Posted in doctrine, theology

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

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Miserable Wives

Author and blogger Doug Wills wrote an essay last week about “Miserable Wives.” Many wives might see themselves in the essay. I know I did.

The article centers on wives who are in a good enough marriage, with husbands who are loving enough, in churches that are solid enough, living on means that are, well, enough. But for some reason, these wives are still discontented.

Her discontent grows and it threads through her entire outlook, until her current mood is king (or queen, actually) of the house. The husband then begins a cycle of indulging her temper and her mercurial moods. Eventually, if it becomes an entrenched pattern, it is usurpation by the wife, who is effectively leading the house through her emotions/tempers/disconsolate outlook. This is sin.

Here is one excerpt from the essay Miserable Wives that I thought was especially perceptive:

You said that Jon isn’t meeting your needs, and that you don’t feel nourished and cherished. You said that he isn’t “feeding” you. But Jon is not failing to feed you in the midst of a famine. He is trying to figure out what to do about the fact that you have gone on a hunger strike. When Jon reads Scripture to the kids, what do you do? Are you off in the kitchen doing the dishes? Perhaps making a little extra noise?

I used to do that. Make a little extra noise. And feel perversely satisfied in doing it, too.

Here’s another excerpt from  Doug Wills’ article:

The hidden assumption in this (for both you and Jon) is that you take these emotional states as reliable and authoritative, instead of rejecting them as being the most manifest and bald-faced liars. You say that you know Jon loves you, but then you say in the next breath that you feel unloved. And in every battle between your knowledge and your feelings, which one wins? You take the word of your lying feelings over the word of your accurate assessment, over against your knowledge. Your feelings are your authority, even when you know they are being deceitful.

Today I’d like to launch my main point from Doug Wills’ essay about the wifely discontent. Women today are fairly bombarded with claptrap from Women’s Ministries, female Bible Studies, and lady Bible leaders who often teach to the lie that it is OK to indulge our emotions even if they are opposed to the knowledge of what Christ has done for us and our life in Him. There are lessons which are mainly based on the destructive notion that our self-esteem, or some kind of inherent female “value” has more import than it actually does. But that is a blog essay for another day.

The main cause is discontentment with Jesus. There’s another I’ll explore below. Many female Bible teachers are explicitly and overtly teaching women to be discontent with Him. The quotes below are from women who are alleged Bible leaders. These are popular female ‘Christian’ teachers busy publicly expressing the highest and most corrupt kind of discontent there can be: discontent in Jesus.

Example #1: Priscilla Shirer explains that she became sad at the daily ‘chore’ of the spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible study because,

My spiritual disciplines became more of a chore, a duty, an effort. … He just wasn’t knocking my socks off anymore, and I wasn’t sure why. (source – NYT)

The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. (Psalm 86, Psalm 16:5-11, 1 Peter 4:11). The Catechism doesn’t say, “Jesus’ chief end is to knock our socks off and enjoy us forever.” The NY Times author noted that Shirer’s description of her relationship with her Creator-Savior sounded more like a marriage on the rocks. Even secular people get it. Shirer was discontent with the quantity or the quality of what Jesus wasn’t doing for her. Piled on top of the Genesis 3 affliction is discontent with the affliction-giver Himself.

Example #2: Author of the perennial devotional bestseller Jesus Calling, Sarah Young, who said,

“I began to wonder if I … could receive messages during my times of communing with God. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day.” (underline mine. Source – Challies).

It wasn’t enough for Sarah to enjoy Jesus as creator, priest, intercessor, savior, friend, groom, provider, etc. It wasn’t enough for her to enjoy Him through His word, delivered by His own blood, the Spirit, and kept alive by the blood of the saints. No, she yearned for more. Her declaration means that she believes the sufficiency of the Bible is not enough. She is discontented with Jesus. The entire cottage industry of her Jesus Calling books is based squarely on female discontent.

Example #3: Beth Moore. source Charisma Magazine,

“We are settling for woefully less than what Jesus promised us,” said Moore. “I read my New Testament over and over. I’m not seeing what He promised. I’m unsettled and unsatisfied.

Beth Moore. Please stop speaking. Just please stop.

Lysa TerKeurst wrote a book called Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. In one of the chapters the question is posed, Is Something Missing in Your Life? The synopsis states:

Lysa TerKeurst knows what it’s like to consider God just another thing on her to-do list. For years she went through the motions of a Christian life: Go to church. Pray. Be nice.

Longing for a deeper connection between what she knew in her head and her everyday reality, she wanted to personally experience God’s presence. Source: Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl, Amazon book blurb.

