Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why do I do it?

History is written by the conquerors. There are plenty of things I'm not overly comfortable doing; explaining why I wear a bit of cloth on my head is one of them. It is part of an ongoing dialogue with the Lord wherein I roll my eyes a lot, rather like Star, & say things like, "Must I? Do you really mean it?" And the Lord waits patiently until I acquiescence.

See that's the thing when you start getting serious about God. He takes you at your word & it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. So the easy answer to your question Rosemary & Ember is I wear a covering because God told me to. So terribly dull of me. The more interesting question is why did God tell me to? We are still working on that one because I am not charismatic. I grew up Anglican, low, not high, without even the whiff of Catholic mysticism about the place & from choice moved in a direction where any mysticism is quiet & reserved & prone to out work in very practical ways. One of the things that drew me to Quakerism was the social conscience. I'm not the sort to dance in the aisles & wave my hands about. Great if that's your thing but I have 2 left feet, no sense of rhythm & can't sing to save my life so, no, not about to make a public spectacle of myself if I can help it.

Quakerism is nice & quiet & there is a lot of emphasis on serving practically. Oops. Not so good at that either but I like the idea. And you know, the island is quiet & very traditional & the only church when we arrived was Anglican. High. Very High. A little strange but whatever. A very nice man came over once a month for the Eucharist & all I ever had to do was remember to turn up on the right Sunday & keep my pew warm for an hour. Suited me fine. God had other ideas.

The Anglicans swore they couldn't send a man out every single week & the very small congregation struggled to survive spiritually from month to month, eventually forming a little community church with other disenfranchised Christians but of course getting a preacher was always going to be a problem & over the years lots of lay people stepped in to do that. At different times I was one of them.

And it was at that point God really started meddling in my life. See, I never thought I was a preacher, not even when I was behind the pulpit "laying down the law with exquisite insolence" as Dorothy L. Sayers so happily put it. The preacher is the man with the dog collar & the black cassock & a PhD in theology. As it turns out I'm right but that is no consolation.

I'll pause here for a little church history because I'm not charismatic & while I believe in the charismatic gifts & have no problem, in theory, with their outworking, it was never part of my religious experience so while tongues is a little obvious & healing is quite dramatic I didn't even recognise my gift, even while exercising it, because the outworking of it can be partly in teaching & preaching & I'm still a little awkward even naming it. Prophesy. There, I've said it. Don't shoot me.

What is prophecy? A prophet is one who speaks for God & the call is usually to repentance, warning of judgement & exclaiming praise. I'm still learning to listen for how, when & to whom I am to speak His word. My responsibility is to catch God's vision for His people, proclaim His message boldly & exhort others to follow Christ ~ which is interesting because I have always said my call is to God's people for the strengthening & upbuilding of the church, rather than to unbelievers. Evangelizing is definitely not my gift. What people do with that message is their responsibility.

Apart from the fact I know what tended to happen to God's prophets & it is not something likely to make me sleep well at night I came from a background where women served tea & bickies & washed the sanctuary linen, not served in a public ministry. Apart from the fact I'm not an extrovert. That's Star. Star likes being in the public eye. Me, I'm the quiet sort. I like the last pew beside the door & I'm not likely to put my hand up for anything.

I was so deeply uncomfortable with this whole experience I went looking through my bible. The Talmud identifies 7 prophetesses: Sarah, Miriam, Devorah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah & Esther. Plus Rebecca, Rachel, Leah & Noadiah but they aren't included amongst the seven for some reason I didn't quite get. When we move into the new testament we get an even longer list starting with Mary & Elizabeth; Anna, the 4 virgin daughters of Phillip....

So what has all this got to do with covering my head?

Like I said, I'm not the brightest spark in the tinder box. When God first started leaning on me I thought it was all about the submission thing, & even a cursory troll through blogland will turn up hordes of women who have rediscovered the covering & are extolling it's virtues. Dearest was horrified & to wear a covering as a sign of submission to my husband when he wasn't in favour of it was so ironic I thought God should get of my case ~ & I told Him so. He didn't. I gave in but still didn't get the point because I still didn't understand how God was leading me.

The answer is in 1 Corinthians 11:5 ~ But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonoureth her head: for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven. It was only when I got the prophesy bit I understood why the covering. It wasn't that I didn't know this verse; I did. I just didn't make the connection about what I was doing.

Initially the covering was an act of obedience, a gut feeling that this was what God wanted & right but I had no understanding of why. That has changed ~& in some very interesting ways. One of the things I always say is, " Search the scriptures for yourselves & see if these things are true!" It is so important. I have walked out of two churches who couldn't show me from the scriptures where they got their teaching from. I get alarm bells going off like sirens when that happens. Every believer should. When I speak out on such things the covering reminds me not to speak on my own authority. It reminds me I am under the headship of Christ. It reminds me that I need to remember to walk the talk because I am very public even when I don't want to be, even if I think I'm not being observed.

