cheapening submission

‘the buck stops with him’

‘he makes the call’

‘he takes responsibility’

Sometimes headship and submission get reduced down to a trump-card: the husband wins any argument.

Headship sometimes involves tie-breaking authority. I would say maybe more than sometimes—it’s rarely—involves tie-breaking authority. But it does. In a marriage, you only have two votes; so the occasions do arise when there’s like an impasse, “Yes; no.” Okay, how do you break the stalemate? It can only be broken if one party has the authority to overrule; but there can’t be a misuse of that so that it’s done so that, “I can get my way.” The only time that a husband can use his authority to overrule is with knowing he has the responsibility and the accountability to God to only be doing it in order to serve and to take care of his wife and his family. Tim Keller

Now I haven’t resolved my thinking on headship and submission in marriage. But since submission  is a virtue for all Christians (as is sacrificial love), women and men, I feel pretty comfortable saying it’s something wives should care about, regardless of whether their marriages are complimentarian or egalitarian (see who cares what paul meant there, I’ll submit anyway).

But submission isn’t particularly inspiring. It’s normally defined in terms of what not to do. It sounds so passive. I’ve wondered, what do I actually do while I’m waiting around for this marriage stalemate to arrive? Then if it does, apparently I just roll over, and that’s it. Really? So while my husband is busy being a ‘head’ my contribution to our marriage is merely not to get in his way. Hardly something to get excited about.

I suspect we women (and men too actually) have been short-changed on submission.

I want to restore submission – making yourself low – to the high calling that it is.

Firstly, when submission is defined in terms of  ‘tie-breaking’, ‘over-ruling’ or who takes the blame we’re conceiving of marriage as essentially a power-struggle, a competition between spouses rather than collaboration. This is deeply problematic. It assumes division within the ‘one flesh’ that God has made. Yes we are sinful and do argue, but installing the office of ‘tie-breaker’ in marriage assumes that disunity and use of force are good and normal in the relationship. When we talk about marriage this way, assuming a power-struggle, I worry we’ve already lost the plot!

Secondly, the idea that submission means letting the husband make the final tie-breaking call on big decisions or that ‘the buck stops with him’ simply isn’t supported by Biblical evidence as far as I can see (reading it into the ‘head’ metaphor goes beyond the text). Where does it come from? Who knows.

Thirdly, reducing submission to a tie-breaking trump card strips submission of its relational value and turns it into a transaction, a contract. The relationship is reduced to a set of obligations, like a job description for an employer/employee relationship, where a wife has certain duties to the husband, but they’re a function of her position as wife, not of her relationship to her husband. It cheapens submission.

Most complimentarians say that submission is something the wife gives voluntarily, rather than something a husband can demand. Yet by then going on to define submission in definite terms such as the buck stopper or the tie-breaker, women are effectively told how they are to submit (and normally by a man). This robs her of her ability to freely and creatively submit to her husband, expressing her submission in ways which are rich, meaningful, even exciting, for her and her husband.

The irony is, that in these passages in Ephesians and Colossians, Paul is making a radical move of addressing women as moral agents. Yoder explains it in The Politics of Jesus.

The admonition of the Haustafeln is addressed first to the subject: to the slave before the master, to the children before the parents, to the wives before the husbands. Here begins the revolutionary innovation in the early Christian style of ethical thinking…The subordinate person in the social order is addressed as a moral agent. She is called upon to take responsibility for the acceptance of her position in society as meaningful before God. It is not assumed, as it was in both Jewish and Hellenistic thought, that the wife will have the faith of her husband, or that the slave will be part of the religious unity of the master’s household. Here we have a faith that assigns personal moral responsibility to those who had no legal or moral status in their culture, and makes them decision makers. It gives them responsibility for viewing their status in society not as a simple meaningless decree of fate but as their own meaningful witness and ministry, as an issue about which they can make a moral choice. 

When submission is reduced to ‘tie-breaker’, women are stripped of the full revolutionary agency Paul attributes to them. They are no longer allowed to work out in relationship with their husband how they will best submit, how they can best honour and serve him. They are told ‘submission is x’.

The thing is, however, it’s much simpler to resolve to be the loser in any argument, thus ‘fulfilling’ your ‘submissive’ obligations, without actually honouring your husband. It’s something you can tick off. You could let the man make the big decisions while continually manipulating, undermining and dismissing him (see Why you should stop treating your husband like a toddler and actually respect him). Cheap submission is easy. What’s harder is thinking of ways to honour someone, to put yourself beneath them, to serve them above yourself. That kind of submission is never finished.

