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http://cathykrafve.com/life-hacks-for-fathers/

My friend hosted me on her podcast this week.  It was time that went by shockingly quickly!  I think there is some fun stuff there!

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Give Gifts

“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction of being loved for yourself, or, more correctly, being loved in spite of yourself.”

                Victor Hugo

 I am not writing this because I think I am God’s gift to women.  I have just done hundreds of hours of counseling with women and I hear how they see things.  Then, I interpret them for the men out there so you can know too.

Consider this insider trading or something – but the legal kind.  By making good use of these hints, I have been able to express the love, appreciation and affection I feel for my wife and daughters in ways that are clear to their ears.

There are Four main things to remember when giving a gift to a woman.

What every gift (including dates, by the way – anything you pay for is a gift, but more on dates later) must say can be summed in the statement:  “I know my wife and I am thinking about her even when she isn’t around.”  Or to put it more succinctly, “I know my wife and I remember her.”

1.  Know your wife –This is a major key!  The more that a gift communicates intimate knowledge of her – things that only you can know – the better the gift is.

See, for men and women (but. I think women in particular) it actually is the amount of thought and preparation that counts.

In therapy, I often hear about dates and gifts that husbands thought were huge flops, but the wife was overjoyed with!  The thought and effort is what made it so good.

Once when I challenged a husband to take his wife on a special date.  So, he remembered that she had always wanted to visit a restaurant just outside of town and there was a concert he knew she would enjoy.  When he came in after the date he was crushed – they drove way out to the restaurant only to find weeds growing in the parking lot.  It had been closed for months!  Now they had to rush back to town and ended up eating fast food.  They got to the concert to discover it nearly sold out and they hadclosed to get seats not next to each other, if I remember correctly.  They ended up sitting at a coffee shop to discuss their individual experiences of the concert!

He was almost too embarrassed to tell me about it.

She came in a few days later and described the same date as one of the best events of their marriage!  She loved it and gushed about him taking her to the restaurant she had mentioned long ago – and never mentioned to me that it was closed!  Then she was so impressed that he had researched the concert and she loved it, and she loved debriefing everything after the coffee shop too!

Why was their experience so different?  Because their definition of what made a good date was completely different.

His was: did it go as planned?  Was it a date he could brag to others about it?

For her, it was:  “Does he know me well, and was he thinking about me when he planned it?”

So, how do I learn about her?

Imagine that I decided to buy some flowers for my wife.  Now, say I wasn’t sure what kind of flowers to get her, so I gathered together a bunch of my buddies for ideas.  One says “roses”  another says “daisies” and another says “carnations.”  Whose input is best?  None of them are any better than another.  However, this is one person in the world who can tell me exactly what kind of flowers my wife would prefer (and I don’t mean her best girl friend, though I will mention her later in gift giving).  Answer?

My wife.  (incidentally, this analogy works well for explaining why all religions aren’t equal either.)

Only my wife knows what kind of flowers she likes best, right?  But how uncool would it be for me to call her from the store, “Hey, honey, what kind of flowers do you like?”  If you don’t know, then you might need to do exactly that, by the way, because it is much cooler than not getting any or getting something she hates, but there is a better way.

Listen and learn.

Earn a PhD in your wife – become the world’s expert on her!  It might happen this way… you get her a rose and bring it home.  She loves it, but mentions that tulips are her favorites.

Don’t be offended (“see, I get her flowers and she still criticizes me.”)  Grow up, and take note.

Hmmm.  tulips.  Got it.  She is just helping you be great at what you are obviously trying to do – love her – so don’t be offended.  Maybe she says “Roses are my favorite – especially the yellow ones.”

Good job with roses. Next time, remember, yellow, like a Vogon Warship, or a bulldozer is yellow.christmas-gift-ideas-for-wife

Women will generally make comments about their favorites all the time.  Watching TV, commenting on other women’s things, (BIG HINT) when she shops for other people’s gifts or sees other people opening gifts!!!

