Of obituaries and wifely submission

By Elizabeth Prata

I saw a certain obituary the other day. I was struck by how unique it was even in terms of obituary writing. You see, obit writing is a genre all unto itself, and the focus of it is not death, but life.

Apparently this gentleman was quite a character. When a family is faced with the certainty of death, how does one encapsulate their departed one’s life? Which highlights to put in, and which to leave out? What CAN one say about ‘the other side’? There is great curiosity about what happens to a departed one post-death, but only Christians can say with certainty what happens as a soul’s life continues.

Mr Schrandt’s life was marked by one consistent characteristic. Please read the following obituary, and then I’ll discuss it down below. See if you notice the same thing I did…

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Tim Schrandt*
Tuesday, April 2, 2019 12:56 PM

Tim Schrandt, 63, of Spillville, died Friday, March 29, 2019, at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wis., after a short battle with cancer. A funeral service is at 11 a.m., Thursday, April 4, at the St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Spillville, with Deacon Pat Malanaphy presiding. Burial is in the church cemetery, with full military rites. Visitation was from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, at the St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Spillville, and continues after 10 a.m. at the Church Thursday morning.

Tim ‘Lynyrd’ Schrandt made his last inappropriate comment March 29, 2019. If you are wondering if you may have ever met him, you didn’t – because you WOULD remember. For those of you that did meet him, we apologize, as we’re sure he probably offended you. He was world renowned for not holding back and telling it like it is.

Tim was born to William (Bill) Schrandt and Mary (Malanaphy Schrandt) Manning June 11, 1955 – 100 years too late. Given Tim’s demeanor he would have been the perfect weathered cowboy in the old west or a rough-and-tough pioneer, or maybe he just should have been Amish.

Tim was the fourth of eight kids, the bottom rung of the top tier (the big kids). Instead of taking his place on that rung, listening to the older kids and doing as he was told by his older siblings, he decided to anoint himself “king” of the four little kids. Tim spent his childhood and early adulthood ordering them around and, in general, tormenting them. He was a great orator (not like Shakespeare, but more like Yogi Berra), as he always had something to say and always had to get in the last word.

His position as “king” and orator was challenged by the nuns at St. Wenceslaus school in Spillville. He may have met his match. We’re not saying the nuns won, but they put up a good fight. We mean literally – he got into a fist-a-cuff with a nun. In fairness, she probably started it. You didn’t take a swing at Tim and not expect one back. Tim’s fondness for authority (his own, not others) followed him to South Winneshiek High School in Calmar and later into the Army. This provided for many interesting episodes and stories, detentions and demotions, and a few “run ins” with the law – not just locally, but globally.

Tim worked at Camcar/Stanley Black and Decker in Decorah as a tool and die maker for 30-plus years. Tim worked with many friends and “a bunch of morons.” His words, not ours. Well, not exactly his words – because that would have included a bunch of swearing.

Tim leaves behind a lot of stuff that his family doesn’t know what to do with. So, if you are looking for a Virgin Mary in a bathtub shrine (you Catholics know what we’re talking about) you should wait the appropriate amount of time and get in touch with them.

Tomorrow would be fine.

In addition to his stuff he leaves behind two great boys of whom he was extremely proud: Cody (Jenny) Schrandt and Josh (Lydia) Schrandt were the product of his marriage to Crystal Hilmer. He will be missed by his two granddaughters whom he adored and taught to cuss, Peyton and MacKenna. Also left to keep the stories alive (but, there won’t be any new material) are his mother, Mary Manning and siblings: Mike (Rita Dixon) Schrandt, Marty (Clint) Berg, Becky Schrandt-Miles, Bill ‘Grease’ Schrandt, Pam (Rick) Barnes and Peter (Sandra) Schrandt; and many nieces, nephews and cousins who wanted to hang out near him, because you just knew he was going to say or do something good. It’s not that he was such a great storyteller – it’s that he WAS the story!

To his siblings’ amazement he was actually able to snag a good woman, Cheryl Murray, and hold onto her for the past 13 years; and as far as we know, restraints were not used. Tim also created great memories and stories for Cheryl’s kids, Alex (Christina) Murray and Samantha (Evan) Ludeking; and grandkids, Tatum and Grace.

He will be having a reunion with his infant daughter, Ashley; his brother, Duke; his dad, Bill Schrandt; many aunts and uncles and a handful of cousins that passed before him. Tim was in charge of getting the beer and ice for our family reunions, so they will be happy to see him.

A common line in obituaries is “He never met a stranger.” In Tim’s case: He never met a rule he couldn’t break, a boundary he couldn’t push, a line he couldn’t cross and a story he couldn’t stretch. Another common obituary phrase is “He’d give the shirt off his back”; well Tim was prepared to do that, and he could do it quickly – because he always wore his shirts unbuttoned ¾ of the way down. Tim was anything but common!