Instead of a contractual obligation, I imagine a vision of submission based in relationship with the other person, a rich submission which is thoughtful about how best to serve them, to honour them, how to put oneself beneath the other, how to lower oneself. This is a beautiful thing. It will look different for every couple, for every relationship, because it’s submission to a person, nor an office. Morgan Guyton describes submission well, distinguishing it from ‘service’ (which can be ticked off like cheap ‘submission’).

When Jesus says to be a slave of all, he is talking about the radical self-abasement that he models in washing his disciple’s feet. In our era of volunteerism, we have learned how to engage in service towards needy people without submitting ourselves to them as servants. Service without servanthood is almost more oppressive than not serving at all; it creates shame and dependency rather than empowerment.The person “serving” can leave feeling good about themselves for putting in their quota of compassion for the month, but nothing about the underlying power structures in the world has changed as a result.

Servanthood on the other hand means submitting yourself to another person for the sake of lifting him or her up. When Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, He is not just helping or serving them; He is putting Himself beneath them. So Christian leadership is not service in the sense of making decisions for other people or doing what they don’t know how to do for themselves; it is putting ourselves beneath others for the sake of their empowerment. True Christian leadership, as described in Mark 10:42-44, is submission.

This is a rich submission I can get excited about.


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Not only Friday, but we’ve got a long weekend! I’m off to the coast for a family bonding weekend.

On climate

Paul Willis The 2013 climate change wake up call

On political persuasion and pheromones

Mike Seccombe Your politics stink

Ideology does have a smell. Conservatives smell different from liberals.

“As participants go up the scale in the conservative nature of their orientation, they found the odour of fellow conservatives more attractive and the smell of liberals less attractive. Similarly, more liberal evaluators were more likely to find the smell of other liberals more pleasing.”

On women giving sermons (oh yes, there’s more)

John Sandeman John Dickson says Bible based churches should let women preach

Kevin Giles An evangelical response to John Dickson’s ‘Hearing her Voice’

Dickson has responded to Bolt – A response to Peter Bolt’s critique

and Windsor has responded to Dickson – ‘Teaching’ in the pastoral letters

On adolescence

Why you never truly leave high school

It has long been known that male earning potential correlates rather bluntly with height. But it was only in 2004 that a trio of economists thought to burrow a little deeper and discovered, based on a sample of thousands of white men in the U.S. and Britain, that it wasn’t adult height that seemed to affect their subjects’ wages; it was their height at 16. (In other words, two white men measuring five-foot-eleven can have very different earning potential in the same profession, all other demographic markers being equal, just because one of them was shorter at 16.)

On doubt

Michael Spencer I have my doubts

On Peris and Crossin in the NT

Gabriell Chan Gillard’s ‘captain’s pick’

Peris v Cross is a story about indigenous representation, gender politics and preselection rules.

On single parenthood and centrelink

Nikki McWatters THIS IS POVERTY

On  words & punctuation

For the grammar pedants – Arika Okrent The best shots fired in the Oxford Comma wars

Carmen Faye Mathes Words I need for my dissertation that don’t exist

Hegemonkey – noun – 1. apish answer to ideology; 2. tree-dwelling mammal in a suit.

On bible colleges

Peter Enns Can evangelical colleges be truly academic institutions?

Can an institution claim to be fundamentally academic while at the same time centered on defending certain positions that are largely, if not wholly, out of sync with generations of academic discourse outside of evangelical boundaries?

On Lance

Lance Armstrong

On Calvin

Derek Rishmawy John Calvin’s motherly God (or maybe he’s worth actually reading)

John Calvin’s God is nothing but an autocratic tyrant, an arbitrary despot, who may be concerned with legal justice, but who was the worst sort of example of “forensic theism.” Yes, he might be “gracious”, but it is an almost unfeeling graciousness, concerned only to preserve his own rights, rather than bestow good on his creatures…at least, that’s the picture I had before I’d read any Calvin.

On 26th January

It’s that time of year – survival/Australia/invasion Day – and there’s endless discussions over our national identity. Do we celebrate, if so, what exactly? Should we be proud? ashamed? remorseful? hopeful? or just confused?

For me Australia Day this year will mean smashing my siblings at Hottest 100 Bingo.

