Saturday, September 30, 2006

Insomniac ramblings....

Up at 3 a.m. I couldn't figure out why I woke up...wide awake. Then realized that when ya go to sleep (read that: pass out on the sofa) at 8:30 the night before....ya just might wake up early.
So, got my hot tea, my laptop, and my Labrador all hunkered down on the couch for a little me-time....

I'm much better these past few days. I think I had some kind of bug or something. Remember that commercial where tired people are dragging themselves around by the back of the neck? ( was a weird one.) That's kind of how it was. But, it passed, so think it was a virus.

I substituted a lot last week. Yesterday was another special needs gig at an elementary school. I prefer middle school and high school, but I enjoyed the day very much. No, no..I love little kids. It's just, well...don't laugh. Little kids puke a lot. You're laughing at me! I can HEAR YOU!!! Really! I can take blood. I can take ooze, snot, etc. I just cannot take puke. I'm even laughing at me, now. Around 2 p.m. in this Texas History class, this little girl was weeping to the teacher I was helping that she didn't feel well and needed to puke (TOLD YOU THEY PUKE A LOT! What are the chances?!? My first elementary gig and someone has to puke!!) I could feel my blood pressure rising; my adrenalin fight or flight defense mechanism kicking in; I'm scanning the perimeter looking for an escape route; looking for a waste basket...NOOOOO! It's clear across the room. Can I reach it in time? I have visions of hurling myself toward it, with Ninja-like precision-- flipping and flying, grabbing the basket and depositing it in front of the girl in time for her to spew her multi-colored, viscous and partially-digested cafeteria fare neatly into the trash bag protected receptacle, whereupon I can turn my head and cease air intake long enough to tie up the slimy mess.
Thank the Lord it was a false alarm. The teacher was very scary and I'm pretty sure she scared the puke right back into the wee lass.
The majority of the day I spent tagging along with an emotionally disturbed boy (they really scared me because they said he got angry easily, violent, etc.--Good Morning, Karen!) He was fine all day; he had the most beautiful eyes and smile. I was proud of him when he went to the restroom, came out and wanted to tell the janitor (of whom he was very respectful) that someone had dumped soap all over the floor and he was concerned someone might slip and hurt themselves. That was cool. Another little kid I spent time with was a delightful boy in a powered wheelchair. He had a laugh that just made ya giggle back. He encouraged all the other kids, and they encouraged him back. He was fun. The last kid I tagged with was a bit disruptive, but mostly occupied himself by eating his boogers. As long as he wasn't puking, I was okay....

Well, I didn't mean to confess all of that. This might be one of those posts you post and then run back to delete before anyone reads it. All in all a good week. The subbing is blessing me in a major way....and I get paid, too! Who'da thought?

But, something VERY important to do! Catch up on all of YOUR blogs! Have an awesome and blessed weekend, y'all!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Jael and Deborah, wife of . . . whom?

I think the story of Deborah, the prophet and judge in chapter 4 of the book of Judges, is amazingly under told. It was never in my Children’s Bible when I was growing up, so when I heard this amazing story as an adult, I couldn’t help but wonder why it is not discussed more often in church or in bible studies.

I feel this story reveals a bit about life back in the days of the OT. It says Deborah was a prophet judging Israel in those days. Now, it doesn’t say this was anything out of the ordinary! It could have been written:

“In those days, a woman named Deborah was a prophet and was judging Israel. This was very unusual because we know that only men are supposed to be leaders, so just consider this an exception this one time.”

No, it wasn’t written like that, or anything close. It was simply stated as fact, not as an unusual occurrence. Remember, the Lord raised up the Judges at that time; He picked the leaders, and He picked Deborah.

The first statement about Deborah says she was the wife of someone named Lappidoth. Lappidoth is an interesting name, and it is the only time we ever see this name in the Bible. The word is derived from Lappiyd, a masculine noun meaning torch; Lappidoth is a proper feminine name meaning “torches.” It might be worth asking why a man would have a feminine name. Here is one literal translation of the sentence:

dbowrah nbiy’ah ishshah lappiydowth eia shaphat Yisra’el ‘eth
Deborah prophetess woman-of lappidoth she judging Israel in time

The word ‘ishshah,” that is translated “wife.” is the word for “woman.” Some think this sentence might actually be translated as “Deborah, woman of fire or torches.” That might be the case. Why was it necessary to mention that Deborah is the wife of anyone? Perhaps it was customary at that time. Who is Lappidoth and what did he do? Nothing more is said about him.

