Lent. Part 2. Destination, the garden

Jesus is headed to the garden, this time to the garden tomb of Lazarus, where something very important is about to happen. There is to be a resurrection, a small demonstration of what is to come.

It is a familiar story. You know it well. You know Lazarus died, Jesus wept, Lazarus came forth from the tomb. And you know that Martha and Mary were at odds with each other because Martha needed help in the kitchen and Mary was sitting down and not helping.

“Just the facts, ma’am.” But every story has a back story and that story is most often ignored because the significance doesn’t fit with today’s male headship teaching.

Mary and Martha are the sisters of Lazarus. Apparently they live together. But it is not Lazarus who appears to be the head of the household, it is Martha. The stories in the Gospels do not attribute one word spoken by Lazarus, either before his death or afterwards. He does nothing to indicate he is the “head” of this family. Jesus speaks and interacts with Mary and Martha, and even this resurrection of Lazarus is overshadowed by Jesus’ talking with Martha, and his special notice of Mary.

Most of the people Jesus comes into contact with have only one story recorded in the Gospels. But Mary and Martha have at least four stories about their encounter with Jesus. When we first find Mary and Martha, Mary is at the feet of Jesus and Martha is fussing in the kitchen.

Mary was learning from the Teacher himself which was an enormously big deal in that time. It was said that for women to be taught the scriptures from men was similar to teaching them about sex – it just was not done. But here Mary is sitting at the Master’s feet alongside the men.

She is also the same Mary who, six days after the resurrection of her brother Lazarus, pours expensive alabaster oil on Jesus’ feet and dries his feet with her hair. Jesus rebukes those who seek to stop her by saying she is wasting the oil that could be sold to help feed the poor. He tells them “For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”(Matthew 26:11-13).

Mary and Martha send for Jesus, but he waits until Lazarus is completely dead (it was believed by some Jews that the spirit hung around for three to seven days after death). It is Martha who runs to Jesus when he arrives after Lazarus’ death. If he had only gotten there earlier, Lazarus would have been healed but here he was dead and in the tomb and stinking for four days.

The bible makes the point that “ when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, while Mary remained in the house.” Mary remained at the house with the neighbors who came to comfort her. We know that Lazarus’ death and resurrection is one illustration Jesus wants to make, and we are going to see that there is one more connection to be made.

Here it is:

“After she said this, she went and spoke privately to her sister Mary, “The teacher is here and he’s calling for you.” Jesus was headed to the tomb where Lazarus lay but it was important that Mary who had a hungering for the Scriptures and the things to come, be there when he brought Lazarus forth from the tomb. Thus, he said six days later, “she has prepared me for my burial.”

Just the facts, ma’am. Women had gone every step of the way with Jesus. They did not abandon him at the time of his trial; they did not deny him. Jesus is headed toward the tomb where at least two Marys will be the first to see him after his resurrection.

It is 2016. Jesus has been resurrected and the New Day dawned over 2,000 years ago. Are you still denying women equality in your church or in your home?

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Lent Part 1. Destination, the Garden

You see, it began with the Garden of Eden and it culminated in the Garden of the Tomb and with the resurrection. That is no coincidence. And it is no coincidence that a woman was the one who was there when the Lord was revealed.

It was all leading up to that, of course, but they didn’t see it and I can bet your pastor doesn’t see it either. The scriptures pointing the way have been used for other illustrations if they are mentioned at all.  Rarely will you hear a sermon on the four women Jesus chose to lead the way.

But first, we must go back to that first Garden. This is a story the Jewish leaders and every household knew very well, just as we Christians know it and teach our children.

Man and woman were banned from the Garden. The man was to till the soil and the woman was to give life. Her name was now Eve which means “life” or “life-giving, or “mother of all who have life.”

Tears come into my eyes for all the Eves of the world. Eve wanted knowledge. She would be the one giving birth to future generations, but those same sons and daughters would curse her. God did not curse her. He cursed the snake and the ground that would be tilled, but he did not curse the man or the woman.

In this series “Destination, the Garden” we will see how Jesus, the “second Adam” demonstrates  redemption to the woman. And we will learn that yet, again, those sons and daughters still curse the woman who gave them life.

It is 2016. Are you still cursing the woman who gave you life? 

(On February 11, 2016 my blog was listed as one of the “49 Seriously Good Blogs for Christian Egalitarians” by The Junia Project)

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The complementarian woman

If she had worn a scarf on her head, I would have expected the words that came out of her mouth. But she was a Christian, young and beautiful, working in a Christian bookstore.

I had stopped by a few months previous and left my book Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition for them to sell and take the proceeds. I wasn’t asking anything from the sale. So I stopped by to see if the book had sold. Of course I knew they would not even attempt to sell my book, or even read it. Which is exactly what the young woman admitted to.

She said she couldn’t get past the first few pages. I can see why. The first few pages explain the vast difference between egalitarian and complementarian beliefs. The complementarian view is so ingrained in her young life that she could not in good conscience even read that she might be wrong.

