<![CDATA[Chronicles of an Amateur Food Lover - Random ]]>Tue, 01 Dec 2015 02:35:49 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[7 Things I've Learned about Women, God and the Bible + a Bible Story You've Never Heard]]>Wed, 29 Jan 2014 02:05:07 GMThttp://chroniclesafl.weebly.com/random/7-things-ive-learned-about-women-god-and-the-bible-a-bible-story-youve-never-heard
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A fragile vessel about to knock an army general's brains out. :)
One of the many reasons why I love God so much is because he orchestrated the necessary events for Judges 4-5 to end up in the Biblical canon.  You might be surprised to know that the subjects in this painting are not from Greco-Roman myth or from a fairy tale; they are actually Biblical characters.  

During a time in which Israel was led by a woman prophetess (GASP!), whose name was Deborah, Israel was being oppressed by Jabin, the king of Canaan.  Jabin's army was commanded by Sisera, the dude in the painting.  Deborah recruited Barak to kick Jabin's army's butt, along with 10,000 men.  She told him that even though the Lord would give them the victory, the full honor wouldn't be his "for the Lord [would] deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman" (Judges 4:9). After Barak and the 10,000 men succeeded in their endeavor, Sisera escaped and sought refuge in the house of Heber and Jael, the woman in the painting.  He did this because Heber's family had an alliance with King Jabin.  Little did Sisera know that he was barking up the wrong tree...
Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.

“I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.

“Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her. “If someone comes by and asks you, ‘Is anyone in there?’ say ‘No.’”

But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

 Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you’re looking for.” So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple—dead.  (Judges 4-18-22 NIV)

Afterwards Deborah and Barak composed a victory song.  Here are some of the lyrics:
Most blessed of women be Jael [...]
Her hand reached for the tent peg,
    her right hand for the workman’s hammer.
She struck Sisera, she crushed his head,
    she shattered and pierced his temple.
At her feet he sank,
   he fell; there he lay.
At her feet he sank, he fell;
   where he sank, there he fell—dead. 
(Judges 5: 24a; 26-27 NIV)
How's that for a Bible story? I'm sure that one wasn't included in your "My First Bible."  It sure wasn't in mine...
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Many people are under the impression that the Bible describes a God who sees women as being inferior to men.  I understand where this comes from.  The Bible certainly has controversial passages about women that, at first glance, might seem to condone male superiority.  However, by taking into account the context of these passages, the bigger picture of the Fall and Jesus's redemptive work on the cross and the fact that the Bible was not originally written in English, I personally came to a different conclusion.  Also, by studying several of the women mentioned in the Bible by name, I could also see how God used women throughout history, such as Jael, as powerfully as he used men, and how He can and still wants to use women today for his purposes.  I am not a theologian.  I haven't been doing months of research.  This blog post is not meant to be a comprehensive text explaining all of the tough passages of the Bible related to women.  That would require a book, and one by a much better prepared writer than me. My goal here is simply to share some of the things I've been learning about women and the Bible, as the title suggests.  So without any further ado, here's seven things that have been crossing my mind recently...

1. God is not a man

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My concept of God when I was a child. Judging by the hair, I think I probably imagined God as a man. LOL
"God is a Spirit" (John 4:24) who, in many ways, surpasses our understanding.  We live in a physical world with limitations that God doesn't have.  One of these limitations is a physical body with sexual organs.  God is not male nor female, and in fact, the Bible says that he fashioned both men and women in his likeness:
 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27 NIV)
One of the reasons why we typically identify God as male is because the Bible calls him "he."  In her article "Is God Male or Masculine?," Margaret Mowczko, explains how the grammatical gender of many languages, like Greek and Hebrew, may not describe the actual gender of the person or thing being mentioned.  She mentions that, while many of God's titles (ex. Yahweh and Elohim) are grammatically male, the word "Spirit" in Greek (pneuma) is grammatically neuter, while the same word in Hebrew (Ruach) is grammatically feminine.  This does not mean that the Holy Spirit is a female.  In the same way, referring to Elohim as "he", does not mean that God is male.  

