So GOD formed from the dirt of the ground all the animals of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the Man to see what he would name them. Whatever the Man called each living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 2:19) Hippopotamus. Platypus. Rhinoceros. The Man named the cattle, named the birds of the air, named the wild animals; but he didn’t find a suitable companion. (Genesis 2:20) Cow. Salamander. Zebra. Not one called "Friend." GOD put the Man into a deep sleep. As he slept he removed one of his ribs and replaced it with flesh. GOD then used the rib that he had taken from the Man to make Woman and presented her to the Man. (Genesis 2:21, 22) This one God named. "Woman," he called her. And the "good" Garden was "very good." "Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!” (Genesis 2:23) And man said, “Wow! This is good! This is really really good! She’s more beautiful than Peacock, more graceful than Eagle, better conversation than Monkey. She’s perfect. I don’t ever want her to leave. I can’t believe I ever lived without her. I must have been living half as much.” Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:24, 25) One. Not by paper or principality. Naked. She stands bare before him, untainted by corrosive self-doubt injected by magazines and peers. She has no peer. She has no ideal. She is pleased because her Maker is, confident and prized because she is His. Then flesh rests against flesh. Blessed. Belonging. The depths of two souls woven together. No shame. No lonely. No distance. Day and night, waters and skies, birds and cattle. All of this was incomplete without man and man was incomplete without her. And she is so treasured and essential that God couldn’t pull His pen through even one book of His epic without her flowing from His heart and onto the page. Before misogynists demeaned her and husbands betrayed her. Before religion veiled her and preachers silenced her. Before media shamed her and employers underpaid her. Before the world fell and in its amnesia forgot her worth – she was Woman. Prized. Honored. Essential. Loved. She can be still. She should be.
"Everywhere I once walked with a gun I now walk with a bible." -Martin (former child soldier in Uganda) instagram.com/p/j1dhNrSeFt/
THANK YOU. Hard conversations are often avoided on Facebook because it's believed that kind constructive discourse is impossible here. We blame the medium instead of ourselves and avoid difficult topics altogether. But avoidance is not peace-making (Mattew 5:9). And peace-making is not easy. Following Jesus seldom is, right? It is very difficult (and time-consuming) to discuss hard things online - but it is possible. It requires firm moderation - not allowing anyone, regardless of their perspective, to be disrespected. But more importantly, it requires good listeners, thoughtful questioners, gracious challengers, slow responders to join the conversation. YOU. The more time I spend on Facebook, the more I appreciate YOU and the conversations YOU create here. Many of the people reading along don't leave comments but do send me private messages saying "thank you." I'm passing their thanks on to YOU. A police officer who feels appreciated for the first time in a long time. Another who is reevaluating how he patrols in minority neighborhoods. A black friend who has always been afraid to share her experience with racism with white friends feels braver after reading someone else's story shared in the comments here. A black conservative who was certain he'd be ridiculed for his skepticism about claims of racism but wasn't. An atheist who admits he'd actually "check out" a church that talked about the things we talk about here. A pastor who wonders how he could create that kind of church. A friend who thinks I'm too liberal, and another who thinks I'm too conservative, both taking the time to thank me for the "food for thought" and "open dialogue." Thank YOU really. Without YOU, this space would be like so much of Facebook: A place where one perspective is shouted and all others are ridiculed and unfriended. Or a place where avoidance is called "peace." But instead, YOU have made this is a place of learning and understanding, where disagreement often happens, but disrespect does not. THANK YOU for that. -Shaun