Sunday, February 26, 2006

the "M" word

I received another email from my friend who is a missionary in China as well as the great news that he is finally blogging! I’ve added his blog to my right column. This picture came with the email.

Please be aware that, due to government censorship, certain words cannot be used in emails to or from him, thus all the hyphenated words, as well as words like “think” which actually means “pray”, “book” which actually means “Bible”, and “M” which actually stands for “missionary”. He also always uses the word "Father" in place of God, "son" in place of Jesus, and "sprt" in place of Holy Spirit. Should you decide to write him, just be very aware not to use any words that could be associated with Christianity. Thanks.

“So yesterday was Saturday, which means that Sara and I do no work whatsoever.
Since its beginning to be springtime and since the weather sometimes is beginning to be warm, I decided to climb a nearby mountain that I’ve been to a couple of times before. Its about a 3 hour round trip hike. ANYWAY when I was approaching the mountain, but before I could see the path I hear this yelling sound - which is not uncommon as many Chinese like to yell on hilltops as a part of their Tai Chi relaxation. But as I get closer I can clearly hear in English

"I love you and I will help you up the mountain!!"
This is odd for obvious reasons... not many people in china speak English, and especially not the type that you might find on a mountain side.

So I see this man who is doing the yelling and in a couple of minutes he sees me (because I think he's weird and I'm staring at him) and He looks at me and says

"There you are!"

and there I was....

After I approached I found out that this man and his wife had been waiting for me - but we had never met. The man introduced himself before his name as "I am a chri\ tian... Are you?"

A bit on guard I answered that I was and this man was so happy to find out he was kinda jumping around. He explained to me that He and his wife had been pr/ying to God so that they could meet another chri/tian brother... and they felt the Father told them to say "I love you and I will help you up the mountain"--- in English

That's not all

as our conversation continued, I found out that this woman's whole family had been believers for years, and that they now attended a government approved church in town. He then asked me if I were familiar with the "salivation of may" His English was plentiful, but very hard to understand, so I assume ed he was trying to say -celebration of may - because there is a big national holiday here in may. However, then he started to tell me about how much preaching and teaching had gone on in the world because of the salivation of may. And in fact, his wife's grandfather had been a colonel in the salivation of may... then it hit me - The Sa/vation Army - now extinct in china, but 60 years ago it was going strong.

I groaned, laughed, chuckled, and then marveled at how God had brought my path to cross with this particular couple, who wanted to meet a new chris/ian brother (english speaking), and had then gone on further to connect us again through the sa/vation army. This weird and cool organization that ran my wife and my lives for a couple of years in Pittsburgh..... amazing.

The purpose of my walk was originally to find confirmation from the Father about our recent decision to stay in china. He didn't even let me get to the mountain top before sending me an answer. I didn't even get to ask Him yet.. he already knew my intention, and blessed me with a crazy answer in a way only he could do. Leaving no doubt to my heart and no doubt to our decision.

Although Sara and I are still struggling daily with the idea of staying here for the next two years, our God has been good enough to be righteously cool with his communication to us. The chances of an English speaking Chinese dude whose wife was a colonel in the sa/vation army who just wanted to climb a mountain to pray on a Saturday... running into a white guy from the sa/vation army teaching bib/e in Qingdao trying to find a mountain to be alone with the Father...... accident? I would like to see the odds on that one.
So there ya have it... we're staying. And as cool as it is it hurts us.. because we miss you all in every way.

I think we should be able to meet everyone who gets this email this summer... and I'm totally looking forward to it. It will be a tour de America!

Think for our school. We got nailed by the PSB over Christmas time for typing out our program (which happened to include steps to peace with our father) in local language- soooo we've been audited a few times since Christmas.. which could be a big deal.. they are just trying to find a reason to throw a fit or fine us or something - nothing serious has come from it just yet.

Keep thinking of us... many days are tough, sometimes because of stress, sometimes because of grief, sometimes because of being so far from you all, and sometimes because of an ongoing search for purpose. We have good people out here, and I know that we're our Father wants us to be for the moment, we just need to get our hearts on board with what we know.

Don't get me wrong... I love china - and I would make a permanent residence here without blinking, but I have to wade though my desires to make sure that they do not belong solely to myself. The anonymity and the security of M work could be selfishly motivated if one were not careful.

