Wives, be subject to your husbands, as you are to the Lord.
It's important to realize that the eternal spiritual energy of the Bible
does not always lie on the surface, but has to be found at a deeper level.
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul is reflecting the culture in
which he lived—a culture in which women were regarded as property whose
only rights came, not from God, but from the dominant men in their lives—first their fathers, then their husbands.
This was never the teaching or example of Jesus Christ. He treated women
with respect, fully equal to men in their innate, empowering Oneness with
God. Many of his most important teachings were shared first with women, as
in his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. And
we're told that it was to women he first appeared after the Resurrection.
Jesus' message has significantly changed human consciousness in the two
centuries since he lived and taught. It would be tragic indeed if we had
not grown in spiritual awareness from then to now. We've realized, for
example, that the idea of slavery is not remotely consistent with our
spiritual principles, and we've dissolved that idea throughout the world—
even though Paul, in the same letter, writes "Slaves, be obedient to those
who are your earthly masters" (Eph. 6:5). That was then—a world in
which slavery was taken for granted as the natural order of things. This is
now—and we have grown in spiritual awareness.
The same is true in regard to the respective roles of men and women. We
understand that every person is an eternal spiritual being, uniquely
expressive of the Light and Love of God—the indwelling spiritual energy
that is the Christ. No one has an innate authority over anyone else. We
come together—in relationships, in families, in communities—to support
each other in our shared spiritual purpose of creating the new consciousness
that is the kingdom of heaven. From this perspective, Paul's message
becomes clearer. "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ"
(Eph. 5:21). By reverencing the Christ in each other we allow our
relationships to become fluid and flexible. We honor the unique spiritual
identity of each individual. Sometimes I will support the Christ in you.
Sometimes I will need you to support the Christ in me. No one is inherently
in charge, and no one is innately subservient.
I hope this helps clarify what is certainly a challenging passage. And I
know and affirm that divine Light and Love are flowing now through you and
your wife, guiding each and both of you to your highest good.