Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Dance: Father and son bonding

Faithful readers of this blog will understand I feel strongly about The Dance as a metaphor for marriage. That's why I was blown away with tears for this father and son who clearly understand what their bond is all about.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My new Motto

Be the kind of woman that, when your feet hit the floor each morning the Devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!"

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I keep wondering if it will ever dawn on them . . .

In closing his most excellent post of yesterday, Steve Hutchens writes this, "All these things are known by their fruits, not their advertisements. " Which is the reason I rejected what is called Egalitarianism by its proponents but would more properly be termed Indifferentism or Religious Feminism. What I embraced in its place is explained in a pitch-perfect manner by his post and the subsequent discussion.

Then I read this on an Egalitarian blog:

More and more aspects of American culture are sullied by the seamy, the seedy, the salacious, the scatological. As R. J. Rushdoony said years ago, when a culture forfeits the creation mandate under God to develop creation in a godly way, it devolves into the worship of sex (see Romans 1). These episodes [the subject of the rest of the post not quoted here] were not incidental, but lamentable. They should be resisted by avoidance and substitution. There is plenty of goodness left in the world and in America. As Paul said, "Hold fast to the good. Avoid every form of evil."

And I wonder when the Egalitarians will ever "get it". When will they begin to see that their project to remake sex in the church is not living up to its own press?

Yes, indeed. Hold fast to that which is good, embrace the creation mandate. All of it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Body of This

Having recently become acquainted with Deal Hudson, I am quickly learning to take his advice seriously. So, when he recommended this collection of short stories by Andrew McNabb, I ordered it.

I picked up the book on the way home from work last night and, as soon as I let the dog out and had a quiet moment, sat down to read the first story. One commenter to Hudson's review wrote, "McNabb's works are raw and real, the kind that must be read in relative quiet, demanding a kind of concentration by the reader on the characters and themes that seems rarer these days." I found that true of the first story, as well as this comment by Hudson in his review that, "what makes them so involving and moving is his attention to moments in life where many of us instinctively look away or simply turn off our thoughts to get through unpleasantness."

They are both right. The stories will make many uncomfortable, especially those readers who have imbibed the bland diet offered on the fiction shelves of those stores which devote more space to chotchkies than they do "Christian" books.

But Hudson's recommendation is right for another reason, one he doesn't mention in this column but to which he strikes a glancing blow with this, "McNabb's stories juxtapose the pure and the impure, the violent and the tender, the body and the spirit -- yet there is nothing in them suggesting a Gnostic dualism." These stories strike at the heart of what separates Evangelicalism from Roman Catholicism and why so many Evangelicals will find these stories not simply uncomfortable, but too naked to be appropriate fare for a Christian. We Evangelicals, far too often for our own good, undress in the dark. We are uncomfortable with the reality of human flesh, the bits that should by perky but are wobbly or the other bits that should have some muscular form beneath the skin, but don't. We don't have crucifixes in our churches, too real, too raw, too bloody -- we reduce the remembrance of Christ's sacrifice to mere memorial with our mini-meal of bread and juice. There is no body there, no fleshly reality, however discerned or defined.

For, when it comes to the base realities of human flesh, we Evangelicals are all too often Gnostics.

On what submission is Not

In his latest post over at MereComments, No Cheering Quite Yet, Steve Hutchens is pitch perfect, explaining in one paragraph why Egalitarians and other feminists will never "get it".

What makes me nervous about movements of men that emphasize the subordination of women is that (1) how the Christian doctrine works out in practice is based upon a mystery that includes the woman's full equality to the man, so to those outside may not look very much like women's subordination in any crass or obvious sense, and (2) these operations are very much the creative province not of conferences of men, but of faithful women, not doing what they do because of the demands the law of the male places upon them--however just that law may be--but because they love the men to whom they are committed, so follow the lesser law within the greater. Christian women living near the center of their faith are simply too accomplished, too strong, too well-integrated, too wise, too fruitful, and too happy, to satisfy the expectations of either feminism or the subordinationism of those who would make them less than they are. Christian men living near the center of their faith like them that way, and trust them with their lives.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Indifferentism, indeed!

"Will our new bodies truly be XY and XX? Or will they be better? I'm very confused by all this because I don't define myself first as gender. My "womanness" is a part of me, but certainly not the dominant part. "

Monday, April 13, 2009

Important and newly translated prayer

Our Father speaking metaphorically only, right? and your Mother half as well for we know God created us male and female in his image and that must mean God is also male and female who are in Heaven,

Hallowed be your name What IS it, by the way? I know I've heard of Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Let's go with that.

Oh bother, let's start again:

Our Parent who art in Heaven, hallowed by your name.

