Tag Archives: headship

R.C. Sproul on The Role of Man and Woman

I often say that we need to listen to others who are not like us, and in that spirit, I read complementarian articles and I tune in to complementarian sermons on marriage and gender roles.  Having been raised in a comp church tradition, I know the point of view intimately, yet am still surprised every time I hear comp teaching.  The idea of gender roles was once so clear to me, but now I feel as though scales have fallen off my eyes.  I can see how my socialization in patriarchy led me to read the Bible through that lens and to accept these kinds of sermons as being Good News.

rc sproulLast week, I listened to a sermon on gender roles by Dr. R.C. Sproul, a Calvinist pastor and Reformed theologian, author of more than 60 books, and the founder of Ligonier Ministries, which broadcasts his sermons around the world. This is a theologian with a lot of influence within Christianity, so I believe it is worthwhile to test his teachings.  The Apostle Paul told us to follow Jesus and not this preacher or that preacher, because it is human nature to adopt a favorite minister and tune into their voice religiously and not balance their influence with diverse voices.  It takes diligence to wrestle with differing perspectives, panning for the nuggets of truth.  There is no perfect teacher besides Jesus – we are all prone to error.  And ideas have consequences. Compelementarian theology has consequences that often endanger women. 

For example, Dr. Sproul’s son, R.C. Sproul, Jr., was a Calvinist minister and advocate of Christian patriarchy, even rumored to have practiced “wife spanking”.  He was found to be subscribed to Ashley Madison when that scandal broke several years ago.  Their motto was, “Life is short.  Have an affair.”  There is a slippery slope between “purity culture” and the sex industry.  Patriarchy objectifies women.  Period.  I am not sure if there is an official connection between the Sprouls and the puritanical Head Covering Movement, but there is obvious respect for their voices in that community, as these memes suggest.

Below, I am offering egalitarian rebuttals to Dr. Sproul’s sermon, point by point.  I am doing this to explain the egalitarian point of view that Dr. Sproul misrepresents for those who may be in the midst of a shift away from complementarianism.  It is when we are in a period of transition that we are most open to new ideas, which is a truly humble stance. Otherwise, we respond to new ideas by becoming defensive, even more locked into our ideology.  This is the power of confirmation bias – we dismiss information that contradicts what we already believe, and give extra weight to information that supports our ideas. Let’s bear this in mind as we pan for God’s Good News on the topic of gender roles.


Here is the sermon description from the “Renewing Your Mind” website:

In an age when the women’s liberation movement has reached all corners of society, the concept of a woman submitting to the authority of a man finds disdain. Now, more often than not, there is misunderstanding of the roles men and women have in marriage. Dr. Sproul looks at the issue in this message entitled “The Role of Man and Woman.”

Formerly, I would have read this statement and pictured  a sinister darkness spreading across a map.  In actuality, the women’s liberation movement was initiated by Christians who were offended by the marginalization and abuse of women and children by patriarchal society.  (I once responded to the assertion that feminism is devoid of God here.)  Going even further back, women flocked to the early Church because they were treated as equals there.  I challenge you to reread the New Testament, being attentive to the stories of women prophesying, preaching, teaching, and there was even a female Apostle, named Junia. “Celsus, a 2nd-century detractor of the faith, once taunted that the church attracted only ‘the silly and the mean and the stupid, with women and children.’ His contemporary, Bishop Cyprian of Carthage, acknowledged in his Testimonia that ‘Christian maidens were very numerous’ and that it was difficult to find Christian husbands for all of them. These comments give us a picture of a church disproportionately populated by women.” [source]

The sermon was broadcast on February 20th, 2017 on the Renewing Your Mind program:
The Role of Man and Woman – Dr. R. C. Sproul

I thought this was a current sermon, but I found a video which places it decades ago:

http://cdnapi.kaltura.com/p/1916491/sp/191649100/embedIframeJs/uiconf_id/29017082/partner_id/1916491?iframeembed=true&playerId=kaltura-player1&entry_id=1_arw4a6jd&flashvars%5BstreamerType%5D=auto

Dr. Sproul is preaching on Paul’s household codes of Ephesians 5.  I was happy to hear Dr. Sproul begin in verse 21, as most complementarian teachings on this passage begin in verse 22 after the heading. In the original letter, there were no chapters, verse numbers or headings separating topics.  Paul had been talking about how Christians are to walk out their faith in their day to day life, and in verse 21 tells everyone to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, then continues the sentence to say, “wives, to your husbands” like this, and husbands, like this.  “Wives, submit to your husbands” does not exist in the original Greek.  “Submit” occurs in verse 21 and applies to both the husband and the wife. I recommend reading Rachel Held Evans’ post, “Submission in Context: Christ and the Greco-Roman Household Codes.”

Dr. Sproul calls the idea of mutual submission an “exegesis of despair” without any explanation of what he means.  I have searched and cannot find this term anywhere.  Who despairs under mutual submission?  If you start Googling, you will find many women despairing under legalistic, authoritarian gender roles. Start at A Cry for Justice and Spiritual Sounding Board or this post from Diary of an Autodidact on why complementarians cannot actually condemn spousal abuse.

Dr. Sproul goes on to say that you would have to apply the idea of mutual submission across the entire passage, causing confusion and disorder.  You would have to say that parents must submit to children, and that Christ is the head of the Church just as the Church is the head of Christ.  My response to these assertions:

brene brown parenting

I love Brene Brown’s Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto

First, I believe that reading the Bible with an authoritarian view (complementarianism is all about a hierarchy of authority) leads parents to, mostly unintentionally, teach their children conditional, strings-attached love.  This does not resemble God’s love for us.  It has also led to abusive treatment of children. Physical abuse is certainly rampant, but coercive control of others is abusive and might never be physical. Obedient, docile children are trophies in authoritarian comp cultures, objectified for their behavior. If you teach your children to recite Scripture and play an instrument and never talk back, you will be given honor in your complementarian church. Brene Brown would describe parenting like this as coming from a mentality of scarcity and shame rather than from worthiness and wholeheartedness.  Brennan Manning tells us that God loves us just as we are and not as we should be, because nobody is as they should be.  In this way, egalitarian theology honors children’s individuality, gifts and callings. Egalitarians do not clip their children’s wings by forcing them into prescribed roles that may frustrate them if they are not naturally inclined to fit into those boxes.  We watch our children to see their natural inclinations, we understand that their behavior is tied to their developmental stage and reveals real needs that we can meet.  Yes, correction is needed on a daily basis, but it should be about developing character, honesty, generosity, and kindness, not perfect behavior.  No parent is doing a perfect job (we need grace too!), but our theology deeply impacts how we respond to and guide our children. Young people are fleeing churches nowadays, and I don’t believe that would be the case if the ethos of the culture is worthiness and grace rather than power and control.

Second, Dr. Sproul brings us to the topic of headship.  In our modern context, we read “head” and infer “boss,” “CEO,” “authority.”  This was not the understanding of “head” in ancient times.  We now understand that our brains are in our heads, but then they thought the function of the head was as the place that food entered to nourish the body; it was the source of the fuel to run the machine while the gut was believed to be the seat of knowledge, etc.  In a patriarchal society, the father was the source of financial security for the family except in some cases where a single woman of means ran her own household. Men had nearly all of the privilege, education, financial control, and social power, and Paul is instructing men to care for their disenfranchised wives, to use their privilege for the betterment of his family, just as Jesus gave up his position in heaven to give his life for us. In this way, egalitarians understand “head” to mean “source.” Marg Mowzcko’s blog is full of insightful egalitarian exegesis, and her post on Paul’s use of “headship” is excellent.

“Rather, I think, as the consensus historically of Biblical interpreters has been…”

Yeah, let’s talk about the consensus of Biblical interpreters.  Bob Edwards provides a fascinating overview of the roots of male authority in the church here.  It is no coincidence that patriarchal theologians infused their translations and commentaries with patriarchal thought.  Edwards’ talk includes translation errors by patriarchalists that have influenced complementarian teaching.  In our post, “Quoting the Founding Fathers of Complementarian Theology,” we list some examples of sexist quotes by Augustine, Calvin, and others.  For example:

“It is the natural order among people that women serve their husbands and children their parents, because the justice of this lies in (the principle that) the lesser serves the greater…. This is the natural justice that the weaker brain serve the stronger. This therefore is the evident justice in the relationships between slaves and their masters, that they who excel in reason, excel in power.” (St. Augustine, Questions on the Heptateuch, Book I, § 153)

Next, Dr. Sproul says that he sees women raging about Paul’s teaching as being chauvinistic and arrogant.  He says that all authority was given to Christ, then Christ gives that authority to his apostles.  This is the law of God.  What is so controversial, Dr. Sproul asks?  Women are willing to submit to the authority of Christ, so why not to their husbands in the same way?  Dr. Sproul says that God has given a significant level of authority to husbands as the heads of the home.  If a woman resists her husband’s authority, he says she is resisting God.

Again, this comes down to different interpretations on the meaning of headship. Complementarians believe headship means “authority” and egalitarians believe headship means “source.”  Yes, Christ has all authority over heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18) and he gives authority to his followers, but that includes Christian women as well as men (Galatians 3:28).  And Jesus is still the ultimate authority.  There is no human that has authority equal to Christ.  In an egalitarian marriage, the husband and the wife submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, and Christ alone is the final authority.  Both are always seeking to honor Christ and follow Christ faithfully as the true leader of the family.

Dr. Sproul goes on to clarify that women do not have to submit if their husband is asking them to disobey the final authority of God on a subject.  If a husband tells his wife to prostitute herself, she doesn’t have to obey.  If a husband tells her to stop going to church, she should disobey him on Sundays because God commanded us to keep the Sabbath holy, but she doesn’t need to go to the Wednesday night service.  I would say that a Christian husband should not be controlling the freedom of his wife. Living in the mystery of oneness does not necessitate losing any aspect of your God-given identity.  I do appreciate Dr. Sproul’s distinction here though, as I’ve read other complementarians who say women should never disobey their husbands.

