Author Archives: Lue-Yee Tsang

Register for the West Coast Chinese Christian Conference by 1 November for Early Prices

Just two days left to catch the early prices for this year’s West Coast Chinese Christian Conference (WCCCC), 28–31 December 2019. A student could effectively pay just $25 for a 4-day conference including food and lodging. Don’t miss these great prices!

So go sign up by tomorrow, 1 November!

Aside

Joke: only canonized saints go to heaven right after death. Broke: every Christian goes to heaven right after death. Woke: no one goes to heaven right after death.

A Distinction for Justification by Faith Alone in Maximus the Confessor

The Byzantine saint Maximus the Confessor teaches, in Ad Thalassium 6, ‘On the Grace of Holy Baptism’,

The manner of birth from God within us is two-fold: the one bestows the grace of adoption, which is entirely present in potency in those who are born of God; the other introduces, wholly by active exertion, that grace which deliberately reorients the entire free choice of the one being born of God toward the God who gives birth. The first bears the grace, present in potency, through faith alone; but the second, beyond faith, also engenders in the knower the sublimely divine likeness of the One known, that likeness being effected precisely through knowledge.

Compare Richard Hooker in his ‘Learned Discourse on Justification’:

The righteousnes wherewith we shalbe clothed in the world to come, is both perfecte and inherente: that whereby here we are justified is perfecte but not inherente: that whereby we are sanctified, inherent but not perfect.

Like Maximus, Hooker speaks of a grace that is perfect, or entirely present, by faith alone; like Maximus, he also distinguishes it from another grace that involves active exertion, which he calls the righteousness of sanctification.

What Kind of Man Do You Serve?

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast:
but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
– Proverbs 12.10

This proverb speaks to those who are tempted to serve the wicked, and to bow to their wills, merely because the wicked are in power. While our Lord tells us to render unto Cæsar what is Cæsar’s, and Sts Paul and Peter both instruct us to obey our magistrates and masters in this life, the proverb seems to warn us against entrusting our hearts to these people set over us.

Many Christians are unable to deal with the cognitive dissonance of the duty to work for our masters as unto the Lord on the one hand, and on the other hand the fact that many masters are in fact wicked even if we took degrees from Princeton hoping for good jobs with good masters. For those whose careers depend on their not seeing certain things, things their hearts might not be able to bear, it may be far easier to avoid heartbreak and be apologists for the practices of their employers, even the crimes that cry out for vengeance.

But Solomon here advises us to be wise, to have hearts of hearing, and not to shut our eyes against the truth. Even if we must serve others who do not have our best interests at heart, we must not serve them as gods who hold the ultimate power of life and death over us, as if the God of justice and compassion were not sovereign over every creature of his; still less must we lie to our own hearts in defence of such gods.

The proverb’s contrastive parallelism, I think, works in more than one way: we can look at the contrast in terms of whom to serve, but we can also look at the contrast in terms of who to be. Do not entrust your heart to someone whose ‘tender mercies’ themselves are cruel, but look for the righteous man who cares even for the life of his beast. And be this kind of righteous man yourself, loving from the heart even those who cannot lift up a heel against you, lest you become a wicked master whose heart is cruel even in what his heart and mouth call ‘tender mercies’. The Lord teaches us to be full of truth in all our ways, that we may prosper according to clear sight of the people we meet.

Sowing Generously in Local Mission

There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth;
and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
– Proverbs 11.24

I think this proverb applies to churches that are trying to start or sustain ministries to university students and young adults. Often, immigrant churches in America begin to feel the need to do these ministries because otherwise they have a demographic gap between the adults and the children; sometimes, they find themselves unable to retain the second generation’s young folk as they leave for university. For a church trying to maintain itself, how to reach and retain young adults is an important question, and I think God has intended for this need to encourage us to sow generously, knowing that those who do so with a strong sense of God’s righteousness will also reap generously, as St Paul says.

Unfortunately, Christians in a congregation often are thinking first about how to build their local temple (in membership and in building size) rather than the temple of the Lord. What does not appear to help them recruit people into their temple, to sit in their pews and (they hope) to give money to the organization and attract more people, they do not readily do. It does not help matters that people tend to think of ‘missions’ as something that happens away from home, and even abroad they tend to restrict their imaginations to attracting people to the events that are held in a church building. So, rather than trusting God to provide when we yield ourselves to the Great Commission rather than the mandate of the building and the state-registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Christians may be very reluctant to use for local mission (sometimes ‘parachurch’ evangelistic ministries) the people, time, and money they ‘cannot afford’ unless they can see how it translates into higher attendance in their own Sunday morning congregations.

