Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

Remarriage and widows.

There are a few things that Paul assumes that moderns do not.

  • The single will be celibate
  • Men will support their families, and children their elderly parents
  • That there is a role for elder women: they are to be prayerhouses

The church has never considered that all must marry. Godly singleness has always been honoured. With some caveats: such are to devote themselves to prayer, and that all families should provide for each other. The welfare roll is for those who are too old, too feeble-minded, or too injured to work.

All others shall. And, given that most of us enjoy and desire sex, he advises those who are widows and young to remarry, and not take the vow of the nun.

I would add a gloss. No one with children or a wife should consider the religious life while they still have a duty to provide for them. For to leave this duty and to do what you want is not Eat Pray Love, it is idolatry.

The PCUSA cannot change the book of order, but used ellipses to indicate the verses the editors don’t like and consider obsolete: yet all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, and training in righteousness.

1 Tim. 5:(1-16) 17-22 (23-25)

1Do not speak harshly to an older man, but speak to him as to a father, to younger men as brothers, 2to older women as mothers, to younger women as sisters — with absolute purity.

3Honor widows who are really widows. 4If a widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some repayment to their parents; for this is pleasing in God’s sight. 5The real widow, left alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day; 6but the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7Give these commands as well, so that they may be above reproach. 8And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

9Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old and has been married only once; 10she must be well attested for her good works, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints’ feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way. 11But refuse to put younger widows on the list; for when their sensual desires alienate them from Christ, they want to marry, 12and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge. 13Besides that, they learn to be idle, gadding about from house to house; and they are not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say. 14So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, and manage their households, so as to give the adversary no occasion to revile us. 15For some have already turned away to follow Satan. 16If any believing woman has relatives who are really widows, let her assist them; let the church not be burdened, so that it can assist those who are real widows.

17Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching; 18for the scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves to be paid.” 19Never accept any accusation against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest also may stand in fear. 21In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels, I warn you to keep these instructions without prejudice, doing nothing on the basis of partiality. 22Do not ordain anyone hastily, and do not participate in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

23No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

24The sins of some people are conspicuous and precede them to judgment, while the sins of others follow them there. 25So also good works are conspicuous; and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden.

Why should we do this? Because otherwise we end up with a class of people who don’t work. From the Auckland daily fishweap, noting that grown adults are classed as children.

Private sponsors will soon be paying for the basics for 3400 Kiwi kids whose parents are often struggling with rising rents.

More than 2800 needy children are already being sponsored by the charity Variety’s Kiwi Kids scheme, launched in 2013, and a further 600 are on its waiting list – 350 of them in Auckland.

The charity’s chief executive, Lorraine Taylor, says many of the sponsored families are paying more than half their income on rent.

“We know from speaking with hundreds of low-income families in Auckland that housing costs are a huge issue, even when parents are working, and that financial stress affects children too,” she said.

The latest household economic survey found that 27 per cent of Auckland renters, but only 21 per cent of renters in the rest of the country, pay more than 40 per cent of their income in rent.

Auckland’s lower-quartile rents have risen 21.2 per cent in the past five years, from $312 to $378 a week, while Aucklanders’ average wages rose only 14.1 per cent and the income of an unemployed couple with two children on the maximum Auckland accommodation supplement went up only 6.7 per cent.

One Iraqi-born family on Variety’s waiting list is paying $575 a week to rent a four-bedroom house on the North Shore near the wife’s sister and her family, who came here 20 years ago, and their ageing parents who need constant help.

Ziyad, 51, who ran a bookshop in Baghdad, and his wife Yusra, a trained accountant, arrived as refugees last March and are living on welfare benefits while they attend English classes.

Their two daughters aged 23 and 18 are not working yet because they are still learning English.

I am aware that the workplace is difficult to get a job in: I have children the same age. Who study, or will work, and we are training to leave home. The boys maternal grandparents arrived in NZ with no English… and just worked. They ran a market garden, a greengrocer (until their grandfather had his knee broken by a skinhead) and neither of them have good English.

We need to look after our own first. If I move to another country I expect to get… nothing. In Australia, this is enshrined in law particularly for Kiwis.

If you don’t work, young man, if you don’t provide for those of your family, then you are worshipping your pleasures of money before God. If you provide for the immigrant (yes, I know Iraq has been a hellhole. but bringing them here should be limited to those who are of Christ), and it is better that they sling burgers at McDonald’s or Burger King than people show their allegiance to the narrative by sponsoring them.[1]

Our first duty is to look after our own. Then those of the faith. Then those in need locally. We should be supporting the church, not being a burden to it.

And we should honour the worker over those who protest overmuch.
1. Or move out of Auckland, where the budget houses are 750K and rents high. There are places with work and cheaper accommodation. Auckland is but a third of NZ.