This one’s on our issues with Australia Day(BIG TIME LANGUAGE WARNING )

And here’s something a bit more cheery from our favourite retro decade.

christians and the human rights bill – part 4

part 4 of 4

Plaatje Christopher - Human RightsThe Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill (2012) is in draft from and currently before a Senate Inquiry and facing some opposition from Christian groups. In this final post I look at the issue of public perception of Christians.

Firstly, not all Christians oppose the draft bill. Here are two positive Christian responses:

Peter Sandeman from Anglicare If we believe all people are equal we must live this

Elenie Poulos from the Uniting Church Injustice not an article of faith for all churches

how are outsiders going to interpret this?

As I have argued before, PR matters. We need to be concerned about how we come across to outsiders so as not to create a barrier to knowing Jesus. So how do we look? What message do we project to the public when we object to this legislation?

David Marr’s article article in the SMH gives us a hint. He interprets Christian opposition as churches defending their powers to ‘punish “sinners” in the workplace.’

Most conservative faiths have most of the following on their lists of the sackable: gays and lesbians, single mothers, adulterers – yes, even adulterers! – bisexuals, transsexuals, the intersex and couples like Gillard and Tim Mathieson…

Some see Christians as fighting for their ‘right to discriminate’. See Eleanor Gibbs or Ben Dorrington.

Or there’s Jeff Sparrow’s Religious freedom beats your rights at work

Religious lobbyists run the risk of winning this particular skirmish but losing the war. Even those of us who aren’t believers know that the scriptures spend far more time condemning the wealthy and greedy than obsessing about which sexual organ can legitimately go where. Do churches that already struggle for relevance really want to identify themselves so exclusively as the bedroom police, rather than finding something to say about the various moneylenders ensconced in the temples of the 21st century?

And Joumanah el Matrah Shutting out the ‘sinners’ feeds bigotry (not a secular perspective, but relevant nonetheless)

When the federal government assures religious groups they will have the freedom to discriminate against homosexuals and others they deem sinners (The Age 16/1), it not only undermines the rights of already vulnerable groups, such as same-sex-attracted people, it also undermines the substance and integrity of religion by reducing it to a collection of petty bigotries.

Finally, a cartoon

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The secular public does not understand Christians’ reasoning behind their opposition. Instead, Christians, by their opposition, confirm the public’s suspicion that Christians are sexist, homophobic and arrogant and that Christians believe they are entitled to special treatment.

Many of the Christian submissions regarding the bill complain that their free speech and religious freedom would be violated if they’re not allowed to ‘offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people.’ (note –  the word ‘offend’ was included in the draft bill because it comes from existing harassment legislation – I wouldn’t normally post something from the IPA, but Berg explains it here).

That does sound a lot like we believe that offending, insulting, humiliating and intimidating people are core parts of Christianity that need to be protected. The public could be forgiven for thinking so. They see the contradiction between what we say we believe and the ‘rights’ we claim.

I am not saying that we should let our beliefs be determined by public opinion, only that public opinion matters if people are going to listen to our message. We need to think seriously about which battles are worth fighting and what our opposition tells people about Jesus.

Because I’m worried that, worst of all, we’re creating a stumbling block to the gospel, a barrier to knowing Jesus.

concluding thoughts

There is a risk that Christians and churches may be taken to court for speaking the truth in love because someone was offended by it.

But there is a far greater risk that, by opposing this legislation, the public will get the impression that we Christians reserve the right to offend, humiliate, insult and intimidate people, to treat people unfairly, to mistreat people, to show favouritism and to ignore the injustices faced by the most vulnerable in our society.

There’s a risk they will think that we value our ‘freedom of religion’ over better protections for vulnerable people.

Would you not rather be taken to court?

christians and the human rights bill – part 3

part 3 of 4

Plaatje Christopher - Human RightsThe Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill (2012) is in draft from and currently before a Senate Inquiry.

The protections for religious organisations are largely unchanged. One exception which is causing concern is that the bill will:

Ensure that no provider of aged care services with Commonwealth funding can discriminate.  This includes religious organisations (although such providers can continue to preference people of their faith).

the consequences of being yoked

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Ah yes, the ‘don’t date non-Christians’ passage. I worry that with this one we’ve been so concerned not to date non-Christians that we haven’t thought hard about the wisdom in this passage.

When we receive public money, we’re no longer working for Christ alone but also for the state. We become indebted to the government. We’re yoked. The government, as the employer or contractor has the right to set the agenda.

