New Background

Can You Hear Me Now?

Friday, August 11, 2006

My Head Hurts!

This post already had me thinking, thinking, thinking, then I went back a couple of days later and this post which posed all these wonderful questions had me jump over to this site and reading his material is much like being in a very interesting course in college. It could be the material was speaking to me or it’s just intriguing information. In any case all this reading is what has my head spinning.

There is, as with all things in life, an up side and a down side to this process. The UP side is it gets my mind thinking and my heart moving towards new thoughts. It gets me searching through the Bible for truth, discernment and much clarity! The DOWN side is it makes it very hard to just accept ‘fluff’ and it ups the bar for my own rambling about 1000 fold.

Over the next few days (or however long it takes to understand where my heart is leading) I want to unfold the questions posed in Philips Johnson’s comment, whether they are rhetorical or for clarification only…they still got me thinking!

So today I’ll post this excerpt here from Eternal Echoes, where Sally has become a daily source of wit, wisdom, and growth. Go ahead and just ruminate on this for a bit. Please feel free to throw in your own two cents and bear with me, or just ignore me, as I travel through this dense fog that has fallen.

As a Christian in 2006, it concerns me greatly that women are turning to Wicca or other religious arenas to find the place GOD, our GOD, has designed for them within Christianity! DO not be concerned about my own roots. I am firmly planted and I believe GROWING leaps and bounds within the Hand of God, thank you Jesus!

Finding a safe place to be...

Two quotes from comments on the my recent post Counter Cultural,

first from Kim: I totally agree with what Johnson wrote about women seeking an alternative to the male dominant Christian church. I struggle with this very thing daily! I don't necessarily want to choose a denomination to match my beliefs, but I do want to belong to a church that embraces giftings regardless of gender!

And then from Philip Johnson: My plea all along has been that women do not see the church as a place where they can explore spiritual growth and spiritual questions. My plea has also been that here Christian women are desperately needed to take up the challenging task of ministry, missions and discipleship. In these forms of outreach we succeeded in being over-loaded with male volunteers and sadly too few women.

Beyond that I would like to pose these thoughts for reflection and others to discuss:

* If discipleship takes place with Wiccan and New Age adepts responding to Christ, what kind of assemblies would form where women are the primary/majority actors?

* What kinds of intuitive gifts and forms of ministry might be emphasised by these women?

* What kinds of relationships are likely to ensue, and what social skills would such a group have to offer back to the wider body of Christ?

* What kinds of theological and ministerial emphases would emerge about healing? about the Holy Spirit? about community formation?
The proverbial fields are white unto harvest, and where pray tell are the workers (but especially female ones) committed to be serving in those fields to sow, reap etc?

and that my friends is why my head hurts....

Have a blessed weekend.


Aunt Murry said...

I like the new graphics. Truthfully I did not read the entire post. I saw the 'Finding the safe place to be...' and thought 'Is there a safe place to be?' That I will have to think about and then I will need to read the entire post...

Shalee said...

Now MY head hurts...

I feel that woman should have the same abilities/roles to serve our God without the burden of wondering if we are "supposed to do it."

Women not speaking, serving or leading in any way was a cultural matter, a time when women were ranked just above dogs, and that was only if the dog was flea-infested and lazy. It doesn't help that the translations changed the true meaning when putting it into English either, but look at the time: it was a man ruled world where the translators were men.

Jesus taught equality to everyone; the first person to receive the good new was a woman who the Jews and her own town looked down on. If that doesn't help to persuade that women just as precious and capable, then talk to me and I'll give you some more meat to grind your teeth on.

Okay, I went back and reread your post. I answered my own questions that I had in my head.

Perhaps I'll go have some tea and start anew in a few...

If not, there's some new fodder for a post!

Shalee said...

Oh, and I LUUUUUV the new look. This is so very you Kim!

kpjara said...


Thanks for your insight! YOu NEVER cease to amaze me, truly! And it's good to know my head isn't the only one flooded, flogged to the point of explosion! Okay, not seriously, but the visual was so impactful I couldn't resist!

Aren't you supposed to be on the road by now?

Kristen said...

My head hurts, too now. Too much so for an early Friday morning. Yikes.

I love your new blog design.

Grafted Branch said...

Eve was deceived.

Paul suffered a woman not to teach.

Jesus loved women.

He did not appoint any women to be apostles.

Jesus can do whatever He wants.

Women in a supporting role is a noble calling; equal but different.

Eves are still being deceived. And sometimes a people-pleasing Pilate join their ranks.

Was that harsh? Don't mean to be, but just firm, firm, firm!

kpjara said...

Tell me about Debora...and many, many others? Still pondering, still thinking, still wondering if the loss is not to a portion of the Christian movement???

