What do you think of when you think of “The Church Lady”? Do you think of Dana Carvey doing his SNL skits? Do you think of your grandma? Do you think of your fanatic friend at work? Whenever I think of her, I think of a person who is real but not authentic. A cubic zircona is real but it’s still a fake diamond. I had very little good examples set before me in the church of authentic women. Most of the ones I met were trying to conform to their ideal of what a church lady looked like. I think that’s where people get off track and leave church because they are looking for authentic and they don’t see it.
We find plenty of authentic women in the bible. Not perfect women, but authentic women. I read about one recently, whose husband had died before they could have children. In that culture, and at that time, for a woman to not have a child was humiliating. Her father-in-law sent his son to “lay” with her in his brother’s place. The brother being wicked spilled his semen rather than risk her getting pregnant because he knew if she bore a child it would be as though it was his brother’s child and he didn’t want to comply. <em>To some it’s more important to appear obedient than to be obedient. </em> That doesn’t sound like it’s very authentic. So there she sat childless. Her father-in-law promises her that when his youngest son grows up, he will send him to her but time passes and it looks as though he isn’t going to do it. Have you ever gotten to the point where it doesn’t look like things are going to happen so you get a little desperate, okay, a lot desperate? She dresses up as a prostitute and sets herself up on the road and has sex with her father-in-law! He doesn’t know its her! She gets proof of this encounter by asking her father-in-law for some personal items and she gets pregnant. When her father-in-law finds his daughter-in-law pregnant, well you can imagine the hell that breaks loose because now she’s humiliated him. Go figure! She was pretty thought out though and has proof of who she slept with! Okay, it all sounds creepy but we all know desperate women do desperate things. Let’s not judge but understand that in her world she had little choice. Who was she? Her name was Tamar and she was one of the great-great grandmothers of Jesus. She was authentic. She captured the attention of God because he saw her actions through her heart. We don’t see her nagging, yelling, pouting. There is so much to this story, the story of a deal not fulfilled and the consequence of procrastination, disobedience and the fulfillment of an end result, that I urge you to read it. It shows an aspect of the heart of a woman better than any country song could. You can find the story in Genesis 38. Being authentic requires that we be actually what we claim to be. So often I see us trying to conform to our peer group.
Have you ever noticed the new girl at the office? She comes in looking like herself and slowly but surely she begins to dress like everyone else. You aren’t called to conform. You are called to transform. You are called to leave your mark on your little piece of life. I love talking with the youth group at church. They really have a funny sense of “being themselves”. They say things like, “I don’t want to be like everybody else, I want to be myself.” Problem is, the Goths look like all the other Goths, the Preps look like all the other Preps and the Skaters look like all the other Skaters, seen one Emo, you’ve seen them all, no one is really not like everyone else. So take a deep breath and take a look at your life today. Are you authentic? Are you the Ruby or the lab created Ruby? Both are real. One is authentic.