August 27, 2007

John Edwards will 'Respect Science'

Forget about respecting life, as president John Edwards plans to "respect science." This is really no surprise to me, I'm just amused at the constant, ignorant rhetoric by the Left on ESCR. You can see this at his own site.
John Edwards believes that policy should be science driven, and that science shouldn't be politics driven. Ideological debates have drained resources from promising research. Edwards will increase funding for and lift stifling research restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, while banning reproductive human cloning.
Aside from his writer's assault on the English language, it's clear that he has no intention to allow ethical reflection on this controversial area of research. As well, it's clear that he doesn't understand that all ethical reflection is the outworking of somebody's worldview, and so his increase in funding for the research is as ideologically driven as my own desire to ban the research entirely. Finally, Edwards hasn't a clue about the science - cloning is cloning. Apparently we need to continue the discussion about so-called reproductive and therapeutic cloning. I'm sure I've blogged on that before.

But alas, does any of this matter? I think Edwards does need to hear from people of wisdom and sound mind regarding this research even though he hasn't a chance to even be the democratic nominee.

Being Green - Being Human

Pondering the role of ethics in scientific pursuits over the weekend, I started to consider the issue of global warming and the associated fact that there are costs to scientific progress. Let me first say, I don’t buy totally into the alarmism of global warming, but I do see that there are real consequences to not protecting the environment. In fulfilling the cultural mandate, caring for the condition of the earth is as much our responsibility as is preaching the gospel or defending the life of the unborn.

So how many environmentalists do you think would like us to turn back time, if it was possible, and reassess some of the so-called scientific progress our society has achieved? “Progress” that has increased the speed and efficiency of our society as well as providing great personal conveniences may also be responsible for the damage to the ozone. It isn’t easy being green when the science and ethics find themselves pitted against each other by politicians ill-equipped for ethical reflection and scientists with financial conflicts of interest. Science isn’t neutral, whether the question is environmentalism or biotechnology.

Proponents of embryonic stem cell research believe that scientific progress in biotechnology necessitates unfettered science, and this will outweigh any of the ethical considerations being raised by those who oppose the research. The discipline of ethics plays a role only when the life of the research is at risk of being terminated, not when the life being researched for cures is terminated. As environmentalists and creation-caring individuals wish for a second chance, someday we may also regret the violations against human dignity in the name of scientific progress.

August 23, 2007

A "Generous" Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport

While making arrangements to attend GodBlogCon 2007 in Las Vegas, I remembered a book on my shelf I had forgotten to finish reading. "Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport" was written by Richard Mouw of Fuller Seminary. It's a great read in that it shows the practical side of belief in the 5 points of Calvinism, aka the "TULIP."

I still haven't finished reading it. It's not that it's a large book, I'm just dumbfounded by something I read on page 87. The section is titled "Hoping for Generosity" and he's discussing how some Calvinists insist on playing a numbers game, "insist[ing] that only a very small portion of the human race will make it to heaven...". But Mouw continues, suggesting that he's holding out for a "divine generosity." Here's what he means:
I have a rabbi friend who is now very old. He has often sent me friendly notes about something I have written, and on a number of occasions he has told me that he prays for God's blessing on my work. I have a spiritual hunch about how things are going to end up for this rabbi. I would not be surprised if, when the final encounter comes with his Maker and he sees the face of Jesus, he will bow in worship, acknowledging that Jesus is the One whom he should have named all along as the Promised One of Israel-and that the Savior will welcome him into the eternal kingdom. (p. 87)
Mouw then completes the chapter by discussing the election of infants and those who are unable to respond to the gospel because of disability or geographical distance from the nearest presentation of the gospel. It seems that because mystery surrounds the issue of salvation for some of these people categories, he's willing to posit some sort of salvation experience in the presence of Jesus for his friend the rabbi.

Is anyone else alarmed by this? Whatever your view on election, the TULIP, etc (that is not open for debate in this post, sorry...) Scripture is clear that the born again experience is one of this world and this life or else what is the sense of urgency of the Church for missions and evangelism? Hebrews 9:27 says that "it is appointed to men to die once and after this comes judgement."