6538832-M

Run away from this book!!

For instance, Elizabeth Rice Handford has said a woman should never voice her opinion to her husband unless he asks for it, and she should have an abortion, participate in sexual activities that she does not want to do and tolerate physical abuse even to the point of death if that is how her “head” directs her (in her book, “Me? Obey Him?“).

Dr. Sproul tries to lighten the burden of his teaching to women by pointing out God’s sense of humor in the translation of “submit to your own husband,” the Greek word idion being the root of “idiosyncrasy” and also “idiot.”  He offers this loose translation: “Wives, submit yourselves to your idiot husbands.”  Again, I say submit is absent from verse 22, so the Bible never says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands.”  Second, I understand his point is to say that men are not superior to women, but I don’t believe it is ever appropriate to make gendered jokes, period.  It is not OK to make fun of men or women from the pulpit, not to mention that this is not a true translation of Paul’s meaning.  Egalitarianism avoids stereotyping of men and women, leaving space for both to become their best selves apart from socialized gender expectations.  Many men do not feel freedom to live emotionally healthy, sensitive lives because complementarian culture rewards toxic masculinity and machismo.

Next, Dr. Sproul decries the 50/50 myth of marriage, saying “I can’t think of anything worse.”

umbrella-graphic-by-amber-dann-picottaEgalitarians do not teach that marriage requires 50/50 from each spouse.  In fact, we teach 100/100.  Bring your whole self to the marriage–there is room for two callings and two perspectives.  Decisions can be made together in loving, mutual submission.  It isn’t necessary to demote one half of a marriage to assistant status in order to function.  In every other context, we understand that “two heads are better than one” and that iron sharpens iron.  I personally have never witnessed an egalitarian marriage that seemed to be stuck in a “perpetual power struggle to get control,” even though Dr. Sproul believes this is inevitable.  Authoritarians worry about control, not egalitarians.  Egalitarians seek mutual submission to each other and ultimate submission to Christ.  Disagreeing with Dr. Sproul’s interpretation of marriage roles does not equal “vilifying” a teaching of the Bible.

Dr. Sproul says God settles the “perpetual power struggle” by vesting all authority and leadership in the man, and he doesn’t see this as a privilege as much as it is a “weighty, weighty responsibility.”  Women have been “bleeting” about this interpretation, but they need to understand that subordination never equals inferiority.  The Son is subordinate to the Father, the Spirit to the Son, but none are inferior.

Complementarians see subordination within the Trinity while egalitarians see mutuality. In Marg Mowzcko’s “Seperate Spheres & Distinct Roles in the Trinity and Marriage,” she says,

When Jesus came to earth as a human being, he voluntarily laid aside his divine privileges (Phil. 2:6-8) and became completely dependent on the Father’s and the Holy Spirit’s guidance and power. Jesus submitted to, and obeyed, the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Some Christians believe that wives are to display this level of dependency, submission, and obedience towards their husbands. However Jesus, in taking human form, had become ontologically inferior and thus, subordinate, to the Father and the Spirit. He was even “a little lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:9a). Jesus had temporarily lowered and limited himself by taking human form for a very particular purpose and a vitally important reason: to save the world!

Wives, however, are not ontologically inferior to their husbands. That is, women are not lesser creatures than men. So it is unhealthy for wives to emulate the same degree of dependence and submission towards their husbands that Jesus had towards the Father and Spirit while he was on earth.

After describing women as raging and bleeting about wifely submission/male headship, Dr. Sproul says we should listen to women’s cries and men should not tyrannize their wives. Great.  “But we also need to hear the cries of men” who have five times more nightmares than women and feel tremendous pressure in their role of provider.

I believe egalitarianism does in fact listen to the cries of men.  We see how patriarchy harms men too, how hierarchy privileges a few at the top and tramples on women, children, and most men.  We believe a husband and wife are a team, sharing equally the yoke of responsibility of caring for their family, trusting ultimately in our Great Provider who cares even for the sparrow and the lily in the valley.  Rather than pressuring men to be Providers, Protectors and Priests, churches should encourage us all to surrender our lives and our money to Jesus.  A couple excellent books came out in the last two years addressing the very real plight of men under patriarchy: Man Enough by Nate Pyle and Malestrom by Carolyn Custis James.

Dr. Sproul correctly blames culture for imposing these pressures on men, but does not recognize that it is the culture of patriarchy that he is in fact advancing.  He goes on to explain that it has been like this since the beginning, when woman was created as man’s helpmate.  In the original Hebrew language, Eve is describes as ezer kenegdo, which has been translated (by patriarchalists) as “suitable helper” (Genesis 2:18).  In the other instances when ezer appears in the O.T., it is referring to God as a helper to Israel, often in war.  For instance,

“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty…Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights.” (Deuteronomy 33:26, 29; NIV).

I recommend reading God’s Word to Women’s word study on ezer kenegdo in which they begin,

Usages of ‘ezer in the Old Testament show that in most cases God is an ‘ezer to human beings, which calls to question if the word “helper” is a valid interpretation of ‘ezer in any instance it is used. “Evidence indicates that the word ‘ezer originally had two roots, each beginning with different guttural sounds. One meant “power” and the other “strength.”

And conclude,

The woman was never meant to be an assistant or “helpmate” to the man. The word “mate” slipped into English since it was so close to the Old English word “meet,” which means “fit to” or “corresponding to” the man which comes from the phrase that likely means “equal to.”

What God had intended, then, was to make a “power” or “strength” for the man who would in every way “correspond to him” or even “be his equal.”

The Torah Study for Reform Jews says, “From the time of creation, relationships between spouses have at times been adversarial. In Genesis 2:18, God calls woman an ezer kenegdo, a “helper against him.” The great commentator Rashi takes the term literally to make a wonderful point: “If he [Adam] is worthy, [she will be] a help [ezer]. If he is not worthy [she will be] against him [kenegdo] for strife.” This Jewish study also described man and woman facing each other with arms raised holding an arch between them, giving a beautiful picture of equal responsibility

Dr. Sproul says he believes women have the easy role within this complementarian doctrine.  He wishes that “all he had to do was submit.”  At the same time, he recognizes his leadership ability and chooses “precious few” others to follow.

e4c2e61dc0186b4ebe317ab0bcc67f33We are socialized to associate stereotypical masculine characteristics as leadership qualities, i.e. decisiveness, assertiveness, even lower vocal registers; whereas, the same qualities in a female are not recognized as leadership identifiers.  Girls are in fact socialized away from these qualities.  Again, egalitarians avoid stereotyping.  Each person is an Image bearer imbued with authority since the beginning in the Garden, when God gave both Adam and Eve the command to rule creation (Genesis 1:28).  Singling a few out as leaders and ignoring the gifts and voices of the majority is the common practice of churches but this does not best advance the Kingdom.  Throughout the New Testament, the message is to submit to one another, to consider others greater than yourself, to avoid lording authority over others but to become a servant of all. Serving others involves giving others opportunities to use their gifts and to follow God’s calling on their life, and having the humility to follow others.  We are all called to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).

Dr. Sproul says that having a husband that loves his wife as Christ loves the Church, who is willing to give his life for his wife, liberates women.  Jesus never exploits, tyrannizes, abuses or batters his Bride.  Amen to that, but would Dr. Sproul feel liberated if he was never given opportunities to follow his call to ministry?  He then says that in living out “your own part” of the passage, things naturally work out – if husbands love their wives, wives submit; if wives submit, husbands love their wives.  Then he says something I find particularly dangerous and offensive: “I think if she dedicated herself to being a helpmate, that would be returned with sacrificial love and she would never be tyrannized.”

Patriarchy fuels abuse, and our churches are steeped in a silent epidemic of hurting, hopeless women.  I believe awareness is growing, through the work of Leslie Vernick and Boz Tchividjian and many others, but pastors have been remarkably ignorant of the plight of many women in their congregations.  Dr. Sproul is placing a millstone around the necks of victims of abuse, blaming them for their own victimization.

Divorce is the ultimate evil in many churches, and when women seek advice about controlling and abusive husbands in complementarian churches, pastors frequently direct them to stop complaining about their husbands and start submitting more, essentially silencing them so that they do not ask for help again until they are in real danger.  Gary Thomas posted a powerful article about this, “Enough is Enough” that has gone viral.  We shared a Facebook post from Naghmeh Abedini exhorting the Church to face the epidemic of domestic abuse, along with several resources for victims here.

One way for a woman’s voice to find a platform in complementarianism is for that woman to tell other women to make themselves small.  Dr. Sproul gives a shout out to a “woman who understands men,” Marabel Morgan who wrote “The Total Woman.”  In this book, which is written with advice to wives on how to keep their husbands happy and faithful (as though that is a wife’s responsibility), she says, “Women, here’s a secret. Your husbands don’t want your advice.  They want your admiration.”  Dr. Sproul points out that men have fragile egos, and that may very well be true for a man who is saddled with dangerous messages about masculinity and manhood, not only from our sexist, patriarchal society at large but also from his spiritual leaders in churches touting complementarian theology of gender roles.

Dr. Sproul wraps up by saying that “this isn’t a battle, this isn’t a competition for authority.  This is that place God created where the two become one flesh.  Paul goes on, this is the mystery.  My job is to nourish her.  In that, Christ is honored and marriages are made whole.”

safe_imageAs an egalitarian, I believe that Christ is honored when we love one another and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  I disagree that God has given husbands alone authority over their families and men alone authority over the Church, not because I rage or bleet against teachings on submission but because following Jesus with integrity means obeying him, and he has never told me to not use my God-given authority for the sake of the Kingdom.  In fact, I believe I would dishonor Christ by living in the box that complementarians give to women, and I do not want my husband to live in the box that complementarians give to men.


