Sunday, July 21, 2013

Reading Ruth Chapter 4---Let's Buy a Wife??!!

So this is the type of chapter that makes me struggle with Christianity as a whole.  I do not believe that women are "owned" by anyone and yet when you read the Bible there is so much about how women are "owned" by men and considered pieces of property.  I do realize that this is something that historically happened but it was not something that I feel should be glorified or used as a part of religion today.  Let's not forget that this is not the only place where the Bible teaches that women are less than men.  It is stated that women should submit to their husbands and allow them to be the head of the household.  While I think that you should consult each other I believe that each person in a successful relationship will have an equal voice.  No one will be submitting to anyone and I honestly do not think that submission has a place in a relationship of any type.  I will get to this more later when I study that part of the Bible.

Anyway back to the story.  Ruth is basically bought by Boaz from her mother in law when he buys the land that was owned by Naomi's late husband.  That's right Boaz got to purchase the woman that was working for him and got to make her his wife.  Now it should be pretty obviously to all of you from this story that Boaz was attracted to Ruth.  He showed favor on her a number of times, gave her things that he would not have given others, and shared with her.  This is not the normal treatment of women at that time and this is not something that he was doing with other women.  He was calling Ruth out and making her special. 

So to get this straight, Boaz thought she was pretty, then went about purchasing her as his wife so he could have her to himself.  Seriously??!!??  I do not know how I am the only woman to read this book of the Bible and think that.  I read some different texts about this and it is supposed to be expressing that God is showing favor on her because she is marrying someone so prosperous.  So basically God is saying "here, let me give you a rich husband and I will bless you with bearing a child that will become the lineage of David."  I think that I would look at God and ask what was wrong with him if he were to tell me that I was going to be owned by someone. 

I think that this is completely disrespectful towards women, puts women in a place that is beneath men, and perpetuates some sick idea that men should be able to own women.  As someone who was once married to someone who thought that he owned me let me share one thing.  This type of relationship might be one that is still around today but there is no way that you can tell me that this type of relationship would make a woman as happy as one where she was mutually respected by her husband.

Anyways I do not know where this puts me as far as my faith.  I get that this is historically accurate but to praise her for being a mother and having a son who would eventually be the grandfather of David is kind of odd to me too.  Should my grandpa be praised for passing along his gene pool to me?  Hmm...I don't think so.  Let's just say that greatness can come from any family.  Some of the most successful people in the world came from families that were less.  Some of the most successful families have children who are not successful at all but instead are riding on the coattails of others. 

Ruth Chapter 3--Learning about the Provisions that God Has for You

This chapter was a bit confusing honestly at first.  However as I read through it a second and third time I was able to get the overall idea that was meant to come from this chapter.  It tells the story of Ruth going to Boaz and asking him for favor by trying to be a servant for him.

He respects her willingness to do things for him.  He then rewards her with barley.  The important thing here to understand is that he is rewarding her with a little more than double the amount of barley that she herself had worked for in a day's time.

So as I thought about what this meant I wanted to try and figure out why it was in the Bible and what we were supposed to learn from it.  The thing that I believe that you are supposed to learn is that God will bestow favor on you when you are willing to do what he asks.  Just as Ruth was rewarded with more barley so you will prosper in life when you want to give your time to God.  I find that this is something that we can all learn from.

You can donate your time and energy to so many things in life but when you choose to give of yourself to God you are going to see great rewards.  There are those who believe God's favor will give you opportunities, better jobs, and numerous other advantages in life.  These people believe that God will give you all that you need.  When I think of this I am not sure.  I have too many questions to ask on this thought.

Why is it that some amazingly good people always end up with the short stick in life?  This would lead you think that in some way this person is not as good of a person as they are.  It would make you think that they are not willing to give of themselves to God even when they might be.  I would find this to be something that I have a hard time believing in for myself because everyone I know with a good job and good fortune has worked hard to get where they are.