Thanks for reading these things.. I know they are always so long - but I love to share my thoughts with my closest friends and family.

peace out.
See you soon.

oh yes... in case you want to see pictures, or read past emails or other messages, I've started a xanga blog - one of the few places yet uncensored by the govt here. Its only a matter of time I'm sure.. but no time is wasted. Here's the address:”

Saturday, February 25, 2006

head in the sand?

“Christian mobs, seeking revenge for the killings of Christians in the north, attacked Muslims with machetes, set fire to them, destroyed their houses and torched mosques in two days of violence in Onitsha, where 93 people died.”

For the rest of this article, click here.

This is what happens when a group of people feel oppressed by another group. This is a perfect example. And, while someone will inevitably point out that this happens a lot more in the Muslim world than it does in the Christian world, I will point out that there are a LOT more Muslims being oppressed by “Christians” (or a world that Muslims perceive as being Christian) than Christians who are being oppressed by Muslims.

Read the articles about the riots taking place over the cartoons that depicted Muhammad. All of them will mention one common belief, that Muslims are tired of being walked on and spit on by the Christian world. And, while it’s true that all of Europe and America isn’t Christian (though Muslims don’t understand this at all) it’s equally as true that we, the church, have not made that clear. We have not separated ourselves from the politics and policies of the governments who take part in this oppression by training and equipping dictators and rebel politicians who move in and take over these Muslim countries, or by paying off crooked politicians to allow us to suck dry the resources of these countries, or by giving our blessing to billion dollar companies who go in and take over the one hope for income that many of these countries have.

As you read the above article, ask yourself this: Are you happy to be lumped in with this group of Christians who are killing and burning Muslims in Nigeria? If not, what are you going to do to separate yourself from them? Then, after you’ve answered that one, ask yourself what you’re going to do to separate yourself from the very un-Christian policies that are being lived out by governments that represent you and, for much of the world, carry the banner of “Christian” over their flag?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

...and then she said, "you're starting to sound like a democrat!"

There’s a really good article over at interviewing Tony Campolo. The whole thing is worth the read, but here are a few excerpts.

“There are a group of evangelicals who would say, 'Wait a minute. We’re evangelicals but we want to respect Islam. We don’t want to call its prophet evil. We don’t want to call the religion evil. We believe that we have got to learn to live in the same world with our Islamic brothers and sisters and we want to be friends. We do not want to be in some kind of a holy war.'

We also raise some very serious questions about the support of policies that have been detrimental to the poor. When I read the voter guide of a group like the Christian Coalition, I find that they are allied with the National Rifle Association and are very anxious to protect the rights of people to buy even assault weapons. But they don’t seem to be very supportive of concerns for the poor, concerns for trade relations, for canceling Third World debts.

In short, there’s a whole group of issues that are being ignored by the Religious Right and that warrant the attention of Bible-believing Christians. Another one would be the environment.

I don’t think that John Kerry was the Messiah or the Democratic Party the answer, but I don’t like the evangelical community blessing the Republican Party as some kind of God-ordained instrument for solving the world’s problems. The Republican Party needs to be called into accountability even as the Democratic Party needs to be called into accountability.”

“The latest statistics that I have seen on evangelicals indicate that something like 83 percent of them vote Republican. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that Christians need to be considering other issues beside abortion and homosexuality.

These are important issues, but isn’t poverty an issue? When you pass a bill of tax reform that not only gives the upper five percent most of the benefits, leaving very little behind for the rest of us, you have to ask some very serious questions. When that results in 300,000 slots for children's afterschool tutoring in poor neighborhoods being cut from the budget. When one and a half billion dollars is cut from the "No Child Left Behind" program.

In short, I think that evangelicals are so concerned with the unborn—as we should be—that we have failed to pay enough attention to the born—to those children who do live and who are being left behind by a system that has gone in favor of corporate interests and big money. So as an evangelical, I find myself very torn, because I am a pro-life person. I understand evangelicals who say there comes a time when one issue is so overpowering that we have to vote for the candidate that espouses a pro-life position, even if we disagree with him on a lot of other issues.

My response to that is OK, the Republican party and George Bush know that they have the evangelical community in its pocket—[but] they can’t win the election without us. Given this position, shouldn’t we be using our incredible position of influence to get the president and his party to address a whole host of other issues which we think are being neglected?”


