Sunday, January 22, 2006


Sunday prayer backlog

Church bulletins and Prayers of Confession piled up on my desk. Here are some, followed by some thoughts of my own. Which one(s) speak to you? How?


From today:

Lord of Life, we gather to worship in spirit and in truth, and that means being truthful about ourselves. When we look in the mirror, what do we see? And not just on the ourside, but on the inside? If Jesus looked at us, what would He see? In His name, we dare to pray, and to look without blinking. Amen.

I see a sinner, a doubter, a hypocrite, a struggler, a wanderer and wonderer, a skeptic, a seeker, a lover and hater, a thinker, a feeler and a clinger, to the Cross of Cavalry and the earliest ideals of Jesus's followers -- in the face of suspicion from fellow Christians, hostile ridicule from non-believers, and against the grain of the prevailing winds of unthinking sheepery that self-righteous Christian leaders pretend is interpretation if not outright prophecy. Jesus saves, not "the Church," not "the Bible," which some would make a fourth personality of an already inconceivable triune God.

From Dec. 18:

Lord of Life, help us to know when to accept the unfolding of events, and when to resist them. Your servant Mary knew when to say yes, and the world has never been the same. But there are also times to say no, and to withdraw our compliance. Teach us to discern what the times require, so that we too may be faithful. In Christ's name we pay, Amen.

To me, this is a prayer for guidance for when to balk, rather than follow -- whoever the supposed leaders are, political, government, church, family. "I have decided to follow Jesus," the old hymn says.

From Dec. 11:

Lord of Life, help us to remember who is at the center of our faith. Not our politics, not our ambitions, not our personal agendas -- however important they may seem. At the center of our faith is a human being, who fulfilled the promises of the prophets, and became the face of God in our midst. If we do not listen to him, but simply borrow his name, then we are in danger of mistaking our desires for God's promises. As the celebration of the birth of Jesus draws near, help us to remember that we may have heard all about him, but have yet to be formally introduced. In Christ's name we pray, Amen.

I find this profound, and applicable to Christians on both the Left and the Right. However, the Christian Left is a small crowd. The Christian Right, much more numerous and powerful, march as "Christian soldiers" -- an oxymoron, in a spiritual sense, if there ever was one -- hell-bent, as it were, on making millions more in their own image. Both sides can be guilty of forgetting Jesus's message and example in their effort to live out a particular interpretation of what it means to be "a Christian." He who is first shall be last, and he who is last shall be first, the Lord said.

(The church: Mayflower Congregational UCC Church.)


At the center of our faith is a human being, who fulfilled the promises of the prophets, and became the face of God in our midst.

Just a couple of things here - Jesus Christ was/is God in the flesh. He was not just 'the face of God'. Second point - it was God's promise, not the promise of prophets - they were simply the voice that told of God's plan. Normally I would probably let these two points go, but with everything you post about this church you are attending, I see less God and more man. 'They' seem to be presenting a humanist message, not God's message.
The second part of your concern is semantic, as far as I'm concenred. If they were true prophets of God, then their prophecies were of God, therefore the promise of the prophets was the promise of God.

The first part is an age-old point of discussion:

What does it mean that Jesus was "fully God and fully man"? That's the standard assertion of historical Christianity.

"Son of God."

"Son of Man."

Jesus was MORE than "God in the flesh" and he was MORE than "a man."

What that means exactly is part of the mystery. What I want to know is this:

Why are conservatives so quick to assert the "Son of God" part and so slow to assert the "Son of Man" part?

He was both. To dismiss his humanity is to lessen the mystery, not to declare it.
Ifd humanist, it''s not "wecular humanism," but "Christian humanism," whi9ch was the original humanism.

The following is from an on-line introduction to "Oration on the Dignity of Man" by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola:

If there is such a thing as a "manifesto" of the Italian Renaissance, Pico della Mirandola's "Oration on the Dignity of Man" is it; no other work more forcefully, eloquently, or thoroughly remaps the human landscape to center all attention on human capacity and the human perspective. Pico himself had a massive intellect and literally studied everything there was to be studied in the university curriculum of the Renaissance; the "Oration" in part is meant to be a preface to a massive compendium of all the intellectual achievements of humanity, a compendium that never appeared because of Pico's early death. Pico was a "humanist," following a way of thinking that originated as far back as the fourteenth century. Late Medieval and Renaissance humanism was a response to the dry concerns for logic and linguistics that animated the other great late Medieval Christian philosophy, Scholasticism. The Humanists, rather than focussing on what they considered futile questions of logic and semantics, focussed on the relation of the human to the divine, seeing in human beings the summit and purpose of God's creation. Their concern was to define the human place in God's plan and the relation of the human to the divine; therefore, they centered all their thought on the "human" relation to the divine, and hence called themselves "humanists." At no point do they ignore their religion; humanism is first and foremost a religious movement, not a secular one (what we call "secular humanism" in modern political discourse is a world view that arises in part from "humanism" but is, nevertheless, essentially conceived in opposition to "humanism").
Semantics - yes, I would normally think so. In this case I wasn't sure, so I pointed it out.