Sometimes, this way of doing things leads to poverty; conversely, liberality for local mission, looking beyond the immediate needs of one temple and to the broader mission needs of the local church more broadly defined, is an openness to God’s work which may lead to both more people and more money for a temple to not only maintain its existing ministry, with new manpower, but also expand it to the lives of more people. The proverb’s contrastive parallelism draws attention to the ends of the alternative paths we can follow, encouraging us to be motivated not by fear of loss but by confidence in God’s work.

Cool Lingnan Regional Æsthetics to Develop

Cantonese folk metal (e.g. for some of the psalms) with tunes created in the tradition of Naamyam and Cantonese opera. The electric guitar or electric gaohu or whatever can carry the tones of Cantonese speech if itʼs not clean vocals. Also, pipa riffs.

img_4144

This but richer, and Lingnan rather than Jiangnan in inspiration.

Sino Deco architecture. Just think about the possibilities. This could take 19th-century Seiyap architecture and 20th-century Hong Kong vernacular, as well as classical Lingnan architecture, into fascinating places, in parallel with Shanghai’s developments, and it would really fit Guangdongʼs place within China as a centre of international trade and cultural exchange since the Ming and Qing dynasties.

(I’m trying to contain my excitement at the thought of an airport with a Deco dragon wall. Nine dragons for Kowloon 九龍.)

cantonese-embroidered-cream-silk-shawl-19c-bonhams

Cantonese embroidery turned to the making of church altar frontals. Imagine how Lingnan articulations of Christian imagery could go, especially in the use of plant and animal symbolism with important Chinese characters in worm-style seal scripts from the ancient Chu state used as sacred monograms along with the Chi-Rho – or IC XC NIKA (‘Jesus Christ conquers’) in Chinese. These could be powerful textiles expressing the idea of Paradise and Godʼs victory over evil.

worm-script-han-dynasty-seal

Crowns of Honour and Books of Wisdom in Job

In Job, certain themes emerge in particular images related to the head which connect the prose frame (Job 1–2; 42) and the poetic centre, and two parts of the poetic centre.

In Job 2.7, Job is stricken with boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head (עד קָדְקֳדֹֽו, LXX ἕως κεφαλῆς). As we see later in Job, what has happened to Job has ruined his reputation and dishonoured the crown of his head, even though he retains his integrity (2.9; 27.5; 31.6). He says in 19.7–9,

Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard:
I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.
He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass,
and he hath set darkness in my paths.
He hath stripped me of my glory,
and taken the crown (עֲטֶרֶת, LXX στέφανον) from my head.

In fact, Job has literally shaved his head (1.20), so he has indeed been stripped of his glory, and had his crown taken from his head (cf. 2 Samuel 14.25–26; 1 Corinthians 11.1–16). Socially, too, he has been made an alien to everyone who was close to him, because of the dishonour God has allowed to befall him, and he supposes that his friends wish to ‘magnify’ themselves against him (19.5); ‘yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me’ (19.18). If there was a crown for wisdom, or if wisdom were itself a crown, it seems that God has stripped Job of this crown; for Job cries aloud like Lady Wisdom in Proverbs (19.7; cf. Proverbs 8.1–4), but ‘there is no judgement’ (19.7; cf. Proverbs 8.16, 20). Yet Job wishes that his words were written, inscribed in a book (בַּסֵּפֶר, LXX ἐν βιβλίῳ, 19.23), that he might meet God. For his wisdom is this: ‘I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me’ (19.25–27).

In his final speech before the entrance of Elihu (31.35–37), Job picks up the images of a book and a crown once more, and here in his thought and his words they have become one:

Oh that one would hear me!
behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me,
and that mine adversary had written a book (סֵפֶר; LXX συγγραφὴν).
Surely I would take it upon my shoulder,
and bind it as a crown (עֲטָרֹות, LXX στέφανον) to me.
I would declare unto him the number of my steps;
as a prince would I go near unto him.

Here, the book of the Almighty, whom Job here imagines as an adversary in argument, is something that Job would bind to himself as a crown. Though God has stripped him of his head’s glory, Job would take God’s answer as his glory, indeed as his crown, so certain is he that God will answer and justify him.