It is interesting to note that the Bible uses both male and female metaphors to describe God, although it contains more male metaphors than female.  In the same article mentioned above, Mowczko says:
God, through the Bible writers, used metaphors that the people of Israel could identify with, and they could identify with patriarchy.  The cultural norm of patriarchy, in fact, makes the feminine metaphors of God all the more significant.
Some of the female metaphors of God include a woman giving labor (Isaiah 42:14), a pregnant woman (Isaiah 46:3), a comforting mother (Isaiah 66:13), a midwife (Psalm 71:6) and a housewife (Luke 15:8-10). 

Finally, we cannot ignore the fact that God made himself flesh and came to the world as Jesus, a male.  I think Mowczko's treatment of this subject is so good that I'm just gonna point you to her article here

2. Jesus honored women.

A list within a list!  Here are some events in which God honored women through the radical ministry of Jesus.  
  • The genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew includes several women, even though the genealogies of those times usually overlooked them. (Matthew 1)
  • Jesus came to the world through the pregnancy of Mary, a young Jewish virgin who was "highly favored" by God. (Luke 1: 28). Furthermore, Mary and Elizabeth were the first, in their day, to prophecy that the Savior was gonna be born, not Joseph nor Zechariah. (Luke 1:39-45)
  • It is often said that the first evangelist was a woman. When Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman at the well he revealed some profound truths about the Kingdom of God just to her.  The disciples were shocked to see him talking with a woman in public, especially a Samaritan woman because the Jews didn't associate with Samaritans.  When Jesus finished speaking with her, she told everyone what he had told her and many Samaritans believed in Jesus because of her testimony. (John 4
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  • All four Gospels record an incident in which Jesus allowed a woman to anoint him and passionately worship him in front of others.  In one of these occasions the woman is said to be a sinful women, probably a prostitute, and she performs her act of worship in a Pharisee's house. When the men criticize her, Jesus rebukes them and praises the woman for her deed. He even goes so far to say that wherever the Gospel is preached, this woman's action will be spoken about.  (Matthew 26:6-13Mark 14:1-10Luke 7:36-50John 12:1-8)
  • Jesus saved a woman that was caught in adultery from getting stoned by the Pharisees. (John 8:1-11)  
  • Some of Jesus's best friends were Mary and Martha. Mary sat at Jesus's feet to hear him teach, a posture that only disciples assumed. (Luke 10-38-42)
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  • Even though the 12 apostles were all men, there were women that accompanied them on their missionary trips and supported them out of their own means. (Luke 8:1-3)  It was certainly not common for women to leave their homes and follow a Jewish teacher, but Jesus welcomed them into his ministry. 
  • Women were the first ones to realize that Jesus had resurrected.  (Luke 24:1-12)

3. Paul recognized women leaders. 

Oh Paul...  Good ol' Paul, whose infamous comments about women's roles in marriage and church have sent many present day readers into a frenzy.  Paul is also responsible for writing most of the letters to the churches in the New Testament and his powerful ministry to the Gentiles covers almost half of the book of Acts.  Paul didn't do ministry by himself though.  He discipled many people and they, in turn, discipled many other people.  Some of these people were particularly special to Paul and he mentioned them by name in his letters.  It might be surprising to some, especially those that have read the controversial passages, that among them, Paul mentioned many women, some of them leaders.  Below, we'll be taking a look at four of these women.  
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Phoebe
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me. (Romans 16:1-2)
The word "deacon" is diakonos in Greek, a word that Paul also used to describe his own ministry.  In many English translations (such as the ESV and KJV), Phoebe is referred to as a "servant" instead, a translation that may downplay her role as a prominent minister in the church of Cenchreae.

