January 26, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 9.10.11

This has been a busy week here at the iMonastery. We have gotten ourselves into no end of trouble, but that is not unusual for the iMonks. In doing so—as usual—we have missed out on some, er, interesting news stories. Now is our chance to catch up on the week’s fun and games. Join us, won’t you, as we go a-ramblin’…

Ho boy. Have fun with this one.  I could stop here and you would have enough to comment on to last you until College Game Day. At least it satisfies our John Piper quota for the week.

A Muslim stand-up comic (and here I never even knew such a thing existed) says it is time for Muslims to stop apologizing for 9/11. “Nickleback is planning on releasing another album. Should I ask white people to apologize for that?” Good point. Now, Anthrax releasing a new album is call for a mass apology, that’s for sure.

Perhaps before you begin commenting on this week’s ramblings you would be so kind as to read this. I must say, for the most part, we have very few jerks on InternetMonk. Well, ok, there is your Rambler. But other than that …

Apparently there was some sort of Republican presidential candidate gathering this week (remember, your Rambler would rather watch a car rust than observe politicians in action), and it seems one of the candidates received a round of applause for the number of inmates his state has executed during his term in office. A blogger calls this a “vile, repulsive thing.”  Another blogger and pastor said, “I simply believe that no matter the circumstance, it is never justified to applaud at the death of another human being. Period.”

Tony Jones says there are two kinds of marriages, and explains which one he chose and why. Interesting. Very interesting.

Racking your brain over what to get your Rambler for Christmas? Your problem is solved. Are you kidding me? Ok, admittedly it might be hard to take notes in the margins, but this is the coolest Bible ever.

It seems some Greek Orthodox nuns took up firefighting this week in Washington when their monastery was threatened by a spreading fire. Way to go, ladies. And don’t you thinking Firefighting Nuns would make a great name for a rock band? Next thing you know, they will be making stuffed animals of these nuns like they are doing for Pope Benedict XVI. Yes, I would buy one of these bears.

Happy birthday was sung this week for Ferdinand Porsche; Alan Ladd; Charlie Sheen; Al Jardine of the Beach Boys; David Brewer of Grand Funk; St. Paul Harvey; Tom Watson; Mike Piazza; Bob Newhart; Roger Waters; David Allen Coe; Jeff Foxworthy; Jane Curtin; Paul Brown (founder of my inept Cincinnati Bengals); Peter Sellers; Patsy Cline; Billy Preston; and Adam Sandler.

Yes, we shared this with you sometime back, but hey—can you really get too much Bob Newhart? (Answer: No.) Enjoy.


[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYLMTvxOaeE’]




  1. The Jesus juke was the best thing EVER!!! Too funny!

  2. Trevis Litherland says

    I’ll start by putting “How Not to Be a Jerk Online” in the above link to practice by using my actual name (though anonymity has its place, as any number of cries-of-the-heart I’ve seen here at Imonk have attested to over the years.)

    Moreover, I found it highly coincidental that just today I’d decided to effectively go back to Neolithic email as my primary means of communicating with friends on-line rather than using Facebook — even though I have “only” used FB in the evenings, the idea of using a mobile phone to be distracted all day long by FB or Twitter striking me as one of Dante’s Circles of Hell. (Martha O’Ireland could help me out here, I’m sure.)

    For all the tremendous ways FB has benefitted me by allowing me to get back in touch with wonderful friends from my past, as well as making a few new ones, I simply find that I too often speak to people in ways that are condescending and simply un-Christian. As Jeff Dunn said of his initial reaction to 9/11 ten years ago in yesterday’s essay, I don’t like to see that in myself. But there it is.

    Has anyone else at the Imonastery had to make an analogous shift in their use of social media? How has it worked out? (Not that I’m changing my mind!)

    As for for the Muslim comic’s alt-rock reference, I once heard a DJ make an interesting faux pas, mentioning an upcoming concert for the presumably uncategorizable group “Nickleback Creek,” which might or might not consist of a several homeschooled siblings who smash mandolins and banjos at the end of their concerts.

    • My experience is that being polite on FB or in a discussion forum is actually EASIER than being polite in face-to-face conversation, if only because it gives me a chance to review what I’m saying before hitting “send.” There have been times when I wish my mouth had that delay built in …

      But I can see the other side too. And let’s face it, not everyone takes that second to review. (Which is why I’ve blocked at least five FB friends from my NewsFeed — that, and most of them keep posting videos claiming 9/11 was an inside job.)

      • Trevis Litherland says


        I think a lot of people probably have your experience and find it easier to edit out things they’d rather not say before actually posting them. Good. The reason it’s less true of me is that I’m such a conflict-avoidance type in face-to-face conversations to begin with that I almost never have to censor what I actually say — I’ll just not say anything at all!

        So for me FB occupies a sort of unholy middle ground between conversation and letter-writing. “Never write a letter angry” can more or less still work for email in my experience, but not so much on FB. Other forums, such as this one, don’t seem to affect me the same way: there’s a bigger conversation already in progress that one joins.

        I will say that I’ve never been accosted with loopy conspiracy theories on FB, however, so maybe I’m ahead of you in this one tiny area.


  3. Post on the Piper piece to come this week…

    Hoo boy, can’t wait!

  4. Robin Cranford says

    Can’t wait to read it Chaplain Mike!

  5. Aidan Clevinger says

    I don’t see why the Piper thing is so controversial…

    • …you must be a little new around here. Its a little different than a complementarian echo chamber. Just a little…

    • I don’t think it’s controversial, I think it’s absolute nonsense. According to PIper, as a man I can listen to a woman teach and learn from her, but I can’t let her have authority me. How in the world does someone teach without authority? I guess I can listen to a woman teacher but feel free to ignore her as I wish.

      • John Piper my favorite fundegelical 😯

        On top of the IM one of the other Christian blogs that I hover around is called the Wartburg Watch. It’s named after the castle that Martin Luther took refuge in duirng the reformation. The blog tackles issues with the Southern Baptists and pedophiles, End of Times issues, Sovereign Grace and the neo-Calvinists, YEC, etc.. I like it and its quite good, and the amazing thing is that it was started out and run by two women!

        I actually read this John Piper piece and asked over there…which is the greatest heresy?