Perhaps, for some services, our values and objectives are so similar to those of the government that Christian organisations can work under them. After all, many Christians do work for the government in their normal employment – public servants, teachers, nurses – and honour God with their work.

Yet I think we need to consider the implications for Christian organisations to be dependent on public money for their operation. Governments demand KPIs and love to measure things (employment outcomes, hospital beds, efficiencies) which, for Christians, are often secondary, rather than primary concerns. Yet organisations dependent on government need to compromise their priorities work to achieve these government benchmarks. Governments are uneasy about evangelism and prayer (school chaplains anyone?), whereas for many Christians these are essential activities for someone in a public Christian position. It means our hands are tied. Not to mention the public perception that Christians get a free ride on public money.

In many areas, I believe it is not in our interests to opportunistically accept cash from the government. Our values are different. We serve Jesus.

Perhaps you think I’m wrong. Perhaps you think it would be better for us to use government money while we can for the Kingdom. What I’m proposing would need  some radical generosity from Christians. Do you think that’s possible?

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Happy Friday everyone.

On the atonement

I’m halfway through these lectures from Fuller and loving them. What DID Jesus Do? The Atonement Symposium Videos

On the weather and climate

Tim Flannery As Australia burns, attitudes are changing. But is it too late?

On lust

When it comes to dressing modestly, I generally think that if my conscience is clear and I’ve dressed to attract no one else but my husband, then if a guy lusts it’s his own problem. Morgan Guyton Lust patriarchy and capitalism made me re-think this.

On church growth

Nathan Campbell Spurgeon v Augustine; Egyptian gold, “faithful preaching”, equilateral triangles and church growth

On good books

I confess to having read none of these books. But I will. Scott Stephens Why the best books of 2012 were so good

On the trolls

Jon Acuff Proverbs 9

On violence

This one’s a challenge. I mostly posting it because I read Nahum last week and am still in shock – I had much the same concerns. Wil Gafney God, the Bible and rape

Also, on the recent shootings and masculinity: David Leonard The unbearable invisibility of white masculinity

On compulsory voting

Mungo MacCallum Visionary voting reform if it works in your favour

On women in ministry

Michael Bird has written a response to Peter Bolt’s review of his book – The Achilles heel of two complimentarian objections

I’ve been pretty disappointed by the responses to Dickson’s book (Lionel Windsor excluded). Dickson’s been dismissed out of hand with little engagement with his argument – a little embarrassing from people who should know better.

On alcohol

This is from Prohibition, what did they do with all the booze? Literal rivers of booze.

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christians and the human rights bill – part 2

Plaatje Christopher - Human Rights

Part 2 of 4

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill (2012) is currently before a Senate Inquiry and, looking at the submissions, it seems like a lot of Christians are concerned. This series cover my reasons for not joining them in opposing the bill.

when there’s competing rights, the other person wins

Christians don’t cling onto their rights. They give them up.

Paul in the New Testament explains that when Christians conflict, they don’t fight it out, they give up their rights.

One brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.

Radical I know. But Jesus goes further; don’t just give up your rights for another person, wish them well, even serve them when they violate your rights.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Jesus didn’t just say this – he did it. Silent before his accusers, he didn’t even open his mouth.

Rights and obligations go together. When someone claims a right, someone else receives an obligation.With the current situation, where the right not to face discrimination (and associated obligations) possibly conflicts with the right to religious freedom, someone will have to be vulnerable as they serve the interests of the other party.

So either churches and Christians will be the vulnerable party, or people with disabilities, LGBTI people, migrants, older people, women and others will be vulnerable.

These groups aren’t even our enemies, they’re our friends. Many of them are our Christian sisters and brothers! Let’s put their interests before ours and allow ourselves to be the vulnerable party. Let’s not insist on our rights.

facing discrimination is part of being a christian

I can’t stand Christians with a persecution complex. You know. The type who complain when a ‘latte sipping lefty’ made some kind of slur against Christianity. ‘They wouldn’t have said that about Muslims or Buddhists!’, they whinge.

Firstly – perhaps the latte-sipper has a point, maybe you should pause and consider their critique (see The difference between persecution and being corrected). Secondly – what it is to you what the latte-sipper says about Buddhists? You take up your cross, stop complaining and keep following Jesus.

Now I seriously doubt the proposed legislation will lead to greater discrimination against Christians. But even if it might, I’m not sure that’s something to complain about.

