Friday, August 10, 2012

Women "Silent" in Church

Again this morning, I was looking for something other than a powder keg scripture that has been used to suppress women in church…but I decided instead to research it a little…since I really didn’t know what to do with it. I’ve always assumed that it was a scripture for THE WOMEN in Corinth to remain silent… was a contextual or cultural problem within that community.  I felt that women like Jen Hatmaker were free to teach at ANC....simply because she was a good teacher...and scripture like 1 Corinthians didn't apply because of the contextual nature of the scripture. I believe now...I was mistaken. 

34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

We actually had someone leave ANC a few weeks ago when we advertised that Jen Hatmaker would be teaching (which she wasn’t able to). They used this scripture to point out that women had no place speaking in church. When in actuality it says just the opposite. Bear with me.

When we read the book of 1 Corinthians….notice in places that Paul is responding via letter….to a corresponding letter that the church wrote to him. 
1 Corinthians 7:1 "Now for the matters you wrote about”
1 Corinthians 8:1 "Now concerning things offered unto idols..."
1 Corinthians 12:1 "Now concerning spiritual gifts..."

Unless we think that Paul is out of his mind…he can’t be saying two opposite things within the same scripture.
26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. (Clearly sisters are not to remain silent)
29 Two or three prophets should speak (did not say male prophets)
39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. (again sisters be eager to prophesy….or speak truth…to edify the body)

In verses 34-35, Paul actually used their words (from their letter to him) in his response letter when he addressed some of their concerns and said they were foolish and they weren't of God. So 1 Corinthians 34-35 aren’t Paul’s words but whoever wrote the letter to Paul.

Okay…but there is one other scripture;
1 Timothy 2:12, Paul says, "I do not allow a woman (wife) to teach...Nor to usurp authority over the man (husband)."

The subject in Timothy is not regarding “men and women”, but the Greek translate these words “husbands and wives”. To “usurp authority” one must go against the will of another. When the husband recognizes the anointing on his wife to teach, all he has to do is allow her to do so. Then, there is no authority usurped, it is granted. So any man (not the husband) of the wife, has no authority over that woman (or the church that encourages or allows it) whether she teaches or not. She is not usurping power over men by teaching them, the only authority that is over the body is that of God. 

I believe Paul clearly was supportive of the anointing of women to teach the word of God or prophesy, in their home or in a church setting as biblical. Thoughts? 

God your Word is so awesome. You know were the author of it. Continue to teach us, correct us and yes...even rebuke us. Continue to reveal yourself and your heart through it. Amen. 

Monday, August 06, 2012

Rights vs right

1 Corinthians 10:23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
We have tremendous freedom as Followers of Christ. Wonder why I was never told this as a teenager?  Maybe because I lacked the discipline, knowledge and discernment to apply my freedom.
Believers must not merely consider what is lawful, but what is expedient, and edifying to others. Paul also writes:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
I think these two verses complement each other nicely.
Going back to a topic you guys wish you would never hear about again….Chick-fil-a. My whole point in my post last week was this, we can stand up for our rights as Americans, we can say went to CFA to defend our constitutional rights of free speech…and these are all fine…good things.  You are well within your rights to do these things….but as Christ followers, we need to temper our American rights for our Kingdom Purposes. This is so counter cultural and “out there” people refuse to grasp it. The bible is full of examples of this….and verse 24 flies in the face of the American Dream as well.
Anyway….we had the right and freedom to protest last Wednesday….but I didn’t find it constructive. Especially in light of the chasm already between the BLGT and the Church.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Chick-fil-a Sacrificed to Idols

1 Corinthians 8: 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

This passage took on new meaning for me this morning and I wanted to share it with you.

Many well-meaning “Christians” took to the streets yesterday and PACKED Chick-fil-a’s across this country in what most deemed “Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day”. But we should know that is was more of a support of Dan Cathy’s stance on “biblical family values” than it was appreciation for good food and good service. Christians were countering an attempt by the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) Community to show up en mass and merely order a cup of water in order to clog up lines and frustrate the staffs and management at CFA.

