Thursday, June 14, 2007

a quest ended

Many of you long time readers know that I have had a goal over the past two years to one day write a book that would enable women to encourage the men in their lives, whether in the church or family, to lead lives that would honor God and serve the church. My purpose in doing so was because I had never come across such a resource.

Over the past two years while attending seminary, I personally sought the advice of various complementarian spokesmen (and women) concerning my endeavor.

My first semester in a systematic theology class, I raised my hand and asked the professor:

"What can women do to help reverse certain harmful trends in feminism in the church and marriage? What can we do in the church to encourage the men to lead?"

Perhaps I merely surprised this man who is so influential in speaking on complementarian matters, but his answer did not seem sufficient for me.

After a moment of silent thought, he responded, "It seems to me that the best answer is to do nothing."

"Nothing?!!"

"To the extent that it creates a power vacuum and them men are forced to fill that void."

On another occasion, I attended a special lecture by Dr. Randy Stinson from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood titled, The Feminzation of the Church: Detecting and Correcting It (click to listen). I was delighted with the title of this lecture, certain that my questions would be answered here. I became discouraged during the Q&A when men on my right and left, before and behind were called on to submit their questions. Was I being ignored? Perhaps, Dr. Stinson thought I objected to his diagnosis of the church's present situation. No! On the contrary. But time ticked by and my hand grew tired of seeking recognition. Finally, with five minutes left Dr. Stinson turned to address my question.

"Dr. Stinson, as a woman fully concerned about the lack of male leadership, desiring to remove certain harmful trends of feminism in the church, I affirm what you see as a danger in the church. I would like to ask what do you recommend that women do to encourage their brothers to step up and lead? What can women do to reverse those harmful trends?"

Later, others came to me and remarked that they'd found my question very helpful, but were discouraged that the lecturer had supplied no concrete advice for the listeners.

Over the semesters, I asked similar questions to other students, professors, and visiting lecturers only to have similar results each time.

My own discouragement had almost turned to despair. Was there no one who had gone before me that had asked these questions? Had no one given careful thought to these matters? When I discussed my concerns with my peers, they acknowledged that my concerns were valid and pleaded with me that should I come across answers that they would like to be the first to know.

Was the burden to lie solely on my shoulders?

My quest was specific:
Marriages and churches were occupied by men and women shaped and molded by feminism: women who demand leadership and men who grow increasingly apathetic toward the spiritual condition of their family and the church. Marriages are wrecked by selfishness and false expectations. Churches are dieing as men leave leadership positions. Women step up filling that void, and men merely warm the pews one day a week moving closer and closer toward the back door.

What can a woman do to influence the men in her life to be the men God would have them be? How can she influence them to be spiritual leaders in their community and home? How can she move them toward godliness?

My burden has lifted.

In Gary Thomas' book, Sacred Influence, I see the answers to my questions.

While this book was written specifically for wives, I believe that the truths found therein are applicable for all women who seek to influence men toward godly living in their home, church, community, work, etc. They are not motivated out of personal gain so that they may manipulate men to succumb to their vision of how men ought to be. No! This book is for women who are dedicated to their men living lives glorifying God out of reverence for Christ.

Be forwarned! This is not a book that lays out a step-by-step process on how to transform your imperfect men into Jesus Christ. Instead, you will find your own imperfect life being transformed if you, like Thomas urges, let the transformation begin with you.

Are we so self-righteous as women that we are so consumed with the faults of men that we have become blind to our own? God forbid!

In the six posts below, I have presented excerpts from the first six chapters of Sacred Influence. These help to build a foundation for developing a heart and environment for change, beginning in the heart of the woman. The chapters following are listed below:

7. A Claim, a Call, and a Commitment
Focusing on Personal Responsibilities

8. Understanding the Male Mind
Learning to Make Allowances for Your Husband's Masculinity

9. Jeanne-Antoinette
The Power of a Persistent Pursuit

Part 3: Confronting the Most Common Concerns

10. Ray and Jo: Taming the Temper, Part 1
Self-Respect as a First Defense against Your Husband's Anger

11. Taming the Temper, Part 2
Learning to Navigate through Your Husband's Anger

12. Rich and Pat: The Magic Question
Helping Your Husband to Become More Involved at Home

13. The Biology of a Busy Man
How to Help Your Man Put Family First

14. Pure Passion
Cementing Your Husband's Affections and Protecting His Spiritual Integrity

15. Ken and Diana: Affair on the Internet
Winning Back the Husband Who Strays

16. John and Catherine: Finding Faith
Influencing a Nonbelieving or Spiritually Immature Husband

I will not post exerpts from these chapters because I strongly recommend that you purchase the book for yourself so that you may be convicted through the Scripture, sound doctrine, and personal insights of women who have gone before, founded in Sacred Influence's pages.