        A. Walking boldly into hell unsure about God being good and doubting him?
        B. Dialoging with a couple of well versed women in the process who could maybe play an influence in working out some of the doubts and theological problems I have…


        Oh the joys of John Piper!!! I can’t believe I digested and consumed his works on a regular basis. My dissatisfaction with him began when he pronounced that the tornados that hit Minneapolis are God’s judgement for the ELCA discussing homosexuality. He also said that God allowed the I-35 bridge to collapse in rush hour in order to teach people to “fear him”. I love Greg Boyd becuase he steps up and puts Piper in his place. Greg Boyd doesn’t take that bullshit. I wish more people were like that….Christinaity sorely needs that.

        But here’s what bothers me about John Piper’s teachings….and I’ll use his I-35W bridge collapse as an example.

        If God wanted to kill 13 people in Minneapolis rush hour in order to make people “fear him” how did John Piper know? I believe his comments demonstrate how much gnosticism has crept into fundegelicalism. But when it comes to the bridge collapse itself How did John Poper know?

        Did God send him an email, “Hey John I’m going to kill 13 people in the middle of rush hour this evening by collapsing a bridge…there are too many crack houses in the area and other sin. People don’t fear me John!!! That’s why I am doing it OH BY THE WAY…get out there and preach this….” Did God send him a fax? Did God use FedEx perhaps….? Does it display the height of his arrogance to make such a claim? Absolutely….

        But I think it also displays two distrubing trends.

        1. When individuals like John Piper are making such bold statements that turn out to be not true…are they any different than Mormon Prophets Joseph Smith or Brigham Young?
        2. I think it also goes to show how many fundys today are more like Jonah salivating at the opportunity to see Ninevah smited; than like Jesus weaping for Jerusuleaum

        Now in regards to women and I’ll hold back here because it looks like we’ll discuss this later. Remember how Jesus broke the mold. He said and did things to piss off many the established religous teachings. For example when he touched a female who was hemoragging. The established religious communities were irate. Can’t you just imagine the John Piper’s and Albert Mohlers criticizing Jesus today?

      • “I guess I can listen to a woman teacher but feel free to ignore her as I wish.”

        Not if you’re married 😉

  6. I wonder what John Piper does in his church at Advent, when it comes time to teach on Mary’s Magnificat prayer during a church service. Is it technically only spoken with authority if the words of Mary are repreated in a male voice?
    Or if perchance Mary showed up, would they allow her to explain her own words? Or would she need to sit there in the service while a man stood up and taught what she meant?

  7. Aidan Clevinger says

    I think you’re overanalyzing what he’s saying. His basic point is that women aren’t supposed to hold official teaching office in the church, and we should be wary of any trend to put them in that office *du jour*. All of that’s perfectly Scriptural. I thought he did a great job of maintaning a balance between witholding the pastoral office for men but also giving reverence to the godly wisdom that the Lord can give to women. Perhaps I’m a little too traditionalist, but I thought his comments were incredibly reserved given the pot they’ve stirred up.

    • Coming from the Catholic side, I’m not exactly sure what he means. Aidan, what do you consider a teaching office? Does this mean that a woman cannot/should not be a theologian?

      As regards being a pastor, for us the analagous thing (I think) would be the ordained priesthood, and we don’t have women’s ordination, but it’s not so much based on St. Paul’s “women should not speak in church” as it is “If Jesus did not select women to be included among the Twelve, even though He had women disciples, we don’t have the authority to ordain women”.

      Where it gets sticky is where does teaching begin and end? Okay, a woman cannot preach from the pulpit – but outside of that? A man cannot/should not have a female spiritual director?

      I suppose my difficulty lies in judging when a man is taking too much advice from a woman – where do you draw the line, not to mention that by this logic, St. Catherine of Siena should not have written to Sir John Hawkwood asking him to stop plundering Italian cities as a mercenary, because that would have compromised his manhood 🙂

      • Take the case of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila:

        “Saint John was ordained a priest in 1567, and then indicated his intent to join the strict Carthusian order, which appealed to him because of its encouragement of solitary and silent contemplation. Before this, however, he travelled to Medina del Campo, where he met the charismatic Saint Teresa de Jesús. She immediately talked to him about her reformation projects for the Carmelite order, and asked him to delay his entry into the Carthusians. The following year, on 28 November, he started this reformation at Duruelo together with Fr. Antonio de Jesús de Heredia, and the originally small and impoverished town of Duruelo became a center of religion.

        John, still in his 20s, continued to work as a helper of Saint Teresa until 1577, founding monasteries around Spain and taking active part in their government. These foundations and the reformation process were resisted by a great number of Carmelite friars, some of whom felt that Teresa’s version of the order was too strict. Some of these opponents would even try to bar Teresa from entering their convents.

        The followers of St. John and St. Teresa differentiated themselves from the non-reformed communities by calling themselves the “discalced”, i.e., barefoot, and the others the “calced” Carmelites.”

        He was a priest and she wasn’t, yet he followed her lead. Was this St. John “begin(ning) to become dependent on her as (his) shepherd-(his) pastor”? If “women shouldn’t be the authoritative teachers of the church-they shouldn’t be elders”, then how about the three women Doctors of the Church – “Doctor of the Church is a title given by a variety of Christian churches to individuals whom they recognize as having been of particular importance, particularly regarding their contribution to theology or doctrine. In Catholicism, this name is given to a saint from whose writings the whole Church is held to have derived great advantage and to whom “eminent learning” and “great sanctity” have been attributed by a proclamation of a pope or of an ecumenical council. This honour is given rarely, and only after canonization”?

        All right, I’m teasing here about this topic, and I realise that it’s much more important in the Protestant circles that discuss complementarianism versus egalitarianism, but it does strike me that it’s tricky to hit a balance – at what point does it change from “a man is getting sound spiritual guidance from a woman” to “the woman is over-reaching her authority and is presuming to the headship”?

        • Aidan Clevinger says

          Sorry for my vagueness, Martha. I was, indeed, referring to women fulfilling the role of pastor, presbytyr, or priest.

          Having re-read the article, I think I actually agree with some people’s complaints. Piper does go too far with his idea that you shouldn’t take too much advice from a woman. I think that’s indicative of his theology in general. Ther are some good basic principles, but he takes them too far into the realms of the abstract (how much free time is too much? how exactly do we know if we’re giving enough glory to God?)

          Again, having read the article I see that I’d focused too intently on the whole “woman-as-pastors” issue when that wasn’t even the prime concern of Piper’s statement or of people’s complaints.

          • It’s hitting the balance that’s tough, Aidan. Especially when it’s phrased in the language of a man’s masculinity being compromised when a woman assumes too much authority over him.