I suspect my book appeared as the serpent in the Garden of Eden to her. Unlike Eve, she would not be tempted.

You are either equal or you are not. She had chosen to believe that she was not. She had also chosen to believe that the Bible says so.

I was amazed and astounded at the conversation. I could not believe that young women are so willing to swallow complementarianism and its full expression of submission to all males.

She quoted Timothy and Titus and said that women are to be the housekeepers. I pointed out that she was working, and she said that women could work but still were to be the housekeepers. Then she said that women were not to have careers. I asked her what is a career? I have been a secretary for over 35 years and she is working in a bookstore. Are those careers? She said that a career was where you could “climb the ladder” to a higher job. I laughed and told her that I suppose that both she and I “could climb the ladder.” She could aspire to own the bookstore where she worked, and I could have been (it’s a little late for that now) like Carly Fiorina who began as a secretary and is now a presidential candidate.

Where is this young woman going? She has been told that she cannot have a career (and who decides what a career is?) and she has been told that all males are superior to her. Even though she is still single, she has been led to believe that her husband will support her because the Bible says men are to provide the bread for the family. She has been led to believe that she can work outside the home if she has to, but that in doing so, she is working outside the will of God.

She said “God created sex” which will make this young woman inclined to believe anything she reads by Timothy Keller (the glory of sex – Real Marriage), Mark Driscoll, Ed Young, Jr., (Fifty Shades of They), and a myriad of other sex preachers. She will believe Beth Moore when she says that women tempt men today like the devil tempted Eve (When godly people do ungodly things), which was the very way of thinking (that women listen to the devil) that began the witch hunts that caused women to be burned at the stake.

The serpent said, “you will be like God” and now it is men who have chosen to be like God, and they teach that all females are to bow down in submission before all males. Jesus does not teach that God has given males the right to have females bow down before them in submission.

Complementarians never quote Jesus when pushing their theology.

Paige Patterson, Dorothy Patterson, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and all others who began this complementarian indoctrination of our young men and women in church, and those who continue to teach it, owe all Christians, and society, an apology for their abomination of the gospel.

Its 2016. What do you believe?

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Religious Liberty and Presidential Candidates

The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 states “The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind…..A free church (has) the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.” (XV11 Religious Liberty).

Baptists, and perhaps most Christians, do not want the state to interfere with religious values. BUT they do not appear to have any problem with religious values interfering with civil values.

For instance,

it was government, not Christian, values that dictated Civil Justice for blacks,

it was government, not Christian, values that dictated Civil Justice for women,

it was government, not Christian, values that dictated Civil Justice for homosexuals,

and,

it is religious values that demand that women be submissive to all males – husbands, leaders, and so on, under the guise of ‘the bible says so.’ Or the Quran or other religious teachings says so.

So, president wanna-be’s head off to Liberty University to be anointed by conservative Christians, like Two Corinthians Trump and Cruz did. It was Rubio who put Wayne Grudem, founder of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, on his staff of advisors. Whenever Liberty University or Wayne Grudem is involved, women suffer. Religious Liberty has just strangled women.

It is always women who must wear the standard of their religion. Whether it is clothing such as scarves and hijabs, or severe clothing styles for Amish, Pentecostal, etc., it is women who look strange in our Western culture.

It is women who are denied leadership positions in their church and even in the community. Women are denied leadership in their own homes and before their children. Women cannot preach or teach men, while Christian men are denied nothing due to their gender.

Religious liberty is no liberty when it comes to women. Give me Civil liberty any day.

It is 2016. What are you doing for true Religious Liberty for women?

My new book “Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition” is available on Amazon and Kindle. All my books can be found on www.shirleytaylor.net

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Why is my bookstore so complementarian?

Why are our bookstores so complementarian? They will not carry egalitarian books, so I have found a way to get my books into the hands of the community. I call myself the street evangelist for women’s equality and I give one of my books to each person I speak to. Read my recent experience with our local Christian bookstore.

Report from the street evangelist. Got off work early and went shopping, but still had an hour to kill before my hair appointment. Decided to go to the Christian Book Store with a new tactic. Been there before, of course, but they ‘don’t have space’ for my book. Reread the “Glory of Sex” reference to Timothy Keller that it is on page 130 of my newest book, Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition. Stuck the book inside my purse.

Going on a mission. Bet I don’t have to look long before I find Timothy Keller’s book and his glory of sex reference. Sure enough, there were 2 of them in the marriage section. Found what I wanted on page 237 and put the book back. Went to the counter and told the young woman there that I wanted to give her my book that she could put on the shelf. No charge, just don’t throw it in the trash can (I wanted her to know it was valuable!). She took it behind the wall to the manager.

While she disappeared, I stepped back and got the Real Marriage book referenced before and stood waiting for her at the counter. She returned with my book and said they would have to review it. I asked her “Do you think that when a husband and wife have sex and climax that they are emulating the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?” I opened Keller’s book and showed her where he says that. Of course she was shocked. I said, “This book has already passed review, but look what it says!” Then I opened my book and showed her what I said about what he said in his book. I took out my street evangelist card and stuck it in on page 130 of my book, and said “I call myself the street evangelist for women’s equality.” Read more reports from the street evangelist.

