When I’m not writing here, I’ve been regularly contributing to Fixing Her Eyes, which is an Aussie site for Christian women. Here are the articles I’ve written in the second half of this year, about one a month:
As I lie next to my twin on her sickbed each day, it seems to me that God is not doing a very good job of ruling His world at the moment. Whenever I say this, I am inevitably met with disapproval, or quick reminders that God is somehow in control even if we don’t understand His plan. But when we rush to answers like these, we are not being like God. God did not steamroll Job’s feelings, neither is He eager to circumvent ours. He was not offended by Job’s accusations, and He’s big enough for mine too.
A deer panting for water might sound kind of gentle, like Bambi lapping water at a babbling brook while a lilting melody plays, but Psalm 42 is actually about thirst. The kind when your tongue feels swollen and your muscles cramp, when you get a headache and your lips crack, and you suck on your cheeks to try to get any kind of moisture in your mouth. The kind of thirst where you feel panicked, because you know what you need, if only you could find it.
When I stopped shaving my legs, the background tapes that played in my head were silenced, giving me more space for other things. Which was good, because I was learning a new language in a foreign culture while working on a university ministry team with my husband and juggling our toddler, while also trying to keep in contact with our partners and supporters in Australia. I needed every last bit of mental and emotional energy! The point is, stopping shaving my legs actually helped me to better follow Jesus. It cleared out a bit of space in my head.
We know more of freedom and being set free than any other people at any other time in history because of the work of Jesus, the great Liberator, the one who has set us free. We are also free people, so we must live like it. We must rest!
But in a world that insists women cooperate with oppression, these actions are defiant. The women’s faithfulness aligns them with the God who, in the words of the mother of the ultimate Deliverer, brings down rulers from their thrones but lifts up the humble.
These are the myths of rape culture that exist in Christian culture: women as hunters, preying upon helpless men, who cannot be blamed for their actions.
Except, the adulteress in chapters 5-7 isn’t telling us about dynamics between men and women. She’s telling us about folly. About all the other things Proverbs steers us away from: laziness, deception, excess. Her contrast is not ‘the wife of your youth’, but Lady Wisdom. The point is not about dangerous women, it’s about abandoning the way of wisdom. Anyone who reads it as about dangerous women has made a colossal – and foolish – error, because they have got caught up on the image and missed the larger point.
In Proverbs, it is fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom, not fear of woman.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.