Sheesh, that was long!  Thanks for hanging in there to the end!  Kate Wallace wrote a beautiful poem, They gave me a box, that you will love.  If you belong to a tradition that teaches gender roles, I pray that you find freedom in Christ to live out your true identity and calling.  You are a gift to the world and God has prepared good works for you to do.  God bless!

Oh, and you can find us on Facebook if you’d like to read all the links we find from around the web concerning gender equality in the Church.

Advertisements

Q&A on Christian Feminism

img_8425

On Christmas Eve, I received a comment on a post I wrote in 2015 responding to the Girl Defined article, “Why Christianity and Feminism Can’t Mix,” and I noticed this morning that I had received another comment on the same post that I promised to respond to and never did.  So I will post these two comments, my replies, and links to more resources.  I am very grateful for this opportunity to engage with women who come from different perspectives and want to say first of all, thank you, Nancy and Cassidy, for reading my original post and for taking the time to ask your questions!


Nancy

The ending quote was: “My advice to Christian women is to marry a man who will be a friend, not a ruler.” Why must it be *either/or*? Why not marry a man who will be a friend AND a ruler. After all, earthly marriage is the very image of the ultimate marriage which is between God and His bride, the church. God is our ruler AND our friend. Works beautifully. He, laying down His life for His bride, edifying His bride, lifting her up, purifying her, etc. While ruling the union with love, truth, grace, and strength… while she sees Him worthy of her love, trust, respect, service (help) and submission. Why not allow the earthly image God created (human marriage) truly reflect the ultimate heavenly reality? That’s the way it was designed by Him after all.

Nancy is quoting a pastor’s wife, Andrea, who had commented on the Girl Defined article and then I pasted her words at the end of my post.  After years of counseling Christian women in abusive marriages, she began to study the Bible to better understand God’s design for gender roles, and came to the conclusion that God designed men and women to be equals.  My initial response to Nancy was to share a link to this excellent article by Bob Edwards to learn more about the origins of the headship/submission marriage model:

Seeing Male Authority as God’s Design: Where Did This Idea Come From? 

Edwards shows us how Plato influenced Augustine, who influenced Calvin, who influences complementarian theologians today, like John Piper.  The pipeline of patriarchy in Christian scholarship.  Many are unaware of the Platonic lens that they are reading their Bible through, and the inferences these gender teachings come from rather than clear Biblical directives.  I highly recommend reading more of Bob and his wife Helga’s work!

Egalitarians believe that husbands and wives are created equal and are both called to love and submit to their spouse.  This involves treating each other respectfully, helping each other, trusting each other and all the other “one another” directives that Paul gives to all believers.  In the Ephesians 5 passage that pastors often teach “Men need respect, women need love” from, it is all part of a larger section that involves instructions to love one another and submit to one another, “…wives to their husbands” (the verb “submit” does not occur in verse 22 as a directive to wives but the idea is linked from the earlier verse saying “submit to one another”).

In the creation narrative, God created mankind (both man and woman) in His image and gave both dominion and authority over creation.  “Help” is an inadequate translation of the Hebrew word ezer, as it connotes a subordinate position in our English language but more literally means something like “counterpart”  God is often referred to as Israel’s ezer throughout the Old Testament, and is clearly not a subordinate in relationship to His people.  It is in the curse in Genesis 3 that the Bible says men will rule over their wives.  As Carolyn Custis James says, “Patriarchy is the cultural backdrop of the Bible–not the message of the Bible.”

umbrella-graphic-by-amber-dann-picotta

Love this image from Amber D’Ann Picota

Another word that is misunderstood in English is kephale, translated “head.”  The problem with this translation is that “head” has more than one meaning.  In modern English, we hear “head” and immediately think “CEO,” “boss,” or “authority.”  But in ancient Greek, kephale did not connote authority.  On a body, the head did not appear to have any use except as the place where we put food, the source of life.  In ancient Greek culture, husbands were the “head” in the sense that their households were completely dependent financially and socially on the patriarch, just as a body is dependent on the head to receive food.  The body metaphor also teaches mutuality rather than authority/submission because every part of the body is dependent on each other, and directives come straight from the head, who is Christ, and is not channeled from one part to another.  Jesus is our “umbrella” and women have direct communication and covering from our Messiah, not from any male human.  Marriage is often elevated as the glue of the Church but in fact, Paul teaches us not to marry for the sake of the Gospel.

There is a great podcast on mutuality in marriage by Nick and Allison Quient that I recommend checking out:

Split/Frame of Reference Podcast: Episode 4: Ephesians 5:18-33, Mutual Submission, and the Mystery of Marriage

And an article by Egalitarian scholar Marg Mowczko that I link to all the time on women as ezers:

A Suitable Helper (in Hebrew)

As Nancy points out, it is a common teaching in complementarian

tgc-gender-1

Um, no.

churches that Christian marriage is meant to mirror a heavenly relationship between Christ and His Church, so that the world can better understand the Gospel with this tangible metaphor.  We are taught by complementarian pastors that wives’ submission to their husband and to “Biblical gender roles” point the secular world to the Good News.  But the early Church was striking to ancient secular society as counter-cultural by defying patriarchal gender roles.  In a society where women were property, Christian husbands treated their wives as equals and loved their wives as their own bodies.  Women were elevated to equality in the early Christian Church and ministered alongside the men.  The modern conservative Christian Church has swung back to patriarchal teachings in reaction to the growing egalitarian values of our Western culture, who now look at the Church and do not see anything “good” in the way Christian women are subjugated.

Here are the “Biblical gender roles” for women that are actually in the Bible:

25 Biblical Roles for Biblical Women – Marg Mowczko

And an excellent article from Kristen Rosser:

Is Marriage Really an Illustration of Christ and the Church?


Cassidy Shooltz

I must ask a question; you make an interesting statement at the beginning of the post:

“This is a testament to the diversity of thought within Christianity and how beliefs are shaped by personal experiences, relationships, community, cultures, socialization and more.”

Do you believe it is God’s will for the foundation of our lives to be built upon personal experiences, relationships, community, cultures, and more? I believe it is God’s intent for us to build our lives solely upon His word. If you are living and believing based on the whims and ideas of others opinions, then how are you distinguishing between right and wrong?

You stated in this post that you and the girls from Girl Defined are both followers of Jesus, but it is very clear that the core of feminism is self – not Jesus Christ. I really can’t see how someone can live a life that is both feministic and Christ-centered – because feminism is about the exaltation of the female (and not Jesus). The Christian life is all about Jesus, and no movement that works to defy His design will be able to stand before His word – the concept of feminism literally falls apart at the seems when our hearts are aligned with His word.

I would not be surprised at all if the “Christian” feminists one day wake up and decide that they no longer agree with anything the Bible says. Someday y’all may very well wake up and go pro-abortion, fight for gay rights, and leave your walk with Him behind. Of course, I pray so very much that such will not be the case for you girls, and that you will instead turn to Him in this area of your life.

First of all, I am not saying that it is God’s will that we base our beliefs on things like the cultural norms of our “tribe.”  It is just a fact that this is how we come to most of our beliefs.  I have heard Tim Keller say this same thing.  The Bible is an ancient book that is not clearly and perfectly understood by any flawed human being.  Scholars fluent in Hebrew and Greek who study the Bible faithfully have different opinions on doctrines and the meaning of difficult passages.  I believe we should come to theological conversations with humility and grace for those who have different perspectives.  I am not saying that all perspectives are correct.  I am saying that your perspective and my perspective and our favorite pastor’s/theologian’s/author’s perspective is flawed in some way.  And so beyond core doctrines (i.e. The Apostles Creed), we ought to be gracious in our discussions.  Of course we should all seek faithfulness to orthodoxy and orthopraxy.  But we should also bear in mind that in issues like gender roles, we have been socialized to infer certain beliefs into the text because of the culture of patriarchy that we live in.  My biggest beef with the Girl Defined post (and honestly, your comment), is the demonization of Christian brothers and sisters who see things differently.  I was attempting then and now to demonstrate that a Christian identifying as a feminist probably is doing so out of love for those who suffer the most under the darkness of patriarchy.

I have already linked to Bob Edwards in my reply to Nancy, but here is another link to a transcription I did of a video he shared, and an excerpt of his description of the process of socialization:

Bob Edwards’ Fascinating Discussion on the Origins of Male Authority in the Church

Bob discusses how gender socialization impacts our perception/understanding of the bible.

Socialization is a process that occurs throughout our lives.  We are socialized by the cultural norms present in our environment.

People are socialized by three essential processes:
1. cultural norms are modeled for us
2. overt instruction
3. reinforcement – reward/withhold rewards, encourage/discourage behavior

Put these together, and people are socialized to make the norms of their environment their own internal norms.

Socialization takes place in regards to gender.  We have role models that show us what it means to be a man/woman in a particular society (leadership may only include men).  Often we are taught overtly (in Christianity, we are taught that men are leaders, protectors, providers, and that women are supposed to be helpers of men.  Men have authority and women do not, and must submit themselves to male authority.)  And there is reinforcement (if you don’t do what is expected of you in this environment, we’ll make that painful for you).

Socialization is sometimes affected by people who act as if certain things are simply true.  People may act as if women are less capable of leadership and decision making.  They act like that simply by not allowing women to make leadership decisions.

The end result of the socialization process is that the norms that exist in the culture around us become the norms that exist in our own minds.  The external norms become internal norms.