So Job belongs very much in the ministry of the Church, especially as a type of Christ and the faith that he exercised in suffering blamelessly and coming out the other end justified by God. In Byzantine lectionaries, indeed, Job is read during Holy Week. Even for those who do not have Job in their Holy Week lectionaries, I think it useful to reflect on Christ’s suffering for us through the figure of righteous Job, who suffered not for a sin of his own but for the higher reasons of God, and by maintaining his integrity clung to God’s wisdom. Only through this understanding of Christ’s suffering in love can we apply the truths of Job to the deaths of other people, whether for those who are dying or for the survivors who mourn them when they have died. Preaching Job to those who are suffering is not a matter of comparison, of belittling anyone’s suffering, but of encouraging others to cling to the justice and wisdom of God in the face of suffering we cannot understand, in the hope that his book will be our crown.

Mammon Sniffs in Hong Kong at the Lands Resumption Ordinance

Hong Kong is infamous for its lack of housing, its expensive real estate, its subdivided flats in which people are packed like sardines. Everyone is compelled to agree, at least with his lips, that this is one of Hong Kong’s pressing problems.

SCMP reports on a proposal to use the Lands Resumption Ordinance to gain land on which to build public housing: ‘Hong Kong developers are estimated to own a huge land bank of 1,000 hectares of abandoned farmland. If the government seizes 150 hectares of usable land, it would [sic] be able to build 170,000 public homes within 10 years.’ I would ask how private developers came to own – or hold, anyway – so much abandoned farmland. If it was by occupying or claiming what others had vacated, in the fashion of squatters, then such developers should have no complaints about squatters coming onto their land and living there rent-free; but even if it was by buying land from farmers who could no longer use the land in profitable ways that could sustain their families, surely it is not only legally valid but also morally sound to compel developers to sell this same land to the state for a crucial public interest, namely the interest of providing 170,000 public homes in a city where average wait times for public housing have grown to ‘5.4 years, up from 2.7 years in 2012’.

Raising the spectre of ‘socialism’ and speaking of seizures without acknowledging that developers would be justly compensated is a scare tactic, not an honest concern. In America, except among radical œconomic liberals, the state’s right of eminent domain has been disputed mostly when the interest in which land is seized is arguably not public (e.g. Kelo v. City of New London); in Taiwan, where the vast majority of the land was once held by 20 families, Chiang Kai-shek forced landlords to sell their land to their tenants in exchange for shares in new light industries, and thus paved the way for a prosperous Taiwan. Allodial title to land belongs to the state because the land belongs to the people. In Hong Kong itself, SCMP says, ‘From 1997 to 2017, the government used the [Lands Resumption Ordinance] 154 times, including 13 times for building public housing. There were eight judicial reviews but none was successful.’ That someone has cried ‘socialism’, and appealed to the Basic Law in support of a hypercapitalism that gained wide currency only by the fall of the Soviet Union, is no reason to sympathize with private land-developers against the needs of the many in Hong Kong who are still waiting for public housing.

In Hong Kong are many, rich and powerful, who do not want to lose what they have. Whether developers who keep farmland idle to make a killing or speculators who buy up flats and keep them vacant to make profits from sales later on, they are the kind of people of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke: ‘Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!’

The judgement of God comes,
 But the wicked erect excuses;
The living God will judge,
 And as nothing are they swept away;
Like sticks in the torrent of his righteousness
 Or ashes of a forest fire,
When the Lord in his anger appears,
 To purge the earth by his grace,
Their bones are broken like matchsticks,
 And like wax melt their joints,
Before the coming of the Word,
 The judgement of the Holy One.

The Soul’s Fellowship with God in Psalm 5.1–3

Abide in me, and I in you. The formal elements of Psalm 5.1–3 create a strong sense of correspondence and intimacy between the psalmist and God.

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
consider my meditation.
Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God:
for unto thee will I pray.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD;
in the morning will I direct [my prayer] unto thee, and will look up.