Why are conservatives so quick to assert the "Son of God" part and so slow to assert the "Son of Man" part?

I can't answer for all conservatives (obviously), but I'll answer for myself. Here on your blog, I probably will assert Son of God more than Son of Man. Why? Well, you (and many of the posters here) are quick to assert the latter. In an attempt at balance, I ensure that the fact that He is God is not overlooked. Elsewhere, mostly "in real life", I encouter folks who think of Jesus as only God. Them I have to remind that He was fully human and had to deal with the same stuff we do. So in my case, it is a matter of context - because I feel that the Godhood is relegated to second tier status to Manhood around here, I seem to pipe in with "Jesus is God" more than "Jesus is man". Fair enough?
Obviously, I meant "secular," not "wecular," and "which," and not "wh9ich." :-)
Thank you for the intro to non-secular humanism. I have to admit that it is a new concept to me. I am a bit apprehensive of it, but am willing to learn more on the subject.
Rem, yes, indeed. I totally understand. Because the reason I emphasize the humanity of Jesus around here is because among the leading evangelicals and fundamentalists (there is a difference, of course, that is lost on many) of the day, his humanity IS dismissed, or acknowledged with a wink in the belief that he really was something like a comic book superhero.
:-) Yer welcome.

Lost to the dustbins of history, for the most part, is this:

The first humanists were Christians, and the Renaissance was a movement of Christians.
With the preface that all I know on this subject is what is written here (and what I extrapolate, etc.), let me throw this out there. By focusing on the 'human side' of the God-man relationship, would it be fair to say that the leap to secular humanism is not far off? In other words, by taking our eyes off of God, wouldn't it be easier to be led astray by a doctrine that teaches works? Myabe not in the first generation or two, but by the third or fourth?
Or maybe not even a 'doctrine of works', but a doctine that further emphasises man and de-emphasises God? Perhaps this is how secular humanism came to be?

My curiosity is piqued.
You may be right. I'm not sure of the exact splitting point between the original humanists, who were Christians, and the Englightenment, some of whom were Christians, others deists, others whatever, and the modern ideas of secular humanism, which are largely non-Christian (which is not the same as anti-Christian).

The other concern, though, is no matter how hard we try to keep ourselves oriented to God, it's actually a confused, totally questionable and probably downright pitiful vision -- because we see through a glass darkly, being clay who dares to try to look on the Potter.

Which makes it even more important to concentrate on Jesus, who actually walked among the clay, and to give serious consideration to what He did and did not say, and what He did and did not do, and what He did and did not mean -- which requires more than rote, and more than deifying the Bible and confusing the colloquialism "the Word" as it refers to Scripture with "the Word" in John 1:1 -- they are totally diffeent concepts.

It requires meditation and prayer and humility.

I confess that as complicated as seeking the truth is for me, I don't worry too much about the generations to follow. Interesting that you brought that up.
Biblical Source of
Christian Humanism:
The seperation of the sheep and the goats....for their acts.

Mathew 25: 34-46 KJV

34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Talk about topics that are bigger than a blog entry can manage!

"Christian humanism" "theological humanism" "secular humanism" "ethical humanism" "cultural humanism" -- it goes on and on.

Truth is, intellect and piety are partners in the human pursuit of the divine. Study the history of theology and see how such thought is shaped by experience in the Catholic and Protestant traditions.

Paul Tillich struggled with these issues in the face of Nazi Germany -- and wrote about how culture revealed grace and demonic forces. Unfortunately, it's hard to understand Tillich now, outside of the context of the culture in which he wrote.


I like the quote by John Wesley that appears above the door of the OU Wesley Foundation:

"Let us unite the two so long divided: Knowledge and vital piety."

Humanism, in any of its forms, is a way for people to try to make sense of their world. Theological humanism, or Christian humanism, is one way we see the personal aspects of the Great Sacrifice of Jesus. He died even for me. More than that, He came in human form to teach us and to accomplish all that we humans failed to understand under the Judaic law. He came to fulfill the law since our sacrifices were so completely incapable of bridging that gap between us and God Himself.

