In Kung Fu culture we have a great reverance for our Kung Fu teacher or Shifu (pronounced sure foo). The word Shifu translates to Father teacher. As both fathers and teachers are highly respected in Kung Fu culture this is a term of great respect. And it is deserved. Our Shifu is seen as someone who is highly competent if not masterful in an art that teaches us to master our body, control an opponent, live through combat and advance our physical health. A good Shifu also trains his students in patience, self-control, respect and humility. It is in light of this invaluable service that we pay our highest regard to our Shifu.
A Shifu’s wife also has a special name, Shimu (pronounced Sue-moo). Why does she get a special name? Does she participate equally in the training? Almost never. My Shifu’s wife does not even know Kung Fu (to the best of my knowledge). So why do I give her a special title? I give her a reverant title out of respect to my Shifu. Could I pay my Shifu respect and yet disrespect his wife. Surely not! Yet I have several times committed an even greater wrong. I have disrespected the wife of my Savior!
It seems that there is a certain stage in a person’s walk with Christ that they think they are being mature by complaining about how bad the church is. This is a bullying mentality. They feel better about their own spirituality by complaining about the Church, as if recognizing downfalls makes them a mature person. I fell victim to this trap.
But I suspect that Christ holds it to be no light thing when his wife is spoken ill of. Keep in mind that Christ is in very nature God (Phil. 2:6) and perceive how God responds to his wife, Israel, being blasphemed.
As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Even at a time when God was furious with Israel he was still wroth when a nation rejoiced in Israel’s plight! This means that I don’t care how bad the church gets! We are never to have anything but love and honor for Christ’s bride. If the church is flawed then we may speak the truth of the matter IN LOVE when appropriate. But we are never to speak irreverently of the bride our Savior loves.
This extends to Christ’s individual brothers and sisters (Romans 8:29). We are not to forsake our brothers and sisters when they fall but rather take every opportunity to love them in action and in attitude and to exhort them unto godliness.
P.S. If anyone is new to the concept of God’s bride being Israel and/or Christ’s bride being the church here are some scripture references on those two topics repectively:
(Isaiah 54:5, 61:10Jeremiah 3:14, Hosea 2:18-20)
(2 Cor. 11:2, Rev. 19:7-9)
When I first started Kung Fu, Shifu Read (not yet having that title) was technically my Shi Xiong (“older brother”) and we had the same Shifu (that being Shifu Mark Kimzey). This note was originally written on Facebook in 2008, at which point Shifu Read was my official teacher, but he was still unmarried. So the Shifu’s wife I refer to in this letter is Shifu Mark’s wife. Shifu Read’s wife, interestingly enough, has had a few lessons.