I love the Bible, just not that way…
Evidence for (human) evolution…
Top 12 preachers according to Baylor…
What does an effective preacher look like?
We can’t know what’s in someones’s heart?
Beth Moore’s letter to male leaders…
Heavenizing Earth…eschatology in the beginning…
Southern Baptist women seek to oust Patterson…
Are there mixed motives in the move against Patterson?
What we’ve failed to see about being created in God’s image…
Old Testament laws in ancient context…
Did Jesus really usher in the kingdom?
Searching for a community of strugglers…
According to the gospel of greed…
Rethinking Evangelicals and Catholics Together…
A response to the above and how Robert Webber succeeded…
We’ve lost the art of being sexy…
The forgotten church …in rural America…
“Nones” expected to return to faith…
Are you being manipulated without knowing it?
Responding to leaders who fall…
Itinerants and pawns…the plight of Syrian Christians…
Do we really believe in “Reckless Love”?
The death of cultural Christianity…
How U2 betrayed rock and roll…
Exposing spiritual abuse and shady religion…
The reality of disappointment…
Huge thanks to EricL for the link help…support him at top right…
Separation of families on the border…
The article on the death of cultural Christianity is very good and on point. It uses the same reasoning I do whenever the topic comes up here and the hand wringing begins about the incredible shrinking church. The church has not shrunk!
The example I always use is the crowd of John 6. How many there called themselves followers of Jesus vs how many were actually followers of Jesus? When all was said and done, and the cultural followers of Jesus left, the church, the true followers of Jesus remained the same – not a single follower was lost or left behind or turned into a wanderer.
But much of the issue is the way we evangelize. Too many times the offer is made – “give Jesus a try, he will make your life better.” so they give him a try and Jesus does not make their life better – they still live with the same day to day life tragedies.
“Give Jesus a try – what do you have to lose?” so they give Jesus a try and then we find that they have returned him for a full money back guarantee.
Re: Death of Cultural Christianity.
I am thinking of the description of the Kingdom as a mustard seed. It becomes the greatest of the herbs, more like a freak of nature really. I don’t think Jesus got the memo of the Church going away. So far, everything is on schedule, and Chrystianity has come to dominate the West, and the World. The Church is the West, and has been since Constitine.
The article on human evolution is interesting but not convincing at all. It uses circular reasoning in developing its hypothesis which can basically be used to prove anything.
IMV – what has died is this nation’s respect for Christianity and its values … and, yes, our churches have been more concerned with culture and relevance than relating to the Faith as children of a holy God… perhaps more concerned with what the world thinks of the Church than what God does?
Lots of intriguing links, when i get off this tablet, i look forward to reading… Thank you again, EricL and Michael
Has anyone satisfactorily explained how death preceded the fall?
Those that are advocating a death before the fall are all evolutionists and don’t seem to care that much what the bible has to say about the fall. At least that is the way it seems to me.
There was something unique about the garden of Eden… As i was taught, Adam was instructed to not eat fruit from one tree. Adam was told that “in dying (spiritually), you will die (physically).” It’s a safe bet that God defined ” die” for him, i think.
There seems to be an indication of a world outside this garden as Adam and Eve got kicked out into something… The world we live in now.
…. wonder if Eden was on this planet even… God could certainly arrange a fly by to drop them off here… but i’m sure our theo!ogians have better and more accurate answers . ?
P.S. As i mentioned earlier if one has been led to believe the infallibility of science in their theories on this subject of evolution etc., it is worth looking up the writings of an atheist with pretty impressive credentials… one David Berlinski
Re: #6 “Those that are advocating a death before the fall are all evolutionists and don’t seem to care that much what the bible has to say about the fall. At least that is the way it seems to me.”
That sounds pretty harsh.
The things is, we don’t know what death would have been like before the fall.
Prefall, Adam was told to work the garden; Postfall he was told he would have to work the ground, and it would bring thorns.
I see the subject of death prefall in the same way. Had Adam not fallen, would there have been a sting in death? Or would it be like Elijah, just taken to heaven?
Point is, we don’t know because Adam did fall.
When Adam was commanded to not take the fruit, he was promised that in that day, he would die. I think it’s universally accepted that God meant spiritual death, and not physical.
Now, was physical death introduced to creation at the fall? Maybe, but I don’t think it necessarily follows.
It may be harsh but I also don’t know a single evolutionist that also believes in a world wide flood like the bible clearly speaks about. I don’t know what else to say other than evolution doesn’t seem to jive with the biblical narrative.
“Separation of families on the border”…
I realize the border issue is complex, but it is rather upsetting that this country is deliberately separating kids from their parents.
Much love to Eric L for the link on U2 betrayal. Apparently they don’t want to be seen as Christians.
My late husband, much smarter than me, did not see how it could have been possible to cover the whole earth in water, but i think it is quite possible….
I think David gives us a hint in Psalm 104 We forget that God can move the face of the earth and the waters….
I think it’s possible to have had a universal flood that was not global.
Maybe the church hasn’t shrunk but it’s shifted. Look at post-Christian Europe. The USA is on its way.
Regarding pre-fall death, if Adam and Eve digested plants, then there was death and decay of cellular organisms from the beginning.
#14 – Somehow i just can’t picture the WHOLE universe under water. ? sorry, couldn’t resist…. we are in the middle of a big electric storm and the ozone got to me
Jerod @12, thanks for the love! But unfortunately that link wasn’t one of my gems or dudes. That was a Michael find 🙂
Didn’t finish the article. It’s a trait in this section of the Church that words dont mean things. Next, words that dont mean things, can be strung together with other words, that dont mean things. Finally, out come phrases that dont mean things. Which, then become guiding thought patterns, but it still doesn’t mean things, nor is definable.
Or, we could just say, it’s Bethel. Named after a competing religious site, built to entice those travelers on their way to the House of God in Jerusalem.
Gems or duds… my spelling hurtz.
kudos to John Waters for calling out U2! Why is it that so many progressives either ignore the unborn or advocate for abortion? Where is justice for them?
Baylor’s top 12. I noticed a few were not currently pastoring. Interesting the names that we not on that list. I wonder what a list of the 12 top pastors would look like? And by what criteria? Such a list would probably add insult to the sacred vocation.They can have their preachers, I’d rather listen to a pastor anyway.