Likewise there are those who always appear to be blessed in life.  There are some really bad people out there who have tons of money and success.  If this were true then only "good" Godly people would be able to make it to those levels of success.  I just do not think that it is right to judge people's successes based on their faithfulness because honestly in real life the more faithfulness a person has it seems that the less success they have. 

On a side note, do you believe in this?  Do you think that you have what you have in life because God provided it for you? 

I am thankful for everything that I personally have in life but it seems that it all has required a lot of hard work from me and has required me to work hard all of the time.  If it were just God why would I have to work so hard?  I would get it either way, right?

Comment and share your thoughts with me.  I'm searching with this one.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ruth Chapter 2--Thoughts on Self-Improvement and Being Humble

As I was reading chapter 2 of Ruth I was kind of confused and re-read it.  To be honest it didn't all make sense until I broke it up part by part.  Basically Ruth and Naomi had made it to their destination but they didn't have anything.  Ruth went to work for Boaz not knowing that they were distant relatives or that Boaz was a generous wealthy man. 

Ruth worked hard and Boaz took notice of her.  He brought her into his home for a meal but she was not allowed to sit with him and his family.  Instead she was to sit at a distance where she was able to eat what was given to her and she ate until she was satisfied and then he allowed her to take her leftovers home which she took for Naomi.  He then allowed her to take part of the crop that she was working on for herself so that she would have some food when she went home each day.

When he asked her what she had "gleaned today" he was asking her where she had improved for the day.  This is something that we can each learn from.  Every day we can ask ourselves where we have improved.  I will take this time to share with you where I think that I have improved.

Today's Improvements--Today I feel personally that I have improved in my goal and purpose.  I am working hard at putting in the time and effort towards becoming a better person and to learning more about my spirituality wherever the journey may lead.  I believe that there has to be something out there and I choose to believe that this something is God.  I do think that the only thing that I can do by studying the different books that are major foundations for religion.  Since I profess Christianity, I am going to be first reading the Bible and then I will move on to different reverent works of literature that are associated with religions.  From this I believe that I will only continue to grow as a person in my spirituality and beliefs.  In addition I am moving on from making FB a place of public announcements.  I am going to be using FB to promote me and my brand as a writer,  I am going to do a few groups on FB and nothing else really.  My goal is spend less time reading about others lives, worrying about gossip, or trying to keep up with others and to truly focus on me and my family.  I failed in may ways today but I did get in story time before bed and dinner was made for my beautiful family.  Each day we can only work to improve who we are and what we are.  I hope that you can follow me, stay with me, and share with me when you see growth in yourself or if you see growth in me.  This is my ultimate goal on my journey.

Ruth was humble when she was talking to Naomi.  She told Naomi about how Boaz had done something nice for her, allowing her to keep part of the harvest.  She did not tell Naomi that he had complimented her.  She was humble throughout it all.

Humbleness is not something that I am good at.  As an overachiever I like to hear that I do something well.  As I am attempting to accomplish my personal dreams and desires, I love to hear that I have done a good job and to be able to share with my friends and family that finally after five long years someone is taking notice of me.  This part of Ruth has really spoken to me that I definitely need to learn to be more humble.  I need to put less value on what others think of me and whether or not others approve of what I am doing.

I don't know why I try to prove that I can do something good.  My guess is a feeling of inferiority that I have when it comes to certain people.  I am inferior to the good friends that I had in high school.  All of them have very successful careers and while being a great mommy is the most important thing that I will do in life, I would love to have an awesome career and to be able to be proud of my job.  Don't get me wrong.  I am so proud to be mommy to my four amazing children but I am so tired of hearing from people snide comments about my life being a waste because I didn't choose to go to school for something that was going to make me wealthy and I don't have a high paying job and a high end career.  I guess the comments that people make about me being "smart" or telling me that I could have done more with my life have pushed me to brag about the good things that I can do.  It has happened a lot recently with my writing and in the end it has been really hard to move past.  However I am finding now that I can certainly take this lesson from Ruth and apply it to my life.  I am going to work hard to try and do something that is going to help make me proud of what I can accomplish quietly. 