Of course this is at least as hot a topic as trying to convince some people that the Bible wasn't written in Old English.
Zactly, Drlobo.

I've never really "gotten" the whole faith-versus-works thing.

If not for the Spirit giving me compassion, why in the hell would I care about anyone other than myself?

Without the Spirit, one is incable of spiritual works (although one may do good deeds).

After encountering the Spirit, one cannot resist wanting to do spiritual works.

Wanting to.

Paul, who knew sin well, explained this well, no?

(Romans 7)
21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

That last line, of course, is the most important, I think.
Then there's this:

Some might seriously argue -- until I kicked their butt -- that because two or three are virtually gathered in this virtual space in Jesus's name, that it constitutes a virtual church, and that you, Trixie, bein' a woman, should be virtually silent! Because "the Bible" says, you see.

Literalists drive me virtually nuts.
Before you credit Christian Humanism, as the first humanism, be aware that Zarathustra, the Prophet of Zoroastrism, preached that people should always chose truth and oppose lies,; and always strive for Good words , Good thoughts, and do Good deeds. He worshiped the one God: Ahura Mazda the God of light who continually fought against the God of Darkness Ahriman, the Lie, the Famine, and Evil.
In the End of Days there will be the final battle between the Son's of the Light and the Son's of the Darkness. Ahura the Light and his followers will prevail and will rule over heavan and earth for eternity.

It was 600 B. C. that Zarathustra was born. 300 years before Alexander the Great, before the Jews were returned to Judea from their slavery in Persia. When the Jews left Babylon they took with them the Zoroasterism concepts of the messiah, angles, satan, and the escatology of the end of the world, and folded them into their books written after the Tora. Include in this was the concept of humanism, for the God of Light intended that only good should be done to mankind.
The well of human history is deep.
Well ER, I am quite the literalist. However, I do not just slice the Bible up and take things out of context.

Off the top of my head, I can think of two passages where women are told to be silent in church - 2 Corinthians (chapter 14, I think) and again in one of the epistles to Timothy.

Taken completely out of context (and there are multiple contexts - the surrounding verses, the complete text of the book, and the entire canon), people will argue that women should remain completely silent. What I believe Paul means is that women should not attempt to lead or teach during a corporate worship service. It is the purview of the man to assume the leadership role. Thus, women are free to sing in worship, lead small classes (it is generally held that women should only teach women, though), and to participate (teach, share, pray) in informal Bible studies and times of fellowship (like what we might experience here in the blogosphere).

That's my take on the subject. There probably aren't any here who will agree with me, but that seems to be my lot here in the "Erudite Redneck Roadhouse".
If women behaved that way in the churches today, then 2/3rds of all the Churches wouldn't exist. Not to mention that more than 80% of the wealth in America is actually under the control of women and why would women want to finance their dominance by males, just because a reformed old Saducee let some of his old Jewish views taint his new churches. No where in the teachings of Jesus did he say anything
like Paul said. Indeed, did he not say that in the Kingdom of God there is neither male of female.
Say Rem870 what do you hunt with your Remington? You must really love you gun.
Well, I got my Bible out. I referenced 2 Corinthians in my last post - should have been 1 Corinthians (ch 14, verse 34-35).

Dr. Lobojo, it is well stated (many times) that it is difficult for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God. I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that - but I will say that much of what is taught to us through the scriptures is quite at odds with the liberal (as compared to the time of the original wiritings) mind set of today. As to the rest of your post, let me answer you. What Paul wrote was God-inspired. In 1 Corinthians 4:37, as if anticipating doubters, Paul writes, If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

You are correct, nowhere is it recorded that Jesus said many of the things which Paul wrote. Hence, Paul was used to complete the written word. If you'll notice, Jesus spake but one word on the church (that is recorded, anyway). He told Peter that he would be the rock upon which the church would be established. If that's all that the Gospel writers recorded in regards to the church, then there was certainly a need for more instruction.

Indeed, did he not say that in the Kingdom of God there is neither male of female. You've got me stumped on this one. It rings no bells. I can recall a conversation with some Jewish leaders where they questioned Him on whose wife a woman would be in Heaven after having survived 5 husbands or so. He responded basically by saying that marriage was an earthly concept. Still, I don't take that to mean the de-gendering of people.

