Thursday, October 20, 2011

Earthquake: What if I have gotten it ALL wrong?


I find myself in a quandary these last few weeks as I continue on my journey...and am left asking myself, "Where in the world am I?"  While I know I have made it successfully out of the whale, that the seaweed and whale grime is starting to fall by the wayside...I think I am still trying to climb those last few steps from the whale to the shore.  However, the tide keeps knocking me down. At one time, I had trained my inner ear for that not so comfortable feeling of going from sea to land racing to transition to the bike in my triathlons.  I do not think that training is lasting though, for I once again feel the unstableness of my wobbly sea legs below me, knowing that I could very well succumb to falling down again any moment as the dizziness sets in - making the earth feel like it is spinning out of control.

All this reminds me yet again of a lesson in my Life Skills class last year.  Towards the end of Phase 1, I was shown a picture of a house that had a foundation made from faulty bricks labeled: gossip, bitterness, criticism, slander, anger, self-medication in the form of all addictions, and yada yada.  What I remember most from this picture, however, is talking in class about how the process of healing is like having to go into a rotten foundation, tear it out from underneath and rebuild it all over again with God's foundation.  While intellectually I got this, I had a really hard time grasping how in the world this happens in real life - and how you live through it.

If you have been reading my journey, I think we would agree that those bricks are certainly being replaced...one by one, surely but slowly.  At least I would like to think they are.

However, last month I realized that there is something even deeper than the foundation of this house that lies down by the bedrock. I am not an architect (in reality or in personality types)...so I do not know what to call this "deeper thing"...so let's call it the stakes that are grounded into the earth, that are cemented to the foundation which is in turn connected to the house.  These stakes for me are so engrained into the way that I have viewed the world, that I am finding I have bought into a potentially false and extremely damaging understanding of what God really says about how to build a strong house.

This has all left me questioning everything I have ever believed to be true about the world, about religion and politics and society- about how I view God, about who God truly is - about all of it.  Where do I stand?  On what do I stand?  What do I believe?  How do I move forward with the rebuilding when all around me is just rubble, tons and tons of rubble from my fallen house and monstrous earthquake?


To see what damage has been done to my bedrock and foundation, I think I first need to show you what had been in place - a starting point.  As always, I pray this is not just a journey I am on...but that you will listen to with open ears and open heart.  My goal is not to convince you of one way or the other...but to simply present my findings, give you some resources to do your own research and then ask you to spend some time - hopefully a lot of time thinking, thinking again, and yet thinking a third time about what I am saying in this post.  Please feel free to share any thoughts and reactions that come up for you...for this is a decisive topic!

Here was my foundation that now lies in mass heaps all around me.  I promise this will all make sense - at least I pray it will - in the end...so if it doesn't up front...just keep reading any how:

Up till this point in my walk with God, I have to say I was uncomfortable with this thought: women as pastors.  Over the past 12 years, I have found myself many times questioning MPPC - among other churches that ordain women - for this very reason.  This uncomfortableness obviously did not keep me from attending the church, but the uneasiness was still there, lying under the surface of my thoughts - something I could not quite voice.  I just knew that I felt it was not right for a woman to be so boldly teaching both women AND men.

Thoughts such as, "How do the men view this woman?  What do they think about her?  Do they take what she says seriously, or do they totally write it off cause she is a woman in a man's role?  What about the other women listening?  Don't they feel like this woman is overstepping her bounds, not playing by the rules?  Who ordained this woman any how?"  Wow, I don't know if I have EVER even looked at those thoughts until now...

This belief of where a woman fits in in the world were the stakes that my foundation and house sat on until recently.  This belief taught me that: on the surface level, yes God created us - men and women - equal.  However, underneath this surface level - having fully bought into the notion that women are to be submissive to their "head of household" husbands, women were created 2nd and were to be helpers to men, etc. - I subconsciously believed I wasn't really, truly equal to men in men's eyes, women's eyes and especially in God's eyes.  Again, I don't think I could have put my finger on this foundational belief until maybe even this past week.  Yet, if I thought this way - and while I like to think I am unique, know that I'm not as unique as I think - I am wondering how much more of our Christian culture and even society at large think this way - without EVER knowing it.

I cannot say that this belief system was ever expressively said directly to me throughout my years on this planet.  If I am real honest, it was a system that was definitely engrained in me way before I came to know God personally....set in motion by the life I have led in even this "progressive" culture of the United States (and no comments from the peanut gallery please about the backward ways of those of us that come from Kansas ...Arkansas or Indiana for that matter...for I have also lived in other more "affluent" areas that I see teaching the exact same thing).

