Advent Love – It’s personal

Franklin Graham has it wrong. God did not intervene in the selection of this president. Jesus was not concerned about  governments, either Jewish or Roman. Jesus was concerned about the heart of the people. As we know from history, the heart of the people can be very hard and unforgiving, lacking justice and mercy. It is doubtful that God would have given this as a Christmas present to us.

We are one week before we celebrate the birth of Jesus. At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Jews were looking for a Messiah who would bring the kingdom of God to earth.

The great hope of Israel centered in the kingdom of God which would change the course of history by inaugurating the period of justice, peace and prosperity announced by the prophets, the more strenuously since the bitter experience of the deportation to Babylon. (The Jewish world at the time of Christ)

They wanted justice, peace and properity. Who doesn’t want that? The problem with wanting justice and peace is twofold: 1) we want to determine what justice is; 2) we want to determine what peace is.

When I think of justice, I immediately think of women’s equality and how women have been mistreated, marginalized, abused, and discounted by government and by religion, and how that continues today. I think of homosexuals who have also suffered greatly and still do. So it is with trepidation that I look at our newly evangelically-voted for government. The people chosen to represent the nation have a history of misogyny against women and hatred against homosexuals. Justice?  I see no way to justice.

When I think of peace, I think of living peacefully in our own country. My children were born during the great Civil Rights demonstrations and conflict. I was fearful for my children being born in such an unsettling time. As a mother, I desire peace. Sure, there are times I would like to get even, strike back, and win above all. But as a mother whose son has gone into a battleground in Iraq, I don’t want to see other mothers suffer during wars. So, yes, I desire peace.

Jesus did not come to change Jewish government or Roman government. He came to change the hearts of people. Through love. He said it himself “Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Love – it’s personal.

2016 is coming to an end. What did you do this year to promote love towards people? Did your heart change in thinking about women’s equality or gay rights? The two are tied together, you know. Because when we feel we can hate one group because the Bible says so, then we can restrict the other group because “the Bible says so.”

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Advent Joy – Bringing joy

It is nearing Christmas Day and the bundle of joy – the Babe in the manger – will be making His appearance. All month long we have decorated our churches and our homes, our cities and offices in joyful celebration. We have gone caroling, listened to cantatas and hummed Christmas songs in our cars.

But it is not all joy. When Mary was told that she would give birth, this young unwed mother surely endured sneers, teasing and cruelty at the hands of the religious folk. I fear we have not changed as much as we would like to say we have.

“A woman’s greatest calling is in being a wife and mother” a young Christian woman was near tears when telling me what her women friends at church said to her.

There was no joy in her voice as she related those words to me. She was married but could not have children. Unlike Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth, there would be no bundle of joy from a barren womb.

But here she was, in this 21st Century being told that she was missing out on God’s call to be a mother and by inference, was an incomplete woman. Just like religious women have been made to feel for centuries.

Jesus was born into a world much like ours today. Wars, turbulence, anger, helplessness, sickness, poverty and greedy governmental control. Yet we hear the proclamation “Joy to the World! The Lord has come!”

We are Christians and it high time we began acting like it. This Babe came to tell us “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Do good to those who hurt you. Don’t be the one who is hurting others. Don’t destroy their joy but bring joy to them.

2016 is almost over. What joy have you brought to the world? Have you told a woman that her worth is in giving birth? Have you stepped on women in order to elevate men? Or have you told women that they themselves are joy, made complete by their Creator, the Lord God!

Note:

“The Last King of Israel: Lessons From Jesus’s Final Ten Days” by Michael Chung would make an excellent Christmas gift. 30% off & FREE media mail SHIPPING in U.S. Use code ‘JOLLY’ at checkout http://wipfandstock.com/the-last-king-of-israel.html. “As death draws near, life will be lived differently. The Last King of Israel explores how the king of kings chose to live his final ten days culminating in the resurrection. Lessons like spending time with loved ones, dealing with difficult people, handling criticism, resting despite enormous stress, and handling affliction are some of the areas addressed as Jesus faces imminent death. Easter is one of the world’s most revered holiday seasons; this book will enhance understanding of this truly holy week. Including the two days before Palm Sunday and continuing through the evening of his resurrection, The Last King of Israel takes the reader on Jesus’s epic final ten-day journey as his mission on earth comes to an end. Seeing how he died will teach all of us how to live. Challenging both the heart and the mind, The Last King of Israel is a must-read for those who desire a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and the life he lived.” Give the gift of Easter for Christmas and landing page: http://wipfandstock.com/the-last-king-of-israel.html . Also available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Last-King-Israel-Lesso…/…/ref=sr_1_1…. Share this book with a pastor and let them know there are accompanying sermon outlines if interested.