MLD @ #1 – Well put and I agree. It comes back to the description of the church as an organization where anyone can come and hang out, say they are Christians because they generally agree but don’t always believe in Jesus, vs. those who are followers of Jesus as “the church.” Also on evangelism, good points.
I have long railed (in my mind and occasionally online) at cultural Christianity. My wife and I are to the point where we don’t feel compelled to go to a church because the ones we can find are driven by or operate under cultural Christianity for the sake of keeping people coming. They usually have good, gospel-centered intentions and goals, but the methodology is cultural Christianity. We are pretty over it, over the Sunday morning show.
So, in a sense the church shrunk, but in another sense it hasn’t. It’s a very frustrating time.
Corbachev (21)…I hear ya…I have trouble attending church here in GA because it seems like either a good church is employing “church growth” methods that have proven to be lacking or silly over 10 years ago, or that you can’t throw a rock without hitting either an IFB church or some church that is more interested in your money than your soul.
Which one does an individual put up with?
re: the death…
from the article:
“‘Christianity isn’t collapsing; it’s being clarified,’ wrote Ed Stetzer in 2015 following the release of Pew Research data showing the Christian share of the American population declined almost eight percentage points from 2007 to 2014.”
Trouble with such stats from Pew Research is some preacher will try and crank up their machine a few more hundred rpms in an attempt to gain more market share all the while telling everyone and themselves that they are further the gospel.
I do wonder at times if I am entertaining or imparting. Often people listen for agreement, not for instruction. And when the hear something that doesn’t fit within their construct or understanding of doctrine, they get angry, call you a liberal (been called worse) and go look for a place that tells them what they want to hear. The great tragedy in all this is that the never consider that what they heard may be true, and what they have believed for years to false.
Beth Moore’s letter is important.
From the U2 article:
“And abortion will go the way of slavery also, when medical science identifies the child’s earliest susceptibility to pain, and posterity will look back in horror at this present moment and every shred of our reputation for human feeling will be in the dumpster of history.”
I agree with this. In my opinion one can be “pro-choice” and Christian. We need to speak out for justice for the unborn. However, government and laws won’t do in the human heart what medical science information and grass roots relationships / support will do.
pstrmike @ 23
I’m not sure what the LOL is for. You commented mostly about teaching and what people want ti hear. I don’t know if you were trying to read that into my situation, but that has nothing to do with it for me. For me, the most condensed way I can describe it, is we are tired of feeling like we are being marketed to. I’m not even talking about the quality of the music or the content of the teaching. The general sense of feeling like we are walking into an Apple Store with greeters, signage, a store culture, a brand.
I think I’ve said this here, elsewhere for sure, but going to a church feels very much like walking into a community theater. Greeters, snack bar, ushers, a program, find a seat, lights dim, cast comes out, sing along with the show-tunes, listen to the monologues, house lights up, exit. Return, repeat.
I’m not saying that I want more personal interaction. I’m saying I’m tired of walking in and feeling like I’m about to see a show. I made this connection when I went to a concert in a smaller venue in Portland. I walked in and remember saying to my wife, “Feels like we just walked into a church service.” Because that has become church. Everything involved in that has become church culture. The musical culture, the emphasis on music as one of the main and money-worthy ministries of the church. The money spent on stages, lights, video walls, HD camera systems, while staff are barely scraping by.
There is a Christian culture built around all of this, most of which has nothing to do with discipleship, which is one of the main missions of the church. OK, I gotta stop. Dismount from soap-box.
Y’all need to find a counter cultural church. One with a building modeled after an upside down boat, stained glasses windows, a baptismal font to greet you as you enter the sanctuary – heavy on traditional hymns accompanied by an out of turn organ, a heavy dose of confession / absolution, reciting of the creeds, the Lord’s Prayer and a sermon about Jesus ( week after week after week.)
If only there was a place to be found. Now the downside – if you do not drink brewed black coffee, you will need to go off campus to get your latte. 🙂
Yes I commented about teaching, I didn’t want to turn my post into a chapter. So, I know who you are and you probably know who I am, so your observations on what you observed were things that I was railing about years ago. That was a time when most within “the tribe” were telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about. These were the same people who were telling me I was wrong about my critiques of Driscoll.
You actually might find our church a good fit for you (I’m not recruiting), but it would be quite the commute. We have no coffee shop, bookstore, or any of the necessary accoutrements of modern evangelicalism. But at least I know everyone’s name. That in itself, in some circles, is counter-cultural.
And now the other side of the coin.I have given a fair amount of thought behind some of what you have also observed. I wonder whether some of these things are necessary as a means to attract people. Some of them are. Some of the critiques of these methods have a similar ring to the angst I heard over Calvary Chapel in the early 70’s. Perhaps I should have listened more carefully back then. However, everything changes. Yet the constant is the struggle in finding the right expression that touches our souls.
It really bothers me when a church uses outdated and silly methods to get butts in their seats. Hey, more people will come if our worship teams plays like Coldplay or U2! I walked out at the start of communion this past Sunday when the worship team kicked it into high gear when they brought out the elements.
Also don’t like feeling like I’m being recruited for some program or activity of like I have to do something somehow to be part of this body. Not sure if this is unique to Evangelicals, but more often than not I’m being told I need to be in a small group, set up or take down chairs, sign up for this or that, blah blah blah.
@28 – Thanks Mike. That would be a drive! 🙂
I totally get that at some level there are social and group dynamics at play. The larger a group gets change is required in how the group behaves, what it expects, who it looks to, etc. I comprehend and appreciate all of that. What I don’t appreciate is being sold a church.
It’s a two-way street. There is a culture in Christianity that wants to be sold a church, so churches get on the stick and market themselves. John Crist has some really funny videos pointing these things out. They are funny, but they are also very true and real.
I think, in a sincere environment, everything comes from a sincere place with good intentions. When they “work” something happens where they become the thing that becomes the focus. You refer to the angst in CC in the early 70s, probably centered around music and concerts. In the beginning, they were innocent and sincere. Someone was inspired to write a worship chorus or a song to Jesus and share it and it becomes a song in the church. Over time, I know from the stories of people in it at the time, that mutated into a business. Even then, the motive was pure; get records of these honest love songs to Jesus out to the masses. Then they discover money can be made off of it, and the purity and integrity get eroded. That’s one example of one context. The next thing you know, you aren’t a real Christian or a real part of the church unless you X, Y, Z.
