Monthly Archives: November 2008

A Lesson In Synonyms

Grace over at Kingdom Grace posted the following: 

Postmodern does not equal relativist.

Modern does not equal christian.

Truth does not equal certainty.

Mystery does not equal doubt.

Inerrant does not equal exact.

Narrative does not equal fable.

Missional does not equal social gospel.

Inclusion does not equal pluralism.

Justice does not equal democrat.

Christian does not equal republican.

Those commenting added:

Catechisms and creeds do not equal the Gospel.

Prosperity does not equal health and wealth.

Calamity does not equal God’s wrath.

Bigger does not equal better.

Kingdom does not equal heaven.

Coffee in the lobby does not equal fellowship.

Do you have any to add?

Same Sex Marriage Blogalogue


Tony Jones’ at  The New Christians blog and Rod Dreher at Crunchy Con blog are engaging in a Same Sex Marriage Blogalogue.  I am hopeful that this will be a helpful conversation for all of us who seek faithful discernment concerning one of the most controversial issues of our day.  However, I have to say that I have been disappointed to find so many comments containing declarations that Tony is not a christian and other hate filled messages.  Still, I think this is an important conversation and hope that things will settle down to a more civil discourse.

Tony began the blogalogue by clarifying where he stands on the issue of same sex marriage…

I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state.

I hope you will check it out…and remember to be civil and courteous if you comment.

Laughter Is Good Medicine….


A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.  Prov. 17:22

There are a lot of things to worry and fret about … but today I want to have a laugh.  These have been around for a while but always seem to get a good chuckle. I hope you enjoy…

How many _________ does it take to change a light bulb?

EMERGENTS: Who is really behind the light bulb changing agenda anyway? Is this just an example of traditional, top-down control? We really need to break out of old paradigms – why do we have to get out a ladder every time one of the bulbs stops emitting light? Why not embrace the new situation and try to find the inherent beauty of God in it instead of tossing it aside for our own dogmatic goals and perspective?

PENTECOSTALS: 10 – One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

SOUTHERN BAPTISTS: About 16,000,000. However, they are badly divided over whether changing the bulb is a fundamental need or not. 

CONSERVATIVE ANGLICANS: Three. One to change it And two to storm out in protest if the person changing it is a woman!

PRESBYTERIANS: None – Lights will go on and off at predestined times.

BAPTISTS: At least 15 – One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad and fried chicken.

METHODISTS: This statement was issued. “We chose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey, you have found that a light bulb works for you, that’s fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb (or light source, or non-dark resource), and present it next month at our annual light bulb Sunday service, in which we explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life, and tinted all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.”

CHARISTMATICS: One, since his/her hands are in the air anyway.   OR   Three, one to cast it out and two to catch it when it falls!    OR      Twenty one, one to change it, and twenty to share the experience! 

TELEVANGELISTS: One. But for the message of hope to continue to go forth, send in your donation today.

EPISCOPALIANS:  Four. One to change the bulb. One to bless the elements. One to pour the sherry. And one to offer a toast to the old light bulb.


A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Polls…

This post is a part of the November Synchroblog on “leadership.”
Check out the list of participants with links at the end of this post.
This election year has brought up a lot of divisive issues…race, sex and age to name a few…but the one that I was most surprised to see come up was the issue of women in church leadership.

In September Dan Kimball blogged about the dilemma of conservative Christians supporting a woman as a vice presidential candidate but at the same time being against women being ordained as pastors. A week later David Gushee wrote an opinion piece for USA Today asking conservative evangelicals some tough questions regarding this issue. That started me thinking again about how uncomfortable I am with the whole idea of women not being allowed to do certain things in the church.

First, it is difficult to find anyone that totally agrees on where the lines are to be drawn. Is it only that women cannot be ordained? Or is it that they cannot preach at all? Or teach? Or speak? Serve as deacons? Teach in seminaries? What exactly is it that they can and cannot do? Who decides and on what basis?

Then there are all the irrationalities and contradictions to process. Why is it okay to teach children and other women, but not men? Why would it be okay to stand up and deliver a message to a group of people but not stand behind a pulpit? Is it really that much difference in teaching a 17 year old male and a 19 year old male? Why would it be okay for a woman to lead a whole nation but not a church that has 50 members? Why does the bible speak favorably of a woman judge who led, taught and had authority over men and women, a woman apostle, women who led church in their homes?