Despite his crusty exterior, cutting remarks and stubbornness, there is actual evidence that he was a loving, giving and caring person. That evidence is the deep sorrow and pain in our hearts, that his family feels from his passing.

Tim led a good life and had a peaceful death; but the transition was tough. And for the record, he did not lose his battle with cancer. When he died, the cancer died – so technically, it was a tie! He was ready to meet his Maker, we’re just not sure “The Maker” is ready to meet Tim.

Good luck God!

We are considering establishing a Go-Fund-Me account for G. Heileman Brewing Co., the brewers of Old Style beer, as we anticipate they are about to experience significant hardship as a result of the loss of Tim’s business. Keep them in your thoughts.

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The characteristic distinguishing Mr Schrandt’s life was rebellion. He rebelled against parents, his nun teachers, Army superiors, family, and every line, rule, or boundary he met. He rebelled against every verse that commands a man not to be offensive, mouthy, stubborn, argumentative, bossy, quarrelsome, a fighter, drunkard, immodest, liar, and vulgar. Such a life does not please the Lord. Rebellion in any one form displeases the Lord. We are called to submit, not rebel.

The obit writer calls Mr Schrandt’s ‘a good life.’ Does the Bible?

The Book of Ephesians can be split into two parts. The first 3 chapters focus on theology, stressing New Testament doctrine. The the last 3 chapters focus on Christian behavior and are practical.

Ephesians 5 presents commands for life in relation to other people. It’s all about submission. The forms of submission are different for each person within their unique relationship. Submission is key, but applies differently. For example, Christ submitted to God. But parents don’t submit to their children.

Persistent rebellion and refusal to submit to authority is evidence of a pride-filled, egotistical life, not a life in the Spirit. Such a life does not please God.

The verse in Ephesians 5:22 causes a lot of controversy these days. Here it is: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. It shouldn’t be controversial. The list of relationships in that passage is long, describing different demographics of people submitting to other people. Wives to husbands. Husbands to Jesus. Jesus to God. Slaves (employees) to employers. Children to parents. In Hebrews, congregants to pastors. In Romans, citizens to government. Submission is part of the Christian life.

Did you know that in first century times, the shocking part was not that wives should submit to husbands? It was that husbands should love their wives! (Ephesians 5:25).

The population of the Greco-Roman world during the first wave of NT churches, was 2/3 men, 1/3 woman. Yet the church was full of busy women, doing ministry. It was an extremely unpopular religion, and it took a high cultural hurdle and a personal toll to convert. Yet women were flocking to it. Why? They wanted to prop up the patriarchy? They wanted doormat lessons? No, they saw that it was a religion that honored and valued women!

Marriage at the time of the first church was totally advantageous to men. Men could divorce their wives for petty infractions such as not using enough salt on the dinner. Early Christianity was actually mocked because so many women were participants in it. Women were held in low esteem, and Christianity was mocked and derided for being “just” a religion of women and children. Christianity was mocked for being PRO-women.

So what brought women to Christianity? From The Dynamic Ministry of Women in Early Christianity, a talk by Michael Kruger:

–Christianity gave women real opportunities for involvement with honor and dignity.
–Christianity had a very different sexual ethic than most other religions or civic life at the time- purity for both spouses. In the culture of many of the different religions, women were expected to be pure, but the men were allowed all manner of sexual freedom, from enjoying temple prostitutes, homosexual encounters, mistresses, etc.
–Christian handling of divorce. In the 1st century, husbands can and did cut their wives loose for any reason or no reason. This was effectively a death sentence. Left destitute, with no remedy, the divorcées were in dire circumstance if that happened.

No wonder women were attracted to this new way of marriage! Wives, submit to your husbands? Yes, because the men were commanded to love their wives, not divorce, maintain sexual purity, and enjoy life-long mutual care.

I hope that some of the Christian sisters who might balk at the Ephesians ‘submission’ passage would take these facts on board.

A life of rebellion such as the man in the obituary might be a fun read, but such a life – one of rebellion in any form – (and I believe Mr Schrandt tried them all) dishonors the Savior, who Himself submitted to the Father’s plan. That plan included the worst spiritual agony any person has ever or will ever endure. It included physical agony of a kind that no one can even conceive, much less can or will endure. And it included the hottest, grossest shame, naked on a cross the worst kind of execution that the depraved Roman government ever invented.

What kind of obituary would you want written about you? What highlights of your life would you want to grace the pages of your final essay? What lasting memory do you desire people to have of your life?

And if anyone tells you that wifely submission it’s sexist or patriarchal or culturally passe or chauvinist, kindly correct them with the historical and spiritual facts of our great faith. Refer them to Michael Kruger’s talk. And … ask them if ‘husbands loving their wives’ is passe, too.

marriage

*Lightly edited to remove 2 swear words