30 Sep The One About Why I Want to be Like a Woman
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Nowadays, it seems like this verse is plastered all over the place at women’s conferences and meetings. Although this verse in Proverbs has been in the canon for hundreds of years, it seems as though it was only recently that this portion of scripture has been discovered. It’s the latest John 3:16 and Philippians 4:13 the way it’s printed on t-shirts, coffee mugs, pens, and tote bags. It’s become the latest biblical gimmick – printed on consumable products that fill the Christian stores all over America. The truth is that it’s Christianity’s latest moneymaker. Producers buy a ton of cheaply made t-shirts from China, slap this verse on it that’s designed to look like a logo for a brand that women are familiar with, and – boom – not only are women empowered by wearing the t-shirt, but the producers also make a ton of money in the process. Simple.
Maybe I’m bitter toward the “Christian” industry. Maybe I’m bitter toward the lack of creativity that makes the designers of the shirts use logos that already exist and change them up a little bit to match the verse. There are plenty of examples out there of Christians commandeering the Coke, Reese’s, and Twinkie logos, but the truth is that there’s nothing inherently creative about that. If we are created in the image of the Creator, should we not all be filled with the most creative force in the universe?
I could go on about this, but my point here is that the verse has become such an everyday sight, that I haven’t even really paid much attention to it until recently. Sure, I’ve seen it stamped on bible covers (yes, people still use those) and bumper stickers, but I’ve never actually read it in its entirety until recently. But when I did take the time to read it, I realized something: I want to be exactly like a Proverbs 31 woman, and you should, too.
A few years ago, Mark Driscoll said some things that a lot of people didn’t really feel comfortable with. He said some things about Jesus that, honestly, doesn’t really sit well with me either. I’m not, in any way, attacking Pastor Driscoll. I believe with all of my heart that he loves Jesus as he says he does, but him and I have different ideas of what Jesus looks like. Pastor Driscoll said things about how the church has turned Jesus into, “a Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ…neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy of pop culture that…would never talk about sin or send anyone to hell.” Also, my favorite (hear my sarcasm) quote of his is comes from his book:
It all began with Adam, the first of the pussified nation, who kept his mouth shut and watched everything fall headlong down the slippery slide of hell/feminism when he shut his mouth and listened to his wife who thought Satan was a good theologian when he should have lead her and exercised his delegated authority as king of planet. As a result, he was cursed for listening to his wife and every man since has been pussified sit quietly by and watch a nation of men be raised by bitter penis envying burned feministed single mothers who make sure that Johnny grows up to be a very nice woman who sits down to pee.
Basically, what he is saying here is that Jesus was not a wimp. Instead, Jesus was a “man’s man” who would not sit by and be *shudders* feminine. The truth, though, is that Jesus wasn’t always so quick to anger, and he definitely wasn’t quick to act on it when he was angry. When he was being arrested, one of his followers cut off the ear of one of the people that were there to take him in, but Jesus responds to this by healing the man’s ear. Jesus healed the ear of the man that was wrongfully arresting him. In Luke 13, Jesus talks about wanting to gather the people unto him like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings – a very maternal image if you ask me. Yes, Jesus flipped tables and cracked whips at the people in the temple, but, arguably, this reaction of anger and aggression is more the exception to the behavior and demeanor of Jesus than the rule.
I think, though, that just by reading Proverbs 31, it’s definitely possible to see how Jesus embodies all of those things. If we use the common analogy that we, the church, are the Bride and he is the groom, then we, the male and female Bride, should embody all of those things, too. The analogy works both ways, I think. If we imagine Jesus as the woman in Proverbs 31 and the church as the man, it’s easy to see it there, too. Just replace the feminine pronouns with the name of Jesus and the male pronouns with, “His church,” and there you have it.
- 11 Her husband (the church) has full confidence in her (Jesus) and lacks nothing of value. 12 She (Jesus) brings him (the church) good, not harm, all the days of her (The church’s) life.
- 25 She (Jesus) is clothed with strength and dignity; she (Jesus) can laugh at the days to come. 26 She (Jesus) speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her (Jesus’) tongue.
- 28 Her children (the church) arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
- 31 Honor her (Jesus) for all that her (He) hands have done, and let her (his) works bring her (him) praise at the city gate.
My point, put so eloquently by Brandon O’Brien of Christianity Today is, “If Adam and Eve illustrate the essential differences between men and women, Christ highlights their essential unity. All believers are called to imitate Christ by exhibiting the same qualities; Paul makes no distinction between masculine and feminine fruits of the Spirit.”
We live in this weird time in which it’s okay for women to want to emulate men, but not okay for men to want to emulate women. I recently became a contributor and writer over at The Marvel Report and I did a little experiment. In my author bio that appears at the end of each article I write, I made sure to mention that my favorite superhero is Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In less than 24 hours, I received a few messages from friends wondering why I would say that Black Widow was my favorite superhero. Why is it that it’s okay for a woman to say that Captain America is her favorite hero, but “weird,” “different,” or not “normal,” for me to say that Black Widow is mine? Superheroes are hardly relevant to why I want to be like a Proverbs 31 woman, but that’s just an example. I want to be like a Proverbs 31 woman because she models Christ so eloquently and gracefully.
I want to be clothed with strength and dignity because Jesus is. I want to speak with wisdom and faithful instruction because Jesus does – there’s nothing gender specific about the fruits of the Spirit.