Some researchers, particularly in the field of social sciences, cognitive psychology and the psychology of perception, talk about cognitive lenses by which we make sense of the world around us.  If I’ve been socialized to believe  that men lead, women follow/submit, if I’ve been socialized to believe that men are more fit for certain positions in the church and home, then I am going to internalize those norms and I will automatically assign certain meanings to the word “man” and to the word “woman.”  And we do this by association.  I may automatically think “leader” when I hear “man” and “helper” when I hear “woman.”

These associations we make take place in the brain (according to researcher Milo Fridga) in .00007 seconds.  That’s fast.  And so, we don’t always realize that socialization is at work when we’re looking at the world around us.

In fact, socialization affects how we see, how we perceive, and how we make sense of the Bible.

Secondly, I do not believe that Christianity and feminism have to be at odds.  Certainly there are extremist feminists just as there are extremist Christians who I do not wish to be associated with.  I do believe that I did a decent job explaining this in my post.  Here are a couple pertinent quotes:

Christians can partner with environmentalists, humanitarians, economists, social workers, politicians, educators, health professionals, counselors, scientists, and even feminists, in the work of redeeming God’s creation to it’s pre-curse state.  A feminist, atheist, Democrat, you-fill-in-the-blank is a person created in God’s image and loved dearly by God…I personally couldn’t call any imago Dei “devoid of God.”  There is common grace among all of humankind.   And has the Bible already solved all of the world’s problems and restored us to God’s design and will for humanity?  Clearly there is much work to be done, and Christ has given us that work to do.  Do I agree on all issues that all feminists tout?  No.  Do I agree that patriarchy is from the curse and has no place in Christ’s redeemed Kingdom?  Yes.

I didn’t come to feminism through a desire to usurp the authority of men.  I came to egalitarianism (I believe through God’s direction) and some of my conservative Christian friends began cautioning me about the slippery slope that I was on, and began jokingly referring to me as a feminist.  Not because I was arguing for abortion rights or burning my bras, but because I was asking questions about gender roles in the Church.  “Feminist” is a slur in the context of my upbringing.  Looking back, I understand that this negative response can be a powerful deterrent to keep group members from challenging the status quo of patriarchy.  It didn’t take me long to adopt the title feminist, as I couldn’t shake it and I was becoming more and more impassioned to see change in the world for women who are marginalized and abused by systems of patriarchy.

President Jimmy Carter says that gender inequality is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation.  I am posting these two links again for more information on the desperate need of feminism to liberate women and girls around the globe from the worst forms of patriarchy.  I would love to see Jesus’ followers at the forefront of this battle:

Christian Compassion or Complicity: The Abuse and Gendercide of God’s Daughters – Dr. Mimi Hadad
We Need Feminism – Rachel Held Evans

Thirdly, is Christian feminism about elevating women?  Certainly.  Because women have been down-trodden and denied equality, justice involves elevating them to their dignified and rightful place alongside their brothers in Christ.  Is Christian feminism anti-male?  Certainly not.  God made men and women for dignity and dominion.  We bear His image as His representatives on earth, ushering His Kingdom in by shining a light in the darkness. Not as “girls” and “boys” but as Beautiful Kingdom Warriors.

I thank you for your prayers and leave off with a prayer for you as well:

love-may-abound


Thanks for visiting us here at The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors!  Check us out on Facebook too, where we share links from around the web pertaining to women in ministry, mutuality in marriage, the abuses experienced by disenfranchised women and girls, etc.

An egalitarian and a complementarian walk into a blog…

I noticed that our post, “The Theology of Empowering Women: Part 1,” which is a transcription of a Kris Vallotton sermon, gets a fair amount of traffic, so I was scrolling down taking a fresh look at it this morning and saw in the comments section this interaction I had with a complementarian.  I want to share it in its own post because it seems to cover a broad spectrum of differences of perspective between the two ideologies, and also the misconceptions that complementarians have of egalitarians.

Your commentary is flawed in several areas.

  • Thank you for your comment, Jed. Can you show us how? This is a transcription, not my own commentary. I welcome yours.:)

    • The first and most obvious is that the author seems to distinguish between the extent of inspiration of Paul’s writings and the writings recorded about Christ.

    • He never says anything about inspiration. He talks about context. Paul was writing letters to specific congregations with unique cultural contexts. He is not suggesting that Paul’s words were uninspired. His words were just what those churches needed to hear – the intended audience for his letters was narrow, not larger like the Old Testament books of law, etc.

    • To generally make Paul’s writings only temporary and cultural has the same effect as destroying their authority which is gained from their inspiration. If one can dismiss Paul’s teaching about headship as only cultural and because of male dominance then the impact of the headship teaching is destroyed.

    • Yes, absolutely. But I wouldn’t say that Paul’s teaching is destroyed…only an incorrect interpretation of his meaning. Which is a good thing, if you’re misunderstanding someone’s meaning, to come to a right understanding.

    • Of course, there is the rub. What did Paul actually mean? Did he mean what thousands of people, hundreds of commentators over centuries have taught, or did he mean what some recent reinterpretation, in my opinion, diminution, of his teaching is now propounded. Modern reinterpretation is not necessarily better, indeed it could be argued to be worse, than is traditional teaching. If women should now be elders, in spite of hundreds of years of other teaching, then inherent to that teaching is the assumption that all of those commentators and all of those men and women over the centuries have been wrong. That seems to me to be a bit bordering on, if not outright, egotistical. “We now know better than did all those poor uneducated, culturally enslaved, predecessors of ours.”

    • I believe that highly educated people can be predisposed to see something from a culturally socialized perspective. we have deeply ingrained beliefs that stem from our environment and what has been modeled/taught to us. I’m learning that to see an issue from another perspective takes humility, not pride. Here is an excellent explanation of how this happens:https://thebeautifulkingdomwarriors.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/bob-edwards-fascinating-discussion-on-the-origins-of-male-authority-in-the-church/

    • While I don’t have the time now to respond in detail, what I do see is that the question Pilate asked, “What is truth?’ is still very much with us. If when Eve was created God did not intend for her to be a “helpmate” (older English) to her husband, why did the author of Genesis write it that way. If the Holy Spirit inspires God’s word through human authors, then He knows the future and the cultures of the future. He gave a trans-cultural principle in the creation of Eve. She was a helper to her husband. That in itself does not define male dominance, but it does speak to the Christian husband/wife relationship. Sorry, don’t have time right now for more. I do see a very dangerous slippery slope away from truth and inspiration to re-definition from a modern cultural perspective.

    • JN, I really appreciate you taking time to interact with me. I understand your concern. I come from a complementarian background myself, interpreting the Bible through that lens for nearly 30 years, as well as through my seminary years. I have only been studying this issue for the past four years after I was baffled by a call from God to co-pastor with my husband. Here is an egalitarian explanation of our understanding of “helpmate” that I found to be very ‘helpful’:). Again, thank you so much for your comments. I am enjoying our conversation!http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/a-suitable-helper/

    • The following Stott commentary gives a deep sense of the Biblical intention of the husband/wife relationship. The stereotypical condemnation of those of us who see equal value but differing roles is unfair and consequently without merit. One needs only to look at the human body to see the differences. If biologically we are different then emotionally, sociologically and spiritually we are different. Why to women want to be men or women want men to become women, as seems to be the case with some feminists and even some Christian feminists? For husbands to fulfill their God-given responsibilities they must be different than their wives. This by definition is complementarian. I know the Stott comment is long but I believe it will be helpful to keep this discussion Biblical not so strongly cultural. There is much more to be said, but this is already too long.

      THE MESSAGE OF EPHESIANS. A Commentary by John Stott.
      Ephesians 5:21-33 Summary.

      Taking the husband first, what Paul stresses is not his authority over his wife, but his love for her. Rather, his authority is defined in terms of loving responsibility. To our minds the word ‘authority’ suggests power, dominion and even oppression. We picture the ‘authoritative’ husband as a domineering figure who makes all the decisions himself, issues commands and expects obedience, inhibits and suppresses his wife, and so prevents her from growing into a mature or fulfilled person. But this is not at all the kind of ‘headship’ which the apostle is describing, whose model is Jesus Christ. Certainly, ‘headship’ implies a degree of leadership and initiative, as when Christ came to woo and to win his bride. But more specifically it implies sacrifice, self-giving for the sake of the beloved, as when Christ gave himself for his bride. If ‘headship’ means ‘power’ in any sense, then it is power to care not to crush, power to serve not to dominate, power to facilitate self-fulfilment, not to frustrate and destroy it. And in all this the standard of the husband’s love is to be the cross of Christ, on which he surrendered himself even to death in his selfless love for his bride. Dr. Lloyd-Jones has a striking way of enforcing this truth, ‘How many of us’, he asks, ‘have realized that we are always to think of the married state in terms of the doctrine of the atonement? Is that our customary way of thinking of marriage?… Where do we find what the books have to say about marriage? Under which section? Under ethics. But it does not belong there. We must consider marriage in terms of the doctrine of the atonement.’
      As for the wife’s duty in the marriage relationship, it surprises me how unpopular this passage is among many women. When it is read at a wedding and it provokes a feminine outcry, I find myself wondering how carefully it has been read and in particular whether it has been read in its total context. Let me spell out five points which will, I hope, demonstrate that it is not the blueprint for oppression which many think, but rather a charter of genuine liberty.

      a). The requirement of submission is a particular example of a general Christian duty.
      That is, the injunction ‘wives submit’ (verse 22) is preceded by the requirement that we are to ‘submit to one another’ (verse 21). If, therefore, it is the wife’s duty as wife to submit to her husband, it is also the husband’s duty as a member of God’s new society to submit to his wife. Submissiveness is a universal Christian obligation. Throughout the Christian church, including every Christian home, submissiveness is to be mutual. For Jesus Christ himself is the paragon of humility. He emptied himself of his status and his rights, and humbled himself to serve. So in the new order which he had founded he calls all his followers to follow in his footsteps. ‘Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility towards one another.’ (1 Pet.5:5). Should not the wife even rejoice that she has the privilege of giving a particular demonstration in her attitude to her husband of the beauty of humility which is to characterize all members of God’s new society?
      This is specially so when it is seen that her self-humbling is not coerced but free. It must have been very obvious in the ancient world. The wife had no status and few rights, as we have seen. Yet the apostle addresses her as a free moral agent and calls upon her not to acquiesce in a fate she cannot escape, but to make a responsible decision before God. It is this which ‘begins the revolutionary innovation in the early Christian style of ethical thinking.’ Voluntary Christian self-submission is still very significant today. ‘Jesus Christ demonstrates rather than loses his dignity by his subordination to the Father. When a person is voluntarily amenable to another, gives way to him, and places himself at his service, he shows greater dignity and freedom than an individual who cannot bear to be a helper and partner to anyone but himself. Ephesians 5 supports anything but blind obedience or the breaking of the wife’s will. Rather, this chapter shows that in the realm of the crucified Servant-Messiah, the subjects respect an order of freedom and equality in which one person assists another – seemingly by renouncing rights possessed, actually in exercising the right to imitate the Messiah himself…A greater, wiser, and more positive description of marriage has not yet been found in Christian literature.’
      ________________________________________
      The John Stott Bible Study is taken from The Message of Ephesians: God’s New Society. The Bible Speaks Today John Stott. Used by permission of Inter-Varsity Press UK, Nottingham. All rights reserved.

