August 31, 2010

Why the Church Needs More Christian Women Scholars

Studying theology helps us to participate in our relationship with God. It isn’t about gathering a ton of unnecessary knowledge that will never make a difference in your life, but about committing to knowing God in the deepest way possible.

But even the process of doing theology has intrinsic value as it trains the mind to welcome ideas that are reasonable and glorify God, and to reject ideas and ways of thinking that hurt us and contradict truth. Doing theology helps us to become critical thinkers in every area of life.

As women, it is especially important for us to do theology, not because there is something about us that makes us intellectually deficient or different from men, but because attempts to encourage non-theological thinking have become so widespread in the culture of women’s ministry. We often think and meditate on a single verse or short passage at a time, a practice which can be detrimental not only to understanding the bigger picture, but can equally undermine our ability to practice what we believe in every area of our lives. We do not want to be fragmented in our approach to living, but that is a real risk if we study the Bible in that same way. 

August 30, 2010

More on Beth Moore

This is a cross-posted at First Things
A few months ago, I began writing a piece on the teachings of Beth Moore. The fine writers at CT were working on a similar project which became a recent cover story and companion article. There is much to be said about Beth’s influence in the Church that I believe male and female leaders need to take a second look at. Well, when my article is published, I will provide a link to the full text, in the meantime, take a look at how Beth handles Paul. Keep in mind what she is ultimately saying about the insertion of sinful attitudes as part of the biblical writers’ instructional material.

August 18, 2010

Is the Department of Justice Investigating Conservative Bloggers?

I'm just a small-town girl with a love for God, a passion for truth, and a desire for a safe world for my kids to live in. Writing about matters of faith, ethics, and a smattering of politics fulfills my lofty desires to be a factor in our culture wars, to make an impact in the way people integrate their worldview into every day life. So today, I am caught slightly off guard when I find that someone from the Department of Justice is reading on my primary website, The Center for Women of Faith in Culture. Okay, so perhaps it was a government employee covertly looking for a speaker for her next women's ministry event, or a covert conservative needing an early morning dose of reality before embarking on his/her day's work. If that's what it was, welcome!

More than likely, it was an accidental visit and whoever it was intended to locate the Women of Faith site and mistakenly ended up on my gorgeous Wordpress creation. After all, they only hung around for a few minutes and looked at 4 pages. Then again, Nancy Pelosi is trying to discover who the funding source is for the NY City Mosque naysayers, maybe she thinks its me. I didn't do it. But I also didn't know it took any sum of money to say that's a bad idea. But I digress...

Are you a conservative blogger with questionable government visits to your site? I'd like to hear from you. Oh, and here's the evidence:

August 13, 2010

Glenn Beck & the Faith Factor

If you're a conservative and an avid listener of Glenn Beck, likely you appreciate his connecting of dots between Obama administration players, 60's radicals, and the philosophical writings advocating socialism and socialistic policy. Recently, in fact, he showed how the NEA recommends the writings of Saul Alinsky. I find that sort of information interesting and helpful.

Joe Carter at First Things recently challenged Beck's view that issues like abortion and same-sex marriage shouldn't guide our public discussion as much as they do. Yet, Beck regularly insists we need to be moral in our day to day dealings: don't lie, cheat or steal. Have a strong work ethic, dont be lazy. Oh, and get back to your church, temple, synagogue or mosque. "Find God"  so society can return to it's previous version of normal.

August 9, 2010

Life Without the Opposite Sex: Why Not?

Women should never "settle" with a man in order to have a child. Granted, women are created by God to have longings for procreating and nurturing, and I believe this is evidenced in the fact that women will go to all kinds of technological extremes to have their own biological children. But this desire should never supersede the proper context ordained for raising children. While there are purportedly many different family models that work in our world today, the family model that is the true cornerstone of civilization, that honors God and respects life at all stages, is one that begins with a God-centered relationship between one man and one woman. A woman who "settles" so that the alarm on her biological clock does not sound before the childbearing milestone slips through her fingers is the personification of self-centeredness. Actress Jennifer Aniston argues that women should not settle, not because of any reason I just offered, but because so many other options (assisted reproductive technologies - ARTs) are available to women today. 
“Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don’t have to settle with a  man just to have that child...Times have changed and that is also what is amazing is that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents’ days when you can’t have children because you waited too long.” 
Aniston made this statement at a press conference discussing her new movie, The Switch, another story about a woman who decides to get pregnant with the help of a sperm donor.This movie is certainly not the first to discuss the options women have in this biotech century, The Switch comes after two other recent movies about sperm donors including The Back-Up Plan and The Kids Are All Right. Going mainstream with these options is not just about promoting scientific progress in reproductive technologies, but about removing so-called prejudice against alternative families. But we shouldn't be surprised that Hollywood would be the purveyor of secular-feminist propaganda.

Christianity Today recently asked some evangelical leaders about their response to the defeat of Prop 8 in California. Matthew Anderson's comments speak well for what I believe should be the church's focus in areas of bioethics and women's issues in general.
Practically, I think we have relied too heavily on the will of the majority as our foundation for our legal actions. While political orders must on some level be representative of the people to be legitimate, our founding fathers set up a representative democracy for a reason. Without rejecting efforts like Proposition 8, politically conservative evangelicals should shift their focus toward equipping the next generation of leaders with the philosophical and theological training they need to affect society and government from the "top-down." Majorities are unstable, and while traditional marriage has the upper hand now, it may not in 20 years.
Christians definitely need to stay engaged in the public square on all issues that continue to impact our culture, but in agreement with Matthew Anderson, we need to be intentional and focused about equipping the next generation to think through these issues theologically, and prepare our future Christian citizens and leaders to be unabashedly Christian as they argue these issues in the market place. But this isn't just about the future of culture, but the future of the church and the role that Scripture plays in the lives of believers. New traditions will be in place in a few short years, and terms like "traditional marriage" and "traditional family" will have been shed of all meaning. But terms like "biblical marriage" and "biblical family" will always have meaning because they always point to a source.

But back to Aniston's comments, she is correct, women today don't have to "settle" in order to have children--from a technological perspective, anyway. But without a Christian worldview framework to consider the purpose and role of family and childbearing, what more can we expect? No matter what the law or science may permit, the people can willingly reject it when they have the ability to think theologically.

August 5, 2010

The High Calling of the Christian Woman

Surrogacy, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), egg “donation”, and even certain forms of contraception are considered by many women–including Christian women–valid options for addressing their reproductive dilemmas despite the embryo-destructive nature often associated with these advancements in technology.

Over the years, I have known many women in churches who have traveled down these paths only to suffer the pain of knowing their very prolife intentions have led to some not-so-prolife results. For some, they have come to understand that the embryos they placed in frozen storage for future “use” are their children whether or not they are eventually born or do not survive the process of implantation. Others are still learning that pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is not actually a therapeutic treatment of their very tiny children, but a means of discarding imperfect offspring, a technological “achievement” grounded in a philosophy that says only certain lives are worth living. PGD has come to be a routine practice as IVF has come to be more about quality control.

We continue to love and minister to the women and families who have found themselves in these unfortunate circumstances without being fully informed; ridicule and rebuke have no place as there is so much misinformation about these issues. But as a matter of proactive, educational ministry, women in the church must learn more about these decisions they are contemplating.

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