            Now, that could range from “She wants you to wear pink shirts and eat quiche” but equally, it could be “She wants you to stop hanging out with the guys down the pub and actually spend more time with your wife and children”.

            Okay, a transcript of a quick audio session is probably a poor way to get his full views on this, and I’m imagining (hoping?) he has more nuance and better explanations in full elsewhere.

          • “how exactly do we know if we’re giving enough glory to God?”

            Serendipity or what? There’s a new post up over at Heather King’s Shirt of Flame blog that talks about exactly this!

            “Anyway, at one point I was saying, sort of tearfully apropos of “my” writing, “I just want to give glory to God!”

            And Terry (who just for the record is not remotely Catholic though she’s way catholic, if you know what I mean) was like, “Well you already are. Plus does God need any more glory? He already HAS all glory, doesn’t he?”

            I started laughing so hard I had to sit down on the threadbare green velvet chair. Right away I saw there was something very deep here about the movement from striving to surrendering; from thinking I need to earn to realizing I get to receive.

            He’s glorifying me, I’m not glorifying him. I’m invited to get out of the way so that his glory can be revealed in me, but I don’t need to give him glory.

            This concept of glorifying God immediately brought to mind the story of the blind man, John 9:1-41, so I consulted it forthwith, and one more time saw why it behooves us to read and reflect on the Gospels deeply and carefully

            …The way to glorify God, in other words, is for God to first glorify us, and then to die for love. All of which will be accomplished on God’s plan and in God’s time. Our job is simply to cultivate an open heart and the desire to surrender ourselves fully.”

            Of course, all you men need to go very carefully with this advice so that you’re not letting a woman act as your shepherd here 😉

          • Aidan Clevinger says

            I’ll be sure to take your advice to heart. But I’ll also be sure to assert my independence and break it occasionally, just to make sure.

            In all honesty, as much as I admire Piper, he was the last vestige of my Reformed consciousness, and the one that drove me straight to Lutheranism. I’d had a little too much theology of glory for my tastes.

            Question (completely off topic, but I hope you don’t mind): is the Reformed uneasiness with the RCC’s emphasis on “infused grace” still a valid concern? I don’t have any theologically-grounded Catholic friends to ask this of, so I have to de-rail legitimate conversations on Internet message boards to get an answer…

          • Aidan Clevinger says

            I apologize for my repitition of “just to make sure” in the first line. It’s atrocious.

          • Ah, the vexed topic of grace 🙂

            I suppose I would first have to ask what the problem from the Reformed side is with the Catholic position, and then try to figure a good summary of the Catholic position, as well as being unsure what the Reformed position actually is.

            Now, drawing on vague memories of learning about actual grace and sanctifying grace and the like – if, by “infused” grace, we mean that grace is given by God through various means (e.g. the sacraments) and that this grace can be received by the soul and become part of it, then that’s pretty much my understanding of what we believe.

            Okay, to wade in further out of my depth: grace is a supernatural help of God. We get actual grace, which is a temporary/transient thing, to help us perform certain acts (e.g. we ask God for help to overcome a temptation, to forgive someone, to do what is pleasing to Him, to perform a duty) and this grace is given us for the time and the act. This grace – as all grace – comes through God, especially or particularly through Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. This is the kind of grace for which we pray “through Christ our Lord” or “In Jesus’s Name”, Amen.

            Sanctifying grace is different, in that it is permanent and indwelling. It comes through justification and here, as the “Catholic Encylopedia” says understatedly, “Touching both of these periods there has existed, and still exists, in part, a great conflict of opinion between Catholicism and Protestantism.”

            The habit of holiness, where we grow in holiness and enter into sonship and co-heirship with Christ, then arises out of the possession of sanctifying grace.

            The big (or the two big) points of contention, if I’m getting the point correctly, is first – by Reformed (some Reformed?) understanding, human nature is so fallen and contaminated that it cannot generate any good of its own, not even the first stirrings towards a desire for God, and so all is dependent on grace from God’s part and God alone. Second – that we cannot possess grace of our own, but rather any grace is that of Christ continuously covering us or being imputed to us, but not interpenetrating our natures and souls and – if I may use such an analogy – being a seed that will grow in the dark earth of our inmost being so that we too may be bounteous in grace, as a flower is filled with nectar.

            Now this is where it all gets tangled and we start yelling at one another about good works, works-salvation, earning salvation, ontological change in the soul, denying the necessity of Christ’s redeeming work on the Cross, saving versus dead faith and so forth.

            The one thing we can both agree on is that Pelagius was wrong 🙂

    • Aiden, I think it’s most likey the bit about a woman having authority over a man taking away from the womanness of woman & the manness of man that’s causing the reaction (to paraphrase)…I’m afraid I laughed as I read it.

      It’s also about the subtle subtext that God ‘can’ give wisdom to women, but always does to men. If you haven’t picked up that subtext it’s because you are not on the other side of the equation.

      I’m a woman who has authority over men, mainly young men, in a professional capacity, & formerly as a Youth Group leader in my Church.. We see in our work that women are utterly capable of leading men in our context, & that their wisdom & intelligence is totally equivalent. It’s partly when you know that is true that you find people like JP a bit comic, although I know he’s talking about a pastoral context only. I wish he had a chance to work with women outside of a formally Christian context, because he does give off a bit of a ‘bless the little ladies’ air, in a way that makes you wonder if he’s ever met women working at their full intellectual/physical/spiritual potential. ‘Little ladies’ are pretty much cultural rather than created, even adding in the physical differences between the sexes.

      • It’s also about the subtle subtext that God ‘can’ give wisdom to women, but always does to men. If you haven’t picked up that subtext it’s because you are not on the other side of the equation.

        Or it might be a case of an oversensitive subtext picker-upper. We have to take that possibility into consideration :).

        • Oh I don’t know. I don’t think that one has to be too sensitive to hear that the wisdom given by God to a man is always authoritative, but wisdom given to a women is never authoritative when she speaks to another adult.. Of course, a man can listen to a women, but she does not ever speak with authority. Authority is reserved for husbands and pastors, with of course, the most authority going to married pastors, like, say, John Piper. How convenient for him.

        • Out here in DC one day I bumped into a female who was a member of the Marine Corps who was sent to Iraq!! (lol!!) I wonder what John Piper would say about that… 😯

        • Ali, that’s always possible, but not something I’m usually accused of 🙂

  8. Oh boy, Jeff, you did a great Ramblings today. Lots of stuff to click on and read. The Piper article makes me sad. We both read the same Bible and come to different conclusions. (Chaplain Mike, I am sure you were very pleased with a commenter on that article suggesting you read the Bible and understand scriptures correctly. Whew, you needed that, huh!)

