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“Busy at Home”: How does Titus 2:4-5 apply today?

Greek-woman-with-loom

Sometimes there are posts which are very important to share.  This is one of them, but it must be said that everything that Margaret Mowczko provides much to think about.

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The abyss between faith and women’s empowerment

462px-'Staring_into_the_abyss'_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1588241

Paparella was horrified. “I realized, they don’t want me to think. After that, I just didn’t see how faith and women’s empowerment could be reconciled.”

This quote comes from a post entitled, “I believe you”: The Silence and the Shame of Sexual Violence in the Church, by Catherine Woodiwiss.  It reflects on how campus leaders and student Christian leaders’ masculinised view of God gave them little understanding of women’s points of view within the church.

What is it about the misogyny of the church?  Why is still ruled by the boys when most of its members are women? Why does patriarchy seem to persevere longer in the church than in society?  Is it based on such verses as Gen 3:16? …

16 To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

It is somewhat unsettling that some take this verse, and similar others, as prescription for how women might be treated.   It’s unsettling because it reflects a view of God as domineering and lacking in compassion.  It’s unsettling that some readers of this blog take an anti-intellectual view and insist on using the hermeneutics of “it says it in the Bible so it must be true”. It’s unsettling that the heritage of Luther and The Confessions is boiled down to proof texts.  It’s unsettling that a panorama of theologians in the last century is dismissed in favour of the most basic, simplistic tool.

We don’t believe that many people hold that view of God.

It does however make sense to view this verse as sin being enacted, rather than God’s prescription for relationships.  Ruling over another person may be the language of empires, but it is not the language of relationships.

If the Church is unable to accommodate a view of women as gifted, enabled, empowered, equal and pastoral, then the Church is not a safe place for women.  Under such circumstances we could not encourage women (or those supporting them) attend LCA congregations.

For the LCA to have a future there is no alternative but absolute equality for women and men.

While this, no doubt, is shocking for some who correspondent with this blog, living with diversity should only be as shocking as visiting the local bank, supermarket, school, accountant, music shop, opticians…, for diversity in Australia’s cities and towns is a reality which is never to be reversed.  No congregation should ever be forced to call a woman and no congregation should ever be forced to call a man.

 
 

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Why Women are the Key to the Church’s Future

Image from Pastoral la Salle Córdoba

A blog from Christian Piatt, from God’s Politics, “a blog by Jim Wallis and friends.”

I’ll preface this piece my saying I know I am making some broad generalizations based on gender, and that there are always exceptions to every trend. But despite that, I do think there are some cultural trends that can offer us some useful insight.

Anyone who has been paying attention has noticed that, of those left within the walls of most churches, the majority still hanging in there are women. Some, like the advocates of so-called Masculine Christianity, see this as a crisis. The Christian faith and its symbols are becoming softened, feminized, compromised into being something other than what they were meant to be.

Granted, when you take a faith whose principal authors historically have been men and then place that same faith in the hands of women, some things will inevitably change. Personally, I welcome the exploration of other, feminine expressions of the divine and values such as embodied spirituality that many female Christian leaders value. But aside from these assets, I think that women bring something far more critical to institutional religion.

Without them, it may cease to exist.  (cont)

 

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Thanking God for the preaching of Nadia Bolz Weber

Hey, gentlemen Pastors, try to beat this sermon!  It’s from Nadia Bolz Weber from the ELCA.  It doesn’t come more gutsy than this.

Web page of Nadia Bolz Weber of the ELCA

Web page of Nadia Bolz Weber of the ELCA

2013-03-24 NBW Sermon <—click here to listen along.

the first bit

Because these people of the Holy Week story are we people.  And we people are the likes of which God came to save.  God did not become human and dwell among us as Jesus to save only an improved, doesn’t make the wrong choices kind of people.  There is no improved version of humanity that could have done any differently. So go ahead. Don’t wait until you think your motivations are correct.  Don’t wait till you are sure you believe every single line of the Nicene creed (no one does).  Don’t worry about coming to church this week for the right reasons. Just wave branches. Shout praise for the wrong reason. Eat a meal. Have your feet washed. Grab at coins. Shout Crucify him. Walk away when the cock crows.  Because we, as we are and not as some improved version of ourselves…we are who God came to save. And nothing can stop what’s going to happen.

 
 

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Karl Barth and literalism

Karl Barth

Karl Barth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Karl Barth said, “I take the Bible too seriously to read it literally.”

Proof-texting, literalism or fundamentalism, the same rose by different names, is not a helpful way to understand Scripture.   Clergy in the LCA, upon ordination, are forced to declare the Scripture as inerrant and infallible.  The alternative is exclusion from ordination, which is hardly an option after many  years of study. Those clergy who are uncomfortable with such narrow thinking are forced to metaphorically cross their fingers while the oath is taken.

About a third of the American populace takes everything the Bible says at face value, reading as they would a history or science textbook.  I don’t read the Bible this way, and can’t imagine doing so. Here are four reasons why: Ref  4 Good Reasons Not to Read the Bible Literally.  (David Lose from Huffington Post)

1) Nowhere does the Bible claim to be inerrant.   … (read more)

2) Reading the Bible literally distorts its witness. … (read more)

3) Most Christians across history have not read the Bible literally. … (read more)

4) Reading the Bible literally undermines a chief confession of the Bible about God.  … (read more)

Perhaps literalism is the biggest sin the LCA needs to confess.  Unless responded to with vigour it may mean that the Church will have virtually disappeared in 50 years time.   According to the current downturn in membership that is not such an absurd proposition.

Women’s ordination will arrive to the LCA.  The alternative is unthinkable. At that time members, leaders and congregations will discover the gentle joy of female pastoral care and begin to apologise for the way they kept women on the margins of the Church.

 

 

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Women’s Ministry Network page – Version 2

Women's Ministry Network image

Women’s Ministry Network image

The Women’s Ministry Network webpage has been redesigned, thanks to Isabel Mason and Tanya Wittwer.  The site, is still a work in progress but, as a webpage is an evolving thing, additions will continue over coming months. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that it corresponds roughly with International Women’s Day, a day that seems to go mostly unnoticed in the LCA.

There are significant resources on the new website that provide the theology and history of the debate on women’s ordination in the LCA.  There are study-guides, conference galleries and women’s stories from Biblical days and today, as well as current news.  These stories need to be heard for us all to understand the importance of acknowledging women’s faith and spirituality, as well as their leadership and wisdom.  The days are gone when women are seen simply as an adjunct to men.

It’s a great resource and worth coming back to.  Bookmarking the site may be the way to go.

Here’s the site, one more time.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2013 in women's ordination

 

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Greenland Lutherans chronic shortage of male clergy

“Greenland has a chronic shortage of male pastors, says Inuit Bishop Sofie Petersen. There ordained women outnumber men in the church nearly three to one.

“In Greenland there are only 56,000 inhabitants. Most of them are Lutherans,” says the bishop. “In my church there are 25 pastors, but only nine of them are males. What’s more there are three deans in our church and two of them are women.”

(more)

Reference: An Indigenous Communion: Greenland Lutherans Need More Male Pastors Says Female Bishop.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in sociology, women's ordination

 

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