I guess my thing is that when the draw becomes the brand of the church, I’m not interested. When you ask strangers what church they go to ans why (true story) and they tell you, “I love the worship band” or “The preacher is so energetic, I like to listen to him,” and nothing to do with becoming a better follower of Jesus, the ball has been dropped to the point where they aren’t even playing the same game anymore.
Perhaps, if you ask someone if they attend a church, the next question should be why, not where…. dunno… just thinking…. good observations to ponder today….
As a general question to the group –
Does age or our individual past experiences color our reactions to the sort of church experiences described above?
As a follow up question, do the people involved in such services feel they are receiving something significant, or do engage with such a church because it is the only type of service they know?
@32 – I would say age can, and past experiences can, but don’t automatically color.
Regarding your second question, my observation, which is again being lived out with a couple I’m helping navigate this, is this. For a season, they have received something significant. The wife of the couple has only known this style of service, the husband has a broader background. They received, they got involved in serving/leading. Now they are at a point where they are starting to see that it only takes someone so far. In their case in particular they have a new baby and are considering the kind of church they want to raise their kid in. They see the church/Christian culture now as an obstacle when once they loved it. They want more for themselves, more for others that they serve, more for their child and their family. “More” meaning maturity, challenge, opportunity to use gifts. In a large church with a strong sense of culture and identity, there is little room for people to bring something different to the table.
Q1- of course age and past experience colors our reactions, as do the breadth of our exposure to other types of church gatherings and our knowledge of examples from the Bible.
Q2- I think many haven’t experienced beyond the typical evangelical experience. This one just seems a bit bettter than the last one. I find it funny that many church websites still bother to emphasize that they have contemporary music and casual attire. At least here in SoCal, only some of the liturgical still have choirs or organs and the only ones in suits are the fundies, SDA, JWs, and Mormons.
In my tribe they have an emphasis on a ministry time at the end of the service, a time for the congregation to pray for those with needs. It does help encourage involvement and being there for others, but the bigger a congregation gets the more it can still become a Sunday show. What is the optimum size for a congregation? When is it big enough but not too big? I lean toward 400-600 in attendance but I’m not sure.
When I see the sort of service, as described above, I tend to think (my perspective) “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt”, even if it is a bit better done than back in the day.
I’m willing, however, to say that this might be “my baggage”.
For a liturgical church, I think we have to admit that even with the best will in the world, there is a bit of a “learning curve”. From my perspective, I’ve come to think that this is a “positive”, but many don’t see it that way. I think that have a bit of a “learning curve” mitigates against church being, for lack of a better word, “entertainment”. Also, learning involves human interaction, talking, asking questions, etc. I guess what I’m saying, is that church should be a different experience than a concert, or motivational speaker, or corporate team building seminar. It should be sacred…
As long as the pulpit and drum set are at center stage, it will continue to be a show – I don’t know why anyone would think differently.
During my decades as a Baptist, I sang the traditional hymns, accompanied by organ and piano, and paid very little attention to the lyrics. <— This is my fault, not the fault of the church or the hymns. I did stand up a little straighter for "Trust and Obey," which I still think is a pretty good song. Probably planted the seeds for my later attraction to Orthodoxy.
During the Calvary Chapel decades, at first I was very enthusiastic about the Maranatha praise songs. They were simple and heartfelt; a refreshing change from the Baptist hymnbook, I thought at the time. Then the songs began to change to very complicated songs that were too hard for the congregation. Also, the lyrics became more shallow, at least this is what I thought. A hundred hard-to-sing variations on the greatness of God. Not heretical (my son wrote some of them!) but I was not moved by them. Was I supposed to be moved? Weren't we singing to God? Well, around this time I was falling out of love with the evangelical world on many fronts so maybe my judgement is suspect.
So now here I find myself an enthusiastic member of probably the most difficult liturgical system on the planet. A few dozen books need to be consulted, I have been told, to put on a Sunday morning liturgy. (I don't have to consult them, thank goodness!) No drum set, not even an organ, not even a pulpit! Half the service takes place behind the iconostasis. Sometimes my mind wanders. Again, this is my fault, not the fault of the liturgy. I am in the Sisterhood here and sometimes I am responsible for the meal afterward and my mind does drift to wondering if it's time to put the enchiladas in the oven….
So to conclude, if I am paying attention, there is a lot to appreciate in old timey Baptist hymns and *some* modern praise songs. I find there is more to appreciate in the Orthodox liturgy. I don't really have anything positive to say about drum sets and electric guitars up on a stage but I do realize others really like this type of thing. It's my son's bread and butter so I'd better stop now.
#37 – the key word in that declaration is ‘stage’ – as long as the person behind the pulpit doesn’t think that they’re giving a performance, you can place the pulpit wherever you choose…
I used to call early 20th century church songs merry-go-round music, but perhaps some folk do need to sing and dance before the Lord….. “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands…..” David did so. He embarrassed his wife and God judged her. .. Dunno ..?
Personally, I don’t get Beth Moore. It sounds like she is complaining she doesn’t have the opportunities of the other celebrity male preachers. However, she is about the most well known preacher around, yet somehow she is not satisfied and she wants even more influence? If would be best for the entire Christian church to repent of the celebrity culture and I guarantee all this nonsense Beth Moore is complaining about misogamy will go away since neither men nor women will need to play king of the hill.
I did not get the impression that Beth Moore wanted more influence. Rather, she would like to not be looked down upon and treated disrespectfully by her peers/fellow bible teachers because of her gender, and she would like younger female evangelicals to not be scorned for their gender or to have their opportunities for theological training minimized due to their gender.
I’m not big on Beth Moore’s teaching. It’s alittle lightweith. That’s OK. It helps a lot of people. Not everything has to be super heavy.
I am very big on Beth Moore as a person. She has handled herself in a class that very few others have over decades of ministry. If she feels the need to speak to an issue, she has more than earned a hearing.
