Monday, March 31, 2014

Gray areas Part 1 (Hebrews 11:6, 1 Timothy 2:8-15, Matthew 6:6-7)

"NJ Winter Ice Storm"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
I'm 54 now!  My birthday was the best ever.  We went to see my brother in Maryland. When we got home, I got phone calls from all my friends and family.   It sure felt great.  One of my presents was a necklace and bracelet with a sideways cross on them from my niece.  I'll always treasure them because it's from her.   I found the quote below and had to chuckle.
"Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished.  If you're alive, it isn't."
Richard Bach
I'm not done yet!  

When I got home and looked at the cross again, I  wondered what it meant.  I thought of Jesus triumph over death and man's persecution.  The standing cross doesn't hold Him now.  He's in our hearts, praying for us at God's throne.  He conquered death and triumphed over the grave.  So I smiled at the sideways cross, "Yes, Jesus is free.  He is Lord now.  My Savior, Redeemer, Friend."

The cross couldn't keep Him, nor the tomb.  Then my husband came into my workroom and asked, "What does the sideways cross mean?"

I felt uncomfortable, "Jewelry designers got bored and thought it would be cute to make it go sideways?" 

Part of my faith is to represent Him with others.  How much confusion would it cause?  I remembered our testimony is in our hearts and actions.  Am I a quiet and gentle spirit who ministers?  Or just a noisy gong and clanging cymbal out to show off.  Truth is, God looks at our hearts.  That's where He defines us as Christians.  Faith.  

Someone told me once it's horrible to wear a symbol of torture on a necklace.  If it offends maybe It's not that necessary.  So I quit wearing crosses at all.  I'd rather share His love and hear people ask why I would do that.  Besides every single necklace I had with a cross on it got tangled up and knotted in my jewelry box...
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
(Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)
Am I a light in the darkness?  Or a bucket of water trying to squelch enthusiasm?  I found some verses about how we should dress.  It really can be a gray area.  Styles have changed over time.  If we went grocery shopping today in a hooded cape, I'm thinking we might be sent out the door.  When I worked at The Boeing Company in Seattle, a man said he was hungry.  So I gave him one of my granola bars.  He loudly asked why I would do that.  So...  I got to say, "I am a Christian.  It's what we do."  In front of a whole bunch of engineers and programmers.  It wasn't socially acceptable.  But everyone loved it : )

Timothy said this:

8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 
I don't think I've ever seen anyone in public praying like this today.  We do when we sing at Church.  Sadly, I don't think it would be respected. In the days that Jesus walked among us lots of people prayed outside.  Some just wanted to show off their spirituality.  The disciple Matthew, wrote that we should go inside the house to pray.  The key is to pray, looks like any way is good.  God loves to hear our prayers.

Matthew said this:
But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
(Matthew 6:6-7 NKJV)
9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 
We do wear jewelry.  I don't know that it is a problem if it's respectable.  We have lots of "bling" in New Jersey.  Some people wear giant gold necklaces and lots of sparkle.  Once at the beach, I saw a woman walking on the sand in a black dress, high heals and gold chains.  I was afraid she might sink in the sand and get stuck.  I also worry about young women.  With cell phone photos and no real boundaries being taught about sex. It's important for them to learn how to be safe. It frightens me to think of teenage boys with no boundaries.  Thankfully there are still some great parents out there.  What girls wear does matter.  I was a teenager in the 70's, I know.  Oy!  The hair though... (blush)

Seriously, I'm sure people have worried about young women since the beginning of time.  And yes modesty on women of any age is always a good thing : )  You do not want to see me in a mini skirt!  Trust me.

10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let  a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self.
Mary Magdalene was the first to tell Peter, Jesus had risen from the dead.  She was the first to see the risen Savior.  So clearly the Lord doesn't want women to never speak.  I think Timothy's concern was in building a new Church with confused new Christians.  Women were separated in the Synagogues.  It would be a difficult transition for men to see them. Also, I am a woman.  I am married.  I do talk more than my husband... 
Enough said : )  I have no desire to be a Pastor.  I believe the Pastoral calling is between God and the individual.  It's not an easy job.  Remember Moses?  
(1 Timothy 2:8-15 NKJV)

Feel free to share your thoughts in Comments too.  I'd love to hear what you think on this stuff.

This is a cute song by Ellie Holcomb, The Broken Beautiful (link)


  1. Hi Karen. Hope you had a happy birthday.
    May our walks with the Lord be true and we give Him our hearts.
    I have been away from my blog awhile, but getting back in it. I is good to visit your blog again.
    God bless, Ken

  2. Hi Ken it's good to see you out again : ) We missed you. Yeah I agree it's the true side of our faith people need to see in us. The good, the bad, the ugly and God's amazing grace! If we pretend to be perfect, no one can relate.

    God bless!

  3. This is very good, Karen!
    You are a gifted teacher, and I agree with you that we should worry about (especially) young women and boundaries...It seems the enemy is really targeting women...he always has. I believe it is because women are special to the Lord...we represent his nurturing love and beauty on the earth.
    When I was a new Christian I asked about those verses and was told by my Sunday school teacher that in the synagogues the women would often stand outside because they weren't allowed up close inside where the rabbi taught, and they would often yell to their husbands to explain what was being said (because they could not hear the rabbi)...this caused problems, so Paul did not want to re-create this in the new churches.
    My mom used to think the cross was too sad to look at, but that was before she became a Christian...some people still think that way...I think it represents love better than a heart symbol :)
    I thought the sideways cross meant that we are to "take up and carry our cross daily" as soon as I read your description.
    Such a good lesson you are teaching us with this series!
    God bless,
    with love~ Lisa

  4. Thanks so much for the encouragement Lisa : ) Yeah I like that idea to take up and carry the cross. That does make sense. There's something peaceful about it. Maybe, like our faith, it has different meanings to all of us. God bless and I'm still praying for you and the chemo. Love ya sis!