Also, make it a habit to shop with them and listen.  Stop whining, and don’t sit in the middle of the mall in one of those husband benches – go with her and begin to understand what she likes best.  Here are some areas where any great husband must know her favorites:

Know her favorites, and weave them into the gifts.  Here are some examples of favorites you must know:

Colors

Animal (real and stuffed)

Candy and/or chocolate bar (avoid any large amounts of sweets if she is seriously dieting, but a tiny reminder might express that you love her just the way she is)

Board game

Flower (still more on flowers later)

Soft drink

Restaurants (and meals at those restaurants)

Movies

Books

Jewelry (favorites stones, metals, and symbols)

Magazines

Personal feature (and least favorite)

Wine

Least favorite chore

2.  Listenand don’t wait.  When she notes something that catches her eye – go back and get it asap if you think it is something that will be meaningful to her.  I am telling you that this is one of the most important skills for getting good, meaningful gifts (for anyone).  Do not wait until it is near an important date to get a gift.  If you are out and spot something that she might like, go ahead and get it.  You won’t regret it.

Give yourself plenty of time to purchase gifts – if you have done #1 – it should not be a problem.  Be sneaky about things – know her better than she even knows herself if you can get away with it.  The best is when she had mentioned something to you and then forgotten it herself!

Also, I am sure you would never forgot a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion, but if you did, having a small stash of gifts hidden in your closet that is a good gift rather than a lame gas station gift or (cringe) the old “hey, I gotta run a quick errand uhhh suddenly today…”  Put all important events on your calendar, your work calendar, your phone, and anywhere else you can put it.  Make sure your friends have them on their calendars too, and that they remind you!  Remember, we are all in it together!

3.  Know what each gift means to her – if the thought counts, then it is not the gift, but the message it sends that is valuable to her.  Do flowers say “I have screwed up again, please forgive me?”  or do they say “I was thinking of you and wanted you to know how special you are to me.”  (if it is the former, then you have taught her that meaning and you need to begin to give them to her randomly when nothing is wrong, or you lose flowers as a gift)

Know what meaning she attaches to different things and communicate the right thing.

Remember – no strings attached, or it only communicates “he wants something from me” and then you have shot yourself in the foot.

Let me reiterate this – if a gift is merely meant to put her in your debt, or to put things out of balance so that she has to work to bring things back into balance, then at some level she is going to feel that you are trying to prostitute her to something.

4.  A gift should communicate “He thinks about me when I am not around”.    This is why her favorite drink that you pick up at a gas station on the way home is worth as much as a big gift in her heart!

Even when filling the car with gas, he thinks about me.

When you are on a trip, you typically should bring something back for her that communicates well on items 1, 2, 3, and therefore will communicate #4.  I was thinking about you when I was on my trip.  See?

Often, bringing a gift for a child can encourage a wife as well, by the way.

So, listen so that you can know.  Use that knowledge to tell her you love her all of the time.

Here are some ideas that have been gathered over time!

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Continuing to engage in the common arguments for Christian Pacifism

Swords

(John 18:10-11)

10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

(Matt 26:52-54)

52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

Pacifists indicate that Jesus’ teaching on pacifism is obvious and that arguing against them is just justification since we can all see His teachings to pacifism so clearly.

I know that the apostles never got Jesus.  They didn’t understand Him, it seems, at any turn. That could easily have happened here.

That being said, in three or so years, Peter had not picked up on Jesus’ “obvious” pacifist teachings… and continued to carry a sword, apparently without Jesus corrected him for doing so.  (see more on that below – Jesus had encouraged them to carry a couple of swords)

Jesus makes it clear that He could bring all of the violence He wanted at any point.  Angels apparently stand ready to bring about violence at the Father’s command; Jesus doesn’t personally need the help of someone like Peter if violence is called for.

Notice that Jesus gave the instruction “put your sword in your sheath.”  Not “throw your sword away” but “put your sword into your sheath.”  That seems like an odd thing for a devoted pacifist to say.

Luke 22:35-38

And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

There are many different ways to seek to interpret and apply this one.

However, I think the least contortionist skills are required to just think that Jesus is encouraging them to be prepared to face random acts of violence from people and animals.  Traveling around the Middle East at that time was not safe (the good Samaritan story gives us a hint into this).