    Yes, Jeff, Tony Jones on marriage was interesting. I also viewed the fun wedding photos and found the music to be catchy. I wonder if he and his wife will change their minds on making it “legal” when and if they run into something they can’t do because they are not “legal” spouses? I wonder how many hospitals would refuse to let an “unofficial” spouse into a hospital room when only “family” is allowed? I don’t think hospital staff ask to see someone’s marriage certificate, so chances are they won’t have a problem. They can always sign papers ahead of time giving each other the right to make decisions for them when needed no matter if they are legally married or not, I think. I wish them both a long and happy marriage!

    The article about not being a jerk on the internet was good. The first comment by Anonymous was very funny! (Was that you, Jeff?)

    Have a great weekend, everyone. It looks to be a beautiful one here in Maine. And now the two bridges that were taken out in Carrabassett Valley by Tropical Storm Irene near Sugarloaf USA have been temporarily replaced until they build new ones. So any of you who like to go leaf peeping in that area or ski that great mountain can still get there this winter

  9. david carlson says

    what your all missing is that he is about to be pummeled by the truly reformed over that post. I am happy to learn from Beth Moore WHAT? She is evil personified by the flame boys of the world. Not to mention he says something positive about Rick Warren. JP is probably going to be declared an apostate over that. I mean its get the popcorn out and watch time as he gets barbecued over that.

  10. Trivia question: which famous author published under the nom de plumes “Clive Hamilton” and “N.W. Clerk”?

  11. “…no it is not wrong for you to listen to Beth Moore, but it could become wrong.” Does it make me a bad person that my mischievous brain immediately substituted John Piper’s name for Beth Moore’s?

    Also, that piece by the Muslim comedian was damn funny, and damn insightful. I’m reminded of when conservatives say they won’t apologize for slavery for the shocking reason that they, along with every living American, never actually owned slaves.

    • And that refusal is perfectly valid. How far back should this stuff go?

      • Oh I agree. Individuals shouldn’t have to constantly apologize for things they didn’t do, to individuals that didn’t have the wrong done to them. But it bugs me when the logic gets selectively applied.

  12. I get what Tony Jones is saying, but I disagree. I believe he would regret not having the civil marriage contract if he needed his wife to make life-saving medical decisions on his behalf, or if he were to pass away without bequeathing every incidental earthly possession in his will, so that they would go to his wife and not the state. I also would need to know more regarding what he means by “sacramental”. Sex may be a sacramental aspect of marriage, but not nearly as much as a husband leaving his own kin and laying down his life for his wife. Part of that is making sure your family is provided for and legally protected in the event of your demise. Marriage in recent American evangelicalism has become too much about sex. Blame the cultural warriors and the seeker-sensitive pragmatists, I guess. I agree: let’s restore the sacramental mysteries of marriage, starting by defending marriage as more than a cheap evangelical peep show.

    • david carlson says

      Tony is cutting off his nose to spite his face on this one. He should go to the justice of the peace and get married in the eyes of the state if he ever wants to truly provide for his wife. Health care decisions, social security more. Glad he has his standards, but he is spiting on his bride by that decision

      • Isaac Rehberg (the poster occasionally still known as Obed) says

        Yeah, I get his stand, but it’s a highly impractical one. That said, I think nine US States have common-law marriages, of which this would definitely work. Jones’ state of Minnesota is not one of them. Here in Texas, the three things necessary for a typical common law (technically “informal marriage” rather than “common law marriage”) are 1) agreement to be married, 2) cohabitation, and 3) representation to others as being married. Assuming the couple lives together afterword, a sacramental marriage definitely would fit the bill here.

        I agree with him that the distinction should be recognized. To me, as Christians the sacramental aspect should be more important than the civil aspect. E.g. it doesn’t *really* matter to me that New York has legalized gay marriage. But it *would* matter if my denomination started performing them. In most of the countries that have legalized gay marriage, the religious institutions that do not perform such marriages for theological reasons are under no pressure from the government to do so because of a recognization of the distinction. Or so I understand.

        • If this report is correct, matters are going to heat up in the U.K. regarding civil unions (technically, they don’t have ‘gay marriage’ but they do have same-sex civil unions – as we here in Ireland also have, now recently passed into law – but for all intents and purposes, people call it ‘gay marriage’ since they don’t really see the legal distinction).

          Note on bias: I’d be for civil unions (on the grounds that it’s simple justice to allow same-sex cohabiting couples the same civil legal rights afforded to opposite-sex cohabiting couples, seeing as how we straights have made a pretty mess out of marriage for all our fine talk of protecting it) but against ‘gay marriage’ or any moves towards forcing churches to perform such.

          Anyway, the story story :

          Mike Weatherley, the Conservative MP for Hove, has called for churches to be banned from holding marriages if they refuse to perform civil partnerships for gay couples.

          He says that the idea will bring more equality for gay couples.

          In a letter (see below) to prime minister David Cameron, Mr Weatherley wrote: “As long as religious groups can refuse to preside over ceremonies for same-sex couples there will be inequality.

          “Such behaviour is not be tolerated in other areas, such as adoption, after all.

          “Until we untangle unions and religion in this country we will struggle to find a fair arrangement.”

          It’s just one guy, and he’s an MP (Member of Parliament) for a constituency that has a lot of gay residents, so he’s probably just taking the opportunity to grab a bit of vote-getting attention for himself. How seriously this should be taken is another matter – just a political stunt, or a straw in the wind? Though given that Peter Tatchell, who never shied away from confrontational tactics regarding gay rights, thinks this is a non-runner and churches shouldn’t be forced, it’s probably not going anywhere.

      • Except that it was THEIR decision. They both wanted to have a religious wedding, but not a state sanctioned marriage. If she wants that, what right does he have to demand otherwise?

        • I’m not the resident complementarian; however, I would assume it is the responsibility of the husband to make the final decision regarding what would be in the best interest of the family. But you’re right; it’s their choice.

          • How would that work? He should FORCE her to enter into a legal marriage that she does not want? No judge in the land would allow such a thing to happen.

        • david carlson says

          it was his blog post. on his blog. written in his words. from his viewpoint

          Why did I assume what I did?

  13. When he says the Bible is clear that women shouldn’t teach or have authority over men, he is talking about just in the church, right? He doesn’t say that, but I have to assume that’s what he means. Otherwise, well, I think he should quit his job and start teaching high school english, as women teach men (by our laws and custom, they are men, if immature) there all the time.

