A doormat is like clothing; it takes a while to get broken in right. I ordered a hat early 2006 that commemorates the Asusa Street Revival. If you don’t know about that bit of Church history, here’s a highlight from Wikipedea:
“The Azusa Street Revival was a historic Pentecostal revival meeting that took place in Los Angeles, California and is the origin of the Pentecostal movement. It was led by William J. Seymour, an African American preacher. It began with a meeting on April 14, 1906, and continued until roughly 1915. The revival was characterized by ecstatic spiritual experiences accompanied by miracles, dramatic worship services, speaking in tongues, and inter-racial mingling. The participants were criticized by the secular media and Christian theologians for behaviors considered to be outrageous and unorthodox, especially at the time. Today, the revival is considered by historians to be the primary catalyst for the spread of Pentecostalism in the 20th century.”
Back on task. This hat was stiff, and sat a bit uncomfortably on my head. But I really liked it, and wore it anyway. Despite being really old, as my kids’ say, I missed the Azusa Street Revival and the Centennial celebration. But at least I could wear the hat. I wore it in the rain a lot and it softened up some. I wore it while driving truck, while putting tarps over loads. My sweat soaked into the head band and softened that part nicely. The top flattened out after it got squashed too many times, yet it looked much better, really. Being black, and made from cotton, it faded slowly over time. Sweat eventually soaked through the band to the hat’s material, staining it in jagged lines of salt. It’s still a favorite hat of mine, but sits not-so prominently displayed, beneath a few other hats in my closet. It is still a favorite, as it shall be always.
The thing is, usage is part of life, and has a way of breaking things in, whether it is a hat or a doormat or even a person. Use makes things better–before it wears them out. There’s a story about two opera critics speaking about a particular singer. One comments that the woman’s voice is exquisite. The other agrees, but qualifies that saying there is something lacking, too. The first critic thinks about it and agrees, saying that in time, with sorrow and pain, that missing quality will be found, and then she will be flawless, divine.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
So. After all the abuse, all the issues, all the problems associated with the ministry of a being a Doormat Christian, we will still be like the wise virgin who is allowed to enter the Wedding Feast and celebrate with the Groom. There shall always be some oil left in us.
But. But when a wife is told by her pastor she is to obey her husband in all things, that this is scriptural, must she do so always? Regardless? Children are to obey their parents, but must they suffer abuse? Husbands are to love their wives, but in all things? Does love mean unequivocal obedience? These are questions about limits. I have questions about limits. According to scripture, we must obey the legal, political leadership in a country, and as lots of pastors will preach it, these powers are selected by G-d. Yet we all know that Daniel refused to bow to an Earthly king, and his refusal to do so is now scripture, too.
It occurs to me that Daniel’s insubordination is taught in Sunday School as a good thing, while the sermons we often hear as adults tell us how we must be in total submission.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .