WOMEN LEADERS & When She Preaches #MissioAlliance #TaraBethLeach

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Tara Beth Leach’s article ( below) is important. Having consulted for many churches with female pastors over the years, I have found one of the strongest bastions of male dominance is often the pulpit.  Once that ceiling is broken with her anointing, other walls may fall.  This is what Susanna counseled John Wesley (1791), and it seemed to work. John had originally asked a female preacher in the Wesleyan Connexion to refrain from calling her sermonizing: preaching.  Instead, he suggested, it could be called a “testimony.”  Susanna, John’s mother and by all accounts a better preacher than John’s father Samuel, told John to go, hear her and see for himself if the anointing rested on her.  Soon thereafter, John agreed that women could preach within the Methodist movement.

When She Preaches

Growing up, I sat at the feet of countless remarkable male preachers. Besides Beth Moore, I don’t recall ever hearing a woman preach until my sophomore or junior year of college. I witnessed countless men stand behind pulpits, open their Bibles, and preach the Word of God in awe-inspiring ways. I am thankful for these men, because at the feet of them, my faith was formed and challenged. But I often wonder what it would have been like for me to listen to a woman preacher before I myself preached for the first time. I imagine I would have been deeply encouraged and wildly inspired.

When women don’t preach, the church suffers. It is as Carolyn Custis James says in her book, Half the Church,

When half the church holds back – whether by choice or because we have no choice – everybody loses and our mission suffers setbacks. Tragically, we are squandering the opportunity to display to an embattled world a gospel that causes both men and women to flourish and unites us in a Blessed Alliance that only the presence of Jesus can explain.[1]

Because, when a woman preaches, something profound begins to happen in the pews, the ground begins to shift, barriers are torn down, and the once silenced mouths are opened.[2]

When She Preaches, Women in the Congregation Begin to Imagine Gifts Outside of the Traditional/Patriarchal Roles

When she preaches, the women in the pews can begin to undo the narrative that tells them they are inferior to men. Many women sitting in the pews on Sunday morning aren’t sure what to do with scriptures that tell them to “keep quiet in the church” and are even told that scriptures like this should be applied to all women in every context. However, when she preaches, other women in the pews are pushed to think critically about those tough passages; they are pushed to consider their own gifts; they are forced to ponder a false narrative that they have embraced for far too long – that they are somehow less capable or less gifted in the Kingdom of God. When she preaches, women see a super-natural talent embodied in another woman, empowered by the Spirit, and propelled to edify all of the people of God. And it is then that women in the congregation begin to ask: can I preach, too? Maybe they will unearth the talents that have been buried for far too long; maybe they will spread their wings and fly; maybe they, too, will use their gifts in new and inspiring ways.

[1] Carolyn Custis James, Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), 19.

[2] See a powerful post on Sarah Bessey’s blog, Why Not Have a Woman Preach” right here.

Read more here … http://www.missioalliance.org/when-she-preaches/

WOMEN & The Role of Women in the Holiness Movement

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Today our faculty spent the morning with Dr. Jo Anne Lyon and she introduced me to a helpful document about the critical role of women in the Holiness Movement. Below is a link to the downloadable document as well as the first few pages.

Read more or at … https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwiSnons287OAhUIxGMKHQS3CMgQFggeMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wesleyan.org%2Fd%2FeDkK%2FDayton-Donald-Wilber-Lucille-Sider—Women-in-the-Holiness-Movement.pdf&usg=AFQjCNH9l6BFpWJZjNFFeOrCmdH4xL0S4g&sig2=e1vYD2JIemgJR4BLr7FnCA&cad=rja

QUOTES & John Wesley’s Quote on Women in Ministry

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  This is an ongoing series of quotes from the Wesleyan Movement with citations to the original sources.

“But may not women, as well as men, bear a part in this honourable service?” Undoubtedly they may; nay, they ought; it is meet, right, and their bounded duty. Herein there is no difference; “there is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus. “Indeed, it has long passed for a maxim with many, that “women are only to be seen, not heard.” And accordingly many of them are brought up in such a manner as if they were only designed for agreeable playthings. But is this doing honour to the sex? Or is it a real kindness to them? NO; it is the deepest unkindness; it is horrid cruelty; it is mere Turkish barbarity. And I know not how any woman of sense and spirit can submit to it. Let all you that have it in your power assert their right which the God of nature has given. You. yield not to the vile bondage any longer. You, as well as men, are rational creatures. You, like them, were made in the image of God; you are equally candidates for immortality; you too are called of God, as you have time, to “do good unto all men.” Be “not disobedient to the heavenly calling.” Whenever you have opportunity, do all the good you can, particularly to your poor, sick neighbour. And everyone of you likewise “Shall receive your own reward, according to your own labour.”

Sermon 98, “On Visiting the Sick”, III. 7.

For more such quotes see: The United Methodist Church General Board of Church & Society, http://www.kintera.org/site/c.frLJK2PKLqF/b.4452011/k.7E8E/Quotations_by_John_Wesley.htm

WOMEN & Fifty Shades of Grey: A Trilogy of Deceit, Collusion, and Domination #ChristiansForBiblicalEquality

Commentary from Dr. Whitesel: “Dr. Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality penned the following notes while attending the Carter Center’s conference on women and violence. Juxtaposition her important insights amid the deplorable media hype which promotes violence towards women.”

263.jpgBy Dr. Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. She holds a PhD in historical theology from the University of Durham, England. She and her husband, Dale, live in the Twin Cities. Follow her on Twitter @Mimi_CBE.

As the film industry promotes “Fifty Shades of Grey,” launching on Valentine’s Day, I sit beside sixty scholars, activists, and faith leaders from more than twenty countries at a forum convened by the Carter Center: “Beyond Violence: Women Leading for Peaceful Societies.” Working to end the domination of women worldwide, these leaders recognize that “prejudice, discrimination, war, violence, distorted interpretations of religious texts, physical and mental abuse, poverty, and disease fall disproportionately on women and girls, as Jimmy Carter notes in Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. Together, these human rights defenders are refining bold and creative strategies to overturn systems, structures, and worldviews that abuse, marginalize, dominate, and annihilate girls and women worldwide.

While these activists labor to combat abuse, filmmakers are working to normalize the sexual domination of women as entertainment. With scenes holding women in bondage, men inflict pain re-framed as “discipline” in the form of sadism and masochism, offered as the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Meanwhile, in hidden corners of nearly every city of the world, girls and women are held in secret prisons and brothels where they endure gang-rape. Firearms and other weapons are used as instruments of rape, and rape itself is unleashed as an instrument of war. Targeted by the military, girls and women are murdered by the masses–a horror undocumented by the world’s journalists. Women, whose daughters have been abducted by extremists, wake up every morning wondering, “Is she alive?”

Read more at … http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=b0720554-9920-4fa7-b677-f253ce004538&c=9cb55140-0518-11e4-9c4f-d4ae52754007&ch=9cba3340-0518-11e4-9c4f-d4ae52754007

WOMEN & Women As Witnesses in the Gospel of John #FullerSeminary #GELadd

by Marianne Meye Thompson, Arise, 7/4/15.

c8250cfd-3f7b-4ade-998a-dbfb44fde333.jpgMarianne Meye Thompson is the George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. While specializing in the Gospels and particularly the Gospel of John, she has written on Colossians, the epistles of John, and various theological topics such as God as father in the Scriptures. She is an ordained teaching elder in the PCUSA, married to John, and proud mom to two grown daughters.
When we think about the question of “women’s roles” in the church today, we are pressed to ask how the Scriptures portray and define the roles that women may and ought to exercise in the church. For some interpreters, the question comes down to offices that women were authorized to hold, or to which they were “ordained.” Thus, one asks: were women called and designated as “apostles” or “teachers” or “overseers” or other apparently somewhat official roles in the church? Backing up a bit, the question has often been asked, were women among the Twelve chosen by Jesus? If not, does this mean that they ought not to serve as “leaders” in the church? In other words, how one conceives of women’s roles today often rests on how one pictures any official positions that they were authorized to hold in the early church.

On this score, the Gospel of John provides an interesting case study. There are two persons who figure importantly in the Gospel: Simon Peter, and the disciple simply known throughout the Gospel as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (often designated by the shorthand “beloved disciple”). At the end of the Gospel of John, in Jesus’ final recorded resurrection appearance in that Gospel, Jesus commissions Peter to “tend my flock” and “feed my sheep.” In other words, Jesus now gives to Peter a role that he earlier claimed for himself (John 10:1-11), that of shepherd or, in Latin, a pastor.

The point is not that Peter becomes Jesus, or exercises the task of shepherd in precisely the same way, but that there are striking parallels between what Jesus has done and what Peter must do as he is entrusted to care for Jesus’ own sheep. The Roman Catholic church traditionally emphasizes the distinctiveness of Peter’s calling; he is the first “pope” of the church. Other interpretations have justified the limitation of the pastoral office to men on the grounds that it is Peter, a male disciple, who is given that role, walking in the footsteps of Jesus to shepherd the people in his charge…

Read more at … http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=d0f5ec79-8dff-4526-9e7f-16aed50aa066&c=9cb55140-0518-11e4-9c4f-d4ae52754007&ch=9cba3340-0518-11e4-9c4f-d4ae52754007

WOMEN LEADERS & Rethinking One of Paul’s Passages about Women #ScotMcKnight

by Scot McKnight, 6/12/15.

Lucy Peppiatt WTCThere are at least five reasons why we ought to reconsider the traditional (women ought to show submission to men in church gatherings) reading of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, and these are Lucy Peppiatt’s five:

  1. The “spectacular array of contradictory commentary” on these verses should at least make us think we have not yet found a reasonable solution.
  2. The rhetorical readings of the passage, readings that genuinely resolve the tensions in the passage and with big themes in Paul’s letters, have not been refuted. They’ve most been ignored. Here she refers to Thomas Shoemaker, Alan Padgett, and Jose Vadakkedom.
  3. The historical reconstructions of what was at work behind the women wearing veils theory are far from convincing. Which, she asks in a telling way, is more credible? Women acting totally out of line and out of character or males emerging out of a misogynist culture acting misogynistically in church settings?
  4. The whole shame and honor “respect” Paul — according to traditional readings — wants to keep in tact goes against Paul’s constant rebutting of acting in a ways that bring honor. Put differently, asking Paul here to be pushing the honor categories of the Roman world asks Paul to act against his own teaching.
  5. Paul’s big theme of radical equality in Christ (Gal 3:28; Col 3:11) is mocked by radical inequality if the traditional reading of 1 Cor 11:2-16 is right.

Lucy Peppiatt, in Women and Worship at Corinth, is right on each of these tension points. The passage has not been explained adequately by those who think each of the words in our passage stems from Paul and expresses Paul’s own theology.

The problem at Corinth is a lack of unity in the gatherings. Oneness in Christ needs to be seen in concrete social settings. How they are behaving when it comes to worship, the Lord’s Supper and spiritual gifts mock their unity. The problems in these areas — note this term — is domination by those with more social cache. (This is my term, not Lucy’s.) So, and this is my reflection, one has to wonder if that same kind of domination is not being expressed in 1 Cor 11:2-16. (At least I do.) Paul’s “in Christ” theology, again, is radical and he knows it; we cannot expect him to undo it in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 by asking the Corinthians to act like the Roman culture all over again. New creation had been unleashed “in Christ” and it was to have radical implications at the social level of fellowship; it was not to be overturned out of respect to the Roman way of life.

Now to our passage: in short, the problems arise because we want to think 1 Cor 11:2-10 and 11:11-16 are expressing the same theology. A rhetorical reading, one that would have been “performed” well by the lector of this letter (see my post from yesterday), suggests these two sections do not cohere theology but conflict with one another because one is Paul’s response to the other.

Peppiatt, along with Shoemaker, Padget and Vadakkedom, proposes then that Paul interweaves words and views of the Corinthian male dominant crowd (found in the letter from Chloe) with his own responses. Thus, the passage would have been “heard” as Paul’s argument against head coverings, head coverings proposed by males who wanted females to be in submission in the public assembly.

Here is the scenario at work in the community of Christians at Corinth, and here she adapts Ben Witherington III’s scenario:

  1. Partisanship centered on particular Christian teachers.
  2. Cultural values of the wealthy that could lead to lawsuits.
  3. Unequal treatment of the lower status folks at the Lord’s table and dining in pagan temples.
  4. Hubris with respect to spiritual gifts.
  5. Disagreements about sexual conduct — inside and outside marriage.
  6. Disagreements on eschatology, esp the resurrection, and over reigning and glory.

Both Witherington and Peppiatt think — and #1 makes this clear — this is about some dominant males. The problem was well-to-do Gentile males. Bruce Winter, too, thinks there is a pervading masculine culture of dominance at work in Corinth (After Paul).

Peppiatt: Corinth was being dominated by some articulate, gifted males and they implemented some oppressive practices that was unraveling the freedom Paul’s gospel created. They wanted to display their glory, honor and authority on their heads (short hair, bald, etc) and wanted women to reflect their honor by what they wore on their heads. The males, in other words, were worldly in allowing the Roman culture of honor and shame to shape what worship looked like. This, she contends, is superior in explanation than the wild women theory.

Read more at … http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2015/06/12/rethinking-one-of-pauls-passages-about-women/

WOMEN LEADERS & Women Directors Change How Boards Work For The Better Research Discovers

by Laura Liswood, Harvard Business Review, 2/19/15.