      If you would no longer like to receive our e-mail updates, please click here.

    • I think it is important to note that the earliest copies of Ephesians do not repeat the word “submit” in verse 22. Paul wrote in vs. 21 to all Christians to submit to one another, and goes on to describe what that would look like in marriage. There were also no verse numbers or titles when Paul wrote his letters, so vs. 21 and following were more clearly connected thoughts. The injunction, “wives submit” was edited later on and does not come from Paul. I agree with Stott’s commentary about mutual submission, which I think this passage in Ephesians is fleshing out.

      I would also like to say that I do not condemn complementarians. I respect your viewpoints and I understand your heart in the matter – you love Jesus! You love God’s Word! You are here talking with me because you care about truth. It would be unjust of me to think poorly of you and not give you the benefit of the doubt.

      And I don’t think the idea is to make men women and make women men. Feminism is about equality between men and women. Egalitarianism is a worldview that believes God’s heart on the matter of gender roles is that there is no more male or female, we are all one in Christ. Not that biologically we are not different, but spiritually God gives gifts and callings regardless of gender, and leadership in the Church is open to women.

    • No male nor female clearly is not a statement of redefinition of cultural roles or Paul would be denying himself. The matter of value is the issue. Men never were more valuable spiritually before the Lord, but you cannot read Scripture and not distinguish role differentiations. You have not Biblical basis to say that all Scripture was tainted by culture and is therefore invalid when the culture changes.

    • I never said Scripture was “tainted” by culture, or that it is invalid when the culture changes. I said you have to consider culture when you are interpreting the meaning of a particular passage. We all read Scripture through a cultural lens, interpreting according to our deeply ingrained cultural associations.

      What would Paul be denying himself of? I don’t think Paul’s spiritual authority came from his maleness. It came from God.

    • Paul cannot both say there is not difference in everything in one place and there is a difference in other aspects in another place.

    • There is the question that first bothered me as a complementarian. If male-only authority is the rule, then why are there so many exceptions to that rule throughout the Bible?

    • What exceptions? If you are referring to the female judge, she herself was reluctant to exert that authority. Almost every principle has a few exceptions. Is there ever a time to lie? The pretend beggars with worn clothes and dried bread lied. The mothers of Egypt lied when they hid their male babies. So, obviously there are exceptions to good principles.

      The clear historical teaching of Scripture is the male headship of the home. The male eldership in Israel. The male eldership in the church. Why does the modern feminist movement believe it has the right to contradict the Bible. Male leadership is not male dominance nor female subservience at its core, it is order. The human body has a head. The visible church in the world has a head (the group of male elders). Why does anyone think that what God prescribed in the Old Testament and described in the New Testament is less acceptable now because we have feminism demanding “equality.” There is no such thing as equality in function. Equal value, yes, but never equal function.

    • Here are some more exceptions: http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/the-propriety-of-women-with-authority/. This article talks more about N.T. female church leaders:http://godswordtowomen.org/pastors.htm. And this is an excellent post about women’s leadership in the early church:http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/1988/issue17/1706.html.

      I would highly recommend reading this article by Dr. Walk Kaiser, former president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, on the Biblical teaching on women:http://www.cbeinternational.org/files/u1/resources/14-kaiser-pdf.pdf.

      And here is an article on Paul’s main point in Ephesians 5:21-33: http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/pauls-main-point-in-eph-5_22-33/.

      Also, this article on “Kephale and Male Headship in Paul’s Letters.: http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/kephale-and-male-headship-in-pauls-letters/

      I strongly disagree with you that Egalitarians (this is not a feminist movement) believe they have a right to contradict the Bible. People have had different views on many issues since the beginning of Christianity. Egalitarians are not demanding “equality” because of a new cultural viewpoint on the Bible, they are demanding equality because they strongly believe God’s design is not hierarchical, that hierarchy is a result of the fall. They are trying to work with God towards reconciling the world, abolishing the effects of sin. I am sharing these articles to demonstrate the Egalitarian perspective. It doesn’t come from an agenda but from an interpretation of Scripture. Both complementarians and egalitarians have a high view of Scripture. In fact, we have a whole lot in common. Just not the idea of male-only authority.

    • Dr. Walt Kaiser is a fine scholar. I however do not agree with his interpretation of the Genesis passage. Without that interpretation his extended arguments are much weaker, if indeed they can be maintained at all. The fact still remains that all the elders of the OT and the NT were men. All the description of responsibilities in the NT are for men. Paul does not say the elderess should be the wife of but one husband. He does say the elder should be the husband of one wife (technically, a one-woman man and not a one-man woman).

    • As you said, it comes down to interpretation. We can continue to go back and forth, but we are coming from very different perspectives and it is unlikely that either one of us is going to change our mind today. I was hoping more than anything to demonstrate that egalitarians are sincere followers of Jesus and that this is not a matter of rebellion towards God and His design. Jesus prayed that we would have a spirit of unity, and I believe that you and I can still affirm each other as brother and sister in Christ and go on with genuine love for each other despite our differences. I appreciate your interaction here on the blog and hope you continue to be a reader.

    • I have no problem with fellowship as open doors make such possible.

      What I do have a problem with is that there seems to be a willingness on the part of egalitarians to assume that we complementarians have a low regard for women. I don’t think that is fair nor do I think that women who are complementarians are in any way, for that reason, limiting themselves.

      The matter of headship is not only a Biblically correct thing, it is a freeing thing. As Christ is the head of the church, we are freed to respect his responsibilities toward us. As the husband is the head of the wife, she is freed to allow him his role. If his role is filled with love, it is not an onerous thing. It does bring order to the home as the head brings order to the body and as Christ being head brings order to the church body. If she “reverences” her husband, he will be strengthen and able to lead in a humble godly way as he should.

      But as you say, we will not likely persuade each other. Minds that are made up are hard to change.

    • I wholeheartedly agree that we shouldn’t assume negative things about other people. Egalitarians should not assume complementarians have a low view of women, and complementarians should not assume egalitarians have a low view of Scripture. Because you know what happens when you assume something? You make an “ass out of you and me.”:)

      Thanks again and God bless.

    • URW


      Please Follow our blog if you enjoy learning about gender issues in the Christian Church, and “Like” us on FB for related posts from around the web.

      Also, I had to Google “URW” – in case you are also unsure what that means, it is “You’re welcome.”  I appreciated having this very civil conversation with JN!

Around the Web – Posts on Spanking, Domestic Violence, Patriarchy and More

With the departure of summer, “people from away” are slowly filtering out of Maine and life is balancing out once again for those of us whose livelihood is impacted by the tourism industry.  The last four months have been insanely busy for me and Becky.  There hasn’t been the space in our lives to write, but that will change over this fall and winter.  We look forward to getting back in the swing of blogging and vlogging for you!

I promised to share my Imago Dei presentation from our women’s retreat earlier this month, and I will get to that later this week hopefully.  I am always checking in with my favorite blogs and keeping track of important conversations that are happening, so today I want to share some links with you to posts that have had me thinking.  I’m whetting your appetite with a quote from each post, and I hope you are able to read some of these in their entirety.

ON SPANKING

Why Jesus Wants You to Stop Spanking Your Kids – Benjamin Corey (also, you can listen to Ben talk about spanking, domestic violence and ISIS on That God Show: Episode 7)

When one considers the fact that studies overwhelmingly show that spanking is seriously harmful to children, that it damages their brains, lowers their IQ’s, reduces their ability to make good choices, increases their aggression/violence, and leads to a pattern of negative behaviors that simply require more violence on the part of the parent, the scientific evidence against spanking should be clear. When a Christian couples that scientific evidence with the nonviolent teachings of Jesus from the New Testament, along with a warning from Jesus himself that it would be better to be thrown into the sea than to harm a child, there aren’t many arguments left to support the old way of doing things.

I love you, therefore I hit you…er, SPANK you. {How Christians conflate love with violence} – Elizabeth Esther

Now, let’s talk about “hostile attribution bias.” This means you live your life expecting people to be mean to you. UM. WHOA. Hi, self. My ingrained response to the world is that people are mean and scary and out to get me. I am constantly surprised when people love me–and I have to repress the urge to be suspicious when they are kind.

Here’s my default thought process: What do they want from me? Why are they being nice? They must have an ulterior motive! Don’t they know I’m a bad person? I can’t trust them! BLOCK THEM OUT.

