Part 2. Men are not born to be gods

If someone told you that human males are born to be gods, you would brand that person as a heretic, or perhaps a Mormon. Yet that is what is being taught by some professors in Southern Baptist (SBC) affiliated seminaries. Any pastor or seminary that uses Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism as their guide teaches this.

This misogynous book was published in 1991 and was, and still is, sponsored by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. It continues to be a best-seller. The 482 page book is a collection of male headship writings and teachings of various Christians. John Piper and Wayne Grudem edited this book and it is therefore assumed that they agree with its teachings, for why would anybody put something in a book that they do not agree with? And why would anyone use such a book to teach others unless they, too, believe it?

We will use their own words to see how they express this belief that men are gods, and that women are inferior to these human male gods. In order to elevate themselves, they must first oppress females. They do that with their claim that women want to be men. This is evidenced all through their Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood book. Others have taken up their mantra that women want to be men, as we can see in the email I received.

I don’t even know where to begin! By saying the things you say, you are instantly breaking Gods commands for women. How can you, a poor sinner, decide what the scripture means? It’s very simple if you read the words that are written, and not what you WANT to think it says. God’s words are non-negotiable and are to be lived every single day. I know we all sin, but by saying that His words/commands are WRONG…I can only pray you will see the true word of God and repent. Women are NOT equal to men, or they would BE men. You are mad at God because he did not make you a man (a comment on my blog).

We will examine the ramifications of what this means to women. And we will show you how these men believe that they are gods. There is only one God in heaven, so they cannot all be God, but they teach that all men are created to be man-gods on earth. When all women must submit to all men, the result is that it creates a man-god on earth. We know it by the name of patriarchy, or male headship.

For some time I have been struggling with the teaching that God chose males to be rulers over women. I could not understand how any Christian group or pastor can teach that women can give birth to a boy-child who they believe is inherently greater than the mother is. But I had a problem with this because every time I would think, “A woman cannot give birth to a being superior to herself,” I would come up with Mary who gave birth to Jesus, who was the son of God.

Yes, she could do it, but that is the exception and women cannot give birth to a greater being than she herself, can she? A human boy baby is believed by complementarians to have spiritual leadership imbued within his being, simply because he was born male.

You will be surprised as I was to learn that complementarians are actually teaching that women – you and I – are giving birth to god-men on earth. These little boy-babies we birth are divine because how else can a baby become divine except by birth? Little girl babies are not thought to be divine, nor in the line-up with God, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and Husbands.

Adam, who was in God’s image, passed the divine image (albeit flawed by sin) on to his son Seth. The divine image resided in the individuals Adam and Seth. (MALE-FEMALE EQUALITY AND MALE HEADSHIP GENESIS 1-3 by Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., page 89 of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood).

Here we have Adam passing along his divinity through his seed to a son, Seth. According to complementarians, a woman in the image of God reflects an incomplete image, as she does not have spiritual or physical leadership over others.

We can see Ortlund’s reasoning in one of two ways: 1) Only Seth had the divine image and the other sons of Adam did not, and divinity would have been lost; or he meant 2) Adam passed his divine image to Seth and then to all his sons (which is the way you must see it in order for males to have headship over females).

According to Ortlund, as each male had sons, those sons became imbued with divinity. Thus they became little man-gods, which they teach is still being passed on through to sons in the 21st Century. Ortlund does not say that divinity was passed on through daughters, even though he does claim that men and women are both in the image of God. Was not Eve, too, in God’s image and wouldn’t Eve have passed that divinity to her sons and daughters, if divinity could be passed through humans? We are in the 21st century here, but down through the ages, people have thought that kings and emperors, and other leaders, had divinity on earth. It startles us when we realize our own pastors are teaching this.

Genesis 5:1 says “…When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them ‘man.'” That scripture goes on to say that Adam had a son in his likeness, in his own image, so this is apparently where Ortlund feels he can exclude women. But then the statement is made that Adam had other sons and daughters and no mention is made of those sons having the divine image, so Ortlund is choosing to see what he wants to see in order to confirm his beliefs.