Seems like at a website which invokes the name of "Redneck" your last question would have come up a long time ago. And yeah, I do love her. Me and my ole 870 have taken many an animal - whitetail deer, ducks, dove, rabbits, squirrels, and quail (not to mention the occasional stray dog). Anymore, she's relegated to mostly waterfowl, with the occasional dove shoot thrown in. I've got a buddy that hunts with a high-dollar gun and he likes to bust my chops about my 'disposable shotgun'. All I know is she's never let me down, though I've let her down more times than I care to remember.
Try Galatians 3:28.
I owned a Remington 20 gauge auto in my youth, for mainly quail, with her gas recoil she would stay steady on the aim. Liked it a lot.
As a Platoon Sgt. (spec 5 actually) in Nam I think the 12 gage pump I had was a Remington, I had a short platoon but with full weaponry, so mainly I just carried my M-16, my 45, and a 30 cal M-3 and let the Corporal carry the shot gun. Loved my arms, but when I got back I got rid of my hunting guns. Was tired of shooting things. Decided I was really a blade man anyway.

Won't parse the scripture with you on the women thing, hell they'er in charge anyway. But the Peter the Rock is a mis-translation. Peter is called the rock but it was on the fact that Christ was the Son of God, that Bed Rock, that the Church was built. Check it out in the original Greek, it is two different words for rock.
Trixie, Fly Lady is coming to Tulsa not OKC, I got it wrong. I think "She Who Must Be Obeyed" will be going from my household to see Madam Beelzebub.

Rem870, I just assumed everybody knew what your handle meant.
Paul was an arrogant jerk, living in a patriarchal era where women were expected to pretty much be quiet everywhere -- not unlike today's Middle East.

Calling today's Western values "liberal" compared to that time and place is like calling today's medical technology "liberal" compared to the "practice of medicine" in the 19th century and before. Too muich more knowledge, information and experience now to even make a comparison.

Paul has been wrong, for our time, before: "Slaves, obey your masters according to the flesh with fear and trembling, in simplicity of heart, as to Christ."

Rem, now that somebody's pointed it out, I "see" your handle. There goes my R again. I have one, and have only ever had one, shotgun: a Mossberg I bought when I was 16.

Maybe I should change the name of this joint to Erudite Okie. ??
I don't think Paul was wrong. He did not condone slavery, but acknowledged that it existed. Were the institution still alive (and it is in some parts of the world), his instructions would be valid.

As to the patriarchy - it is evident throughout God's Word that it is what God intended/commanded. I don't see how you could rationally argue otherwise.

Trixie, thank you for the scripture reference. Taken in context, I believe that Paul was pointing out that no 'person' has a right to any more inheritance from the Lord than another - we shall inherit the Kingdom of God. I don't believe it is telling us that there will be no gender in Heaven.

Dr. Lobojo, I understand about the translation of the "Rock of the Church". I should have capitalized a 'He'. I was not clear. My point was that there is very little recorded information from Jesus on the church.

ER, Erudite Okie (EO)? Hmmm . . . ; )
Calling it "God's Word" has allowed the Church to hide a multitide of sins -- from slavery to genocide to the subjection of women abd abuse of homosexuals and Jews.

Inspired, maybe? Sacred? Yes, as in it is THE book from which one can gain some details of salvation as Christianity understands it. To be taken seriously? Yes.

To be taken literally? Without considering who wrote to whom, for what purpose and within what temporal context? I don't believe so anymore. And, I do accept the assertion that every word or idea in the Bible is as attributable to Jesus, or even God the Father, as if either of the capitalized He's uttered into mu ear.

Paul was wrong then, and he would be wrong now, otherwise the main gist of Jesus's radical message of love and freedom is wrong. Our Southern Christian forebears, God love 'em, were wrong. (I am a Southerner as a matter of geographical fact, not because I cling to the Lost Cause mythology, although I do have my moments.)

And I'm no Paulist. I'm a Jesusian.

And, I do NOT accept the assertion that every word or idea in the Bible is as attributable to Jesus, or even God the Father, as if either of the capitalized He's uttered them into my ear.
ER, If you don't take it literally, how do you determine what to follow? We must change to meet the demands of God's Word - not change God's Word to meet our demands.
EO, nope I think not. ER, should keep his Redneck title. I think that Mosbergs and Stevens were the only brands they sold in the Sears or Wards catalogs back then.

I only got my Remington because one of my co-hunters had traded "up" to a Winchester, and I took it off his hands.

