Monthly Archives: April 2005
LT has been bringing up the subject of women in leadership again so I will throw in my thinking on this subject too. This will be a bit on the long side. I appreciate LT’s post expounding on some of the scripture having to do with this whole controversy. Because I am a woman, and because I have tried to understand what God’s will is for me, I will comment.
Women in leadership is an issue that interests me. Our denomination has ordained women for years. Still, some raise it as an issue almost 30 years later. Our denomination in Canada has never called a female pastor.
I never realized that, in some denominations, even women like myself, a deaconess, would be offensive to some fellow Christians. (And I have even taught, although I don’t think that is my calling)
My own denomination has a very high regard for scripture. When there is an issue the question ”where is it written?” is always asked. So this whole question has been well thought out and backed by scripture. Two good articles I would refer you to are: http://www.covchurch.org/cov/ministry/bellevillepaper.pdf and http://www.covchurch.org/cov/ministry/calledgifted.pdf . They are good resources and if this is a subject that interests you, I would encourage you to go and download these papers.
Unlike most ancient religions, Jesus encouraged and allowed women to follow him. He encouraged even disreputable women to interact with him. Mark 15:40,41 and Luke 8:1-3 speak of the women who were disciples of Jesus and helped to finance his ministry. Mary was encouraged and commended for her desire to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn rather than busy herself with the household chores that were expected of her by her sister.(Luke 10:38-42) There are numerous other examples of the involvement of women.
I guess the controversy arises mostly out of the Pauline letters. I believe, as LT has shown, that Paul addresses specific problems that had arisen in the various churches. The papers I refer to above also address these passages and certainly helped clarify them for me.
Determining God’s will in this area is important to me. I suspect that a sensitivity to where others are in their understanding of faith and a desire to comply with the will of God as revealed in scripture, keeps some women from choosing to explore the possibility of a calling to teach, prophesy and preach the Word. It is a shame that the women who display many attributes desirable in a servant leader would deny their calls to be proclaimers of the gospel, because of harsh and dogmatic opinions of others in the body of believers. In fact I think we rarely encourage young women to even consider that God may be calling them to ministry. We encourage them to music and children’s ministries but rarely to consider that God may want to use them to instruct others.
I also believe that God still speaks to us through his Holy Spirit. What is the cost to his church of causing a woman to turn a deaf ear to a call due to fear of criticism, or worse yet, due to a fear of displeasing the very God who called her. Something is very distorted in the body when a part designed to function in one way has to pretend to not have that function. Like asking a mouth to somehow function instead as arm.
This is not arguing on the basis that men and women are equal and therefore the same. This is not claiming equality as a right. This doesn’t even have anything really to do with the emerging church because my denomination is not defined as an emerging church as such. This is allowing God’s gifts to be used by men and women alike.
Men and women are going to approach things from different viewpoints and work out different and unique leadership styles. As women are encouraged to serve in leadership I believe we will see the various gifts God has bestowed on us demonstrated in a variety of expressions all working together to build up the body of Christ.
where I live. I can sit in the office and look out on the North Saskatchewan River. Yesterday the ice went out – It seemed as if it went so suddenly this year. It began to pile up downtown by the bridge in the morning and by mid-afternoon it was moving in huge sheets and chunks, piling up around the island across from our house. I like the sound as it crashes along. I don’t know what the geese think as it suddenly changes their domain.
I like the fact that nature sits on my doorstep and that I can escape into it with a short walk.
I like the treat of seeing a deer run by my window in the early morning, even though I live in the city.
Some things about my city make me sad. But it is also a beautiful place – and for me being close to nature is a blessing.
My partner at work likes to read. His tastes are pretty eclectic but for the most part he goes for the stuff that is too deep to appeal to the average joe. So he has these magazines lying around in the staff room that I get to take advantage of. An article in Harpers caught my eye the other day. It appeared, I suppose, in a timely sort of way, with all the discussions on the right to die/live. The article is complex as is the issue but I appreciated hearing from someone who has spent some time thinking on the issue rather than someone who wants to get in a politically timely word.
