Women in Ministry

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this topic. I think I’ve spoken a lot about the gender inequality in religion and as the state of the world deteriorates we’ll inevitably get more sexism and chauvinism in church. We know that religion is a hotbed for tradition and with this tradition comes views that are not only ridiculously Functionalist but also dangerous.

For example, people love to blame women for the current state of marriage in the church, because we rebellious women aren’t submitting anymore and we want to be “independent”. Since when was independence a bad thing? Unless everyone’s getting their moral lessons from Destiny’s Child songs then an independent woman shouldn’t be a problem. Like most things, the phrase has been twisted to mean an angry black female who emasculates all the males around her, when it should really mean a woman who can fend for herself. I was listening to the radio once where driving instructors were describing their most difficult students. Several of them mentioned that there was an influx of women in their 60s and 70s learning to drive for the first time; an age where their reflexes are slower and it’s much harder to pick up new skills. Why? Because all their lives they relied on their husbands to drive them everywhere, leaving them without transport once they were widowed.

I was watching a live online Bible study about relationships and the topic of submission came up. Once again, rather than clearly discussing and empathising with the women that had been beaten physically, emotionally and spiritually by their husbands because of a warped interpretation of the word “submit” and their husbands subsequent omission of the command for them to love their wives as Christ loved the church (and gave His life for it), everyone just went into rants about rebellious women. One bright spark actually said:

Are these problems a result of the women’s rights movement going too far?

I beg your pardon? So should we start taking rights away from women, then? Because we’ve been given too much? I wanted to pursue this comment, and maybe if I did I would have been given better clarification, but it was Sabbath and I didn’t want to get into an argument. After all, I’m trying not to be so hot-headed about the issue and I’ve been asking God to hold my tongue on this matter.

Not surprisingly, these views have been used to dictate to women what they can and can’t do in the church. I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, but I think I may make it my mission to find out this month. I’ll do some study on it and write my findings, making sure to seek God for counsel and wisdom throughout : )

There is no denying, though, that God loves women and he has called them into service. The best example I can give for this is in Matthew 28:

 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

(28:1,9,10)

The first evangelists were women. It’s one of the most powerful moments in the New Testament, and such a privilege.

God gives messages to women as well. There’s Ellen White, for example.

I wanted to start studying this topic because I read this blog post earlier, and it made me wonder why there is such confusion surrounding the matter. We’re all supposed to be convicted and influenced by the same Holy Spirit, so why are there so many hurting women in church, left to feel inadequate and excluded? We’re all part of the same body and thus, we’re all needed.

(I just discovered that blog today; it’s nice.)

So it looks like along with my weekly study, not only am I studying the book of Jeremiah but now I’ve got this subject to do as well! You can’t have too much Bible study, I suppose…

xXx

 

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Mr Right.

I knew not where to look
to find Mr. Right.
I made a list of all the preachers,
the Bible study workers,
the guys with nice cars
that gave lifts to older members
the ones who dressed nicely
and let women go first.

It didn’t work, though.
And confusion ensued.

“I feel like,” I said.
“Everyone is together.
Marriage and babies
Young, exciting love.
I know Ecclesiastes
I know there’s a time for
Everything.
But when is my time?”

Then I saw the truth.
Like the under belly of a whale:
smooth and serene on top with
scabs and boils underneath.
The guys who preached on Sabbath
and swore murder on the Sunday;
The Bible studies that were used
for elopements under sheets.
The cars that had housed
drugs, guns and plastic heels.

I saw then that I was seeking
a superfluous thing:
Hiding in a prefab when
a Palace stood ’round the corner.

For now I’ll wait
and learn to love myself again
because my Mr Right
is there.
With a Kingdom just for me.

Cocoon.

Is it true, then
that I am not loved by everyone?
Is the rain still the shower fall
of God’s many tears?
Don’t Christians rule the world?
Isn’t Sabbath kept by everyone?
We’re all saving ourselves
for Wedding Night, am I right?

