“This man or this woman seems so different from you, I know. That’s why it seems so difficult to love him or her. When you think on one level, she thinks on another. When you’re certain this perspective matters most, he brings in another angle entirely. And you ask yourself, ‘How can I possibly love someone who is so different from me?’ And yet consider, if you can ask this question with integrity, try asking yourself this one: How could you possibly love God? He is spirit, and you are encased in flesh and bones. He is eternal, and you are trapped in time. He is all holy, perfect, sinless, and you – like me – are steeped in sin. It is far less of a leap for a man to love a woman or for a woman to love a man than it is for either of us to love God. But I think it’s more than that. I think marriage is designed to call us out of ourselves and learn to love the ‘different.’ Put together in the closest situation imaginable – living side by side, sleeping in the same room, even, on occasion, sharing our bodies with each other – we are forced to respect and appreciate someone who is so radically different. We need to be called out of ourselves because, in truth, we are incomplete. God made us to find our fulfillment in Him – the Totally Other. Marriage shows us that we are not all there is; it calls us to give way to another, but also to find joy, happiness, and even ecstasy in another. …Christianity involves believing certain things, to be sure, but its herald, its hallmark, its glory is not in merely ascribing to certain intellectual truths. The beauty of Christianity is in learning to love, and few life situations test that so radically as does a marriage.” Gary Thomas
“Above all, love each other deeply.”
1 Peter 4:8
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you find people who are nothing like you hard to take?
- Can you see marriage as the place where we care called “out of ourselves and learn to love the other?” …even, where we learn to love God, the “Totally Other?”
- Is learning to love those who are “different” a priority for you? If not, why not, since this is undoubtedly the “hallmark” of Christianity?
Abba, use my marriage to teach me to love those who are not like me.
For More: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“Women’s theology uses technical terms to single out oppressive patterns of social and mental behavior. Patriarchy, or rule of the father, refers to social structures where power is always in the hands of the dominant man or men. Under patriarchy women never have equal access to power in the social sphere. Androcentrism, or male-centeredness, refers to ways of thinking that privilege men: it makes men’s way of being human normative for all human beings. In androcentric thinking women are always derivative, off-center, less than truly human. Today it becomes clear that the liberating goal of feminist, womanist, mujerista or Latina, and third-world women’s theology is not reached by simply integrating women into a society and church were patriarchal structures and androcentric theory still prevail as a norm. …Rather, the whole structure of church and society needs to be transformed to make space for a new community of mutual partnership. The goal is a new justice. On this frontier, theology glimpses an ancient, unassailable truth with new clarity: God loves women and passionately desires their flourishing. When violence is done to women, to their bodies or their spirits, it is an insult to divine glory. When liberating advances are made that overcome bias and promote the dignity of women, it is a victory for the reign of God. Struggling to claim their human dignity on every level, women find the God of life walking with them and supporting their efforts, for the holy One who sprung the slaves out of Egypt and raised Jesus from the dead is unrepentant in siding with those deprived of fullness of life.” Elizabeth Johnson
“There is no longer male or female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you believe that God passionately desires the “flourishing” of women?
- Are you committed to “promoting the dignity of women?” Is your church?
- “While women make up one-half of the world’s population, they work three-fourths of the world’s working-hours, receive one-tenth of the world’s salary, own one one-hundredth of the planet’s land, and constitute two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults. Together with their dependent children they comprise 75 percent of the world’s starving people and 80 percent of homeless refugees.” (Johnson) In this light, do you think it an exaggeration to speak of women as “deprived of fullness of life?” Are you O.K. with “the norm” of how things are for women?
Sophia, God of Wisdom, may those of us with power, use it for the flourishing of women, and in so doing, extend your reign in our world.
For More: Quest for the Living God by Elizabeth Johnson
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“But in human affairs other ‘kingdoms’ [other than God’s kingdom] may for a time be in power, and often are. This second request [of the Lord’s prayer] asks for those kingdoms to be displaced, wherever they are, or brought under God’s rule. …And we are especially praying about the structural or institutionalized evils that rule so much of the earth. These prevailing circumstances daily bring multitudes to do deeply wicked things they do not even give a thought to. They do not know what they are doing and do not have the ability to distance themselves from it so they can see it for what it is…. We therefore pray for our Father to break up these higher-level patterns of evil. And, among other things, we ask him to help us see the patterns we are involved in. We ask him to help us not cooperate with them, to cast light on them and act effectively to remove them.” Dallas Willard
“Jesus, in his incarnation, ‘moved in’ with the poor. He lived with, ate with, and associated with the socially ostracized (Matt 9:13). He raised the son of the poor widow (Luke 7:11-16) and showed the greatest respect to the immoral woman who was a social outcast (Luke 7:36ff). Indeed, Jesus spoke with women in public, something that a man with any standing in society would not have done, but Jesus resisted the sexism of his day (John 4:27). Jesus also refused to go along with the racism of his culture, making a hated Samaritan the hero of one of his most famous parables (Luke 10:26ff) and touching off a riot when he claimed that God loved Gentiles like the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian as much as Jews (Luke 4:25-27). Jesus showed special concern for children, despite his apostles’ belief that they were not worth Jesus’s time (Luke 18:15).” Tim Keller
“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath wheels of injustice; we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Are you asking God to help you “see the patterns of evil” that you’re involved in? that you allow by your consent or “cooperation?”
- Are you asking God to help you “cast light on” these structural evils and “act to remove them?”
- Does your relationship with Jesus give you a burden to “drive a spoke into the wheel” of injustice?
Abba, may thy kingdom come, may thy will be done – on earth as in is in heaven.
For More: The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. [with today being a very rare exception!] I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”