I had to go back and make sure we both read the same letter from Beth Moore, because I too did not get the slightest a hint of what you are stating. Being men we will never understand what women go through in this life and yes neither will they understand the same of us.
What I perceive is this, Ms Moore has spent her entire life fulfilling what she thought she understood about being a woman in the Evangelical/Christian religious world. Then a highly recognized and respected hero of the faith comes along and treats like a common visual thing to be admired and not as a respected member of the faith.
Nope, you and I will never understand or fathom what it means to be measured up and compared in such a way.
Beth Moore is not a complainer. She’s just tired of being treated by the men of her tribe as a dear little thing who presumes to teach the Scriptures.
If you don’t understand this, chances are you are part of the problem.
It’s like when a man at my old CC was offered a paying job to direct the church’s weekly TV and daily radio programs. When he declined, I was offered the job- as a non-paid volunteer.
If any of you have read my postings over the past 16 years here, you know I am pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to gender roles. But it’s hard not to be majorly irked when things like this happen and believe me, in the evangelical world it happens a lot.
Ms Moore’s issues are not limited to “her tribe” alone, they are universal to the world we live in. Additionally, it is an example how, in general, none of us will ever understand what it is like to be the other person, female, male, Jew or Gentile.
The answer may lie in the question, who is my neighbor?
As my sister told to me once, why does her church need “more” of Beth Moore? Apparently Beth Moore was a celebrity in her church as she is in many and my sister didn’t understand why her church always resorted to “more” of Beth Moore material when there certainly were qualified and gifted women in her own church that could have done just as well or better but it was always outsourced to the celebrity with “more” of Beth Moore. It is no different with the men when it comes to celebrity. I truly believe the issue of misogamy in the church would be minimized if not eliminated if the celebrity church culture would go away first. I find it fascinating that the entire “#metoo” movement got its start after the exposure of Harvey Weinstein in the celebrity culture of Hollywood.
I truly believe the issue of misogamy in the church would be minimized if not eliminated if the celebrity church culture would go away first.<<<<
I do not believe you understand the problem.
In some way it seems to be in the DNA. My wife holds a senior executive position in the city. She is treated professionally by all the executive team of which she is a part… all but two. They are both evangelicals. I know them. I can only describe their behavior as “passive-aggressive”. They are just not comfortable with a woman in an executive position. It is very sad…
I’m not minimizing the problem of misogamy and the experience of women. And your are right as a man, I don’t understand how a woman feels. That is not my point. However, I do know what its like to be told to submit to a “moses model” celebrity pastor or else take a walk and don’t come back. To me the issues of misogamy and celebrity have some points of commonality. Its about a power addiction and celebrity is a big part of this in my estimation.
When I was out and about in the world I was always treated as an equal by everybody but when I stepped across the CC threshold I was always “the gal.”
I don’t find this attitude in Orthodoxy although I am sure it exists in some ethnic conclaves.
Here’s an example which has nothing to do with celebrity.
Ok, so I took the job as a volunteer. I had a team of camera people that needed to come to church half an hour early so we could get the cameras set up properly. The women on the team complied; the men ignored me and told me they’d come when they felt like it. The man in charge of the whole shebang would be annoyed with me when the cameras weren’t set up in time but refused- REFUSED- the give me the authority I needed to insist on compliance. So it was my fault when things went wrong, demonstrating in his mind that a woman wasn’t really up to the task. *THIS is how women are sabotaged.*
Actually, now that I think on it, this happened in three different areas: I was given a job, given a team, male members would not cooperate (“Ain’t nobody gonna tell me what to do”) and the overseer (I can’t say boss because I was not paid) would complain that things weren’t being done in a timely manner but would refuse to give me the authority needed to get the job done. (By “authority” I mean telling the bums “If you won’t do this, I will find someone else who will” type of authority.) The bums always prevailed.
This had nothing to do with celebrity and actually, the pastor was the most cooperative. It was the Number Two man in that chain who was the obstruction.
Maybe you would have to experience it to understand it.
***I’m not minimizing the problem of misogamy(sic) and the experience of women. And your are right as a man, I don’t understand how a woman feels.***
Your statement that ***I truly believe the issue of misogamy (sic) in the church would be minimized if not eliminated if the celebrity church culture would go away first. *** does not simply minimize the problem but, in fact, fundamentally fails to recognize the causes of misogyny.
Also, Xenia never said you don’t understand how a woman feels. She said she does not believe you understand the problem. I agree with her.
By the way, as me and the misogynist sat up in the control room directing the show… I mean service- he’d comment on the shape of certain female praise team members and comment that they shouldn’t be on the stage.
Xenia, so i take it the misogynist was buff, had an expensive gym membership and…. well that’s enough to make my point… Im sure today you’d have a good, Holy Spirit empowered rebuke for that fella…. me too. ?
He was a middle-aged fat guy.
When I left, I had a few words of advice for the gentleman.
You mean the Paparazzi? Forgive me for being ignorant, but what kind of church has an entire team of camera people? You make my point better than me.
Steve, at the end when I was going to Ocean Hill’s, led by Ship Heitzig, I was doing OHCC on Sat and Lutheran on Sundays. In passing, , I mentioned to the lady who headed the media ‘ministry’s that it would be good if we brought the kids into the worship service to sit with their parents and learn how to do church. She was horrified, turned pale and told me “no, no, it would be too distracting on the video.
Steve, you absolutely do not understand my point.
Speaking of video, media and how women are treated, I just spent the past 3 hours at the surgery center waiting for my wife to get some stuff done.
Now I have no regular TV – just Netflix, Hulu and MLB.TV – and the TV is never on during the day. But today in the waiting room I was treated to 3 hrs of daytime tv – talk shows.
I could not figure out if they were just mocking or mocking and demeaning women – especially black women. Does anyone have insight why women watch such programming?
Did you notice all the lawyer commercials and commercials for trade schools/colleges/etc? At least that’s what I noticed when I’ve had the misfortune of having to watch the dumpster fire that is daytime TV.
I think the last time I watched daytime TV was in the late 60’s when I couldn’t wait to get home from school to watch Dark Shadows.