Sunday, February 19, 2006


Martin over at missiome just put up a post asking what the DNQ of the Army is, along with several other questions that followed. The following is my response. What is yours?

What defines us? What is our DNQ? It has to be our historical belief that mission, social action, and the fight for justice should embrace each other. That, in fact, these three things are the gospel in action. Right? Otherwise there’s no need, nor has there ever been a need for the Army.

How do we use it to establish our identity? The beauty of the above stated belief is that this identity is already established for us. Those who have carried on the call to mission and social action have kept this identity alive. Now all that has to happen is for the rest of us to join them. The social service department should stop being a separate entity and should once again be a part of our weekly lives as Salvationists. Fact is, most modern day Salvationists are nothing more than Presbyterians, maybe in uniform, maybe not.

What is God saying to us about our future? I came to the Army because of the realization that it was a church that a post-modern (sorry) generation could get behind. Our mission statement drips with authenticity and authenticity is what a cynical world is looking for. In London we have a Corps that takes one Sunday out a month to go out and serve the community through clean up, painting houses, planting flowers, etc. They do it in place of their morning worship service and they call it their “act of worship”. They have more people join them for that one Sunday than any other Sunday during the month. In fact, people who won’t darken the door of their building will come alongside them and serve. Some of those people are beginning to enter the life of the church. They’ve seen a church/religion with some authenticity.

Can you imagine a group of young Christians who gather together on a Friday (or Saturday) night, pray, worship together, and then head out on the streets to perform acts of service. Wouldn’t that be an amazing church community? Or maybe a group of people who spend a Saturday afternoon serving their community and then gather together that night for dinner, fellowship, Bible based discussion, worship, and prayer. What an amazing church community that would be. In fact, I can see lost people getting involved with a community like this during the afternoon part and then following them back for dinner and the rest of it that same evening. Authenticity. It’s what a dying world is crying out for. Come to think of it, its what we’re crying out for too.

I should really end my thoughts there, but it would be a mistake not to point out that the third paragraph unintentionally describes an early Salvationist meeting. Long before we got bogged down with what should have been temporary ideas and campaigns, we were simply a faith based community looking to put our faith into action. People (Christians and non-Christians alike) were seeing that faith in action and coming alongside us out of a desperation to be a part of something that they could believe in. The desperation is still there, its our authenticity that's missing.

Friday, February 17, 2006

full gospel?

What exactly is the gospel? I think that if you asked most Christians why Jesus came, they would answer “to die”. For them, the gospel seems to be summed up in Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s a good gospel to adopt because it comes with very little responsibility on our parts, except to tell others of their need to get on board. It’s no wonder that those who have the most need see this gospel as one which offers no help in their current crises.

When Jesus was asked, “hey, out of the more than 600 laws, which one is most important?” Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbour as yourself. ALL OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS HINGE ON THESE TWO THINGS.”

I think I’ve always missed that last bit. But, it turns out, Jesus was right! I went back and read the laws and the prophets and, sure enough, God was always mad at his people for one of two things; either turning their backs on God, or acting unjustly towards the poor and/or alienated. In fact, take a look at Micah 6:7-8. My wife loves to quote me this verse just before I’m about to go out and speak to a large audience. When she can see that I’m really nervous. In fact, she’s gotten to the point now where she doesn’t even quote it, she just asks “what does God require of you?”. In Micah, God speaking through the prophet asks if God will be pleased with ten thousand rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil, or your firstborn? Then he goes on to say that he has shown you what he wants! And what is it that he wants? What is it that he requires of you? To act justly. To love mercy. And to walk humbly with your God. This is what God requires of us?!!! Two out of three of the things that God requires of us have to do with how we treat our fellow man! What an amazing gospel!

I think that our modern day gospel has fallen well short of the original message. And it has certainly fallen short of meeting people’s needs, especially in the here and now. And, it has taken the responsibility of acting justly and loving mercy, of loving (and therefore taking care of) our neighbour as we do ourselves, out of our hands.

