I discovered on Facebook that there is an organization called Proverbs 31 Ministries geared toward “today’s busy woman.” I’m a big fan of Proverbs 31. It inspires me to be do and accomplish all that I can with the abilities I have been given. So, I clicked the link to check them out.
This is one of the group’s seven principles of a Proverbs 31 woman from their Facebook page and website:
Loves, honors, and greatly enriches the life of her husband, encouraging and supporting his leadership within his family and his church.
Perhaps this group’s version of Proverbs is not the same one I have been reading all these years. The woman who inspires me is a leader in her own right. She is a real estate magnate, an expert in international business, a textiles tycoon, a vineyard owner, and a multinational entrepreneur. The Proverbs 31 woman who inspires me is not standing behind her husband while he does all these things. She does all these things of her own accord. Her ingenuity and initiative and assertive personality are what make her a valuable partner. She is not valuable because she is nothing more than a friendly, Father-Knows-Best housewife.
It dismays me that this strong and powerful woman in Proverbs 31 is used to encourage women to be shrinking violets, warm and fuzzy cheerleaders, behind the scenes encouragers… followers instead of leaders. If they want to develop principles of a Proverbs 31 woman, those principles should include being a strong leader and a powerful role model. Instead this group puts the woman in the support role instead of the leading role in her own life. Their version of the Proverbs 31 woman is the opposite of the woman portrayed in the passage.
Ladies if you want to really emulate the Proverbs 31 woman you need to get out of the house and do something spectacular. If your husband doesn’t approve then he’s not much of a Proverbs 31 man. The husband in Proverbs 31 is supportive and proud of his wife’s accomplishments, not threatened by them. I might even call them the model power couple — they are both living up to the talents they have been blessed with.
Below is the section of Proverbs 31 that talks about the woman that I am familiar with. You can read and decide for yourself what the real Proverbs 31 woman is like:
A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant,
she brings her food from far away.
She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and tasks for her servant-girls.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor,
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all her household are clothed in crimson.
She makes herself coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the city gates,
taking his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she supplies the merchant with sashes.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her happy;
her husband too, and he praises her:
‘Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.’
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the city gates.
I opened my newspaper this morning and immediately saw the headline that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. A picture below the headline showed United States citizens rejoicing in the streets in Washington, D.C. The news and the jubilant reaction gave me pause.
I read coverage in several different papers and was thankful that most provided a brief history of Bin Laden‘s life, including his participation in the Afghan fight against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. U.S. hatred and fear of the Soviets played a major role in the decision to arm what were then termed “freedom fighters.” Bin Laden was our ally in hatred of a common enemy. These were seeds sown of hate and, like all seeds, it produced an abundance of that same bitter emotion in the fertile ground where it was sown.
Some 30 years later hate seeds continue to be sown. The U.S. hates al-Qaida and the Taliban and anyone else it deems terrorists. Our enemies hate us in return. We rejoice when enemy number 1, Osama Bin Laden, is killed—heaping hate on his now lifeless head.
As a Christ-follower I find myself thinking back to the admonition to pray for my enemies and to live in peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus said. I don’t recall him saying anything about rejoicing in the death of any person, not even my arch-enemy—the one who has killed and maimed and terrified friends and family.
Seeds of hate will only bring us more hate.
I pray today for peace; I pray for enemies and friends alike; I pray for all those who call themselves Christian to heed the call to light and love. Walk the extra mile. Give blessings when curses fall on our heads.
Sow seeds of love.
I’ve accepted the position of CEO of Christian Women United in Business and am looking forward to helping that 100+ member group grow and expand its reach. We have nearly 500 Facebook fans and are growing our LinkedIn network. I encourage all Christian businesswomen to get to know us. Our goal is to support one another not only in business but also in faith. Regular prayer for our membership is a core value of our organization. We also offer opportunities for business training, bible studies, and participation in our referral network. We want CWUIB to be more than just another group of businesswomen, we want to create a Spirit-led organization that helps our members honor God through our lives and businesses.