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Advent Peace. What did the angels know?

Every year at Christmas we look at the world situation and wonder if the angels knew what they were proclaiming when they said “Peace on earth, goodwill among men.” We are not sure exactly what the angels did say as it is interpreted in many ways. The NIV version says, “Peace to those on whom his favor rests.” That sounds Calvinistic, but in the name of goodwill, today we will let that pass.

Since that is so, and because I am not a scholar, but an ordinary person reading the scriptures, I choose to read this meaning into those old familiar verses: The angels came to earth announcing the birth of a savior who is Christ the Lord. In proclaiming his birth, they were saying that God is Peace and has come willingly to the earth to be among men, and that he brings with him goodwill (that is to say, he does not bring harm to them.)

We usually take those scriptures to mean that there would be no more wars and strife and all would be joy now that Christ was born. The angels did not say that all would be rosy now. They called him Peace, and because of the great joy they have with the Father, they knew Who was arriving and they expected us to have the same great joy (Luke 2:10-11).

I think the angels may have given us more credit than we are due.

2016 is drawing to a close. But as we celebrate Advent again this year, we see a new beginning, a new year to get it right. A new year for peace in the church where both men and women are equal children of God.

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Advent Hope – Groundhog Day all over again

Each year the liturgical calendar gets reset and we begin again with where it began. We know what is going to happen to Jesus at Easter, but each November we begin by retelling the story from the beginning, all over again.  We get a new chance like Phil the weatherman did in the movie Groundhog Day. We hope this year we get it right.

Phil (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole. He gets caught in a blizzard that he didn’t predict and finds himself trapped in a time warp. He is doomed to relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right. After indulging in hedonism and committing suicide numerous times, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities.

Like Phil, Christianity has been through its periods of hedonism and suicidal tendencies. In its hedonistic period, Christians have tried to force Christianity down the throats of others by the Crusades. Christians have murdered thousands during the Inquisitions,  witch hunts, slavery, and by preaching hell and brimstone revivals in the United States.

Today we are in Christianity’s suicidal period. We are killing the hearts and desires of Christians and non-Christians alike with our hate for our fellow man.  Right now many people are declaring they no longer want to be called an evangelical Christian because the very term indicates that we are a restrictive, non-loving Christian whose desires should rule our government and churches. A nation that has chosen for president a man who either assaults women or who speaks as an adolescent boy who brags of doing so and who has actually had assault charges filed against him by his wife and others; a man who chooses another such man to be his Chief of Staff.

In this suicidal period of Christianity, we have renewed our desire that women be controlled by husbands, men of the church, and all males. It is women who get the kids up for church each Sunday morning. It is women who will take their children to church and who do most of the Sunday school teaching in that church. It is women who are beginning to realize that their church does not love them as much as they love their church. When you kill off the ones who bring the children, you have committed religious suicide.

Such as our world has always been, it is now. But here we are. Beginning another Advent season where we are looking forward to the birth of a Baby who we will learn has come to turn the world upside down.  A Savior, the Christ, who will reveal to us that we are to love one another.

It is Advent – Groundhog Day all over again. We can hope.

It is 2016. What hope are you bringing to the church?

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Honeyed words and crazy theology

Last week, Dr. Kevin Giles (noted Australian Anglican priest) said to me “You’re hard on the Baptists, aren’t you?” That was after he had told me that my book had good points in it, and offered to give me feedback on it.

I gave that some thought and this is what I realized.  Nothing I have ever said is as harsh as “only men can be senior pastors” and “women must submit graciously to their husbands.” Those words, honeyed though they are, have damaged women and the church more than any words I can say.

Kevin Giles was in Houston before speaking on the stage with Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem at The Evangelical Theological Society conference in San Antonio where they would be discussing the Trinity.  This is the second time we had him speak to our Houston chapter of Christians for Biblical Equality. Kevin Giles has written many papers and books on the Trinity and he does not believe in the eternal submission of the Son.

