Friday, April 14, 2006

The Way of a Lady: Rule Two

A Lady is Reverent.
She speaks with honor of those Higher than she.

How archaic and odd. But, of course, reading the rules of being a Lady evinces a certain desire missed by the modern. First off, this is not a rule regarding religious piety (though that is certainly an application of this rule). In our "enlightened" age nobody, regardless of the evidence of reality, nobody ought to be considered higher than anyone else. A Lady is, quite simply, not this kind of philosophical buffoon. A Lady, by definition, is a higher place for a woman to stand. If someone is not a "Lady" it is not that they are just different, they have less standing. And a Lady understands that one's place is owed honor because our distinctives are not only side to side but up and down. The phrase in the Bible of "honor to whom honor is due" is hard to make applicable when no one is "better". A woman who does not understand height, and award it its due, cannot expect the rewards of height to accrue to her. "Do as you would be done by" is the Golden Rule so a Lady ought not express rebelliousness in the presence of her social betters. But this awareness of self interest and a non-hypocritical expression is not the central case. There is a debt of reverence to those higher whether or not you are motivated to offer such to get such. The "curtsy" (metaphorically used) is accepting the blessing of the social heights and accepting their guidance and laws at your level of participation. All rule, including social rule, is the rule of the top over the bottom and we desire rule in our social arena that peace and good may be enjoyed by guidance from on high. The higher agents are the more responsible and capable agents and are given this realm to bring it into order. Reverence makes their task easier. Reverence expressed to our betters sets aside fear of calamity in the particular arena.

"Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, when they see your reverent and chaste behavior. Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. So once the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves and were submissive to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are now her children if you do right and let nothing terrify you."

I Peter 3: 2-6

4 comments:

Tiffany said...

I am enjoying these posts and hope that the talks went well at Montrose Academy. This one in particular is quite good. I wrote a post awhile back (here comes the shameless plug for you to read my blog entry) that deals with the passage in Peter. Many of the original thoughts that spawned said blog post came from a Sermon of yours. The one on Psalm 45 I believe it was.

Tiffany said...

yeah, forgot the link to the post:
http://lovehonorandobey.blogspot.com/2005/05/and-sarah-honored-abraham.html

I'm thinking the plug might be breaking one of the later rules of a lady. Perhaps I should re-read them.

The Oracle said...

Thanks Tiff.
I went and read your post. It was quite good. I especially liked your suggestion at the end of mentally speaking the title of respect before a phrase as a guide to its validity. If the rest of the sentence does not suggest "lord" how can a wife be a daughter of Sarah?
I may steal the concept. I'll try to remember to give you credit.

Tiffany said...

Thank you. It was however your relating of the anecote of speaking to a woman who found "lord" to be archaic and your question to her "then what title of respect do you use" which spawned said thought in me. There are many sermons of yours that have done such things (and thus many posts which I borrow shamelessly from wisdom gleaned at All Souls and the Big Haus). I'm afraid life has gotten a bit too comfortable now that we're not hearing you preach on a regular basis. Thanks for taking the time to read the post.