I sort of understand your point but I’m purposely not going there because I think there is a bigger point which I think you may agree. You even referred to your service as some kind of show. That is the kind of stuff that is my concern and it seems it was yours as well. But for what its worth, I concede I understand nothing.
Actually, given his last comment, I think Steve understands better than he lets on and is just willfully trolling at this point.
Re: Beth Moore and this back and forth…I can only speak for myself..I’ve learned a tough lesson or two along the way about speaking for others and assuming I know what other people go through in life. I am learning that I can’t know what other groups of people experience, unless I walk in their shoes. Of course I am not able to do that without some serious medical and chemical intervention.
So my choice is to let them speak for themselves instead of applying my own filter or narrative to their experiences. Not saying anyone here is doing that, but saying like I stated above that I’m only speaking for myself. I will listen instead of evaluate.
Good words Dan.
I think we do dislike the same things. 🙂
My argument is that one problem is not always the result of the other problem.
Sometimes, but not always.
Dan’s words are indeed good words, but lets hope we dont confuse attempts to understand, to learn lessons ourselves with judging – we need to walk softly, but thoughtfully, perhaps?
Em, that’s true.
Good conversation here folks!
#68 – exactly…. Your observation reminds of a discussion with a neighbor long years ago about a neighborhood child – he excelled in mischief that others got blamed for. The neighbor, more kind than me said that she thought he was compensating for being a bit shorter than his brothers. I replied that reasons are not excuses. He’d beaned another child with a good sized rock – again…
I guess i still feel that way. If you can spot the reason, you may be able to fix the problem… but excuse it? Not usually, sometimes perhaps, but…
I do think the issue in evangelical circles with women is the complementarian perspective as opposed to the egalitarian. The issues Xenia and Beth Moore have expressed are all in the backdrop of ‘women need to submit to men’ and ‘men should never have to sit under the authority of a woman.’ As Moore said, it is an issue of ungodliness and sin. The only course is to agree and repent or disagree and dig in. The latter will result in greater pain and schism. I teach in public schools and am surrounded by capable, intelligent, dynamic women. My principal is a woman. Yet in the church, I was surrounded by women who were capable, intelligent, and static–not empowered and encouraged. Women who were ‘something’ in the work place, but in the worship place, were something less.
Filbertz you expressed this idea well and I agree. However its not just that women are told to submit to men but other lower ranking men in the church are also forced to submit to the the vision casting, “Moses modeling”, narcissistic, nepotistic, autocratic leadership and the consequences can sometimes be more severe for men than women for non compliance. Although, I can have a degree of sympathy for Beth Moore and how she was treated by men, I honestly think her own delivery of her God given visions can potentially have the same consequences to others that she herself may be experiencing. So for me, whether is a man or a women telling me I need to follow their lead is the problem. I personally will never follow Beth Moore. I don’t like her teaching.
There is a women in our church that loves to be in the spot light and take charge. She has not formal leadership standing and I do have problems submitting to her. It has nothing to do with her being a woman but everything to do with me not agreeing with her most of the time. Its something for women to think about. Its not always a gender thing. It could be something else.
***There is a women in our church that loves to be in the spot light and take charge. She has not formal leadership standing and I do have problems submitting to her. It has nothing to do with her being a woman but everything to do with me not agreeing with her most of the time. Its something for women to think about. Its not always a gender thing. It could be something else.***
I don’t understand how you could be so dismissive of Xenia’s experience running the control booth in her church and erroneously claim it backs up your believe that celebrity cause misogyny and yet expect your own personal experience to be worth considering. Xenia was quite specific about her experience,y you are very vague. Xenia clearly delineated the actions that she found inappropriate, but you’re just asking us to believe that your unspecific, unillustrated assessment of this woman is accurate.
Even if what you described was accurate, it doesn’t speak to the situations Beth Moore and Xenia found themselves in. Unlike the woman you spoke of, Beth and Xenia are both intelligent, capable women who are qualified to do what they do but are/were still not respected for it. That’s misogyny.
You seem to be arguing about an issue entirely different than the one Beth Moore and Xenia were talking about.
I’m not dismissing Xenia’s experience at all. Quite the contrary. By the way lumping Moore and Xenia in the same category is completely unfair to Xenia. I have way more respect for Xenia than Beth Moore which I have very little. I completely believe Xenia’s story. My point is this kind of treatment is to be expected in that kind of church. Seriously the cameras are a dead give away. Please understand, I’m not advocating going to this kind of church. Seriously, the church was clearly not egalitarian. It may have been complementarian but more likely leaning patriarchal. This is a huge problem as Filbertz mentioned but far from the only problem.
The woman I spoke of in my church is HIGHLY intelligent. WAY more educated than me and EXTREMELY gifted. You put false words of my description about her. However, I don’t agree with her on much. To me she is EXTREMELY liberal and I just can’t submit to this and have shouldn’t have to. My conscience won’t allow it. By the way, our church does have women ministers that I feel very comfortable following and submitting to.
You don’t describe the way in which you’re being asked to submit so it’s hard to judge the situation.
Also, re: Beth Moore, whether you like her or agree with her or not, it is not unreasonable for her to expect a basic degree of human decency from evangelical men–to not have strangers comment on her physical appearance as if that has something to do with her abilities as a teacher, to actually say hello to her and acknowledge her presence when she’s the only woman at the conference instead of the men all just talking to each other, to not blame her when men choose to attend her conferences or use her training material, to deal with the substance of her teachings of you disagree with them instead of focusing on her gender.material
She’s not asking that men submit to her. She’s asking that they treat her with the basic respect they should treat anyone with.
I’m sorry for the typos. The updated keyboard and autocorrect on my tablet is kicking my butt.
Ok, the lady in our church stood up in front of the congregation and asked us all to fill out a commitment letter on how we were going to be better Christians. She was tasked with worship and she decided to do this instead of doing a responsive hymn after the sermon. To me completely inappropriate with this kind of exhortation that was a boasting in ourselves instead of boasting in the Lord. BTW the sermon which was wonderful was delivered by a women about boasting in the Lord all to be ruined by this fiasco. Go figure.
yes, I have a degree of sympathy of Beth Moore as I stated but she is not asking it from me. She would definitely be respected at my church but she wouldn’t be given a platform. That I am confident of. She is asking for this decency from other vision casting pastors in her own camp. My suggestion to her is leave this camp because these folks aren’t going to change.