Rem870 is jerking you chain ER.
I've considered a Mossberg on more than one occassion. Mossberg and Federal (the ammo guys) did all of the original work for the US Fish & Game on non-toxic shot. As a waterfowler, I'm always looking for an extra, ethical edge. I just don't like the fit of Mossbergs, or Brownings for that matter. Benelli is really the only other make of shotgun I'd probably ever buy. As it is, though, I'll probably stick with my 870. When my boys are old enough, that's what they'll each receive.
Historically there were four branches of Christianity that emerged within the first century after Christ. One was the Jewish Christians that soon migrated East into what is now Jordon, Iraq, and Iran. They have faded into oblivvian and are just a few isolated congregations now.
The second were the Gnostics who killed off and were hounded out of exists by the dominant church by the 13th Century. The third were the Egyptian Coptics that did not accept the concept of the trinity and held it as blasphemous to the One God. They still rule as the majority of the Christian Church in Eygypt, Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia today. The fourth were the Paulians who won the battle for supremacy, and became the dominate Christian Church as we know it today in the Roman and Orthodox churches as well as the Anglicans and the Protestants.
Selected letters from Paul to the first century churches thus have become the core of modern doctrine.
The victor always writes the history of the war. Go Paul!
Rem, in 1984 or '85, I did a speech, in a speech class, about the emerging issue of lead shot doing harm to waterfowl, and I like to got run out of the class! They thought I was some kind of radical animal-lovin' extremist. Ah, no. I just had a good friend finishing up a degree in wildlife management, ands he was up on all "the literature," as they say, which was ahead of the popular magazines.
A point often lost in discussions over how Christians should deal with the Bible:

Christians originally became Christians based on the testimony of those who had met Jesus, whether in the flesh or in glorified form, or who had met him spiritually -- not from a book, or from preaching FROM a book.

My testimony, today, is: I have met God through Christ; I am a different person than I would have been otherwise; and the experience continues to affect my daily life as I continue to be molded into a person who is closer to what God wants me to be.

Despite my recent use of the nonword "Jesusian" to distance myself from what I consider fundmantalist extremes that eventually will cause Christianity to go the way of voo doo, I am, in fact, a Christian.

I was saved before I ever read the Bible,after responding to the testimony of another who had met Him.

That's why I do not deify the Bible, why I am impatient with inerrantists and literalists. :-)
Tongue sorta in cheek:

Maybe conservatives have a hard time with the Son of Man part because it requires going through the lineage of MARY. (ie, not Joseph)
Oh Anonymous, I loves ya! That's got a lot more to do with it than many know and/or admit. MAN actually had nothing to do with the birth of the Christ!
RE: Lead shot. I'm skeptical of the harmful effects of lead shot on waterfowl. I'd like to see a comprehensive study performed that analyzes the effects of moving away from lead. Since the move to non-toxic (usually steel) shot has been made, more birds are crippled that would have been killed in the past. Non-lead shot doesn't expand, takes more powder to propel at an equivalent velocity, and it doesn't pattern as well. For marginal shooters and hunters without a good dog, many more birds are lost to crippling shots than would have been the case had lead shot been used.
It's really incidental to this conversation, but being an old British Lit major I do feel a need to point out that the King James version of the Bible, which was published in 1611, was written in Middle English, not Old Engligh. The cut-off date between the two is generally considered to be 1066, the year the Norman French, led by Duke William, whupped King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings.

For those what may be interested, here's the Lord's Prayer in Old English:

Faeder ure, thu the eart on heofonum; si thin nama gehalgod, to becume thin rice, gewurthe thin willa, on eorthan swa swa on heofonum. Urne daeghwamlican hlaf syle us todeag and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfath ure gyltendum, and ne gelaed thu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele.
Whoops! Thanks for the correction, Kiki. I was trying to make the point that King James is neither the language of today nor the language of the original writers of the texts used in the Bible.
For the curious that would like to read the very first translation of the New Testament into English go to :

Under "Version" look up Wycliffe New Testament. This was the first time "common man" had direct reading access to the New Testament in over a thousand years. It was first printed in 1382, a quarter century before the King James Bible and was the English Bible of the Reformation. Before this Bible it was very much a case of "trust your local Priest" for any knowledge of what the New Testment said or didn't say.
I keep thinking of the cartoon that shows a friar hand-copying a biblical text. With astonishment he says, with tears in his eyes: "Celebrate? Celebrate! It says CELEBRATE!
Kiki, way cool! Thanks!

Drlobo, you, too. Major cool.