The word "benefactor" is prostatis in Greek, a word that usually implies leadership and can also be translated as "patroness".  For a more thorough analysis of the word in relation to Phoebe, click here
Priscilla 
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. (Romans 16: 3 NIV)
Priscilla and Aquilla are mentioned seven times in the Bible.  Together they made tents, travelled with Paul, led a house church, taught Apollos about the Gospel and, as shown by the verse above, risked their lives for Paul.  I see this as a good example of equality in marriage.  Aquilla didn't go out to minister and leave his wife at home.  They did everything together.  :)
Junia 
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. (Romans 16:7 NIV)
Now here's an interesting case. In the ESV Bible, Jews is translated as "kinsmen" and "outstanding among the apostles" as "well known to the apostles."  Read it again with those substitutions.  Doesn't the meaning change? 

The reason for many Biblical translators to make it seem as if Junia was a man and/or not an apostle is because the idea of a female apostle does not resonate with their anti-female-leadership doctrine.  However, as Mowczko explains in her article "Junia and the ESV", "the masculine name, Junias, never actually appears in any Ancient Greek literature (or papyri or inscription) whatsoever before the 13th century, while the female name, Junia, appears frequently."  Therefore, it is more reasonable to conclude that Junia was in fact a woman and not a man.  The translation "well known to the apostles" instead of "outstanding among the apostles" has also been refuted in the article mentioned above.  
Nympha 
Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. (Colossians 4:15 NIV)
Notice that Nympha's husband is not mentioned.  That's probably because she didn't have any.  A single woman leading a Christian house church?  Yes. :D

4. Christian women are not commanded to obey their husbands. 

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However, they are commanded to "submit" to their husbands.  
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. (Ephesians 5: 21-22)

The first thing I want to highlight is that before telling wives to submit to their husbands, Paul tells all Christians to submit to one another.  Does this mean we all have to obey each other?  Does this mean each of us rules over our Christian brothers and sisters? The answer to this question is obviously no. 

Biblical submission is not equivalent to obedience.  The Greek word for "submit" is hupotasso.  According to the Thayer's and Smith's Bible Dictionary, this word has both a military and a non-military application: 
A Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".
Marriage is a non-military context.  Therefore, the second definition applies.  Notice that this definition includes the word "voluntary."  As Christians we cannot force other people to submit to us.  Husbands are instructed by Paul to love their wives as they love themselves (Ephesians 5:28) and as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).  Nowhere are husbands instructed to make their wives submit to them. 

Some people argue that Genesis 3: 16, where God tells Eve "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you" is God's prescription for marriage.  I argue that in this verse God is describing what was going to happen as a consequence of sin entering the world, not revealing His will for marriage.  Furthermore, we no longer live under the curse of sin, but instead we move in the freedom that Christ purchased for us with his blood. 

I love how Mowczko ends her article on this same subject ("Submission in Marriage"): 
Every follower of Jesus Christ, regardless of gender, race, social or church position, should endeavour to live in submissive harmony with others.  Jesus exemplified this submission and humility during his earthly mission.  Our aim should be to intentionally follow Christ’s example found in Philippians 2:3-8:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
But in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests
But also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who being in the very nature God,
Did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped,
But made himself nothing,
Taking the very nature of a servant,
Being made in the likeness of man,
He humbled Himself and became obedient to death
Even death on a cross!


Philippians 2:3-8.

5. Men are not "heads of the household" or "priests of the family." 

If you're a Christian, chances are you've heard these two phrases before when referring to fatherhood.  I had heard them so many times that I was shocked when I found out the Bible never mentions them.  
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Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”--which is the first commandment with a promise--“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3 NIV)
That's right, let it sink in.  The Bible nowhere says that fathers should have more authority over their children than mothers.  What it does say is that children should honor, respect and obey both their father and mother.  Both parents are responsible for their children's discipline and well-being.  

