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Larry Crabb conference notes – 2

Some more thoughts from Crabb's School of Spiritual Direction...

Image of God:

Crabb very strong on 'male and female' being integral to image.  The united plurality of humanity imaging the trinity.  But he first unpacks image according to four aspects:

Personal being - longing

Rational being - believing

Volitional being - choosing

Emotional being - feeling

But all four are deeply perverted.


[Must look this up] Female means to be 'bored through' in Hebrew.  To be opened. To receive.

The physicality of men and women reflects differences at a deeper level.  Think of the commonest sexual problems between men and women and you've already seen the commonest emotional problems.  A woman finds it difficult to open up. Difficult to warmly receive another and come fully to rest in that intimacy.  And yet to do so is to experience her femininity at full strength.  A man  finds it difficult to boldly move out in strength, to enter in and bless.  And/or he enters in with haste and for his own benefit - to serve himself and not others.  Yet when he moves out in strength and service he experiences his masculinity at full strength.

Submission is to fall in line with a larger story.

Submission is not give in to any demand. It's not true submission to receive ungodly movements.

It invites and calls forth godly movements.

If you're married to a real woman, you've got two choices- be a real man or kill yourself.

A real woman says 'I'm Christ's.  You can't destroy me, you can only hurt me. I can rest.'

Prov 21:9 - contentious/quarrelsome spirit. Word for an 'umpire'. They blow the whistle.

The temptation for a woman is to constantly play the umpire/referee/judge.  To stop play and cry foul.  And no player is grateful for that.  To give in to a contentious spirit is not to honour a woman - it is to bend to an ungodly power play.  (Keep the play going and involve her in the game, not as umpire, but as player!)

Prov 21:19- contentious and vexing = 'I'm going to change you and if not I'm going to make you pay.'

Cold, stand-offish, quarrelsome is the very opposite of femininity yet the natural perversion.

True femininity is to reveal the invitational nature of God.

Core terror for women - invisibility.

What grows out of that is a clenched fist.  "I will not feel that terror."

A deeply feminine woman is so at rest in God's delight at her undamageable beauty (no matter how many times she's been abused etc...) that she invites others to enjoy the beauty of God by relating invitationally not controllingly; openly not guardedly; courageously not defensively, with one purpose in mind - to encourage another to be consumed by God's beauty.

Masculinity - movement.

There's not a man alive who's not afraid of women - his wife in particular.

Word for male in Hebrew same as for remember.  A man remembers and moves.   'Male' was the person who reminded the king and moved the king's agenda forwards. [Again, must look into this]

Man is to move without fear with one purpose - to awaken the appetite for God in another because He remembers the purposes of a loving God. He knows he has the weight to impact the lives of others for good.

- Ex 2:24 - The LORD remembered (literally: "male-d") them.

Interesting aside:  In Exodus every time the people grumbled, He blessed them. In Numbers, every time the people grumbled, He judged them.  That's what happens with maturity.  There's often a honeymoon but after a while God brings consequences!

Adam transmitting LORD's command to Eve was a masculine thing to do - remember and move.

Greatest fear of men is weightlessness. (The silence of Adam!).

[Larry said] "I think I'm a far better teacher than husband. I have a gift and I'm comfortable. That's why a lot of Christians marry their ministries."

So how are men supposed to move?

Men move more comfortably when there's a code.

Men should have the courage to move when they don't have a clue what to do. To enter into chaos and move purposefully. You move by faith even if you don't feel your weight. Felt inadequacy is an opportunity to become more dependent.

Brokenness is realising something is desperately wrong and nothing will fix it without the omnipotent Spirit of God.

But I naturally move towards areas in which I feel more competent. Therefore I shrink my world and retreat from my calling.  I sit on the couch and shut off.  And of course my wife then blows the whistle even louder.  My natural cowardice calls forth her natural controlling.  It's a vicious circle.  As head, the man must break this.  He is to move out in spite of the controlling pull (and even more so, in spite of his own natural cowardice) and lead.

When you don't know what to do, do something.  Even if you make a mess, just get involved.

Four metaphors for sin in OT

Genesis 4: City builders.  Cain is cursed as a restless wanderer but he builds a city

(Lewis) God gives us many resting places on the way home but He forbids us to make them home.

City building is our determination to feel now what we can only feel in glory.

Now that I have X I have what I need.

Jeremiah 2:13,14: Well diggers.

The LORD offers us His living waters, we make for ourselves broken wells!

Who or what are you using to fulfil your demands?

Isaiah 50:10-11:  Fire lighters

We are to trust the LORD in darkness, but we find survival strategies.

Ezekiel 13:10f: Wall Whitewashing

God is committed to demolishing our whitewashed walls.


Sorry no responses to comments yet.  I literally have a few minutes before bed...



0 thoughts on “Larry Crabb conference notes – 2

  1. codepoke


    I don't actually disagree with anything here, but there's something about categorizing male and female so definitively that makes my heart heavy. The woman was taken out of man, but all the estrogen was not and she took a good bit of the testosterone with her.

    The hormonal difference between men and women chemically is a few percentage points, more like 47-53 than 99-1. I think that's a good rule of thumb on this subject. I need to hear about movement 53% of the time and about openness about 47% of the time. I may be the timid player 53% of the time, but I'm the prickly umpire 47% of the time, too.

    I'm aware you're typing fast and capturing thoughts on the fly. I hope to hear that Crabb was not as definitive as your quick notes might evince. Either way, this is great insight and information, and I'm hugely glad you're sharing it with us.

    Sleep well and get as much advantage from this time as you can!

  2. theologien

    Wow, didn't take long for you to process these notes. I have had these on mind since I heard them this week as well. As for the meaning of "male" in the hebrew (zkr), There is no evidence for an etymological relationship to the homonymous word zākār “male” (Ernst Jenni and Claus Westermann, Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament p 381.) I would tend to agree with this.

    However, based on the context of Gen. 3:6, and elsewhere, I think there is warrant for Crabb's description of masculinity as remembrance and movement. Much the same can be said for the etymological root that Crabb finds for female, but I think there is a biblical basis for what he says.

    I need to process this and apply it to my life existentially as well.

  3. glenscriv


    Yes I think it is a case of 55:45 rather than 99:1. Hence the core fear of women (invisibility) is remarkably similar to the core terror of men (weightlessness) but with significant nuances.


    Great to hear from you! It's easy to copy up the notes since I just wrote them on my phone and copied them across. And yes- much easier to do than to process and live them!!

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