The New Testament portrays religious discrimination as something to expect, as part of being Christian.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.

So persecution is expected, but should we try to minimise or avoid it?  Should we assert our ‘right’ to ‘religious freedom?’ I don’t think so. In Galatians 6:12 Paul has nothing good to say about people who ‘to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.’ Yes, in Acts 16 Paul insists on his rights as a Roman citizen. But it seems he’s insisting that Roman law should be followed correctly, not that they’re unfairly picking on Christians. Later when warned he’ll be arrested in Jerusalem he heads, not away from, but straight to Jerusalem.

But the strongest evidence that persecution isn’t something to fear or avoid is that discrimination, mistreatment and injustice against Christians caused the early church to grow. Discrimination is not bad for us. God works through it. It can be a blessing in disguise.

christians and the human rights bill – part 1

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christians and the human rights bill – part 1

Plaatje Christopher - Human RightsPart 1 of 4

Watch out! The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill (2012) is currently before a Senate Inquiry and, looking at the submissions, it seems like a lot of Christians are concerned.

The bill is mostly a consolidation of existing Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation (Age, Disability, Racial, Sex, Human Rights). The main addition has to do with protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination and greater protections against relationship discrimination for same-sex couples. The bill will also make it simpler to make a complaint and shift the burden of proof to the respondent (who generally has more money and access to legal services) to explain themselves, rather than on the complainer to justify their complaint. I welcome these changes.

The protections for religious organisations are largely unchanged. The exception is that the bill will:

Ensure that no provider of aged care services with Commonwealth funding can discriminate.  This includes religious organisations (although such providers can continue to preference people of their faith).

Controversially, (at least for Christians) it defines discrimination as behaviour which ‘offends, insults, humiliates or intimidates another person or a group of people.’ A lot of people are saying this would violate their freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

Perhaps this bill will make things more difficult for Christians. But I argue that we should not primarily be concerned for our own rights, but for the rights and protections of others. We should support the bill.

 
the sincerest form of flattery

Christians often get defensive when human rights come up. I’m not sure why. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; secular human rights have much in common with Christian ideas (you could even argue they’re derived from scripture). The secular world is copying us when they insist on human rights.

Abrahamic faiths believe that all of us were made in God’s image so we each have intrinsic value. We have obligations to treat one another justly (or from the other side, you could call it rights) because of God’s image.

Then Paul took it further when he described a people where social, gender and racial hierarchies do not determine one’s status but where all are equal and deserving of inclusion. Neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male and female. This is a foundation for human rights.

The difference between a Christian ethic and secular rights is that we know our obligations to humanity are not merely ‘self evident’ or a nice idea, they’re based in God, his character and Jesus’ work. We have a firm justification for respecting others’ rights.

christians and the human rights bill – part 2

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Lo and behold, it’s the end of the first week of work and the blog remains unattended to. So how’s your week back been? Here are some highlights.

On climate change and mental health

Corey Watts Hot Australia takes a toll on mental health

On women giving sermons

If you haven’t seen it yet, Lionel Windsor has written a response to pot-stirrer-in-chief, John Dickson.

As has Peter Bolt (without actually engaging with John’s argument so I’m assuming this is just a warm up).

Also we have Luke Collings (who shows a curious fondness for Capital Letters).

I haven’t found a response from a woman as yet (Claire Smith where are you?). Perhaps it’s too personal for us.

Dickson has promised a response to Windsor sometime this week.

On capitalism and church

Tim Gombis Values of capitalism and the Church

On the history of marriage

Radio National Marriage Australian style

On equal pay for equal work

Wendy Harmer This is totally unacceptable

Tracey Spicer Hey blokes! See you and raise you

and on ‘boys vs girl’ marketing, Corinne Grant Boys vs Girls marketing? Not buying it!

On the Arab Spring

Rupert Shortt In the Middle East, the Arab Spring has given way to a Christian Winter

On putting things into practice

Tim’s Blog We need a lot less Bible study and a lot more Bible action

On les Miserables

Chris Berg A revolution for our times

and on disability and being able to actually watch the movie

Gary Kerridge CaptiView: A raw deal for cinema goers

On the beach

From Dave Macca

The sea was sparkling,
the water was cool,
the surf was a good size.

I took off on a wave,
felt it pushing me forward,
and rode it to the beach.

My lungs were working hard,
sucking in every breath,
it was exhilarating!

