Monday, November 3, 2008

Gender in Heaven

I noticed some recent posts on other blogs discussing gender in the life to come, much of which I believe was generated by many comments about this really bizarre article on the CBMW website about their presumption of male headship in heaven. ???

I grew up and formed my views about the significance of gender before it was the huge focus that it is today, and I didn’t encounter any serious or significant talk the gender focus until I was well into my late twenties. In response to some of this discussion, a friend of mine wrote to me to ask if I thought some of the questions posed recently were....well, just odd. I don’t know if the questions come as a result of one being saturated in these strange teachings or whether they have to do with the age and generation gaps. One of a couple of responses I wrote to my dear friend included the following which they said should be a blog post. Though it is just a collection and unique stringing together of other things that other people have said, it may be one of the loveliest things I’ve ever written. So I’ll offer it here.

In addition to these thoughts concerning this topic, I kept thinking of a painting my mother bought a copy of many years ago as a gift for someone who’d just adopted a baby. The painting featured Jesus sitting with a child who was looking at His nail-scarred hands. It was entitled “Does It Still Hurt?” (I could not find that same painting but found this similar one with a similar title/question that an innocent child might ask, painted by Harry Anderson entitled “What Happened To Your Hand?”.) It seems simple, but when cast as a question about contemplating Christ’s incarnation and what our own (similar) bodies will be like in ages to come, it is perhaps one of the most profound things we could think about. I don’t seem to get much further beyond this image when I think of meeting Jesus, save my wondering how I will ever manage to get up off of my face in His Holy Presence. We are just children in our understanding of so many things that we see only in part, and I don’t see myself as much different than the little girl in the painting. In all of the most well-educated sophistry and human brilliance that mankind can produce, I think that our most intricate and well-reasoned ideas within the mind of Christ are really still like that of small children before our Creator.

From my email:

I am sitting here talking this over with my husband (who was away out of town all week) about this and how odd it seems to us that people get all caught up in this gender junk. And we started talking about how all this stuff in our lives – these momentary afflictions – are going to be nothing. I think it's widely accepted that no other person has suffered as much as Paul suffered in so many ways in this life. He lived intensely and hated and loved over the course of his life. And Jesus knocked him off of his high horse, something that many believe left his eyesight affected (though don't say that to a holy roller who demand that he lived in perfect, divine health!). He was imprisoned, stoned, shipwrecked, left for dead, dangled between heaven and earth (life and death)... And yet, Paul told us several amazing things.

He said that nothing shall be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us in Christ. He said that these events of our lives (and his own were as intense as they could have possibly been) will be momentary and light afflictions. He also said that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things that God prepared for them who love Him. We are going to stand before Jesus like John saw Him -- with His eye like flames of fire and a voice like many waters with crowns and crowns and crowns on His head. We're going to hear the angels crying
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts" like Isaiah did and those who have gone before us crying "Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb Who has redeemed us unto God by His Blood." We are going to rise up to meet Him in the air and will be changed and be like Him, finally seeing Him as He is.

So who really cares much about what the rest of it is going to be? I mean, our minds and hearts can't even manage to wrap around the milk of the Gospel. We are babies, laid open and bare before our Creator, and we will see things so differently, I think. I don't really care much about this other stuff in comparison to what it will be like to behold the Lord in His fullness with unveiled face. I mean, Moses saw only the back of God and had his hair turn white. Jacob walked away with a limp. Isaiah fell on his face. John fell on his face.
“How marvellous, Oh, how wonderful and my song shall ever be, how marvellous and wonderful is my Savior's love for me.” Tell me how this horse hockey of male headship will have much significance in the presence of Jesus, the Lover of our souls?

I met a woman on a plane once about half of my life ago that I think may have been an angel. We started talking about what the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be like. She said that we'll be sitting there in awe and love and wonder, and there will be a soft voice that comes up behind us as we're seated at the banquet table. Someone will say, "Is there anything that you need? Can I bring you anything? Do you have everything your heart desires?" And with a heart swelling with the love of Jesus and love for Jesus, we will turn to address this one who has come to offer us loving service. And we'll turn our attention away from the banquet to see Jesus standing there at our side, like a gracious waiter, with a piece of white linen draped over His arm, asking how He can love us and serve us -- the Lover of our souls. And we'll be ever more overwhelmed with the sense that He is God and we are not.

And somehow, I don't think these momentary light afflictions and things that so overwhelmed and absorbed us in this life will matter the least little bit. We aren't going to be wired up about whether women should be speaking aloud in the living sanctuary of the New Heaven and New Earth with the very light of God's golden power and love illuminating everything. Jesus will have the answer to His prayer that we would be one as He and the Father are One, and we will understand exactly what that means.

I don't think I'm going to be worried about whether I have long hair or a womb or whether he who was my husband in this life has his fully functional male member. And why would I want to? I will be trusting under the wings of the Holy Living God. I don't think any of this stuff is going to matter a bit.
On that day, I want to come and find you and rejoice.

Somehow, since I love to dance in this life, I imagine that I would like to dance with you to the glory of the Lord with exuberant joy in worship unto the Lord for all He has done. And maybe I'll remember this day, typing into this silly little box on my lap. Maybe I won't and none of this will matter but the love of Christ in your heart and the fellowship that I know with you in Him.
Glory to God! Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts and whole earth is full of His glory! May all who love Him know that more and more.

So much of this stuff is just NONSENSE. It's like reading a first grade Dick and Jane and Sally book that you give a kid to learn to read. These gender agenda people and so many of those whom they affected are regurgitating on milk.

Note about images:
"What Happened To Your Hand" by Harry Anderson
"The Invitation" by Danny Hahlbohm