John Piper, who helped Wayne Grudem edit and publish the book with Ortlund’s article referenced, has a website called Desiring God. However, Piper’s words and teachings show that his actual intent is to convince Christians that men are God on earth. That is what male headship means – that human males are to have authority over all women, not just their wives, but over ALL women.

Instead of Desiring God, as John Piper and Wayne Grudem would have you believe through their premier misogynistic work Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem; Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991), these seminary professors, pastors, preachers, Christian leaders, and Piper and Grudem themselves, are desiring to BE God.

excerpt from my book Raising the Hood: A Christian Look at Manhood and Womanhood.

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Part 1. Desiring to BE God

Stay with me because this series is going to get really crazy, and it would be funny if it wasn’t what complementarians actually teach and believe. These are Christian seminary professors and leaders in the Christian faith and should know better.

The oft-quoted and venerated John Piper has caused another stir recently because he says that ministerial students cannot be taught in seminary by a woman. Who is surprised at that? If women can’t preach, they certainly can’t teach a man who is studying to be a preacher.

Piper has a website called Desiring God. However, Piper’s words and teachings show that his actual intent is to convince Christians that men are God on earth. That is what male headship means – that human males are to have authority over all women, not just their wives, but over ALL women.

This series will break this down and show you exactly what is being taught in churches, seminars, blogs, and evangelical churches today.

Desiring to be God, men have made themselves a woman’s savior, her advocate, and the gateway to God. In this section, you will see how male religious leaders have made themselves into man-gods, and how they want to convince all men that they, too, are man-gods.

Christians, Jews and Muslims believe in one God. Although we see God through different lenses, and we call God by different names, we worship the same God. Most, but not all, Christians believe that God is Triune, meaning that God is in three persons: Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit.

The Triune God causes problems as some see Christians as actually trying to divide God into three separate Gods. Christians have problems with this also, often emphasizing one over the other. Some Christians buy into the belief that Jesus is eternally submissive to God, instead of being fully God. This is called the Eternal Son Submission theology and is used as the basis for claiming that women are eternally submissive to males. Those who teach and believe that women are to be submissive to husbands because this is a commandment from God for all women through the ages, are in practice subscribing to this Eternal Son Submission theology. Because of this teaching, these Christians are in danger of adding another god to the Trinity, and this time it is a little man-god called husband.

Now, understand, they do not say that, and they would deny it from the rooftops. But they quote certain scriptures from the Bible and hold women to the literal interpretation of those scriptures, and when they do that, a husband becomes a little man-god.

A quick note to explain egalitarian versus complementarian: Egalitarians believe that men and women are equal. Complementarians believe they are not. I am egalitarian. The word egalitarian will not be used in this series, but the word complementarian will be sprinkled all through because this series is about their unChrist-like teaching that males are superior to females, both spiritually and physically.

This is how it works. Complementarians teach that husbands, or males, are to have headship, also called leadership, over women. In order for males to have headship over women, Jesus Christ would have to share his Lordship with human men. If Jesus shared his Lordship with a man – married or not – that man would become an earthly god. Whenever anyone believes that men are to have headship over women, they are subscribing to a belief that is contrary to our Christian faith, which is one God.

There is no indication in the Old Testament from the Prophets, or in the Gospels, that the Messiah would share his Lordship with human males on earth.

Women have told me that they believe that the husband is the head of the wife like Christ is the head of the church. They are quoting Paul in Ephesians, but to believe this way, you must accept that Jesus is sharing his Lordship with a human man. It is more probable that Paul meant for the Ephesians to look at their own families where husbands were already the heads, and then think of Jesus as being the head of his church family. But that is not the way complementarians want you to interpret that scripture.

