Jesus, life, war on women

Purple Reign

I’ve been prompted to share an excerpt from my Bible study today, so go get your Bible.

Before you open it, answer this question:  Who was created first, Adam or Eve?

You said “Adam,” right? Everyone does.

Now read Genesis 1:26-27, 31.

Who was created first?

That’s right, they were both created AT THE SAME TIME!

Together. On the sixth day.

Why does almost everyone answer incorrectly?

This might shed some light:  Look at Genesis 1:11-13.  When were plants created?

Now read Genesis 2:1-7.  According to verses 4-7, when did the plants “spring up”?

Not until after man was placed in the garden to care for them.

I love to host Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  I spend many happy hours poring over recipes in order to create the perfect menu.  The menu is completed weeks before the meal is actually prepared.  Long before the first potato is mashed, I know exactly what will be on the table.

The point is, God created everything in those 6 days but some of what He created didn’t appear until later.  As soon as He speaks something into existence, it exists, even if it cannot yet be seen.   Take a minute to think of other things that God spoke into existence long before they appeared on the earth?  What comes to your mind?

This concept is key because many think God created man first and woman was an afterthought – someone created later to fulfill man’s need.

That misunderstanding has caused a lot of pain and suffering and is a big factor in sex trafficking.

The important truth is, we were created at the same time.   

If you’re still not convinced, look closely at the third phrase of Genesis 1:27.

What does it say?

What pronoun is used?

Yep, the pronoun is plural.  Them. Two were created.

According to Genesis 1:26-28, why was “man” (humankind) created?

See? Woman wasn’t created for man; man and woman were created together to represent God’s image. Stop and think about that for a minute.

List some words that describe God’s image:

One of the words on my list is royal.  After all, He is the King of Kings.

What is the royal color?

We were created purple.

What color do you get when you combine blue and pink?

It takes both male and female combined to represent His image.

Both pink and blue are an equal and integral part of God’s royal image.  Woman can never be purple alone and neither can man.  It takes both, working together, to fully represent the image of God.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NIV

Genesis 1:28a says, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”

God blessed us and spoke His purposes for us as a unit – before we were separated.  These purposes were for purple, not for pink or blue alone.

Read the rest of Genesis 2.

In verse 15, the Hebrew word that has been translated “take care of” or “keep,” depending on your version, is shamar, which means “to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect.”

If everything God created was good, from what/whom did the garden need to be protected?

If you said, “Satan” then you are correct.

Hold that thought and move on to verse 18: “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” [emphasis added]

Why did things go from “very good” in Genesis 1:31 to “not good” here?

I wondered so I looked. And I discovered that a more accurate translation of verse 18a would be “It is not good for the man to be as one.”

The word for helper here is the Hebrew word ‘ezer.  ‘Ezer appears 19 times in the OT and in all but one occurrence it is used in reference to divine help, as in:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

So when did the church twist divine help into subservient help?

God is our helper, but He is certainly not our servant.

Some translations call woman a “suitable” helper, King James calls her a “help meet.”

The Hebrew word translated “suitable” or “help meet” is neged.  The definition:  “in front of, in the sight or presence of, before the eyes of, face to face.”

Man and woman existed together as part of the “mankind” God created on day 6 and formed in chapter 2, all wrapped up into one.

Now God was about to separate them out so they could see one another face to face.  They would no longer be as one. Now they would be two, representing God face-to-face, side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder.

(I’ll tell you about the fabled rib tomorrow.)

You’re not in a hurry are you, because I am about to pull it all together.

God created mankind in His image and His image is triune.  Three separate but equal parts.  Therefore it makes sense that man and woman would be separate but equal parts.

I love Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. I had it engraved on the inside of my first husband’s wedding band. (Oh well.)

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.” Separate but entwined we are stronger than if we had remained as one.

I believe things went from “very good” to “not good” because there was an enemy lurking against whom we would have to defend ourselves.