    I may accept that there is a Biblical case for the rejection of women leading church services, just as there is a Biblical case for all who remarry after divorce going to hell, but I’m failing to see the psychological reasoning here. Does accepting a woman’s authority and teaching somehow unman them? Are men that psychologically fragile that it will cause deep mental scars? I’m pretty sure I’m not.

    I suppose this is a week of “I don’t get it,” as I’m also confused by the moon Bible. I get why owning that Bible would be cool now. Owning anything that went to the moon and back would be cool. But why carry it with you? Unless the rest of your weight allotment went to a powerful enough magnifying glass to read it. Does having a Bible that cannot be read really provide that much spiritual comfort?

    The rest of the articles were fantastic though. I’m curious what people think about the two forms of marriage. I personally think the government being involved with marriage in any way is a mistake, diminishing the institution. After all, it seems that every time a government gets involved in anything to do with religion, things go bad for all involved. (Do you really want a world where there is a Code of Federal Regulations for how worship services must proceed?)

    • You mean there ISN’T a CFR for worship services? I was kind of starting to think there was, as every Pentecostal or evangelical congregation I’ve visited the past several years uses roughly the same liturgy and the same songs, delivered at the same (make-your-ears-bleed) volume …

      But in all seriousness, it’s like Tony Jones had been reading my mind — while my supermodel wife and I were married with a license (which is now framed and displayed on the hutch in our living room), we both recognize that it’s not the state that blesses our marriage and holds it together, it’s the grace of God. Likewise, it’s not the church’s place to police what those outside the church do, which is what really gets my back up about some of the recent debates about … a certain issue.

      And while no-fault divorce is the law of the state, “I hate divorce” is still God’s view. (That’s one reason why I don’t see this becoming a major trend — many American Christians still want the state-sanctioned option of “dissolving their adulteries,” to use Peter DeRosa’s phrase.)

      • Ray…but the Southern Baptist practice divorce the best 😉 I’m going to be laughing my ass off when more gays are married or in committed unions and the SBC continues to rant and rave about that even existing. And then imagine when the data comes out about how divorces amongst Southern Baptists still lead AND are higher than gay divorces. (lol) Oh man…I’m sore from laughing…. What a circus that will be…..

        • The overwhelming majority of gays do not want to be married. Marriage and what it represents: commitment to one partner, fidelity until death and the rearing of children–is fundamentally heterosexual and always has been. To say otherwise is to be very silly.

          Homosexuality is heterosexuality’s polar opposite in many ways: instead of one partner, there are many, nobody must stay together for life, no children can result and most of the time, none are wanted.

          • Ben…I think there is a lot of rumors floating around about gays. I can’t imagine why so many gays would push for marriage if they didn’t want it. I’m just saying this as someone on the sidelines watching changes in culture and society. I have heard of gay adoptions where some committed gays in a legal relationship have adopted kids. I haven’t seen one in person…all I can do is tell you of the occasional news story that I see.

          • um, have you ever met a gay person Ben? It doesn’t really sound like you have.

          • Here’s a quote from the header of a CDC publication from 2010: “Gay and bisexual men — referred to in CDC surveillance systems as men who have sex with men (MSM) — of all races continue to be the risk group most severely affected by HIV. Additionally, this is the only risk group in the U.S. in which the annual number of new HIV infections is increasing.” It only takes a modicum of common sense to deduce from this that AIDS is a problem in the gay community because, as Ben stated, gays do not want to be married, they want multiple “partners.” This CDC report is not a “rumor floating around,” it’s documented fact. As for why gays are pushing for gay marriage (sic), it’s because gays want the gay lifestyle “normalized.” It’s the same reasoning, as Chuck Colson has pointed out, behind the gay writers on Desperate Housewives wanting to portray heterosexual promiscuity as normal.

          • I have had one friend who was gay. He was an older gentleman and deeply conflicted about it. He was treated poorly by his boyfriends because he was older and “past his prime.” He would have been a total basket case if not for his military benefits, gleaned from his lengthy time in the service. Had no children or wife to look after him in his old age. He seemed to me to be a very sad and troubled individual, who medicated himself with prescription drugs.

            One of my favorite Internet writers is Justin Raimondo, editor of Anti-War.com. Raimondo is a clear thinker on issues of warfare, and he is also gay. And he doesn’t want to get married. He doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

            I like the blogger Arthur Silber, who is also a very clear thinker on issues of war and peace. He is also gay, but he has written that he hates men, or rather, the male perspective. I enjoy his unique perspective on all issues.

    • Given the various denominations and their views on marriage, not to mention non-Christian religion, I can see why any (every) State has some form of regulation of marriage and some form of civil version. The State says “For the sake of society at large, if you want to be considered married and obtain these rights and incur these responsibilities, this is the legal minimum we require. What you do about your religious marriage is none of our business.”

      I didn’t like the ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude in the piece, I have to say. “We’re not getting civilly married until everyone can get civilly married”, my eye. So what about polygamists? Someone on his seventh divorce? Someone who wants to marry a fifteen year old? Two teenagers running away to be together just like Romeo and Juliet, their love is so epic?

      The only point to all this is that when cohabitation is as widespread as marriage and has been catered for in law (it would appear everyone has the right to go to law if they feel they’re not being treated properly – remember when ‘palimony’ was the new big thing, on the grounds that it didn’t matter if they hadn’t married, when X and Y split up, Y was entitled to financial support just like in a divorce?), then undergoing a religious marriage but not bothering with a state ceremony is just as valid. That has more to do with the way civil marriage has been made into a chew-toy for our desires, and less to do with equality and rainbows and fluffy kittens for everyone, though.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        So what about polygamists? Someone on his seventh divorce? Someone who wants to marry a fifteen year old?

        You forgot “someone who wants to marry their horse” (and I am NOT making that one up)…

    • Where (Book, Chapter, Verse, please) is this “Biblical case for all who remarry after divorce going to hell”?

      • Mark 10:
        2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” 10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

        Exodus 20:
        14 You shall not commit adultery.
        or, if you like the Deuteronomy version of the ten commandments:
        Deuteronomy 5:
        18 Neither shall you commit adultery.

        Generally counted at the 6th or 7th (depending on tradition) commandment. In violating it, one violates a direct injunction from God. Which I always took to mean one was committing a sin. And by committing a sin consistently, one cannot, in good conscience, actually be a true Christian. At least, that’s what I keep hearing about gay people. If people who are homosexual and are in homosexual relationships cannot be saved without giving them up, then people who were divorced and remarried cannot be saved without renouncing their new marriage.