The situation you described doesn’t seem at all relevant to the issue of misogyny in the church. It’s pretty easy for you to just not do what she asked, and if she keeps standing up and making inappropriate announcements that she was not asked to make you can either continue to ignore them or email the pastor and express your concerns. This lady being a woman doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the situation.
I’m Beth Moore’s case, it would make sense for her to leave, but she shouldn’t have to. Even in that complimentarian or patriarchal world, she hasn’t actually done anything wrong. She’s conducted herself within the bounds of their teachings on gender roles but is still treated badly. That’s misogyny, and it will continue to be misogyny even if she leaves. To some degree, one could make the case that it’s misogynistic to expect her to leave when she’s done nothing wrong rather than to expect the men in her movement to stop being jerks or clarify their theology to explain where she’s acted inappropriately.
First of all, we don’t have a pastor so your comment about emailing the pastor makes no sense at all all. We are looking for a pastor and even if we find one, the pastor isn’t the CEO in my church. You don’t get what I am saying at all. We don’t have this chain of command authority.
And because we don’t have a pastor this women, that I spoke about sometimes tries to fill in that gap which is wrong and causes big problems. She knows I don’t agree with her and it causes tension. It most certainly is related to the topic at hand. She feels she is not being respected as a women but that is her perspective which may be true at home but not at church at all. You accused me of saying she was not intelligent or capable and I wonder way you did that? Were you assuming I am a misogynist as well?
***You accused me of saying she was not intelligent or capable and I wonder way you did that?***
You’re really reading into what I said, although I can understand why you might have read it that way. When I commented on Xenia and Moore’s intelligence and capability, I was not intending to speak to the woman at your church’s lack of such. I took your statement about her lack of training as to a lack of her qualification to hold the role she is apparently trying to hold.
I clearly don’t understand how your church is run. You don’t have a pastor? You don’t have a chain of command? Do you have anyone in charge? Do you have any defined roles? I can certainly understand how someone who is prone to taking charge would try to take charge in a situation like that. Particularly if they didn’t feel like others were stepping up to the plate. Again, that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with being a woman. In general, I could understand why she might feel people are rejecting her take charge attempts because of her gender, but I definitely know in such cases sexism does not always or even often play a part. Although, if she really is, as you say, “HIGHLY intelligent. WAY more educated than me and EXTREMELY gifted” then maybe it isn’t actually inappropriate for her to be trying to lead in a situation where your church finds itself leaderless. Again, to reiterate, Xenia was very clear about her situation; your description of your situation is and has been very vague and I don’t feel like outsiders can form any sort of reasonable judgement based on your words alone. Given what you’ve described, I cannot assume the woman is in the wrong, and I can’t even assume that her being a woman doesn’t play some part in your assessment of her actions.
But again, the situation you describe is so different than what Xenia and Beth Moore are describing. Xenia was placed by her church into a position of leadership then not given the authority to execute her role properly or hold the men who were placed under her authority to account.
In Beth Moore’s situation, she’s never sought to teach men, she’s only focused on women. The men who have sat under her teaching have done so of their own volition. The mixed gender conferences she’s spoke at she has been invited to. But she’s still being treated as if she’s done something wrong.
I can tell that Steve is a young buck – he thinks he can win these arguments with the ladies. Steve, come back and talk to me when you put on a few years. 🙂
I am curious about the lady in Steve’s church – ” and asked us all to fill out a commitment letter on how we were going to be better Christians.”
Wouldn’t it be unchristian to even fill out the card? Does anyone think they can become “a better” Christian?
MLD, you are right there is no winning. I have a lot to learn.
j2peterson, where did I say she has lack of training? “I took your statement about her lack of training as to a lack of her qualification”
She has lots of training its just from one of the most liberal seminaries around.
Steve, well don’t take it as a special epiphany – just realize that when they speak of women’s issues and feelings they are right – we men are block heads and don’t understand – take it from someone who has been with the same woman 50 yrs.
Let’s stick to topics like “what the heck is going on with the Dodgers this year?!!” 🙂
***j2peterson, where did I say she has lack of training? “I took your statement about her lack of training as to a lack of her qualification”***
***She has not formal leadership standing***
Training was the wrong word.
Out of curiousity. What is your church? It has no pastor right now and even if it did he wouldn’t be in charge, it has no chain of command, but somehow this particular woman has no formal leadership standing, but you make it sound like nobody does. It’s hard to see what the issue with her behavior is given the lack of structure you’re describing, and it’s also hard to see how you’re being asked or pressured to “submit” to her when she’s not in charge. It’s also hard to not suspect that the apparent lack of defined roles in your church is playing into the issue you currently have.
It’s actually really hard to see, given the things you have said about your current church situation and your description of the woman, why she wouldn’t be qualified to exercise a leadership role during the time you are looking for a pastor. And I still don’t see how your experience with her at all speaks to the situations of Xenia and Beth Moore.
MLD, you probably made the wisest comment on this post. With that, this block head is checking out for now. Speaking of baseball, how about those mets (batting out of order?) someone needs to wake these men up!
“She has lots of training its just from one of the most liberal seminaries around”
Which highlights another problem.
We deny certain people access to the best conservative scholarship, and then villify them when they go to a “liberal” school.
Oh, I long for the day when we can simply say “scholarship” without the labels of “liberal” or “conservative”. Real scholarship should be able to stand on its own without labels… but we may have missed that train a long time ago.
Yeah, what IS up with the Dodgers and Mets?!? And howz bout those Braves? Is that un-PC? And why does ESPN think the world revolves around the yankees and Red Sox?…hey, lets just fold all other teams and let the yankees and Red Sox play each other all summer…
In an attempt to agree more completely with Steve, let me say that I can’t stand celebrity Christians, either. I went to Ms. Moore’s web site and was quite turned off by the glamour photos and the “Beth Live!” advertisements.
We deny certain people access to the best conservative scholarship, and then villify them when they go to a “liberal” school.
No one is being denied any scholarship. My sister is currently enrolled in an MDiv program nearby at a great seminary. There is no discrimination I know of.