The parallelisms here – ABC // AB; ABC // BA; ABC // BA – create lines that hold together and whose second hemistichs develop the thought of the first hemistichs, but they also help create larger units. The parallel addresses to God at the end of each line’s first hemistich create a sense of unity among the three lines, drawing attention also to the development from ‘give ear to my words’ to ‘hearken unto the voice of my cry’ to ‘my voice shalt thou hear’, a development from a plea for the LORD to hear the psalmist’s rhetorical articulation (‘words’) to an assurance that the LORD will hear, or listen to, the psalmist’s very voice, whether articulate or not. In these three first hemistichs, the psalmist relies on metonymy, using various nouns associated with prayer to refer to prayer itself, but the progression of his terms shows a real development. At the same time, in these three lines’ second hemistichs is a subtler development: the psalmist himself moves from asking the LORD to consider his meditation (or murmuring), his inward act, to committing himself to look up expectantly, an outward confidence. Indeed, one can discern a chiasm of sorts in the developments of the first hemistichs and the second hemistichs: God moves closer in to the man’s soul itself, and the man moves outward from his soul’s murmuring to a lifting of his gaze up to heaven. Rather than being explicit, this relation of the two trends is implicit in the poetic structure, and it forms a virtual merism of God’s drawing near to man’s soul and man’s soul drawing near to God, which together form a whole of fellowship in prayer.

Other elements contribute as well. In the third line, ‘in the morning’ is repeated near the end of the first hemistich (before ‘O LORD’) and at the beginning of the second. This repetition connect the threads of the first hemistichs considered together and the second hemistichs considered together, joining formally in one whole what the LORD does in the morning and what the psalmist does in the morning. Indeed, the ellipsis of ‘my voice’ in the third line’s second hemistich has the same effect: it joins together as one the actions of two agents, namely God and the praying psalmist.

For the Christian, these three psalm verses show us a picture of our being in God and God’s being in us, by Christ. Even though Psalm 5 was written long before the Holy Ghost was sent to dwell within men – for even as he wrote the Scriptures through men he was with them rather than in them, working on them rather than in them – yet in a way its sense is fulfilled, perfected, in our fellowship with God by the work of his Holy Spirit in us, by which Spirit we are in Christ in heaven and Christ is in us on earth.

A Boy Soprano, Not a Woman

Countertenor:
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
(Isaiah 40.11)

Boy Soprano:
Come unto him, all ye that labour, come unto him that are heavy laden, and he will give you rest. Take his yoke upon you, and learn of him, for he is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
(Matthew 11.28–29)

This is why you can’t just replace a boy soprano with a woman. What you need is the purity of a child, who could be a shepherd boy, singing to you the truth of God.

The Two-Document Hypothesis on the Synoptics: Q or No Q?

The Two-Document Hypothesis on the Synoptic Gospels is one I find attractive in various ways, but ultimately I think the more parsimonious account is:

  1. Mark was written first.
  2. Matthew and Luke are both based on Mark.
  3. Luke also draws on Matthew to fill out what he thinks is missing from Mark, but he recontextualizes some Matthean material to articulate what he wants to say to his own audience.

This account agrees substantially with the Two-Document Hypothesis. Of these three assertions, 1 and 2 are also part of the Two-Document Hypothesis. The verbal agreement (1) of all three synoptics, (2) of Matthew with Mark against Luke, and (3) of Luke with Mark against Matthew – but only in a few places of Luke and Matthew against Mark – suggest strongly that Matthew and Luke both based their gospel accounts on Mark and not on each other. That is, Matthew was not based on Luke, nor Luke on Matthew; still less is the structure of the textual similarities explained by a common oral tradition alone. In this much I agree with key propositions of the Two-Document Hypothesis.

The lack of direct evidence for the very existence of a written ‘Q’ source for Matthew and Luke, however, leads me to lean strongly against it. The mainly v-shaped dependency structure of Mark, Matthew, and Luke is something we can identify because we actually have Mark as a basis of comparison; for Q, we have no such evidence. If for the sake of argument we grant that there is such a Q document, it is just as easy to say that Q borrowed the same material from Matthew as Luke did, or else the same material from Luke as Matthew did: the lack of comparative textual evidence from an actually extant document gives us little basis for asserting confidently the direction of borrowing. Still less am I inclined to conclude firmly that there was a Q document upon which both Matthew and Luke drew.

On a higher level, I also think it highly unlikely that, as Q proponents seem to suppose, there was a Q document without a Passion and Resurrection narrative. Such is the nature of the Q document people have proposed as a source for Matthew and Luke, but a document has itself to have been highly respected – on par with Mark – to have been a textual source for not one but two of the Gospels. To early Christians, the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth about the inauguration and present experience of the age to come mattered only because his resurrection from the dead proved his identity as God’s Christ rather than as one more failed christic claimant; a Q without the Christian conviction of Christ’s resurrection, however, is not a text that two Gospels are likely to have used in the manner alleged by proponents of the Two-Document Hypothesis. On the other hand, it is even more problematic to suppose that a Q document had its own Passion and Resurrection narrative, but was not substantially used as a source in the corresponding parts of Matthew and Luke. These considerations, then, also suggest an alternative to the existence of a Q source for parts that Matthew and Luke have in common but did not take from Mark.

