I suppose I could have been sited by the #MeToo people. I didn’t mean to, but by her reaction . . .
No one from #MeToo could ever accuse me of anything untoward in my ministry. Early on I established boundaries to protect myself and others—like having a window in my office door, never counseling a woman alone at church or visiting in the home of some single woman—older widowed shut–ins the exception. One rule was to not to touch women including—no hugging. I’ve known pastors who were labeled “huggers.” They give long hugs. But I refused to do it. I would stick out my hand to give a firm handshake. I do that to this day, only to be broken by close friends and those who are grieving. Oh, I took flack for this. It marked me as a non–hugger which was okay with me. Got me out of hugging men—eww!
There was one occasion that could be brought up if I were ever selected to become a Justice on the Supreme Court. You’ve got to go back to before my college days; before High School and even Junior High. In fact, it happened when I was six. My dad had just become the pastor of a church in York, PA and we were visiting some members. We kids decided to play hide–and–seek while the parents talked. Instead of going outside I hid in the closet of the closest bedroom where I was discovered by their daughter who, to my chagrin and embarrassment, kissed me. My older siblings never let me live that down. Turns out Lori is a great gal. Despite moving away 5–years later, we reconnected some years later and went to each others church’s High School graduation banquets and today remain Facebook friends.
Back to potentially crossing the line, when I went to the hotel restaurant for lunch, an attractive, young hostess wearing a beautiful saree greeted me and said something which I didn’t hear. So, I leaned in toward her at which point she leaned back. Trust me, the video replay will reveal I did not get that close, but she must have thought otherwise.
I get the #MeToo movement. For way too long scumbags took advantage of young, defenseless women showing them no respect and some going as far as violating them. In this Southeast country, the #MeToo movement has just hit in a big way. One article noted that on an average in the past 3–years, every hour has witnessed three cases of sexual harassment reported to the police. Tragically, only 6.6 of 100 cases end in a conviction.
That’s not the circle in which I grew–up nor did we permit our sons to disrespect females. On one occasion I grabbed a son by his shirt and lifted him up against the wall after he had hit his sister. His behavior was unacceptable.
But as typically the case, society overreacts. For instance, did I cross a line by identifying the hostess by her looks, age, and dress? Can a man ever compliment a female again? And how about all these unsubstantiated charges brought against men dating back decades (i.e., Justice Kavanagh).
The Bible gives perspective on how men should treat women. The Apostle Peter charged husbands to live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered (1 Peter. 3:7). Although today’s feminist would recoil at this verse declaring it is from a patriarchal time period which enslaved women. That could not be further from the truth. “Weaker” is simply referring to the obvious—a genetic predisposition of having a weaker body (strength and stamina). It’s a fact which is only eclipsed by some women who really work at it and men posing as women (A transsexual won a gold medal in a female’s bike race. That’s just wrong!). But to honor them means to esteem, to show them worth and to praise. It’s men being gentlemen. Maybe that’s too old fashion. Doesn’t matter. I’m going to follow the good Book and my upbringing. I will let women go first. I will hold the door for them. And I will make sure I wear my hearing aides next time I see this hostess so that I don’t violate her personal space.
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