Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Interesting Post on Scott McKnights Page

Elders: For Men Only? (you can read the Scott post here)
August 23, 2010

From CBEs wonderful Arise newsletter...Do you hear the arguement that only males can be elders? Where does the bible say an elder must be a male? Margaret Mowczko sketches a response to these questions

Margaret Mowczko, a singer-song writer, for many years, lives in Austrailia. She writes about biblical eqaulity in marriage and in ministry for her website, Newlife

Some people think that the moral qualifications for church leaders recorded in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 were written only about men and apply only to men. They believe that the implication in these passages is that only men can be church leaders. Yet in the better, older Greek manuscripts, these passages are completely free from masculine pronouns; and in all Greek manuscripts there is no use of the word "man" or "men" whatsoever.

All of the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 can be readily applied to both men and women equally. The one seeming exception is where it says that a church leader should be, literally, a one woman man. This is usually translated into English as "the husband of one wife."

The phrase, a one woman man, is however an idiom, and there are dangers in applying it too literally. Because it is an idiomatic expression, many people have had difficulty explaining and applying its meaning in the context of contemporary Western church culture; a culture that is vastly different from first century church culture.

If taken literally, the one woman man requirement would rule out unmarried, widowed and divorced men and women from being church leaders; yet Paul says that being single and celibate enables people to serve God better (1 Cor. 7:32-35). The real intent of this expression is marital faithfulness in the church leader who is already married.

All of the qualities listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, including the ability to lead one's household, are in fact equally applicable to both genders. According to Paul, it is not only men who can lead their households. Paul advised the younger widows in the Ephesian church to remarry, have children and "keep house" (1 Tim. 5:14). Interestingly, the word Paul uses for "keeping house" here is oikodespotein, which literally means "to be the master of a household." The King James accurately translates 1 Timothy 5:14 as: "I [Paul] desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, and give no occasion to the adversary for insulting."

Undoubtedly most church leaders in early church times were male, and yet it is never stated in the New Testament that a church leader must be a man. The New Living Translation (NLT), (which gives the impression of being gender inclusive because it frequently translates adelphoi into "brothers and sisters") has taken the bold step of inserting the statement, "so an elder must be a man" into 1 Timothy 3:2. This statement simply does not appear anywhere in any Greek manuscript of the New Testament. The translators of the NLT have inserted this statement to put across their biased opinion that a church leader must be a man. They have tried to pass off their opinion as being "the Word of God." Had Paul wanted to say "an elder must be a man" he would have done so.

The opening sentence of 1 Timothy chapter 3 literally says, "If someone aspires to overseeship, he/she desires a noble task." There is absolutely no gender preference suggested here whatsoever.

What are your thoughts?

Interesting Scott McKnight Posting (links are within the post below)

Women Preachers a Story often Neglected (Scott McKnight post here)

Monday August 30, 2010

Categories: Women and Ministry

Telling the truth of the Church's Story means telling the whole story. In the Church's Story are the stories of women who did mighty things. But these stories are not being told. What can we do to include these stories in our church's story?

The following is from Arise and is written by Priscilla Pope-Levison...

From Arise, the weekly e-newsletter from Christians for Biblical Equality.

Priscilla Pope-Levison is Professor of Theology and Assistant Director of Women's Studies, Seattle Pacific University, affiliate faculty in Women Studies, University of Washington, and a United Methodist clergywoman.

* * * * *
The momentous contribution of women evangelists to American life, past and present, is only now emerging from dusty archives shelves, where their sermons, diaries, papers, and autobiographies were boxed away. These women have been notably absent from the history of American evangelism, which conventionally moves in a single-gender trajectory: Jonathan Edwards--Charles Finney--Dwight Moody--Billy Sunday--Billy Graham. A decade ago, when preparing for an introductory lecture on American evangelism, I was inundated by resources on these men. With my simple question--were there any women?--the first stirrings toward a nearly forgotten history began to transpire. To summarize briefly the enormous impact of women evangelists, we will consider four arenas: institutions, social outreach, political impact, and audience numbers.