Jesus makes no mention of bequeathing a husband the privilege of representing him on earth, nor does Jesus make any mention that a woman’s salvation would be dependent upon anyone other than Jesus Himself. Jesus promised that he would leave an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, on earth to lead us. With the Holy Spirit within us, women need no further representation, or role play actor, or leader, and certainly not a male head. For what leadership can a male head give that the Holy Spirit cannot?

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” John 14:26-27.

These words were spoken specifically to Jesus’ disciples, but all Christians have believed these words apply to those of us who are Christians, men and women alike. We believe Holy Spirit was made known equally to both men and women at Pentecost (Acts 2:17-24).

Before Jesus began his ministry on earth, John the Baptist was to prepare the way. Luke tells us that the angel of the Lord told Zechariah that his son, whom we know as John the Baptist, would be like the prophet Elijah, “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord,” (Luke 1:17). Jesus says of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:14, “And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.” Jesus was referring to Malachi 4:5-6, “See I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

There was no Elijah moment when husbands were commissioned for service, or were charged with the protection of their wives, and no Elijah moment when husbands were given the ability for sanctification of their wives to create a covenant relationship with God (1 Kings 19:16-19). More importantly, there was no Pentecost moment when husbands became the head of Christian women.

Yet, that is what it has come to in many religious circles, particularly in seminaries, and among pastors and others who believe that women are to be submissive to their husbands (some even believe that husbands will account for their wives in heaven). These complementarians believe and teach that husbands represent Christ and that wives represent the church. Therefore, to complementarians, husbands become the provider, the protector and the sanctifier to lead their wives into a covenant relationship with God.

This series is a chapter in my latest book “Raising the Hood: A Christian Look at Manhood and Womanhood.” All my books are available on Amazon in print and on Kindle. www.amazon.com/author/taylorshirley

 

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Civil Rights Act 1964 freed more women than it did blacks

Monday is Martin Luther King Day. It is an optional Federal Holiday. Some churches honor it but most don’t. They should, not only because Civil Rights for blacks was the right thing to do, but because Civil Rights for women is also the right thing to do. In fact, in 1964, blacks comprised only 11% percent of the population and at least one half of that number were women, leaving only 5% males. So, you see, women were the beneficiaries of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

When women got the same rights that men always had, two Baptist men, Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson, sat at Café du Monde in New Orleans and wrote on a paper napkin how to make sure that Baptists stayed conservative and fundamentalist. These two – Pressler and Patterson – are now being sued in a court of law because Pressler was allegedly involved with a 14 year old male at First Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, which is also named in the lawsuit, along with others. Read about it here.  Click on lawsuit in the article to read the whole suit.

It is these people – including the modern-day First Baptist Church of Houston, and those who they still influence, who seek to keep women from full Civil Rights in the church and in their own homes and workplaces.

Paige Patterson went on to help form the Danvers Statement in 1987 and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 which says that “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.”

That is male headship, plain and simple. The wife submits to the husband because as it says above, “she represents the church and her husband represents Christ.”

WOW! Do they honestly think any man represents Christ on earth? Yes, they do. They teach that all husbands do.

Priscilla Shirer says this “Men are servant leaders, protectors, providers and the spiritual leaders for their family. Women are trusted advisors who prioritize homemaking and raising children although they may also work outside the home. In areas of disagreement, women submit to the authority of their husbands as decision-makers.”

It is laughable. It is not biblical.

But it is extremely scary. Because it is taught in most Baptist churches and conferences all over the United States.

They make it sound biblical and beautiful. But it is not beautiful. It is slavery. It opens women up to abuse and puts a husband between her and God. For women, the Trinity is now a quartet: The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the Husband. Jesus didn’t say that. Read my Speech to El Buen Pastor Baptist Church. Jesus promised an Advocate, and that is not your husband!

I work for Christian women’s equality every day of my life. I want you to be equal in the church and in your own home. I want women to have their God-given Civil Rights that churches deny them.

2018. No excuses. What are you doing for women’s equality?

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How churches don’t want to be “like Jesus”

The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 which most Baptist churches accept, says “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” (V1. The Church). Jesus placed no such qualifications on pastors or preachers.