The few major agreements between Matthew and Luke on things not present in Mark, moreover, are not features that I think are well explained by borrowing from a hypothetical Q text. For example, both Matthew and Luke have ‘prophesy, who is it who struck you?’ (Matthew 26.68; Luke 22.64) rather than Mark’s ‘prophesy’ (Mark 14.65). But Q is usually posited as a document of Jesus’s sayings, somewhat like the ‘Gospel of Thomas’. Uncharacteristically for the character usually attributed to Q as as source for Matthew-Luke commonalities, the clause ‘who is it who struck you?’ is an extensive verbal correspondence of Matthew and Luke not in one of Jesus’s memorable sayings but in the Passion narrative. Either this clause comes from Q, or it comes from some other written source common to Matthew and Luke, or it does not come from a written source other than one of the four Gospels.

More plausible than a common but independent borrowing from a hypothetical Q by both Matthew and Luke, I think, is an adaptation by Luke of material from Matthew. Luke’s declared audience (‘most excellent Theophilus’, 1.3) and asides for the understanding of Gentile-born believers suggests at least one motivation for adaptation for an otherwise foreign audience. His placing of many unique parables into a travel narrative, with several reminders of Jesus’s sense of resolve in his purposeful march to Jerusalem, also suggests a sophisticated readiness to place sayings into narrative frame contexts suited to his literary purpose. Luke’s Gospel, which is the longest Gospel whereas Mark is the shortest, has almost as few citations of the Old Testament as Mark. If Matthew is written as a Gospel to the Hebrews, interpreting Jesus and his teaching by more direct citation of the Old Testament, Luke is a Gospel to the Gentiles whose author interprets Jesus’s teachings by arranging them in narrative contexts of his own choosing. Matthew and Luke are both based on Mark, but their differences in audience lead to substantial differences in their texts.

Judge Me, O Lord

Judgement is often disparaged, but Psalm 35 says,

Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness : and let them not triumph over me.
Let them not say in their hearts, There, there, so would we have it : neither let them say, We have devoured him.

With this sentiment, this desire to be judged, is aligned N. T. Wright’s claim in Surprised by Hope (HarperCollins, 2008), 141, that the main point to notice in John 5.22–30 is that ‘all the future judgement is highlighted basically as good news, not bad’. The sacrifice of Christ, then, is not at odds with judgement, but is a crucial part of God’s righteous judgement, restoring the world to peace with God and of one piece with the final justification of the Last Day, of which judgement Christian believers now joyfully partake by faith. Wright also says, 142, that in 1 Corinthians the Eucharist is also an anticipation of God’s good judgement: ‘eating and drinking the body and blood of Jesus means confronting here and now the one who is the judge as well as the savior of all’.

That the judgement is fearsome – some who took it in sacrilege, God smote and slew – does not change its proper nature as a powerful means of blessing, uniting the Church to her Lord and changing her into the fulness of his glorified body. I used to be puzzled by Psalm 35 and other such psalms (cf. Psalm 7.8), observing what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10.31), but in view of my union with Christ I now mark instead how sweet it is to be changed and delivered by his judgement from the power of sin. The God whose dreadful hands formed the dry land (Psalm 95.5) is the same God whose hand cares for his sheep (95.7), who extends to me the body of our dear Lord Jesus Christ. It is not God who changes, but we ourselves as we are turned toward him or away from him. So I view the holy fire of God’s judgement as the fire of heaven to those who are saved and as the fire of Gehenna to those who perish; or, to use a metaphor from St Paul, ‘we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life’ (2 Corinthians 2.15–16).

This, to me, is the resurrection power inside me. I don’t feel it at every moment, of course. But when I sin and come back to acknowledge the God who is saving me, I try to remember that the burning inside me is not to my damnation, but rather to my salvation. As the Book of Common Prayer says, the burden of my sins – which I often don’t feel – is intolerable; but in the silence God speaks and shows me what burden is lifted from me because I am judged in Christ and share in his justification by the Father when he raised him from the dead. This resurrection is indeed, as Wright says, 193, a ‘promise of new creation’ that is about the mission of the Church. When the Father raised the Son from the dead ‘and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come’ (Ephesians 1.20–21), he also gave the Church a promise of an exceedingly great power, according to that same working of the power of his might which he exercised in the resurrection, and thus he ‘hath put all things under [Christ’s] feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all’ (1.22–23).