I fire up the computer today and discover that in some segments of the blogosphere it is “Seth Godin Day.” If you don’t know who he is, great! You can quit reading. If you do know that Mr. Godin is a blogger, author, marketer, and popular web guru, and you really like what he has to say, you too might want to quit reading.
I’ve read some of his books. I find him less than entertaining, mildly arrogant, and a superb self-promoter. His shtick is to help people make the most of their businesses and their lives in this new online world. Some of what he espouses is great business and marketing advice. Some of it is just so much rah-rah, new age-y, mumbo jumbo (e.g. “How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for your to be remarkable?” gaia.com).
When I looked around at this so-called Seth Godin Day, the first thing that popped into my mind was the term Cult of Personality. I looked it up:
cult of personality –noun– a cult promoting adulation of a living national leader or public figure
I think it fits. People got up in the wee hours of the morning to participate in Seth Godin Day. People blog about him, his books, and his websites with gushing praise. They are enamored of his personality.
Personally, I would not get up at the crack of dawn to hear what any human being had to say (OK, I would answer a call from my Mom, but that’s it). I get up in the morning and show my adoration and respect for One only – the One – God Almighty – Maker of Heaven and Earth – the Alpha and Omega. Mr. Godin simply cannot compete for my already pledged allegiance.
I’m glad I missed Seth Godin Day. Instead, I spent some time reflecting on Saints Timothy and Titus. I read some John Howard Yoder. I corresponded with some other Christians. I tweeted and blogged about my faith. It was God Day here. And it will be God Day again tomorrow and every day thereafter.
As I read the news these days I’m struck by that thought that a whole bunch of us need to quit calling ourselves Christians. This is not an issue of political party or liberal or conservative. This is an issue of plainly and simply not living by the very basics of the ethics and values put forth in the Christian Bible.
It seems to me that the mess reflected in our current economic problems and bloated government is a direct result of failing to adhere to those basic principals. Each citizen and government official is guilty of greed, envy, and disregard for the welfare of his or her neighbors. Anyone who is overextended on credit cards, who has bought more house or car than they can afford, or has felt the need to continually buy “bigger and better” consumer goods is guilty.
This is not an issue of the “haves” versus the “have-nots.” This is an issue of how each person, regardless of social or economic position, chooses to live. The Eco-Christian website poses a series of “Questions for Christians,” including:
- Should Christians replace something that isn’t broken because of new trends?
- Should Christians view materialism in the same light as adultery or gluttony?
Reading through the list of questions has an tendency to make one uncomfortable. We like our stuff, we like our comfy lives, and we like to think all of that makes us special or blessed. Perhaps, it just makes us fat hypocrites.
I ran across a story this week that talked about the findings of a LifeWay Research study. It basically says that the “unchurched” (a particularly stupid word) see Christian churches as full of hypocrites and overly judgmental. One of the quotes is that 44% said that “Christians get on my nerves.”
This study simply confirms what the Barna Group has found in surveys over the last couple of years.Their studies show that non-Christians and Christians who don’t attend a church (the “unchurched”) think that Christian churches are hypocritical, judgmental, overly political, and old-fashioned stick in the muds.
Will Christian churches, their pastors and their members take heed of this type of research and figure out a way to live Christ-like lives and engage in Christ-like ministries that will show the world that love of God and love of neighbor are indeed the greatest commandments? I doubt it… too much money, power, property and influence is tied up in the running of even the smallest of churches.
Both LifeWay and Barna note that people are interested in spiritual matters and open to talking about spirituality. Unfortunately, the modern Christian church is not interested in either. They simply want people to take an oath to support the creed of their particular flavor of Christianity, donate their money, fill the pews and vote the way the leadership of the church deems appropriate.
Somehow I think if Jesus came to visit us in 2008 he would live and teach among the “unchurched.”