The hardest thing for me to do is receive love. There, I said it. I have a huge fear of intimacy because I just don’t trust people. This is my trauma wound.

I can’t go back and change my past. But I can change my future. I don’t have to perpetuate the cycle of violence. I can do something different. You can, too. Our children deserve it.

In which I talk about spanking – Sarah Bessey (she lists great resources for further reading)

The short list of why I don’t spank

  1. Personally, I believe it’s morally wrong to strike a child. Also, it isn’t Biblical.
  2. Hitting teaches hitting as a solution.
  3. It creates an adversarial relationship between parents and children – Us vs. Them.
  4. It can easily lead to abuse.
  5. It doesn’t work over the long term.
  6. It promotes anger or gives place to anger in both the parent and the child.
  7. It doesn’t teach inner discipline.
  8. It creates a behavioural response out of fear instead of love.

ON GENDER EQUALITY IN THE CHURCH

women, men & church: what hurts, what helps – Kathy Escobar (here are her “what helps,” but you should really read the whole post and consider “what hurts.”)

Here are some tangible and practical “best practices” that can help us move toward greater equality in the church:

  • Friendship. This is a core practice that opens doors to equality. We’ve got to find ways to practice being true friends together.
  • Be intentional about inviting, including, empowering, and releasing women into all levels of leadership. It won’t drop out of the sky so needs to be clear and strong message–“we need you, we want you, and here’s how we can make this happen.
  • Pay properly and equally. Period. Figure it out.
  • Avoid gender-biased comments (on both sides) about looks, athleticism, feelings, and other stereotypical ways of viewing both sexes.
  • Create intentional and brave conversations about gender in our communities–places to share, evaluate, process, adopt new practices together.
  • Ask at every table of leadership: how can we make room, make this table more balanced, who’s missing?
  • Recognize the realities of childbearing and honor it completely. That means keeping positions open, building flexible schedules, re-thinking the plans for advancement in churches & ministries.
  • The older generation of both men and women mentoring, supporting, encouraging, calling-out the younger generation of female leaders. Not just women supporting women but men and women supporting men and women.
  • Consider how to support women practically and tangibly through seminary and then ministry related to childcare help, books, mentorship, and financial support.
  • Start naming the elephant in the room before certain meetings and planning sessions get started–“We know women haven’t had an equal voice in this before. How can we shift that dynamic in here right now so everyone is heard?
  • Conference organizers and local have a solid and clear list of female speakers to draw from and use them; intentionally work toward balance.
  • Men showing up for gender equality conversations as much as women do (I added this one).

Women Like Me Are Abused Worldwide.  Here’s Why. – Anne Graham Lotz

If you doubt that sin is the root of the discrimination of women, look at Jesus. He was raised in a religious culture where people were taught that women, at the very least, were much less then men. As a rabbi (as his disciples called him), he should have discriminated against women as every other man did. But there was a significant difference between Jesus and everyone else. He had no sin in his heart.

As a result, we see him. . .

honoring women as he did when Mary anointed him with oil during a dinner in Simon’s home,

singling women out for praise as he did the widow who placed her “mite” in the temple treasury,

caring for women as he did the desperately ill woman who reached out to touch the hem of his garment,

protecting women as he did the one caught in adultery who was in danger of being stoned to death,

giving women new purpose and elevated status as he did the ones who were the first to encounter him after his resurrection and were commissioned by him to go tell the men what they had seen and experienced.

The New Wine of the Kingdom: Equality in the Church – Brian Wiele

You drink what the host is pouring… but unfortunately, within a short period of time after the New Testament era, church leadership rudely refused to drink what the host had poured, and declared, just as Jesus had predicted, that the old wine of patriarchal dominance would serve the church just fine.

Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical Protestant – the majority of the distinctive church families have continued to trot out their preferred vintage – sometimes with new labels on it like complementarian – and then audaciously decreed it to be the blend that Jesus preferred and recommended. They control the cellar, and their hierarchical vintage is thus the only one poured. As a result, anyone advocating that the church drink of the new spirit of equality is at best considered suspicious and liberal, and at worst divisive and heretical.

I’m convinced that Jesus poured a new wine – men and women, both created in his image – into new wineskins, a Trinitarian model of shared leadership.  Throw whatever labels you like at me, the refreshing blend of gender equality will continue to be served in my congregation. I’m drinking what was poured for me in order to honor the one who poured it, Jesus Christ.

ON MISOGYNY, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND PATRIARCHY

Changing the Culture that Enabled Mark Driscoll: 6 Ways Forward – Rachel Held Evans (read Rachel’s fantastic elaboration on these 6 ways forward:)

1.  We must educate Christians about abuse, bullying, and misuse of power in church settings.
2. We must value and preserve accountability.
3.   We must take misogyny and homophobia seriously.
4.  We must measure “success” by fruit of the Spirit, not numbers.
5.   We must protect people over reputations.
6.  We must treat our pastors and church leaders as human beings–flawed, complex, and beloved by God.

The Spin of Patriarchy – a podcast with Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller (with links to related posts).  They discuss these questions:

On the surface, Patriarchy families may look very harmless and even attractive. Everyone wears a smile, they tend to have a quiverfull of obedient children that they homeschool, and they present to you a formula for success. But what exactly does the husband and father’s “authority” entail? Should a husband be a mediator for the family, acting as a priest between them and the Lord? Is a college education wasted on daughters, because they are being raised to be homemakers? What’s the deal with stay-at-home daughters? Can women work outside of the home, alongside other men? What happens if you don’t have a happy disposition that reflects positively on your father or husband? Is a woman’s worth tied to the number of children she has? Do you believe that women are always prone to rebellion and satanic deceit and therefore need to be directed into submission? Is it a sin to educate your child through a different avenue than homeschool? And how does this all play out politically?

Why I Won’t Watch #RayRice – Angela Denker

Biblical traditionalists often forget to mention that the language of submission in the Bible is grounded in mutuality. For each instruction to women, Paul has an instruction to men as well. Relationship—love–is meant to be sacrificing, loving, and kind. Violence, vengeance, of any kind is condemned from the Old Testament to the New. Vengeance is mine, says the LORD.

Jesus himself says this, in his first sermon: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me … to proclaim liberty to the captives … to set the oppressed free,” (Luke 4:18-19, quoting Isaiah).

Jesus died so that no person might lose her personhood. So that no one would be controlled, manipulated, and abused. The love Jesus practiced and preached was a love that lifted up those who were brought low; a love that set people free from the roles society gave them and left them identified by an eternal life, an eternal light that could never be extinguished.

Domestic violence puts out that light. As Janay Rice-Palmer crumples to the ground in that video, she is reduced to something less than human.


Thanks for visiting us today!  We share articles like these daily on our Facebook page.  “Like” us there if you’d like to read more!

Raising Homemakers or Clipping Wings?

I joined the CBE – Christians for Biblical Equality group on Facebook and have gotten into the habit of checking in every day to see the interesting posts members share.  A couple days ago, one man, Erik, shared an article that had brought his wife to tears of shame and guilt that morning:

You’ve Trained Her in the “How” of Homemaking, Have You Trained Her for the “Why?” by Jennifer at Raising Homemakers.  This is a blog about clipping your daughters wings – training her to see her role in life as a subordinate to her husband whose sole work consists of cooking for and cleaning up after others.

Here are some highlights lowlights:

“If your husband were to come home, unexpectedly, right now… what would he find? A cared for home and family, or chaos and disorganization?”

Here was one excellent comment:  “... If you were at a paid job and weren’t doing the work that’s expected of you then your employer would be unhappy. So, depending on what you and your husband expect from your role at home, are you upholding your end?”

Exactly. Our husbands are gone all day, working for us and the children, sometimes doing work they don’t particularly enjoy, in conditions they may not find pleasant.   On the other hand, we are in the sanctuary of our homes, typically spending our time as we see fit.

Another reader wrote to me privately: “Am I doing my part? Sometimes yes, most times no.  Truly makes you take a step back and say if I was working at a real job, would I still be employed?” 

We must train our daughters that keeping their homes clean and orderly, working heartily as unto the LORD (Col. 3:23) is their reasonable service (Romans 12:1) and is necessary, that the Word of God be not blasphemed (Titus 2:5).

 

Although the intent of the author is clearly to encourage wives to put their best foot forward when it comes to caring for their home and husbands and “training” their daughters, the effect is quite the opposite.  Like Erik’s wife, most of us women feel the weight of impossible standards bearing down on us.  We can never do enough or be enough.  We feel judgment when our house is not perfectly tidy and our children are not perfectly behaved and our appearance isn’t perfectly put-together.  We also feel like we are losing ourselves when we don’t have any space in our lives to spend our time “as we see fit,” but are always tied to the responsibility of assisting and caring for others.  And on top of that, if we are not completely happy while trying to meet these impossible standards, we again feel like we’ve failed.

There are women who are naturally inclined to order and homemaking who could read this post and nod in agreement, without sensing the undercurrent of sexism and shaming.  But the truth is, we women come in a wide variety of personalities and giftings, and our value and worth does not come from where we land on that spectrum.  It comes directly from our Father, who imprinted us with His image so that we can display His glory as creative, life-giving people (whether that is in creating meals, sermons or spreadsheets…whatever our work may be).

crafty people maker

What I think the author gets wrong about homemaking, is that God does not command all women to be June Cleaver.  In fact, He doesn’t command any women to be June Cleaver.  God does not tell women that they are solely responsible for the laundry and meals.  The other side of that coin is that God does not tell men that they are off-the-hook when it comes to helping out with the household upkeep.  God tells both men and women to steward creation, but He leaves it up to each couple to decide how they are going to accomplish that in their own home and family.

Additionally, the author seems to be completely blind to her privileged position as a full-time homemaker.  Most families cannot survive on one income in today’s economy.  Yet the author makes it seem that the only way for a wife to be living in God’s will is to be keeping a clean and orderly home.

