Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Posts that just don’t fit anywhere else…

Should Women Be Pastors?

You know that moment right after you do something, and you feel like maybe you should have thought about it a little more before you jumped in with both feet? That’s how I’m going to feel in a few minutes when I click the Publish button on this post.

Because, let’s face it…the women-as-pastors issue is a hot one. It has been for quite a while. Heck, even the Apostle Paul talked about it, I believe. So that’s close to 2000 years. What more can I say today that will make any difference or change anyone’s mind? Probably nothing.

Then why write at all? Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment…..

Actually, I ran across a site for a new church being planted in my town. Honestly, it excited me a little, because my own church doesn’t always excite me. Nor do any other churches I’ve visited here. We pretty much just settled in to our current church because we weren’t sure there was anything better out there. And we recognized that it was more important to be in a church than to be 100% happy in a church. When I saw this new church starting up, though, I had the thought, “could this be an exciting new adventure we could grab on to and be a part of?”

Then I looked on the church’s About page and read the church’s blog. Yep…I read the entire blog. It’s a new church…it only had 3 posts.

The About page listed 2 pastors – a husband and wife. “Co-Pastors,” it called them.  I didn’t really think much about that at the time. But then I read the blog. The first post just talked about their goals. Pretty standard stuff.  The second was a YouTube video of a sermon. I didn’t watch it, but I’m sure it was good. The last post, though, was the wife of the Co-Pastor Duo, writing a post which she started with the question “Female Pastor?”  [You may be wondering why I didn’t just link to the post…I’ll explain later…]

She goes on to talk about being raised in a Baptist church, being dissuaded from going into any kind of ministry other than, perhaps, missions, simply because she was a woman. She talks about her experiences in the ministry (music, mainly) and the “atmosphere of gender inequality” in which they were raising their daughters. She very obviously was egalitarian, over and beyond anything else (I learned a new word recently…egalitarian…I finally found a place to use it!).

Unfortunately, there was something missing from her post. She had all kinds of emotion, all kinds of experiences, and all kinds of happy buzz-words (“uplift!”, “empower!”). What her post was missing was Scripture. She never once shared a piece of Scripture to back up her argument, that women should be allowed the same position as men as leaders in the church.

Now, I know what people are going to say. He’s such a chauvinist (yay! I used another big word!). Believe it or not, I’m not sexist. I believe in a great majority of cases a woman has the ability and right to do whatever a man can do. Heck…I’ve watched a woman give birth and go through a c-section (2 different children)…I’m pretty sure there are some things women can do that men absolutely cannot.  But that doesn’t mean that God has set things up to work that way. Perhaps God just decided that He wanted men to be pastors. Who are we to say He’s wrong? If the state sets the speed limit for 18-wheelers to be ten miles per hour less than cars, should we protest and say, “but 18-wheelers can drive just as fast as 4-wheeled cars! That’s vehiclist!!!” (now I’m making up words…). No, the state has the right to set speed limits, and if they see fit to make one type of vehicle drive at a different speed than another, that’s just the way it is. They have their reasons, we don’t have to agree, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s the law. The same can be true here….God may have His reasons, we might not understand them, but who are we to question Him about it? If His Word is clear about something, we don’t get to change it based on how it makes us feel.

That said, I’m no expert in what the Bible says about women as pastors. I recognize that I’m making this argument purely based on my own doctrinal presuppositions. I was raised in a Baptist church, I still attend a Baptist church, and Southern Baptists are usually the most conservative denomination (including their stance on women as pastors). I admit that I could be wrong, that I’m going just as much off of my experience as this woman writing her blog post was going off of hers. The difference is this: I refuse to be changed by anything less than the evidence of Scripture.

If you want to convince me that women can be pastors, and I admit that I’m completely open to the idea, then you need to show me Scripture that says that it’s okay. Don’t tell me that it made you feel bad that you couldn’t be a pastor, don’t tell me that men have oppressed women for 2000 years simply because they’re pigs. I’ve spent too long believing that the Bible only allows men to be pastors. If you want to convince me otherwise, show me in the Bible where it’s true. I just can’t accept anything less.

That said, if you want a good place to read up on it, check out this article, which DOES use Scripture.

Okay. That’s all I have to say. Cue angry comments….

**Disclaimer: I’m not linking to the blog post I talk about here simply because I don’t find it fair to call out another believer in public without first approaching them in person. I don’t plan approach this woman in person…I doubt we ever cross paths. I’m not calling her out personally here on my blog…I’m calling out her methods of arguing for women as pastors, which is not something that is unique to her. A lot of people – men and women – are using this same method of argumentation for women in ministry, and it’s just weak. If you claim to be a leader and a teacher of God’s Word, you need to use God’s Word to argue your point. It’s the only fully authoritative standard by which we can judge the appropriateness of these kinds of things.

