Giddy Over New Thinking

Posted by on Thursday, May 14, 2015 in Blog |

They were giddy like two little kids who just got a puppy. Except their giddiness was about the weekend at the Marcella Summit. Even though they had been Christians for decades they “had never heard this before!” What hadn’t they heard? About the Blessed Alliance. Carolyn Custis James spoke from Genesis 1 & 2, the blessed alliance. She described the garden story as having two load bearing walls: Mankind & God and Man & Woman It was not good that man was alone. Ezer is a word most often used to describe God as warrior or protector. They would need each other, not only to fully represent their God (Godhead is fundamentally relational) and to carry out the job of God’s kingdom on earth, but also to stand in a line of defense against Satan, who was also present in the garden. Evil was there ready to take them out. In Genesis 3, Satan took out both load bearing walls in one big swipe. And the problem is, as Carolyn states, we are missing a chapter between Genesis 2 and 3. A chapter that tells us what this blessed alliance looks like prior to the fall. Everything from chapter 3 on is a broken picture. Except God does give us glimpses of his intentions in Scripture. Stories like Esther & Mordecai and Boaz & Ruth, if interpreted properly (meaning they are not fairy tale stories of guy saving damsel in distress), give us a glimpse of the blessed alliance in God’s kingdom – a kingdom that looks nothing like this world. The view Carolyn set before us was a bigger view of man and woman than most of us had been living. My friends were giddy because they realized God’s vision is huge and that they had been living in such a smaller vision. And they were giddy because Dr. Philip Payne walked them through the sticky passages on men and women in the New Testament. Dr. Payne is a brilliant man but what was winsome was his humility and his ever new excitement for God’s Word. One of the shocking things he said was that there are no masculine pronouns in the original manuscripts of 1 Timothy 3 (which deal with the issue of eldership). Then he went on to explain 1 Timothy 2:11-15: Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty....

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Another Voice Worth Hearing

Posted by on Tuesday, Jul 8, 2014 in Blog |

While at The Summit in Washington D.C.,  Lisa Sharon Harper spoke on image bearing (Genesis 1 & 2). Later I found her words written in this article. I wanted to pass it along because I suspect many of us have never heard our Genesis story from this view. It’s a view worth noodling around. It’s a view that will improve our view of women, and ultimately the Church and world’s view of women. It’s always encouraging to know there are other voices out there, voices singing the same tune as you. Enjoy as you ponder.   Shalom and Gender Justice By Lisa Sharon Harper 09-10-2013 | 9:20am It is hard to talk about women and girls without dealing with the reasons we need to talk about “women and girls.” I wish it were true that women and girls didn’t present a special case in the world and we could just talk about humans and the human family. But, the truth is that our human family is a broken one — shattered, actually. The first break occurred in the third chapter of Genesis, and the gulf got wider with every page and every generation until finally women are widowed by war and violence, deemed to be property without rights in marriage, raped by family and kings alike, and pushed into prostitution for basic survival. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. At the end of the first creation story God, looked around at the end of the sixth day and declared that all the relationships in creation were very good. Genesis 1:26: God created both men and women in God’s image — in the tselem of God. The Hebrew word tselem means representative figure. The writer of Genesis was communicating a revolutionary truth to the original readers. To a culture where women were considered property to be traded for goods, to an ancient world where women had no rights at all, the writer of Genesis proclaimed that both men and women are divine image bearers. As God’s representative figures we are both endowed with the inherent dignity reserved for royalty! What’s more, in the same verse — in the same breath — God says, “ … and let them have dominion.” The Hebrew word for dominion is radah, which means to tread down, or, in this agrarian society, it would have been understood to mean to steward. Genesis 2, a more intimate account of the creation story, gives us a clearer picture of what dominion looks like. Creator places adam, a gender-neutral word for human being, in the middle of the garden to serve and protect the land. Mark this: In Genesis 1 and 2, there is no distinction between the kind of dominion the man and...