In all the discouragements of life, these promises of God encourage me with the hope of his coming judgement, which by the Holy Spirit already convicts the world of sin. As the poem ‘Ave verum corpus’ says to the true incarnate body of Christ, ‘esto nobis prægustatum in mortis examine’: ‘be for us a foretaste in the trial of death’. My foretaste of his judgement, in what the ancients call his ‘awful mysteries’, is a matter of fear and trembling; but it’s also in his holiness that I find his love, by which I can live to know it better tomorrow than I know it today.

Spring and Summer Tang Dynasty Hanfu for Waifu

Spring and summer waifu on a Sunday or other holy day, with cloth ready to cover her head for prayer as the Apostle says. Tang dynasty ruqun in the style of the Wu Zetian period, according to hanfu gallery.

Ideal Woman in Personality and Attitude

A chastity memorial arch in China.

On Curious Cat: What is the ideal attractive woman in terms of personality and attitude? You praised submissive women before, but what does that entail, and how do submissive women behave?

To me, the most important thing in a woman is that she be (1) in due submission to the word of God and (2) honest about herself, her weaknesses, and her true feelings. These two requirements are related to the twofold knowledge John Calvin says is the most important in life: knowledge of God and knowledge of self. These two things done, the rest will be as well.

To know God is to know how far higher his ways are than our own ways, and his thoughts than our thoughts; for the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge. Since the knowledge of God is something in which we grow, not by mere learning and making of many books, of which there is no end, but rather by obeying what we do know by the power of the Holy Ghost and thus feeling the life of Christ grow within ourselves, it is fundamental that a wife obey whatever she does know of God from his holy word. Obeying the word of God, she stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. Whatever the Lord commands, that must she doggedly do regardless of what it takes, even if she must kill or die to do it. This is the example of St Mary, St Perpetua, and many others who have lived in obedience to the Holy Ghost and been glorified by God in the Church. Thus, knowing that she has to fear not man but God, she must know and obey what St Peter says:

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

Being humble before the Lord her God, she will know it is to him first and foremost that she submits, because to him she owes her entire life, and only second does she submit to her husband; thus she will also know that she submits to her husband as to the Lord, and that she may disobey him only in matters in which obedience to her husband and lord is disobedience to the Lord. Her trust will not be in her husband’s virtue, nor in her own ability to manipulate him with her womanly wiles, but in the Lord’s unbreakable word. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. Her husband is wise to seek her perspective, because she draws her strength from submission to the Lord and her heart is at peace with the Lord’s love for those who trust in him. She will submit to her husband with courage, not because quiet subjection to a sinning husband is easy, but because the Lord has commanded it and promised the heavenly blessing of communion with himself to those who chastely obey. She will be diligent to obey what she does know, quick to acknowledge what she does not know, and diligent to find out what she does not know. Intellectually, this means she must be humble and willing to learn, not self-assured in what she does know.

For besides knowing how high God is, she must also know herself and ‘the lowliness of his handmaiden’. She is no more entitled to a husband than I am to a wife. If she knows no merit of mine makes me always worthy of reverence, she has also to know that no merit of hers makes her always worthy of love: rather, it is the holiness of Christ that calls me to love her always, and her to reverence me always. For this reason, she shall not even contemplate divorce. Rather than blaming others for her own weaknesses, she must bear in mind that she is responsible before God for her own deeds. And so, rather than dissembling or cloaking her sins before the face of Almighty God our heavenly Father, she must – as the Prayer Book says – confess them with an humble, lowly, pænitent, and obedient heart, to the end that she may obtain forgiveness of the same, by his infinite goodness and mercy. To do this well, it is good that she confess her sins daily before God, at both Morning and Evening Prayer, not merely to satisfy a form but to bare her heart before God and be shown the mirror of the soul. For she who has been shown her self by the mirror of God’s word, and acknowledged the truth before God, is not slow to own her thoughts and attitudes before her husband. She does not accuse others when she faces troubles, but her spirit is quieted by her knowledge of herself before her God. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

If a wife show the character of St Monica, entrusting herself to the Lord even when her husband and her son do not obey the word of God, modestly relying not on the seductions of Eve but on the power of Christ, can her husband repine? Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

/Brunch/ Is a Strange Way to Spell /Dim Sum/

Iʼm Chinese. What we do is not called brunch. We have the apotheosis of all that is called brunch, as high above brunch as the heavens are above the earth.