I would also object to the image of the husband as the disgruntled boss who inspects the home upon his arrival at the end of the day to see if you are holding up “your end”, as though marriage is merely an exchange of goods.  Excuse me for choosing to see my husband as my friend and partner in life – and as my co-warrior in ushering in God’s kingdom in our family and neighborhood.  At the end of the day, if work and child-care took precedence over the dirty dishes, there is nothing I appreciate more than family clean-up time.  What would take me two hours on my own can take half an hour when Logan and the kids are all helping me.  We are a team and we understand that we all need each other to pitch in and serve together.  In this way, we are also training our sons to take responsibility for their own messes and to appreciate that putting all of the homemaking responsibility on one person robs that person of pursuing what makes them truly human.  By dividing the work evenly, we all have at least a little bit of time each day to spend “as we see fit.”

It is imperative that we allow our daughters to be fully human – i.e. to dream and explore and discover; to follow their aspirations and giftings and to follow God’s prompting, even if that leads them into the workforce.  We must teach them to find their identity in God, not in their home or husband or career or any other category.  When we understand ourselves only in those categories and not in the light of God, we will lose sight of who we truly are.  Let us train allow our daughters to fly.

 

That’s my two-cents.  Here are some of my favorite comments in response to this post from the CBE Facebook community:

Deborah: Ok, maybe I’m jaded.  I work AND keep my home clean and orderly.  I really don’t see a reason to continue enabling bad habits in men of not being capable of both.  I teach my son how to keep his room clean, fold his clothes, and when he’s old enough, how to cook his own meals, babysit, and do his own laundry.  Because not doing that is to severely handicap him.  If he wants a maid, he can hire one, but I will make darn tootin’ sure he doesn’t think he’s going to marry one.

Joy:  The “real job” bit is offensive.  While supposedly elevating homemaking, she actually degrades it.

Beata:  “Our husbands are gone all day, working for us and the children…” – nowadays many women work outside the home too.  Why only women should clean, cook, etc.?

Bethany:  Another reader pointed out that this woman fails to recognize that it is often physically, mentally, and psychologically easier to go to work, with less demands, less headaches, less need to train your co-workers to be competent, and more immediate, measurable rewards (e.g. paychecks, health insurance, breaks, etc.).  The author responded by telling this woman to stop “making excuses” and get to work, because “God commands it” so it doesn’t matter if it’s not easy.  She tried to phrase it slightly more politely than that, but that was the essence of her response.  I was appalled.  Homemaking is valuable and, to a certain degree, necessary.  But it is not easy, and it is not always rewarding or lovable (very often, it’s the complete opposite).  To ignore this fact is disingenuous, especially from those who are attempting to elevate homemaking as a woman’s “highest calling” (barf).

Brian: Is there anything particularly wrong with a woman that wants to stay home and take care of the house and kids?

Bethany: No, not at all.  But to say it’s her only option and that God commands her to always have a clean house is false, and it makes a lot of women feel not only as if they’re failing at being mothers/wives/homemakers, but that they are failing at being Christians too.

Erik:  It is the pressure created by unrealistic expectations that is harmful.

Deb: Gak!  I guess single women have no worth, because there’s no one to clean up after.

Faith:  We taught both our daughters and sons to cook and do laundry…they taught their friends in college and tech school…Such skills are helpful to everyone.  We view the house as everyone’s responsibility.  We are each supposed to pick up after ourselves, wash dishes, cook, etc…Sometimes we do divide chores traditionally…but it is our choice to do it, not a Biblical mandate.

Faith:  What about training our daughters to be Kingdom people…seeking first the kingdom of God…taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, healing the sick, raising the daed…feeding the hungry and ministering to the widows, the orphans and strangers…caring for children and family is important…but so is the kingdom of God.

Mabel: southern Baptist seminary has homemaking classes for the women and theology classes for the men.

Ronda:  I am so sad to hear this about Southern but not surprised.  I am an alum but graduated when women at Southern could be theologians, apologists, pastors, evantelists, ethicists, counselors, etc.

Mabel: This article is NOT about if anyone wants to be a housewife, it is about telling ALL wives that’s what they should do and the reasons why.  It says we “MUST” train our “DAUGHTERS” as if sons don’t need to learn to keep a clean house.  It is all the women’s “role.”  She aslo accuses women of not doing their part, her answer to a reader’s question “am I doing my part” is “Sometimes yes, most times no.”  She shames women and accuses them of not doing their part “MOST TIMES.”

Billie: Do we want our sons to get married just to have someone to cook and clean for him?  That would be raising a very shallow child.

Bronwen: I’m a bit saddened by the implication that the only useful way to spend time with our kids is to “teach and train” them. Yep, that’s PART of a parent’s job…As a chaplain in a government school (in Australia) and as someone who has worked a lot with kids in churches, one of the things I hear most from kids is that they wish that a parent spent more time with them and listened to them.

Julie: My DH is from America.  Sometimes we have mused between ourselves, is the USA so devoted to slavery that, having lost black slavery, they must now create a new slave class to do all their cooking, cleaning and thankless chores for them?  It sure looks like male headship is less about exegesis and more about preserving male privilege and entitlement, no matter what.  Who knew that servitude could be spun to look so shiny, glossy and “godly?”

Joy:  Has perfect housekeeping become a bit of an idol?  I remember Martha and Mary had some tension over this.


Check out this great post from “Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”: God is Not Your Boss

Thanks for visiting The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors!  Please “Like” our Facebook page!

The Theology of Empowering Women: Part 1

A friend passed along this awesome sermon from Kris Vallotton, founder and president of Moral Revolution, an organization dedicated to global cultural reformation, and Advance Redding, which is committed to the social/economic transformation of Redding, California.  He is also the author of ten books, including this gem:

51SWiRc-28L__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

In the introduction to his sermon, Kris tells us his publisher asked him to double his book, which required 400 extra hours of research.  You can click the picture above to purchase his book on Amazon.

Bethel provides free previews for  a short amount of time, so you may not be able to listen for free.  I highly recommend paying to download the sermon in that case, but tried to transcribe as much as I could as I was listening.  No time to pause or go back, so it’s far from a perfect transcription, but take a look.  Good stuff!!!

http://www.bethel.tv/watch/2059/the-theology-of-empowering-women-part-1-sunday-am/2014/07/06

Kris explains that he will be addressing the six passages in the New Testament that seem to restrict women.  After his introductory comments, he begins here:

Between Matthew and Malachi, before Jesus walked the earth, there was a period of four hundred years in which the religion Judaism developed.  Judaism is not a word for the Old Testament religion, which we would call Mosaic Law.  There were no Pharisees and Saducees in the Old Testament.  N.T. scribes also had a new role than O.T. scribes.  What happended was there were hundreds of extra rules added to the Mosaic Law, which included 252 laws.  When Jesus walked the earth, there were 613 laws – 113 written against women.  Pharisees hated women and the most oppressed people group in Judaism were women.

There were Jews, Romans and Greeks when the disciples were writing the Gospels and Paul was writing the epistles.  In Judaism, women were second-class citizens with no rights, no respect and no voice.  They were the property of men, literally, and were afforded no education.  Like the women in Afghanistan, women were not permitted to speak to men and were required to veil their faces in public.  Under Judaism, women could not work outside the home and marriages were arranged, so they could not marry for love.  Polygamy was legal for men, not women, and men could discard/divorce their wives.  Women could not be witnesses and were relegated to the outer court of the synagogue.  They were not allowed to read the Torah.  The most famous 1st century rabbi, Eliezer, said he would rather burn the Torah than read it to women.

The Romans were less restrictive (it is interesting how the further you get from religion, the less restrictive it is).  Roman women could work outside the home and own property.  The Greeks, though, adored women.  They believed women were more powerful than men and made gods of them.  The whole thought behind this was that the sex drive of men was stronger – women had something men wanted and had control over that, so they were more powerful.

Paul the Apostle was formerly a Pharisee, a self-described “Pharisee of Pharisees” – a former oppressor of women.  Paul wrote to nine geographic locations and restricted women in three of them – Corinth, Ephesus, and the island of Creed – all Greek cities!  Not only were they Greek, they happened to have goddesses instead of gods as the chief leader of their city.  Goddesses had more authority than gods.

Also, it is important to note that no church would have had all the letters.  There was no New Testament at this time, 30-70 years after Christ.  Paul wrote specific letters to specific churches, and told the reader who to share the letter with.  For instance, Colossians 4:16 “When this letter is read among you, share this with the church in Laodicea, and read the letter that I sent to them as well.”  In Philippians, he says, “I’m writing this letter to the saints of Philippi, and also the elders and deacons,” i.e. “I’m talking to you!”

You cannot relate to the book of Corinthians in the same way the Corinthians would have.  It was written to a certain people to address certain issues.  You cannot relate to the N.T. epistles, written to a smaller community, in the same was as the O.T. books, which were written to a whole people group.

What happens when you superimpose God’s situational counsel over universal circumstances, is  you will not come to a redemptive solution. 

The epistles tell us how God thinks, but you would only apply the counsel if you were in the exact same context.  People say, “I believe the Bible!”  But I say, “You filter the Bible through a certain context.  If you sent your son, who is struggling with pornography, to a pastor to receive counsel, and he came back with one eye gouged out and one hand cut off, you’d call the police.  Because you understand that there was a context to Jesus’ words, and you automatically apply the context whethere you think you are doing that or not!”

In the O.T., the curse over women was that they would have pain in child birth, and the husband would rule over his wife.  In Hebrew, the word for woman and wife is different, and man and husband.  We know for certain the curse is that husbands will rule over wives, not men over women.  in the N.T., there is no difference in the Greek language, so it is more complicated.  But in the O.T., we had queens, judges and prophetesses that were women, and we celebrated them.  Does it make sense that after Jesus broke the curse on the cross, we cannot have a woman elder in a church of 50 people, but we could have a queen of a nation then!  When do women get free???