I think Mouw's "hunch" about his friend's eternal situation is left a bit ambiguous, it's not all that clear what Mouw is thinking - so I will remain gracious in my assessment until he or someone else can set me straight on this. But I am alarmed.

August 20, 2007


This blog I stumbled on today is worth the read, check it out.


Invisible Christian Women - Today's Christian Woman

This has got to be one of the best pieces I've read from TCW. From the Editor's Blog, read Invisible Christian Women.
My mom and I were attending a women's ministry event—a weekend retreat dubbed an escape. To us busy career women, this sounded like just what we needed—time away from the daily grind. And connecting with one another on this getaway was the biggest draw of all.

So on a Friday afternoon we flew to this national conference anticipating encouragement, togetherness, and a sense of belonging to the larger community of Christian women.

But by Saturday night I simply felt invisible.

The event was certainly well planned and executed. I enjoyed the great worship music, the chit-chat with women from around the country, the chance to hear some top-notch speakers. But the entire weekend seemed geared toward young married moms. And as a single 30something with no kids, I felt like an outsider. Even my mom, an empty-nester nearing retirement, felt a bit out of the loop.
I don't think this evening would've bothered me if its narrow focus had been an isolated instance. But I've been to many women's ministry events over the years—teas, luncheons, weekend retreats, national conferences—and many of them have had a very homogeneous demographic in mind: young married moms.

The editorial ends with a series of questions, many of which I have been asking for a few years myself.

Is your women's ministry group inclusive and diverse? If so, how do you accomplish that accepting atmosphere? If not, how can you help make it more welcoming to all?

I consider myself something of an expert on this topic because I have been on the outside since I first became involved in church women's ministry. For awhile, I tried to fit in trying to look like everyone else. But my life and my personality were not like everyone else. For example, being "functionally single" at church makes it really hard to find a Sunday school class to fit in (I'm not single, widowed, college aged....but the married group is full of couples!) and in women's ministry, it's even more challenging. And it was one thing if I didn't fit into the group, but when the focus was on happily married young moms with Christian husbands, I felt worse than invisible...more like an alien. Now I'm a functionally single woman with great kids, a great husband (who is still an unbeliever and doesn't attend church with us), and on top of that, I am an academic of sorts.

The bottom line is, I know, it's not about me, but I do have a passion for the women who are on the outside like I once was (and still am) and I want to be part of the solution. We want everyone to have a sense of belonging, to be nurtured and discipled. The church really needs to take serious the different kinds of women inside and outside of the church. What can we do to reach them? Today's women are extremely diverse in age, experience, career, parenting, etc. Understanding that this diversity exists is the first step towards creating opportunities through bible studies, discussion groups, target specific conferences, etc, to minister to all kinds of women. Yeah, we'll miss some - we can never be so target specific that we'll always hit the nail on the head, but we can do more to try. Find out what the diversity of gifts are in your ministry and see what you can do to expand the influence to the women already in your church, and then look at the women who aren't in church but are a part of your church's community, and see how the diversity of gifts in your ministry can be used by God to further the growth of the Kingdom and have a real impact on women's lives.

August 16, 2007

The Relationship between Secular Liberals and Religious Conservatives is Shifting

As the battle over the separation of church and state rages on, it seems that the battles between secular liberals and religious conservatives are shifting because apparently the face of conservatives is changing.....and I'm not sure that it is for the best.

USA Today online includes an Aug. 6th article, Who Speaks for Evangelicals? Writer Mark Pinsky wonders
Will it continue to be bombastic, GOP-leaning, Southern preachers, such as the late Jerry Falwell, and strident, hard-line broadcasters such as Pat Robertson and Focus on the Family's James Dobson? I don't think so. From my neighborhood in the suburban Sunbelt, it is clear that a subtle, incremental but nonetheless tectonic shift is under way.
I think it's a worthy question, especially in light of what I am seeing in the evangelical community these days -- where pragmatism, not Scripture, rules the actions and activities of the church -- and it makes sense that this would translate into political-religious conservatism. For more on pragmatism in the church, check out

The article continues...