What will I do now that my quest has reached it's end? Lord willing, I may learn these spiritual principles now and put them into practice so that I may bless my future husband with a wife given over to living a life worthy of her calling as "helper". In time, I may rise to the challenge of Titus 2 and train other women to love their husbands and children.

40 comments:

CraigS said...

Nice post Christine, you are a champion! Mike is a lucky guy, he has chosen well...

mike said...

Happy Christine day

Laura said...

Hey 'Stine, you're so fine,
You're so fine you blow my mind!
Hey Christine! (clap, clap, clap)
Hey Christine! (clap, clap, clap)

Beaucoup de felicitations!

mike said...

Yay Christine day

Pablo said...

Happy Christine Day!! Can't wait to see you next month. Hope you're having fun in Chermany!!

Zoey and the furballs (the Zoo Crew) said...

Happy Christine Day! Your good friend Pablo sent us over.

crazy meezers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
crazy meezers said...

Happy Birthday Christine from some Aussie meezers! We hope you have a great day (Pablo sent us :))

Cheysuli said...

Happy Birthday Christine!

Phoebe said...

I hope you have a lovely birthday, Christine. I'm very excited about your upcoming nuptials. Do you think that you will get some interesting boxes to play with?

Monica said...

On behalf of the Pablo Fan Club, I wish you a very Happy Birthday, Christine.

Hot(M)BC said...

Happy Birthday, Christine!
Sanjee, Boni Maroni, Mini, Gree and Pepi
House of the (Mostly) Black Cats

Hot(M)BC said...

Oh yeah, Pablo sent us. :)

Amy Imms said...

Happy birthday Christine!!

Hope you have an awesome wedding day with not too much stress. Look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant future :)

Millie said...

Happy Birthday Christine! Jasmine, Mom and I hope you have a very nice day.

(Pablo sent us here!)

jcfloresinc said...

Happy Birthday, Christine! Have a very nice day.
Samantha & Tigger
(Pablo sent us here.)

Marie, Donny, Casey said...

Happy Christine Day!!!!! We wish you many happy purrs.....Pablo tole us all about you...!

Dragonheart said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great day!

(Pablo sent me.)

The Meezers said...

Happy Purrfday Christine!

Renae said...

Happy birthday Christine.. hope to meet you sometime soon. Have a great day :) God bless ya

Jimmy Joe said...

Hi Christine--
Pablo told us about your birthday. I hope it's a super Christine Day and that you get lots of cake and ice cream! Yum!
Your buddy, Jimmy Joe

Laura said...

Wow, Christine, you are HUGE with blog-kitties!

Ali & Fiona said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTINE!!

*PABLO SENT US*

Sadie said...

Pablo says it's your birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Pablo told us it's your birthday...Happy Birthday

Yoggie said...

Have a purrfect birthday!
And don't forget to give my new friend Pablo a hug when you see him next time.
Have fun in Germany (I am a German cat living now in Sweden).

Marilyn MonREOW said...

Happy Birthday, Christine! Pablo sent me. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Purrs and snuggles from Marilyn.

Chairman Mao said...

Happy Burfday to you
Happy Burfday to you
Happy Burfday, dear Christine
Happy Burfday to you

Pablo sent me, too! Have a super-greeeeat day.

Kittyhugs and purrs from MaoMao!

Daisy said...

Happy Birthday Christine! I read all about you on Pablo's bloggie. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Radcliff, Allie, Luna & Ozzie said...

Pablo sent us over to tell you Happy Christine Day.

Happy Purrthday from all of us. Have a great day

The Tower Hill Mob said...

Happy Birthday ,Christine, from the Tower Hill Mob in Massachusetts!
Have a good day and a nice treat!

Gretchen said...