Trixie: LOLOL

Rem, re: lead shot. It's always somethin'. :-)
It really bugs me when i ask someone a direct question on this blog and then not have it answered, so I have to apologise when I do the same thing. Last night I said...

"No where in the teachings of Jesus did he say anything
like Paul said. Indeed, did he not say that in the Kingdom of God there is neither male of female."

Although not such a direct question there is an implied one, Rem870 said:
"You've got me stumped on this one. It rings no bells. I can recall a conversation with some Jewish leaders where they questioned Him on whose wife a woman would be in Heaven after having survived 5 husbands or so. He responded basically by saying that marriage was an earthly concept. Still, I don't take that to mean the de-gendering of people."

This indeed needs a little elaboration. Here is the verse"
Mark 12:25 (KJV)
For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

"...but as are the angels which are in heavan", is the operative point.

Angels have no gender, thus in heaven we will have no gender. Angels are of neither sex because they do not procreate as we do as the earthly animal we are at this stage. Gender is a usless concept in the Kingdom of God.
For those of us who believe that the Kingdom of God includes here and now, then we wonder why gender is a barrier to some in the church?
That's the passage I referenced (without the scripture reference). You have a point. And the truth is that we don't know. We both agree that procreation will not go on. Your interpretation is possibly at odds with other scripture though. We are told in 1 Thessalonians (another epistle of Paul's) that the dead in Christ shall arise first (at the trumpet call of the Lord's 2nd coming). Elsewhere in scripture we are told that our bodies will be transformed. Will we be transformed without identifying gender features? I don't know. I always assumed that men would be men and women women, but Dr. Lobojo makes a good point. I'll know one day.

As for why gender is a barrier for church leadership - well, to me and many others, the scripture is clear. To those for whom the scripture is but a suggestion box (sorry ER, but I get impatient too), certain things are ignored or refuted.
The contradiction you cite, one of many, is why "the Bible" should not be "accepted" or "rejected" as a whole.

I wouldn't call it a suggestion box. It is THE guide -- but it is not very clear, and it is not inerrant, unless by that people mean there's some kind of magic involved that makes words mean something other than they appear.

It's not a difference in interpretation. One verse says one thing, and one says another.

Say you got a black piece of paper and a white piece of paper. No way can you find agreement by pretending that both are really shades of gray. That ain't "seeing through a glass darkly." That's being deliberately blind.
Church tradition is clear on women in leadership. The Bible, "as a whole," as it were, most certainly is not.
Besides that, if it was "clear," then different branches of Christendom would have different takes on it. :-)
ER & Rem870 before you two seal the deal, try on this one from Paul his self. Trixie threw this into the mix yesterday and no one bit on it. Sorry it took us old misogynist so long to respond to you.

Galatians 3:28 (New King James Version)
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

You see Paul is not laying down the law as God had it done in Levitcus. He is writting letters poviding apostolic advice to specific congregations how to handle specific problem in the place and time and culture that they are in. That's why it seems contradictory, and harsh in one instant and soft in another. Some congregations were headed by "women", some were all jewish, some all gentile, some mixed, some were communal, some autocratic, some democratic. Paul's truths can only be studied in context.
Sometimes Paul says this is directly from God other times he says, "I have no direction from God on this but here is what I think".
Good point, Drlobojo -- and that's another way of saying what I've been trying to say. Absent context of the tim and place, you can just about justify anything with a verse or three.

But Rem and weren't to sealin' a deal! :-)
Sigh. I meant, But Rem and I weren't close to sealin' a deal.
This is an excellent example of taking the Bible seriously but not taking it literally, from The Christian Century, to which I just subscribed:
I speak Okie, I understood you, it was perfectly good English for the 11th century.
Did I skip over some Old English Reneckese?
Rem870 said:
"As for why gender is a barrier for church leadership - well, to me and many others, the scripture is clear."

Now Rem870, lets look at some other things Paul said about women by talking directly to them or about them as persons.

(New International translation)
Romans 16: 1
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant[a] of the church in Cenchrea.

[a]Romans 16:1 Or deaconess

( now just to make sure I looked this up in my interlinear Greek New Testiment and then in the Lexicon, and the greek word used here and translated as servent in most translations means minister or deacon.)
Now not only is Phoebe a deconess, she is the one actually carrying Pauls letter to the Romans from Asia Minor.

Romans 16:7
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

Junia (a female's name) was an apostle by Pauls own declaration.
And yes some English translations have the name as Junias a male's name. Even different Greek text have the name either way.

Then there's stories about Lydia and her church and other women in other places who are founders of churches.