Ride after ride,
heaving hard,
gasping for every breath.

Two years since I’d caught a wave,
last year I barely got wet,
and now I’m body surfing!

Simple things,
swimming and surfing,
smiling with joy.

I felt like I’d been given my life back.

Thank you God!

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Welcome to 2013. I’m still trying to forget that work starts again on Monday. Hope you’re adjusting ok.

What a legend!

Elizabeth Coleman, an 82 year old lady, has started a farm to take in ex-prisoners. It’s to give them a base, a safe environment, love, support and respect while they re-establish themselves. She believes in second chances, no matter what you’ve done. She wants to expand the work too. She knows Jesus.

Radio National Freedom. It’s worth listening to the podcast just to hear her gentle 82-year old voice speak with such passion.

On violence against women

Swati Parashar Where are the feminists to defend Indian women?

The lack of self-reflection among feminists is profound these days. The inability to empathise is astounding and the mimicry of the mainstream is becoming the norm rather than the exception.

We are obsessed as feminist academics and activists about where we publish, how we are seen, what we speak and where we stand, who notices us and who we speak for. We are concerned about whether what we say looks good on our CVs or in our public persona, whether we are on the side of the ‘progressives’, whether our politics is popular.

Saying unpopular things or taking radical positions is no longer fashionable or desirable. The comfort of the’ ivory tower’ from where we preach is good enough. Our job is done as soon as we have made the judgement of where we want to be seen/to belong…

John Piper has clarified his previous statements on domestic violence and abuse, explaining that women should also submit to civil authorities (which may mean calling the police).

On welcoming

Jon Acuff I wish every church said what this church says in their bulletin

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds…

On guns

Jeffrey Bishop The Massacre of the Holy Innocents; who is responsible for Newtown?

Garry Mills Our Moloch

James Martin More parables for our times: not your grandma’s prince of peace

1. When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: 2. “Blessed are those who know how to defend themselves, for they will be secure. Blessed are those who arm themselves, for they will not be sorry. Blessed are those with one club, for they will be safe. 3. How much more blessed are those with two clubs, for they will be able to win a fight with those with one club. 4. Let the one who has two clubs buy four, and the one who has four buy ten. Let them increase clubs a hundredfold and a thousandfold.”

On language

Francois Grosjean Change of language change of personality?

On monotony and yearning

Michael Spencer Just beyond the 100th time

Today’s secret thought was uttered by a commenter in a recent discussion thread, but it’s the kind of terrible thought that lurks in the minds of many of you reading this post. What terrible, shameful, embarrassing secret thought am I referring to?

‘Frankly, I’m to the point where there isn’t that much a pastor/teacher is going to be able to say that I haven’t heard 100 times already’…

On masculinity and faith

Radio National Men and Faith – ‘how Christian and Jewish men define masculinity today, and how it affects their relationship to power, women and other men.’ I tend to see masculinity as a false god and a harsh master. Though perhaps it’s better to ask the men how they feel about it:

As men, though we desire to be powerful—and I think as all of us perhaps, we desire to have everything under control—I think there are moments in our life when we realise, I am utterly powerless. I mean, at any moment now, I could die. I’m just a puny little thing and we, we recognise that when we go into nature or if we find ourselves amidst a booming thunderstorm. We realise just how small and insignificant we are, and that’s a terrifying thing.

Just speaking from personal experience, I don’t like being out of control. But I think this is the Christian message—you know, if you want to find life, you must lose it, our Lord says. And all we need to do is—I think Catholic men, Christian men—is to look to the symbol of our faith, look to the crucifix. I mean, there we see utter powerlessness. But at the same time we believe that that was the greatest victory, that at that moment, God conquered death itself…

On Les Miserables

Peter Enns Jesus himself would have bought a ticket and waited in a half hour line to see Les Miserables

Morgan Guyton Javert vs Valjean and the two Christianities of Les Miserables

Nathan Newman The enduring radicalism of Les Miserables

On beer and history

Koen Deconinck How beer created the state of Belgium

On women giving sermons and women in ministry

Michael Bird Women in Ministry Blitz begins

Luke Collings Gender and Ministry: Why John Dickson is wrong about women and preaching – make sure you read Dickson’s comments too.

I’m sure there’ll be more to come soon on this one.

On homelessness

Toby Hall Safe in their big houses, Australians are blind to the plight of street people

and for the single parents now on newstart

Thank you firstdogonthemoon

Newstart

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