He Will Rule Over You

A brilliant little quote from Dr. Mimi Haddad from the article, “Fifty Shades of Grey: A Trilogy of Deceit, Collusion, and Domination.”

The collective suffering of women worldwide is the result of abuses of power, pervasive in many different cultures. Patriarchy–male dominance, is entrenched within the major faith traditions, including Christianity. The “he will rule over you” of Genesis 3:16 was one of the first consequences of sin in the garden. But unlike death, toil, and work, or even pain in child-birth–all the effects of sin–male rule has been elevated and advanced as a biblical ideal by Christian leaders throughout history. Christians resist death; we oppose the thorns and thistles of labor through technology and agriculture just as we work to improve the experiences of childbearing. Yet, male authority and rule receive an enduring endorsement from the church, making it harder to question and challenge without the fear of opposing God as well.

You can read the full article here.

Dr. Mimi Haddad is president of Christians for Biblical Equality. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. She holds a PhD in historical theology from the University of Durham, England. She and her husband, Dale, live in the Twin Cities. Follow her on Twitter @Mimi_CBE.

Little Bits and Pieces

I heard the rabbi say, “Stop arguing on facebook.” I took him seriously.

I have a self-imposed ban in place to avoid reading blogs where the main purpose of the blog post is to sensationalize issues and thereby draw a great amount of attention to the author. Fame is one of those things that few are able to manage without a great deal of sin. It does things, creeps up on us slowly, and before we know it, we think more highly of ourselves than we should. The need to be greater and have power over others is a temptation few can pass up.

When an author adores the sight of his/her own words, rather than displaying a concern for the people s/he’s reaching with the words, it’s usually difficult for me to cut through all the crap to find a purpose in the post. The sharpness of his/her tongue (or in this case, fingers) and the little bits and pieces s/he leaves in place of a person, takes my breath away and leaves me speechless. What ensues, after the multi-paragraph rant, is usually a flood of comments from people who get caught up in the frenzy and lose their way and forget to love their neighbor. And I feel defeated and embarrassed, and even angry for letting my eyes and mind participate.

I heard the rabbi say, “Love your neighbor.” That is proving to be a more difficult than I imagined. I took Him seriously.

For All the Good Things

Sunday was the first day in our new church building. The design is simple, it flows, it’s welcoming. Once you’re in it, you began to see all the little details that were incorporated that make a big difference in the lives of the people who will call it home. I am thankful. The building is icing. It’s lovely and functional, but there’s so much more to Real Life than its new building.
     A little less than a year ago I moved my household to Real Life. I had visited for a few weeks and had every intention of going back to my home church, but something in me longed for a change. At the time, I had three women and one baby living in my home and they were all consistently coming with me to church. Each Sunday, on the way home, I would try to engage them in conversation about the sermon, but either they didn’t understand it or were upset about something they heard and didn’t understand why. My frustration grew each week. The women weren’t hearing God speak to them. That’s when I knew that the longing for change was not just my own. My household needed more.
     These people, this motley crew at Real Life, are my people. They love God and love others. They get it. They live, breathe, and from the pulpit they teach it. They love the people that God said to love. And they talk about God in a way that restores people back to Him. They are Jesus to a hurting world.
     For the first time in my life I am hungry for the Word of God. It’s alive, it’s life-changing, and it’s sweeter than honey. Aaron Couch, the pastor, has such a hunger for “the Text” and he delivers it in a way that leaves me yearning for more. His sermons are short but powerful. I began eagerly reading the text on my own and then I started listening to Marty Solomon’s Bema Discipleship lessons. That, my friends, was a game-changer. Now and then Marty fills the pulpit at Real Life, too. Those sermons are like ripe figs falling into my hands.
     I’ve started to ask questions. Big questions. Not only do I know it’s okay to ask questions, I finally believe it is my responsibility to ask questions and to keep asking questions until I’m sure I understand. I am free. Free to love God without any restrictions. Free to serve God without any restrictions. Free to devour God’s Word and pursue Him with reckless abandon.
     At times, it’s overwhelming when I realize how much my life has changed. The big idols have been torn down: my career, my family, my stellar credit report, my savings account, my church, and my health. All the things I trusted in are gone or out of reach. The safe places I hid behind have disappeared. And in the midst of it all I have a deep, deep hunger for God like never before. He has brought me to a place where all I can do is trust in Him. He has brought me to a people who yearn for Him. And I needed this. He knew I needed this. And I have no choice but to trust Him, to trust the story, and to give thanks for all the good things.

What She Said…

Today I found my way through the clutter of the interwebs and found a happy place:
Sarah Bessey…the intersection of a spirit filled life

She said this:  In which the doorbell is ringing

It feels sometimes like it would be simpler to live in a Christian ghetto, to shut the door, build a fence, keep the big, bad, scary world at bay, especially when it comes to my tinies. And sometimes we can buy into the idea that ministry is for the professionals, for somewhere other than here, right where we are in our walking-around life, like the Gospel doesn’t have hands and feet and voices, right here, right now, in our own neighbourhoods, in big ways and small ways.

Then she said this:  In which you are loved and you are free

Stand up, shake the dust from your feet if you need to, and look outside, it’s beautiful, isn’t it? There are a lot of us here, waiting for you, in the open air. We’ve been here all along, don’t you know? We’ve been ministering, preaching, praying, teaching, loving, mothering, caring, singing, walking each other home. It’s glorious and messy, far away from the rules and the limitations, the barriers and restrictive religion. But look, here, we, the people of God, we are here with you, we are a family, we’re your family, we’ve been waiting for you. We have a big, gorgeous tent and every one is welcome.

And lastly, my favorite thing she said:  In which I am done fighting for a seat at the table

I’m done fighting for a seat at that table.

The one filled with white men, all reading the same books, spouting the same talking points, quoting each other back and forth. It’s the table where the men – a small, select, vocal group in no way representative of men in the Church overall – sit around and discuss who is in and who is out, who is right (usually them) and who is wrong (every one else) and, a favourite topic, whether women should be allowed to write or teach or preach or even read Scripture aloud, what women should be saying and doing, how marriages should look, how children should be raised, how everyone else should live their lives in holiness.

Me? I am simply getting on with the business of the Kingdom.

Enjoy your table, gentlemen.




The Leadership Movement

Mike Breen is leaking brilliance over at 3DM Wayfarer:



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