The emerging face and voice of American evangelicalism is that of a pragmatic, politically sophisticated, pastor of a middle class megachurch. A younger generation of ministers such as Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life; Bill Hybels, of the pioneering Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago; T.D. Jakes, the African-American pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, as well as a music and movie producer; and Frank Page, the re-elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Or, this younger generation might be personified by someone like Joel Hunter, of Northland Church, just outside Orlando. The amiable Midwesterner, who opposes the death penalty, looks like Johnny Carson and sounds like Gene Hackman....

...Groups such as the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family "almost demand a more strident tone to raise money or media ratings," Hunter says. "As pastors, we don't have the same pressures on us. We work with people. We know what it takes to be patient and motivational and encouraging."

...Last year, fellow evangelicals chose him to be their voice in a national television campaign for "Creation Care," the evangelical euphemism for environmentalism and the effort to slow global warming.

"Did you know that evangelical leaders are telling us that global warming must be stopped because it will bring more devastating floods, droughts and disease?" Hunter asked..."As Christians, our faith in Jesus Christ compels us to love our neighbors and to be stewards of God's creation."

Pastors like Hunter, Warren, Hybels, Jakes and Page have a shared vision.

They want to change the tone of the national political debate, making it less confrontational, and to open the movement to tactical coalitions with mainline Christian denominations, other faiths and even liberal secularists on a broad spectrum of issues.

True, on cultural touchstone issues such as abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research, there is no difference between the Old Guard and the New Guard: All are equally opposed. But the younger pastors want to broaden the evangelical agenda beyond what Hunter calls "below the belt" issues linked to sexuality. For them, people of faith should engage issues such as AIDS, Darfur, economic justice, war and peace, prison reform and human trafficking. For Dobson and Robertson, this represents an unacceptable dilution of focus and a squandering of political capital.

I'm alarmed by the "broaden[ing] of the evangelical agenda." Please don't misunderstand me, we should engage issues such as AIDS, Darfur, etc. because they are issues of human dignity (as are abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research) but my sense is that these "young pastors" may be buying into the politically-correct tone of the day and abandoning certain issues instead of adding to them. And I don't mean to say that everyone should be a prolife activist, but I do take serious issue with developing alliances with political figures who are so boldly prochoice. As Billy Graham has historically been the "pastor to power," I see these young pastors not so much pastors to power, more like pragmatists to power.

Discussing this with my brother Collin Brendemuehl, he offered the insight that the postmodern equivalent of the televangelist is the use of community rather than TV/Radio. There is definitely a sameness, obviously the medium has changed. But the desire to persuade is the same and I don't think one is holier than the other. But given my concerns about the pragmatic nature of the seeker movement, I can't help but to lament the Seeker Leader's involvement in this broadening of the evangelical agenda. I don't want to see evangelicalism hijacked by the political/religious left.

August 14, 2007

Defining "Church Lady"

Recent posts to my blog Flash Point and Intellectuelle relating to the various ministries of women seems to have inspired discussion about this person I refer to as "Church Lady." I feel a sense of responsibility to all who read this blog because my desire is not create a collective stereotype of those women who seem to be the opposite of our group here at Intellectuelle. This matter deserves greater qualification, for the dignity of all women and for the benefit of those of you who care to interpret the meaning of my posts. So, the question remains, what is a church lady? This is my response (in no particular order):