The name Deborah means “bees,” and I would imagine] she was very “queenly” since she was entrusted with decision-making in Israel. So, was she a woman of fire, or the wife of Lappidoth? Chances are, she was a wife and mother, as revealed in Judges 5:7.

You might think since I write from an egalitarian viewpoint I am trying to lessen the importance of who Lappidoth might have been…perhaps to the point of dismissing his very existence. Nothing could be further from the truth. If Deborah was indeed the wife of Lappidoth, it is sad that no more is written about him than just his name, because he is surely an unsung hero of the Bible! A man who accepts and supports his wife’s calling from the Lord! AND to allow her to go into battle! I hold him in high esteem, just as I do Joseph, who accepted his bride-to-be’s calling as the mother of Jesus. Joseph didn’t have to accept what he saw in his dream as real, and if we were to put ourselves back in that time period, we would see what a step of faith this young man took when he chose to marry a girl carrying a child that wasn’t his. And, so, this Lappidoth fellow steps aside for his wife. Absolutely amazing!

In the story, Deborah tells Barak, because he wants her to go with him, Sisera will be delivered at the hands of a woman. That statement gives us a hint there is some discrimination going on, because we would assume if one told a man this, he might puff himself up and decide that it would be far more embarrassing to succeed with a woman, than to die as a lone general.

Apparently, Barak is another unsung hero. He sees who Deborah is. He sees the Lord’s work through her. He trusts her calling implicitly. He has no shame in having a woman with him, and he doesn’t care if Sisera is defeated by a woman. As we read this, we believe (if we don’t know the ending) it will be Deborah who does the deed. Instead, it is the wife of a man on friendly terms with Sisera who delivers the blow that will grant peace to Israel for 40 years.

We don’t know why Jael decides to do away with Sisera. He obviously trusted her; or thought her incapable of rendering any harm upon him; he fell asleep in the tent, completely at ease. Perhaps his history of mistreating women was a motivating factor for Jael to kill him (Judges 5:30). We know that killing is wrong, yet she chose to do “wrong” to put something right. We know it was the right decision, and I certainly commend her for what she had the courage to do. Have you ever seen an ancient tent peg? Ouch.

My thoughts on this story, as I contemplated it in the context of writing, started out with the usual, “See what WOMEN can do? The same stuff that MEN can do!”

But, that isn’t the point. The point is that the Lord did all of this. (Judges 4:23-24) This story is about men and women stepping aside and letting the Lord do His work through us all, regardless of gender. Lappidoth stepped aside to let Deborah lead. Barak stepped aside to have Deborah AT his side. Deborah stepped aside for Jael, because she knew what the Lord was planning. If we stop seeing ministry and the Lord’s work as something that we in the flesh take any credit for, then it won’t matter who is doing the work. Everybody in Judges 4 got out of the way of each other and let the Lord do his work. It didn’t matter who completed the task then, and it shouldn’t matter now.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

(With Arnold's accent) I'll be bahck......

I've used up my energy reserves in my mighty (stupid?) attempts to get in shape, work work work, and so on....My mind and spirit are very happy, but my body is resting and catching up with your blogs.....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Up at 3:30....

I woke up at 3:30 this morning....have been up ever since. My cat, Lizzie, didn't come in last night, and I started worrying that maybe, just maybe, she pulled one of her tricks and climbed in the car with my hubby and youngest as they were packing to go on a canoe trip. My mind started working, you know, and I pictured her riding out to the Brazos...the guys are clueless, of course....and she escapes into the wilderness to become coyote breakfast when they open the back to unpack...never to be seen again.

Well...she was just outside all night, and as I was throwing the ball for Gracie, she came toodling around the corner.

I grabbed some coffee and started thinking about what God might want me to say about women next....and although there are so many OT women to discuss, I think I'm going to talk about Deborah and Jael. This is a story that I had never heard as I was growing little children's Bible, for some reason, with all of its condensed stories, didn't have this tale in it. I wonder why. It has most of the other stories in it....all illustrated nicely with blonde white people. ;-)

Then, as I was praying, this thought popped into my mind....someone out there is going to think, as I write these essays, that I hate men.

Nothing could be further than the truth. I am surrounded by men. My hubby (my biggest supporter) is one! :-) My sons are fine young men. I have several surrogate sons, one who will make me a "Nana" in a couple of months. Interestingly, most of my friends are men. When I was ministering to a congregation, it was mostly men who ministered to ME, and supported me as an elder. Mostly, though, I now have an array of strong, Spirit-led men AND women who are awesome in their gifts, and who are good and dear brothers and sisters.

