I have three chapters left in the Ferber book so I'm moving up my usual blog posts about a day so that I have time to finish reading and then can write a review. Please accept my apologies if you normally read the Portrait series on Wednesdays.
I've been skipping around the Bible a bit. Many of the verses in the Bible are similar to things that I've already mentioned. For example: 1 Peter 1-7 is very similar to 1 Timothy 2: 9-15. 1 Peter says- Likewise, you wives should be subordinate to your husbands so that even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives' conduct when they observe your reverent and chaste behavior. Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelery or dressing in fine clothes, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God. For this is also how the holy women who hoped in God once used to adorn themselves and were subordinate to their husbands; thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him "lord." You are her children when you do what is good and fear no intimidation. Likewise, you husbands should live with your wives in understanding, showing honor to the weaker female sex, since we are joint heirs in the gift of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Please compare this verse to my observations in this blog entry. When I get to verses that are very similar I'll let you know. I don't intend to repeat myself. But Paul repeated himself so he must have thought it important to know that women are subordinate to men and that they should conduct themselves with modesty, chastity (which does not mean virginity for married women), and that their role should be for God and having children. Gold, expensive clothes, and fancy hair dos should not be on a Christian lady's agenda.
This week's verse is one that's discussed in the blogosphere a lot. A lot of women refer to themselves as Titus 2 followers. Here's what they mean.
Titus 2: 3-5
3Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, 4so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.
This passage was written to Titus to make sure that the Cretans (people from Crete) were behaving and conducting themselves as Christians. He also talks about older men, younger men, and slaves.
3Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good,
Clearly Paul is setting up that older women need to set a good example. They should not talk nasty about others. They should not get drunk (or in a modern context do drugs or other substances that causes their behavior to be erratic).
4so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.
Apparently Paul intended older women to be the teachers of younger women. We really don't have anything like that set up in the church, which is a shame. We don't have any classes where an older women teaches younger women. We have other classes that include men and we have prayer groups. Maybe other people's churches do? Let me know if your church has a Titus 2 class. Older women are supposed to teach younger women to control their behavior, remain chaste (virgins for unmarried and fidelity towards spouse for married women), how to be good homemakers, respect their husbands so that no one can say that Christians are hypocrites. Unfortunately in our society we are hypocrites. We look at Muslims who follow their husbands faithfully and cover their bodies modestly and say that they are oppressed. In some countries, sure they have very little rights, but not in the United States. We as Christians should take their example and begin to realize that being a faithful wife and being modest in dress and behavior is important. Some women have discussions with their husband about what they consider to be modest. My husband has never really said anything so either what I wear is fine or he doesn't care. I will later discuss some of the Church's guidelines for modesty, but for now I'm sticking to the Bible.
I have a few more Bible entries left and then we'll move on to the Church's stance and what some of the saints have said. If you are not a Catholic and are reading this, I encourage you to continue reading anyway. Many of the verses that I've already mentioned are contradictory (women as ministers vs women not allowed to teach). The Church has always cleared these matters up instead of leaving it to the individual to interpret the messages of the Bible. The main difference between other Christians and Catholics is that we follow Tradition. This means that what has been taught has been passed on throughout the ages and helps explain how to interpret the contradicting passages in the Bible. I've recently read a blog from a woman who was an Atheist and explained why she became a Catholic and not a Christian of another denomination. I encourage you to read it to understand why Catholics follow a Tradition in order to interpret the Bible. Here is the link. God bless!