The Danvers Statement Affirmation #9 says: “With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world.”

No matter what shape the world is in, the writers of the Danvers Statement would never have chosen the woman at the well to be the instrument God used to win people to Christ.

But Jesus did.

Everyone knows her story. In fact, hers is one of the longest detailed stories of an event in the New Testament. It was her story. She told it to everyone who would listen. This man she had just met at the well knew that she had had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband.

Jesus was not judging her for that. He was offering her something that no man could offer a woman. He was offering her living water—from a well that would never run dry. And he told her that he was the source of this living water.

This was a woman experienced in the ways of men, and she knew this conversation was different from any she had ever had. She was certainly not the one who would be expected to announce the news that prophecy had been fulfilled and that the long-awaited Messiah had finally arrived for the Samaritans. No one would even listen to a woman proclaiming this momentous event, would they? But for some reason, Jesus chose her to reveal his true identity.

She took that message and ran with it.

It was Jesus who brought up the subject of living water. He told her that if she drank from the water he gave, she would never be thirsty again.

She wanted that. She said she did not want to keep coming to the well to draw water. She was probably teasing him at that point as she had no idea what he was talking about. Then Jesus did something surprising. He told her to go call her husband and then to come back.

Aha! Finally Jesus brings male headship into the conversation! “Go, call your husband and come back,” Jesus said.

The woman answered, “I have no husband.”

Was Jesus surprised at this? Did he ask her to go call her husband just to embarrass her?  No, its significance is greater than her confession that she was not married to the man with whom she was living. She was worthy in her own right, as a woman, to be told directly by him that he was the Messiah.

They then engaged in a theological discussion. This woman was not learning in silence. And Jesus did not rebuke her for it. She talked back and told him that she could see that he was a prophet. She declared “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

And he did explain—right then and there—to the woman at the well, a woman who did not have a husband to tell her if what she was hearing was right or wrong. She heard, she accepted, she told.

This story of the woman at the well is found in John 4:4-42 and begins by saying, “Now he had to go through Samaria.” It is best translated that “he purposed in his mind” to go through Samaria, because the Jews had found a way, even though it was inconvenient, to avoid Samaria. They thought they were better than these poor cousins, the Samaritans, and for a Jew to deliberately go through Samaria was unusual.

There was something in Samaria that Jesus needed to do in order to complete his earthly work.

It appears that Jesus was covering the bases with women. Every message of importance was given to women:

  • Women could learn the scriptures. The Jewish woman, Mary of Bethany, was welcomed by Jesus to sit at his feet right beside the men, and learn at a time when learning scripture was forbidden to women.
  • Gentiles would be in the kingdom. The Gentile woman was told by Jesus that he was sent not only to Israel, but to all people, which included her.
  • The Messiah had come to the Samaritans. The Samaritan woman received the news that he was the Messiah, whom the Samaritans were also expecting, since they claimed theirs was the true religion of the ancient Israelites.
  • The resurrection. At the tomb, a woman would be the first to see and speak with the resurrected Jesus.

These are pivotal stories because they show that Jesus gives the voice of the gospel to women just as he gives the voice of the gospel to men. These stories also set the stage for the empty tomb where it was women who first encountered the resurrected Jesus and where the full gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus would unfold. So, yes, Jesus purposed in his mind to go through Samaria, because he had something to complete in Samaria.

The completion of this mission was so satisfying to him that he told his disciples, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” The conversation he had with this woman had an effect upon Jesus that was profoundly different from his other encounters with men or women. This is the only scripture passage in the Bible where Jesus said that what had just happened was so meaningful to him that he felt that he had been fed. In other words, mission accomplished.

Verse 42 says “…we no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” These men first heard the words of Jesus from a woman, and then they heard the same message from Jesus himself.

