I’ve been a part of an amazing online community for about two years now called She Reads Truth (check out their site here: http://shereadstruth.com/). It’s a group of women who read Scripture together, then post an instagram of their study time with the hashtag “shereadstruth”. Every few weeks in our study time, we are asked to create a post based on an assigned portion of Scripture, and link it up with the community. This will be my first one (yippee!), so grab some popcorn and enjoy my tangential attempt at expressing the concept of “spiritual motherhood” in Titus 2:1-5.
“But as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine. Tell the older men to be temperate, serious, prudent, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance.Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.” Titus 2:1-5 NRSV
I thought I was going to absolutely despise studying the book of Titus. I knew it was full of those lovely Greco-Roman Household codes that had been thrown in my face so many times as rationale for why women can’t_________ (you fill in the blank-I feel like Scripture has been used as justification on absolutely everything that women are not permitted to partake in). When I read these passages, I feel as though all the quirks of my personality that do not fit the socially prescribed model for a good Christian woman are being squashed. I feel as though I have to become someone I am not. Thankfully, I’ve read enough Rachel Held Evans and Sarah Bessey to know the inherent danger of using passages like these to define “biblical womanhood”. I’ve quit the Evangelical subculture for long enough so that those June Cleaver ideals of womanhood no longer control me.
Now that I’ve said my peace about that passage, I’m going to move on to what really struck me about it.
I believe one of my all time favorite heroines, Brianne of Tarth, would describe this passage as a “woman’s kind of courage” (which, by the way, George R.R. Martin writes some incredible female characters who have depth and complexity and courage, JUST LIKE REAL WOMEN). The character traits listed, passed down from generation to generation, seek to unite women as followers of Christ through subversive humility. Titus 2:11-13 provide the foundation from which these virtues spring:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The roots from which the fruit of godly living springs from is rooted in the grace of Christ, and the hope we possess as followers of The Way. The adjectives used to describe the lifestyle of piety exist to point us, as women, to a better way of living in this world. We choose to love, to be self-controlled, to be kind, in order to reveal the hope that lies within us. The base of our lives as Women of the Way is founded upon grace- the grace to uphold and empower one another as women, so that we might be a credit to the faith that we profess.
Think of how beautiful it is to have women mutually supporting one another in a society that glorifies pitting women against each other for entertainment! Instead of viewing our sisters as competition, may we unite through the spiritual practice of mothering one another, to upholding each other to the higher standards of living that define people of The Way of Christ.
Thanks for giving me the space to be a Jesus Feminist!
Here’s Brienne of Tarth being generally awesome. This is some spiritual mothering by the flawless Catelyn Stark right here: