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God and southern women

I’m in Florida attending a wedding. I took Karen out for Valentine’s Day with our old friends the Hitchcocks. We swung by Palm Beach, bastion of beautiful people. Think “Homes of the Rich and Famous.” And on Worth Ave, it’s amazing how many stereotypical “Southern” women you’ll see. As teena…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I’m in Florida attending a wedding. I took Karen out for Valentine’s Day with our old friends the Hitchcocks. We swung by Palm Beach, bastion of beautiful people. Think “Homes of the Rich and Famous.” And on Worth Ave, it’s amazing how many stereotypical “Southern” women you’ll see. As teenagers, they were dolled-up debutantes, possessing qualities that both inspire and alarm. Now that they are older, they are self-absorbed fashion mavens, dressed to the nines. In Dallas, they’re known for their big hair.

This behavior, insofar as it is symptomatic of a heart issue, is problematic to God (see the scripture below). But how do we talk about this subject without upsetting half the population reading it? Taking a deep breath, I dive in.

Here is what I love about Southern women:

  • They tend to be hospitable.
  • They tend to enjoy people.
  • They sure can cook.

Here are some things that trouble me about Southern women:

  • They tend to skate on the surface of things.
  • They tend to be cliquish.
  • They tend to spend an inordinate amount of time on their
    looks and wardrobe.

Of course, I’m married to a woman from the south and so are a lot
of my friends. But that does not make them Southern women in the sense I’m talking about. Geographical location doesn’t determine character, but is correlated to it.

So, if you feel yourself
starting to get offended, please relax.
I’m talking about people that remind you of Paris Hilton in their
superficiality. They’re more interested
in church as a social club than they are in helping widows and orphans. They want to be noticed, but don’t notice what is on God’s heart.

I wondered what God thinks about people who treat their
faith that way and was shocked. Sometimes, God is more outrageous than I
am. In Isaiah’s day, Israel was divided
in two with the women of Zion living in the southern part… making them “Southern”
women.

“The LORD says, ‘The women of Zion [Southern women] are haughty, walking
along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with
mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore, the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the
LORD will make their scalps bald.

“In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and
headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and
bracelets and veils, the headdresses and ankle chains and
sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings
and nose rings, the fine
robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors,
and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.

“Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a
sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing,
sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding.'” (Is. 3:16-24)

Wow! Did you hear that? That’s one of the most shocking passages in the Bible, if you ask me. I think I laughed out loud when I first read it: “I’ll make ’em all bald, says the Lord.” Ha!

The point of this has little to do with where a woman was born and more to do with where they get their identity. It has to do with their haughtiness toward those not in their social club. Hey – we all struggle with getting ego strokes from the wrong places. Southern women have just locked in that behavior as a life habit pattern and don’t realize how far out of bounds they are spiritually.

If you’re struggling with this, I suggest you do what former Southern woman Ericka Bennett did: put down the beauty pageant sash and go hold orphans in Swaziland and India (where she is now) until your heart is moved by the things that move God’s heart.

[Nor do we guys get off the hook.  We have identity issues that are just as problematic.  Being an equal opportunity offender, I’ll try to dash off a blog on how we guys relate to our cars.]

Comments (6)

  • Seth, you have such a brilliant mind. I truly enjoy how you pull “life” into perspective with, well, just about anything! I just read Erika’s story. WOW! Amazing and inspiring to say the least. You have a wonderful organization; therefore, you have a wonderful team. God bless you, Seth!

  • fun blog, I think it is right on. Makes me think of Eldredge’s ideas on the father wound. before I say much more…maybe people should read his book “Captivating”.

  • Good thoughts. That’s why I like living in California (transplanted from the South). Yes, we have our big problems, but a lot of people are more open about their life issues. In the South people just hide them.

  • Wow – I don’t know what to say! This is extremely humbling. Thanks Seth – your words of approval are always so good for my heart! Thank you for making it easy for me to chase after the incredible calling God has placed on my life! You’re a blessing 🙂

    *And Scott – I’m with you- I think everyone should read Captivating!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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