Archives For oppression

Posts like this are hard to write.  Hard because they are humbling.

I started reading through the #metoo posts on Twitter, at the request of some women in my church.  It’s hard to organize my thoughts so I’m just going to put them out there:

I was wrong.  I do a lot of work around racial reconciliation and talk and preach a lot about racial inequality and the oppression of people of color in America.  When women would talk to me about the oppression women face, and how it should be included in the conversation of oppression, I’ve always resisted.  With race I say, “How can a white person tell you what it’s like to be a person of color in America?”  They obviously can’t, but they try to over and over again (while not listening to people of color’s experiences).  Meanwhile the same applies here, “How can a man tell you what it’s like to be a woman?”  We can’t.  I can’t.  But that’s where I’ve been living.

The response of some men to #metoo is sickening and sad.  The men who are mocking the #metoo movement are sickening to me.  It’s also sad to me the men who feel defensive over this.  How can you feel defensive over this???  Yes, men and boys are sexually abused as well, that’s not the point of the #metoo posts from women.  It’s not a contest!  It’s about giving a voice to a demographic that has been shut up for ages.  Men have never been shut up.  While yes, the male victims of sexual abuse need to share their stories, and those stories are welcome, this is much bigger than that.  It’s about an entire gender that’s been silenced in almost every area of society; the sexual abuse is the tip of the iceberg to the feelings of inferiority women are carrying around with them.  Whether it’s in racial injustice or in these conversations about gender injustice, I will always struggle to understand the response of the white male who feels like they’re being attacked when these important oppressed voices speak up, and then use that feeling to miss the whole point.  This isn’t about you, it’s about the person that’s been oppressed by our society.  Yes, a society that benefited you (and me) at their expense.  But don’t make it about you by feeling attacked or defensive.  And if you’ve been a part of the problem, own it.  Stop acting like you’re innocent of everything; none of us are.  Own up to your part.  Continuing in obstinate pride isn’t going to help anything or change anything.  Why not be a part of the solution? Continue Reading…

The debate about abortion hinges around several key disagreements:

  • When is a fetus considered a human? (alternative wording: when does a fetus have a soul?)
  • Women’s rights (in tension with baby/fetus’s rights)
  • “Birth control” abortions & extreme cases like rape, incest, death of the mother, etc.

I am a man and will never know what it’s like to be pregnant.  When I have sex, I do not have to take into consideration that it might make me pregnant for 9 months, with a baby to care for and nurse thereafter.  I also acknowledge the way women have been abused by men throughout history in macro and micro ways.  My goal is to be as objective as possible and as sympathetic as possible to both women and babies.

When is a fetus considered a human?

A popular pro-life view is that life begins at conception.  (“Life” = the soul begins at conception; the baby is a human being at conception)

A popular pro-choice view is that life begins once the baby is viable, once it is able to live in the outside world independent of its mother. (22-27 weeks)

Let’s throw both of these out as arbitrary conclusions for right now.  Continue Reading…

What does the Bible say about women in church leadership?  The egalitarian case.

Alright here goes, the theological issue that has single-handedly kept me awake at night more than any other: Women in church leadership (Can women be pastors, elders, etc.?).  Maybe it’s cut and dry for you; it used to be for me as well.  Maybe by the end of reading what I’m about to write, you’ll be awake at night too!  And maybe not.  Whatever the case, please read both of my articles on this topic.  I am publishing them simultaneously with the express purpose of helping one side see the merit in the other and to help address some of the many misunderstandings out there.  The two posts are:

The Accusation from Complementarians: Egalitarians are not Biblical.

The Accusation from Egalitarians: Complementarians are Sexist & Oppressors.

The reason the topic of women in ministry leadership has deprived me of so much sleep is because of my love for hermeneutics and because of my deep conviction that the Bible is God’s word.  If you throw out any of it, how can you trust any of it?  Hermeneutics refers to how we interpret the Bible, taking into account the cultural context, the author, the audience etc. and figuring out how to apply the timeless truth of a passage to today, a very different context from when it was written (i.e. Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss.).  Some passages of Scripture require no hermeneutics at all.  1 Corinthians 15:3-4 and Galatians 1:6-9 are some homeruns in this category–so clean, so clear, so refreshing.  If only all texts were this way.  In all honesty, as I’ve thoroughly studied the Bible’s women in church leadership texts, I often feel exasperated that both views seem unbiblical!  And then I can’t sleep…

Some quick vocab:

Egalitarian – The belief that women and men are equal when it comes to church leadership.  That women can be senior / lead pastors or elders in the same way that men can.

Complementarian – The belief that women and men are different in function, but complement one another when it comes to church leadership.  Only men can be elders / lead pastors.

There is a relatively wide spectrum within each camp, but this gives you a basic framework so you can follow along.

While there is a related debate about men and women’s household roles, I will be focusing on church leadership roles.  Onward:

The Accusation from Complementarians: Egalitarians are not Biblical.

I will attempt to show that the egalitarian view is indeed a valid, biblical hermeneutic.

Continue Reading…

If the Old Testament prophets told you that churches in America shouldn’t be segregated along racial lines, would you listen?

If Jesus told you churches in America shouldn’t be segregated along racial lines, would you listen?

For most of my life, this stuff wasn’t even close to being on my radar and I realize for many reading, it isn’t on yours either.  I truly don’t mean to write judgmentally, self-righteousnessly or condemningly.  But I do hope to show biblically that just because something isn’t on our radar as American Christians, doesn’t mean it isn’t on God’s radar–and like King Josiah or even like the reformers of the Protestant Reformation, when God reveals something to us from his word that we hadn’t previously noticed, we need to act on it.

Listen to what Jesus says in John 17:20-21: Continue Reading…