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Sarah: Willing to Be Pimped Out

Posted by on Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014 in Uncategorized |

There are times in our lives when we face choices and the choice is a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” choice. In my post on “She was willing to prostitute herself,” we talked about how we are told to be like Sarah. (1 Peter 3) Usually what we hear about this passage is that it teaches women to submit to their husband’s leadership. However before we read any passage, we must ask: “What are we supposed to emulate from Sarah? Why did Sarah submit? What did it look like? What did she have to fear from her husband?”And why did Peter say, “You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do?” In order for us to find those answers, we have to go back and examine Sarah’s life story. We find her first in Genesis 12. And when we read her story, we became get a bit closer to what Peter meant by “do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.” 10At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram, Sarai’s husband, to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner. 11 As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘this is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ 13 So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.” 14 And sure enough, when Abram arrived in Egypt, everyone noticed Sarai’s beauty. 15 When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to Pharaoh, their king, and Sarai was taken into his palace.16 Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. Genesis 12:10-20  So far in their marriage Abraham had been a man worthy of following, a faith-filled man. I believe if we studied his life, we’d find we could say of him what a friend said of Billy Graham, “I dearly love Billy Graham…for not disappointing me up close. Billy, you are better than your legend and bigger than your name.” But now, Abraham’s faith faltered. Sarah must have felt betrayed, disappointed, confused and fearful. Her husband had failed her. He husband’s faith had faltered them all. And yet she submits … Why? Well, because women are warriors (ezer kenego)– we will protect our loved ones at all cost, even cost to the self. Sarah loved Abraham and didn’t want him to die. She submits in order to literally save his life and also “save” his...

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Not Mommy’s Little Helper

Posted by on Monday, Jan 20, 2014 in Blog |

What comes to mind when you hear the word “helper?” Assistant. Support. Carrying out man’s vision. Mommy’s little helper. Projecting todays perceptions of the word helper back on to Scriptures can cause great confusion and pain. In the Old Testament God said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper (ezer) who is just right for him.” (Genesis 2:18) It’s important to note the word ezer appears over 20 times in the Old Testament – twice in reference to woman (Genesis 2:18 & 20) three times in reference nation of Israel and sixteen times in inference to God. Most of twenty references depict powerful military language. Take a gander at some examples below. Helper refers to God Ex. 18:4 … saves from Pharaoh’s sword Deut. 33:29 … shield, helper and glorious sword Psalm 20:1-2 … in distress, protection Psalm 70:5 … provider and deliverer Psalm 89:19 … strength of a warrior Psalm 115:9 … help and shield Psalm 115:10 … help and shield Psalm 115:11 … help and shield Psalm 121:1 … protection Psalm 121:2 … protection After scanning the list what words now come to mind when you hear the “helper” (Ezer)? Protect. Provide. Shield. Defend. Would you say these tend to ascribe these attributes as being masculine or feminine? Masculine right? And yet, here the Scripture God called the woman ezer, a word most used in the OT to describe a warrior. But that’s not all, let’s look at the full title given to woman -suitable helper (ezer kenego) in context of the passage. (Genesis 2:18-25) 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. 23 “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” 24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. 25 Now the man and his wife were both naked,...

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Why Haven’t I Ever Heard That?

Posted by on Monday, Jan 14, 2013 in Blog |

Linda asked the women “what comes to mind when they hear the word ‘helper.’” – Assistant – Support – Help Carrying out Man’s Vision It went like that until one woman piped up, “I’m probably the only Roman Catholic in the room but my Catholic Bible doesn’t say “helper” it says “partner.” On queue her friend sharing the rocker with her said, “Well, I’m Baptist and my Baptist Bible says “helper.” It cracked me up. Literally, no pun intended. But what’s not so funny is how confused we are over what it means to be a “suitable helper.” Here are two friends sitting next to each other and their Bible translations are different. What’s a woman to do? How are we to know what it means to submit if we don’t even understand the context for which that submission sits? When we talk about submission we have to go back to the garden. This is where the argument starts. Does woman submit because God made man the leader or authority over her in the garden? Did the fact that God made Man first, had him name the animals then used the term “suitable helper” point to Man’s leadership? Or did it point to something else? In Genesis 2:18, TheLord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” First we must look at what “helper” means. To do so we look for other usages in the Scriptures. What we find is the usage of the word “helper” most often refers to God himself. Take a look at just a few of the references. Helper Refers to God Ex. 18:4 … saves from Pharaoh’s sword Deut. 33:29 … shield, helper and glorious sword Psalm 20:1-2 … in distress, protection Psalm 70:5 … provider and deliverer Psalm 89:19 … strength of a warrior Psalm 115:9 … help and shield Psalm 115:10 … help and shield Psalm 115:11 … help and shield Psalm 121:1 … protection Psalm 121:2 … protection When’s the last time you’ve heard it said that “helper” means woman protects or provides? Aren’t those words usually associated with masculinity – the male role in the home? I saw a few furrows on the foreheads of the women as we walked through the Scripture references to “helper.” One gal announced, “Why have I never been told this before?” Why is that? But that’s not all. We need to look at the whole term, suitable helper, (ezer kenego) and understand it in its context. So here’s what I see. God forms Man, tells him “it’s not good for you to be alone” then brings animals his way to name. “Go a head...

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