Spiritual Leader is home in bed

A Baptist deacon didn’t like what I had said in my letter to the editor so he shot back with his own letter in which he said “The man of the house is the spiritual leader and is responsible of seeing his family loves the Lord and accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior.”

My reply was printed in the newspaper:

“I tried to find the scriptures that tell women that their husbands are their spiritual leaders, but there aren’t any. Look around in church on Sunday morning. You’ll see that the “spiritual leaders” are still home in bed, while the wife and the kids got up and went to church. Guess he will tell her about Jesus when she gets home.”

Monday we will begin the series “Reclaiming our equality.” This will give you step by step ways that you can speak up for women’s equality and usher in a new day for women in the church and in their homes.

We have been without a plan. We have voices coming from all over, but we have not formulated a plan. Until we begin a systematic effort, it will remain voices calling out in the dark, with no focus and no direction.

Meet me here Monday and let’s get to work!

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Birthright – gone! Now what?

Genesis 27:38:40

 Esau said to his father, “Do you really have only one blessing, Father? Bless me too, my father!” And Esau wept loudly.

His father Isaac responded and said to him,

“Now, you will make a home
    far away from the olive groves of the earth,
        far away from the showers of the sky above.
 You will live by your sword;
        you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless, 
you will tear away his harness
from your neck.”

The story moves from Esau to Jacob. What happened in Esau’s life? At what point did he “grow restless” and how did he tear away the harness from his neck?

I don’t know, but what I do know is that Esau found his strength and became mature in the twenty years that Jacob was gone. It is that strength and maturity that women have found also. We have begun building up our own herds and gathering our army, not to do harm, but as a witness of whom we have become.

We have grown restless. This is our wealth. These are our gifts.

If you, too, are restless, and are ready to tear away the harness of male headship from your neck, speak up! Now is the time! Next post we will tell you how.

 

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What equality for Christian women will look like

People have asked me “what does women’s equality look like for you?” Since churches and denominations have their own set of restrictions against women in ministry, each person’s picture would look different. In the next few blogs we will show you what is happening in Christendom right now regarding women’s equality.

This, the beginning of the series, is what I envision women’s equality to look like, so it is actually the end result. Be sure to read the post before this one which began with Jacob and Esau.

Jacob, through deception and opportunity, stole the birthright of his twin brother Esau. Esau was guilty of dismissing the importance of his birthright. This analogy has Jacob representing men who pushed women aside even though men and women were both firstborn in the New Creation, and set to inherit the goods and possessions of the Father. Esau represents women who now realize that they gave up their most valuable inheritance.

Esau who had allowed his birthright to be stolen, met his brother with his own set of gifts and forgiveness. Women, all of whom have had their Newbirth right stolen, can do the same.

Beginning the journey

  1. Gather your gifts
  2. Bring along your army of supporters
  3. Go with forgiveness
  4. Offer reconciliation

Esau gathered his gifts, and his army of 400 men and went to meet his brother.

Genesis 33:8-12 Common English Bible (CEB)

8 Esau said, “What’s the meaning of this entire group of animals that I met?”

Jacob said, “To ask for my master’s kindness.”

Esau said, “I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what’s yours.”

10 Jacob said, “No, please, do me the kindness of accepting my gift. Seeing your face is like seeing God’s face, since you’ve accepted me so warmly. 11 Take this present that I’ve brought because God has been generous to me, and I have everything I need.” So Jacob persuaded him, and he took it.

12 Esau said, “Let’s break camp and set out, and I’ll go with you.”

We have no malice and we are willing to meet our brothers half-way. We, too, have gifts to bring. With your family and my family together again, we will be able to do many things for the Lord. Will you start the journey?

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Reclaiming our squandered birthright

Reclaiming our squandered birthright.

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Reclaiming our squandered birthright

“You blind people! You have eyes, but you do not see!” Our birthright has been stolen. I wanted to shout that to a local pastor. Instead, I wrote this letter to him.

Dear Pastor,

You know me, of course. I am the sister of one of your members, and you used to walk right past my desk when I worked for Baptist General Convention of Texas. You didn’t speak, but that was all right as I knew it was because you had separated your church from the organization I worked for.

It is a little late, but I just read your July 4th newsletter article this morning. I get it regularly because it comes to my post office box, addressed to a former member of your church who previously had my mailbox.

When I got it Friday, I tossed it in the front seat of the car.  This morning I arrived early at my church and picked up your newsletter and read it.

“The history of the human race is largely one of enslavement. Men have enslaved each other…Yet man is enslaved by a worse slavery than the literal kind – by circumstances, by customs, by fear, and by his passion for sin. John 8:32 tells us it is the truth that makes man free. Christ came to make man free, not just from institutional slavery but from every kind of slavery. He frees through Himself, who is the truth incarnate. If a person wants true freedom all he has to do is surrender to Jesus Christ.” (your words)

I like the story of freedom through Christ.  Paul told the people of Galatia “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1).