They had been safe while in His company but since He is going to be going away (when counted as and executed as a transgressor), they needed to take a little responsibility for their own safety.

Again, as then verse from Nehemiah at the very beginning of this article notes (4:9 “And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.”), trusting in God to protect us is not necessarily in defiance or of in competition with the idea of taking responsibility for our own safety as well (remember the seat belt).

Only if you assume that violence is always wrong or that it is against the teachings of Jesus in advance of reading this passage does this not seem to be the simplest interpretation, in my opinion.

I will note that it is very plausible that this passage has nothing to do with self-defense or violence.  The apostles may have assumed Jesus meant physical swords, but He was referencing spiritual warfare.  As I said, there are many other ways to potentially interpret this passage.

I have no confidence that what I have offered is The Right One, but it makes sense to me as a valid potential as well.

They need some swords and a couple is enough while they are traveling together in these wildernesses.

Given that Jesus commanded them to get swords before telling Peter to put his back in his scabbard, it seems that the problem with Peter’s sword usage wasn’t that he had or was willing to use a sword, but that his timing – his application was bad.  He was missing the point.

But wait, there’s more…

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Character of God

I agree and yearn for the day when apparently predator/prey relationships of all kind are abolished.  I cannot wait for a day when the will of those I live for eternity with have no desire to sin, even if they are free to.  That day is coming.

There is coming an existence in which there is eventually no need for violence or predation, real competition, etc., at least not for creation.

However, this is not the peace of pacifism.  This is the peace of conquest.  Peace comes from God’s final subjugation of the enemies of creation.   “The Lord is a warrior” (Exodus 15:3)  In Isaiah 42, which is at least partially a prophetic passage generally accepted among Christians to be about Jesus, vs 13 says that

“The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.”

Almighty God is no pacifist.  Nor do I believe Jesus, as part of the Triune God, nor as proclaimed in prophecy, a pacifist.

I certainly do not think Satan would think of Him as one. As, in the last days, Jesus will defeat Satan in battle.

Further in the study of end-times prophecy, it seems that there will be a day for believers in which there will be no more sorrow, death, mourning, or pain, and God will wipe away their tears. (Revelation 21:4).  I believe that the Micah passage about an end to war is about that existence which Jesus Himself will usher in to place via this conquest (Micah 4:3, Isa 65:25, Isa 11:6).

That being said, this is not that existence.  We cannot usher in that existence by the way we act. It is not something that we can create on our own.

Here there is evil and predation, even among humans.

The Disney movie, Pocahontas, shows the title character dancing around in the forest proclaiming the peaceful nature of the animals and the web of life that connects them.  As she does this, she reaches into a bear’s den and takes out a cub.

Her philosophy might have some impression if people could do that for real.  However, when the mother bear crushed her into broken pieces, her beliefs might have been brought into question.

Declaring “peace, peace when there is no peace” in that way is delusional.

It is not common teaching among Christian pacifists that us being non-violent will lead to a non-violent world, but in some cases, the more liberal elements of this do teach this.  This is foolish, in my eyes… even if ones argues that Jesus was non-violent and led his students to practice non-violence, there was no indication that this would reduce suffering.

In that new existence someday, there will no longer be a need for humans to protect other humans from other humans.  There would be no call for self-defense (I use this term to apply to defending one’s own personal self and the well being of those we are responsible for).

Jesus was not human utopianist.

He is a heavenly one, but clearly did not hope for mankind to solve our own issues.  He was clear that there would be trouble (John 16:33) and persecution (John 15:19-20). He and His followers certainly were on the receiving end of violence.

In fact, the way that Jesus John 2:15 drove “them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen” (seeming to make clear that the “them” was someone other than the animals), sure makes it seem like any stance He had against violent behavior did not apply to Himself.

One can argue that Jesus wasn’t beating the men, sure… but there really isn’t any normal definition of “violent” that would not include driving people out with a whip of cords.