A "church lady"...
1. is only able to see one possible role for all women, the stay-at-home wife and mother. (Be careful here, not all stay-at-home wives and mothers see this as the only possible role for women.)
2. believes the hard work of doing theology is men's work, women should only bother with the practical matters of the household.
3. perceives the application of Scripture as logically prior to examination toward understanding context.
4. concludes that her "child like faith" is all she needs to contend with life in this world. Words and concepts that require more than minimal work are unnecessary to grasp, especially because they do not directly pertain to salvation.
5. regards group outings to the mall, cookie exchanges, and the annual Mother/Daughter banquet as the core of a successful women's ministry - ENTERTAINMENT. (These things in and of themselves are not bad, but obviously there is much more.)
6. thinks that evangelism and discipleship of women today is more than redemption from sin, but redemption to something, the role of "church lady."
7. believes that a core element of her faith is to be encouraged, reducing God to personal therapist/coach. (Encouragement isn't a bad thing, but God never promised we'd feel good about ourselves and our circumstances all the time, but asks us to rejoice in Him at all times. These are different categories.)
8. thinks seminary, higher education, and/or the pursuit of a career are exclusively the domain of men. (See #1)
9. isn't [consciously] aware of the need to have bible studies, discussion groups, and other gatherings at times when working women can join.
10. often understands the doctrine of sin and salvation, but rejects the need to understand other core doctrines because knowing them will not impact or affect her salvation.
11. thinks reading books other than the bible is a complete waste of time.
12. prefers to completely cloister her family from the rest of culture, thus paying homage to the sacred/secular divide, as the best way to protect them from the evils of society.
13. believes that there are 2 kinds of women (ala the account of Mary & Martha....Mary at the feet of Jesus) and focuses on living like Martha and never gets to the feet of Jesus.
14. says you don't have to come to church already "cleaned up" but certainly acts like you should.

As a result of these dearly held views, single women never seem to fit in well in relationships with this kind of woman. Women of questionable backgrounds are avoided (can God possibly really redeem "there kind?") and church ladies are almost always what churches want to put in place as women's ministry leadership. From my own experience, I can tell you that I was overlooked by a church as a salaried pastor to women because my husband is an unbeliever....because he doesn't come to church with me.

I'm sure I can say a lot more on this matter, but I really wanted my views to be understood. I do not speak for everyone here, but I'm sure there will be more agreement than not. And just to be real clear here, I am not ridiculing or chastising women who might not consider themselves abstract thinkers are academically geared. I am very supportive of all women, to whatever ministry God has called them to. But I simply cannot tolerate the one dimensional view of women that permeates the church and women's ministry today. I met a woman recently who identifies herself formally as the "wife of the director of....blah blah blah....for such and such organization." How sad is that.

To conclude, I need to give myself a bit of credibility here: I absolutely love to throw a good tea party and I'm as much of a girly girl as anyone else. I know how to have fun, to throw great events, to fellowship, and to encourage, but there is more to the Christian life than all those things. Aspire to Christ-centered ministry, not event-driven ministry.

August 13, 2007

Goodman's "E-male"

It seems that Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe is concerned that too many rich, white males are overshadowing women in the left sector of the blogosphere.
I began tracking the maleness of this media last spring...An intrepid graduate student created a spreadsheet of the top 90 political blogs. A full 42 percent were edited and written by men only, while 7 percent were by women only. Another 45 percent were edited or authored by both men and women, though the "coed" mix was overwhelmingly male. And, not surprisingly, most male bloggers linked to male bloggers.
Ok, she may not be wrong about this....maybe the blogosphere as a whole is dominated by men. A feminist would be bothered by that. Then I began to wonder, as this complaining seems to be a gender equity, if we'll see any discussion about the fairness doctrine in the blogosphere.

I'm not sure what criteria were involved in creating a spreadsheet of the top 90 political blogs (I'd love to see that list).

Ellen, check out this blog and Intellectuelle.

August 9, 2007

Captivating, Cultivating Women

I say captivating because they now have my attention. I hope they have yours as well. God has called each of us to bow down and worship Him, and has given each of us gifts and talents and desires that are intended to serve him through the cultivation of the earth – the creation mandate.

I have been focused recently on drawing attention to women who serve God outside of the church. These women are moms, doctors, musicians, artists, writers, businesswomen, carpenters (watch HGTV and you’ll see them), teachers, politicians, pilots, etc. These women love what they do, but many have not figured out that they, as believers, are serving God through their vocation. I have a special mission that I invite each of you to take up with me, and that is to let these women know that what they do matters to God as much as being a women’s ministry leader or Christian author. There is not one single area of our lives that is unimportant to God, but sometimes that is the message we send. And let's face it, some of these women struggle to fit in amongst the women I fondly refer to as church ladies. And I can relate. We really need to broaden the scope of women's ministry to invite and include women who are outside the box of those who are normally involved. And women's ministry leadership needs to be reshaped to include more personalities, characteristics, gifts and talents so as to identify with our contemporary landscape. I hear from women who are wired different than others on their leadership teams, and are being misunderstood and excluded because they don't fit the preconceived mold. It's very I beg of you, take another look at your ministries, especially who is not there.