I thought I knew the world
But I seemingly don’t;
breaking free of this cocoon that you kept me in—
a golden hammer to crack the
shell which has encased my body for so long.
Now I meet people who are different

Scary.

Cold. There aren’t many people like me—
A Christian. I’m laughed at and ridiculed
jokes are made about The Cross;
Jesus has become a doll with which
people stick their pins of anger into
until my Bible drips with the blood
and the pain that He went through.
Do they not know He died
for their freedom to laugh at Him like that?

I wish I never broke my cocoon.
In fact.
I wish you’d never made one for me.

Just a plug for a great group of people…

Check out this group on Youtube. They’re called The PreachingPlace777. They’re just a bunch of ordinary guys from churches all around London, spreading the gospel and sharing sermons and testimonies. The testimonies are the most inspiring; makes you realise how powerful God can be.

Yesterday evening they planned an evangelistic event at Westfields, Shepherd’s Bush. Quite a few of us went there, handing out fliers for the church; singing, preaching and sharing testimonies. It was fun to take part, but it made the whole thing worth it when I came home and heard that a few people had requested Bible studies.

This is the promo video for the event last night, ‘I Will Preach for Jesus’.

Two unbelievable testimonies:

Dean Cullinane

Andrew Fuller

Go on, take a look! You’ll definitely be blessed.

Starting Again.

I’m so glad for another week.

Last week really was a nightmare. It started off by a wrong decision which meant I was in a situation that had me reprimanded by my friends. I ended up feeling really disappointed with myself and I couldn’t pray for a couple days because I had the burden of what I’d done just playing on my mind.

I also had university work that needed doing (which I still haven’t done) and the memory of my poor performance during my French Oral kept playing over in my head. Being Christmas Week meant a lot of rushing around and doing last-minute shopping and errands for people that had left it too late to get the presents themselves. It was a struggle from the start, but Wednesday was the worst. In fact, it was bloody awful.

I told a close friend that I had feelings for them. And even though I knew I was going to get turned down, it still hurt me more than I admitted—not just to him, but to myself. I moped around on Thursday like an idiot and I felt angry at him for not being clear enough about his own intentions. I wasn’t the only one who found his ignorance surrounding basic male-female interaction a little odd. Bottom line: he led me on. Overtly. And had no idea.

It wasn’t his fault, though. To be fair, I should have been thinking more clearly. I think we’ve all seen through my posts on this blog that I have very confusing and conflicting opinions about men and relationships and marriage and this is something that has caused me stress for a good three years. At 17-18 I actually had NO trust for the opposite sex; church was worse, because I saw a lot of old-fashioned gender stereotypes and borderline misogyny amongst the older men. These sentiments were passed down to their sons and it made me despair for young Christians. Because of these feelings, the few times I’ve had romantic feelings for a guy, it’s left me in a state of self-defeat. I felt this way VERY strongly with this friend of mine because I just couldn’t read him and I couldn’t really describe how I felt about him. I just knew that he was on my mind a lot. And it made me feel vulnerable.

So anyway, I got it out there. I was rejected in a round-a-bout way, but the message was clear anyway. It came with an apology as well. Ugh. We ended the phonecall like we always did, chatting nonsense and whatnot, and I thought I felt better once it was off my chest, but by the next morning I felt awful, as if I was nursing a hangover.

I’m really grateful for my sister, who gave me good advice about it. And two friends who are very dear to me. One of them knows how odd I feel about relaying my feelings to others so he waited patiently while I sat around his table and fiddled with my fingers. He gave me a big hug afterwards. My other friend made me feel a little better; opened my eyes a bit to the major differences between me and this guy—differences that would have caused problems. As in, my ‘radicalness’ 😀

So yeah, not a good week. I’m not going to give a Bible text here. I should, but it’s been a long day and I think it’s time for bed soon. I’ll just say this:

The most important relationship you’ll ever have is with God. Concentrate on that one before anything else, and He’ll provide you with everything else.

xXx

Beauty Therapy

Sit on the chair and face me.
See how the mirror is framed by bulbs
that half obliterate the reflection
of a gaunt and pale individual.
Can you see the heavy clothes,
bending you forwards
until your chin glances against you knees
and your arms are lost in tendrils
of felt and tweed and stained
sackcloth. It frays around the edges.