So, while the character of God in the past clearly involves violence and warfare, and Jesus was violent in His time on Earth, so too will His character be that of a warrior in the future.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.” Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.  Rev 19:11-21

Of course, it is part of God’s character to be an agent of peace – as well as to be a warrior (peace and war are not contradictory). But the pacifist is making the claim that we only follow the example of God’s character as peacemaker.

So, the pacifist is defending the claim that God is calling on us to live in a way differently than His character.

This is NOT impossible – an example of this is that it is morally right for God to be jealous, but not for us to be. Obviously, it is appropriate for God to accept worship, but not us.  That makes sense.  However, these have to be explained – especially when God (back in the Genesis passage with Noah) has commanded man, under certain conditions, to shed the blood of man.

Head on to Part III to summarize what that burden is.

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As a counselor and a pastor… and as man, rites of passages are very important to me.

Throughout history and across people groups, rites of passages have been culturally vital ways to communicate to members of the community that they are taking on a new role within that community – boy to man, worker to leader, girl to woman, servant to warrior, etc.

The medieval noble families moved their sons from children to page around age 7, from page to squire around age 14 and from squire to knight around 21. The Massai tribes “capture” the boys from the women’s side of the village and declare them men and then train them to kill a lion; when they kill the lion they move from “runner” to “warrior.”

Today in America, we have essentially nothing cultural that communicates when a boy is accepted generally as a man.   The consequence? We have hundreds of thousands of males who are not confident that they are a man. The boy looks around and sees those he thinks of as men, but none of those men are making it clear that they think of him as a man… and many of those “men” doubt it deeply about themselves as well. Where can we find them? One option is to look outdoors.

I remember helping my father pile firewood in the wheelbarrow. I was there with him. He dropped the tree, cut it up, split it, loaded and hauled it, and stacked it. Probably around age 4, I was helping him to some loading. Then one year he had me push the wheelbarrow full of firewood (and incidentally, nothing will teach someone temper control like a one-wheeled wheelbarrow, right?).

Then one year he handed me a splitting maul and had me start splitting. I knew my father saw me differently. Maybe not a man, but not a boy anymore either.

He saw me as responsible, wise and strong enough for the edge.

And then, around age 17, he handed me the eye and hearing protection and with no preamble, talked me through using the chainsaw. I spent that day with him training me on various cuts and techniques (my father was a forestry professor). I went to be knowing that night that my father thought of me as, to an important degree, a man.

… but the message was plenty clear. In fact, I remember my father referring to an adult male the he apparently thought of as “less than a man” with the phrase “I wouldn’t trust that guy with a chainsaw.”

In the ancient Hebrew scriptures, in Deuteronomy chapter 6:7, the men of Israel are instructed to teach their children the truths of God not just a few hours one morning a week… but all the time…  “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” [1]

We cannot relegate these vital truths of life and death, God and Christ, sin and redemption, love and sacrifice, temptation and forgiveness to the voice any other man, even if he is our pastor. We, as fathers, must remember that responsibility still lies with us.

When, in today’s nonstop busy world with buzzing phones, are we centered and quiet enough to talk to our children about these things that really matter?

Over logs being tossed into a wheelbarrow, and after that wheelbarrow, despite the boy’s best effort, has tipped and dumped the whole load… or find the activity you can engage with, adding with intentionality to your child’s responsibilities, and talk.

These are when these conversations can happen without feeling awkward and forced. These are when the world’s problems are solved. These are when our sons might know that they are men. This is when our kids can hear that we are proud of them for no other reason than the truth that they are our children, even without words sometimes. This is when our children might know that they are, ultimately, not ours, but God’s.

In an effort to help us men out, I have created “The Gauntlet – A study that works even for busy dads and sons along the Deut 6 model.” To learn more or to find out how to purchase one, look at the resource page or email at chrismlegg@gmail.com.

How I handle these rites in my family might offer some ideas as well.

I also have done a rite of passage for an adult man that has some fun ideas in it.

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Hermeneutics

Here we have a very simple look at a topic that all too few Christians understand.

No, not Herman… or even the study of Hermans.

It is the art and science of studying The Holy Bible (and I suppose other holy books as well).  It is called “Hermeneutics” after the Greek god “Hermes” – the messenger of the gods.