        If you go by the Pauline Epistles, there are a couple of exceptions, such as being married to a non-Christian and having them initiate the divorce. But for no-fault, “it’s just not working” cases where both parties are Christian, well, if either remarries, they are perpetually committing adultery.

        To continue this chain of logic, unless one falls into the Pauline exceptions, being divorced and remarried dictates that you cannot be saved. Without salvation, one’s name will not appear in the book of life. Without one’s name in the book of life, one is destined for the fiery pit, commonly understood as hell.

        (I’ll believe people actually care about the sanctity of marriage when they try to do something about the culture of divorce in the United States. When they campaign against no-fault divorce. Until then, it’s obvious they missed out on the “love the sinner” part of the memo.)

        • Sorry to get back to you so late, I was avoiding the internet for all of 9/11. I was kind of sick about hearing about things by then.

  14. “it is not wrong for you to listen to Beth Moore, but it could become wrong” . . . so the key is to not listen too much? You can listen to half a talk from a woman but just be sure not to listen to it all? . . . or once a week? twice a week? I wish Piper would have given us the biblical quota for female instruction. Hmmm, wondering if that goes for books too? What about a commentary written by a women. Maybe only read certain chapters? Now I understand that over the years I have probably leaned too much on Phyllis Tickle and Marva Dawn . . . but from this day on I will make sure I read no more. To set myself right it is only Piper and Driscoll for the next three months! UGH!!!

    • Piper’s distinction (IMNVHO) is the sort of foolishness one can expect from taking two New Testament verses out of context and building a whole theological hobbyhorse around them.

      (Sorry, but having read and agreed with Scot McKnight’s The Blue Parakeet, I can no longer take the “you have greater spiritual authority due to possession of external genitalia” arguments seriously …)

      • Oh Ray…(ROFL) I can’t believe refomed and neo-reformed crowd have come to this!!! (rofl) Now the skills for preaching come to possession of external male genitalia?” I hope it doesn’t go farther…because if that’s the case I’m glad I’m outside Christianity. If the reformed or neo-reformed crowd start to question which males are qualified what do they do or say? (lol!!!!) This is almost like Middle School…with people saying, “My gentelia is bigger thna yours!!” (ROFL) Oh man I can’t stop laughing….who needs ESPN Sportscenter when you have the reformed/neo-reformed crowd for entertainment…

      • It’s just that little “Y” chromosome, actually…..it instills moral leadership and teaching authority…

    • +1 for Marva Dawn. She is awesomeness.

    • I’d like to see Beth Moore’s reaction as to how much John Piper is not too much 🙂

  15. Over at the monergism website, they have some of Pipers earlier writings and sermons in their archives, which are absolutely wonderful. I have no interest in beating up on Piper; rather, I would like to encourage him to rediscover whatever he lost, or break whatever spell the moralists and cultural warriors have cast upon him.

  16. Loved the post on the teddy bear. So we all know what we’re getting Martha for Christmas this year, right?

  17. Ok, Paul’s teaching on women reflects the cultural prejudices of the time.

    The problem is that the whole Pauline teaching reflects the cultural prejudices of the time. The reasoning of Paul is very strongly influenced by his cultural prejudices. And not only the Pauline corpus is culturally conditioned, but the entire New Testament. If we take away the cultural conditioning of the New Testament, we are left with absolutely nothing in our hands.

    The history of Christianity is full of cultural conditioning. Or maybe someone thinks that, for example, the doctrine of the Trinity is not culturally conditioned in its conception and formulation?

    After all, we are replacing the cultural prejudices of the apostle with our cultural prejudices. In fact, we make use of cultural influences only when the cultural approach of the apostle is completely different from ours, as in this case the role of women in the church.

    Who decides (and by what criteria) what are the cultural prejudices acceptable for us?

    • Well, in a sense you’re right, the Biblical narrative is culturally conditioned. The question of what the narrative means to us as Christians today isn’t black and white. N.T. Wright likens it to being in a play. He puts it like this:

      Suppose there exists a Shakespeare play whose fifth act had been lost. The first four acts provide, let us suppose, such a wealth of characterization, such a crescendo of excitement within the plot, that it is generally agreed that the play ought to be staged. Nevertheless, it is felt inappropriate actually to write a fifth act once and for all: it would freeze the play into one form, and commit Shakespeare as it were to being prospectively responsible for work not in fact his own. Better, it might be felt, to give the key parts to highly trained, sensitive and experienced Shakespearian actors, who would immerse themselves in the first four acts, and in the language and culture of Shakespeare and his time, and who would then be told to work out a fifth act for themselves.

      I think the issue is that we so used to approaching Scripture as a set of rules. What Wright is describing is much, much harder and messier. It’s a lot easier for us to simply say, “but the Bible says!” and let that be that. But the problem with that is that we all feel free to ignore plenty of stuff the Bible says already.

      • Phil, I agree with you.
        The way we read the Bible is conditioned by our culture and by what we were taught. One of the problems in the interpretation of Pauline texts on women is the opposite cultural approach. If the position of women in our society was identical to that of the ancient society in which Paul lived, Paul’s teaching on women would not create any difficulty.

        In your opinion, concepts such as “Son of God,” “Messiah,” “Kingdom of God” would be understood by the Chinese, if some prophet had happened to them? It is obvious that these basic concepts in Christianity needs a cultural and historical background. This cultural background Is it necessary to understand these concepts. The religious message of the Bible is soaked from its cultural context. So, when you discard the teaching of Paul on the woman because culturally conditioned, you should discard all the teaching of Paul, because everything is culturally conditioned, even your own position. Or in any case, what criteria to use to distinguish between different cultural influences in Paul’s teachings and their importance?

        My impression is that the dominant principle of interpretation are our own cultural prejudices.

        • I guess it all comes down to what we think the purpose of the Pauline epistles are. I don’t necessarily think that Paul was writing these churches to simply give them rules in the sense of “do this or else”. He was telling them how to live as part of the new creation that is breaking into the world within their specific cultural context. So that’s not saying they are meaningless to us today, but, rather was have to look at the underlying trajectory behind them. What it looks like for to live as a new creation in the midst of our context is somewhat different than what it meant back then. The underlying principles are the same, but their outworking is different.