Institutions: they provided for the education and nurture of converts as well as future generations by founding denominations, educational institutions from grade school to university, and a host of churches from New York to California.

Social outreach: they often incorporated humanitarianism along with evangelism. Sojourner Truth solicited aid for freed slaves living in squalid camps in the nation's capital city. Phoebe Palmer began Five Points Mission, one of America's first urban mission centers, in a New York City slum. Within two months after Aimee Semple McPherson's Angelus Temple Free Dining Hall opened in 1931, its workers had already fed more than 80,000 hungry people, and the Angelus Temple Commissary, opened in 1927, was crucial to the survival of many in Los Angeles during the Depression. In terms of race relations, women evangelists wielded influence by holding integrated meetings, like Jarena Lee, whose audiences in the 1820's included "white and colored," "slaves and the holders," and "Indians." This practice continued into the twentieth century with Aimee Semple McPherson's and Kathryn Kuhlman's integrated services.

Political impact: they influenced the nation's leaders as well as the populace. Harriet Livermore preached in Congress several times between 1827 and 1843 about the predicament of Native Americans. Sojourner Truth generated a petition and presented it to President Ulysses S. Grant requesting that a colony for freed slaves be established in the western United States. Jennie Fowler Willing's speech on women and temperance in 1874 prompted many who heard it to consider forming a national temperance organization. Through her periodical, Woman's Chains, Alma White supported the platform of the National Woman's Party, including the Equal Rights Amendment.

Audience numbers: They preached to audiences often numbering in the thousands. During her 1889 Oakland revival, Maria Woodworth-Etter repeatedly packed to capacity her 8000-seat tent. Aimee Semple McPherson's church in Los Angeles had a 5300-seat auditorium, which filled up three times for Sunday services. Uldine Utley preached in Madison Square Garden to a crowd of 14,000. Numbers are impossible to gauge for Kathryn Kuhlman's radio program, "Heart-to-Heart," which was regularly broadcast for over 40 years, or her long-running CBS television program.

Turn the pulpit loose: Two centuries of American Woman Evangelists, by Priscilla Pope-Levison, uncovers this nearly forgotten history, as does this website

Who are some of the other women we should know about within history and today?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In Honor of Women's Eqaulity Day - August 26th

I am not sure exactly what words to use or reflections to speak on. I must admit that when I began writing my feelings and thoughts about women it was really a challenge from another woman to explain my thoughts (thank you Rachel). However, as a young woman trying to find a voice and discovery fully who her identity is in Christ and in this world I am humbled by those women that came before me.

So today I say thank you. If the voices of women in the past did not rise up and their fight for equality did not take place I would not have been able to play sports in school, attend what ever university I wanted, vote, make decisions over my marriage, my body, my health, have a career, be promoted, climb the corporate ladder, get a masters degree, dream about being anything, own property...own my life and my liberty to pursue happiness...

Thank you

Monday, August 23, 2010

Personal reflection and topic switch...My heart still aches

So I haven't shared in a while about my infertility journey. Since the last failed attempt which depleted all of our insurance money we have done nothing in regards to medical treatments. I should have gone in to get some more medication because I again did not get my period naturally because of the PCOS, but have chosen to wait it out a bit longer to see if eventually my body will kick itself back into normal flow (pun intended)

So yesterday I went to purchase a baby gift for a friend who just had a baby. I had one moment way back when I first began infertility treatments where I did seriously want to punch every pregnant woman in the face, but since that time I have put my emotions in check and do not see red when a pregnant woman walks by. Although, on a side note does it seem like when you are hurting about something or wanting something you see it everywhere. Andrew and I went to the movie the other weekend and I think literally not exaggerating I counted 15 pregnant women. They were probably all going to see the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" but still... can a lady grieve with out seeing what she can't have come on...

Anyway back to my story...I was over joyed for my friend because she too struggled with infertility and IVF was successful for her. Her pregnancy was really difficult (later I found out the delivery was difficult too). Nothing about having babies is easy and it truly is a wonderful miracle. So I purchased the gift a little outfit, blanket, and stuffed toy. Looked around at all the other cute, practical, and ridiculous things I could purchase. I paid for the items and as I left this overwhelming feeling of loss, defeat, and emptiness came billowing over me. I got to my car and had to just sit there and allow myself to sob and feel every bit of this very painful and emotional moment.

