Toasties: God and Misogyny

“So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27

One of the questions we’ve had a few times this year is about whether God, or Christianity, is misogynistic. And our answer is no.

The idea that it’s misogynistic often seems to come from the letters. Which is fair enough. Especially when, in modern society, women can expect to have exactly the same role as men.

But here’s where the difference is.

God created mankind in his own image. So we were created in God’s image. And we were created male and female. We were created differently. And yet we have equal worth.

It’s also good to remember that the Bible devotes books to the worth of women. Think of the story of Ruth – a woman who was devoted to her mother-in-law to the extent that she moved country to stay with her – and then became a direct ancestor of Jesus. There’s the story of Esther – a woman who from a poor family married into the royal household and saved her entire people. God can use anyone and everyone for His works.

And think back to Jesus. Who showed love to those who society most definitely did not love. Including women. Women who had lost their husbands. The case of the Samaritan woman at the well shows this so much. She had so much shame, Jesus knew this, and yet still loved her.

To be a woman is to be different from a man. But to be equally loved by God.

Hymns: Crown Him with Many Crowns

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”” – Revelation 5:13

I may be fangirling slightly here.

“Crown Him the Lord of years,
The potentate of time
Creator of the rolling spheres,
Ineffably sublime”

This is poetry. With an awesome tune, an even more awesome descant, it’s a joy to sing and a joy to worship God with.

“All hail, Redeemer, hail,
For Thou hast died for me
Thy praise shall never, never fail
Through all eternity”

It a hymn that reminds us of just how great and awesome God is. How great a privilege it is to worship Him. It reminds us that Jesus died for us, and just how important that is. “For Thou hast died for me” – it’s all about that one act of perfect obedience and we are redeemed.

Crown Him with Many Crowns has some of the most wonderful language I think it’s possible for a hymn to have. It’s majestic, and evokes such a feeling of awe – “Creator of the rolling spheres”. God created everything. From the smallest cell to the largest star, the latter being what’s mentioned here. And then it follows up this wonderful line with “Ineffably sublime”. Ineffably meaning inexpressible. Wow. God is so amazing we can’t even express how great He is. The Jubilate words don’t even come close to the majesty expressed here. (Sorry, Jubilate. I mean #sorrynotsorry)

And that’s all in one verse. This is one of my all-time favourites – it’s impossible for me to sing this without being amazed by God’s power, might and love, and how much of a privilege it is to worship Him.

The verse in Revelation is wonderful. It tells of how God will always be praised. Using the image of the Lamb it seems to refer to Jesus’ death. Both of which are also referred to in the hymn.

Added to this a wonderful tune (Diademata) and (at my home Church) a glorious descant with beautiful altered harmonies. It’s beautiful.

Prayer and Trust in God

We have courage in God’s presence, because we are sure that he hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will. He hears us whenever we ask him; and since we know this is true, we know also that he gives us what we ask from him.” – 1 John 5:14-15

I feel like recently I’ve been a bit naggy in my prayers. Year abroad, exams, year abroad, thanks, year abroad…

There’s definitely a common theme. There’s also a reason for that common theme.

Since arriving at uni everything has turned out so well. The people I’ve met, the people I’m living with, the course, the societies… And in September much of that will be gone. I’ll be effectively starting at uni again, knowing nobody, in a foreign country, with only a basic idea of what I’ll be doing. At least it feels like that at the moment. I’ll probably have more of an idea even by the end of term.

But all of that is pretty scary. And I struggle to trust God enough. Even knowing that there will be people at home and at uni praying. Perhaps even someone in France praying that they’ll get a Christian housemate for next year. You never know.

So why don’t I trust God enough? Even just over the past year and a half He’s given me so many reasons to trust Him. Having had prayers answered in the most wonderful ways. Having seen first-hand what can happen when we just let go and trust.

I guess a lot of it is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of things going wrong. Fear of consequences.

So, put simply, I need to get over that fear. Know that human failure happens, but that God is infinitely better and infinitely more powerful than friends or family can ever be. It’s a lot easier said than done. But there are so many instances in the Bible about how strong, powerful and good God is.

I know that God listens to and answers prayers. And that when a believing person prays, great things happen (James 5:16). So I shall keep praying.

Praying not only for my year abroad, but also for greater trust in God. But definitely the year abroad…

A New Term…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Less than a week until I go back to uni. Less than a week until I’ve got an essay due in. Just over a week until an exam that actually counts for something. And what am I doing? I’m trying my hardest to revise but just keep getting distracted.

Part of it is possibly that I’m at home – so both physically and mentally far away from university. As well as the fact that for the vast majority of the holidays the exam was “next year” – adding further distance to everything I need to do. Which now is beginning to get me down.

This time last year was quite hard. I’d managed well in my first term, probably due to all the excitement of leaving home and starting new things. In second term, I arrived back at uni when it was dark, cold, grey, and all the excitement had worn off.

However, I feel I’m doing better this year than last year. I started last term going to Church Bible study, which has been really valuable for me. I’ll admit that I never really looked much at the Prophets, and we’re going through Isaiah. It’s struck me so often how relevant it is to today. Carrying on going to that can only help. I’m also a lot more involved in CU than I was this time last year.

I’m wary about a lot of things this term, a higher workload being one of them. But hopefully I can learn to better trust God – and learn a whole lot more about Him. There’s a lot to look forward to as well.

CU Events Week is coming up in February. It’s a week of events (…) that we get a lot of people to, at which there is entertainment, free food, and plenty of Gospel! It’ll be tiring, but a lot of fun and definitely worth it.

Outside of CU there’s Unibrass, a Brass Band competition run by and for students. It will probably be a long day (and full of drunken students…) but I’m looking forward to it. The only problem is that there’s a strong probability that extra rehearsals will take away from some of my Church commitments.

And apart from anything else, I’ll be going back to a lovely house where I can have limescale-free cups of tea 🙂