Grafted Branch said...

It's entirely possible that I'm misreading the meaning of the post and the reference. Can you elaborate or clarify "loss is not to a portion of the Christian movement?"

I'm certainly not one who believes that women are of ANY lesser consequence to the Kingdom. I relish being a woman. I tell the girls all the time that it is good to be a girl! We have our own charge (mission work, ministry) in Titus 2. It is, of course, to teach the younger women to love their husbands and children. We're called (not relegated) to be keepers of the home. Home is pretty important, isn't it? We're not doing any of that particularly well yet, so why are we dissatified and bored with something we've yet to master? Not that our mastery of it would change the Lord's call...

I think we try too hard comparing women's roles to men's roles; where did we get the idea that the plumb line was what the other guy is doing? It's a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Neither is more important than the other. Both have something unique to offer. I might even substitute apple juice for orange juice in my smoothie, in a pinch. The result won't be the same, probably won't be the best it could have been, but it will get the job done.

Could that be the case with Deborah? I notice in re-reading Judges 4-5 that even SHE seems to think that her going along with Barak is NOT God's best...she prophesies that because of it, Sisera will be delivered into a woman's hand at the expense of any glory for Barak.

Curiously, later...Deborah sings a song of rejoicing in which she refers to herself as a mother of Israel. Not a leader or a ruler, but a mother. Maternal. Hmmm. I don't know how significant that is, but it caught my eye and kind of offered me a new perspective into how she may have received and walked in this exceptional calling. Her's was a position of authority in man's government: a judge. That's a different thing than the spiritual realm.

I don't think that because of Deborah and other rare women in the bible, we ought to push aside Paul's very clear instruction that women not presume to have spiritual authority over men. His instruction here is not antiquated. To call it so brings into question the entirely of the canon.

tam said...

I MUST say first that in my opinion there is NO Black and White on this issue. Even biblically we could find many muddled areas as well as clear cut areas, with that said:

Here is another piece...especially regarding the question asking what would the church look like with women as primary leaders..

Why must we have either or? Why must, in our culture anyway, we continually fight/battle/question who is the better sex, the more adept sex for this or that?

Why must we place women in the role of leadership in order to save our female congregation?

Is it perhaps that we as a population are so used to being served and have the expectation that all must cater to us that we forget that quite often we should be yielding to that which is different than our current belief? (and I stress "current")

Meaning why must the church bend God's image to be female AND male in order to make all feel safe, instead of the individual being open to changing their own personal beliefs, especially when those beliefs could be based on any number of emotional/traumatic experiences instead of God's word?

If a woman is uncomfortable in church because there is no female ministers than isn't it the female's issue?

What if it was the other way around...if we were primarily women led and the bible clearly stated that it was to be that way...and we were losing men to Wiccan would we be questioning whether we should place more men in ministry or would we say the men need to change their mindset to accept how things are?

I believe wholeheartedly that women can and should lead in ministry...there are hundreds of examples of that happening successfully, and, I believe, with God's blessing.

I also believe wholeheartedly that men can and should be not only leaders in ministry but our authority and overseers. (of which I fully know is extremely controversial...I used to be one who vehementely thought otherwise...which only proves my point that minds can be changed or point of views altered at any given point by the power of God's Holy Spirit)

(and truly I still am learning to let go of past learned ideaology of extreme feminism)

boy oh boy this could go on for a long time...I'll just end it here.

Thanks Kim for the thought provoking and (cough, cough, choking/mind boggling) questions...

Sally said...

Yes the questions are mind boggling- and as the one quoted let me introduce my context, I am a woman in full time Ministry- currently traing as an Ordained Minister, I teach at some of the UK's evangelists training establishments and I preach regularly as a part of my work. I am a wife and mother of 5. The questions raised are all about culture and context, we must if we are to interpret the Bible correctly interpret Scripture in context for our 21st century culture, we may be counter cultural as a result, but we will be tru to ourselves and to Gods word also.
Take for example the pattern offered to us by Paul in Athens- he found himself in a foriegn culture, his first approach was to listen- and then when he spoke he adopted their language and culture to point to the cross and ressurection- quoting the Athenian poets and also proclaiming Christ as the Unknown God- whom the Athenians had already built a shrine to, he approached and absorbed the culture in order to point to Christ.
I would suggest that to deny the possibility of women in leadership roles in this day and age we are in danger of loosing something vital and necessary to the communication of the gospel message- we need balance, I am not a feminist- but I recognise the need for new approaches of the kind that Philip raised questions about.
Let us not be closed minded on these issues... thank you Kim for being brave enough to take this further.

Grafted Branch said...

So we're talking about "Christian" women leaving the Church for Wiccan rituals? We're worried about that? Doesn't the Word tell us that if they leave from among us, they were never of us?

