[forthright] Old School or New School Husbands?/Did You Miss Something?

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From: Forthright Magazine <ba@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 14:52:32 -0600
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Hands-on Faith

Old School or New School Husbands?
by Barry Newton

 From sitting at a table while enjoying some coffee
to casually chatting in a small group, I have
heard several wives describe their husbands as
being from the old school. How would you describe
the husband and father in your family? In your
understanding, do the attributes of the ideal
Christian husband fit more closely with old school
thinking, new school ideas or is it a mixed bag?

Regardless of whether someone might classify the
model Christian husband as exhibiting more old
school or new school qualities, Scripture
challenges men to adopt a specific style of living
epitomized by Christ's relationship to the church.
So who do you think initiated loving service and
has served the other more, Christ or the church?

Clearly, Christians respond to Christ's love;
Jesus took the initiative./1  His love to tend to
our well-being caused him to serve our needs. Not
only his obedience to God's will, but also Jesus'
love for us drove him to the cross. So, who has
served the other more, Christ or the church?
Christ. This is the model for the Christian
husband.

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved
the church and gave himself up for her that he
might make her holy, ... unblemished and holy. In
this same way, husbands ought to love their wives,
even as their own bodies."/2

What does the model Christian husband look like?
To follow the loving example of service found in
the cross excludes a host of behaviors, attitudes,
and motivations. Would a husband who is seeking
his wife's well-being crudely degrade her or her
ability? No. Would a Christlike man devoted to
caring for his wife pursue a lifestyle
characterized by issuing self-serving orders and
policies? Absolutely not. Would household life be
geared to revolve around him? Never.

Proactively, would not a husband shaped by the
love of Christ seek to tend to the genuine needs
of his wife? Would not such love motivate him to
act and communicate through every avenue possible
his desire to bless and care for her? Would not
such a love create a history which would build her
confidence that he was trustworthy and seeking her
well-being? Husbands, behold the mandate of cross-
shaped love for how you treat your wife!

There is something about the labels old school and
new school which has bothered me deeply. Are not
these tags sometimes dumped into a conversation to
be the final word which can be spoken? Are not
such pigeon holes sometimes evoked as a means to
claim that someone is either incapable of change
or to legitimize a lifestyle as merely being one
option among equals? To such fatalistic and
rationalistic attempts to dismiss living out
Christ's love, Scripture holds forth a bold
message about what a Christian husband ought to
be. He loves his wife in the same way that Christ
has loved the church by dying for her.

1/ 1 John 3:16; 4:9,10
2/ Ephesians 5:25,27,28

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COLUMN: Reality Check

Did You Miss Something?
by Stan Mitchell

"I rejoiced with those who said to me, 'Let us go
to the house of the Lord'" (Psalm 122:1).

A student at Oxford University began to tire of
the boring lectures and hard work required to
attain a degree, so he stopped attending class.
Soon he had missed an entire term. The professor
decided to contact the backsliding scholar and
approached his dorm room. There the young man was,
at two in the afternoon, asleep on his bed. Driven
to indignation by the sight of the slovenly boy,
the professor declared:

"You have hissed all my mystery lectures. You have
tasted a whole worm. Please leave Oxford on the
next town drain!"

I'm sure the professor felt much better after
getting that off his chest!

Even in a day of the Internet and virtual reality,
it still helps to attend class if one wants to
learn his history lessons! Absentee parents should
be a contradiction in terms, and perhaps you have
noticed that turning up at work helps one's
employment status enormously. Being present at
Bible class and worship services also helps the
Christian grow. You cannot treat beloved brothers
and sisters in Christ with compassion and caring
unless you see them. You cannot foster a
relationship with a God you do not encounter on a
regular basis. You cannot learn his will without
frequently opening his word and studying it.

Conversely, I cannot imagine the most spiritual
and Christ-like element of a congregation being
those who habitually miss worship. Sorry. I just
don't think it happens.

The result of habitual truancy is that our love
for God is drained, the Bible becomes a mystery to
us and our taste for spiritual things is
diminished. God's will has to be, well, spoon-fed
to us! And what I'm worried about most is that
those who fail to attend might miss more than a
"term"!

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