Friday, January 07, 2005 Jesus name, Amen.

I know some wives who have decided to hyphenate their last name. This is done in the name of equality. Though I understand the purpose, I was thinking about it in a new light today at Starbucks.

After many generations of male dominance and oppression, women these days want some justice. And I say more power to them. When I read Ephesians I don't see a hierarchy where the male dominates and the woman is subservient. I see in place and upside-down hierarchy. I see a backwards sort of equality where its not that the wife and husband have the same "rights," but rather that they both decided to give up their rights to each other and to Christ. Two become one. Mutual submission takes two individuals and creates a unified community of love.

So wouldn't it make sense to hyphenate the last names? If the submission is indeed mutual, who came up with this crazy idea of the wife losing her last name and replacing it with the husband's? It must have come from some Paleolithic caveman who was used to dragging his woman around by her long, tangled braids of hair.

Donald Miller in his new book, "Searching for God knows what" helped me see this "changing of names" in a new light. He goes on in the last chapter of his book about how the balcony scene between Romeo and Juliet is a great metaphor for Christ and the church. Romeo is challenged to give up his name and identification as a Montague as Juliet promises to give up her name and identification as a Capulet. For more details into this interesting Shakespearian insight, read the book.

The point is that they both had to shed their old identity in order to fully and truly love each other. Miller points out that this is how it is with Christ and the church. We followers of Christ must shed our old identity in order to be identified with Christ. We must die with him so that we might also be raised with him.

Then the idea of a wife taking the name of her husband became beautiful for me. Just as the church sheds her old identity to become one with Christ, so the wife becomes a wonderful picture of this in marriage. She so loves her husband that she longs to be identified not by her own name, but by his. She sheds her name and receives his.

What lovely submission. What humble grace. What an amazing picture of how we should be toward Christ. And what an amazing challenge to husbands. Our wives decide to be identified with us, with our name, with our family heritage and tradition. How much more should we be willing to be like Christ. How much more does her humility demand submission and sacrifice from us. Just as Christ demonstrated for his bride, the church.


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