I have been trying to stay away from the "why" questions with God and have been trying to ask the hows, whats, whens, and even whos...but in this moment of total brokenness I began to ask the whys again and then added some will I evers too.

After the really good cry and some heated discussions with God I wiped my tears took a very deep breath and put together the gift for my friend in the really cute coordinating bag I had purchased to place all the little baby items in.

Infertility truly is a very difficult journey. I think I went into the entire process with very high expectations maybe a bit unrealistic, but I thought I was justified in what I had hoped and thought. Every person I personally knew had been successful in their infertility treatments whether that was IUI or IVF or any other combination of a lot of things. I don't think I even really thought that it wouldn't work. Its been a very tough road receiving call after call telling me sorry you did not get the results we were hoping for. Having the doctor call me countless times to tell me we don't have any real explanation for you as to why this is not working.

I wake up each day and each day is different. Does having children or not having children define a person? What if you want them and you can't how do you explain that to not so nice (even if well intentioned) people? Why is it every time I see someone I haven't seen in a while their first question is always do you have any children and when I say no there is this disappointment on their faces? They don't know my story or what I have been through, and even in the same breath what if I didn't want to have children and this was the choice that my partner and I have made. Am I really less with out children? No women we are not less, I may feel empty and hurt because I do want children, but I am not less...

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Shout Out to My Hubby

All sorry I have to take a moment to do a shout out to my hubby, Andrew. He was recently interviewed for a segment on CBN. I know I know we were nervous too, but as we talked we discussed that this is what bridge building is all about building from both sides a piece at a time. Anyway there were in Chicago a few weeks back and taped for about 3 and half hours for the 5 minute clip (okay a little over 5 minutes).

You can see the clip here on the CBN website and read the commentary as well.

Happy Friday!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Am I confused what do I mean when I say Christian and Feminist? (perhaps unconventional at both)

Initially this blog was to be a personal diary for a woman (myself) to journey about the struggles of infertility, life, marriage, work, and ministry. On a personal note I never kept journals and was looking for a way to express myself. I have always struggled with the patriarchal world of the faith I was raised in and never understood the reasoning behind women not being pastors or leaders in the church (on the record I still don't know why this exists). I was asked to attend and speak at a women's conference where I was initially asked to share on marriage and ministry, but that topic did not fit who I was or what I felt God had challenged me to speak and share about at this conference with the other women. I looked deep inside at my past and listened to those around me and felt (as I have shared in previous posts) God say look at this next generation of young women what is your legacy to them? What are you leaving behind for them to use and make better? What is the next chapter for women, especially in the broader Christian world?

So I began to write about my thoughts, feelings, and theories on being a Christian Feminist. Before I go on let me make it very clear neither of these words are bad and we all have to be okay with that :) I realized though I never established who I was when referring to myself as a Christian Feminist. The differing opinions shared on this blog have really challenged me to make it clear where I sit as of right now. I am open to change and open to learning and discovering new ideas. I have always tried to be a sponge soak up as much as I can and squeeze out what I don't agree with, but be willing to learn from everything that I encounter. This is not a forever statement it is just my statement for this moment at 30 years old. I am straight, white, and married, I do not have any children (yet), and desire to be a mother, I am a professional, am highly educated, and yes have benefited greatly from the women who have come before me, my social class, and the color of my skin. I love males and adore my husband, my equal and partner in life. I love the male, gay and straight men in my life. I love the women, straight and lesbian in my life. I love those who believe in my same faith and those that do not. My world is colorful and filled with many people. My Christian Feminist voice is encompassed with every person I have a relationship with today and in the future.

Christian to me is a belief system. It is my personal walk with Jesus Christ and the center of my life and who I am. I do believe the bible is the inherent word of God. I believe the Holy Spirit is with us always. I believe in the trinity God-Jesus-Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus died on the cross and rose again and that by accepting Him into my life I am a child of His. I may not fit exactly into any religion although I was raised Assembly of God and you could say I bend towards Evangelicals, but the most important aspect in my life is my relationship with my Savior, Jesus.