I saw pictures on Facebook of Christians standing in line, taking pictures with the CFA mascot, proudly carrying their cups and bags of CFA food around like a badge of honor. People actually ordered bags of CFA sandwiches to pass out to homeless people on street corners….all in support of CFA. While these are not all bad things, it is the tone and manner in which Christians are voicing their support of CFA that disturbs me. Our posture sucks.

The LGBT has, erroneously or not, taken Dan Cathy’s remarks that he supports a “traditional family unit, made up of a man and woman in marriage” as anti-gay. Their thought being, if you are FOR traditional marriage you hate gays. CFA’s known policies of hiring and serving everyone are the same. Patrons are not asked their sexual orientation when stepping to the counter and there is no blank on employment forms asking about sexual orientation. I also know that CFA donates moneys to pro-traditional family causes...(Focus on the Family being one and there are others).

But here is the rub for me in light of today’s reading……we need to be careful that we do not exercise our rights to a great chicken sandwich on a day and in a manner that is deemed to be anti-gay. Christ was not anti-gay. If we believe that he was, we have our theology screwed up. He was anti-sin. He was just as much anti-gossip, anti-adultery, anti-greed, anti-covetous, anti-glutton as he was anti-gay. Can we gossip and still be loved by Jesus? Can we covet and still be loved by Jesus? Then can’t a person be gay and still be loved by Jesus? And if Jesus loves them and the entire LGBT community, shouldn’t we also love them?

I am reminded of the story of the woman caught in adultery. Where he literally advocated for this woman as she was about to be stoned by the religious. The religious! He didn’t condemn her for her sin to the contrary. He knelt beside her and drew in the dirt, as the religious were picking out their stones to throw at her. He questioned their hearts asking the one that was without sin to cast the first stone. Then they dropped their stones and left. After they left he asked, “where are your accusers. Has no one condemned you (to die)?”. And she replied, “they have all left”. And he said to her, “nor do I condemn you…..go and sin no more.” Jesus himself did not condemn…what gives us the right? 

This condemning patriotic idol of traditional family values has become a STUMBLING BLOCK to the LGBT Community. I call it an idol because we have elevated it above our love for them. When Christ said, “love your neighbor as yourself”, he was talking about ALL of our neighbors, including the LGBT Community. When he said, “whatever you have done to the least of these brothers and sisters you have done to me” he was talking about ALL the marginalized, including the LGBT Community. Yet we have grabbed hold of their sin, elevated it above our own, and are willing to cast hate filled stones.

Right or wrong, our action of solidarity for a restaurant and it’s CEO can be construed as anti-gay. I’m not saying it is wrong, but if it is even perceived to be wrong by “the weak”, those “without knowledge” (of God) then it is wrong and we are “defiling” them. If it is perceived as wrong by the LGBT then we should not eat Chick-fil-a sandwiches sacrificed to the condemning patriotic idol of traditional family values.

I myself, am still for traditional family values. I still believe that God created man and woman to be married. And my understanding of scripture is that homosexuality is a sin. But because our country was founded on these values, we have certain rights that non-traditional couples don’t have. But since we know that all men are created equal….to have rights that others don’t have because of race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation is wrong.

So no…I didn’t go to CFA yesterday...much like I won’t drink alcohol if I am around someone who believes drinking to be sinful or if they struggle with alcohol. I am careful and use discernment when I drink alcohol…and the same should be done when eating meat sacrificed to idols,  even an idol of our own making.

Side note: I will still eat at CFA and enjoy their awesome sandwiches. But it was brought to light by someone in the LBGT Community that CFA supported a group in Uganda that promoted a “Kill the Gays Bill” that would not only make it illegal to be gay, but it would be punishable by death. If I find out or a strong connection can be made that that CFA knowingly supported a bill to exterminate gay people in Uganda….I will not eat Chick-fil-a again. Crap…I hope it’s not true.