To Whom Are You Listening? - 7-12-22 1

Hello, my name is Kris and I am a book-aholic!

My modus operandi, or the way I do things, is that while listening to others (it doesn’t matter who!) AND a book is mentioned AND in the context of the discussion this book comes across as possibly being of interest THEN I will purchase said book. Thankfully, the majority of the time these books are faith-based. So, what happens when the book(s) finally arrives? Well……

1.      Sometimes I forget why I purchased it and immediately it goes onto the bookshelf.

2.      I’ll begin to read and wonder why in the world I bought it. Onto the bookshelf it goes.

3.      I’ll begin to read the book – even though I am already in the middle of 3 others.

4.      I can’t put the book down – the dishes go unwashed, the cat unfed, and Dominos is on speed dial.

5.      Finally, remember #1? Months or years later I will find that book and I’ll thank the Lord for giving me the desire to buy it because now it is pertinent.

Is there a cure for this? I hope not! Is this a learned behavior? In my case, Yes! With a smile on my face, I will blame all this on my father. He was an historian who had an insatiable appetite for learning. After his passing, we gave away in excess of 7500 books, the majority of which were written in European & Eastern European languages.

Why do I share this story? Well, just last week a friend was talking about a book she was reading and thought I might be interested in it. The title, The Jewish Apostle Paul, immediately grabbed my attention. Like many of us who are familiar with the scriptures (esp. NT) we’ve been conditioned to believe that the Apostle Paul does not have a very high of opinion of women. (Ref. 1 Cor. 11:5-6, 14:34-35; Eph.5:22-24; and 1Tim. 2:9-12) As stand-alone verses I might be forced to agree with many of the teachings I’ve heard over the years: Paul’s opinion of women is basically for them to “know their place”. Harsh words, I know. But I wondered what this particular author had to say about such a polarizing figure.

Being curious, I purchased the book. As I began to read, I couldn’t get past the first two paragraphs of the Introduction. “…women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.” (I Corinthians 14:34) The Introduction goes on to say: “First, nowhere does Jewish Law forbid women to speak in public gatherings. Paul, being a well-educated Jew, certainly would have known this. However, there was a Roman law on the books that forbade women to speak, vote and exercise authority over men by holding public office.”* According to Roman law – women were second class citizens. Corinth had been under the control and influence of Rome for well over a century at the times of Paul’s writings. As I reread the verse, do I continue to see Paul as someone who wants women to be subservient, or do I now see him as one who is encouraging “the church” to be obedient to the laws of their community?

The greater “thought” I want to communicate is for each of us to be more alert, more observant, and perhaps even more willing to question when it comes to what we hear around us and perhaps even what we hear in church. This is not about questioning everything. But do we automatically believe whomever because they are or appear to be more learned, more passionate, more dogmatic than us? As pray-ers, this is critical to consider. We need to develop a relationship with our Lord where we can come to Him with any, I mean ANY, prayer, concern or question. We are most excellent sharing our prayer requests with the Lord. But, how are we when it comes to things we don’t understand, or we’re receiving no response, or what we sense & believe “flies in the face” of what others may be saying? It is OK to question the Lord! He does NOT turn away from us when we ask:

1.      What are You (Lord) showing me?

2.      Are my prayers honoring You?

3.      Teach me how to pray in accordance with Your will on this issue, not mine.

4.      Please give me greater clarity and understanding of Your Word.

5.      Help me to be proactive by turning to Your Word rather than being reactive by trusting at face value.

6.      May my faith increase in the wait.

There is much being “championed” in the name of science, religion, rights, etc. that is filled with passion but is often times misguided, unhealthy, and simply wrong. May your faith increase in these days ahead. May your trust in the All Mighty be strengthened in these days ahead. May your understanding of God’s Word deepen in these days ahead.

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