6. The husband is the head of the wife.

Although the phrase "head of the household" is not biblical, the Bible does say a husband is the head of the wife and a man is the head of a woman.  
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The reality in many cases. LOL
Here are the two Bible verses where Paul says this:
 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man,and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3 NIV)
 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. (Ephesians 5:23 NIV)
In both verses the Greek word for "head" is kephalē.  In her article "Kephalē and “Male Headship” in Paul’s Letters," Mowczko argues that the word kephalē in Koine Greek was usually not used as a metaphor for  authority or leader.  She says that the word "head" in 1 Corinthians 11 is probably a metaphor for "source" or "origin" and the verse might have been written with the intention of debunking other creation stories the Corinthians were exposed to.  In another article, "The Chiasm in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16," she paraphrases 1 Corinthians 11:3 like this: 
“But I want you to realize that the source (or origin) of every man is Christ, and the source (or origin) of [the first] woman is [the first] man, and the source (or origin) of Christ is God [or the triune Godhead].”
As for the other verse, Ephesians 5:23, Mowczko highlights the fact that the lordship and authority of Jesus Christ are not mentioned in the passage.  Instead, the emphasis is on Christ's sacrificial love and care for the church.  Mowczko says that this is the main point of the verse: 
 Husbands are to love and care for their wives as Jesus loves and cares for the church.  It seems that just as Christ is the sustainer and source (kephalē) of nurture for the church, the husband is to be the sustainer and source (kephalē) of nurture for his wife. 

7. The Biblical ideal is equality between men and women. 

The following Bible verses express the Biblical ideal when it comes to relationships between men and women.  
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:27-28)
Notice God told both man and woman to rule over the earth.  Also, both were created in God's image.  
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,'  for she was taken out of man.”  That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.  (Genesis 2:23-24)
Adam acknowledged Eve and him were one.  The expression "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" does not imply hierarchy, but equality.  
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.  (1 Corinthians 11:11-12 NIV)
The expression "in the Lord" is important.  Under the curse of sin patriarchy was born.  Now that we're in Christ, we have to acknowledge that men and women need each other equally.  
The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:4 NIV)
Here Paul is talking about sexual relationships.  He later says that if one wants to deprive the other of sex they have to agree on it together.  

And to conclude...
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,  for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free,nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3: 26-28) 
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<![CDATA[Duct Tape Pine Cone Ornament]]>Thu, 26 Dec 2013 17:07:45 GMThttp://chroniclesafl.weebly.com/random/duct-tape-pine-nut-ornament
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It's not too late to add one more ornament to your tree, especially one as cute and easy to make as this one!  When I arrived at my aunt, uncle and cousins' house in Washington I noticed some cute handmade ornaments in their tree.  When I asked about them my cousin Jaheily told me she had made them herself out of duct tape.  I immediately told her she had to teach me and when she did I was surprised at how simple the process is.  So without any further ado, here's what you need and the directions...
Materials:
  • Colored duct tape (2 colors)
  • Small foam balls 
  • Scissors
  • String 
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In the instructions I'll refer to "red" and "green" duct tape.  But, of course, you can use any color you like. ;)

The first thing you gotta do is cut an inch of red duct tape.  Then, fold the top corners, as shown in the picture, and stick the piece of duct tape to a foam ball.  
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Repeat the process two more times.  This will be the bottom of the "pine cone."
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Look at those adorable helpers! <3
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Next, cut an inch of green duct tape, fold it in the same way you did the red, and stick it to the foam ball.  The first green duct tape's point will be in the middle of two pieces of red duct tape, as you see in the first and biggest picture.  The second one will be in the middle of one piece of red duct tape, as you see in the small pictures.  Repeat the process.  We ended up with six pieces of green duct tape.  
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After that, cut an inch of red duct tape and stick it on the foam ball, only between the pieces of green duct tape, as clearly shown on the largest picture on the bottom.  Do the same thing with green duct tape afterwards.  
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Repeat the same process with the red duct tape one more time.  Afterwards, cut a square piece of green duct tape to cover the part of the foam ball that is still exposed.  Then, cut about 1/2 an inch of red duct tape and fold it in half.  Cut a very small strip of red duct tape.  Form a ring with the first piece and secure it with the tiny strip of tape as shown in the third small picture from top to bottom.  Then tape this ring to the ornament with a green piece of tape as shown in the first and second small pictures from left to right.  
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Tie a piece of string to the ornament and hang on your Christmas tree.  Hope you're all having a merry season. God bless you all! :)
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