From the report I heard of the ETS conference from a laywoman, Bruce Ware says he now believes in something called eternal generation of the Son. Ware is well-known for his stance on Eternal Submission of the Son which is what I thought he would be saying at that conference.  This person also said that Wayne Grudem said he had changed his mind on certain things. We can hope.

Oh, did you know that in those views, God is the Father, Jesus is the mother (holy Moses!), and the Holy Spirit is the child which emulates the earth-family structure? Ware and Grudem wouldn’t like it, but lets carry that Jesus is the Mother theory a little further. Most people I know pray in “Jesus’ name,” most people I know give praise and glory to Jesus, most people I know speak far more about Jesus than they do God or the Holy Spirit and that might be called worshipful of Jesus. Heh, heh, they are worshiping Jesus? THE MOTHER! Ware, Grudem, come down to earth! Your theology is crazy!

And of course you know that in this family structure, earth wives are supposed to submit to earth-husbands because Jesus is the Mother and submits to the Father God. Good Grief, these are the people who are teaching your pastor, your son or daughter who goes to seminary, and your youth pastors. Time to call them to account.

It is 2016. Why aren’t you hard on all those who want to keep women subjugated to men?

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When Texas Baptists meet in Waco

Next week at the annual meeting of Texas Baptists in Waco, Baptists will be celebrating the wonderful services Baptists offer to the community and the world. More than likely they will also be discussing Baylor, the church and LGBTs, the presidential election, racial reconciliation, feeding the hungry, sex trafficking, and most importantly, how to reach more people with the gospel in this era of dwindling church membership and participation. The discussions will be about everything but equality for women. Once again, women will be relegated to the backseat of social and racial inequities.

The LGBT question will override many discussions, making the one thing that will least likely be discussed is how Baptists can incorporate all members into all of the church fellowship. It is very doubtful that women – who make up more than one-half of church membership – will have anyone speak up for women’s equality in the church and home. No one will speak up for a woman’s privilege and obligation to serve the Lord in all ways she is called.

Will you make this year the year that women’s equality will be discussed among yourselves? In private discussions with your peers, will you stand up for women’s equality to help each person be complete in the churches you serve?

I call myself the Street Evangelist for women’s equality. For 14 ½ years I was an employee of BGCT (now Texas Baptists) and came to know and love this organization because of the people with whom I served.

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What do we really learn in church?

The tweet said far more about the man who tweeted it than it did about the victim. When a staffer, as claimed by the Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, sent out a nasty tweet about the first woman candidate for president, it said for more about Miller and his campaign than it did about Hillary Clinton. The tweet was pulled 10 minutes after it went out but the lasting result will be longer.

This attitude about women is pervasive. We see it in the male candidate for president and it should come as no surprise that lower down the chain, it comes out. We judge people on how they act, on what they do, and what they say. What else is there to judge them on?

Sid Miller is a member of a cowboy church, probably in Stephenville where he lives. Ron Nolen, former Baptist General Convention of Texas Consultant, had a big influence in starting Cowboy churches in Texas. Even though they claim no religious affiliation publicly, many are staffed and headed by Baptists.

“But as claimed below, cowboy churches also exist in the denominational context of baptist churches. The “no barriers” cowboy church model pioneered by Ron Nolen of the Baptist General Convention of Texas has been used by the AFCC (American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches) to plant more than two hundred denominational motivated cowboy churches in sixteen states.” (Wikipedia

Ron was a consultant during the time I worked for BGCT. Ron would never have said the things that Sid Miller (or his staffer) said about women. Which brings me to the question. What do we really learn in church?

Miller said his staffer tweeted that awful word about Mrs. Clinton, but something gave that staffer the idea that it would be all right to say such a thing using Sid Miller’s Twitter account.

This blog is not about who is best for president of the United States. I write advocating for full equality for women in the church and home. Therefore, I hold responsible those churches that deny women full equality. Attitudes that are taught in churches, bleeds out into society – and political tweets – and women suffer because of them.

This letter will be sent to Sid Miller. He has apologized, of course, but more is expected. A sincere change of heart in his staff is the right step. Needless to say, the staffer who took the fall, did not apologize. Perhaps because there was no such person.

It is 2016. What message about women are you sending from your church?

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The gender divide

It took almost a hundred years after women got the right to vote to bring about what men were afraid of. Women may decide the election outcome in 2016.

Southern Baptists did not support women suffrage and still hold to the reasons behind that lack of support. Those reasons are preached in Baptist and evangelical pulpits on Sundays.

