We are still talking about Michael's idea that wives need sanctification and cleansing. Why? Because Christ and the Church is the same as husband and wife! Because...Bible? Oh, and I hope you're ready to really dive into the Bible, because this section is chock full of scripture.
Text is in purple
Washing of the Word
Look at the passage again and this time focus on verse 26.
Ephesians 5:25-27 (Emphasis his)
25-Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26-That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27-That he might present himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Yup. This passage again. It's odd that, having an entire Bible to quote scripture from, Michael insists on using the same few over and over.
The passage implies that a wife needs sanctifying, cleansing, and washing, for she has spots, wrinkles, and blemishes. The goal of this sanctification is "that he might present it to himself a glorious church." Again the assumption is that Christ, and by extension husbands, married imperfect brides and must engage in a sanctifying process so one day they can present their brides to themselves in a sanctified state.
I've covered this several times, but I am annoyed that Michael seems to assume only women come into the marriage blemished. What about the man who had a history of porn? Or the husband who brought baggage from an abusive childhood into his marriage? Or the one that cheated on his fiancee? Once again, Michael posits this very tiny, narrow view of marriage (or the world), and insists it's the only valid option.
And I'm still waiting for Michael to explain what it means "presenting to himself a glorious church". Also, does anyone else get the feeling that men in the target demographic have to be spoon-fed things? Because I'm noticing a lot of the same things-sometimes in the same words!-page after page. So either they need constant repetition, or Michael's writing style is very immature for a 60 year old man. Or both.
We sanctify our wives the same way Jesus sanctifies the church-by our words. Christ's words to the church washes away impurities. Listen to his words. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)" What beautiful words, inviting the lowliest and most needy to come!
Yes, those words are nice. But the funny thing is, in PearlWorld, the husband rarely tries to make the wife's burdens lighter! In my head (and in my marriage), if my husband sees I'm having a bad day, he would say "Go lay down and relax. I'll cook dinner and deal with the kids." But, if one is living by the literature of the Pearl's, the response would be something like "Wife, why are you so angry? That isn't a gracious spirit! Aren't you grateful for everything I've done for you? You need to use the rod on the children more, then you would have more peace. By the way, where's my dinner?"
Sharing yokes sounds very...egalitarian. Because if the oxen or horses or whatever are unequally yoked (another Bible reference! Go me!), then the team won't behave as a team; instead, one will lead the other. Which, ironically, is exactly how Michael sees marriage. So it really seems that either you can share a yoke and be equally burdened, or have one lead the other and have things be unequal. And no, each member of the pair "equally" doing something different doesn't work. Telling one ox to stay in the stall and having little ox babies, and telling the other ox to plow the field to bring home corn doesn't pull a wagon! (Not to mention having 2 separate "spheres" rarely means sharing a yoke.)
Commentator NatureLover added this:
There's a meaning to unequally yoked that I didn't understand before I married and moved out to the country and learned more about cattle.
A picture helps. Look at this pair: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Hs-NTUn-SLA/TegZ4jdE0SI/AAAAAAAAC8M/MVChCEqE21g/s1600/oxen.jpg
Oxen pairs are matched in size. A pair of oxen must be very close in height and weight to be able to pull a load. Imagine if the red ox was 6 inches shorter than the black ox. The yoke would be off-kilter and not resting across the shoulders. When the pair tried to walk, they'd be pushed off-center and possibly fall - which is a bad bad situation. In the PearlWorld, the man is clearly a massive ox and the woman is a tiny little calf which would be an epic fail for pulling.
Another important feature: the oxen have to be able to work together. Practically, this means you want two cattle that are close to each other in the dominance hierarchy. If one oxen is very high in the dominance and the other is medium or low, the dominant ox can bully the lesser ox. The dominant ox may be willing to ignore the human and go in a different direction just to show dominance over the lesser ox. This situation reminds me of Mike Pearl (dominant ox), Debi Pearl (lesser ox) and God (the human). Oh, and Michael has yet to explain how this particular verse washes away impurities. Because even sharing burdens with someone, you are still able to screw up your half of things!
As Jesus ministered "...all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded him out of his mouth. (Luke 4:22)."
"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)" The song says, "Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life..." (Emphasis his)
So these verses talk about words. Got it. Whose words? God's? Jesus'? The husband's? That's what I'm thinking. It seems like Michael is taking Jesus' words about God and trying to tell everyone that they are actually supposed to be a husband's words to a wife.
Though I'm not denying that gracious words would be a good thing in a marriage. Heck, I'm sure my husband would really be happy if I threw out some gracious words more often!
The words of Christ causes us to sing with grace in our hearts, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)"
Again, according to Christian theology, Christ was perfect and had a direct line to God. None of the men I know fit those characteristics, regardless of what they may think. So why does Michael automatically assume being a man equals wisdom and godliness?
Is he saying that the words of husbands should cause the wives to sing with grace in their hearts? Because he's made the point over and over that marriage is like the relationship between Jesus and the Church. So by that logic, husband=Christ, right? And Christ is part of the trinity, and a part of God the father. Therefore husband actually does=God of his family. Boy that's scary! Let's take a mortal, fallible man and tell him that he's the Lord and master of his household, accountable only to God (with whom he has a direct line of communication that is always right).
Yeah. That is going to end joyfully for the wives.
When Israel went astray after other gods and came under severe judgment, God represented himself as a husband abandoned by his wife, saying, "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. (Hosea 2:14)". God saw that restoration of his bride began with alluring her with comfortable words.
What's a comfortable word? To me, "pillow" is a comfortable word. It's fun to say, and brings to mind something fluffy and nice. Is it speaking in a comforting tone of voice? Because after awhile, that would become grating. Kind of baby-talking forever...high pitched, small words, smiling...
Oh! And it really seems like Michael is saying that it's the man's job to make sure the wife doesn't go "astray". Again, with no real definition as to what astray means. To one man, astray may mean cheating. To another, wanting to cut her hair or serve pancakes instead of waffles. So, so, so many times in this book, Michael has left the defining of words to his audience. Which is dangerous, because rationalisation can be super-easy, especially in a culture with no oversight, and no protection for women, outside of the "headship" of her husband.
But I guess if man=God, there's no need for oversight, because he will always make the right decision.
Did anyone else just get cold chills?