Look back at Genesis 1:27-28 and 2:15.  God gave us two purposes – represent His image on earth and protect His garden (Genesis 2:15) by subduing His enemy (Genesis 1:28).

The word subdue in Genesis 1:28 is the Hebrew word kabash.  It means “to subject, force, bring into bondage, tread under foot.” If everything was good at that point, what on earth would need to be “forced, tread down, brought into bondage,” except His enemy?

So let’s recap: God created mankind purple. But there was an enemy lurking so He separated us out into pink and the blue and then what did He do at the end of the chapter?

He entwined us right back together again.

God entwined the wisdom of woman with the strength of man because two can defend better than one.  He intended for us to join arms and conquer the enemy – parents protecting their families, congregations protecting their communities, the church at large protecting the world.

We have a purpose people.

In what ways do you dream of joining arms with your present or future spouse (and/or church) to represent God in your community and keep the enemy at bay?

The hub and I dream of owning a lodge where we can host retreats and minister to anyone who needs spiritual refreshment.  (He would do that by taking them fishing.) The lodge would have a large kitchen where I would cook for our guests, nourishing them physically as well as spiritually.  I dream of it being a place where young adults can learn to eat well and love well.  I see it as God’s peaceful presence in whatever community He sets it.  Excuse me while I create some menus…

  • Excerpted from Spider Lake © 2010 Julie Hintz

#purple

Standard
Light, war on women

Well, Well, Well

IMG_1843

I smiled as I read the first half of John 4 yesterday, perhaps you will, too.

Jesus was trying to fly under the radar, so when the Pharisees caught wind of Him, He left the Judean countryside and headed back to Galilee.

He was traveling through Samaria when He sat down at a well around noon to rest.

The well was deserted, all except for the lone woman who came to draw water.  Why was she filling her water jugs in the heat of the day?  Why hadn’t she gone in the cool of the morning?  Why didn’t she wait for the cool of the evening?  Years ago Max Lucado pointed out that she was likely trying to avoid her gossiping, judgmental, shaming neighbors.

I don’t blame her.

But here’s one of the things I love about Jesus in this encounter:

He didn’t shame her.

He just matter-of-factly told her the truth about herself. And He asked her for a drink of water.

He let her be helpful; He let her be needed; He let her matter.

And then He told her a secret: “I am the Messiah.”  Whenever I read the account, I always read His words in verse 26 as a whisper.

He gave her the honor of being the first person He straight up told that He is the Messiah.

Well, well, well, imagine that, a woman!  The disciples couldn’t imagine it.  When they returned from their lunch-buying mission, they were surprised to see Jesus talking with a woman.  They sure wouldn’t.

The “godly” men at my [former] church sure wouldn’t, either.  Heck no!  And risk their “godly” standing?

But it didn’t matter what the disciples thought, it didn’t matter what they would or wouldn’t have done, or what they might have whispered amongst themselves.  The only thing that mattered was what she dropped her water jugs and ran to town to tell:

She had met the Messiah!

She RAN to the very people she had been hoping to avoid.  Because once you’ve had face time with Jesus, the opinions of people pale.  They still hurt, sometimes, but they pale.

Lots of Samaritans believed that day, some because of her testimony and some because they were intrigued enough to go meet Him.

“Women must remain silent in the church,” Paul?   So glad this woman didn’t remain silent in Samaria.

Many a happy jug-filling here at Old Faceful in Onekama, Michigan.

Many a happy jug-filling here at Old Faceful in Onekama, Michigan.

Standard
church nonsense, Light, war on women

Unveiling

Alaska

The hub read the first two chapters of Job aloud while I sipped my second cup of coffee.  Then he flipped ahead several pages and read the end of the story.

“Don’t worry,” he said.

I recognized those words as a reference to yesterday’s post which, he said, brought Job to mind.