Your kingdom come Wait, shouldn't that be Queendom as well? Now, how will this go, Your domain come? No, that's not right. Your realm? Your Keendom? No, that sounds like something Dobie Gillis would say. And Quingdom sounds too much like Kingdom, Wait, I have to think about this for a moment. Bah, I can't find anything that works. Let's just do this:

Your kingdom come (to be interchanged with Queendom at every other reading)

Your will be done Grrr, I know there will be quarrels about that one, but I'm going to let it stand as is

On earth as it is in heaven Ooh, I might get away with that if they don't fuss too much about the previous bit.

Give us this day our daily bread Now wait a cotton pickin' minute there. EVERYONE KNOWS how bad bread is for you - all those carbs and whatnot. How COULD He (oops. She as well) have said anything about daily bread? What about rice? Yes, I think that might work, but only if it is organic brown rice sustainably grown and fair-trade harvested.

Give us this day our daily portion of organically and sustainably grown brown rice, harvested according to fair-trade pay and labour standards.

Forgive us our trespasses Trespass? You don't own the earth, and neither do I! What's this about trespasses, wait, what? Sin? No, we did away with that a long time ago, there's no sin any more, merely lack of understanding and proper training in conflict resolution and diversity understanding.

Forgive us our failure to understand with proper tolerance and love for the diversity of our multi-colored and multi-cultural human family.

As we forgive those who fail to understand with proper tolerance and love for our own diverseness, color and culture.

And lead us not into temptation. Well, not really temptation, is it? It's really just intolerance for the free exploration of human longings. Right,

And do not let us fail to freely explore our longings and urges.

But deliver us from evil. Oh, I've got the hang of this now, you'll like this.

But deliver us from the narrow, cramped and self-righteous judgments of religious bigots (especially Roman Catholics and Fundamentalists)

For thine is the Kingdom (to be switched with Queendom on alternate readings as before) and the glory and the power, for ever and ever - well, at least until we request suicide assistance.

Amen Criminy, THAT's never going to fly

The End.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We have met the enemy and he is us . . .

Or so says Sir David Attenborough.

The long standing television host of, Planet Earth has joined the Optimum Population Trust as a patron. According to the BBC News report, Sir David thinks the growth in population is "frightening". He apparently thinks most problems can be solved by having fewer people around and that having more people around makes problems worse.

It will likely not surprise you that Dame Jane Goodall is also a patron.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Evangelical blog hosts a cheer-fest for pagan blasphemy

her.whatever hosts denial of Holy Scripture and those cheering pagan blasphemies.

And why am I susprised that no one I know still subscribes to CT?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A precious gift, generously used . . .

When someone receives an extraordinary gift from God and uses it freely, it is a precious gift to us all. Tony Esolen has such a gift. His writing calls us on to our better selves. It calls us out of Plato's cave into the bright light of the Son. It calls us out of the world of greys into unimaginable technicolor. His writing speaks of the eternal as few (if any) other writers in our generation can.

The Disappearance of Song

Here is a small sample:

Men and women, in Ford's movies, are titanic mysteries, kings and queens walking the earth in ordinary garb; endlessly fascinating to one another and so powerful in their masculinity and femininity that talk of equality misses the beauty and the danger altogether. How can you talk of equality when you encounter a whirlwind and an earthquake? The marriage of such creatures is always an unadulterated good, as it portends both creation and procreation: a farm, a village, a culture, and children.

You might want to have a hanky handy when you read the rest.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Going soft in my old age?

Honestly, I think I'm going soft in my old age. I go positively gooey over babies. It used to be, "oh, how cute." Now it's "Awwww, such a precious little one. Look at those bright eyes! And the tiny toes! AWWWWW!"

I used to be almost unshockable. My first job out of college was in a state psychiatric facility where I had occasion to be in close quarters with violent schizophrenics, serial rapists and dirty old men and women. It's amazing how well some of them behaved when I came at them with a needle in my hand. I thought it had hardened me. And it did for a number of years. There was little that shocked me.

Not any longer. Tonight I intended to engage in a little investigation into the sources used over at CT's new blog for women. Less than two minutes into that endeavour I was done. I exited the website and decided I needed a long, hot shower using lots and lots of soap.

Like I said, I'm going soft in my old age. CT can have their blog without my participation and they are probably glad of that. But know one thing - if they represent Evangelical Christianity - heaven help us all!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Just a step or two beyond parody?

