IMG_8898It’s been a challenging week. My wife, Jenny, is out of town on a mission trip ministering to orphans in China, so that means that I have never appreciated her more. Having a week’s glance at her ministry to our family has caused me to give whole hearted and extra thanks to the Lord for her. It’s also caused me to give extra thanks for my daughters who have been a huge help and have loved their dad and little brother well, for my mother-in-law who has been my partner in this parenting adventure, for my mom who did this kind of solo parent juggling act whenever my dad was traveling with work, and for my sister who is a single mom raising her two children beautifully. Really, my experience this week has caused me to give particular thanks for all the women in my life. They are all worthy of great honor.

 

Now, I want to be clear. This week has caused me to give particular thanks for all the women in my life, but they are worthy of great honor each and every week. They are worthy of great honor not because of what they do to bless me, but because of who they are. You see, the women in my life, indeed all women, are worthy of honor because they are equal and integral parts of God’s good creation of mankind in his image. The Imago Dei is both masculum and feminam. Sure, it’s good to be grateful for the women in my life, but that’s not the same as honoring them. If, however, I see the women in my life as the feminam aspect of the Imago Dei, then I will honor them as part of my worship of Almighty God and I will be truly grateful for them by being grateful for their very being. How do we love people, regardless of gender, well? We love them for the right reason. As you read the pages of Scripture, note how Jesus loves people, and women specifically. He loves them not for what they do, good, bad, or otherwise, but for the mere fact that they are there in front of him. He recognizes their great worth and beauty as God’s created human beings, and he is willing to serve them even to the point of death on a cross in order to restore to perfection the bent Imago Dei. His words and actions toward women are for their upbuilding and blessing out of honor of the feminam Imago Dei.

 

I write all this because I do not want what I am about to write to be construed as a political statement. It is a theological and pastoral statement rooted in this Biblical understanding of the sanctity of human life in general and each human life in particular. I have written and spoken in the past about our Christian obligation to honor the sanctity of the lives of the unborn, of those from minority ethnicities, and of those with lifestyles and views with which we disagree. Out of the same regard for the sanctity of the lives of women, I now feel obliged to categorically reject the words and actions toward women that have been paraded before us in this election cycle and especially in the last week. They are the height of dishonor and should not be tolerated, explained away, or laughed off. This language is objectifying of women, and objectification is what’s produced when women are not seen as created beings in God’s image worthy of honor. When we view another person as an object whose value is tied to what she or he can do for us, then we will objectify him or her. We will speak about that other person in a way that denies the innate sanctity of her or his life as an image bearer of God, and we’ll feel free to say about him or her degrading and indeed inhuman things. Some have said that the language we have heard is simply boy talk or locker-room banter. I don’t believe this sort of language is normal talk between men. It certainly isn’t amongst my male friends, but if it is amongst other men, then perhaps there is an epidemic of dishonor greater than we realize. As Christians with a Biblical view of human beings, we must not tolerate it when the lives of the unborn are viewed as inconveniences to be “dealt with” in order to free up parents to live the lives they had always planned. We must not tolerate it when whole communities of people are hated and neglected. We must not tolerate it when half of those making up the Imago Dei are objectified. Our candidates for president may not understand these truths, but we must. When we don’t, we dishonor not only those we objectify but our own Imago Dei humanity as well, and we must repent.

 

I’m not going to tell you how to vote or how I may or may not vote, but I do want us to be a mindful of our calling as Christians to be a community of honor. As Saint Paul wrote to the church in Rome, let us “Outdo one another in showing honor.”

 

Peace in Christ Jesus,

Peet+

 

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