“I know I’ve said it before,” I remarked, “but I’m always struck by the ending. Before Job’s face to face encounter with God – when his ears had heard of Him, but his eyes had not yet seen Him – back when he spoke of things he did not understand, his daughters were not in the party hosting rotation, they were always mere guests.

But after he saw God and spoke with Him face to face, he saw things more clearly. And suddenly his new daughters were named in Scripture and they were given a portion of his inheritance.”

Because once you really know God, you understand the value of women.

Which is why I am disenthralled with pastors who hold so tightly to the mis-teachings and/or mistranslations of Paul when it comes to the role of women in the church. They have heard of God, but they have not seen Him. Their knowledge of Him is limited by their loyalty to the traditions of men.  Like Job, they are going through the motions. And, like Job, I am sure they are sincere in their reverence for God. They just don’t know what they are talking about. Who they are talking about. And I have a hard time sitting in their audiences.

If those pastors had ever really seen Him, they, like Job, would completely change their minds about God’s daughters and give them an equal share of His inheritance – and an equal opportunity to host His parties.

The hub said, “Amen.”

And then he went fishing.

But before he left I told him I am asking God to unveil Himself in a mighty way in Detroit on July 25.

Being a man of action, the hub immediately made the sound of something exploding. “Maybe the statue will be struck by lighting, or disintegrate before their very eyes.”

I, being a woman of contemplation, added, “or maybe He will do the Damascus Road thing – you know, speak to the leaders of the event and ask them why they are persecuting Him.

Whether it is a spectacular external sign like the one with Elijah on Mt. Carmel, or a subtle internal movement like the one in the heart of the thief on the cross, is up to Him.

Either way, or both ways, it will be powerful.

Copyright 2015, Light & life

Standard
war on women

Jesus, Juxtaposed

The stuff I was thinking yesterday got my daughter thinking, too:

Two weeks ago I was sitting in church watching an annual update video, the kind that lets you know what God has been doing through the community and whom He’s been reaching. I find that one of the beautiful things about a large church (there are plenty of beautiful things about small churches, too) is that so many people are out there serving the kingdom in so many ways that it’s impossible to even be aware of everything that’s going on until one of these videos comes along. I love these videos. This most recent one highlighted a new global partner, a group of people in Nepal who are rescuing girls from sex trafficking, loving them, and empowering them:

“Ramesh and his team rescue girls who have been trafficked into prostitution and slavery and turn them into church planters and community builders.”

I wish I could show you the original video announcing the partnership with Ramesh and his team, the one that’s more of a mini-documentary about what these people are doing over there instead of just a few lines, but my google search came up empty.

I will tell you this, what’s happening in Nepal has Jesus all over it.

When women are valued and allowed to take on positions of leadership to transform their communities and the kingdom, the Holy Spirit is present.

But all of this couldn’t help but make me think about another video, one I viewed years ago that stands in harsh juxtaposition to the one in the annual update. The video is called A Good Soldier, and it features former Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll talking about the requirements for a church planter.  For nine minutes, Mark uses the words “man” and “men” over and over and over again, speaking of women only to say that although 60% of Christians are women and that he’s glad that women are loving Jesus, we need men.

Mark doesn’t believe that women are called or qualified to plant churches, and that’s a shame. I watched the video again this morning to refresh my memory, and I honestly wish I hadn’t. It was hard to do so without vomiting. It felt like poison. The synopsis I gave spared you a lot of the macho, misogynistic details, but if you want to view it for yourself you can do so (at your own risk) here: https://youtu.be/JIrIKbCz3n4.

I’ll tell you this, the Jesus I know is nowhere to be found.

It absolutely breaks my heart knowing that many Christians would consider the second video to be more in line with God’s will than the first.

Something needs to change.

Amen, sister.

You can read more from my girl here:  I’ll Return to Biblical Womanhood

Standard
Light, war on women

It’s Simple

I read Mugisha Charles’ post this morning on the history of the Azusa Street Revival, and these few sentences made me smile:

“People of all ages flocked to Los Angeles with both skepticism and a desire to participate. The intermingling of races and the group’s encouragement of women in leadership was remarkable, as 1906 was the height of the “Jim Crow” era of racial segregation, and fourteen years prior to women receiving suffrage in the United States.”