Feminist to me is the fight for equality with the sexes. It is the desire to move women forward to be recognized for their talents, their achievements, their leadership skills, and the choices they should have the freedom to make with regards to their given profession, love life, marriage, partnerships, etc. It is the fight to see qualified women hold positions in all aspects of industry, for profit and not-for-profit. To be leaders in church, community, organizations, government, and corporations. To lead nations, to be a part of the legal systems, to be mothers, and raise children, to actively pursue and be a part of cultural shifts. To be a voice for women in areas that do not have voices to empower women and young girls in developing nations which seek empowerment but to be respectful of culture, tradition, and sovereignty. To show that women are all unique and bring something very special to any table we find ourselves. To encourage education, success, diversity in career choices, love, and stay at home moms. To mentor other women and have women groups which meet and encourage each other. To fight the porn industry which creates such an unfair expectation on women and young girls. To fight against sexual harassment, and in appropriate male hierarchies. To find balance and equality in the work force...

Feminist to me is also understanding the delicate balance between men and women. It is understanding that not only do I have an obligation to empower, mentor, and challenge young women to dream big, fight for their equality, and know they can be who ever they want to be, but to also be a voice to young men to challenge them to do the same, but to see women as their equal. To voice an example that we each both men and women bring very unique skills to any environment that we find ourselves in. To challenge each other in this world to appreciate and accept that each of us are significant in our own rights and each of us can shift culture in moments at a time.

We are not there yet, I see it all around me the inadequacies between men and women, especially in the church, but I can not only be a voice to women when it will take changing men as well. If I have son I will want for him to grow up and be just as successful, confident, and powerful as if I had a daughter. But for young men literature, mentors, and heroes are being taken away. Look at the men these young men today are supposedly seeing as examples especially in religious sectors. We as women wonder why they are so confused when they grow up. Their mentors and leaders have not changed their views on women. We have to be equally as vocal to men as to women.

I do not live in a world where I can only surround myself with women and go only to teachings given by women. I do not want to read only literature written by women. I am an equal to men, I will fight for that to happen hopefully one day, but I will also look for balance and celebrate that God made men as well with a purpose to also be strong leaders in their own right.

So I guess I am unconventional in all aspects of being a Christian Feminist...

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Keeping Up With The Girls" A Guest Post on Chicago Tribune website

The below article caught my attention. I have pasted some of the more interesting portions or the article below, but you can read the full article (here).

August 13, 2010 Chicago Tribune on-line by Meghan Daum

Are girls growing up too fast? And will the trend toward precocious sexual development be the final nail in the coffin of male domination?...

...Or so it may seem to an ordinary 8-year-old boy, who may view these girls not only in the way boys traditionally have — as bossy, slightly alien carriers of cooties — but as something even more terrifying: women. Or at least women-in-the-making.

In case you didn't know, the culture has found itself in the throes of a terrible scourge: the "masculinity crisis." Perhaps first identified a decade ago in Susan Faludi's book, "Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man," and since then reinforced by writers such as David Brooks and Christina Hoff Sommers (who identified a sub-scourge she calls the war on boys), this "crisis" stems largely from changes brought on by the global economy. In the post-Industrial Age, traditionally male skills like operating heavy machinery have been all but usurped by traditionally female skills like communicating; hence, more men have lost jobs in the current recession. In a recent Atlantic magazine article called "The End of Men," Hanna Rosin noted that women now earn 60 percent of all bachelor's and master's degrees. There's even evidence, Rosin wrote, that U.S. couples seeking sex selection for their children show a preference for girls.

Will that change when would-be parents realize they might be contending with an unwieldy mix of hormones before their princess has grown out of "My Little Pony"? Probably not. It's probably also a stretch to draw too close a connection between premature sexual development in girls and what some people (generally using Judd Apatow movies as Exhibit A) maintain is an epidemic of arrested development in boys and men. After all, girls have always matured faster than boys, and until very recently, males were able to catch up quite nicely.