August 8, 2007

Secularism’s Dependence on Compartmentalization

It isn’t just that secularism prefers that you believe certain things about pluralism and politics, secularism just doesn’t want your life to have any meaning. I don’t mean that they, secularists, don’t want you to feel as if you have no purpose in life, but that is really the logical outcome of this way of looking at the world. I have a habit of not making mention of some of my thoughts as I formulate my commentary on a variety of subjects, secularism is no exception, so please bear with me on this.

The secular worldview in its embrace of religious pluralism and rejection of absolutes and of religious involvement in the public square is ultimately asking you to live a life that lacks coherence. What the heck does that mean? For secularism to retain it’s stronghold over the religiously wimpy, it must persuade them that religion can function in isolation of other important areas of life and it can’t possibly inform these other areas – because religion shouldn’t inform these areas. For example, when speaking of women’s reproductive rights, Christians with a conservative point of view can’t possibly contribute anything to the discussion because their point of view is in disagreement with the liberal slant. Now obviously, not all religious views are hostile to the pro-choice perspective, but prominent secular humanists would prefer that they not speak up, even to affirm the prochoice political agenda.

One thing I’ve always felt a need to address is the charge that evangelicals politicize issues, essentially by voicing their disagreement. As wonderful as consensus would be, that’s not the world we live in. Disagreements are based generally on differing worldviews, and these disagreements are nothing less than genuine. To avoid public discussion and debate over these disagreements (such as women’s reproductive rights) is like going to war without a weapon. No one in their right mind would do that, neither should we. The charge that we are guilty of merely politicizing a given issue is smoke and mirrors and is self-referentially incoherent. If acting with the same illogical incoherence, the charge could be deflected back. The point is, many matters of disagreement are worth the debate, no prolifer is interested in debating just to make the other person look bad, there is meaning and purpose in the cause. And why does politics have to be a bad word?

But I digress. Secularism depends upon individuals putting their worldview in their back pocket, and they are hoping you are just stupid enough to try it (I say try, cuz it really can’t be done.) The Christian worldview can and will continue to inform our approach on a variety of issues, and it will continue to be a force in the public square. Just how strong of a force is the question.

August 7, 2007

Why I Write So Frequently About the Segmented Life

Compartmentalization is, I believe, one of the biggest challenges for Christians today - and it is not easy to overcome. Reason being, so many people are not aware that they are complicit in the fragmented lives of themselves and others. Is this really a problem, you ask?

No where in the Scriptures is there a delineation between the spiritual life and the ordinary. The opposite is taught - everything is God's and everything we do ought to be done with the glory of God in mind. And this is especially a real area of concern for women. Within the Christian community, women are taught to think in fragments: spiritual life, family life, career, etc. I remember meeting a young wife of a seminarian - a future pastor - she wanted to know when her ministry would begin, after all, she was only a mother of a young child at that point.

We have so elevated the vocation of ministry only to harm it's image and associated level of responsibility to God and the Church. It is clear to me that the end result is the devaluation of the differing roles that women hold, not understanding God calls women in a variety of ways.

So here is what needs to happen:
1. Women's Ministry needs to avoid language of compartmentalization. There is no separation in God's eyes regarding the different areas of our lives.
2. Promote an all-inclusive language that recognizes all areas as belonging to God. Stop, drop and pray doesn't make nearly as much sense as a whole life that's devoted to God.
3. Actively support and teach that God calls beyond vocational ministry and that women as mothers and various professions are also serving God as a matter of fulfilling the cultural mandate.

August 6, 2007

Human Endeavors Unspiritual?

