Friday, January 23, 2009
President and Mrs. Barack Obama
Like many Americans I experienced a swirl of emotions this past Tuesday while watching the inaugural events of President Barack Obama. And perhaps like many I ruminated on how his adminiatration and example will affect this country for at least the next four years.
Of the many images that stood out for me two in particular are worth mentioning. The first was during the parade when President and Mrs. Obama got out of the limo and walked together hand in hand greeting the crowd. I wondered how the image of an African-American president and his wife walking side by side to lead a nation in one of its greatest times of challenge impacted young black people. I hoped that young men especially took note of the respect and love our President has for his wife. I hope they see that seeking to marry a gifted, wise and intelligent wife is a sign of strength and character, not an signal of weakness. I hope our young brothers (saved and not saved) could envision themselves as embodying leadership not by seeking to dominate our sisters but by acknowledging and thanking God for a wife who will walk by our side (not behind us) as together we tackle the issues of our community, country and world. It was indeed a beautiful sight, one that I am blessed to have watched.
The other was the first dance. If you haven't seen it do yourself a favor: take a few minutes, grab a smooth cup of coffee, look it up on the net and drink it in. It was fabulous. The dance occured at the Neighborhood Ball to the Etta James song 'At Last' performed by Beyonce. Before the dance President Obama spoke to the gathered crowd and highlighted the beauty of his wife. Following that Beyonce dedicated the song and serenaded the first couple as they took command of the dance floor. It was a most tender and touching moment. The image was as striking as their parade walk but for a different reason. Here our president showed the tenderness every man should have for his wife. Coupled with the parade walk the dance demonstrated how men can at the same time draw from the strength, wisdom and intellect of our wives while showing the kind of tender affection reserved for marriage only. I couldn't help but hope that millions of young black youth were viewing that dance and thinking 'so that's what it means to be a man'.
Why did these two images make such an impression on me? I suppose that the older I grow the more I comprehend the power of man of God displaying that godliness in the way he loves and respects his wife. Among evangelicals there's always a great deal of talk about ministry, culture, witness and relevance. We discuss, debate and argue about what the gospel is, the extent of its implications and the wisest and most effective ways to engage the culture (whatever that culture is) with the gospel. Well here's a bit of advice for those seeking to be winesome, witty, with it, relevant and attractive to our culture. And I'm particularly aiming this to our brothers.
Find a wife to whom you can pour your love into and show authentic Christ-like leadership by serving her interest, issues and real needs. Establish a relationship in which you cultivate her beauty, gifts, intellect and wisdom and invite the community into your home to see that. Show some young men that though they may not rise to become president there's nothing stopping them (but their own fears and insecurities) from praying for godly wise wife and showing the beauty, order and goodness of the gospel of our Lord. by loving her as He loves His people.
For those of us who are married it's time to put all that theology into practice by learning to authentically love our wives as Christ loves the church. That might mean putting down your latest theology book (sacrilege I know) and actually participating in an activity your wife likes. It will mean shedding the myth that the husband's 'role' in marriage is to tell his wife what to do and makes sure she submits to him. It means humbling ourselves, learning to live selflessly and being the kind of husband that does all he can to genuinely serve the interest of our wives and not wait around for them to serve us. In short it means becoming and living like a man and not a spoiled 8 year old child.
If your lacking examples of this take a look at our President. (even if you didn't vote for him)
And think about the fact that having a brilliant, beautiful, educated and wise wife doesn't in anyway detract from his manhood but actually gives him a platform to show America, black men and the world what true manhood can look like.
To Him Who Loves Us...