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Sunday, 13 October 2013

Climbing to the Top...

Imagine a pub or bar scenario. Two groups of football supporters sitting side by side. One group support Rovers, and their motif is a striped blue and white scarf. The other are United fans, distinguished by their solid red scarf  - as here in the UK, football, officially known as Association Football, or Soccer for short, is played during the cold Winter months. This particular afternoon, United thrashed Rovers by four goals to one. So a member of the Rovers supporters approach one of the United fans and shaking his hand, congratulates him for being the better team. In turn the winning supporter buys him a drink.

Yea, if only.

Rather, opposing soccer fans has been a cause of fierce rivalry over the decades, with a strong Police presence keeping rival fans apart and making sure no violence erupts. Furthermore, at an average football stadium, fans of one team sit on one side of the pitch, the opponents on the other.
This is the time within the four-year interval that specific nations of the world are playing qualifying matches for entry into next year's World Cup tournament to be held in Brazil. Earlier in the week, England managed to beat Montenegro in the first of the two playoffs. At this point of writing, they will still have to defeat Poland before a guaranteed entry.
England has this habit of defeating rival internationals to qualify, but later, well into the tournament, England gets eliminated during the knockout stages in the selection for the cup final. And that is when I breathe a long sigh of relief!
Of course, 1966 will always be a year to remember in English football. This was the year when England defeated Germany at the World Cup final played at Wembley, and the whole nation roared with delight as the golden cup was lifted by the team captain. Afterwards, the open top double-deck bus hardly moved along the streets of London as the road was literally blocked with thousands of cheering supporters. A year later in 1967, the team manager Alf Ramsey, was knighted by the Queen.

Then again, back in 1966, when I was a thirteen year old schoolboy, our national culture was different. Despite being at the peak of the hippie age, men were still men and women were grateful! For example, women back then saw nothing amiss about staying at home as a housewife while the husband went off to work, no matter what occupation he was in, to fulfil his role as breadwinner. I recall, during the school holidays, watching Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, as the BBC back then broadcast the daily fifteen minute Watch with Mother programmes. The very nature of these shows reflected the housewife and mother staying at home to look after their young children while Dad was at work. I guess the way our brains are wired up, along with genetic makeup, we men are simply not happy unless we are productive in one way or another. I also guess that it had all started when God commissioned Adam to maintain the Garden of Eden and to look after it, giving him his wife Eve to be a help meet for him.

It has been said that productivity was the result of the Fall, but the Bible does not indicate this. Instead, God told Adam to take care of the Garden and to keep it, before the Fall. It was only after sin had entered the world that our livelihoods depended on our productivity. Yet, for thousands of years which followed, until relatively recently, productivity had always been a male domain.
I recall the moment I made a mention in referral to this while I was a volunteer in Israel, back in 1994. Immediately I was taken the wrong way by a couple of feminist-minded women in the Christian Conference Centre where I lived and worked. It was this that led to my final dismissal by the centre director. They thought I was saying that women were "inferior" to men. I told them straight that I was not implying this. What I said was that men and women have different roles to function and both were equally important. After all, does it look natural for a woman to be lying flat on the floor of a mine tunnel, drilling into the coal face, covered in black soot? Or getting equally dirty sweeping chimneys? These occupations seems okay for men, but for women? Then again, pardon my perception, but does it look really natural for a female to drive heavy articulated trucks with their massive steering wheels? Or even buses? For that matter, bricklaying at a building site? Is there something attractive about a female bodybuilder with rippling muscles and bulging biceps and thighs as hard as tree trunks?
Maybe I'm old fashioned and a male chauvinist, but I would never allow my wife near a coal mine, although bricklaying has always been something she would have liked to aspire to. Then again, stacking shelves in a shop or supermarket, or even at a factory production line, I might have given my grudging consent, if our household budget was dangling precariously over the cliff. But working in an office? To tell the truth, in such a case my self esteem might have come under threat, although not ever had this experience, I can only speculate.
Yet in domestic window cleaning, I came across situations which opened my eyes to what really goes on behind closed doors. I know of five cases where the husband walked out from his wife and family, three of these the wives were dedicated career women, the other two had found new female companions in the office. Furthermore, I knew of three cases where the wife walked out of her husband and in one case, her two small sons as well, to pursue a career. I had men weep with grief on my shoulders. Sometimes I feel that my occupation involves more than mere cleaning windows. To add to this, I recall a TV documentary in the 1980s on why the UK divorce rate was rising rapidly. This programme involved interviews with one middle aged couple, whose grown-up children had flown the nest. After more than twenty years of marriage, they were separating. The reason for this did not become apparent until near the end of the show, when it was revealed that after their youngest offspring had left home to start a new life, the wife and mother had engaged in night school, and managed to gain some qualifications, maybe even a degree, and she wanted independence from her husband's bread winning role. He was devastated, and they both felt their love for each other dry up. Of all TV programmes, this one is as sharp in my memory as if broadcast only yesterday.
Only last week, I was sitting in the sauna with two other mates, one of then a commercial window cleaner at another town. He recalls a conversation among fellow cleaners in an office, where one of them overheard a female say to her colleague:
Ugh! He's just a cleaner!
I was told that several male cleaners were brought to the brink of tears by such attitude they come across frequently. Talking of British class divide, I can fully identify with these guys as I have encountered hostility, mainly from school or college-age daughters of customers who themselves are decent people to work for. From these experiences, to others as well as myself, I tend to believe that there is something intrinsically evil about someone, both male and female, pursuing further education and a career for the sole purpose of climbing to the top. Furthermore, I have read the result of a national survey, that employees of both genders prefer male leaders than female. Photos of a model posing as a female boss bullying a male office worker had also appeared in newspaper articles, enforcing my suspicion.
But am I being a male chauvinist? Not really. The Bible gives some examples of the lives of godly women, four comes into mind straight away. They were Rahab, Ruth, Hannah and Elizabeth. Reading the lives of these four, all were submissive to their husbands, with even Sarah, who ordered her husband Abraham to rid the house of Hagar and her son Ishmael, submitting to him, referring to him as a lord (1 Peter 3:6).
One of the loveliest praises offered to God were from two women, whose praise were very similar to each other - Hannah mother of Samuel, and Mary mother of Jesus. I quote here the praise offered by Mary in Elizabeth's presence, as quoted by Luke 1:46-55:
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoice in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on, all generations shall call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inward thoughts.
He has brought rulers from their thrones but lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but he has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and to his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.

If you read 1 Samuel 2:1-11, here Hannah goes into greater detail in her praise to God, but essentially her prayer was the same as Mary's. These women show the virtue in having faith in God and to lead holy lives.

Men and women have different roles, but neither one is greater than the other. But pressing for supremacy, I think, is evil. That is the reason why I feel relief whenever England is eliminated during the knockout stage of a tournament, or any competition. If England wins the cup in Brazil next year, the national and imperial atmosphere of pride across the nation will be almost unbearable. Oh, for the nation to collectively humble itself before God in contrition, and to put its faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour. Not only would there be a dramatic change in culture, but this alone would make our nation really great.


  1. Dear Frank,
    Marriage is challenging enough when both partners are saved, and I honestly don't understand how unsaved couples stay married. The truth is that many don't, adding to the rising divorce rate. God's plan for marriage works -- the wife respecting and submitting herself to her husband, who loves her self-sacrificingly as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. But sadly, many do not fulfill these roles. Sadder still, the feminist "ideal" does not even value this plan, and in their battle for equality, they lose many privileges and blessings that God intended for women.
    Thanks as always for the great post, and God bless!

  2. Hi Frank,
    I believe that we are meant to be as God intended us to be, a man a man and a woman a woman. There is a vast difference between being masculine and being feminine and there is no way that I would want to be masculine in my ways. I love the relationship between myself and my husband and there are things that we each do that the other can not do, blending together as one.

  3. Just to mention Frank,
    the 'visitor' box to the right of your blog keeps showing me as a visitor from Sheffield, I don't know why. I have never lived in Sheffield, I am living in Wales.

    1. Dear Brenda,
      I don't have any control over the setting of this gadget. When I post, I am shown as from Reading, but my home town is actually Bracknell, several miles away.
      This may be a security setting.
      And thanks for your comments on my blogs. Your feedback, and from all readers, is greatly appreciated.
      God bless.

  4. Great post Frank.

    There is an intrinsic wickedness in trying to set ourselves ahead of others, as you said. God repeatedly said it is and attitude he hates, and Jesus forbid Christians to set themselves above others or even to use titles to do so. He repeatedly condemned the Pharisees for doing so. There is nothing Christian about competition, it appeals solely to the flesh and destroys human relationships, yet we are constantly encouraged to compete. While the need to compete for survival is often pointed out to show that we cannot escape it, that need is the result of human sin, not god's design.

  5. Hi Frank! First let me say I'm praying for your wife. My Pastor's dad is going through the same thing, although he is not in the hospital. He has had a VERY high fever and other symptoms, but they cannot figure out what is wrong.
    Now, as far as your post. I enjoyed it very much. I'm in total agreement with you. There are just SOME jobs that women shouldn't do. Not because of their lack of ability, but because women should remain feminine. God tells us in his word that women should not dress as men, nor men women. Well, I just cannot picture a chimney sweep wearing a dress, (short of Mary Poppins, haha!). Nor can I picture her being in the coal mines in a dress. It just isn't feasable. I can't help but feel that God made different genders for a reason, and we should stick to them. I know I have probably ruffled some women's feathers and for that I am sorry. I used to wear pants and act just like "one of the guys" until I developed a relationship with God and started digging into His Word to find out His desires for me. It changed my whole outlook on the role of the genders.

    Again, I will be praying for your wife. I hope she gets better soon. We must just remember, that Jesus is the ultimate physician. According to His Word, He tells us"if ye abide in me, and my Words in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." Therefore, I ask, "in the Name of Jesus, heal Frank's wife. Not only heal her and make her better, but make her whole again. Just as before she got sick. God bless you and your wife, Frank.


  6. Frank, as regards feminism, I have always believed implicitly that humans operate best when we have at the centre of our lives a belief in equality, but being equal does not mean we are all the same or have the same skills and talents either. A world where everyone was the same and ate the same food or liked the same music or talked with the same accent would be awful; God specifically created variety and for us to enjoy different things. A jigsaw puzzle makes one whole picture but all the parts are individual and different. So is the human race, and so are the gifts God gives to us all.

    As for the little Englanders, of all classes, I have little time for them at all, especially as some of them border on xenophobic racists who hate Irish people, Scottish people etc. If you meet a little Englander abroad, the first thing you want to do is get as far away from them as possible.

    Most importantly, I will pray for you and your wife tonight Frank.