There are few things as inspiring as being labeled and thus strictly aligned into one group or another. A terrific technique to create and maintain order, pontifications about what “older women” or “young men”—you know, the classifications outlined by the writer of Titus—warm my heart, especially now that I am no longer in the “younger women” camp and yet hardly feel rightly identified as an “older woman.”
But maybe you are not as biblically warped as I am since my major in college (Religion and Philosophy) entailed a fair bit of biblical interpretation and most likely of the wrong kind at least according to our friends at Mars Hill in Seattle who seem to be especially anxious that college students today don’t fall prey to the wiles of an university education.
Fortunately for my sense of identity and purpose I stumbled across a recent series of blog posts by Pastor Dave Bruskas of Mars Hill. Based upon his reading of Titus 2, Bruskas devotes separate posts to older men, older women, young women, and younger men. All you have to do is quickly identify which group you belong to and Bruskas can tell you how you should act. It’s all simply, really.
Like me, you’ll be glad to know older men are instructed to be “temperate, serious, prudent” which, according to Bruskas, means they should be “sober minded, dignified, and self-controlled.” Almost the same thing: temperate and sober-minded. Still, this is especially significant when contrasted with how older women are instructed: “to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink.” Because I don’t know about you but I often see women who carouse in local bars and night clubs, downing beer like Pepsi or whiskey like tea. I mean, if ever there was a group who needed to be reigned in for their indulgence of alcohol it is the elderly women sitting in the pews each Sunday.
Of course older women have a specific job related to younger women, Bruskas explains. They are to “teach younger women what is good” which includes, apparently, knowledge of how to love their families because, “this doesn’t come naturally but comes from the gospel being implanted in her heart and being worked out by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
This, I suppose, is very timely advice for young women today, especially those who might be tempted by the evils of feminism they are taught when they go off to college and learn the skill of thinking critically.
Speaking of critical thinking, I can’t wait to see what Pastor Bruskas has to say about slaves and masters since, also in Titus 2, slaves are told to “be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior.”
Oh, wait, slavery is an institution no longer seen as acceptable instead an illustration of injustice and rightly outlawed by all enlightened societies.
Right. And so explain to me again, Pastor Bruskas, why slavery is wrong (and thus curiously absent from your list of groups in Titus) but a so-called Christian justification of patriarchy—the oppression of women—is not only acceptable but is what God intended.
It’s probably that damn university education getting in the way of my faith again.