But as we go about the essential business of dealing with this situation for girls, and how to stop it, perhaps it's worth extending some sympathy toward boys. In a world in which it's already so easy to feel diminished by the achievements of girls, this widening gulf in physical maturity just might have the effect of kicking them while they're down.
Alvy Singer would sympathize.
Los Angeles Times

Meghan Daum is an essayist and novelist in Los Angeles.

I think there a few aspects being discussed within Ms. Daum's article. I appreciate her discussion of looking at this research on the sexual and physical development of girls and not only how it may affect young girls but also their male peers. Let me first say to my Lesbian sisters this post is important to me because I do believe as woman we need to understand not only each other, and to quote Turtle Woman, the incredible sisterhood we need to continue to build, but also the way in which we teach and include our male peers.

First, the very obvious is what affect will early development have on our young girls. I told Andrew once that when/if we have children I want for them to live in their "child imaginary" worlds for as long as we can protect that time in their lives. My father didn't exactly have the most ideal childhood and because of that felt that it was vital that we (his children) were able to discover everything there was about being kids. He loved, and still does, everything Disney because with it came the magic of being children.

I feel as a society we have asked our children to grow up and be independent. To fit into adult life and take on the complexity of our grown up baggage sooner then children are ready. We have stopped encouraging what it means to be children, to dream, imagine, believe, pretend, and day dream. With all of that said if our young girls are now developing earlier and being thrust into our over sexualized world sooner then they are ready to handle with all of the confusion and maturity that must accompany sex in general, then I ask what are we to do as a society and especially as women? I do not have children and I do not know the appropriate times to have certain discussions, but what I can say from my own experiences is that we need to open the discussion but in the same place I believe as a society we also need to allow children to be children. Young girls will eventually be women sooner then later and will have to face everything that comes with being a woman. How do we talk about her body, expectations, and imagination because according to the article she is only 7 or 8?

Secondly for young men, as women I do believe we must begin to lead by example, teach, challenge, and speak to young men on what it means to be a partner in this life with other women and with each other. We in our fight for equality can not take away what it means to be men and the importance of who God intended for men to be. There needs to be an understanding and encouragement on our parts to uplift this next generation of men to be just as strong as we are asking our your women to also be. Perhaps we have a great opportunity to understand the variances between men and women and truly begin to shape how they work within balance to one another.

Perhaps feminism is not only the fight for equality for women, but eventually a fight for balance as well. A fight to celebrate in what makes us different and how each gender is as significant to this world as the other whether that is within corporations, home, communities, and/or church.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Simple Words to Live By

Today in the car I tuned into the local Christian radio station. I have felt lately that my world is crumbling a bit and things right now seem a bit hopeless. As many of you who have read my blog know that we have been quite unsuccessful in our attempts at having children and have gone through extensive infertility treatments. Lately, I have been feeling very empty, defeated, hurt, confused, and angry. Even though I know and feel God is with me always I am still questioning why and waiting for the time when I look back and realize the reason for this very painful journey. So today I heard this song by an artist name Lincoln Brewster call "By the Power of Your Name" and I felt in my spirit that the words in the chorus were the simple truths that I needed to be living through no matter where I find myself. This is my challenge for my life:

And I will live

To carry on compassion

To love a world that's broken

To be Your hands and feet

I will give

With the life that I've been given

And go beyond religion

To see your world be changed

By the power of Your name

I don't know what tomorrow will bring or where my life journey is going to take me. I have ideas and I have dreams, but in all things I do I want to live and see this world transformed and changed by the Power of my Lord and Savior...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wow - I really am not good at blogging :)

I know I owe some posts about questions and comments from previous blogs. I must apologize as I have them almost ready to go. Not to make any excuses but I have had some major personal items happen in my life and well I pretty much dropped everything and decided it would be best to leave it all behind and not think about anything.

