Language and Woman's Place
Diversity troubles standardized language.
Rather than lecture on the subject, I shall preface my comments with
a series of seven vignettes to help my reader think about culture,
extremism, and rationality.
I sometimes wonder if it would not be going too far for a preacher to try too hard to please the ladies in the church. I mean, per the (satirical) advice above), say, the preacher is troubled, having looked at his wife and decided that she looks too young and beautiful. He gives away her fine clothing and stocks up from Goodwill. He buys her some "sensible" shoes, and he sends her to a hairdresser known to be inept. When she asks him why she has to submit to this kind of thing, he points out the necessity of pleasing the women in the church by not flaunting a beauty.
Her reaction might be to wonder if her preacher husband were not perhaps going a bit overboard. That is sort of how I feel when from time to time I hear a preacher water down the honorifics applied to men so as not to upset the women in the church. I suppose he must think it good for our character development to not be treated with automatic respect, but if he answered his wife's complaint about her new wardrobe, shoes, and hairdo by telling her it helps her character not to look so good on the outside, I still doubt if it would set well with her.
I've tried to be balanced, not an "Egbert." I can get intellectual, so I don't ever bother to write notes on the little outlines in the bulletins. (As a matter of fact, I usually don't even bring a pen to church, and sometimes have to borrow one if I do need to write something down.)
Instead, I will walk to church, a brisk 45 minute walk. After getting my circulation going, I'll hang about outside in the fresh air. The other Sunday a sister going from her warm car to the warm building told me, "You need to put a jacket on." (I wasn't cold.) I told her, "If you are cold then go inside or dress warmer." But she replied that I needed to put on a wrap.
I didn't need to. Also I don't need women feeling they should be teaching men--although in some cases I allow it. I just used that as an illustration, not to single anybody out. After a quiet evening at home, and a quiet morning, and a quiet walk, I'm just not prepared to have women yack at me first thing when I arrive for service. I prefer quiet meditation in preparation for worship. I don't necessarily like to get pounced on by everyone arriving for church; I sometimes wait outside until the service gets started.
I'd like to ask you if you're aware if anyone ever troubles instruct or encourage the sisters to be careful not to confuse men by too much talking, not to boss them, nor teach them? I get the impression that such instruction is lacking in some churches. But so-called women's equality, as the world defines it, is not a go-to-the-mat issue in the Bible, and is even contrary to some Bible teaching.
As for manipulating or apologizing for our language in the places where it reflects the God-given order, I don't see that being done in the pithy way the Lord and others point out absurdity. It seems to me quite natural and in balance for our language to be so ordered, and I haven't been shown otherwise.
Finally, to balance pleasing God and pleasing man with the Bibles we use:
I think our Bible version, in the traditional service at least, should be just the KJV.
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Copyright © 2004, Earl S. Gosnell III
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.
Permission is hereby granted to use the portions original to this paper--with credit given, of course--in intellectually honest non-profit educational material. The material I myself have quoted has its own copyright in most cases, which I cannot speak for but have used here under the fair use doctrine.
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