So, the Lord is doing a little separating of the wheat and the tare before the final judgment...let's be thankful. may the Lord bring them to repentance, or be rid of them...frankly.

Sally said...

No Christian women are not leaving the Church for Pagan rituals-but women outside the church are opting for paganism/ Wiccan over Chrisitanity because of the nurturing emphasis of these practices... that should, no MUST make us stop and think.
We are often too prescriptive in our approach to discipleship, and deny intuitive and feminine approaches to leadership declaring them weak, we shy away from female allusions to the Holy Spirit, attributing male attributes only to God.
Please try to read the scriptures as writings in context, not as writings set in stone!!!

Grafted Branch said...

Well, I DO read them in historical and cultural context to the degree I have been schooled thus far. I studied 8 years with the international organization, Bible Study Fellowship, and it was a tremendous help to one who came to the Lord in my late 20s. It's not seminary, but it was stringent and rich with information, nonetheless.

It would appear we come to the scriptures from two separate camps. I know that my God is big enough and sovereign enough to superintend the adoption and preservation of cannon. I believe Sola Scriptura. Others -- and perhaps you are one -- rely on the Pope of the Holy Roman Church, or the President and Prophet of the Mormon Church to be the authority over man in this time. To update the revelation of God. Woe to him who believes he can change the intention of the Lord!

I see your arguement for attracting women to the church as one that seeks to conform God's standards to please the masses. It feels carnal to me. I don't serve that God. He is Holy, Holy, Holy! And He doesn't need the cleverness of man to reach His elect. He needs and desires the obedience of His people.

Grafted Branch said...

I wish I could edit that last one. He doesn't NEED and desire. He desires, yes -- but He does not need us. He invites us to join Him in His wondrous work and we obey His command for love of Him.

kpjara said...

And still my head hurts.

What my greatest concern is, and continues to be is that people (women, men, whomever) would choose another religion because they feel unvalued or perhaps even unloved and unaccepted as they the Christian faith.

I don't KNOW this is true, but it would seem to explain the high percentage of church shoppers and church drop-outs (myself included).

If we are truly God's church, and MIMIC the church in Acts, NO ONE would be excluded. EVERYONE would be loved and cared for and our purpose would be to show people Jesus through our lives. And to disciple one another. And to take CARE of one another EVERY SINGLE DAY! Allowing God to assign gifts and also allowing GOD to convict sin.

What's so ironic is I am NOT a feminist. I love to have my husband care for me and lead our household (and especially open doors), but he ALSO recognizes and knows my strengths and allows me leadership in these roles as he leads in the roles of his strength.

I think what the church is lacking by excluding women from specific roles in church, is the intuitive nature women hold and the spiritual ears that are more readily tuned to the voice of God (at least in my experience). I don't believe women are the ONLY ones with these gifts, but I do see women displaying these gifts FAR more than men.

It is not ironic that God called Eve the "helper". He also calls the Holy Spirit the Helper. I believe there is an underlying assumption about the role of a helper, when in fact my own studies have shown me time and time again that the helper was actually not only an equal, but in some areas, more treasured. One might also find some meaning to the fact that God created things in order and the finality of creation came with Eve.

I am not wanting to debate creation and roles, I just wanted to get peoples input about these questions and my heart is truly heavy over the condition of the 21st century church.

I have hope in a God that is far greater then anything we can see or think or fathom or dream or imagine or I know God will continue doing a work in me until such time as my life on earth is done...regardless of what denomination I follow or what "church" I attend or what gifts I am ALLOWED to proclaim.

Thank you SO much to each of you for your heartfelt outpouring. Thank you especially to Sally for posting this originally and for teaching me so much each day!

God bless each of you!

Grafted Branch said...

Oh Kim, this is nothing new. It should be no surprise that people don't want God. No man cometh to the Son unless the Father draws him.

The Jews of the OT rejected Jesus because He did not suit their desires and expectations. He was not the warrior they were looking for.

Women don't want Jesus because He does not suit their desires and expectations. He is not calling them to break the glass ceiling as they so desire.

I think it's striking that Genesis 3:16 explains, "...your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." According to John MacArthur, the words and usage suggest a struggle of the self-will; wives will want to be in charge of their husbands, but God's devine design will prevail with the Husband as lord. Perhaps it's not unreasonable to assume this curse spills past just the marriage covenant...maybe it's our mindset in general and shows up with discussions like this.

I'm very concerned. Remember that Satan is the subtlest of all creatures!

Dawn said...

Interesting dialogue. I am not a feminist. I am not a theologian. I only know that if a woman is called of God to preach the gospel, she should follow God's call. If it weren't for the wonderful women in leadership in our church, we would be far less blessed.