Thursday, October 4, 2012

This Whole Titus 2 Thing...

For those of you who don't have any idea what this means, there is a book in the New Testament which is The Letter of Paul to Titus, and we more mature women are told the following:  Bid the older women likewise to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited.

This passage seems to be floating around the Catholic lady blogosphere, so I thought I'd toss in my two cents.

Now, I will be the first to admit that St. Paul and I have had our troubles over the years.  He has often annoyed me with all his seeming demands on women.  I find his personality irritating.  And if he and I had lived at the same time, I probably would not have converted to Christianity if he had come to my community to teach.  I most likely would just have gone home and continued with my previous lifestyle.  On the other hand, if St. Peter was the one who had shown up in my town, I would have been all over getting baptized.  But, with a little help from my classically educated daughter, Bridget, and giving more consideration to the culture in which St. Paul lived, I am not so inclined to be as frustrated with him these days.

Now, I am no Bible scholar, but I have realized a few things.  The first is that St. Paul seems to have had a rather high-strung personality.  Therefore, it is possible that more mature menopausal women -- who were assertive and energetic and possibly argumentative -- got on his nerves, causing him to come down on them in a way that seems a bit harsh today.  Secondly, he also admonishes the older men and the young men in a fashion very similar to that in which he instructs the "older women."  Nobody ever talks about that, so it could be that St. Paul is getting a bum rap.  Maybe he was not a chauvanist pig.  Maybe the people who take what he says out of context to further their own agendas are the chauvanist pigs.  Just sayin, ya know???  I also find it rather interesting that he doesn't specifically admonish the "young women."  So, I guess they get to do what they want???  Or, maybe he was a little sweet on them and so didn't notice their faults???  (kidding, kidding... I am Really.Just.Kidding... maybe...)  Also, due to the scholarly research that my daughter did for her Senior Thesis at Thomas Aquinas College, I have learned that St. Paul actually acknowledges that women have a great deal of authority -- buying, selling, acquiring property, and many other such things.  So, when you really look at it, he is not calling for women to be doormats.  I think he just wanted the Christians, including the "older women," to inject some degree of sanity into the crazy, partying society in which they lived.  And I believe his rather caustic personality makes it seem as though he was a very harsh taskmaster.  If he lived today, I think he would be a Mixed Martial Artist -- and we all know that the very best MMA fighters are really big softies underneath.

So, as one of these "older women," I look at it this way.  We can be fun.  We can laugh.  We can wear cute clothes and go to the salon for hair color, manicures, and pedicures.  We can even get tattoos and blast Van Halen while doing the dishes.  But, we should love and care for our husbands and children, showing them daily how much we value and enjoy them.  We should try to greet others who cross our paths with warmth and a smile.  We should try to be charitable towards all.  We should listen more than we talk and avoid, at all costs, gossip and behavior which excludes and hurts others.  It is my opinion that women can be among the most beautiful and comforting of all God's creations.  On the flip side, though, we can be among the most hurtful.  Let's try not to forget this.  Let's try to be the best of who we were made to be.  Because, maybe, this is what Titus 2 is really all about.

No comments:

Post a Comment