In  the aftermath of Ferguson, Baltimore and now the tragedy in Charleston, there is much talk of healing our racial divide, of coming up with solutions.  I have one, and it is simple:

God.

Laugh, scoff and dismiss, if you must, but it really is that simple.

I’ve been witnessing something very cool in a city near me:  Blacks and whites from both urban and suburban churches are coming together to revitalize the city. Some are volunteering as tutors in the elementary schools, some have started a community center – where, among many other things, students from a nearby Christian college formed a t-ball team this summer, investing in the lives of some of its youngest residents.

The Spirit brings racial unity.

As Zephaniah said, on behalf of God, “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve Him shoulder to shoulder.”

It’s going to take God purifying our laughing, scoffing, dismissing, racially inflammatory lips to get us working shoulder to shoulder doing stuff that is productive and good.

We need a revival, a move of the Spirit.

I smiled at revival’s tie to women in leadership.

And I thought of Job.

At the end of all his suffering, after he uttered those famous words, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you,” after he had an up close and personal understanding of the character of God, Scripture records this:

“The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.”

Did you catch that?  Job granted his daughters an inheritance, too.

Because once you know the character of God; once you not only know about Him, but actually know Him, you finally get that He created us in His image, male and female.  We each represent 50% of His image, and all of His image is necessary to represent Him, all of His image is necessary to lead in His causes.

I have sat in churches where half of His image is excluded from leadership and I have felt a heartbreaking, annoying, at times painful, restlessness in my spirit.  Because the Spirit just doesn’t stick around where half of Him is being dismissed, where the teachings of Paul trump the teachings of Jesus.

Want a revival in your dying church?

You might start by taking another look at the Scriptures; by dethroning Paul and making  Jesus your King.

I shared all that I was thinking this morning with my daughter and she had some really good things to add.

So I asked her to write it all down.

I’ll post her words tomorrow.

Standard
life, war on women

Trickle Down Jesus

Road Fun, Creative Commons

Road Fun, Creative Commons

If I could give just one gift to one person – money no object, but anonymously – to whom would I give it?  Well, daily prompt, let’s see…

No one is a better gift-giver than God, so I’d start there.  He gave One Gift to all of us and to each individual one of us.  Not really anonymously – His gift-giving was heralded by angels – but sort of anonymously in that some have been given the gift and don’t know it yet.

So on this eve of Christmas Eve, I would give the One Gift, too.  I would give Jesus to the head pastor of my church-with-many-campuses, in hopes that He would trickle down.  Here’s what I mean:

Sunday the hub, my daughter and I went to the urban campus for worship.  The woman leading the opening number was rocking it.  I mean ROCKING it!  It was everything you would expect from rousing African-American worship and it was a sight and sound to behold.

Then the pastor spoke of his vision for our church/community center.  He spoke of the woman caught in the act of adultery and how Jesus, kneeling in the sand, forgave her, told her to go and sin no more.  He said he wants us to be a church that kneels in the sand and shows compassion.  He wants us to be a place where the addict puts down his needle, puts down her phone….  He wants us to be a place where the gang banger can come in and say, “No one told me to pull my pants up.  But I kind of feel like I should pull my pants up…”

Now ordinarily that kind of talk would have had my heart shouting, “YeeHaw!” and my skin all goose-bumpy.  It would make me want me to stand up and cheer.  But, alas, there was none of that.  There was only the sound of a gong resounding in my ears.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

I have no doubt that the good pastor wants to be that kind of church, that he wants the Spirit to move in that city and redeem the broken.  Which is why I would give Him a trickle down of Jesus.

