The Glory of Man

We’re in Scottsdale this week, a trip that replaced the canceled excursion to Costa Rica.

See below to win a copy.

I want to invite you to read a book with me this summer and I’m giving you lots of time if you’re a procrastinator or slow reader. It’s called Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women.

I haven’t read it yet, but I have high hopes because I heard one of authors on a podcast. I’ll post and we’ll discuss it in the first blog of July. Or, if I see you in real life, mention it any time you want. That gives you May and June to prepare.

A little background

As a new momma, I called my pastor to ask him if there were any examples of women walking intimately with God in the Bible like He did with Abraham. My pastor first told me about the Prophetess Deborah. The Israelite Commander Barak would not go into battle without her, even though he was promised victory through God. As a result, the victory came from a woman with a tent stake. Judges 4-5.

That story made me feel like women were the second best choice when men didn’t step up.

My pastor also talked about the virgin daughters who prophesied in the new testament. I wasn’t a virgin, so I wondered if my opportunity to do something great had passed. One thing I knew was how valuable a woman’s virginity made her. That story made me think my best ministry was to raise kids so they could do something great.

Lies in the subtext
My favorite film version of Pride and Prejudice is the 1995 BBC. Mary, the religiously devout sister, (second from the right, without a smile) says, “A woman’s virtue, once lost…is lost forever.” I love reading Jane Austin not just for her insight but for the humorous realization of how little people change over centuries.

My pastor had a good, gentle heart and a few other stories to share, but I just wasn’t convinced that a woman could have a relationship with God like a man could. (Even though my pastor said she absolutely could.) I wasn’t alone in thinking that. I discovered a few weeks ago a statement from a 19th century Baptist writer who said that since God was a man, woman could never fully connect with him the same as a man could. I mention it was a Baptist so you know it was mainstream, not fringe.

I’m sorry that I didn’t save the reference—I was so bothered by the statement that I abruptly left my computer. I can’t seem to track it down again but I’ll keep looking. No one had ever told me woman couldn’t have the same relationship with God as a man, yet I had somehow believed it and when I realized it was was probably passed down without words, I was pissed at the lie. Sometimes subtext seems louder than the words.

If I believe something (a lie or a benign opinion), I’ll bring it through the context of my worldview when I write and speak. As soon as I find a lie, I want it gone—but until I know it’s false—you need to weed through to discern truth. This goes for everything we come across.

Equality & Paul

Egalitarian (meh, I hate labels) thinking was practically a feminist agenda to me, and good Christian girls didn’t go there unless they were liberal (meaning depraved or ignorant). As a result of my submission, I sometimes felt just a little less than worthy. A little less than man. You know, to compliment him.

Especially when I read something like “Man is the glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.” If you read that whole section in context, Paul goes on to say that if there are any contentions about women covering their head, then he has no such practice and neither do the churches of God. (verse 16) Hippie pastors from the 60s understood that hair length by gender was a best practice according to the culture and the situation at the time. So maybe other parts were also Paul’s benign opinion.

I discovered recently while reading 1 Corinthians 7 how much Paul uses language that isn’t as demanding as most people make him out to be when they yank out the “inerrant” word of God, select a verse and command you to be quiet in church, obey, submit and make them feel honored…

“Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.” v.6
“To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord)” v. 10 –Meaning this part is from the Lord–
“To the rest I say (I, not the Lord)” v. 12 –Meaning this part is Paul’s suggestion.–
“I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment” v. 25
“I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you,” v. 35
“Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.” v. 40

Some wield Paul and on the other side, some love to be irritated with him. For those of us who are the latter, I think we should consider that how he’s quoted doesn’t always seem to match his heart. Often times people eager to say the truth Paul wrote couldn’t begin to fathom the kind of love which gives up anything for another. I think the side note is to take care when telling someone truth that you first  love them above your own salvation. In the meantime, only apply his words to yourself.

My journey

I was made for God, in the image of God. But, I will admit the question of woman’s worthiness and her purpose as the glory of man (made as a gift for man) was still somewhat unresolved when I wrote Sworn to the Desert.

I knew what God was saying to me about my value, but I hadn’t yet worked it out it in my environment (church culture) or through scripture (select verses like the one above). That’s why at the end of my novel the resolution my heroine seeks comes from God, to her ears alone.

Win a copy

You can win a free copy of “Worthy” from me if you comment on this post before this Friday, April 30, 2022. I’ll randomly choose one comment and send you a print or digital copy if you live outside the US. So please join me in reading! And if my post doesn’t convince you, I’m sure this video will:

4 thoughts on “The Glory of Man

  1. Angela Cooper says:

    Looking forward to reading and discussing!! Already my opinions are battling to form. I will beat them down and try to read with an open heart and mind.

  2. Letty says:

    Powerful 🙌 “what is a woman’s worth?” …”his life, his death, his resurrection”

    I will read the book 🙋🏻‍♀️

Please share your heart. We learn from each other.