I put down your newsletter and went into my own church. Today, our praise song was “Open Our Eyes (we want to see Jesus).” The song says ‘we want to reach out and touch you, and say that we love you.’  Surely you hear the wistfulness in women’s voices when they sing this song.

My pastor began to preach. I was glued to his every word. He told the story of Esau and Jacob. You remember the story. Jacob steals Esau’s birthright. The name “Jacob” means “supplanter, deceiver.”  He took what was not his to take. Through opportunity and deception, he received the inheritance of goods and position.

That was the Old Testament. In the New Testament, there is a ‘newbirth’ right. Given by Jesus, where both men and women were set free. A new birth: a new right as sons and daughters of God. That was our birthright. We were free! Christ set us free from ‘institutional slavery and every kind of slavery,’ (your words).

We were all firstborn, and set to inherit the goods and positions. But something happened along the way.

The supplanters and deceivers came and women’s birthright through Jesus Christ was stolen from them.  Churchman made us slaves again. Like Esau, we have been tricked and we have lost the precious birthright that came with Jesus. Yes, like Esau, we have sold our birthright for a bowl of pottage. We have received a bowl of beautiful words of flattery served with ‘equal-but.’

Jacob sought to make amends with his brother. God met Jacob on the way, and Jacob was engaged in a spiritual battle to account for what he had done.  Jacob would not give up the struggle until he knew that he had received a blessing. This changed Jacob forever. He limped, but more than that, he had received forgiveness.

A birthright has been stolen. The birthright was a way of living, a position in society and family, something to be passed on to the next generation.

So it is today. And it has been stolen.

Which belies the last statement in your article on the 4th of July 2014. “If a person wants true freedom all he has to do is surrender to Jesus Christ.” True freedom would mean a full birthright. To preach. To be a deacon. To serve the Lord’s Supper. To take up the offering. To pass out an attendance pad and worship bulletin (Lord, how petty we have made you!)

Esau met his brother with his own set of gifts and forgiveness. We have no malice and we are willing to meet our brothers half-way. We, too, have gifts to bring. With your family and my family together again, we will be able to do many things for the Lord. Will you start the journey?

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Want a Mighty Marriage or a Strong Marriage

A local newspaper touts a marriage ministry that is inviting pastors to their open house. Lots of marriages are in trouble and often we look to the church for the fix. Pastors are busy and they have heard the same story over and over and they, too, are looking for a quick fix and will send couples to this so-called marriage ministry.

The promoter of this ministry is male headship. We know this by the words he chooses to use. Whenever you see such words as ‘Mighty Marriage,’ you know this is giving the marriage to the husband. This panders to men. Most women do not want a mighty marriage. This man was quoted as saying “We are called to take a stand against the forces in our culture that seek to destroy biblical marriages and families.”

Whenever anyone uses these words, they are using code words to say that men are to rule the house and family, and that husbands are to rule over their wives. The wives become the oldest female children in the family with bedroom responsibilities.

These seminars are harmful to families and to the culture. Spend some time looking at movies made in the 1940s. Notice how many times men slap women and talk about spanking them. Notice how grown women are controlled by their fathers in matters of marriage and career. This is where they want us to go, and they claim the Bible tells us so.

My friend’s second marriage was to a man who was immersed in a male headship church (a large Baptist church). At first I heard words of how wonderful this man was, how precious he treated her. Then the story began to change. He started telling her that they would not have problems if she would follow his leadership and he began quoting male headship teaching to her. This marriage ended in divorce.

Strong marriages are not made by weakening women. Strong marriages are not made by men ruling over their families. One does not need to be made weak for the other to be strong, but in male headship families, women are made submissive and weak. A family needs a strong mother and a strong father to raise their children, and to take care of each other in their old age.

What a sad state we are in when pastors and preachers promote female subjugation.

Why do women put up with it?

I want you to read “The Pearl That Broke Its Shell” by Nadia Hashimi (William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers 2014).It is a story by an Afghanistanian women and is about marriage. Hashimi ends the story with these words, “To the daughters of Afghanistan, may the sun warm your faces as you forge your paths.”

Those are also my words to my Christian sisters. “May the Son warm your faces as you break through your shell.”

It is up to you. What will you do?

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Pastors, tear down this wall!

Nothing has changed this morning. Women are still being abused in church by members and pastors who cling to First Century rules for women.

The wall is still there.

There is nobody to call out “Pastors, tear down this wall!”

The wall is still there.

There is no line standing outside their door holding placards “Freedom for Christian Women.”

The wall is still there.

There is nobody listening to us.

The wall is still there.

In 1990, I stood at the Brandenburg Gate and bought a piece of the Berlin Wall. It looked like a garage sale. Tables holding East Berlin uniforms, caps, money, pieces of the Wall, and people lined up to see what once held back a generation of people behind that enclosure.

Some were afraid. Some were content. Some made their living enforcing the Wall.

But the Wall came down because there enough people who wanted it to come down.

There is a wall holding women back. It is man-made. This wall is not Biblical.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1.

Will you stand with me and shout out “Pastors, tear down this wall!”

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