I think the gospel is more than just Christ’s death and resurrection. I think it’s the 33 years before it and all that He taught. I think the gospel was meant to affect the here and now. And I’m not talking about the “joy of the Lord”, or the “friend we’ve found in Jesus”. I’m talking about the part of the gospel where Jesus taught us how to live, and how to treat each other, and how to look after the poor and needy. I’m talking about the part where Jesus gave us specific examples of how to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. And the amazing thing is, even his examples of humility always revolved around serving mankind (feet washing and death, for examples).

Matthew 25:31-46 may be the most telling example of the full gospel message. In the story, God tells some to depart from him and go to the place prepared for the devil and his angels. And why? Because people were hungry, and they did not feed them. Thirsty and they gave them nothing to drink. Naked and they did not clothe them. Sick and in prison and they did not look after them. The end. There’s nothing more. That’s quite literally the end of the chapter.

Have we embraced the entire gospel? Are we preaching the whole thing? Have we embraced a gospel that is without responsibility on our part? Is this the message we’re hearing in our churches? Are we being taught to act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God? Could it be that the gospel was meant to solve more than just problems on eternity, but also the problems of the here and now?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

close cut

Who was the first church leader who decided to use the word “holistic” in describing their ministry? It appears that hair workers are now getting into the act. Nice.

So I went to my own barber today. As I’ve shared in the past, I go to a Turkish barber shop. But today was a special day. A new kid was working. I have this problem when I go to the barber. If I’m the next guy up, and I don’t really want my hair cut by the guy who has an open chair, I always feel bad saying, “uh, I’m waiting for that guy over there”. I wish I could. Others do it and they always walk out with a great looking hair cut. But I always feel bad so I rarely say no. So I walk over to the guy’s chair, sit down, and immediately have the sneaking suspicion that this guy may not know what he’s doing. He’s very timid about the whole process and, to top it off, doesn’t speak a single word of English. I mean not a one. Most of the guys in the shop speak very broken English, but it’s usually enough to figure out what you want done (at least in my case where the instructions are something along the lines of “short”.) But this kid didn’t speak any. However, after some brief translation, he got to work.

Again, just by the way he carried himself, held the clippers, and paced around me, I could tell that he had zero confidence in what he was doing. But he clipped, and then he cut, and then he clipped some more, and then he cut. And he kept going over the same areas, over and over again. He had been at it a while when, suddenly, he walked away. I turned my head and realized that, not only did I have an extremely uneven hair cut that was already cut quite a bit shorter than I was used to, but he had shaved the side of my head way, way, up toward the back. It wasn’t a pretty picture. Luckily one of the other guys finally took over. He explained to me that the kid had just arrived in the country last week, and that he had never used clippers before. Thank you very much for making me the Guinn pig. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. I asked and found out that the kid is a relative of the owner. Nooowww it’s all coming together!

Anyway, to even the thing out, the takeover guy had to cut it pretty short. Tonight the guys in my cell group took great pleasure in calling me jar head. This makes up for two years of me calling them terrorists and mini-cab drivers (several of them are from the middle east…don’t worry, it’s a joke).

Today I got a cut and a shave. Would that be considered a holistic haircut? Oh well, all part of the post-modern journey I’m on towards a more holistic community in my context.

Did I leave anything out?

Monday, February 13, 2006


In case you miss that last part, it says…

“Derek Webb’s third solo album, Mockingbird, tackles subjects ranging from social justice and politics to relationships in a raw way that is sure to make some people uncomfortable. But that’s okay with Derek. The Church has been comfortable for far too long."

The following are the lyrics to the song playing on the right called New Law.

(vs. 1)
Don’t teach me about
Politics and government
Just tell me who to vote for

Don’t teach me about truth and beauty
Just label my music

Don’t teach me how to live like a free man
Just give me a new law

I don’t wanna know if the answers aren’t easy
So just bring it down from the mountain to me

I want a new law
I want a new law
Gimme that new law

(vs. 2)
Don’t teach me about moderation and liberty
I prefer a shot of grape juice

Don’t teach me about loving my enemies
Don’t teach me how to listen to the Spirit
Just give me a new law


What’s the use in trading a law you can never keep
For one you can that cannot get you anything
Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid

Thursday, February 09, 2006

my own exegesis

As it appears that my friend Shaun (Spencer) will now be leaving regular comments on my blog, I provide the following for my readers…

Exegesis - Critical explanation or analysis, especially of a text.
Misogynous - Of or characterized by a hatred of women.
Untenable - Being such that defense or maintenance is impossible
Depersonalizing - To deprive of individual character or a sense of personal identity
Ecclesiastical - Of or relating to a church, especially as an organized institution
Normative - Of, relating to, or prescribing a norm or standard
Davidic - Of or pertaining to David, the king and psalmist of Israel, or to his family.

