Greetings from the Morrises1
by Austin and Alicia Morris
Greetings Westminster family!
We would like to share some thoughts and give you a quick update about our life in France.
I (Alicia) have been reading The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller, a book I started before Austin and I got married (that was 3 years ago, *face palm*). I recently started the chapter that delves into gender roles, and immediately felt and continue to feel some anxiety while reading it. To be very transparent, I have a lot of questions about distinctive gender roles, and projections of the world, and of the church, about what it means to be a woman, a feminist and to follow Jesus.
The chapter is told from the perspective of Kathy Keller, Tim's wife. She spends time at the beginning establishing the inherent equality of men and women, as Genesis tells us we are both made in God's image and both given equal dominion over the earth, to "be fruitful and multiply." I agree with her thoughts and find them helpful and refreshing.
Then she makes a point that I find even more refreshing. She references Philippians 2:5-11, where Jesus made Himself of no reputation to be our salvation. As Kathy puts it, "Jesus willingly shed his divine privileges without becoming any less divine and took on the most submissive role...." She takes this model and connects it to marriage. To me, if I dwell on a woman's submission, a word that reaches my ears already tainted with presumptions, I am kind of missing the point. But rather, if I shift my focus to what kind of marriage I want, I want a beautiful one. And I have an opportunity to lay myself down for my husband, not just as a woman, but as an equal partner in this marital union, to help make my marriage better. That doesn't make me any less equal than my husband, but by Jesus' model, I can offer it freely as a gift. Humbling myself isn't easy and takes a lot of work, but what a sweet opportunity.
I (Austin) can only offer the smallest bit of experience here, but I know that the equivalence of God's grace is for everyone who is His. That being said, a beautiful marriage exists in the frame of His grace. He says in Romans that all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. On the surface, this seems outright masculine. Knowing that God's grace is for all, and that our inheritance is as sons, in an ancient world context, this is so important. It's that ALL are to receive inheritance as sons, women and men, which is important to think about in an ancient context where the sons are the only ones with inheritance. I'm a better husband when I have the knowledge that my wife is my equal because we get the same inheritance as children.
On a completely unrelated topic, we wanted to update everyone briefly on our life. We are still thoroughly enjoying France, particularly the community feel as more people come out of hibernation to drink a coffee on outdoor restaurant patios that are tightly squeezed together. Come the beginning of July, we will be relocating to Tucson, Arizona. Austin will be a graduate student at The University of Arizona, studying and teaching French. Alicia found a position as a secondary math teacher. It was a bittersweet decision as we will miss the French lifestyle and we will dearly miss our friends in Mississippi, but we are excited for a new chapter and to be closer to family.
Blessings to all!
Alicia and Austin