Sunday, July 29, 2007

Worldly goods

In answer to a question:

As various scholars and commentators have pointed out (e.g., Bruce Winter, Roman Wives), 1 Pet 3:3-4 and its parallel in 1 Tim 2:9-10 have reference, in their cultural context, to a couple of things. Dress codes serve two basic functions:

i) They're a statement of social class

ii) They're a statement of sexual eligibility or ineligibility.

There's nothing wrong with a woman who dresses to look womanly or feminine.

But a fashion statement isn't about being pretty; rather, it's about projecting an image of affluence. It's wrong for Christian men and women to crave status symbols and flaunt an ostentatious lifestyle.

That's quite different from the natural goods that God has blessed us with. Rather, that's about trying to impress other people.

Likewise, there's a difference between dressing in a way that shows you're a sexually mature man or woman, and dressing like a gigolo or street walker.

Manhood and womanhood are good. To be celebrated.

Immodesty is bad.

There's no formula we can apply in these cases. It's a matter of intuitive common sense.

There's a question of dating Ps 73. VanGemeren seems to date it to the exilic era.

If it alludes to the experience of the Babylonian Exile, then, obviously, the Psalmist had suffered great deprivation. So God was all he had left. And there are times when a Christian may find himself in the same situation.

But Scripture also extols many "worldly" goods like fine food and drink (Ps 104:14-15), friendship (Prov 17:17; 18:24), a good wife (Prov 5:18-19; chap. 31), children (Ps 127:5), and sexual companionship (Song of Solomon).

For a couple of general Scriptures, cf. Phil 4:12 & 1 Tim 4:4.

For a balanced book on the subject, see:

Mysticism can refer to at least two different things:

i) Spontaneous mystical encounters that may come to a person unbeckoned, or

ii) A technology of spiritual exercises designed to artificially trigger a trance or altered state of consciousness.

(i) is fine, but (ii) is akin to diviniation.

For a good book on the subject, see:

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