Yet, for me, I have come to see that this subconscious belief - that women somehow or other are not as important as men - is the lens through which I viewed the world.  This lens told me things like the following:
* I could never be as good as a man, no matter how hard I tried;
* I would always have to compete with men in order to show I was just as capable as them;
* That men were not to be trusted as equals, but seen as competitors and the enemy
* That if I wanted to succeed in the world, I would need to learn my brains were secondary to my flirting and use of my body in order to get where I wanted to go...which I actually never did thankfully;
* That there is always this subconscious game of the "battle of the sexes" going on to see which one was truly better than the other.

Yuck! - the more I think about this the more exhausted I get and the more I want to completely run the other way...even though I love a good competition.

This belief system, while not apparent to even me...is the very substructure of what I have operated on these past 30+ years...and is exactly what I feel is crumbling, and crumbling fast...and I could not be more glad!

To be continued....


7 comments:

  1. what you are saying sounds good but where is your Scripture? The Bible says a woman should not usurp authority over a man and says in multiple places they should be quiet and ask their husbands at home when they have questions. Women are equal with men but that does not mean they have the same function. Men are to lead....that is God's way beginning with Adam and Eve There are specific instructions in 1 Timothy and Titus for qualified pastors and it says they are to be "the husband of one wife" and nowhere does it say, "the wife of one husband." The Bible gives ample indication that pastors/deacons are to be men.

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  2. Thank you for your comment and excellent question. Yes, many of us within the church have been taught this - and I fully believed it up until I started to do more research on my own last year. It is a much debated topic of course - but it is debated. It is not black and white and there is much evidence - when you go back to the original languages the bible was written in and then also the original cultures and look at the specific reason some of the versus you pointed out were written in that tone. In my research, I believe these versus were written for very specific reasons to very specific people for a very specific cause and most likely don't apply at large to us today.

    I really need to do a post on this subject to share every thing I have learned - for I can't get it all in here. But if you are truly interested in looking into this yourself here are few resources:

    * Christians for biblical Equality
    * BooK: Man & Woman - One in Christ
    * Sermon: http://www.sanc.info/messages/series/WTF/Why_Does_the_Bible_Say_Only_Men_Should_Lead_the_Church%253F/#1290931200

    Again - there is much more than this - but this will get you started into seeing why this is not a black and white issue and that there actually is a debate - something I didn't even realize until 10 months ago! Happy researching!

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  3. Why must it be viewed as "usurping?" There are many spiritually gifted women and those gifts come from God. How can they be viewed as less valid or blessed than a man's same gifts?

    Jesus accepted women and treated women as spiritually capable people. Don't you find it interesting that it has become customary for churches to allow women to teach their children or women in Sunday school but not be treated validly as spiritually capable teachers to all adults?

    It may be enlightening to people to investigate how the Bible was constructed and how it was decided what writings were included and excluded.

    May God bless your continued investigations--learning is a lifelong process.

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  4. Thanks Lyndsey for your comments. Again for those that are open to research and open to seeing that there are other possibilities on how to view the scriptures that are debated (women teaching men)...I would highly encourage the book: Man & Women - One in Christ. It goes into the included scriptures we do have and does a thorough job of explaining the greek and the culture behind this. The one thing we are also missing in our interpretation in our 21st century is that we live in a very very different culture than the Jews....and that makes a huge difference on how you interpret the scripture into our modern day language. (I.E. Language is NOT just the spoken word, but the context behind that language as well. For example...in today's language in America if someone said, 'He can't drink yet," we would all know that means he is under 21. Because the drinking age is common knowledge, we omit this because it would be obvious to any American that that is what the speaker means. This happens all the time in scripture as well...)

    Hope this helps!

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  6. I think this is an interesting investigation!! Men and Women are joint-heirs in Christ, to me this speak volumes...The idea that in "american" churches that women were not to be pastors just never set well with me even though I also grew up in the church. At one point in my life, as a pastor's wife, it seems obvious how God uses women in many capacities!! Our church also taught the theology that women cannot teach men or be a pastor etc, yet we may be supporting female missionaries who are pioneers in other cultures. I could not help but notice the different rules in different cultures!!! Could it be that this is what happened in the bible to? I think so....even though we need a system of authority to run the church, a woman could be an excellent pastor under the right circumstances!! :)

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    1. Thank you for your comment. My life and thoughts, beliefs and faith have evolved by leaps and bounds since this post - which you can certainly read here or in a book I hope to get out sometime in the next year or so (just learning how long this process is!). I have come to realize a lot - but most of all that I will not be accepted by others if I do not first radically accept myself just as I am - a fabulous woman of sensuality (which is my source of creativity, life and more!). And even then - I am sure many will not accept me in the Church that we know today for I do not bow down to any external authority...more of this to come in my books!

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