Male headship was dethroned and women elevated by Jesus when he said to the Samaritan woman “I, who speak to you, am he.”

from my book “Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition

2018. What are you doing to be “like Jesus?”

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Time’s Up! There is a crack in the wall

Once again, it is the secular world who is speaking up about social justice. Social justice for women. They are declaring “Time’s Up!”

Christian women are largely silent. What will Christian women do? Nothing, is my guess. We will sit back. We will blog. But we won’t actually do anything.

I want to remind you of something. During the Inquisition, thousands of women were burned at the stake or otherwise killed because it was believed that women were more susceptible in listening to the devil. Many religious leaders had doubts, but they wouldn’t go up against the established church. The following is from my book “Dethroning Male Headship.”

That happened with the Malleus Maleficarum, or the Witch Hunter’s Bible, which is a work of absolute hatred against women. This book describes how women could naturally be more susceptible to practicing witchcraft because of their inherent weaknesses and sinful natures which they had because they were born female.

Even then, many in the Christian community such as scholars and theologians doubted that there were creatures such as witches, but they became silent because of the overwhelming influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

“The immediate, and lasting, popularity of the Malleus essentially silenced those voices. It made very real the threat of one being branded a heretic, simply by virtue of one’s questioning of the existence of witches and, thus, the validity of the Inquisition. It set into the general Christian consciousness, for all time, a belief in the existence of witches as a real and valid threat to the Christian world. It is a belief which is held to this day….Estimates of the death toll during the Inquisition worldwide range from 600,000 to as high as 9,000,000 (over its 250 year long course); either is a chilling number when one realizes that nearly all of the accused were women, and consisted primarily of outcasts and other suspicious persons.” (Malleus Maleficarum).

This is what is happening today. The Southern Baptist Convention and other evangelical churches that have followed suit, desire to keep women under submission to all males (husbands in particular). Even those who know this is wrong are not stepping up and speaking out.

Christian women, time’s up. There is a crack in the wall that the secular world women have made. Run! Run! Run through this wall.

It is 2018. Time’s Up.

www.shirleytaylor.net

 

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The last day of 2017

The last day of 2017 will pass and so will opportunity for women to have made any headway among religious leaders.

Oh, we have blogged advocating for women’s equality. We tweeted and retweeted those things that we liked and those that we didn’t like.

We have replied to and retweeted Rev. John Piper’s stupid tweet from his Desiring God site “Husbands, get her ready for Jesus ” written by Bryan Stoudt. If you haven’t read this, you ought to. This is the kind of crap that we are fighting against. John Piper is a BIG MAN among Christian leaders, especially Baptist leaders. Young men follow his every word as ardently as they read the letters from the Apostle Paul.

Husbands, you have not been charged with getting your wife ready for Jesus. The very idea makes you godlike. You have enough to do to get yourself ready. Churches are full of women who have taken the kids to church while daddy is home in bed or out playing golf or working on a car or fishing.

Ok, this is what this poor misguided pastor says, “Like us, one day our wives will meet Jesus and be perfect, “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing . . . holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). But until that day, until death do us part, husbands have the staggering privilege of getting our wives ready for Jesus, their true husband. With God’s help, and for his glory, may we correct them with the grace and truth that we’ve received.”

I have news for you, pastor Bryan Stoudt. My true husband was Don Taylor. It is not Jesus. If I have to have Jesus as a True Husband, who do you have? A true Wife Jesus? Why do I have to have a True Husband and you don’t have to?

It is hard to believe the stuff they make up.  We will wake up 2018 still tweeting and lamenting the same thing.

2018 is just around the corner. What are you doing for women’s equality? 

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Advent Love – The Christmas Gift

Thirty years is a long time to wait to see what your Christmas Gift will actually do. Two thousand years ago, the Christmas Gift came with no instructions but with lots of promise. Kings journeyed far in order to see for themselves this Gift, and to bring gifts of their own in honor of this birth.