There are dozens of different ways that people create a process for good hermeneutics, but the general principles are typically very similar. I like the words that Dr. Howard Hendrix used:

  1. Observation
  2. Interpretation
  3. Application

Observation

Again, in simple terms, “observation” is engaging with what is on the page.  This is the who, what, when, where and how.  It involves context, imagination, and details.

This step is vital and can take the most time, and it is often the most overlooked.

Check out the account in Mark 40:35-41 of Jesus calming the Sea of Galilee. 

Who is in the account?  Jesus, the disciples, and other boats on the Sea are there.

Jesus is sleeping.  It is in the evening and likely dark.  Did you ever picture this account as being in the dark, with other boats around (I didn’t find a single piece of art with multiple boats in the painting)?  Perhaps not. That is the cost of not observing well.

Interpretation

This involves understanding the author’s original intent. In order to do this, one needs to examine cultural setting, audience, literary genre, etc.

This is a dangerous step.  Here is the temptation to read our own meeting onto the material – to find what we want to find, not what we find.

This is the danger of exegesis versus eisegesis.

Engaging exegetically in scripture means to seek, as honestly as we possibly can, to ask what the passage and the author originally intended… what does it actually say to us?

So often, we decide what we think and then we go to scripture to find defense for our views (this is often also called “proof texting”). This is called “eisegesis”.

As a psychologist, I know that none of us are capable of fully removing our preconceived notions, but we have to do our best to do so.  This is especially true when we are looking to the Bible to talk to us about something that is dear to us!

My most recent posts were about the roles of women in leadership and service roles in the Church.  I am about to publish a series about the place for self-defense in the life of a Christian, as I understand it.  I have written articles on premarital sex, homosexuality, marijuana usage and tattoos (among others) and tried to bring what I see in the Bible to bear in those topics and others.

I admit that it is hard to do my best to remove from my thinking my preconceived ideas for each of these!  Ok, so it is actually impossible for us to completely divorce our thoughts from our previous views.  However, it is seriously incumbent upon us to seek to do so our very best.  Anyone who says this is easy must be delusional… or lying… or I guess, so different from most of us that I cannot comprehend it.

However, as with the self-defense one, I spent most of a year reading books, studying scripture and talking to various people with various views before coming to a conclusion.  I pledged to God that I was prepared to put aside all ideas that I felt I had about defending my family and myself if I was convinced that His Word called for pacifism.

Once we are convinced that we have a good understanding of what the original author intended, then we are able to grasp what cosmic truths are in the scripture.  What are the eternal ideas that we find there?  What, if anything transcends the era, culture, people, etc. in which the words are seated?

If there is anything, we can bring that Truth forward into modern time.  Once we do, there is just one step left.

Application

Application is nothing more than the process to take those truths and make them real in our own lives – as guided by God’s Living Spirit in our lives.

It is this Spirit that illuminates the very Bible that He also inspired.

This Spirit is what makes the Word of God “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12).  This is not a musty old, outdated religious book.  It is God’s revealing to us about Himself and ourselves.

Once we know what we ought to do (or not do), we must submit.  This final step is sometimes the hardest for our rebellious souls.  We don’t like the answers we come to, so we do what we want instead.

Are you having a crisis of faith?

Likely there is behavior that you want to engage in that you think the Bible forbids… or maybe there is just a mindset – what the Bible labels as sin or goodness or purity, that you don’t want to agree with.

So something must go:  your way of thinking and acting or what you believe.

For more about this, check out  https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/howard-hendricks-4-bible-study-steps.html

 

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So that works as a transition to women in an elder role:

 The church I am in right now doesn’t have anyone with the title “elder” – but we have a leadership board and we ask the church to select them based on the traits listed in I Timothy 3.

This is the decision making body of lay (not staff) leaders. They are elected by the church membership each year. The only quality of the elder that we do not emphasize for them is the teaching aspect. We ask that each of them be able to share the gospel through their own testimony and to have the ability to handle the word of truth well, but they do not have to be in a teaching role.

(this is actually why the Baptist church historically reserved the title “elder” for teaching pastors, as I understand it)…

We do encourage women to accept the roles as well. Some years, no women are voted into the roles, but most years, at least one is.