SO, in Deborah and Jael, which I think is really a very weird story, I'll look at how we can choose to do as the Lord leads us....or not. I was thinking about my own situation...not any where near what these gals dealt with. But, in my life, I deal with my health issues, and the issues of my brother, my step-mom, my mother-in-law. I did some soul-searching a while back, and realized that I not only wanted to add substitute teaching to my work life to add cash flow....I also wanted to get the heck out of the house and away from dealing with some of these things for a few hours. When I admitted this to my friend Connie, she said, "Well...yeah! Of course you want to do that! When you work at home, you're still at everyone's beck and call...they have no boundaries, and think you're not doing anything. When you're at one can contact you except in an emergency." She was right. It was supposed to be pretty much 7-8 hours of not dealing with my own reality.....
supposed to be.
You can't, if you're really listening, get away from what HE wants you to do. The only substitute jobs I've gotten are the ones as a Special Services Aide. So, ironically, I spend my non-art job days (my supposed 'escape days' ) around special needs kids....physically, emotionally, behaviorally, or mentally challenged kids. And I really like it. It wears me out, but I really like it.

So, I'll talk about Deborah and Jael next.... two women who did what they were supposed to do, as God called them, just as men in the Bible did; without concern about what others might say or think of them. And that's what it's all about.

Finally. I can post a picture of my BYD. (Big Yellow Dog) Her 3rd birthday is tomorrow. It's kind of a miracle. I had 3 vets indicate she might not make it to 1 year...but she did. ( I found out later that all my guys in my family, as well as I, had independently laid hands on her and prayed for her healing. That is SO cool...and God is SO good!) Isn't she a happy looking girl? :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006


In the beginning, there was peace and equality.

The book of Genesis is the main reason I walked away from God many years ago. It then became the reason that I came back to Him later, as I started to read and learn about what His plan was for the human that He created in His image. When I saw it in a new light, God became the magnificent, loving, and amazing Father that I somehow always knew was out there. I came to realize that He loved women as much as men, and expected the same good things from His daughters as His sons.

But, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing the first time I read Genesis. Was God cursing woman? Why would He do that? Was I really a subordinate creature compared to males? If humans were created in His image, then woman was part of the big picture. Why would He cause all women to suffer and tell us that we have to be ruled over by man? It was just unbelievable.

Then, at the old age of 40, I really started reading Genesis, and found some different takes on the translations. I’m no scholar, but there are a lot of scholars out there. Some other non-scholars might say, “Karen…these translators have been doing this for centuries. Are you really trying to say that they made a mistake? It’s all there in the Kings James, for goodness’ sake!”

Well, that’s one of the problems. Most of our translations come from one translation, or some that are similar. And, just as if you take a document, copy it on a machine, then copy the copy, and so on, things get a little….corrupted. I really don’t mean that all of this was intentional. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt, that culture affected some of the translations of some key words. We have many Greek and Hebrew scholars now that are just as able, and are now pointing out some unfortunate errors. Katherine Bushnell, an author, medical doctor and scholar of Hebrew and Greek in the late 1800’s writes:

“…always remembering that we bow to no authority as final but the Word of God, as illuminated by the Spirit. We will endeavor to ‘interpret the Bible by what the Bible says, not by what men say that it says.”

The Lord created a human in His own image. He never calls this creature “Adam” as if it were a proper name. The word adam is Hebrew for human, mankind. God made adam in His image. Male and female He made them, and blessed this creation, 5 times over (Gen 1:28): to be fruitful, to multiply, to subdue and replenish the earth, and have dominion over all. This male-female creature in the image of God is the ruler over the earth. This was proclaimed “good” by the Lord; then, for reasons unknown, became “not good” when only one human walked in the Garden. God decided that it was not good for one person to be alone.

So, in the beginning, there was a created human, male and female. The first named person in history, though, was Eve, the Mother of all living, who was named by the human that isn’t designated as male until Genesis 2:24, after the woman is taken from the side of the human. After that event, the remaining creature is called “isha” which means male. The woman is “ishshah." The human was created first, then a woman was taken from the human’s side; the male formed first, then female. The word “tsela” is always referred to as “rib” in this verse, but for some reason, it is only translated as “rib” in Genesis. It would seem that the woman was made from one piece of the adam but we know women are much more complicated than that! No, the word “tsela” is translated everywhere else in the bible as “side,” or “plank.” She was pulled out and formed from the side of the adam.