The people wanted a mortal savior, but their hero arrived as a baby and with his own life in danger. What could he do to help them against their enemy? They expected their savior to be a man among men and they would rally behind him. They wanted another David with a bag of stones.

Jesus did not have a bag of stones.

Suppose one of you has a friend who comes at night when the house has been closed and the doors have been locked, and everybody is sound asleep. He knocks on the door. He tells you that someone has just arrived at his house from a long journey and he needs some bread to feed them. Will you tell him that it is late at night and that the kids are in bed sound asleep, and to quit knocking at your door because he will wake up the whole household?

No, he gets up to stop the racket of the knocking, not because it is his friend at the door, but because he wants the knocking to stop.

The Christmas Gift says “I am not that way. Just ask and it will be given, seek, and you will find it, knock and it will be opened. What man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone?”

“Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them; for this is the Law and the Prophets” (paraphrased Luke 11:5-10 & Matt 7:5-12).

Father, we have traveled far and we are knocking at your door. We have been at the church house, but the doors are closed, and the people are inside sound asleep. We are your children and we are asking for a loaf. We have had the stones. We’ve been turned away by men for centuries, and now we are standing at Your door. Hungry for the bread and for a place at your table.

Hear our knock, our Father.

Will you join us in praying to the Christmas Gift for the whole loaf?

(reposted from the past three Christmases)

www.shirleytaylor.net

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Advent Joy – Hunger for God

We are in the third week of Advent, which is Joy. Sunday a pink candle will be lit for preparation of the birth of the little boy who would become the Christ. It is fitting that we read the Magnificat. Elizabeth had just told Mary that the baby she carried in her own womb leaped for joy when Mary came into her home, “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” (Luke 1:46-55 NIV)

The Jews yearned for a Savior, and I imagine each had his or her own expectations of what that Savior would look like. I have heard that at each wedding, they expressed wishes that the new couple would bring forth that baby boy. We should not be surprised then, when we learn that a couple who had not yet consummated their marriage would be the bearer of that baby.

But let’s go back to Mary’s words. “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” Before Jesus is even showing in the womb, Mary told us what he would do.

This is not about money at all.  It is about their spiritual condition.

So exactly what did Mary say?

She said that those who hunger for God will be filled, but those who think they are already rich in the knowledge of God will be turned upside down and the money they hold in their pockets (what they think they know about God) will fall out on the floor.

Or, as Jesus said in Matthew 23: 23, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

God, I pray that those who are filled with their own sense of righteous riches and who claim to know that you favor males for your kingdom work, will have their eyes opened to Justice, mercy, and faithfulness to you.

(reposted from December 2013).

http://www.shirleytaylor.net

 

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Mosque taught me True Meaning of Christmas

Years ago I was watching television while wrapping Christmas gifts. There was a television show about the ‘true meaning of Christmas.’ They promoted the popular idea of giving gifts because the wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus. I knew they were wrong, but truthfully, I did not know the true meaning of Christmas.

It would be many years before I learned the true meaning of Christmas, and it would happen at the last place you would expect to learn about Christ. I learned the true meaning of Christmas after visiting a mosque.

The Missions Division of the Baptist General Convention of Texas took us on a trip to a mosque in Richardson, Texas, near Dallas. The imam met us, asked us to remove our shoes, and then he showed us where to put them. Next he showed us the wash room where Muslim men wash their hands, elbows, feet, face and nostrils before going into the main worship room.

We women had the option of wearing a headscarf and I did like the rest. We sat on the floor while the imam told us about their worship. He pointed to the upper room where he said the women chose to worship. He said they could worship with the men, but they chose to climb the stairs and privately worship there. The women also had to perform ritual washing of their body parts, separately from the men, of course.

The main worship area was a long rectangular room. The front row was what we would normally consider to be a side. The imam pointed out that the room was long so that it made the front row longer and, therefore, more men could be on the front row. He said they all wanted to be on the front row because it showed their devotion to Allah. He made his arms into wings, and he showed us how they would nudge the other men out of the way with their elbow, and make their way to the front.