I now mostly cover all the time & I'm sort of used to it. Why, especially as I'm not even in a regular Church any more? Because I can't help myself. [Thanks, God] Invariably people start up religious conversations with me & they'll make some wildly inaccurate observation that I just have to correct!!!! It's as though I'm walking round with a big sign that says: GO ON; ASK ME. Actually the covering in itself seems to do that too. That being the case I need to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that resides in me ~ & as, for me, that is part of the prophetic gift I cover. All. The. Time.


Bonnie said...

Wow! Excellent post. I have often thought about (and usually try to avoid) how I am to live out my faith. I feel nudges about certain things and then I get focused on something else and it goes away for awhile. I truly admire your submission to God and to your husband. When we are sure we are hearing from God, we must act (saying to myself). Thanks for sharing.

Ganeida said...

No pedestals, Bonnie! ☺ I fight with God a lot because often I don't like what I'm getting told & I do very poorly at confrontation so I gotta wonder, you know, why me?

LobStar_89 said...

Sooo this is a rather lengthy post! Will read it later when my eyes don't seem to be as tired as they are currently. Be home on Thurs, if your happy to take me in. I shall take the long bus ride home if you could please consider driving me back on Mon! ~ Your perfect child :)

seekingmyLord said...

I have three questions: When did you begin covering? When did you begin preaching? When did you realize you were a prophetess?

Ganeida said...

Lobstar. I will consider it....I hate that drive. You do know that, don't you?

Seeking: You are asking me to deal with numbers?!!!

Hmmmm. To the best of my knowledge I first preached Christmas of 2005. I began covering sometime in the following year, Ithink, but the other has been a slow realisation that has become stronger over time, particularly in this last year. First I had to unravel preaching from prophesy & what I believe the difference is & why one & not the other. Given I had no~one to ask/discuss this with I am self taught & may be wrong ~ except for one thing. I believe the Lord has been trying to explain this to me for some time. ☺

joyfulmum said...

Ganeida, thank you so much for sharing:)
It was India we covered our heads in church as the culture is very similar to the Middle East in a lot of ways but I have not done it since leaving India.
Do you think that the culture had something to do with what Paul was talking about in 1 Cor 11?

joyfulmum said...

btw, I don't mean that in a combative way, just curious:) You can email me if you like, which I should have actually done on my email the other day:)

Ganeida said...

Rosemary: lol having spoken out what's one more thing? Really. This is my take from having read & listened to a lot of women talk about why they have taken to covering. I do not think it was meant to be cultural. I think there is a blessing in it that we don't even begin to grasp. Diane, at Tomato Soup Cake also got a direct command from God. She sees her covering as a sign of God's especial love for her & His standing as a husband for her now she doesn't have one. Ember has also spoken about this recently & has some interesting things to say about why she does it.

Now I'm sure me saying that makes people uncomfortable & I am not about to force anyone's conscience on this. It is hard because culturally it is not something we do any more, not even in church, & it puts anyone who does do it out there swinging in the loony basket.

There are 3 scriptual reasons as I see it: to acknowledge God is Lord of all & he has given us our husbands as a covering [protection] over us~ the covering then becomes the outward symbol of that covenant; to show our submission & obedience to the leadership of the Holy spirit when we pray or prophesy; because of the angels. I'm sure other people have equally valid reasons that are worth considering, especially as I do not cover for the usual reason ~ to show submission to male headship ~ which I would have trouble with anyway, the way it is usually expressed. I see a covenant relationship, of which the covering is a symbol. Does that help?

Amanda said...

Interesting post Ganeida! I was curious though, are you aware that the gift of prophesy is one thing, and the office of the Prophet is another? Meaning, I have a prophetic gifting (it can manifest in a variety of ways), but I am not a Prophet (as the office/calling of a prophet as listed in the five fold ministry).

Whenever I have shared the Word from the pulpit, there is always a prophetic bent to it. Jesus is the Spirit of Prophesy, and if He indwells us, then that is bound to flow out of us. At least that is what I believe. I believe you and I have this in common: prophetic teaching/preaching.

I am wondering if you mean you have the gift of prophesy, or more specifically, you are called as a prophetess.

No arrows from me either way!! lol... I have no problem with whomever God calls for whichever/whatever role He choses! :D

LobStar_89 said...

So mummy I wanted to show off with my new found vocabulary... 'My companion has a conniption when I'm being facetious...' I love em both, ps soz for clogging up your comments section :s

seekingmyLord said...

Amanda, I should like to know more on this distinction. However, I should clarify one thing: Ganeida has not called herself a "prophetess" to my knowledge...I have have. I believe that is the word from the Lord I have received about her.

Ganeida said...

Amanda: Can you clarify for me what you consider the distinction is between a prophetess & having the gift of prophecy? I have no teaching in this area. I am flying blind & any teaching that I can lay before the Lord would be helpful.Certainly I am aware prophecy often operates for me with teaching/preaching as well as in other areas.

Lobby: yes, but do you know what they mean? ;P

Seeking: Is there something you should tell me? lol ☺

seekingmyLord said...

You just may not really want to know...but you know already, me thinks!

Amanda said...

I am happy to share what I do believe is the difference.

I believe the difference lies in the level authority in relation to the Body.

Because it is late, and I am too verbose and find it hard to keep my comments concise, I have copied and pasted an article that says what I wanted to say lol. It saves my brain some energy for tomorrow ;)

In the body of Christ there are many members and God has given many gifts unto men. To some He has given the gift of prophecy. Look at the nine Gifts of the Spirit listed in the passage below.

1Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (KJV)

The gift of prophecy is the Spirit-given ability to receive and communicate timely Spirit-inspired messages from God that bring edification, exhortation, and consolation to the body of Christ , either individually or as a corporate body. To speak the heart, mind, or will of God into the lives of others, as the Spirit of God leads. (Romans 12:6; I Corinthians 14:3).


Amanda said...

Every prophet will have the gift of prophecy but not every person who has the gift of prophecy is a prophet in the same sense that every doctor provides medical care but not every person who provides medical care is a doctor.

Look at the following 2 scriptures:

1Co 14:31 For ye may ALL prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.


So we see God can use anybody to prophesy. Now look at the next passage.

1Co 12:28 And God hath set SOME in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. (KJV)

Both Old and New Testament prophets have basic similarities. They receive their messages from God and proclaim the Word of God. They denounce sin and warn against future judgment. They often take a stand on national issues. They preach messages of repentance and hope, also foretell future events. The office of Prophet carries with it a level of authority in the body of Christ. A prophet, one who is used in the ministry office of prophet may be used to bring correction or warn of impending judgment. A person who has the simple gift of prophecy is not one who is used to bring correction to the body of Christ.

Amanda said...

continuing on:

The gift of prophecy directed to the believer brings three responses according to I Corinthians 14:3:

1. It produces the building up of Christian life and character;

2. encourages discouraged believers and;

3. strengthens believers with hope.

As was stated earlier a prophet does have the gift of prophecy so you will see these things in the Prophet as well but in the prophet you will also see correction and warning.

A Prophet will always seek to direct men to the Lord and bring them into right standing with God. The bible speaks of the church as being built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. These two offices are used to keep the church in alignment with God’s plan for the church. They both carry a level of authority and hence a greater measure of responsibility.

Moses was a prophet. When Moses’ sister and brother, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married, they said Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it. And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

The bible shows us that God will make himself known to the prophet. The office of Prophet is an office that God alone can call one to. This is not an office one chooses for himself.

It requires a humble heart that is willing to be despised for the sake of the call. The office of prophet is a difficult office to stand in and it is not one that brings one into a place of popularity. On the contrary it is one which will cause one to receive much affliction. Jesus himself said this regarding prophets that no prophet had any honor in his own country.

John 4:44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.

Speaking from experience I can tell you of a certainty there is a high cost for the anointing of the Prophet. The prophet’s job and responsibility is to convey the heart of God as is revealed to him by the Lord Himself.

When we consider God is a God of love and the heart of God is mercy, we must remember that even when God uses a prophet to bring correction, he does so in the Spirit of Love with the hope of turning a person or a church or nation back to the heart of God. Even a warning is given by a prophet with the hope that it will bring repentance and prevent judgment. God will send a prophet often as a last resort before judgment comes.

End Quote

I do believe in these fully functioning 5 fold ministry as detailed in Ephesians 4. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit and that each of these gifts / callings/ offices/ are vital to Body today.

There. Let me know what you think...

"SeekingmyLord": Whilst Ganeida didn't talk about being a prophetess as such, she spoke of them in her post... so I was not sure what was what lol. That's why I asked her if she knew there was in fact a difference between 'gift of prophesy' and 'office of the prophet'.

Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

Even though I have used one reference here, I have read and studied up on this subject for most of my Christian life... The Lord has always drawn me towards understanding the prophetic and try as I might, I can't move away from it. It is birthed in me and therefore I can't deny it. I related to a lot of what you wrote about, in the sense of often being asked to do things you normally would not want to do.

seekingmyLord said...

Thank you, Amanda.

Ganeida, I think that makes it all quite clear, does it not? No denying it now!

I think anyone who has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit actually has access to all the spiritual gifts, but most people "specialize" in a few of them according to God's purpose. I have been given prophetic messages, of late, about my church, but my calling is not to be a least not at this time. I say this just to explain that sometimes we are given a particular message during a particular time, but that does not make one a prophetess.

seekingmyLord said...