For most of my life I pretty much believed what someone else told me the bible said. That isn’t to say that I didn’t read the bible or study the bible – but I interpreted within the guidelines of what someone else told me it said (a pastor, a commentary, a particular author etc.). Over time I began to realize that I could not accept some of the popular interpretations and I began to dig deeper. One of the topics that I began to look into was the issue of a woman’s role in the church. I was surprised to find out that this was an issue that not only divided Christians and non-Christians, mainliners and evangelicals, liberals and conservatives but also conservative evangelical Christians themselves. I was also surprised that there were some very big words that were being used to describe the two main sides of the issue … egalitarian and complementarian.

Egalitarianism = Belief that there are no biblically mandated timeless distinctions between men and women in the church. They stress an equality of men and women, not merely for salvation or in essential personhood, but in opportunities to hold every office and play every role that exists in church life.

Complementarianism = Belief that there are certain timeless restrictions on women’s roles in the church. They stress that persons in positions of authority can function in loving, supportive ways that do not lead to the abuse of those in subordinate positions. Certain roles are altogether prohibited for women.

As I continued to dig and search I came to the conclusion that Paul was not a sexist, that women are not clearly forbidden to teach, preach, shepherd or lead in the church and/or the home and that Jesus was a liberator of women.

Here are some of the reasons I am an egalitarian:

1. Scripture affirms that women were leaders in ministry – Phoebe was a deacon, Priscilla was a teacher, Lydia was an overseer.

2. Paul calls Junia an apostle in Romans 16:7

3. If Scripture allows for some ministry roles then we can’t disallow it. The era and culture of the day prevented widespread ministry roles, but Paul doesn’t say that women can’t serve in leadership roles.

4. In I Cor. 11:5 Paul says that women were praying and prophesying in church. In I Cor. 14:34-35 Paul is not restricting women from speaking – otherwise women would not be allowed to sing, give testimony, or say anything at all in church. I believe that Paul was actually refuting the faulty sexist tradition that was prevalent in his day. For more on this read what Cheryl Schatz wrote in her post “Who Dared To Contradict Paul?”

5. In I Tim. 2:11-14 the idea of women being forbidden to teach men is not a universal rule. If we make this universal and transcultural then we have to make all the commands of I Timothy transcultural. Cheryl Schatz also has an excellent post on this point.

6. Jesus treated women different than culture. He taught them and considered them His disciples – Mary of Mary and Martha and the woman at the well are good examples.

7 Given examples of women’s ministry in the Bible it is wrong to take one or two passages that could be situationally conditional and use them to deny or substantially restrict a group of laborers. The burden of proof lies with those that are doing the restricting and I believe they fail to provide the needed evidence. Dave at Clouds of Heaven has an excellent post on this idea here.

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously-
take God seriously. Micah 6:8 (The Message)


Check out the other posts in the “Leadership Synchroblog”:

Jonathan Brink – Letter To The President

Adam Gonnerman – Aspiring to the Episcopate

Kai – Leadership – Is Servant Leadership a Broken Model?

Sally Coleman – In the world but not of it- servant leadership for the 21st Century Church

Alan Knox – Submission is given not taken

Joe Miller – Elders Lead a Healthy Family: The Future

Cobus van Wyngaard – Empowering leadership

Steve Hayes – Servant leadership

Geoff Matheson – Leadership

John Smulo – Australian Leadership Lessons

Helen Mildenhall – Leadership

Tyler Savage – Moral Leadership – Is it what we need?

Bryan Riley – Leading is to Listen and Obey

Susan Barnes – Give someone else a turn!

Liz Dyer – A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Polls…

Lionel Woods – Why Diverse Leadership is Good for America

Julie Clawson – Leadership Expectations

Ellen Haroutunian – A New Kind Of Leadership

Matt Stone – Converting Leadership

Steve Bradley – Lording or Leading?

Adam Myers – Two types of Leadership

Bethany Stedman – A Leadership Mosaic

Kathy Escobar – I’m Pretty Sure This Book Won’t Make It On The Bestseller List

Fuzzy Orthodoxy – Self Leadership

Sonja Andrews – Leadership In An Age of Cholera

Tara Hull – Leadership & Being A Single Mom

Glenn Hager – Election Day Ponderings On Leadership

Bill Ellis – Spiritual Leadership and the Re-humanizing of our World

Beth Patterson – Leadership – Being The River