When the Lord decides to take (or separate) the woman from the human, He wants to make a “helper suitable” for the man. (Gen 2:18) Not a “help meet” or a servant. He wants the man to have a “help” or “ezer,” the same word that David, in the Psalms, uses to refer to God.( Psalm 33:20, Psalm 70:5, and I believe 9 more psalms) In that realization, would we then assume that the Lord is man’s servant, or is in any way subordinate to us? Hardly. The word “suitable” is negdo, or kenegdo, which means “parallel to,” “before,” or “in front of.”

Dr. Susan Hyatt says in her book, In the Spirit We're Equal:
“Re: Hebrew ezer kenegdo. In Genesis 2:18, the word "helpmeet" does not occur. The Hebrew expression ezer kenegdo appears, meaning "one who is the same as the other and who surrounds, protects, aids, helps, supports." There is no indication of inferiority or of a secondary position in an hierarchical separation of the male and female "spheres" of responsibility, authority, or social position.”

You all know the story. “Adam” knew that he wasn’t supposed to eat from the Tree of All Knowledge of Good and Evil because God told him so. And, yet, there they were, Eve, and according to Gen. 3:6, “Adam” was right beside her. They both ate; they see they’re naked, God finds out, etc. Then that interesting stuff happens. God tells this hapless couple how it’s going to be because of their faux pas, but He never curses them. What does He curse? He curses the serpent, and He curses the ground upon which the man must work. He tells the woman that her “teshuqa,” mistranslated as “desire” will be for her husband, and he will rule over her. The man will work the soil for his sustenance.

So, basically, when women are told that they are subservient to men, this verse is thrown at them as proof, and nearly every time by a man who has never toiled in any soil for his livelihood, or even thought that he should. I believed for a time that this was God’s plan for men and women. Mostly for women, since I’ve existed in a post-agrarian society. It’s funny how I (and the rest of society) never expected men to live up to their “part” of the bargain.

If we look at the word, “teshuqa” we find that the meaning has changed over the centuries. It was changed to mean “desire” in 800 A.D, but from the beginning first meant “turning” in the Septuagint (Greek OT) around 285 B.C. It was shifted about as “alliance” and “direction” until around 500 A.D. Then, under some Rabbinical influence started changing to “impulse,” “power,” and “appetite.” It became “lust” or “desire” in 800 A.D. under Rabbinical teaching. Why?

This verse was translated by Katherine Bushnell in her book, God’s Word to Women to mean “You are turning away to your husband, and he shall rule over you.” In other words, the woman turned away from God and chose her husband over Him. Therefore, because she chooses her husband over God, she allows her husband to become her superior. God sent “Adam” out of the Garden. (Genesis 3:24) He never sent Eve. She chose to go with the man.

God was telling the man and woman how it was going to be because of their blunder. He wasn’t saying it should be this way, but because they blew a good thing when they had it, they were now post-Fall creatures—by their own choice. Everything was on their own heads; this was their choice, not His determination. They wanted Free Will…they got it. God’s original intent was for their eyes and actions to be turned toward HIM.

Then we have the troublesome verse about increasing the woman’s pain in childbirth. This is an interesting verse in which I will defer to Katherine Bushnell’s discussion; it’s interesting and she is much better at discussing the changes and misinterpretations of certain words in that scripture:

In scripture, God seems to stress the enmity between the woman and the serpent…these two seem to be the ones that will be doing battle….woman will produce the One that will crush the serpent’s head. So, what better way for Satan to battle woman then to orchestrate the perception of her as insignificant in the Army of the Lord?

We seem now to have a Christian world that, for the most part, chooses to live in a post-Fall manner. At any time, we all could choose to attempt to live pre-Fall. Jesus came to restore us (Romans 5:12, etc.) to pre-Fall conditions, and yet many would continue in the comfort and hierarchy of the Fall. It’s hard for us to allow one another to walk in the Lord, or to let others do what He says. Humans have a hierarchical leaning now, someone needs be in charge. The original man and woman never gave us the chance to see what it might be like to walk together, shoulder to shoulder. Men are geared to be the boss now, but it takes a big man to listen to others; to give when he needs to give, or stand firm when that’s needed. Women are just as culpable in the case of the subordinate woman. It’s easier to relinquish control to someone else, because it completely absolves one of responsibility and accountability. But, God’s intention was to make humans in His image, and as such, side by side they were to care for the earth and all of its creatures in an equal and loving relationship, with eyes and hearts turned toward Him.

