Cheating Wives, the Double Standard and a Bizarre Bible Passage

I don’t know why I have a fascination with strange Bible passages, but I do. They represent a challenge, a puzzle I feel obligated to solve, at least in my own mind. One of these is the ancient Israelite process used to determine whether a married woman had messed around a bit on the side, found in Numbers 5:11-31.

Maybe you’ve read it, though I don’t blame you if you haven’t. Tucked away in a less popular part of Scripture, undoubtedly getting fewer likes than Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we encounter the magical test for the notorious unfaithful wife. What was a husband to do if he suspected his right-hand woman but wasn’t fortunate enough to catch her in the act? Continue reading

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Girls Gone Wild in Ancient Rome

We tend to make assumptions about the lives and rights of ancient women, filing them away in our local Carnegie Library under no-respect, little-freedom, few-rights. We think these women had no choice but to play by the cultural rules that favored men and limited women, passing their lives with the right to make few, if any, personal choices. And we think these are the women the Apostle Paul was writing to when he encouraged them to be responsible and modest and respectful.

Well, some did play by those rules.

And some didn’t. Continue reading

Job and His Prosperity-Gospel Frenemies

walk-in-the-fogYour car breaks down, your month lasts longer than your income, and your bankruptcy becomes a reality in spite of the fact that you have always tithed.

You live with an auto-immune disease, your cancer treatments aren’t working, and you struggle with depression even though you have prayed and believed and confessed every possible Bible verse that says this is not the way life’s supposed to go.

Things couldn’t get much worse. Continue reading

Should Men Listen to Women?

cary-grant-392931_1280Some people think it was a sin for Adam to listen to Eve, that he sinned not only by eating the forbidden fruit but also by listening to his wife. From this they seem to surmise that it is not only dangerous but also wrong for a man to listen to a woman, especially if that woman happens to be his wife.

Continue reading

Our Escape from a Mutually Unsatisfying Marriage

forever-togetherWe were supposed to have a happy marriage. We both loved Jesus, embraced a simple lifestyle, and took scripture seriously. I planned to submit in everything and Jim was going to be the spiritual leader. We would have a “biblical marriage,” so we were all set.

Or so we thought. Continue reading

Source of Sin, Suffering and Shame: More Ancient Views of Women

art-1030169_1920Sometimes we read the New Testament and are surprised by a few of the things that are said to and about women. Paul in particular has the effect of raising a few modern eyebrows, groomed and plucked and enlightened as they may be. What we don’t consider are the Jewish eyebrows that would have struggled to stay put if they had encountered some of the same texts that rub us the wrong way.

Like Philo’s. Continue reading

When Forgiving is a Mistake

estranged coupleAt one point in our lives my husband and I oversaw several small groups at our local church. Our job was to be a resource for the leaders, helping them navigate the challenges they faced as they served God in this way. Now and then one would call because there was a problem.

One time a leader I’ll call Ron contacted us about a couple in his Bible study who had sinned against the group and refused to repent. Since their desire was to forgive the offenders and restore fellowship, Ron asked if we would first meet with him and his wife to understand the issue and then confront the offending couple according to Matthew 18:15-20. Continue reading