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Monthly Archives: December 2010

There are times when we need to help make it better

It is not enough to say that one day women will be ordained in the LCA. Many of us have recited that tenant of faith for decades. As Christians we desire to live out God’s will, to be God’s hands in this world, and to bring reconciliation and justice.  What might that mean for me in regards to women’s ordination?

Bishop Burnside, from the ELCA, recalls a time as a child when, on being bullied, his father simply told him to stand his ground and stand up to the bullies. On later witnessing his son being bullied he went to his rescue and said, “Bruce, I am sorry!”

This is the last paragraph from Bishop Burnside’s YouTube Video

There are times when we can’t stand up for ourselves and we have to rely on others to stand with us. We can’t just say that one day it will be better for those who are victimised or brutalised or bullied. There are times when we need to help make it better. As a Christian I believe that Jesus teaches that there is a place in his kingdom where there is a preference for those who are victimised, those who are oppressed, those who are brutalised and there is a place in this kingdom for those of us who stand with them, so I call on you to not just believe that one day it will be better but to help make it better.

Bishop Burnside talks not just about victims of bullying, but also about those who are oppressed and brutalised. Women, in being dismissed as not fit for ordination, continue to be minimised, oppressed  and brutalised!  It is time that we said, “We are sorry!” However, it doesn’t end there. The consequence of a genuine apology is that we promise to do something or to change our ways.

What is it that each of us need to do today as a result of our apology for how the LCA has treated women?

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2010 in sociology, theology

 

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Why the anguish?

Something to help understand the anguish of women in the LCA.

from Arise: I. Howard Marshall | Jesus Creed.

Much anguish is felt by women whose God-given talents have been denied expression. This is due to:

1. The inability of complementarians (K+M: anti women’s ordination) to provide any coherent and persuasive reasons for denying women these positions in church—women are asked to accept a scriptural command simply because it is God’s will even if they cannot understand why it is so.

2. The irrationality of the traditional position. It is difficult, if not impossible, to see how the patriarchal/complementarian position glorifies God or fulfils his moral and spiritual purposes for his children.

3. The arbitrariness of the way in which the ruling is put into effect, with all the going beyond what Scripture actually says and the casuistry that is employed regarding the limits of what women may and may not do.

4. The lack of any positive remedy in terms of alternative types of behavior and action that can be taken up by women in the church, since no clear complementarian tasks that women should do but men should not do are proposed.

Is this anguish a legitimate stimulus for asking whether we have interpreted Scripture wrongly? Anguish itself is not necessarily a reason for change but an important symptom that something deeper may be needing attention for good theological and practical reasons.

Our problem is how to understand Scripture in the context of this anguish as people who place ourselves under its authority, and who are perplexed if being scriptural makes us not only unhappy but also irrational in terms of the godly use of our minds.

Go to via Arise: I. Howard Marshall | Jesus Creed to read the rest of the article and a series of comments from different perspectives.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2010 in sociology, theology

 

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How I Changed My Mind: An ETS Panel Discussion, Part 1 | Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE)

How I Changed My Mind: An ETS Panel Discussion, Part 1 | Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE).

Bob Fryling, President of InterVarsity Press, relates his growth towards embracing women’s leadership the church.

I believe our experience and our interpretation of Scripture can be seen as the two focal points of an ellipse. Both are needed because it is impossible to not have our experiences influence our interpretation of Scripture and vice versa.

This is the longer version:

I grew up in a wonderful Plymouth Brethren Assembly that took a very conservative and limited view of the role of women in our local church. However, as a teenager I was confused about the lack of consistency in applying the Scriptures-such as singing hymns written by women but not allowing women to suggest that we sing them!

In college, I saw how culture affects the interpretation of Scripture when I discovered that slavery in the mid 1800s was justified by Christians using Scripture in the same ways that were used to limit the role of women in the church. I also discovered that there were many women gifted by God for spiritual leadership. These two discoveries led me to then discover afresh the broader teachings of Scripture of men and women being “joint heirs in Christ.”

The confirmation of all of this has been my marriage relationship with Alice who, as a spiritually gifted woman, found great freedom in using her gifts for God’s glory. We have also tried to live our marriage according to being mutually submissive to each other according to Ephesians 5:21. This has led to a great “joy in partnership” in all aspects of our lives.

I believe our experience and our interpretation of Scripture can be seen as the two focal points of an ellipse. Both are needed because it is impossible to not have our experiences influence our interpretation of Scripture and vice versa. The Apostle Peter needed the experience of a dream to realize the biblical teaching that the gospel was also for the Gentiles. Another example of this reality is from Numbers 27 when the experience of the daughters of Zelophehad led Moses to appeal to the Lord who agreed to re-interpret the inheritance laws for the benefit of these women. Both of these examples illustrate a movement to greater inclusiveness rather than greater restrictions.

 

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2010 in sociology, theology

 
 
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