October 30, 2006
Anyway, Lord, about the church service, I just wished that the leaders had their wives beside them, for the sake of the women and girls who, like me, didn't have a man of their own (father, husband, even son) to be alongside, but who did have prayer requests, and did need a "human touch" along with Your touch. It still seems to me, Lord, that it would be good to have ministering couples so the wives could hold women and girls while the men pray. I don't know, Lord, but I have been thinking a lot about this issue of protecting our daughters, and I am beginning to feel that the enemy does use this "freedom" in our society to cause a lot of heartache and family sorrow and trouble in the church. I am sure most church leaders feel that a "Godly man" putting his hand upon or even hugging a woman while praying for her - and even listening to her pour out her heart - but without her husband or father or son - or at least an older Godly woman - there in protection and support - is not seen as a problem, because, after all, "it's prayer!"
But Lord, I felt a terrible.... fear?? .... I looked, and saw so many other women seemed to be going up there "fearlessly" and many, many of them single women (divorced, widowed, husbands absent for whatever reason) and saw them reaching out themselves to touch/hold on to the men, and/or the men actually wrapping their arms around them (some just laid hands on their shoulders/heads... not quite so bad, but still...)... Lord, I do not think it is healthy. I began, right there, to see why Muslim societies (and many others, including our own at various times in the past) have such strong rules about the separation of women from men outside the close family; and also the wisdom of the extended family, where women lives close together and care for and support each other (Oh my - is this also why I have been longing to have my girls, my children and their families, come together, live close together, where we can support and care for each other - or is it all because of my emotional state due to the loss of my dad?? -- that thought just came into my mind - and it felt and sounded COLD and almost metallic - yes, very "reasonable" - but Lord? Not from You, I think?? I wonder what Your Word says about this?
Dorcas helping women. The women praying together at the river. Priscilla and Aquila ministering together - to men (ie Apollo) yes - but I bet to women also. The Biblical emphasis of women under headship of husband and father. The constant Biblical demand for faithfulness to "the wife of your youth" - including Paul's admonitions to women re their husbands, in a number of contexts. The assumption of virginity before marriage, and abstinence outside the marriage relationship. And so on.
I'm coming right here to believe that we have to really re-think a lot of things we accept as "normal" and "fine" and "safe." Ha! In a public school, if male counselors put their arms around female students.... and if male teachers put their arms around female teachers, even to "comfort" them... that is seen as "wrong." But in church we all run around being so huggy. And yes, we do mean it in love (purity) and caring (innocence)... and "how can it be bad in a public place and in a context of prayer and even at the communion table"... but so many people are hurting and lonely and emotions are high, and when lonely, hurting, emotional people fall into the arms of members of the opposite sex, and "feel" there safety and love and caring that they don't get in the rest of their life... then what? Maybe that moment is "enough"... or maybe, just maybe... especially as they walk out the door into a sex-soaked society... it becomes "not enough."
Maybe I am over-reacting... or maybe it is a warning from the Lord that needs to be sounded. Maybe, as the Lord seeks to restore our church to purity before Him, He also wants us to put aside those things that can cause breakdown of purity, and place in there the checks and balances that keep purity. Like, maybe, couple "teams" for situations like in church yesterday... And...???
I am glad, Lord, to see the children staying in church for the worship time. And I see that there are still no teachers for certain age groups. I keep wondering... are You trying to tell us something there too? I know some people - some good people - are convinced we need the children out of the service - some even want them out of worship time - "so we adults can focus on the Lord." Lord, You welcomed the children - You even drew them physically closer to Yourself than the adults! When the people came to listen to You, there were 5000 men PLUS women AND CHILDREN! Without need for a microphone. Your authority and power were so strong that all were quiet and could hear.
Pastor ___ spoke of how people like Whitfield would speak to crowds of up to 50,000(!!!) out in open fields - rowdy folk! - and it would be so quiet that you could hear a pin drop! That's Your power, Lord! The power of prayer drawing us into Your will and purpose and power! "Yes, Lord, yes! To Your will and to Your way... When the Spirit speaks to me, with my whole heart I'll agree, and my answer will be 'Yes, Lord, Yes!'" Speak to us, Lord! Your Will!
Lord, I was just starting a new prayer notebook, and was copying ___'s request for prayer for men to be real leaders.
Lord, I am wondering... was my reaction to the service yesterday more (or even just) a reaction of it being a "men only" leadership, than any of the other "issues" I used for my reasons for that reaction? I know when I read the announcement about the upcoming "congregational meeting" that I was disturbed at how "leadership" included only men. And that I immediately reacted by thinking that this new "structure, organization and bylaws" of our church would once again/still/ whatever ignore the needs of women. Of course, if these are truly Godly men, lead by Your Spirit, they will care about and consider the women just as much as themselves. "If they are...." Oh, dear God, please forgive me for my attitude and fears (a lot of which has to do, I know, with my reactions and resulting relationship problems to my husband... and before that, to my dad).
The church is looking for 5 people of Godly character to do research on the structure of the church, and bring recommendations.... I can see from my attitudes that when it comes to "Godly character" I most surely do not qualify! Oh dear God, please change my heart!
(Now I'm feeling conflicted about leading in womens ministry...).