In particular, this week, check out the Rachel Held Evans and Daniel Kirk posts on various aspects of women and men in ministry. I have gone ahead and also posted a standing link to a look at Women in Ministry from Fuller Seminary.
In my current position at Fuller Seminary this is a subject that I have to discuss with someone nearly every week, from all angles and positions on the subject. It is a contentious debate, and one that I find severely hinders the mission of the people of God when we allow it to rise to some sort of first-order debate. I often here, from both sides, statements such as: "How do you get around ___" where they quote a particular verse. Here is a short answer.
Often, on any number of topics, people will elevate one verse to being a defining verse for final authority on a matter. Where I personally stand is that we have to understand the entirety of Scripture. We cannot simply take 1 Timothy 2, for instance, as THE defining statement without understanding its context and intent as well as the many other passages which refer to women who are obviously in ministry. What do we make of Priscilla, Junia, the many Mary's, and Lydia, just to name a few out of the New Testament. Our approach on this topic must be to understand the tension in Scripture, not to have a conclusion based on one particular verse that then attempts to rationalize away the other verses. We need to wrestle with Scripture, and to understand the work of Jesus Christ, and of God.
The work of God in the world, is for me, a defining action. God is redeeming the world, reconciling the world, saved the world in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is a helper to enable humans to live as part of that kingdom, the redeeming world. If someone is called to use a spiritual gift, who am I to inhibit that gift? After all, male AND female are created in God's image. Humans are humans. God is God. That is the only delineation that matters in my mind. If God has called a woman to the ministry, and we have evidence of this in Scripture, then who would I be to prevent this? What are the attributes of God that you are lifting up on each side of the argument? Does our stance on the matter align with the work and scope of Bible? What is God redeeming, and to what will eternal life look like? We are all called by a loving God, and redeemed and reconciled with each other. I see no other option other than that women and men are to be given equal opportunities and giftings in this life of faith in the redeeming work of Jesus. I'm sure this isn't the most lucid argument for Women in Ministry, nor the most comprehensive. Yet, we need to be aware of our approach to Scripture and the way in which we attempt to gain insights. Is it cultural, particular, or universal? Does it align with God's saving work?
I have posted before with Ben Witherington's videos on Women in Ministry, and I want to include the following links as well on the subject, because I truly believe we need to be reasonable and understand the matter in light of all Scripture, not merely a proof text to support a cultural definition.
Fuller Seminary: http://www.fuller.edu/womeninministry (Follow the links on the right hand side through several facets of the issue) This is great stuff. Definitely read the part about consistency and balance.
Also, check out Christians for Biblical Equality: http://www.cbeinternational.org/
Rachel Held Evans - Its not complementarianism, its patriarchy (a very good post!): http://rachelheldevans.com/complementarians-patriarchy
Daniel Kirk - The need for men to step up and initiate/support change for women: http://www.jrdkirk.com/2012/04/29/a-time-to-speak/
Outside of this topic, there were a few really interesting and thought provoking posts from the last week. Are you, the readers, finding these posts to be helpful? There is so much available out on the Internet I know its a matter of wanting to read what interests you. I hope that I'm providing some good links because I am finding them very interesting.
NY Times Ethicist Contest Winner - Give Thanks for Meat by Jay Bost. (I really recommend taking 5 minutes to read this!): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/magazine/the-ethicist-contest-winner-give-thanks-for-meat.html?_r=1&smid=fb-share
Philosophy Now - The Death of Postmodernism and Beyond by Alan Kirby (Thanks to Dave Wasson for the link): http://www.philosophynow.org/issues/58/The_Death_of_Postmodernism_And_Beyond
Environmental Responsibility & Business:
Interview with Yvonne Chouinard (CEO of Patagonia clothing company) on Bloomberg:
18 ways to travel for free or cheap: http://www.traveldudes.org/travel-tips/18-ways-travel-free-or-next-nothing/15777
Craig Keener on the Evangelical Left, Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-s-keener/evangelical-left-in-history_b_1432540.html
Mike McNichols (A Fuller Professor I had!), Christianity & Angry Critics: http://soulfarer.blogspot.com/2012/05/christianity-and-angry-critics.html
David Briggs with some study results on people who read the Bible, Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-briggs/frequent-bible-reading-ti_b_897017.html
*I would love to converse with anyone about any of these posts! What did you find interesting, etc?*