Why is there a disconnect between what TerKeurst knew in her head and what she experienced every day? Why is she seeking an experience over that which she knows to be true? Isn’t what we know from the Bible, enough? Not for these women. And these women teach.

The issue of discontent is also rooted in a forgetfulness of who we are in Christ. Who are we? What is our purpose? As women, are we forgotten? Do we matter? Key questions, all!

“In Christ” is a key phrase. Our identity is “in Christ”. Paul wrote the phrase ‘in Christ’ about 83 times! Here is a great example from Ephesians.

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Women, sisters, wives, moms, grandmoms, we are IN Christ. He is the pinnacle of all the universe. He is the apex, the majestic mountaintop, the perfect image of God. Jesus is pre-eminent. And we are IN Him.

As Wills concluded his article, he wrote, “Self-identity comes through surrender. This way of contentment really is plausible.”

Yes it is. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, including living a contented life for His glory as a wife, mother, woman, in Christ. It’s who we are. I pray you are satisfied in the knowledge of our identity in Christ, and that it fills your heart as well as fill your head. Don’t let the fake Bible teachers inspire discontent in you. Don’t let your own flesh spark discontent in you, either. 🙂 Our identity is In Christ, and He is sufficient.

wedding gown wife

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Further reading:

John MacArthur 5-min clip and short essay on discontentment

Focus on the Family: Divorce begins with deception
Discontent is dealt with in this essay

Desiring God, Jon Bloom: Lay aside the weight of discontentment

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Exposing or ignoring the ignominious blemish in our husbands

Our pastor is going through Jonah. It’s a great series. Naturally I got interested in reading Moby Dick, the Great American Novel, by Herman Melville.

I’m to the part in Moby Dick where narrator Ishmael is signed and shipped aboard the Pequod. They are about to set off from Nantucket in search of whales for their oil, which at the time, lit the world.

The character of Ishmael, who is ‘narrating’ this whale story, waxed philosophical about a particular quality in chief mate Starbuck, namely, his courage. Ishmael spent a good while extolling it, called practical, since mere man will soon face leviathan in his own element, the rolling deeps of the great cetacean.

At this point in his introductions, Ishmael said of Starbuck,

But were the coming narrative to reveal in any instance, the complete abasement of poor Starbuck’s fortitude, scarce might I have the heart to write it; for it is a thing most sorrowful, nay shocking, to expose the fall of valour in the soul. Men may seem detestable as joint stock-companies and nations; knaves, fools, and murderers there may be; men may have mean and meagre faces; but man, in the ideal, is so noble and so sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes. That immaculate manliness we feel within ourselves, so far within us, that it remains intact though all the outer character seem gone; bleeds with keenest anguish at the undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man.

The paragraph reminded me of the verse from 1 Peter:

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8).

It’s wedding season. Marriages are vowed before God and two become one. Wives, the Bible says, love your husband and submit to him. (Ephesians 5:22, Titus 2:4). Though Christians are saved and our souls have been regenerated, your man will still sin. When they do, –

that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes

Wives, are we hesitant to expose the ignominious blemish? Do we rush to our brothers, husbands, fathers, to cover it with our costliest robes? Or do we grumble about it on Facebook? Complain to our friends? Manage to get in a snark through some backhanded compliment? “After 20 years, the hubs finally bought me some roses! Way to go hon!”

The undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man is felt so keenly by the husband himself, yet the disagreeable wife sets up a neon arrow pointing to it. The agreeable wife rushes to cover with her costliest robe.

Love covers a multitude of sins. As far as possible, wives, overlook insults and injuries, and be ready to forgive him. It’s hard. Injustices and insults pile up and our natural flesh will want to rebel. (Genesis 3:16). Resist this.

love covers

It is easy to get married. It is hard to make a marriage. One difference you can make, wives, is determining which path you’ll take on behalf of your husband: rush to expose? Or rush to cover?

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. (Proverbs 10:12, KJV) – Barnes Notes says: First hides, does not expose, and then forgives and forgets all sins.

Women, what say you? Can you do it?

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Nautical Trivia

Trivia #1: In old mariner lingo an unlucky sailor is called “a Jonah”.

Trivia #2: Wikipedia says the ‘coffee chain Starbucks was named after Starbuck, not due to any affinity for coffee, but because the name “Pequod” was first rejected by one of the co-founders’.

Trivia #3: Starbuck was an important name in whaling being a prominent whaling family from Nantucket. Starbuck Island in the South Pacific is named for this family.

Trivia #4: from American Whaling:

The stench of processing whales was so strong a whale ship could be smelled over the horizon before it could be seen. Crewmen on American whaleships came from all over the globe. Their work was hard, dirty, smelly, dangerous, lonely, and poorly paid, but some still liked it better than their prospects ashore.