It ain't that simple is it?
Dr. Lobojo, I'm not ducking you. I've not got the time right now to respond properly - deadlines and such. Check back later.
I'd say something, but dammit if Dr. Lobojo and Trixie don't say it all better.

I can't quote Scripture to keep up with any of you, but I know deep in my female heart that God is not a fan of patriarchy. Just not His style.

As I was looking through stuff last night while I was posting the above items I vaguely remembered reading something about all of this recently. I'm not into Christian publications, genrally they are too self serving for my taste so I tried to imagine where I had read or heard it.
Ah yes, in the doctors office, it was in the doctors office while I waited for my wife. So I searched the web using a bunch of key words strung together. After looking at a dozen or so pages of entries I finally found it.
Oh yes, the Republicans are going to love this, it is by one of their favorite people: Jimmy Carter. It touches on many of the points made by several people in this blog about women, gender, things in context, and the early Church.
Now, for what it is worth, I am feeling more generous towards Paul and his work now that I see it better in context.
Here it is, it is long but is only a portion of an article:

Back to Fundamentals.
The Christian Century; 9/20/2005; Carter, Jimmy
Despite the fact that Jesus Christ was the greatest liberator of women, some male leaders of the Christian faith have continued the unwarranted practice of sexual discrimination, depriving women--more than half the devout Christians on Earth--of their equal rights to serve God.

There is one incontrovertible fact concerning the relationship between Jesus Christ and women: he treated them as equal to men, dramatically different from the prevailing custom of the rimes. Although the four Gospels were written by men, they never report an instance of Jesus condoning sexual discrimination or the implied subservience of women. Instead, he deliberately exalted women on many occasions.

The current special effort of some devout and sincere Baptist men to "keep women in their place" is based on their official assertion that "man was first in creation, and woman was first in the Edenic fall," which twists the meaning of Eve's creation from Adam's rib and puts the blame for original sin on females. These men are also relying on a few carefully chosen selections from Paul's letters to the early churches. If taken by themselves, some of these verses indicate that the apostle deviated from Jesus' example and had a bias against women, and even suggested that women should be treated as second-class Christians--submissive to their husbands, attired and coifed demurely and silent in church.

I would never claim that the scriptures are in error, but it is necessary in some cases to assess the local circumstances and to study the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words. Most Christians ignore details of Paul's comments that are pertinent to his own era, such as these words (1 Cor. 11:5-6): "Any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair." (This passage makes it clear, by the way, that it is acceptable for women to pray and prophesy if their heads are covered.) Paul also forbade certain women to braid their hair or to wear rings, jewelry or ex-pensive clothing. It is obvious in those cases that Paul is not mandating generic theological policies.

Paul's close friend Priscilla is revered for having instructed Apollos, one of the great preachers of that day. To the church in Rome, Paul listed and thanked 28 outstanding leaders of the early churches, at least ten of whom were women. Listen to the apostle's words (in chapter 16 of Romans): "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae ... greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus ... greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you. Greet Adronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was ... greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them."

It is inconceivable to me that Paul can be quoted by modern male chauvinists as the biblical authority for excluding women from accepting God's call to serve others in the name of Christ, when Paul himself encouraged and congratulated inspired women who were prominent--to use his own descriptions--as deacons, apostles, ministers and saints.

Paul's clear theological message to the Galatians and to us is that women are to be treated exactly as equals in their right to serve God: "For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26-28). .............

The complete article can be found at:
Another thing some Christians today forget is that Paul's letters were written to specific congregations in specific situations. In some places, teaching was suffering because of rowdy crowds. That's where some of the "keep silent" admonishments came from. We should not take that to mean that women have no right to speak. Indeed, many women have more than a right. They have a calling to ministry in many forms, just like men. More's the pity to those who refuse to learn from them.
Woe, Drlobo. Danged if that doedn't make me feel a mite better about Paul, too.

It's soooo haaaarrrddddd not to read it as if it was written to us, right now -- since most of those who are large and in charge in Christian leadership have so WRONGLY simplified the one written source for how to live the Christian Way into just so much pablum.

Lord, give us context or give us spiritual regression!!!!

Thanks to all for keepin' this great discussion going. I don't ever pretend that I change anyone's mind one iota. I believe, though, that one's mind is changed by discussion and debate, in little bitty bits, which are more lasting anyway, one way or another.

