A big deal in interdenominational conservative Christians recently has been the "True Woman '08" conference in Chicago, this past weekend. Put together much like many of our "ladies' weekends", speakers came and spoke, prayers and hymns were sung, and some lives were changed. Difference being that this was about 2000 ladies from several countries, from a wide variety of backgrounds (I saw in the photos women with prayer caps like the Mennonites, women acting out very "Pentecostal" like, etc.), and the speakers had all written many many books and probably most women there did not feel the same way about raising of funds for doing God's work, the importance of physical things like baptism, the Lord's Supper observances, head covering, foot washing, church buildings, etc. I did tune in to some of the free live streaming presentations. I missed John Piper and Joni Erickson Tada (you may have heard their names), but I did hear from a woman who had written a book many years ago countering the feminist "Feminine Mystique" book with her own "Feminine Mistake". Oh, how we have all been led, regardless of our doctrine as regards the follower of God, in general.
The point being brought out in all of these lessons is that part of The Doctrine that we are all missing as that of living out the teachings, traditions, commandments of Christ in our day to day lives; specifically here, us women. We aren't men. God designed from the beginning that we were to be different. And not just biologically. I know I bought into the lie. I remember smiling at the Virginia Slims ads: "You've come a long way, Baby" (from the days when we women were slaves). Thing is, we weren't slaves. We were made to be content in our role as the Church incarnate. Many women were and still are, and I dare say, even those who are not trying to follow God's written laws, or those who are following them misguidedly, or who are following laws not written by God but who believe that they are. His law is written in our hearts, and in our consciences, and we rebel against our nature and mess things up for ourselves and those around us, when we think we can do anything men can do AND have babies too. I've been learning this more and more the past few years (and I am just 40 years old now), trying to get my thinking out of all the "stuff" that I was raised up with, skipping out on Home Ec. because it was beneath me. HA! I read and hear so many younger women who think us older women are nuts and old fashioned but not truly Christian, for believing these things; and who become "doormats". Wait a minute. Jesus Christ was a doormat - Jesus washed dirty feet, and was spat on. Right? It's time, says this conference and I think so to, that we Christian ladies - especially if you feel that all those ladies at the conferences don't have the full understanding of Scripture as they should - to get up and truly be different from the world, to teach the younger women to be different, and to show our mothers and aunties who really did mean well but didn't train us correctly, that we are going to be what God made us to be: Truly different from men, in our worship, our teaching, our day to day lives.
Look at Titus 2 again - when the elders and older women are described, it is their manner of life which is focused upon. Don't you long for the kind of "Church of Christ" that we heard about (and maybe some of you lived during) when other Christians knew that if a Bible was missing during a trial that they could smilingly suggest that they could "swear on a member of the church of Christ" because they knew and lived the Word so well?
Living the doctrine of Christ. It's more than a check list. It's more than a "skirts touch knees and two fingers below the collar bone" form of modesty. It's more than 2 times a week putting up with other people "at church", and blogging on an all black and white blogspace, or avoiding blogs at all. It's more than knowing the Greek and Hebrew and having the biggest library. It's more than reading out of a lesson book for your turn at teaching the class. It's doing more than making a casserole, or signing up to host the visiting preacher for lunch.
It's living it with your whole life and your whole heart - that's true doctrine: something which transforms and makes you come out from among them and be separate. Not just another building on Church Street. Not just a great social group where no one uses bad language and watches clean movies together. But if that's all there is - a checklist - then how are we more righteous than those Pharisees? What makes us different, and therefore a light on a hill, or on a lampstand?
If we say we don't need those outside denominational preachers and teachers or videos or books or Christian counselors in order to truly live the blessed yet difficult temporary life that Christ has called us to, because He did give us the saved written Word, then let's get out there and live it.
But if you're interested, here's the page where you can listen for free to the talks given at that conference I mentioned: True Woman '08. I listened to Piper's talk this morning. If you feel I'm falling off track and need to be pulled back - PLEASE let me know.