Happy Birthday Christine! It's fun to have birthdays, isn't it?

Name: Mr. Hendrix said...

Hi Christine! Pablo sent me over and you sound like a very nice bean. Happy Birthday! We live in Liberty Township, OH by the way.

Hope you have a happy happy birthday!

Astrid, Kashim & Othello said...

uhm maybe we're a little lat,but its never too late to say:
Happy Christine Day!

hugs'n'kisses and snuggles
Kashim & Othello

Pee.eeeS. Pablo sent us ;o)

Diamond said...

Happy birthday Christine. Sorry I am a day late. I hope it was a really happy day for you!

Tiger Lily said...

Late Happy Birthday wishes for you Christine! I'm sorry to be late but Mom hasn't let me on the computer for a while and I just saw Pablo's post on the Cat Blogosphere.

Parker said...

Happy Birthday! Pablo sent me!

Donners said...

Happy Birthday stine!!

Sorry this is late, my 'puter isn't networked up and here and hence I lost all my favourite blogs.Plus I don't have your email address ( since your mac email isn't active anymore).

Hope you're enjoying the lead up to marrying Mike and that God is giving you great joy and knowledge of Hos wisdom and power!

A-Hawk said...

Hmmm…. it seems that you had many b-day wishes, but little feedback on the post itself. I have just now been able to read this, though I saw it a week or two ago. I have been SUPER busy at work and mom has had dial-up (yes, 56k max - which few even realize exists anymore). I ran a home network for her and she got cable *does the happy dance*. Thus, I can now catch up on some readings such as this. Sorry this is SO late and that I am now rambling, but below are the actual comments.

Christine, I know I don’t have to tell you this, but I will say it anyway. God has gifted you SO much with an incredible mind and a sweet, yet strong, spirit. I am very glad that you have come to a resolution… but I wonder if ended is the right word… perhaps redirected might be better. So there is no A, B, C… *poof* “there’s Jesus Christ himself” answer to get men to step up and grow in the Lord (and I realize you never actually thought it quite that simple), that doesn’t mean that the goal cannot still be strived for. I think you are right on target with the Titus 2 thought. Beyond this, you can take the things you have studied and learned and teach women how to be leaders in a different sense. Few men forbid “church” talk, they are usually just apathetic. I am obviously not a woman, but I do understand authority. What would “you” do in a church that was dying or apathetic about the word? If the pastor does not preach faithfully. “You” don’t walk up to him (unless led by the Spirit, but as a rule) and say, “hey you idiot, quit talking about the golf course and tell me about Jesus”… though you may want to. No, that is probably not the best approach. If the goal is to get the church focused on the Word, you must approach from a different angle. I will not fill in all the blanks here ‘cause I know you are quite intelligent, but hopefully you can see where I am coming from. My real point is that I would hate to see the gifts the Lord has given you go to waste because you think “plan a” is the only option. I am confident that there are many young women out there that feel the same as you have and perhaps don’t have the resources to study the way you have been able to. Personally, I would look forward to a book along those lines just to help me, as a future church leader, better understand the frustration and position. I think avoiding manipulation and servant leadership are the best things. It’s sort of like all the books written about how to have a great marriage… there is no ABC, but there is a “big picture.” This subject is very dear to my heart as well. I don’t talk about it much, but I have seen the effects of this first-hand. I watched in horror as the Spirit departed from a church because the men refused to lead. I won’t go into the details, but the bottom line is that the “Godly” men stepped aside and allowed Satan free reign.

Above all, to state the obvious, pray!

PS – hopefully this makes sense to you. It is very germane to me, but not sure how it will come across ;)

Bryant Owens said...

Christine,

I am intrigued by your post asking how can women encourage men to lead?

My answer...

"For men to lead as God designed, they need to see that those in their charge will follow."

It is hard to be a leader when those you are trying to encourage will not follow.

I am not talking about a dictatorship where the women and children submit with no hope of comment or suggestion. But when a man is struggling by having to "sell" his vision, especially in the little choices...not so much the big ones...then discouragement sets in.

Men have also been shaped by generations of a feminist culture. They are afraid of being labeled an evil dictator because of their gender (and is other cases their race [i.e. the evil "white man"])

They need to see that it is OK to lead. The best encouragement for that is to see that the woman that God has placed by his side is willing to follow.