurisdiction is composed entirely of women, which is so unlikely as to be non-applicable to this discussion. Almost always, it would also include a married woman’s being in authority over her own husband.

If a woman in elected office were to truly obey the commands in Ephesians 5:22-24, then her husband would really be the one holding the office. If this is the case, then he should be the one to run. If he is not able to win, then he has no business letting his wife run for him only to become the one really fulfilling the office to which voters elected someone else. I think it is worth noting that the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 was not known in the gates. It was her husband who was known in the gates.

Is it loving in a wife and mother to go off and spend the bulk of her time in civil service, leaving her responsibilities as wife and mother to someone else, or simply leaving them undone? Is it really possible for a woman in civil service to make her home her first priority? I question whether a woman can be in civil service and still obey these commands.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Almost one year ago, I was on a study tour of Israel, and while there, I purchased a CD of Israeli-style praise music. It still reminds me of the insightful and inspiring time I spent there, especially the song, "On Your Walls, Jerusalem." (here's a clip)

Now, as I look forward with great excitement to getting married next month, that song also reminds me of the glorious relationship between Christ and his bride, the church. Ray and I have thought a lot about how to reflect that relationship in our wedding and our marriage. We pray that our Lord and Savior will be honored in all that we do, and that the eyes of the lost would turn to Him.

Operation House-to-Home: We Like Taking Out Walls

After we'd taken out all the walls we were planning to, people were asking Mama, "Are you sure you want to keep this wall?" Hopefully we will be able to do construction also, and not just demolition!
The water heater was currently working, but it was 17 years old, so we decided to go ahead and replace it while we were working anyway.
The deck was "nearing the end of its usable life," to quote the inspection report. We had thought we might wait and take it out after we moved in, but the foundation repairmen had to take some boards off for their work. Rather than have them put back what we were eventually going to take out, we decided to go ahead and take the whole thing out.
We were delighted to find that there was a large concrete pad under the deck, so we won't have to walk on bare dirt all the time!
The sheet vinyl we ripped up left behind a paper backing and adhesive, so we've been using paint thinner to soften it so we can scrape it off in preparation for ceramic tile.
Thankfully, there's not very much wallpaper to remove, but the bathrooms do have it, so Mama's been working on taking that off.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Six Tidbits

I've been tagged by Elena!

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag sixish people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know he or she has been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I can't stand cucumbers.
2. I have a rock collection.
3. When I was four, I was the ring bearer in my aunt's wedding.
4. I love silly putty!
5. The only time I've ever worn lipstick was on my forehead, when we were dressing up as Indians. (The Asian kind, with the red dots on their foreheads)
6. I have the unique position in our family of having an older brother, younger brother, older sister, and younger sister (two!).

If you haven't already been tagged and feel like doing this, consider yourself tagged!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Operation House-to-Home: Gutting the Kitchen and More

This is the kitchen at the beginning of our workday yesterday: video
Seth really enjoyed this part of the work!

Here's what it looked like at the end:
Becca worked very hard and did a thorough job of removing staples and bits of carpet pad from the stairs.
This is the wild floor we found in one room after removing the carpet! (This was actually taken on Saturday.)
We've produced a GREAT quantity of trash. Currently it's all either in the garage or the backyard.