So, engaging with the room created by the material above, (including the wording of “husband of one wife” notes) we certainly see women in roles of leadership throughout scripture.

Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Esther, Naomi, Anna, Hannah, Abigail, and others are described as taking positions of leadership and perhaps most significantly, as prophets (Acts 2:17-18/Joel 2:28-32)

17    “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.”

There is even good reason to think that Paul gives the title “apostle” (which just means “sent” in the original language) to a woman named Junia. Of course, as always, there are multiple reasonable and justifiable others ways to interpret this passage, but it is worth listing here as well. (Romans 16:7)

So, if the I Timothy passages were cut and dry… if Paul had written “No women can be an elder” or “only men married to their first wives are allowed to be elders” or something like that, then these other passages would have to be interpreted differently. However, since Paul left room, there is room for the others, too.

Please understand that I think it is possible that this is precisely what Paul did intend.  I think it is possible that Paul did mean to prohibit women from being in this particular role… but I also think he may not have.  Many are convinced he did and I appreciate and respect that view.

Of course, there are other passages in which Paul sure indicates his feelings about women (or wives) in authority over men (or husbands?) (1 Timothy 2:8-15)… some think this is about women “usurping” that authority… and it would make sense that an elder is some kind of authority over others in the church, but over the years many have offered other ways of looking at all of that… and what if a church decides not to have official elders at all? Is that disobedience to the scriptural teachings?

There is a lot here. I personally think there is less space scripturally for women to have the roles of elders (because of the seeming authority connected to them as shepherds of the church), but once again, I still agree that there is enough room for it to be acceptable if a church to determine to interpret these passages otherwise, or to structure the church and leadership in such a way as to protect these concepts.

How about women as “pastors”?

To me, this one is the easiest of all, though perhaps for different reasons than others.

I just do not see in scripture that the title “pastor” is an official job or officer title.

I admitted that I am not that far into my research of church “officers”… and I am personally not convinced that deacon and elder are meant to be “offices” so much as “roles” myself, but “pastor” seems to be a gifting and the word itself just means “shepherd”.

I think that at some point, many evangelical churches began to see the title “pastor” as some kind of biblical office… and of course, now it is a job title.

Different “pastors” may have totally different job descriptions, of course.

I completely understand the applying Paul’s teaching about women (1 Tim 2:8-15, I Cor 14:34) to the job description of women (though I am a little befuddled at times as to when a woman would be allowed to speak or not – Sunday School? Small Groups?  Children’s classes if there are men in the room?)

It does feel at times like all applications of these teaching end up being arbitrary because of how different the church experience is now versus at the time of Paul, but I always appreciate us making every good-hearted attempt.

I am not totally convinced yet that we should be treating “deacon” or “elder” as specialized officers in the church (rather than roles), but moreso, I do not how we came to see “pastor” as some kind of officer…

And especially I am confused by how “pastor” and “elder” came to be connected – especially to be seen as identical – as if often common in the Baptist world, for example.  I get that elders are supposed to be able to teach, but do all shepherds in the church teach?

This is a distinction between job title and job description, in my mind.  Even if I were convinced that women not teaching in church was a correct application in the activity that we call church today, I do not see why “pastor” in a job title that didn’t include teaching would be forbidden.

What am I missing?

Further passages that offer challenge to the “no teaching at all” application include I Cor 11:4-6, when women are referenced as praying or prophesying, (see also Acts 21:9) so these are two roles that Paul seems to accept (though their head should be covered – always strange to me since the Jewish tradition is the opposite, but he explains the motivation).

Given that I think the correct understanding of the term “pastor” is as a gifting or a role in the Church rather than an office, then I also think there is even less of a good case to make to prohibit women from having the title “pastor.”

What makes sense is the idea that in many churches today, the “pastor” is the title given to the leader of the church – as in, the highest authority figure in the church. Given Paul’s admonition against women being in authority over men, it makes sense that IF the highest authority position is “The Pastor”, then that position would be held by a man. However, what about in an elder/committee run church?

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