So that is what I have done for the past few days. I took a much needed long (well very long) weekend off and spent time with family and friends. I went to the beach soaked up as much sun as possible for a northern girl - on a side note I feel like I have so much tan potential I just don't ever seem to get it :( it could be because I so far have spent a total of 8 days in the sun. This summer has been incredibly busy.

okay back to the post...Anyway I will answer all the questions and comments because I think they need to be talked about and discussed. Especially amongst this next generation. Turtle Woman I want to send a big thank you for reminding many of us in my generation of the ground work that has been laid by so many who came before us. We read and hear stories, but sometimes we forget to feel and experience. Thank you for challenging us to feel and experience. I have really been inspired to make sure I fully embrace all that I am trying to do as a young women looking for her Christian Feminist voice!

On a totally new issue (sorry this post is jumpy). One of the big personal issues I am facing is a forced new career. My company which I have enjoyed in many ways being a part of is facing the same effects as so many others in this economy. Although, I have not been laid off yet or asked to leave yet the writing is on the walls and I really need to figure out a new career path. If any of you are in the Chicago land area and know of some openings or have any ideas I am all ears. I stated in an earlier post that I am doing some soul searching and really want to find a position that is making significant changes in this world. I am still doing my soul searching and seem to be coming up empty. I think I am more confused about this decision then I was when I was asked to choose a major in my undergraduate studies. Any advice and/or opportunities is greatly appreciated.

I promise I will clear my mind and be back to my regular posting soon! Thanks for hanging in there with me!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Women Are Sex Objects..." thanks for the wisdom Hugh Hefner (insert sarcastic tone while reading)

Snip from a Hugh Hefner interview to the Daily News (August 1, 2010):

On people who say he objectifies women:

"The notion that Playboy turns women into sex objects is ridiculous. Women are sex objects. If women weren't sex objects, there wouldn't be another generation. It's the attraction between the sexes that makes the world go 'round. That's why women wear lipstick and short skirts."
I think where Hugh Hefner gets his statement very wrong, because he and his entire empire does objectify women, is that women are sexual beings. We were made that way the same as men and yes because we are sexual beings then "another generation" may occur if there is a mutual agreement between adults to have children.
Being a sexual person and a sex object I believe are two totally separate entities all together. Yes, I believe we as women should celebrate that we can be beautiful on the outside and even sexy, but we really truly need to understand what makes us so much more beautiful on the inside. I don't mean to be patronizing in this statement with the old "oh its on the inside that counts," although, I do believe that statement is very true, what I am primarily speaking about is the amazing variables that are women. Beauty should be defined with every spectrum that makes us as women so unique. I am thankful that God made women with all of our characteristics both physical and emotional. I also want to make it very clear that even though our emotions and physical aspects are different that does not make us less, or as Hugh has put it sex objects, but equal.
Different should not define one group as less or stronger. And no I am not naive to understand that "different" has always been the excuse to make one group less then another. It is the easiest way that we as humans can define and group one another. Since we however, now have this deeper knowledge of understanding that we divide based on differences, then why can we not challenge ourselves, society, and this world to shift and celebrate difference and not use them as measurements.  
Again, we have another bigger then life figure who is cherished by main stream media and males because of his rouge behavior and idolized worldly life telling us as women what we are and the "title" that we should adhere to as "sex objects." In his one statement he has made women not as equals but as objects to desire, admire, consume, own, keep, object is something you possess not something you feel is your equal, your partner, your confidant, your friend, and/or your lover. Yes, as stated above we are sexual beings but we are not sexual objects...
Sadly the second portion of his statement with regards to lipstick and short skirts, may have some truth to it. I am guilty today of putting on my make up making sure my hair looks nice and I chose to wear a cute green dress. All of these things made me feel better about the way I looked and felt today. Are all of these pieces human (maybe even culturally) made, yes, are the a bit shallow, yes definitely, but am I carrying myself with dignity and confidence? Yes, I am. Is my outfit over sexualized and my hair in its pony tail to flirty? Perhaps, but that would be in the eye of the beholder and we need to continue to challenge men to not listen to the Hugh Hefner's but to see women as equal contributors to this world.
What is our Legacy Women?

“But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”- 1 Samuel 16:7