Sources used: The Bible; The Interlinear Bible, HebrewGreekEnglish, Jay P. Green, Sr.; God's Word to Women by Katherine C. Bushnell; In the Spirit We're Equal by Dr. Susan Hyatt; ; ;

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Amazing Grace...for everyone...

Some of you know that I have a Big Yellow Dog named Gracie. I was trying to post her picture, but Blogger is being obstinate. Anyway, I got her from a client who didn't seem to realize that a 2 month old puppy needed house training...and that if you leave her outside, alone, with a swimming pool...she might fall in. She did, and hung on for dear life for, I don't know, a long time until he fished her out. She has water issues now.

Her full name is Emily's Amazing Grace. I got her the day a young girl named Emily, whom our prayer group had prayed for, passed away from a long and valiant battle against bone cancer. Emily was blond and feisty and refused to give up until the very end. Her attitude was amazing. It was as if she didn't know she was sick. I named Gracie after her because I wanted to always remember the strong spirit of the Christian girl who was so inspiring to so many.

And, like the inspiration for her name, Gracie has health issues as well. We didn't think she'd make it to her first birthday...but she'll be 3 on Sunday. She, too, is inspiring...because she is happy, feisty, and really doesn't know that there's anything wrong with her. No one told her. So, she just wants to play and other words...she just does what she is supposed to do.

So, my thoughts are....if we are "ignorant" of something, but we carry on righteously because we know who we powerful can that be?

If a woman feels the call of the Holy Spirit to her to be a minister, or to preach and share the Good News....and she is never told by the "powers that be" that she is limited in her work for the Lord, and she views "those scriptures" differently......if she obeys her Father, not other men and women who might hold her back, then......

how much more could be done for the Kingdom of God?

I'm going to get busy and write on the subject of women in ministry. A few other bloggers are working on this subject, I'll link a couple of other sites that are doing the same. I'm not sure I'll have much to say compared to these other places...I'm no scholar, but I can read, and I can think, and I'll speak from my perspective.

I'll also say....if there's anyone out there that can't discuss on an intellectual level...if you take things personally, or resort to personal attacks on me or anyone else who may comment here, I'll simply delete your comments. It's as simple as that. It's my blog.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Quick ramblings.....

Check out the 10 things below in the comments and read a few lists that some of you posted. Pretty darn weird and interesting! I love bloggers! :-) My good friend C over at "Simply Fish" also posted a list. If I was clever I'd link it up now. You can click on the "Simply" link over on the left. I have some success linking stuff up, but it takes me a few shots. Can anyone tell me the best and fastest way to hyper link on blogger? I feel stoopid.

It's been raining and it was almost chilly this morning! Praise the Lord on that!
I've been working a lot ....lots of physical painting and I'm SORE....the bike riding is adding to it...but I'm keeping at it. We had 8 people here for Labor Day......3 were disabled physically..and it kind of freaked me out. My mother in law, 82, was in the best shape...just toting around an oxygen canister...she is a 10 year breast cancer and broken hip survivor. She's still walkin'. My step mom has a progressing cerebellar ataxia and came in the house in a wheelchair, my brother came in on foot with assistance from my son. What are the odds that one family would be gathered with an almost 50% disabled number? Just weird.

I seem to be collecting all the special needs positions for subbing. That's okay...but I'm looking for some comfier shoes! I run around all day with these kids. I asked the Lord to put me where I'm needed....He took me at my word! I hope I can handle it. It's emotionally draining and I'm not trained for this. I had a teacher tap me on the shoulder and tell me to stop trying to motivate a group of kids! Ha!

When I have more time I'm going to blog on these subjects...I have promised myself that I would broach these and some more that I've thought about:
*I never finished my Jesus and Paul differences...I will!
*I want to talk about teachers and the inclusion factor in schools.
*I'm going to talk about the equality of men and women in the Bible. I'll start with the book that drove me away from God...and then brought me back full force...Genesis.

By the way...have I told you all lately that you rock?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Wild thang.....

Got on my kid's bike this afternoon. I haven't been on a bike for about 18 years..used to ride with my first boy when he was a baby. Put his little helmet on him and tuck him in the bike baby seat. I keep seeing these women my age and older riding around town and I want some of that! So, with my oldest watching to see if 911 needed to be I went. I loved it! I'm going to keep doing that....good workout without the impact! I felt like a 10 year old! A 10 year old in a 150 year old body, but a 10 year old nevertheless !! :-D