Forgive him. He’s in seminary right now and I bought him “word for the day” toilet paper last year for Christmas. However, me thinks I hear the influence of a certain denominational seminary in those comments to which I refer to the film Good Will Hunting for my response.

“Yeah, I read that too. Were you going to plagiarize the whole thing for us? Do you have any thoughts of your own on this matter? Or do you, is that your thing, you come into a bar, you read some obscure passage, and then pretend, you pawn it off as your own, as your own idea just to impress some girl and embarrass my friend? You see, the sad thing about a guy like you is that in 50 years, you're gonna start doing some thinking on your own and you're gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One: don't do that. And two: you dropped a 150 grand on a (bleeping) education you could have gotten for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.”

For those of you who don’t know my friend Shaun, or our relationship, please rest assured that we spent an entire summer playing a game called “skeem and hoot” in which the object was not to win a hand of cards, but to come up with the best line as to HOW you won that hand of cards! : ) I love you man!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

misguided and oppressive segments

“Tens of thousands of angry Muslims have been marching through cities in Palestine, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, England, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, France (etc.) burning western flags and calling for vengeance against European countries where caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad were published, including one depicting the Muslim prophet wearing a turban fashioned into a bomb.”

“Al-Sistani, who wields enormous influence over Iraq's majority Shiites, suggested militant Muslims were partly to blame. He referred to "misguided and oppressive" segments of the Muslim community and said their actions "projected a distorted and dark image of the faith of justice, love and brotherhood.’”

I can’t tell you how saddening and frustrating all of this is. When the cartoons first appeared in a Danish newspaper, Muslims were initially outraged, but the paper apologized and Muslims moved on. Then several newspapers around Europe decided to reprint the cartoons in an effort to exercise free speech. Now we’ve got Muslims in the streets and Muslim clerics talking holy war. Seriously, have the editors of these papers lost all sense and reason?

The words of Paul come to mind here when he said that everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive (1 Corinthians 10:23). I get it. Free speech. But it’s easy to stand up for free speech when you’re not the one having your house and/or church burned down as a result of some stupid cartoons that some (supposed) activist has decided that he must print!

On the other hand, why are Muslims expecting the non-Muslim community to live according to Muslim laws? For Muslims, it’s a sin to produce images of Mohammed. They see it as idolatry. But then, don’t they think we’re all sinners anyway? Why would they expect anything different from us than to act like sinners? It makes no sense that they would expect us to live by Muslim law. We’re not Muslims! Therefore, printing images of the prophet Mohammed is just one more sin on a long list of sins.

This reminds me of another community I know.

I’ll be you know where I’m going with this.

The Christian community has been doing the same thing for years. Protesting the non-Christian community for not living according to Christian laws and, sometimes, even mere traditions. While we shake our heads at the Muslim community for getting uptight about a few European newspaper’s depictions of the prophet Mohammed, let us not forget that just this past Christmas much of the Christian community got uptight because a few retailers decided not to depict our “prophet” at all! And, in our case, it wasn’t even Christian law! It was only tradition! After all, as my scholarly friend Shawn pointed out, Christmas isn’t even in the Bible!

Al-Sistani said it right, and it relates to my (Christian) community as well. The world has a very distorted and dark image of the Christian faith due to the actions of a few misguided and oppressive segments of its community which have lost sight of the Bible’s message of love, justice, grace, and salvation.

Between the protesting Christians, Muslims, and the insanely insensitive European newspaper editors, Al-Sistani seems to be the only one with any sense here. Well, he and Paul…

Monday, February 06, 2006

Olyvia's first Superbowl! 21-10, Pittsburgh!

Her first Superbowl and Pittsburgh walks away with the win! What a great way to begin life! Unfortunitely it's 3:30 a.m. here and she pretty much slept through the entire thing...oh well. : )

Sunday, February 05, 2006

feminism or Biblical? Biblical or racism?