Christianity Today has a new blog which goes by the name, Her.meneutics. It just begs to be parodied, but I think it may even be beyond that. The blog's writers explain their aim this way:

Her.meneutics is the Christianity Today blog for women, and provides news and analysis from the perspective of evangelical women. We cover news stories, ideas, and books related to the church's mission in the world, including international justice, pregnancy and sexual ethics, marriage, parenting, and celibacy, entertainment, fashion, health and body image, and women in the church and parachurch.

In the comments under this post, Trudi responds this way:

At last, a CT publication I can relate to. It's so offputting to read male writers.

Her.meneutics's readers, taking themselves a bit too seriously as Egalitarians are wont to, one of them responded thusly:

I cannot imagine what experiences in the church led her to say that, nor do I want to think about what responses one would see if a male reader had said "It's so offputting to read female writers." Can we not agree that Christ said that in our community (The Body of Christ) there is neither "male nor female"? This whole line of thought is vaguely disquieting...

Ahem, dear sir, I think you took a left when you should have taken a right back there at the junction. Yes, I'm pretty sure you did, you completely missed Sarcasm point.

Is it any wonder Evangelical-dumb seems to be bleeding it's best and brightest, on the one hand to rank paganism and on the other hand to Rome and Antioch?



Tim Bayly, over at Baylyblog, has just highlighted this excellent response from David Wegener by re-posting it on the main blog page. And, by the way, having met her, I have little doubt Tim's words about David's lovely daughter, Lizzie, are true!

ht: Don Johnson

The Case Against Boyd

Some time back, I ran across an essay by Greg Boyd entitled, "The Case for Women in Ministry". For all Boyd's fame in avante-guarde Evangelical circles, I have to admit I wasn't impressed. While Boyd's argument is, at times, emotionally compelling, it lacks theological and philosophical rigour (and that is being charitable). Since Boyd seems to be one of those trend makers, I am particularly thankful that, for the sake of this review, I had the feedback of wise friends who are connected with a church, and a theology and history that are older than the last ten minutes and less reactionary than the latest atempt to be "relevant".

Boyd begins the essay by relating the experience of one of his Bethel students, Kathy. His once bright, insightful and passionate student became increasingly quiet and lacking in confidence because she began to envision herself as a preacher or professor and, as Boyd relates, she believed these activities were forbidden to women. After relating this story, the question Boyd wishes to addres is this: Were the visions and longings that Kathy was experiencing from the devil, or from God?

Posing the question in this way, Boyd presents us with a false dichotomy. One could be forgiven for hearing echos of Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" asking, "Could it be . . .SATAN?!" But those aren't the only options. In the venerable words of the BCP, our enemy is three-fold, "The World, the Flesh and the Devil". Kathy may very well be tempted by her own desires, or the enticement of the world, or even the Devil - but it is not an either/or proposition. Since Boyd is not an Anglican and may be unfamiliar with the language of the BCP, perhaps he would do well to remember the words of James:

James 1:13-15

13Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

14But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

15Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is
accomplished, it brings forth death.

Boyd then concludes the paragraph (that starts with the false dichotomy) this way, "God's ideal will is for people to exercise whatever gifting they have in the body of Christ and in society regardless of their gender." Oh well, then, I guess he's got me there. At this point, our question has to be - How? I am not aware that anyone has ever disputed that men and women are both to use their gifts to the glory of God. That has never been the question. The proper question is, "how?". A gift doesn't necessary come with an attached call. Nor does one's subjective sense of a "call" come with an entitlement to be used or empoyed where one feels called. The Bible forbids the office of elder to a divorced man -- but what if he says he is called? And further, what if he manifestly has the gifts that would otherwise make him fit for the office? The answer is that he is wrong about the call and that he should use his gifts in another way - and perhaps there will be a season of quiet for him. Some gifts are given to be used in a certain way only for a season.

Just as the Scriptures forbid the office of elder to divorced men, so they forbid the same office to women (however that office may be construed in a particular eccelsial community). I'll not rehearse the prooftext battles in which both sides of this divide have engaged, except to note two of Boyd's most eggregious misuses of Scripture. In his rehearsal of these texts and related scriptural matters, Boyd brings up the supposed slavery parallel while neglecting the one salient fact - sex is a created difference, race is not. He then goes on to supposedly discuss I Timothy 2:11 in context without once ever giving us the context! On simply cannot discuss that verse (or any other verse, for that matter) without reference to the surrounding verses. In this case, the following verses explain the context, use and meaning of the verse in question.