I know this is a bit off the main topic, although related, but I would like to add something to this since Corinthians has referenced. While these are Biblical truths and guidelines, the book of Corinthians was also a letter to a particular church. The Corinthian church, in the context of the scriptures quoted, seems to have been dealing with some squabbling and too much importance on the gifts themselves. Also, it was quite disorderly in its services with people talking one over the other instead of one at a time. Imagine a service were several people are talking out at the same time! This is obvious in the verses just before and after Cor 14:31, particularly in verses 33 and 40, which is then followed by the well-known "women keep silent" verse, perhaps used frequently out of context incorrectly, all too conveniently.

I do not see it meaning that all women were to be silent at all times in church, but that married women were not to disrupt the service by talking and asking questions there and then that could and should be discussed with their husbands at home, because it would reduce the disorderliness. Yet Paul is oddly silent about the unmarried women and widows, perhaps because they would have no other source but the church in which to learn...?

I might say to my daughter that she is if she has a question that we will discuss after the service because otherwise we would be distracting others trying to hear the message. However, if a child was bussed in without parents attending, I would hope that the child would be taken aside and have all his questions answered. I, also, would hope that I never stop my own daughter from using her gifts how and when it would please the Lord in an orderly fashion within the church service.

So, it comes down to these three options:
1) no woman is a prophetess (and yet the Bible has recorded a number of prophetesses)
2) a prophetess is bound to be silent by Paul's instructions (negating the purpose of the gift)
3) Paul's instructions are misunderstood and/or misused out of context.

As I see it, if there were such a church that was having such a disorderly service, as the one in Corinthia, more than likely certain rules would be put in place to bring order.

On the other hand, I do not see where that supersedes a prophetess using her gift; a true prophetess cannot be silent in the church.

Ganeida said...

Amanda: Thank you so much. That is nice & clear & cklarifies one or two things for me. ☺

Seeking: I'll come & have my meltdown on your shoulder! ☺

I think the whole silence thing has been misunderstood & misapplied which is quite easy to see if you go back to the Greek; but given the can of worms it would open up to actually admit that...well, not going to happen, is it?

One thing I do know from sad experience, if God wants me to speak out on something it is pretty much impossible for me to remain silent. *sigh*

joyfulmum said...

So many off shoots from this one post, lol! Thanks Ganeida for sharing your explanation of why you cover your head:)

Ember said...

I can identify with your sense of being led without understanding, Ganeida. In my life up till now I have always been able to think through to a rational analysis & understanding of the way the path led: no longer. The Plain dress & headcovering issue is for me a powerful visceral thing; as I go along it keeps surprising me with the power of its witness, but I still can't begin to get my head round it. It just... feels... right.

About prophecy: in the Old Testament the prophets acted as mediators of the Covenant relationship (Moses especially), called into the presence of God to hear His word then sent out to deliver it to the people.
At the death of Jesus the Temple veil was ripped that divided God from humanity, opening the way to the outpouring of the Spirit on all people at Pentecost.
So the Spirit in full power was on the prophets, then in Jesus, then poured out upon the People of God, the Body of Christ. So the call to the prophetic life belongs to the whole people of God in Christ.
As I understand it none of the charismata can ever be my gifts but are all always the gifts of the Holy Spirit,to which I have access at any time by virtue of being immersed in the Holy Spirit (opening my hand in the stream rather than trying to grasp a bit of the water in my fist).
It's just a matter of observation that some individuals get a name for the exercise of one or other gift, and so become (eg) 'healers' or 'prophets'.
I see the practicality of that, but I also see how it can become a route to the same old same old of hierarchies and celebrities and officials those who are in and those who are out, those who are important and those who are merely punters.
What I am most comfortable with is resting in the moment's leading and leaving what I am without definition (oftentimes when I conduct a funeral people ask me afterwards 'What ARE you??' and who can say?).
I think (tho I may be wrong) it probably doesn't matter whether you 'are a prophet' or 'have the gift of prophecy' or just 'prophesy'. All that matters is that you stay tuned and do what He says however unlikely and unwelcome His word may strike you.

Thank you so much for writing this post.

Ganeida said...

Ember thank you for the long thoughtful response. ☺ While i am stuggling so much to wrestle my way through to an intellectual understanding of what is going on language helps me to define & set boundaries which can later be discarded because, as you so rightly point out, they are hugely inaccurate anyway. One thought your words have set off is simply that in working towards *praying all the time*, which is a 2nd reason to cover, one is listening more for God which makes more opportunity for Him to speak, thus freeing a gift.

I don't have answers, only questions, & in sharing hope others along the way recognize the experience & will give me a hoy. Just so I don't feel all lonely...☺