I do know for certain one thing.  Being humble is something that I can not do on my own and is something that I will need God to help me with.

Ruth Chapter 1

In Ruth Chapter 1 it talks about there being a famine in Bethlehem.  During the famine Naomi and her husband, Elimelech took their two sons (Mahlon and Chilion) and moved to Moab.  They grew up there and eventually Elimelech dies.  The two sons get married to Orpah and Ruth.  Then both of the sons die.  Naomi is very sad about all of this loss.  She has now lost her husband and her only two sons.  She is devastated and has decided that after hearing things are better in Bethlehem that she will return to there.  She decides to return but tells her daughter in laws that she has nothing for them and that there is no reason to follow her.  Orpah sees this as her opportunity and leaves but Ruth clings to Naomi and tells her that she is going to follow her regardless of where this might lead her.

I find already that Ruth and I are nothing alike.  Not that I don't love my mother in law but I don't think that I would cling to someone if I were to lose my husband.  That is just not me nor is it my personality.  I am also not the caregiver type.  I know in my heart of hearts that this is not something that I would be able to do with my own parents so the thought that Ruth went with Naomi to help her and to care for her has already further distanced me from her and whether or not I can be anything like her.

So friends and family....are you a Ruth?  Could you do this?  Would you blindly follow someone that you trusted.  I have a hard enough time blindly following anything so I know whether it was my own husband or my own mother or even my mother in law for that matter, I would not be blindly following them.  I just could not do this at least not as long as there is still me within me.  I guess God could miraculously change me into the type of person that blindly follows.

Reading Ruth

I guess the first thing that I should state about the book of Ruth is that I am reading it as an assignment of sorts from my Sunday School class.  That's right I go to church.  I am still in the struggling phase of self doubt when it comes to religion which is what has spawned this blog.  I want to know that God is real.  I want to feel him to be able to sense his power washing down over me.  I hear these stories of people feeling that but I think that a lot of it is wishful thinking, imagination, and a lot of persuasion by others who are in the room (ministers, fellow Congregationalists, and just the overall hype and hysteria that comes from being in a crowd). 
Right now I guess I am doubtful but I try not to show my doubt or voice my thoughts for fear of what others might think.  I have been saved and at the time I profess to be a Christian but I am really trying to study and search and see if in the end this is what I really believe is out there.  I want to know that God exists through and through with no doubt in my heart.

So you see, this journey has been a long time coming.  It is not a journey that I am taking lightly and I am hopeful that by writing it all down it is going to help you on your own journey as well.

First off I guess I will share what I think that Ruth is about.  I know that Ruth was a great woman, one that was willing to follow her beliefs and thoughts and a woman of strong value.  I know when I have heard in Sunday school in the past where it has been suggested that we act more like Ruth I thought that this was something that I would quickly be failing at and was not something that would have me finding much success.  I am honest about my downfalls and being able to follow someone blindly is not something that I have often thought that I was capable of.  In fact I would be honest if I were to say that I am generally more of a leader and less of a follower and I rarely follow anyone regardless of whether or not it is the right thing or something that I should do.  I have a rebellious spirit and am the type of person that if you tell me I have to do something, I am going to fight doing that because I can't be told what to do.

I hope that I learn something from Ruth and that you can see what I learn as I write about what I am reading.

I prefer to read the Bible in the King James version.  I wish that I was able to read it in its original translation but since that is not possible I will choose the oldest version that I can read, believing that this is the closest choice to what it is really saying.


My Journey Through The Bible

At the moment, I don't know how I feel about "The Bible".  I am being honest, whether or not you agree with my honesty.

This is my personal place to explore, to walk through "The Bible" (yes the entire thing) and to share with you my thoughts on the book and what I think.  I am going to be exploring the historical aspects and comparing all of the different things that come to my mind as I read.  I will be exploring what I think is fact, if I think something is fiction and why and everything else.

This is a journey through spirituality that I do not think that you are going to want to miss.  Come along with me, share your thoughts, and if you are up for the challenge read along with me as I try to complete the entire "Bible" in one year.