As womens ministries continue their work in the church, many are putting forth a fragmented perspective on living. In all fairness, this isn't just happening in women's ministry, but in all areas of the church. For many, your "spiritual life" are those times with God - personal devotions, Bible studies, worship - and the rest of your life is....well....the rest of your life. Spirituality is not a separate part of our life, independent of more "ordinary" things. Yet this is a mindset that became prevalent in the 19th and into the 20th century. But the only "true division in the Christian that line we call sin." (Addicted to Mediocrity, p. 27)

This segmented approach to living only enables one to live for themselves most of the time, and attempt to live for God in concentrated moments. And for those who haven't entered into vocational ministry, many continue to struggle without the knowledge that they are serving God in their work. We thank our pastors, worship leaders, and women's ministry directors for their service to the ministry, but when was the last time you thanked an artist, a car mechanic, or a garbage man for their service in the Kingdom?

Human endeavors need not be regarded as unspiritual or ungodly. As image-bearers, we are wired not only to do work, but to desire it. As God created the world and everything in it and saw that it was good, we too have an interest in working to create beautiful things. And unless something is sin, it is ministry in God's Kingdom.

So as women (and men, of course) express their desires to become painters, musicians, hair dressers, academics, tax professionals, social workers - whatever - don't discourage them. If God has gifted an individual in a particular way, who are we to say otherwise?

Are We There Yet?

The Bible is primarily a religious book, but...this does not make its pronouncements in the sphere of science superfluous. Its truths are not irrelevant to the discoveries of science, for all truth is one. It is the cultural (religious) task of man as God's image-bearer to harmonize the separate truths of the sciences, so that man as prophet may think God's thoughts after him, and as priest may adore the wisdom of the creator, and as king man may produce a culture that reflects the glory of God. (p. 168, The Calvinistic Concept of Culture)
I really appreciate these words of Van Til, as this drives home the responsibility of man. But moreso, it expresses the predicament of science vs faith...seeking to correct it. Van Til isn't saying something we all don't know - that science asserts itself over religious by claiming an objectivity that is without presupposition. Obviously impossible. Sam Harris' Letter to A Christian Nation is a primary example of the absurdity of secularism and its claims to truth. But even as we as worldview thinkers have small wins here and there, we're left to wonder if we'll ever get there - to where everyone understands that they have a worldview and hold to a set of presuppositions or pre-beliefs. We won't see this on least not until every knee bows and confesses Jesus is Lord. But it is still a worthy expectation according the the cultural mandate....and it belongs to each of us.

August 5, 2007

Outsourcing Pregnancy

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) that I take issue with on several grounds: the risk to the life of the embryos, the excess embryos in storage, those that die as part of the process, and the ease of surrogacy which is frought with it's own set of problems. An article in Marie Claire highlighting surrogacy in India can be found here.

It seems that outsourcing pregnancy to India provides as much financial relief, i.e. discounts, to prospective parents as does outsourcing tech support for many of the West's computer and software companies. In fact, it only costs about 10% of the cost it would cost to have the same procedure (egg harvesting, fertilization, implantation) done in the U.S.

Young women in India are finding that the financial benefit outweighs any of the shame that they might experience within their families, so some are going about surrogacy in more covert ways.

As with any area of science and medical research, we have to ask ourselves: just because we are capable of doing something, does that mean we should? And feminists of all shapes should really reconsider their views on the issue of surrogacy. IVF and surrogacy may fall under the "reproductive rights" category, but when young women are exploited - especially by Westerners overseas, feminism ought to take another look at what they are endorsing.