So here’s something that I’ve been thinking about most of my life.

I grew up in a denomination that will not ordain women, nor even allow them to serve as deacons. At least not in America (and I’ll come back to that in a minute). I’ll pause here and suggest that any church that will not allow a woman to serve as a deacon has not understood the definition of a deacon. In fact, a deacon’s job is to do what most of society thinks a woman should be doing anyway, serving others. Somewhere along the way, we’ve gotten deacons and elders mixed up. But I digress.

The idea of not ordaining women has always puzzled me because, as a child, my church celebrated the lives and ministries of two great women missionaries. We also supported the ministries of many women missionaries serving over seas. I never could figure out why it was ok for women to preach to men in Africa, but not to men in the U.S. ??? Today it has left me wondering if my childhood denomination has a streak of racism running through it? Again I say, why is it ok for a woman to preach to and teach a congregation of men in Africa, but not in the U.S. Is it because we don’t see African men as men? This has always been my one great question concerning women in ministry.

The second goes beyond mere puzzlement and points directly to the Bible. How is it that we as Christians are so often prepared to base entire doctrines on one verse out of the Bible, while leaving out twenty other verses that suggest something different?

The verse in question today is 1 Timothy 2:12 where, in the verse, Paul seems to suggest that he does not permit women to have authority over or to even teach men. The verse further suggests that women should remain completely silent while in church. I think it would be fair to say that even the most fundamental of churches (for the most part) have been happy to forget about that last part. It seems that, even the most chauvinistic among us aren’t prepared to enforce the idea that, once a woman steps through those church doors, she shouldn’t be heard from until she steps back out again. We give no reason or justification for ditching that part of the verse. We just know that it’s a bit ridiculous, and so we let it slide, hoping that nobody will bring it up. A similar phenomenon takes place when we read 1 Timothy 2:9. After all, for many churches, Sunday morning is a fashion show!

I could go into great detail about how many of today’s Biblical scholars believe the church to be reading 1 Timothy 2:12 out of context. About how Paul never meant for this verse to be read as a generalization, but that it was written for a particular church, in a particular city, for a very specific period of time. But all of this would simply be thoughts and opinions, and I’m not prepared to argue translation. What I am prepared to argue though, is that the Bible is full of women who held authority over men.

First of all, Paul himself (in 1 Corinthians 11:5) takes the time to advise women how to dress when they preach. And, in his letter to the church at Philippi (Philippians 4:2-3), Paul acknowledges the women Euodias and Syntyche as leaders and cofounders of that church.

Peter (in Acts 2:17-18) also discusses women in ministry making it clear that the Holy Spirit will give spiritual gifts that will not be limited by social, cultural, popular, or even traditional assumptions. In this passage he goes on to talk about both sons and daughters prophesying (or preaching).

In his record of Acts, Luke makes it clear that the husband-wife team of Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos his theology, even correcting him in what he was preaching (Acts 18:26). Furthermore, all four daughters of Philip became preachers (Acts 21:9).

In the Old Testament (Judges 4:1-4), a women named Deborah (who was also a prophetess) served as a judge over all of Israel.

In Romans 16:1-2, Paul refers to a women named Phebe who (wait for it) was serving as the deacon for the church in Cenchrea.

Finally, and I think this one may be the most telling of all, in Romans 16:7, Paul sends greetings to Junias whom he recognizes as an apostle. But Junias is not an accurate translation of the name. Uncomfortable with the implications of a female holding the highest preaching office in the church, the mostly male translators of many Bible versions render the name as the masculine Junias. Fortunately there are better translations-like the new TNIV-that recognizes the apostle as Junia, a female (sometimes translated Julia). In his book, Adventures in Missing the Point, Tony Campolo suggests that, “When men start imposing translations on the Bible that agree with their theology, they are walking on thin ice.”

Even in my own childhood denomination, which does not ordain women or allow them to serve as deacons, there have been women pastors. Many Baptist churches in 19th century Maine and Wisconsin were pastored by women because no men were willing to take the positions. Today many Baptists explain away those older churches as mere splinter congregations.

And, for the record, this post isn’t a rip on Baptists. Many denominations share this “good ole’ boy” belief. I just think it’s time to call it what it is. At best, a convenient way for men to stay in power and, at worst, racism.