“In spite of resistance from most men—and more than a few women—in the churches and from the pulpits, Protestant clergymen were the male group most likely by far to support women’s suffrage, except among Southern Baptists. 

The paragraph below sums it up quite nicely. It could have been written by a Baptist or other evangelical pastor today instead of a hundred years ago.

A Georgian Senator by the name of Joseph E. Brown showed how the views of the Southern Baptist church stretched into the political arena. In his argument against women’s suffrage he claimed that God had made the sexes different and that women had their husbands to speak for them: therefore, he concluded, women did not need political rights. Brown, like many opponents of women’s suffrage, believed that the man represented the woman. In a speech he made to the Senate, Brown stated:

The male sex is infinitely suited better than the female. In the family she is queen. She alone is fitted for the discharge of the sacred trust of wife and the endearing relation of mother. While the man is contending with the sterner duties of life, the whole time of the noble, affectionate and true woman is required in the discharge of the delicate and difficult duties assigned her in the family circle, in her church relations and in the society where her lot is cast.” (page 20)

What is striking about this election is that Christians are far more likely in the south to vote for Donald Trump than they are to vote for a woman. Never mind that he does nothing to espouse Christian values. Is part of this the fact that in the South, many still do not believe a woman should hold the highest place in government?

The polls show that among women voters, Clinton is in the lead by over 10 percent. It is highly doubtful that these women are from the south and more than likely they are not members of a Southern Baptist church.

It is 2016. Almost 100 years since women were allowed by their country to vote in a national election, do you still hold to these Baptist beliefs about women?

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Street Evangelist at a Craft Fair

People don’t attend a Collectibles and Craft Fair to purchase Christian books on women’s equality, do they? Probably not, but then they have never met the Street Evangelist for women’s equality!

I have sold books at all 3 of the Craft Fairs I have attended. So tomorrow I will be at a Craft Fair, talking with both men and women, and offering my books for sale!

raising-the-hood-9-2016 DMH Second Edition Women Equal no buts

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Evangelicals’ Perfect Storm

Surrounded by pastor Robert Jeffers of First Baptist Church in Dallas, black pastors, rabbis, and televangelists, Donald Trump held a Bible while they put their hands upon him and prayed for “the next president” of the United States. See it here.

One week later, Donald Trump has brought evangelicals to a place they never thought they would be. The warning signs were all there. The crude remarks about women, the mocking of those less fortunate, had all been dismissed because Trump was going to make America Christian again.  But now there is a video showing what kind of man Donald Trump is, particularly what he thinks about women.

Robert Jeffers, Wayne Grudem, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, and other Christian leaders who have supported Trump have a lot of explaining to do.

What Trump and these religious leaders forgot is that women make up over half of the voters in this election. While they were fawning over Trump, they were ignoring the very women their religion has sworn to protect. In this male headship era of evangelicals, protecting women and praising their “worth” has become a big industry, changing the face of Christian America into an evangelical community of defenseless women who need protection – from what, we are not told. Perhaps what we need protection from are male predators, and pastors who will not stand up for women.

Russell Moore, who does not defend Donald Trump, and is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention wrote an article titled “The Church and Violence Against Women.”  In it he said, “We must teach from our pulpits, our Sunday school classes, and our Vacation Bible Schools that women are to be cherished, honored, and protected by men. This means we teach men to reject American playboy consumerism in light of a Judgment Seat at which they will give account for their care for their families.”

There are a lot of theological things wrong with his whole statement as I point out in my new book “Raising the Hood: A Christian Look at Manhood and Womanhood.” But let’s look at what he did say. He said that men are not to succumb to the playboy consumerism (locker room sexual talk). So how will those who encircled Trump with their hands upon him,  defend Trump’s crude remarks about women?

These preachers and rabbis are not standing up against what he says about women, and they are not fulfilling their evangelical role in “protecting women.” We don’t need to wait to see what the fallout from this latest video is because we already know. They knew he said awful things about women, and they did not stand up against him.

In evangelicals’ support of Donald Trump, they are in the midst of a perfect storm. Their candidate whom they have sided with, flaunts what it is to be a Christian. He even flaunts their vaunted view of women who are to be “cherished, honored, and protected” by men.

It is 2016. We are headed toward an election between two seriously flawed candidates. What will you tell your daughters?

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