And, after thinking on it, I think the fact that my old church had a TV show and a camera team was a symptom of a greater problem which included misogyny. My old pastor was not a celebrity but it was important that he be heard by as many people as possible, including people outside our church. I am not sure this connects with his #2 man’s misogyny, though, but hubris is hubris. It says “I am more important than you are,” be it man>woman or the pastor’s teachings> the teachings of your own pastor. So pride is the root of it all.
I wish to add to my #94 that I was just as guilty (if not more so) of pride as all the rest of the people involved in my TV-production story. That particular culture somehow feeds one’s tendency towards pridefulness.
MLD. The Dodgers are getting killed with injuries. Hopefully, your favorite Wrestlers are at least winning. Miss the “good old days” of The Destroyer, Freddie Blassie, and Bobo Brazil.
Xenia, Thank you! As I stated I don’t think its fair at all to put you and Beth Moore in the same category at all. I guess you are both women but that seems to be about where the similarities end.
Steve, we are both sisters in Christ so we have that in common. 🙂
I have attended a lot of churches up to this half point in my life. In each church saving most recent 2 there was misogyny either by way of adulterous pastors or pastors and elders abusing the Sheep by way of neglect or dismissiveness or inequitable Employment Practices like paying the woman teaching two grades in the Academy less than the men who teach one. So I’m not really holding my breath for the church I attend now. Misogyny is systemic, not derivative and has been a problem since the fall. As this world waxes its way towards its end, IMO, we will see misogyny increase and we will see women unable to overcome it, even given the #me-too movement. When American culture, in just 20 years, has gone from Sarah McLachlan to Linda Sarsour it does not bode well. In my opinion, it has a lot to do with the church’s inability to flesh out the equity that Christ provided women in his church. Maybe it’s our inability to understand the portions of scripture where Paul spoke from his opinion or where he spoke to cultural differences, and where Paul was speaking expressly by the Holy Spirit. In any case, as Michael pointed out, as cultural Christianity has been shattered lawlessness has increased. It’s our own doing.
We’ve cut off our feet and our hands and we are resembling something of a cacophony of moralisms.
My current parish is so low-tech that we don’t have an internet connection or even a microphone. We have some electric lights…..
I am thankful for having escaped the church techie world and now content myself with washing dishes and holding babies at church.
I don’t know about Beth Moore. My wife wasn’t a fan of her brand or what she says were pretexts to support her presuppositions.
I just think ANY ONE person making the kind of money she does from peddling her materials is doing something very very deceptive in the church.
I don’t know what she does with her money but I have my doubts it’s going back to the coiffers of other Ministries. But what do I know?
“No one is being denied any scholarship.”
Yes they are. Read all that is going on with the Paige Patterson situation.
I used the “conservative” label in response to Steve’s “liberal”, but I do think there is a different mindset between schools that accept the Bible as God’s Word, and those who don’t but study it in a strictly academic sense.
“and asked us all to fill out a commitment letter on how we were going to be better Christians.”
I submit that this is what is taught in Evangelicalism in so many words, in one way, shape or form or another, if attention is paid.
I wonder if “rest in Jesus” would’ve been an acceptable answer…
Joel G – that was the reason for my comment above. What can we do? If Jesus is in the business of making Christians, what are we to say – he didn’t do it right? He didn’t finish the job?
The evangelical team T Shirt says “DO” – mine says “Done”.
Again, no fan of Beth Moore’s teaching. Wouldn’t recomend it to anyone.
I’ve been in her circles for colse to 20 years now, with leading worship, friends that work for her and know her, etc.
I’ve never heard anyone accuse her of any kind of dishonesty or worng doing. (Some ODM’s call her a heretic, but no moral accusations.)
She is a conference speaker and author, NOT he pastor of a church. Keep that in mind before passing judgement on her character.
I’m very late to the discussion. In fact I have been silent for a long time for a variety of reasons. And I hope this is not out of place. I am always interested by discussions about worship, style, traditions in church, whether or not it is cultural or counter cultural, etc. I am a baptist of the SBC type whatever that means. But my education is certainly broader than Baptist.
I started training for the ministry in 1973. Most of my reading and those of the greatest influence on me were Anglican, Reformed, Lutheran, and even a few Methodists (which I was one until I was 11) I have never been satisfied with church life or worship, perhaps it is because of those influences. There is a majesty in the writings of the reformers and the Anglicans, and many of the Presbyterian writers. The changes that started in the 1980s to the present seem to have very little to do with worship.
Someone made reference to the Baptist Hymnal. Until very recently, the Baptist Hymnal was not so different from other denominations. Most of our hymns were reformation hymns which origins were from the 17th to the middle 19th century. My favorite hymn remains until this day, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” From the middle of the 19th century, we started collecting Gospel Songs because of the influence of Revivalism.
In the past, hymns and songs were chosen for their appropriateness to the worship that day and at certain points of the service. To me that is what is missing in today’s Baptist churches. I have a friend, who is pastor of a county seat church in Mississippi. His church still follows the older way of doing things and yet sing new songs at the appropriate times in the worship service. But his way is going by the way side.
I don’t have to tell you that most of today’s worship is designed to stir the emotions and has very little to do with the mind. Music leaders and psychological manipulators. It seems to be the way of our society. It is interesting to me that this pattern of discontent with church and worship goes back to the beginnings of the early church. It is what made them susceptible to all kinds of heretical movements. And there came a time when being different was a dangerous thing in the eyes of those who had absolute power.
One might say in this framework, the Reformation was a counter-cultural move against cultural Christianity. That counter-cultural movement became another form of cultural Christianity. Repetition of cultural habits get old and lose their appeal as culture changes. Christian worship has always had an element of common culture in it. I try to remind myself of this when I start gripping about today’s church–where we are members has the coffee bar, the big screens and the typical black box building, and it somewhat irritates me. My biggest problem is not in the style of the music but in the shallowness of it all–says he who is about as shallow as they come.
