Sunday, May 26, 2013

Married to a Black Belt

My wife and one of our daughters have a black belt in Soo Bahk Do, a Korean martial art. (April 15, 2012)

Does my wife having a black belt bother me? Honestly, yes: a little.

I was born in the Truman administration. It would be surprising if I hadn't picked up some of that era's cultural baggage.

But I'm 'bothered' only in the sense of having conflicts between old emotional responses and what I know to be true.

One of my wife's lifelong dreams was to earn a black belt, and I am glad that she realized that dream.

Those Dreadful Days of Yesteryear

I remember when telling a woman 'you're as smart as a man' was supposed to be a compliment. Some of the changes my generation worked for were desperately needed and long overdue. Although some of our reforms didn't turn out as I had hoped, I do not miss the 'good old days.'

Today's view of women, men, and marriage also needs correction. That does not mean that I sympathize with folks who like Ephesians 5:22, but seem oblivious to the rest of that chapter. (May 1, 2012)

Not a Doormat

Like many folks, I learned from my parent's example. Sometimes I learned the wrong lesson, and that's another topic.

Something I learned correctly, though, was the idea that women, and men, are people who matter.

My mother was far from being a doormat: willing or otherwise.

Her strength wasn't physical. She was five-foot nothing with a disinclination for physical activity that I, unhappily, inherited. I also seem to have inherited an echo of that diminutive black-haired daughter of the Vikings' capacity for intimidating others.

No bragging there, by the way. I also have blue eyes and dark hair: it's part of the equipment I have to work with.

Knowing my father, he was probably drawn to her indomitable spirit. She did not like it when someone said 'you don't look Norwegian,' and that's still another topic.

My wife is, I think, a bit like my mother was before a debilitating stroke: and that's yet another topic.

'It's in the Bible'

Some folks may still think that if something's 'in the Bible,' it's a good idea. That's not necessarily so.

Don't get me wrong: I take Holy Scripture very, very seriously. I have to. I'm a Catholic, and it's 'in the rules. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 101-133)

Crackpot notions about what the Bible says are (what else?) another topic. (November 16, 2010)

Folks we find in the Bible aren't necessarily good role models. Jezebel, for example, didn't end well; and Sampson isn't known for his common sense. (Judges 14:4; 16:1-17; 2 Kings 9:7, 35)

Europe's artistic and cultural preferences during the last few centuries can give folks a somewhat distorted notion about being 'spiritual,' and being a woman: or man, for that matter. (February 20, 2011; February 15, 2010)

Women in the Bible are not necessarily wimps. There's Deborah, judge of Israel; and Jael, wife of Heber, who is chiefly known for nailing a general's head to the floor. (Judges 4:4-5; Judges 4:17-22, Judges 5:24; and see Footnote 2 of Judges 5)

A Mother's Advice

Proverbs ends with a mother's advice to her son. (Proverbs 31:1-31)

Here's part of her description of a "worthy wife:" (Proverbs 31:10)
"She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands.

"Like merchant ships, she secures her provisions from afar.

"She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household.

"She picks out a field to purchase; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

"She is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms."
(Proverbs 31:13-17)
Besides managing the household, manufacturing cloth and clothing, investing in real estate and operating a vineyard, this lady "is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms." (Proverbs 31:17)

- - - and not one word about being 'as smart as a man.'

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