Please, allow me.
There’s no need to flinch when I
pull the rags away, cut open
the clotted carcass that hangs across your back;
wrench wooden shoes off bleeding feet
unscrew rusted rings from bent fingers.
I wont leave until you’re bare
and even then,

allow me.
There is cloth to be used.
Let’s wipe away the dirt
and the black foundation that you wore
to hide away the things that caused you great shame.
And we’ll wash your hair together
to clear away all the mud
scrape the sludge from your nails.

In the meantime I’ll massage into your skin
my Grace and Mercy;
my Love, Peace and Happiness.
Anoint your head with oil
and tease Pleasantness to your scalp.
I’ll redress you in a slip
of Confidence and Humility so that
your skin will glow and gleam
and complement the brightness of your eyes.

No need for adornment.
Let the beauty come from within
and manifest in your mannerisms,
words, thoughts and conscience.

Time to turn down the bulbs
so you can see yourself clearly.

Time to set you on your way–
but don’t forget my card.
Testify your transformation
and tell others about
Me.

 

A Confession.

I haven’t updated this blog for a few days. This is mainly due to university assignments and my personal writing. I’ve been meaning to start sending off stories I’ve written to magazines and publishers, but I was always scared to do it. A couple friends of mine from my old Creative Writing class really got me motivated to do it: they’ve been sending off poems and things; getting rejections and great acceptances as well.

I was also trying to prepare for the Sabbath School class I was due to teach last Sabbath: The Teens. The less said about that the better.

But what I really want to do is confess something. Here it is:

I’m not a good  person.

I mean, I’m not the worst person and I wouldn’t like to think of myself as horrible to others, but as I get closer to God I’m beginning to notice things about myself that I’ve never noticed before. Very often I hear the Holy Spirit reproaching me; my conscience is pricked. I don’t feel guilty, necessarily, but I feel as though I need to change it. My main problem is gossip. I’m not a huge gossip by nature–in fact, I hate gossiping, but sometimes, when I’m with the right (or wrong, however you want to look  at it) person, my mouth just runs on its own. Especially if it’s someone I’ve known for a long time and there’s so much to catch up on, somehow we’ll always get into a discussion about who’s pregnant, who’s broken up with who, who’s done this and that. And I feel bad every time I do it.

And sometimes I say cruel things. After Sabbath, I and a few other people were consolling a guy at my church who’s been going through a tough time. My friend was simultaneously making a list of the youth at church that would be availble to take up a post for next year. After the guy was gone, we all said we’d be praying for him. Consequently two youths came and chatted to us for a bit, turned down the posts that were offered to them as they didn’t want to work with old people or children, and left. After they were gone, my friend asked if she should add them to–

Now I thought she was going to say a prayer list, so I said very flippantly: “oh yeah, we need to pray for them too”. She laughed, and added them to the list of posts for next year anyway.

Now that comment might not seem that bad, but in hindsight I can see why that would come across as a bit High and Mighty. Ironically, it showed that I need prayers more than them. I’d hate to turn into those Christians who always see the bad in everyone else before seeing the things that need to change in themselves.

These things I need to pray for. Jesus wouldn’t act like I do. At all.

Pray for me; and I’ll pray for you.

xXx

Text for the Day

From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.

That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day.

Don’t even run little errands that reconnect with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time–remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!–into God’s way of doing things.

Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God. What Is True Freedom?

Romans 6:11-14, The Message.