I think I agree with Augustine, Lewis, and others that says discontent, longing for something deeper, are signs and even a drawing toward something far greater. The worship found in Isaiah 6 includes a response that most of us would fear experiencing. The worship in the book of Revelation is a far cry different than any church I know. But would it get old? I find it interesting that in Revelation it is a new heaven and a new earth. God declares I am making all things new. It has been suggested the act of making all things new is continual, always new. Maybe that is what our discontent wants. A renewed people with nothing gets old. Maybe we are just simply drawn to home.
Well said…thank you.
Randy does have good thoughts.
Yes they are. Read all that is going on with the Paige Patterson situation.
Josh, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I don’t walk in these circles so I wasn’t aware. However, none of this effects me or those around me other than its a black eye on evangelicals and Christians in general.
Steve, my point is that women have sometimes been blocked from the best conservative (sorry Duane) seminaries. Which you see is true. It certainly could have affected the woman who you said went to a very liveral seminary.
Josh, like I was saying, I am leery because it seems like she is pedaling gospel ish materials, making millions, maybe some heresy it, Etc. But in the end what do I know? I trust the opinion of my praying wife who is spirit-led. She’s not ripping her to pieces.
descended, the teaching is light-weight poppy Gospel stuff. No heresy. I have no clue how much money she makes. I’m sure she does OK financially. I’m not against someone making a good living, if all done honestly. She isn’t taking tithes.
One could argue the problem with the lightweight poppy aspect of her material is directly tied to the low regard women are often held in within evangelical circles–that they don’t get better teachers and better material because they are regarded as not worthy to attend seminary or have the time and attention invested in them education-wise that men are.
Josh, where I live there are some very good seminaries that I don’t believe discriminate. I’m not judging this lady for going to the seminary she choose which is also nearby but it would be completely naive of her to think many in our congregation would some how except those credentials to assume any kind of authority or leadership. She also knows that. She is one smart cookie and I like her a lot. Just very much disagree with her. There is a reason she isn’t in official leadership in our church as other women are is simply our congregational members I doubt would allow it.
I entered New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1978 and we had a number of women there. We had a whole dorm full of women and I gather they still do. Most of them were counseling majors,education, music, and those going into missions. There were a few MDIV female students. There was one woman in the ThD program. She was in Old Testament and I was in Systematic Theology and Church History. I did attend her ordination. The last I heard she moved to California and taught adjunct at Fuller. Well we had more than one women in the ThD program. We have one woman who was a Catholic professor at one of the local Catholic colleges in New Orleans. As far as I know none of the sought to be pastors. And I do not remember any of them being treated in the way described but then I can’t say because I was not around them all the time. I’m not sure how far back women students were at NOBTS, but Dorothy Patterson, the wife of Paige Patterson is a graduate of NOBTS. So is Page.
j2 – Exactly.
I used to teach in our CC’s women’s ministry. I hate to say this, but most of the women seemed to want light-weight snuggle-up-in-Jesus’-lap type of teachings, which I was not very good at delivering. At the women’s retreat we had terrible, simply TERRIBLE teachings from visiting pastors’ wives. Bordering on heresy. Being me, I reported back to the pastor who kind of shrugged it off with the “eat the meat and spit out the bones” advice common in those circles. I guess he thought he taught us well enough on Sunday mornings that we’d all be equipped to spot whackadoodle theology. But nope, the women were all agog. I would complain and told (very politely) that I shouldn’t be such a critic, that these pastors’ wives were being used by the Lord, etc. Yep, they were used by the Lord! Used to move me right out of that system!
I understand your differentiation, but for me it’s sort of like music – there’s good music and bad music. There’s good scholarship and bad scholarship. The other attached labels are less than helpful and often serve as excuses… Just my opinion.
***At the women’s retreat we had terrible, simply TERRIBLE teachings from visiting pastors’ wives. Bordering on heresy. Being me, I reported back to the pastor who kind of shrugged it off with the “eat the meat and spit out the bones” advice common in those circles.***
I wonder how he would have responded if someone had brought up a similar issue about the men’s retreat.
J2 & Xenia, I don’t think men’s studies or conferences to the general Christian public are any more robust than the ladies. Years ago going to CC offerings where Ken Graves was the toughest man on the block, they would have 8 speakers who would toss around many bible passages and never make a theological point.
Worse yet, groups like Promise Keepers were nothing more than societal behavior modification seminars as the Christian really is the promise breaker and the only promise keeper is Jesus.
I’ll take your word on that, MLD. I don’t go to Christian conferences anyway–men’s, women’s, or mixed. I don’t know how much theology one could actually learn from those sorts of things anyway. You probably need to study on a regular basis in order to actually learn and retain stuff–not just go to a one off event.
Speaking of conferences, that lady I spoke of in my church is actually addicted to going to all the latest and greatest seminars and conferences all over the country on all kinds of church building/growing techniques, etc. She must go to 20 of these things a year. Its insane. Its a world I am not a part of but it sounds like the evangelical industrial complex to me.
#123 – ? it sounds like being busy, participation in the “industry,” not God, gives the lady’s life meaning, definition and purpose… hope that’s not true
I think the purpose of retreats is to be inspired, not necessarily receiving serious Bible teachings. We have them in the Orthodox Church, too: Lenten retreats, with monks for speakers and vegan food for refreshment.
@119 – I think there are limits to that, though. I mean, Bart Ehrman teaches at the UNC Religion Dept. I would think that would be a much different education than one “for believers, by believers”. Ya know?
Promise Keepers: during their heyday I bought into the whole “accountability/iron-sharpens-iron/let’s have a men’s retreat with well-known athlete as speaker” line…but never actually attended a PK event. Just couldn’t get into the whole “RAH RAH YAY GOD!” thing with thousands of smelly, sweaty guys acting overly holy while hugging everyone in sight…most of whom went back to their vices within a month or two. Some sooner. And the men’s retreats thing? Went to one back in 1999 or 2000. Vowed never to go again. Was totally ignored by all the married-with-kids guys who’s ability to talk was stunted if any topic other than sports/business/their kids came up.
Promise keepers should be taught in the formative years… You’d have a hard time recruiting adult males to.the regimen it would take to redirect their behavior patterns – women also… We like to affirm the ideals, but that doesn’t take us there, doesit? We don’t even apply the admonition to renew our minds -. all our lives, one day at a time. It is in part because of the times we’re now living in, i know… Or so it seems to me…. ?