Read what this Christian blogger has to say about Christian bookstores. I ask you, what will you do about it?

Biblical Personhood

Christian book store Trinkets at the front, Bibles at the back: This American Christian book store is larger than most I have seen, but also has other things in front and books at the back. It is also known to be complementarian, as the chain once famously took a magazine with woman pastors from the shelves. (Photo taken from the Internet.)

“Great news”, my serious Christian friend said. “Gospel Direct will take over the Lux Verbi store in Welkom.” Lux Verbi was the Christian bookstore in Welkom. Gospel Direct is a company that sells religious CDs, DVDs, and books. (And trinkets like pencils and mugs with religious messages.)

He was happy, because Gospel Direct has a marketing strategy, and capacity to buy in bulk, that enables them to sell gospel CDs more cheaply. In the time since – and of course Gospel Direct cannot take sole responsibility – books became few and superficial…

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Until all women are equal in church, none are

Whenever Christians speak about women’s equality, the first thing you hear is “I don’t want any women preachers.”  Then comes the connection that is fostered upon people, and is not found anywhere in the Bible, linking those women who feel a call to preach, as having homosexual tendencies.

But the main focus on women’s equality is not women preachers, it is not even women deacons.  When I began my ministry, all I wanted was for churches to allow women to be deacons. A deacon!  That’s all.  I have come to realize that equal means equal, and there is no limit to what women can do in service to God and in her church.

How often do you tell your daughter that she is inferior to your son?  You tell her that every time you take her to church where she cannot be a deacon.  Or to a church where she can’t answer her call to pastor – but you will gladly ship her off overseas to some foreign land where she can be a ‘missionary.’

Is ‘missionary’ less than being a deacon in the church?  Who decided that being a deacon is the second highest calling, next to pastor, that a church can have?

We depend upon our missionaries to spread the gospel. Southern Baptists have Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). Baptists allow young women to go to the mission field for two year stints, and even allow them to go for longer periods of time. Unmarried women are allowed to go to the mission field which may be a dangerous place for women to be.

Who decided that the mission field can have women who are not ‘qualified’ to be deacons (the second highest office in Baptist churches) but who can be ‘qualified’ to be a missionary?

We swallow camels and strain gnats.  Our bellies are full of camels.

Until every girl and every woman sitting in a church pew can serve as God calls her, or even as churches call deacons, then no woman is equal in your church.

When you walk into the church door, you are telling your girls and your wife, that all men, any man, is superior in God’s and the church’s eyes, to her.

Is that what you want for your family?

As Molly Brown said in “Titanic” movie as the women in the lifeboats refused to go looking or survivors: “These are your men out there! Don’t you want to go back and save them?” Men, these are your wives, your daughters, your sisters out there, trying to survive in the cold waters of their church.  Don’t you want to help them?

Its 2016 – If you are ready to see your wife, your daughter, your sister be all that she can be in her church, tell your pastor that it is time.

(reprint from April 2012)

My new book “Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition” is available on Amazon and Kindle. All my books can be found on www.shirleytaylor.net

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It’s 2016 – Risk it!

The New Year’s Eve tweet said “Our mission is to empower a generation to change the world for Christ.” It came from a LifeWay Resources connection and I tweeted back “We’re trying to change the world for Christ, but we women are bound by male headship. Help us.”

Needless to say, I was spitting in the wind.

This young pastor wants to change the world for Christ. It is easy to say “change the world for Christ” but unless we are willing to make the necessary changes in our own denomination – in his case, the Southern Baptist Convention – then we are just doing lipservice.

In The Message we find the story about investment. If you have not read it from The Message, you are missing something very important. Read Matthew 25:24-30:

“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. The he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.

After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: “Good work! You did your job well. From now on, be my partner.”

The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: “Good work! You did your job well. From now on, be my partner!”

The servant given one thousand said, “Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no alliances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.”

The master was furious. “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do no less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

“Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “Play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.” (The Message – Eugene H Peterson Navpress).

“But,” you say, “Paul said that women must remain silent.” I say that there are 7,000,000,000 people in the world who need the gospel—Risk it!

“But,” you say, “Paul said that women are not to have authority over men.” I say that there are 7,000,000,000 people in the world who need the gospel and one-half of them are men—Risk it!

“But,” you say, “Paul said that women are to submit to their husbands.” I say that elevating all men to god – like status is wrong, and you must claim your equality—Risk it!

Are you ready to quit playing it safe? Are you ready to go out on a limb? Over one-half of the Master’s children have been buried in the sand. We have misjudged the Master. In the quest to be “exactly” right regarding what a woman can do and what a woman cannot do, we have put her in the sand and covered her up according to our own particular beliefs.

Some have dug the hole deep. Some have dug a hole not so deep. But no matter what depth the hole, they have kept watch over it and not allowed women to come out.

God forgive us! What awful things have been done to your female children.

It is 2016. What are you doing for God’s female children?

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