August 3, 2007

Letter to a Christian Nation

I've been a bit slow these days to read the latest rants from secularism's more provocative thinkers. I'm still recovering from the Humanist Manifesto 2000. Anyway, Sam Harris write this hilariously "philosophical" epistle that has me both ticked off and laughing hysterically. I want you to see a bit of the "logic" this man of "reason" is putting out as thoughtful.
You believe that "life starts at the moment of conception." You believe that there are souls in each of these blastocysts and that the interests of one soul-the soul of a little girl with burns over 75 percent of her body, say-cannot trump the interests of another soul, even if that soul happens to live inside a Petri dish...Your resistance to embryonic stem-cell research is, at best, uninformed. There is, in fact, no moral reason for our federal government's unwillingness to fund this work. We should throw immense resources into stem-cell research, and we should do so immediately...anyone who feels that the interests of a blastocyst just might supersede the interests of a child with a spinal cord injury has had his moral sense blinded by religious metaphysics. (pp. 31-32)
Firstly, speaking for myself and most other bioconservatives, one life is never more valuable than another. Whether her body is covered with burns or she has a spinal injury, she is no more and no less valuable than any other human. She has dignity because she is human. Consequently, no human should ever be sacrificed for the health and welfare of another, yet this is exactly what Harris would have you hold. Size is obviously his justification for the destruction of human life. And don't be deceived, those blastocysts are both human and alive or they wouldn't be coveted as they are for research.

This whole discussion about human dignity, what human life is and when it begins, etc, is beyond the scope of Harris' understanding.

Relevant Topics for Women's Ministry Events

The following are just a few ideas for engaging the hearts and minds of the women in your circle of influence, or to grow the circle even bigger. Think of these options the next time you invite a speaker to your event as you will broaden the scope of influence by reaching women you might not normally reach:

Understanding Personalities
21st Century Decisions, 20th Century Perspective
Culture of Confession: Creating a Safe Place for Healing
Mary of Bethany: A Woman Who Knows Her Place
Evangelical, Feminine, & Feminist
Dieting: Care for the Body or the Ego?
Women as End of Life Caregivers
Why Science Overlooks Ethics: Exploitation of Young Women

If you're interested in having me speak on these or other topics, leave a comment or drop an email.

August 2, 2007

Confronting Gropers

I was happy to read about Faith Hill's confrontation of the woman who groped her husband, Tim McGraw, at his concert last weekend. It reminded me of my own recent experience (details unimportant), and my assessment being that people must really believe that this is how things are - that it is appropriate to take what is not yours. And I think to a great extent, it is true that this is how the world is.....but an IS should not be confused with an OUGHT (ethics 101). Though this may be the way the world is, this isn't the way the world should be. Thanks, Faith, we should all follow your example.

The Practicality of Knowing God

For as long as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by theological discussion/debate. It's helpful, even in the face of theological disagreement, to have such discussions because they serve to sharpen and hold us accountable for our doctrinal claims and convictions. Of course, our knowledge of God should be wholly derived from Scripture, but the minute we begin to talk about God in our examination of the Scriptures -- who He is, what He can do, what He has done, etc -- we are doing theology.

I had a great conversation yesterday with a friend on the train --we were discussing the C word....CALVINISM. It's one of my favorite topics (for those of you who don't me, I thought you'd enjoy knowing that.) So why on earth were we discussing that on the way into the office? I don't even remember how the conversation was started, but the discussion necessitated an explanation to the questions, why is it important to think about these things? Why do we need to think about and be able to articulate what we know about man's sinful condition, God's sovereignty, and man's desire for autonomy?

We talk constantly about having a "relationship with Jesus," "knowing God," "studying the Word," etc, but how often are these little more than cliches? I often hear from people that to make theological claims about who God is, i.e. work hard at interpreting the Scriptures (as we are expected to do), that we lack humility. Knowing God, having an (incomplete) understanding of Him, yet an educated understanding (because I have the Bible), has only served to support and guide me through my own trials. Knowing God, studying Scripture, doing theology, is nothing short of practical.

August 1, 2007

Wittmer's "Heaven is a Place On Earth"

For any of you who might be trying to grasp where I'm coming from on this topic of ministry to women outside of the home, and the ministry of women as a matter of fulfilling the cultural mandate, you should read this book, Heaven is A Place On Earth.
...because we now recognize that our vocations matter to God, we must take them very seriously. Our vocations are more than a way to earn money or bolster self-esteem; they are a primary way that we serve God in the world. What the Reformers that every corner of our existence matters to God....Even when we are not doing "spiritual" things, our actions, when done from obedience to God's cultural mandate, still count.
Women can and do serve God in many different capacities, and we ought to be thankful for this and actively support them in the ministry that they have been called to. It's all God's.