There is much more that could be said about this essay, but I will conclude with three quick points. First, Boyd writes that part of his refutation against the case for restricting women from authoritative office in the church will show, "that very few churches are consistent in the way they apply these verses." This is a manifestly absurd argument. If it were legitimate, we might as well give up the whole of the Gospel for which church, which denomination, which single one of us has EVER applied ANY doctrine consistently? Second, Boyd makes the claim out of whole cloth that patronesses were also presbyters. Arguing from the absence of evidence is no argument, especially in light of the historic practice of the church, which is quite to the contrary of Boyd's supposition. Lastly, he makes the claim that the early Christians did not make a clear distinction between prophets and preachers and that some considered prophecy to be the highest gift. While it is true that "some" did consider prophecy the highest gift, others considered that to be speaking in tongues. Neither has ever been the mind of the Church, nor has it been the mind of God as Paul's writings make quite clear (see I Corinthians 12-14).

It is sad that, in an image- and fad-driven Evangelical world, Boyd's poor reasoning and apparent historical illiteracy will continue to capture the untrained and unformed.

DRAT, I missed it!

This is another one of those things that you just don't think about, but when you see them, they surprise you a bit even though the really shouldn't. It makes perfect sense.

Today I made a quick stop at Denver Seminary to return some library books on my way to Panera to get some real work done (must have proper fuel, no?). While DenSem, I used the restroom On the door to said facility was a notice for a "Christians for Biblical Equality" meeting. Light lunch was to be provided and the President of CBE, Dr. Mimi Haddad was the scheduled speaker.

Unfortunately, the even occurred on this Monday past.

Oddly, there was no corresponding announcement on the door to the men's room.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

God's April Fool joke

You see, this is what I get for giving up television for Lent. I went out of the house early this afternoon wondering if the sweater I was wearing might be a bit too warm.

Four hours later, I found myself brushing and scraping a rapidly accumulating and freezing snow off my car. . .wearing my favorite pair of Chaco sandals (at least *they* made for getting wet!).

Fast-moving storm sweeps in

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect for the metro area until 9 p.m. Snow and thundersnow will continue to develop through the evening

I don't know what "thundersnow" is, but I did see several flashes of lightening while having an early dinner. I was wondering to myself whether I should get the food packed up and get myself home or take it easy and wait it out.

I opted for the via media, which turned out not too badly. My toes are warm and dry again.

NOT an April Fool's Joke

The same folks who brought you the British campaign, seen on the sides of buses, which proclaimed, "There Probably is no God so stop worrying and enjoy your life", are now offering "De-Baptismal" certificates.

The first response I saw to this was pretty good. How do you undo an ontological change? I would have thought it was a metaphysical change - but I'm not sure now which is right.

However, the funniest response is this:

What about "de-circumcision certificates" for folks [men] who wanted to renounce being made Jewish at birth. I think the accompanying reversal procedure would be very interesting.

I have a one word response, uttered in behalf of all my male friends -- OUCH!

There's nothing like God making your decision for you . . .

For some time now, I have known my days as an Anglican appear to be numbered. The funny thing is, when I first became involved in my AMiA parish, I would have been happy at the outcome that is now forcing me to leave. Back then I was still a religious feminist but was rapidly tiring of the battle maintaining that position (while otherwise holding to some semblance of Christian orthodoxy) proved to be. When I settled upon AMiA , I knew they were studying the issues surrounding women's ordination and would soon decide the matter. But I told God that I believed He had directed me to AMiA and that I would accept whatever decision the committee made.

Eventually, AMiA decided upon ordaining women to the diaconate but not the priesthood. The decision was not nearly as traumatic as I expected it to be. Over the course of the next few years, without my even realizing it at times, my views changed. I changed. Through God's gracious provision of the dearest friends I could imagine and don't deserve, I came to see my rebellion for what it was. And came, with much unexpected delight, to embrace a vision of who we are as men and women that is sometimes called "sexual orthodoxy", sometimes tradition, and which I like to, a bit evocatively, call The Dance. It is a Dance where man leads and woman, not simply subordinate, completes.

About four years ago (when I attended the AMiA Winter Conference in Birmingham, Alabama), I started to hear whispers and to see cracks in the facade of orthodoxy. I told friends at that time that AMiA would be ordaining women within 5 years. I am saddened to see I seem to have been right about that. This month, St. Barnabas Church in Ontario, Canada will celebrate the "ordination" of the Rev. Susan Zakamarko to the priesthood. (see second item on this page: ). While this ordination takes place within ACIC and not within AMiA itself, an AMiA official will be in attendance and to maintain AMiA itself does not "ordain" women to the priesthood is a distinction without merit.

Unfortunately, the only doctrinally orthodox Anglican parish within an hour's drive seems to be so busy with whatever is occupying their time (some say infighting, some say the parish is just plain dying), that I can't get the answers I'd like in order to be able to make a decision about joining the parish -- which is why I say my days as an Anglican appear to be numbered.

I am glad God orders our steps, because I certainly don't know where to go from here.