Yes and amen, Jesus loved and forgave the woman caught in the act of adultery.  He displayed all kinds of love to women, bestowed upon them all kinds of dignity.  I was so happy to hear His name mentioned, frankly, because it is a bit rare in our church.   And that is the problem.  The power that the pastor wants to unleash on that city comes in the name of Jesus, yet the church operates in the name of Paul.

Yes, we can be a church that kneels in the sand and forgives, but as long as we put that forgiven woman under the stranglehold of holy misogyny, we will lack any real power to make a difference.

Jesus loved women.  He created them to reveal 50% of His image and to co-labor with the other 50% of His image.  Restricting women – making them subservient to men (in a thinly veiled and “doctrinally correct” way) – just plays into the hands of the one who is trying to divide and conquer.  Or at least divide and render weak.

I know I’ve said this before – many times – but it is a drum worth beating.  Because until my pastor(s) put aside the traditions of men and embrace the whole story, we will continue to be nothing more than clanging symbols – making noise, garnering attention, and fading away…..

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

© The Reluctant Baptist, 2014

Standard
church nonsense, Light, war on women

You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

And now for the conclusion of Anne on women in ministry:

And from that day to this I have been very confident of my call.  And I’ve seen that He has made me like a strong pillar on that platform.  Because I know that He’s called me, in humility, to share His word.

You know I met a pastor one time who had a problem with the fact that I was speaking at his convention but he was brave enough to come sit on the back row and he came up to me afterward and he said, “Anne, I didn’t think you should be here today but you know what?  He said, “I was sitting back there listening to you and you know what you’ve done?  You’re just like a waitress and you’ve gone into the kitchen and you’ve prepared the food and you’ve served it to us and I want to thank you for not messing it up.”

All I can say is, “You have got to be kidding me.”

Anne recounted this with a smile and a laugh and her audience laughed, too.  But I wonder how many hearts sank.

I cannot tell you how many times I have had to sit and listen to a man “mess it up”.  This whole misogynistic bent on the Scriptures is a massive mess up.

And I thought, “You know what, when we go out to a restaurant we don’t have a problem that we’re served by a female waitress.  And so when I give out God’s word, I want to give it out faithful to the text.  I want to prepare it so that it is tasty and attractive and meaningful and relevant and then I want to serve it – to whoever God puts at my table – without messing it up.

My daughter and I interpreted the pastor’s comment differently.  I took his comment as him trying to frame her speaking in a way that was doctrinally acceptable.  As long as he could see her as a waitress serving the men a plateful of words, he was okay with it.

My daughter took it as him saying, “You, a mere waitress, went into the kitchen – where only (male) chefs belong – and prepared the meal.  I’m just glad you didn’t mess it up.

Either way the guy’s a jerk.

So, beware, if I had listened to the body language of those dear men – who I know meant well – and actually, I thank God for them because it drove me to my knees so I could settle that issue – but if I had listened to them, for over twenty years I would be stripped of probably 75% of the ministry God has given me.  And I can’t tell you the changed lives and the fruit….fade out.

Dear men who meant well?  That’s generous.  And enabling.  The men might be dear to someone, sometimes.  And they might have been sincere in their objection.  But rude behavior is rude behavior.  And there is nothing well-meaning in knocking someone down as they step up to the podium.  I wonder if they would dare behave so badly if a man with whom they disagreed was stepping up to the podium.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.  Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.”  Acts 3:19-21 NIV

God is going to restore everything back to the way He intended it to be.  Restoration is hard on the thing being restored.  For a piece of furniture to be restored, it must first be stripped down.  For a relationship to be restored, it too must be stripped down.  Restoration is also hard on the restorer.  For us to be restored, Jesus had to be stripped down and nailed to a cross.  I believe God is beginning to strip down and restore some of the erroneous teachings of the church with regard to women.

“For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”  1 Peter 4:17

Restoration will be hard on the church, but we have to get it right before there is any hope for anyone else.  Let’s be part of the solution dear reader.

Standard