          • Amen. Cultural and historical context demands to be considered here. 🙂

          • Phil, very briefly, what I meant in my two previous interventions is that the cultural context permeates the entire Bible and not just the verses that shocks us culturally. I do not understand what is the criterion by which cultural context of certain verses are interpreted. It seems to me that often we use our modern cultural parameters as if it were the ultimate criterion to determine how a biblical passage must be interpreted.

          • One last thing, in reading the information travels in two directions, from the text to the reader, but also from the reader to the text.When we interpet certain difficult biblical passages, the information travels in only one direction: from the reader to the text because we impose impose our cultural bias to the text.

          • Well, I think I understand what you’re saying, Luis. I guess it depends on the particular issues we’re talking about. I don’t think we have a license to explain away everything we don’t like. On the issue of women in leadership, I just think the evidence doesn’t support what Piper is saying. Wherever Jesus went, He elevated the role of women. I believe the evidence is very good that the Apostle Paul spoke of a female apostle in Romans. If you look at the trajectory of the early church, it was one where the cultural hierarchies that existed were being flattened or contradicted, not affirmed.

            In Ephesus, for example, where Timothy was serving, the typical pagan belief was that women who were involved in the cult there were like oracles – they heard from God. If these women became Christians, it’s not surprising they would think they could continue in the roles they were in beforehand. However, they were uneducated and causing problems it seems. Paul is wanting to put an end to it not simply because they were women, but rather because it was hurting the church in this specific instance.

    • Does 2 Tim 3:16 have anything to say on this matter of “cultural conditioning”? Are there absolutes or not?

      • I don’t see what that verse has anything to do with this discussion. Honestly, if I didn’t think Scripture was “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” I wouldn’t waste my time talking about it.

        I also don’t see how disagreement about this particular issue leads you to ask the question whether or not there are absolutes. Sure there are. Luckily for the complentarians this isn’t one of them, because I’m pretty sure they’re wrong on this one. 😉

      • Marvin, God has not revealed himself in a vacuum.The Bible is not the Koran. The Holy Writings are deeply rooted in history. God has spoken to men in human words. And human words have meaning if placed in a cultural context. I’m not saying that everything is relative, but to get the absolute you need to take into account the context and the history of words you read. Your Bible has a long history. It did not arrive in your hands printed from the heaven.

  18. The comments from that Rod Dreher blog piece scare me. The piece was apparently written by a conservative, but obviously, he did not follow the party line close enough. I used to despise the hard core leftists who wouldn’t give the time of day to a pro-life Democrat. Now, the conservatives seem to have taken a chapter from that playbook only want to insert God into the mix, which the left generally did not do. Nice Talibanish touch, isn’t it? If you aren’t conservative enough, you can’t play the game because God doesn’t want you to.

  19. Can we start a petition to stop the John Piper quotes. JP is the Sara Palin of Evangelicalism!
    all he wants is media attention.

    what should a Hermaphrodite do??? can a Hermaphrodite teach????

    I once heard a comedian talking about violence in rock music. He said, Rock does not make you violent. Bad Rock makes you violent. Nickleback makes me want to kill Nickleback!

    • I guess if Chaz Bono got saved, he* could preach in John Piper’s church, right? And if Wendy Carlos got saved, she* couldn’t? Or would it be the other way around?

      C’mon, JP, weigh in on this — we need to know where this hair should be split!

  20. The whole discussion about Piper — and hey, I love the guy, and I’m sure he loves Christ — but the whole thing points to reasons why we all need to totally re=assess the way we do church and the way we “do” the Bible. If I weren’t a Christian, the entire matter would seem ridiculously absurd. In fact, it does anyway.

    • Matt imagine if your on the outside looking in and your debating whether or not to take the plunge. This becomes divisive and drives people away. I saw these arguments play out when I was in reformed Christianity. It was awful!

  21. You haven’t heard of muslim stand up comics? Try Omid Djalili (UK) or Maz Jobrani (US). There are many others, but these are my favorites, especially Omid.

    P.S. I’ll think about listening to Piper when he retracts his ridiculous opinions on domestic violence.

    • what are his opinions?

      • There’s a clip of him talking about the issue he said among other things that a wife might have to endure abouse for a season in order to glorify God and maybe get slapped a bit but shouldn’t go to police but wait and go to the church for help. You can find the clip on you tube and some other places although its been taken off his site.

      • Here’s a quote from that particular transcript: “Now that’s one kind of situation. Just a word on the other kind. If it’s not requiring her to sin but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, and she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.”

  22. Funny, I was waiting for Muslims to START apologizing for 9/11 and stop all the victimhood and self-justification.

    • Yeah, how dare they. Don’t they realize we Americans have cornered the marked on victimhood and self-justification? Get off our turf, Mohammedans!

    • Why would anyone who was not actually involved apologise for it?

    • Ok. That was my honest reaction too, but I was too afraid of the PC police to say it first. I’ve never heard a Muslim denounce terrorism. I’m not saying they don’t, but for some reason, if they are, the word is just not getting out.

      • Miguel, type “muslims denounce terrorism” into a search engine and you’ll find more than enough muslims, well, denouncing terrorism. The word’s getting out fine; not everyone has ears to hear it.

    • I’m still waiting for an apology from the CIA. (Wink wink)

    • 1. I’ve never felt like I had to apologize for Westboro Baptist Church because I feel like most people understand that they are a fringe group with little to no support among the majority of Christians. Why should Muslims and Al-Qaeda be any different?

      2. If you really haven’t ever heard Muslims denounce terrorism, you must have been purposfully avoiding listening to any and all Muslim leaders. They have been denouncing it repeatedly since 9/11 and I honestly don’t know how it’s possible for somebody not to know that.

    • Cunnudda, are you still waiting for the Japanese (all Japanese, including those not involved or born at the time) to apologize for Pearl Harbor?

      Or the Jews (all Jews, including those not born at the time) to apologize for killing Christ?

      It’s a very old pattern. When can we stop it?

  23. I assume we’re not done talking about 9/11. The event may have not left a lasting increase in church attendance, but I wonder if it has reintroduced pragmatic, secular, jaded Americans to the notion of the sacred. Ground zero became sacred ground in an era when church sanctuaries became auditoriums. As I’m watching the U.S. Open this morning, the camera zoomed in on the “9/11/2001” emblazoned on the center court. I assume no tennis player intentionally walks across it. The very date has taken on a sacred meaning, in an era when churches close on Christmas day. Perhaps it is more proof that our culture has truly become secular, but instead I think it is a wake-up call to the church that ridding the church of the sacred in place of the moralistic and pragmatic was a huge mistake.