On the wall was the 99 attributes of Allah. My supervisor, who was a Christian Arab, said that none of the attributes said that Allah is love.

After it was over, we thanked the imam and put our shoes back on, we women took off our scarves, and we all climbed onto the bus to go back to our offices. One supervisor who was also a preacher (as they all were) threw his hand up high in the air and said:

“Thank God for Jesus!”

That is when I learned the true meaning of Christmas.

The Jewish people looked for a Messiah like King David. A powerful leader who would take down their enemies, make Jerusalem Jewish again, and who would die a mortal death, as all humans do. The scriptures promised them a savior and they anticipated his arrival.

What they got was not what they expected. Instead of a physical warrior who would defeat the Romans, they got a spiritual warrior who, instead of turning his eyes upon their enemies, turned his eyes upon their relationship to God. In particular, the laws they had expanded to make life miserable, and then the artful and deceitful ways they had of getting around those laws. Read Matthew 23 to see what Jesus had to say about their spiritual condition.

Jesus came to free us from the rigmarole that man had bound God with.  All those laws didn’t mean anything (Matthew 24, Amos 5:21-24) because men had found ways to get around them. Jesus told them to love God with all their heart, and to love their fellow-man. When love is the motivator, our worship of God, and helping our fellow-man, will take on a different meaning. We will feed the hungry, help the poor, heal the sick, treat others as we want to be treated, and give the Good News to everyone.

Instead of being like Jesus, we still desire to make laws for Christians, especially laws about what women can and cannot do, and I wonder if Jesus would have turned his eyes upon us.

The true meaning of Christmas is the freedom that Jesus gave us. No more rigmarole such as the way to wash your hands before eating, and not working on the Sabbath – things that had absolutely no spiritual significance in them. In doing away with these things, Jesus said: “My yoke is easy and my load is light.” Matthew 11:30.

Thank God for Jesus!

repost from  December 8, 2012 by bwebaptistwomenforequality

 

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Advent Hope – free from oppression

Last Sunday in church, we sang “Hail to the Lord’s Annointed.” When James Montgomery wrote the words in 1821, it is doubtful if he was speaking about freeing women from oppression. It is sure that when congregations sang the song, the fact that women were being oppressed was not on their minds. Just as it is not on the minds of most congregations when they sing the song today.

“Hail to the Lord’s Anointed,
great David’s greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed,
his reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,
to set the captive free;
to take away transgression,
and rule in equity.”

Even as congregations sang the words and cried out for freedom that was promised in Christ, for years they were confident that they had the right to oppress women and slaves in their households, in their cities, and in their churches.

In fact, it was in churches where slavery and oppression found favorable breeding ground, as pastors regularly preached against giving them freedom. Congregations took it to heart and kept their slaves. The Southern Baptist Convention was formed expressly to keep black representatives away from annual Baptist meetings. Women continued to be silenced in service and in the pulpit.

The Civil War had yet to come and the outcome would not be seen for another 140 years when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave women and blacks the same freedoms that should have been acknowledged by the church a long time ago.

2017 has brought many changes. A new president took office. Women’s voices were heard, really heard, for the first time when they told about sexual abuse and harassment. Movie moguls, business leaders, news media personalities and Congressmen and Senators fell from grace as their abuses were exposed. Time Magazine chose “the Silence Breakers” as their Person of the Year.

But the church is silent. The church is silent when they should be standing up for women. As usual, the church doesn’t stand up for anything. The church is more likely to stand against social justice, claiming biblical authority. Traditionally, the church stands up against civil rights for all.

“For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight. (Psalm 72)”

Advent Hope – Hope that justice for women will prevail, and that what is happening now will bring a lasting change for women and that the church will realize, that, just as it was finally recognized as being wrong to own another human being in slavery, it is wrong to deny women the right and privilege to serve God as she feels she is called.

2018 is coming. What are you going to do for women’s equality?

www.shirleytaylor.net

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