We’re going to read some of the hard passages that Paul wrote, starting with 1 Corinthians chapter 7.  This was a Greek city with a goddess with temple prostitutes.  Temple prostitutes coming out of Greek mythology were priestesses.  If this woman gave herself to you, it was not a sex act as much as it was an act of anointing, and it wasn’t shameful or dirty, it was the highest act of Greek mythology.  These women were the most important women in the city.

In 1 Corinthians 7:1, “Now concerning the things you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”  Paul is answering questions the Corinthians are asking.  They came out of Greek mythology, so they are reacting.  Ok, we elevated women, so now we should oppress them.  Is it ok to touch women?  They are reacting tot he religion they came out of.  But here is the challenge:  Paul will repeat the question and then tell you his answer.  But by the time he gets to the 8th chapter, he stops repeating the question.

7:1, “….but because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each wife her own husband.  The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does.”  If you knew where Paul was coming from, you’d think he’d put a period here, but he doesn’t.  “And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”  The woman went from being a possession to the ability to own her husband, and a Pharisee just wrote that!

Verse 10,” to the married I give instructions that a wife should not leave her husband, but if she does leave, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.”  There is no such thing as women divorcing a man in Judaism.  Paul has left that behind.  From our perspective this is restrictive, from their perspective, incredibly releasing.  “A woman who has an unbelieving husband, if he consents to live with her, she should not send her husband away.”  She’s a powerful woman now!  “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife.  And the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her husband.  For otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy….How do you know, oh wife, whether or not you will save your husband?”   This guy just said, wives, you might be saving your husbands.  And if you stay with him, you are sanctifying him and making your whole family holy, wives.

Some people say the letter to Corinthians was written just to men because in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul writes “…Now I wish you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you should prophesy.”  All.  It’s not “all you men,” it’s “all you all,” and he doesn’t make an exception here.  You can all prophesy.

In 14:26, “when you assemble together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation,…for you can all prophesy one by one”….and that’s “all you all,” because Paul has been writing to wives and husbands.  This book is for everyone in the church.

And now we come to 1 Corinthians 14:34-ff:

34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

There’s two schools of thought.  One thinks this is contextual, that men sat on one side of the room and women on the other, and women would shout questions across the isle to their husbands, causing chaos and disorder.  It is true that men and women did not sit on the same side of the room.  But we’re not talking to the Hebrews who would have understood O.T. law.  If we were talking to the Jews, it would have made sense that the men would have known more because they had been taught the Torah. But we’re talking about Greeks.  The men knew  as little as the women.

The other way to read this is as a question, as some theologians believe it is.  After that verse, there’s an explosive of disassociation.  There is no perfect translation, but it means, “What?  No Way!  Nonsense!  It can’t be!”  And it’s after verse 35.

God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of every man, and man is the head of every woman.  Here’s the problem, woman and wife are the same in Greek and man and husband are the same.  So you can end up with a more restrictive Gospel than the curse.  There are 43 translations of the N.T., 16 translate that woman/man.  All the others translate it husband/wife.

Then it goes on to say a woman needs to have her head covered when she’s praying.  Here’s Paul’s point in 1 Cor 11, as long as a woman is in order, she can pray and prophesy.

Let’s walk the Corinthian Road:

1 Cor 7: A man does not own his body, his wife does.

1 Cor 11: a woman needs to be in right alignment with her husband, but when she is, she can pray and prophesy

1 Cor 12/13:  you can all pray/prophesy/have a ministry

1 Cor 14: women cannot speak, just as the law says.

You can read the entire law and there is not one place in the O.T. where it says a woman cannot speak.  That cannot be written by Paul, an expert in the law.  And Paul has already said women have equal gifts and can minister.  It is opposite of what he has been saying for 14 chapters.  It also doesn’t make sense that women would have been shouting questions to men who would have replied, “I don’t know.”  And then we have the imperitve right after that question that says, That’s nonsense!  And then, did the word of God only come to you???  That makes sense, and that’s a good word.

And we have one minute and two more verses we haven’t talked about.  Jesus loves you, and if you’re a woman, you’re free.  You know when Paul says in 1 Tim 2 that women will be saved through child birth, remember that Timothy is the senior leader in Ephesus, where the goddess is Diana, the goddess of fertility, who was famous for making sure women didn’t die while giving birth.  So Paul is telling Timothy, she doesn’t need the goddess to protect her because she has a relationship with God.  They were having trouble getting women to convert to Christianity because they were all afraid of dying in childbirth.  In fact, women would travel to Ephesus to give birth.  That’s just a little taste of Timothy, and there’s a bunch more you might like.

If you’re standing near a woman, lay a hand on her shoulder and let’s pray:  Lord, we release right now, we break the power of the curse over our women that reduced them, that said you can’t live you dreams, you have to live a man’s dreams.  We break that.  We pray that women will be more powerful in the church than out of the church.  And we pray you will break the Spock-like Vulcan spirit that has overcome the church because w have no women bringing life and emotion and drama – good drama!  We release them right now to be leaders and teachers and prophetesses and judges and queens.  We release them now to fly, fly, fly!


I want to make sure you see this great comment from Susanna:

On the podcast part of Kris’s website you can download any of his sermons for free: http://kvministries.com/podcast/feed (the last one at this point is the one you’re talking about here, with ‘Part 1′ added to the title). Also wondrous is Danny Silk’s talk and book on the subject, The Invisible Ceiling. You can find a review of and link to it here: http://somebody-elses-story.blogspot.ca/search?q=The+Invisible+Ceiling


Thanks for visiting The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors.  Please “like” us on Facebook for more great resources like this one!


 

Linking You Up.

I have been home alone this week – kiddos have been visiting with their grandparents.  It all came about suddenly and before I knew it, they were off on their trip and I was home alone.  I had a million things on my “must-do list”, the least of which was to write some thoughtful (no little ones interrupting my train of thought!  yay!!!) blog posts.

But I have had the startling experience of unproductivity in the face of all this independence.  Yes, I still had my job to do every morning for several hours.  Yes, we managed to shop for and purchase a second car.  Yes, we’ve moved Abbey’s bedroom out of our walk-in closet and into the boys’ room (this required a lot of painting).  Yes, we are still trying to get the boys’ room ready downstairs.  Yes, Logan and I went out to celebrate our tenth anniversary (I thought for sure I would have a sentimental blog post about how our relationship has grown and changed and beautifully improved over the years).  But I have been lonely and uninspired without my entourage.  I’ve also avoided everyone else in my life and turned into a hermit this week!

So I decided today it was the least I could do to share some of my favorite posts from other bloggers this week.  When I have my little posse back, I’ll be eager to be having adult thoughts again and won’t be zoning out to “White Collar” episodes every night.  Without further ado…

This week, Jon Huckins wrote about “Raising Girls In a World Where They are Less Than Human.”  I would encourage you to email this powerful post to the fathers of daughters in your contact list.  I did.

The Junia Project shared the “10 Best Sites for Egalitarians (+5 more).”  Check them out!

Esther Emery explained “What Feminists and Complementarians Have in Common (Let Me Be a Woman).”  In a similar vein, Marg Mowczko wisely taught us “How to Keep Friends and Influence People” when sharing our Egalitarian views with others.

Tim and Anne Evans share a third post in their marriage series on The Junia Project, “Co-Leadership in Marriage: Who’s In Authority?”  Earlier posts in the series: “Co-Leadership in Marriage: Let’s Talk about Submission” and “Co-Leadership in Marriage: What about Headship?”

I loved this piece by Rachel Held Evans on modesty for Q: “Modesty: I Don’t Think it Means What You Think it Means.”

Sarah Bessey wrote this beautiful piece for The High Calling: “Rethinking Scarcity: A Legacy of Abundance.”  Here are a couple quotes to whet your appetite:

The myth of scarcity tells the powerful to accumulate and take and dominate, to be driven by the fear of Not Enough and Never Enough. We make our decisions out of fear and anxiety that there isn’t enough for us. These core beliefs can lead us to the treacheries of war and hunger, injustice and inequality. We must keep others down so we can stay on top. We stockpile money and food and comforts at the expense of one another and our own souls. Throughout Scripture, we can see the myth of scarcity’s impact on—and even within—the nation of Israel. The prophets wrote and stood in bold criticism against the empire’s myth of scarcity that built on the backs of the poor and oppressed….

…But it’s within the life of our Jesus that we see it most clearly: Jesus was the full embodiment of what it means to be human in the way that God intended. He uplifts instead of tearing down, he heals instead of kills, he lays down his life instead of fighting to survive, he chooses compassion instead of numb acceptance, he is water to a thirsty soul, bread to the hungry, oil of joy for mourning. And instead of death, he is life. Life!\

And The Work of the People posted a new video with Sarah Bessey that you should not miss: “Detoxing From Not Enough.”

Here is a link to a free ebook by Oscar Romero: “The Violence of Love.”  I will definitely be reading this.  He was martyred while he was the archbishop of San Salvador, assassinated for his work on behalf of the oppressed.

Ann Voskamp’s weekly “Multivitamins for Your Weekend” always bring a smile.

I wholeheartedly agree with Elizabeth Esther on parents who use home schooling as a means to abusing their children.  Makes me furious.  Gotta love her title: “Protecting Christian homeschooling’s reputation vs. protecting abused kids, slam poetry for menstruation, children of Christian narcissists and books I’ve been reading.”

I really love Kathy Escobar.  This week she has been sharing a helpful series on grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  We’re all grieving something, so this is powerful stuff.

And don’t miss the CBE links: “The Scroll Links Up 6/27/14”.


Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook!