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Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Christian Formation for Sunday September 23 - Proverbs 31:10-31; An Ode to a Capable Wife

September 23, 2012, 17 Pentecost
Proverbs 31:10-31
Ode to a Capable Wife
Background: Proverbs, like Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon is attributed to Solomon. It is likely that Solomon was not the author but because the verses describe wisdom they are associated with the archetype of wisdom in the Old Testament. Principal in the book of Proverbs is the combination of received tradition with new insights.
Theme: This section marks the close of the book of Proverbs. This section is one of the wisdom poems and expresses the great value of the family as the important social and religious unit within Israelite society. This passage also helps correct the imagery of the woman as a dangerous being who saps men’s lives and fortunes.
Questions to Ponder
* What do you think the intent of this passage might be? What do you think the author is trying to emphasize by describing the capable wife to the Israelites?
* This passage is an acrostic poem (each verse begins with the successive letter in the Hebrew alphabet: 10 – alef [א], 11 – bet [ב], etc.). What might the significance of this fact be? What do you think the writer was trying to convey through the use of the acrostic poem format for this passage?
* The NRSV translation uses “capable” to describe the wife but other adjectives could be used including “good,” “perfect,” “virtuous,” “noble,” or “valiant.” What do you think the author was trying to attribute to the capable wife in verse 10a?
* This proverb identifies the virtues of a good wife. What do you think the virtues extolled are?
* Which of the virtues described are typically associated with our understanding of the function of a wife in Jewish society? Which virtues listed catch you off guard and why?
* What do you think the implications of the red and purple cloth are when describing the wife and/or her family?
* What do you think the author is trying to assert when they state “non-typical” virtues for a woman in the list of virtues of a good wife?
* How would you describe the virtues of the good wife?
* What might be meant by verse 30, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”?
* Verse 29 states that the good wife is better than all the other virtuous women. What do you think about that assertion? Why might the author have said this? Do you think that passage builds or lessens conflict?
* What applications can be drawn from this passage for our society?
* What impeachments might be drawn from the social layout of today?
* How might we take this apparently chauvinistic passage and reframe it in a society that is becoming less male-centric (albeit slowly)?

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