  24. Mr. Piper’s comments, in their proper context, make a lot of sense to me.

    Overall, the notion that the Bible gives us detailed instructions on womanhood and manhood leaves a bad taste in my mouth: our notions about gender are largely culturally conditioned, but that cultural conditioning has a common source in Nature; cultures must work through how humans relate to Nature. Cultures that successfully relate to Nature, not trying to deny it or suppress it, survive, while those that don’t decay.

    Our culture, particularly the part that prescribes rules for the sexes, rules for dating, rules for marriage and children and rules of propriety, is dying. Gender confusion is rampant. Homosexuality is treated as heterosexuality’s equal rather than as a mental disorder resulting from an inability to properly relate to one’s opposite sex parent and thus to the opposite sex as a whole. Normal must constantly bow to the abnormal.

    Masculinity is treated more and more as some kind of disease, to be treated through medication. John Piper and the “complementarians” have every right to be concerned, and to take steps to preserve some semblance of cultural order within the church. Maybe they’ve gone a bit far, but it’s better than what most everyone else out there is doing these days.

    • Wow, so much to respond to in this comment.

      The issue of egalatarianism vs complentarianism really has nothing to do with Christians losing the culture wars. Really, trying to tie the two together isn’t going to help the cause. Actually, there are very conservative denominations that have been egalatarian for years now. I know plenty of women pastors. They’re great people. They have good heads on their shoulder. They’re not “liberals” in any way, really.

      I also would dispute the idea of “it’s better than what most everyone else out there is doing these days.” Says who? I know plenty of people who’ve suffered all sorts of abuse at the hands of fundamentalists.

      All these things you’re talking about – the rules of propriety in culture and whatnot – they’re all very fluid things. “Masculinity” is something that isn’t an absolute ideal. I certainly hope the ideal of masculinity that the Mark Driscolls of the world isn’t the standard. If anything, that ideal is a highly Americanized, almost parody version of being a man.

      • What’s fluid about the fact that women outnumber men in most colleges and universities, as well as the fact that they are getting far more degrees than men nowadays? What’s fluid about the fact that women hold most of the remaining jobs in our economy now?

        Why is that a problem? Easy. Women have an innate need to “be with” a man they feel they can look up to and respect. I know that is blunt and politically incorrect and it is probably foolish of me to even suggest such a modern heresy, but there it is. And yes, I have personal experience to back this up.

        Women don’t want a man who is equivalent to them; such men get dumped. It is the way of the world. You can holler, scream and turn blue in the face, but it will remain so. People are people.

        If women don’t find the available men attractive enough to marry, then we end up with sexual frustration and immaturity among young men. If men are not capable of settling down, we get more violence, more crime, more addiction and more stupidity. For most people, getting married (to someone of the opposite gender) and having children is key to their development, key to reaching adulthood. If marriage and procreation are delayed, people get bent out of shape and it does nobody any good.

        I don’t we’re doing ourselves any favors by pretending that this problem doesn’t exist.

        • Sorry, but I pretty much disagree with everything you wrote.

          I agree that women are looking for a man they can respect, but likewise, men should be looking for a women they can respect as well. My wife has a higher degree than me, actually makes more than me at the moment, and is simply a genius. That’s just who she is. She shouldn’t have to pretend to be something she’s not just to boost a man’s ego. If I had a daughter, I would hope she would be just like my wife – strong, confident, and not dependent on a man for her self worth.

          Also, I’ll say this – marriage and having children doesn’t automatically make someone mature. Many men are stuck in a perpetual adolescence. And this is often allowed because they marry women who take the place of their mothers. I do think that we as a society make too much of people “finding themselves” before they get married, but I also think that getting married with the hope that it will turn you into something you’re not already doesn’t work.

    • Oh boy…and this is from the same individual who believes September 11 is a government conspiracy? Landover Baptist’s own Pastor Harry Hardwick gave a good sermon about how to get rid of rectal demons. It’s of the same quality as Mark Driscoll….


    • Ben…here’s another way to spread masculinity. As Pastor Deacon Fred from Landover Baptist says there are a lot of “sissy boys”. I would be curious to know if he sees visions of affairs in progress as Mark Driscoll does. But in the name of masculinity let’s turn up the juice for Geesuz Christ!!!


      Of course you could always enroll in the Vacation Bible Gun Camp 😛

      • I don’t like Mark Driscoll’s style. I find him to be too obsessed with pushing the envelope, particularly when he talks about sex so much from the pulpit. It makes him look immature, like he’s trying so hard to be this hip Christian “dude,” but it comes off as silly and juvenile. I also don’t like his tendency (from what I have read, never personally met the man) toward authoritarian leadership.

        It appears to me that the denominations in which women pastors and leaders are the most accepted are those who experienced first a shortage of male ministers, and wished to supplement their ranks by ordaining women. That was a key argument at least in the Anglican Communion back in the 1940s (to which C.S. Lewis responded brilliantly, stating that really no, only men should be priests). But to me, if you’re having trouble convincing men to minister in your church, the first response should not be, “Hey, let’s buck 2,000 years of Christian history and start ordaining women.” No, you should ask, “Why can’t we get more men to serve?”

        If you explore the latter question in detail, you find that church, for many men, is boring and a waste of time. Why is that? Is it because all men are patriarchal ogres, bent on oppressing women and children through the tyranny of linear thinking developed by dead white males? Or could it be because the church is doing something wrong?

        I realize that masculinity is culturally defined, and that those definitions are open to interpretation and change. That’s why I don’t like the idea of “biblical manhood and womanhood” because it sounds pretentious and I’m pretty sure the Bible is not supposed to be a gender role textbook. I realize that the reasons why SOME men don’t like church is because those men have a false view of masculinity. But that’s not true for ALL.

        Before we open the floodgates and start allowing the modern notions of feminism dictate how we run the Church, we need to ask some serious questions. We need to be careful. We need to hold the innovators accountable for their changes, instead of merely denouncing all conservatives as backward and medieval. Because when you look at the history of gender in this country, you often find that the predictions conservatives make turn out to be totally spot on, while the rosy promises of the liberals and innovators don’t come true. So when do the innovators ever have to answer for themselves? At what point are they willing to say, “Hey, maybe we were wrong here. Maybe our backward and medieval opponents straight from the Dark Ages had a few things right.” Are they capable of honest self criticism at all?

        I’m done. I’ll save it for Chaplain Mike’s piece.

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