TUPELO, MS—Born-again Christian juggler Jesse Lindall, 44, said Tuesday he regrets his secular past. "Kids are trying to juggle friends and school, so it can be overwhelming when Satan throws them a temptation—ho!" Lindall said as he added a flaming torch to a circle of juggling pins. "I used to juggle for kicks and some spare change, but now I'm doing it to spread Christ's Word to young people. I only wish I would've used my juggling for a greater purpose years ago. Ho!" Lindall said he is working on a new bit that involves juggling multiplying loaves of bread and fish.

From The Onion
Pretty good timing, frm Edward Fudge.

Edward Fudge
Jan 15, 2006

A gracEmail subscriber writes, "Paul said he didn't allow a woman to teach a man (1 Tim. 2:12). What do you think Paul meant?"

* * *

In making this strange statement, the apostle was undoubtedly correcting some specific misbehavior at Ephesus, for it is inconsistent with the rest of the New Testament if taken as an absolute and unqualified rule. Two of Timothy's own most significant teachers from infancy had been his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:14-16). However, women's teaching was not directed solely to little children, for Priscilla (as well as her husband Aquila) instructed the well-known preacher Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). Nor was it limited to private circumstances since women prophesied publicly in the first century church (1 Cor. 11), a ministry aimed at edification, exhortation and consolation (1 Cor. 14:3). Similarly, no one today to my knowledge frowns on women singing in church assemblies -- also a medium of teaching according to Paul (Col. 3:16).

We do not know the exact conduct Paul was correcting in First Timothy 2:12-15 but the words Paul uses give us a strong hint. The Greek verb translated "exercise authority over" in verse 12 occurs only here in the Bible. However, in secular literature it meant to dominate in an autocratic manner or even to murder. It is possible to read this second verb as modifying the first ("to teach"). In that case, Paul says that a woman is not permitted to teach in a domineering or autocratic manner over a man. (Nor, of course, was even Timothy himself, according to Second Timothy 2:24-25). In contrast to that, these women are to be "quiet" (v. 12). But Paul does not use the word for "silent" (which he did in correcting disorderly prophets, tongue-speakers and wives in First Corinthians 14), but another word that describes a restful or undisturbed life (see the same word in 1 Tim. 2:2).

I believe that we have allowed a male-dominated culture of the past several centuries to shape our thinking and cause us unknowingly to misread and misapply the two passages of Scripture which might sound like they prohibit the public exercise by women of speaking gifts (1 Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Tim. 2:12). When we look at the Scriptures more carefully, we discover that the qualifying principle for Christian service is giftedness, not gender (Acts 2:17-18; 1 Cor. 12:4-11).


Copyright 2006 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby granted to reprint this gracEmail in its entirety without change, with credit given and not for financial profit. Visit our multimedia website at .
I've been pretty busy the last two days. I'm going to cop out and just point you to a commentary on this subject by John Macarthur. Most of ya'll probably don't like him, but I do. Besides, I read your Jimmy Carter stuff.

Here's an excerpt on women and the church:

While the Apostle Paul respected women and worked side by side with them for the furtherance of the gospel (Rom. 16; Phil. 4:3), he appointed no women elders or pastors. In his epistles, as he wrote instructions to the churches, he urged that men were to be the leaders and that women were not to teach or exercise authority over men (I Tim 2:12).

The ministry of women is essential to the body of Christ, but the New Testament gives no basis for women becoming pastors or elders. While women are spiritual equals with men, they are excluded from leadership over men in the church. The New Testament finds no conflict here though twentieth century feminists insist that these principles contradict one another.

The Apostle Paul is completely consistent with Jesus in regard to women. Paul had a high regard for women and shared his labors for the gospel with many of them. But, like Jesus, he never appointed them to positions of authority over men in the home or the church. As active as women were in the early church, nowhere did Paul ordain them as elders.

This part focuses on Paul's work (the majority of the New Testament). There's also a section in there on Jesus and women for those of you who don't like Paul. There's also a discussion of Galations 3:28.
But what about Jesus's wife? Mary? The one later called Magdalene? (Ducks) ... (runs) ... (hides)
Good article.
Yep read the whole thing, and more, Rem870.
But it didn't mention Pheobe the deacon (elder?) nor Julia the Apostle. The exception tests the rule.
These two are the exceptions.

Plus it ain't just the 20th Century "Feminist" that started this, My Church (The Disciples of Christ)was very much a product of the American frontier, and ordained their first woman minister in 1853 and have had such ever since then. This position is based on the priesthood of the believer and that even the Church's minister has no authority over his/her congregation, therefore a man or woman minister is not in authority over any man or women but is simply ministers and testifies to them.
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