The article deals mainly with the case of Dr Thompson but the relevance of it extends to a wide range of cases, some of which can be fairly close to home. I can’t say that I agree with all of his opinions but it seems to me that he has thought a lot on this issue. Here are some quotes but I would encourage you to read the whole article.
” You will notice, for example, how the fear of playing God operates exclusively on one side of the medical playground. Thus to help a patient end his or her life “prematurely” is playing God, while extending it in ways and under conditions that no God lacking horns and a cloven hoof could ever have intended is the mandate of “our Judeo-Christian heritage” and the Hippocratic oath. Let someone like Dr. Thompson step out of bounds to honor the spirit of his patient’s advance directives, and we will be told that he is eroding respect for the medical profession. But in cases involving a medical professional who blatantly ignores such directives, we are reminded that doctors don’t always have time to review patient files while making difficult decisions. They’re not God, after all. “
“… The right talks about protecting life and tradition, but on some level—the level, let’s say, where someone like Dr. Thompson is held up for derision—it is mostly interested in protecting pain. For two reasons.
The first is theological: the belief that pain holds the meaning of life. Supposedly, and demonstrably, this is a Christian idea, though if Jesus himself had believed it, he would have told the lepers to find meaning in their sores…”
“… The second reason, which can always be counted on to exploit the first, is political: the belief that pain is fundamental to justice, which makes perfect sense if justice is conceived as nothing more than a system of punishments and rewards. The essence of punishment is pain. Whoever owns pain owns power. “
“… It would be a gross distortion to claim that opposition to physician-assisted suicide is all religious, all from the right, or entirely motivated by some twisted need to see people pay their dues in full. But nearly all the organized opposition to PAS, and especially that of groups like National Right to Life, the Family Forum, The Center for American Cultural Renewal, and the Roman Catholic hierarchy, finds common cause in the need to halt a perceived drift toward nihilism and a disrespect for life.
Like the religious right, I believe in moral absolutes. At the very least, I believe in two that were articulated some years ago by the theologian Paul Tillich, those being “the absolute concreteness of every situation in which a moral decision is required” and “the command not to treat a person as a thing.”
I would challenge you to read the article. Even if you do not agree with much of what he says, I don’t think it can be dismissed as coming from one with no understanding of faith in God.
Tonight I took Grace and a friend out to a concert. The Nathaniel Dett Chorale was performing in town and I knew this was going to be music that Grace would love. I wasn’t mistaken.
The chorale sings unaccompanied. Incredible voices singing powerful music.
I think we were an appreciative audience. They gave us two extra songs in return for a deafening standing ovation.(My daughter was hooting and hollering for more)
Out of a history of oppression and pain comes some of the strongest music. The director told us that this was comfort music not in the sense of making us feel good but comfort in the sense of strengthening us. The music was intended to do that to the original singers, giving them hope in the midst of slavery. Songs like Don’t be Weary, Traveler and Let us Cheer the Weary Traveler with lyrics like
And if you meet with crosses,
And trials on the way,
Just keep your trust in Jesus,
And don’t forget to pray.
are real expressions of people who suffered and found their hope in exactly the same place I can look too.
If you ever have a chance, go and hear them.
The nights are long
My mind paces.
My mind hunts out
And finds silence.
There are things
but don’t feel.
The intellect plays strange
There are things I feel
Emotions are fickle.
My heart wanders.
only fit for Job.
Our office is computerized – well the front office anyway. We haven’t gone whole hog and gotten computers in every operatory and we don’t chart directly onto a screen. We use paper.
And are we ever glad that we do right now. The computer that acts as our server developed a defect on the hard drive. There was some corruption of data in the backup too. We have printout’s of everything – pretty-much anyway but the last back-up that works was the year end one.
And our software company is not being much help. We are seriously thinking of changing our software because of the poor support in spite of all the work involved in data conversion to another program.
Our front office staff is trying to keep up with what we are used to doing on the computer by hand on paper. This weekend we are installing two new computers and they will be busy re-entering data on a more up to date operating system. But this is going to be a lot of work.