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Feeling Bad About Feelings

Did you ever get your feelings hurt?

Of course you have. We all have. And if you’re like me, you probably feel guilty sometimes when you get your feelings hurt. Like, somehow, you’re just being silly, or over-emotional, or a little too touchy and sensitive.

That was me this morning. Someone made a comment at work about how they were going to fix something that I had worked on. They basically insulted my work and made it seem like I was incompetent. And it really hurt.

As a man, I don’t always go straight for the hurt-feelings emotion. I sometimes go for the anger, indignation, and bad mood before admitting that I was hurt. But for some reason this morning, I realized right away that I was just hurt. I wasn’t angry (well…not that angry)…I was just hurt. I literally felt that same feeling I remember feeling as a kid right before I started crying. I’m not saying I almost cried (I am a MAN, after all…), but there was a definite feeling of sadness and maybe even a slight sense of betrayal.

I’m sure this isn’t uncommon in workplaces across America. Everyone deals with getting their feelings hurt at work at one point or another. But I wonder how many people are like me, and actually feel bad about it afterwards. Like it’s our fault, we probably had it coming, so we just need to get over it.

I believe deep down that I’m good at what I do. I’m not the best, and I know there are others around me in my own workplace who far exceed my skills and abilities. But that’s okay with me. I get the job done, and I know I do my best. I take pride in what I do. So when someone comments on something negative about my work, I think it’s only natural to be hurt about it. What I don’t know is if it’s natural to feel bad about feeling bad.

Anyone else have these kinds of experiences?

 

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Heaven IS for real. But many books about it are not…

I see a lot of stuff nowadays floating around the stagnant pool of the interwebs talking about Heaven. I assume it’s the soon-to-come movie titled Heaven is for Real based off of the book of the same name that’s causing the fevered conversation to raise it’s ugly little head.  As you can probably tell from my written tone, I’m not a big fan of the book or those like it.

To be fair, I haven’t read the book. I haven’t read many other books like it either. Some would say that means I don’t have the right to comment on it, but I would disagree. Because I have read a book (a compilation of books, actually) that gives a 100% accurate description of heaven. (That’d be the Bible, in case you’re not following) So when I read the description of these other “heaven” books, a lot of red flags get raised. There’s one red flag in particular that rises high above the others and is definitive proof (for me, anyway) that these books are fakes.  And I can describe it with 3 little words:

Robbed at Gunpoint.

I know…you’re thinking “What? That makes no sense!” Follow me for a second.

When people are robbed at gunpoint, the police often ask them to give a detailed description of their attacker. A great majority of the time they cannot. Why? Because they never saw him – they couldn’t take their eyes off of the gun. Our brains are wired to focus on the things that induce the most fear, and if we are robbed at gunpoint, the most fear-inducing element is the gun.

The same would be true if someone were to go to heaven and live to tell about it. Being in the presence of almighty God would induce fear – it did in Isaiah when he was given a prophetic vision of heaven, and it did in the apostle John when he was given a similar vision. If a person were to come back from that, the only thing they would write about is glory of God. Yet most of these books peddle unbiblical truths that glorify only the author or the experience. They are self-focused, or focused on details that I believe most people would miss (halos? really??), simply because they wouldn’t be able to take their eyes off of Jesus.

That said, I could be wrong. I haven’t read the books, so maybe I’m just talking about things I know nothing about. What about you?  What’s your take on books like this?

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Death Penalty Vs. Abortion

Whoa!  It’s been over a year since I’ve posted on my blog (if you don’t count the reply to a comment I made about 10 minutes ago), so forgive me if I’m a little rusty.

I was reading an article this morning about the State of Texas executing it’s 500th inmate since 1982, when it re-introduced the death penalty as a legal punishment. The execution was of Kimberly McCarthy, who was convicted of the murder of 71-year-old Dorothy Booth in Lancaster, TX in 1997. McCarthy robbed, beat, and stabbed Booth to death, and even cut off her finger to pull off a ring. She stole her car, took the ring and pawned it for $200 to buy crack, and used her credit cards at a liquor store. Overall, it was a particularly brutal crime, one that no doubt would bring the death penalty to any person in Texas if they didn’t plea bargain for a lesser punishment.

What struck me as I was reading the article was a quote from McCarthy’s attorney and the next line that described the protesters outside the prison:

In a statement, Maurie Levin, McCarthy’s attorney, said “500 is 500 too many. I look forward to the day when we recognize that this pointless and barbaric practice, imposed almost exclusively on those who are poor and disproportionately on people of color, has no place in a civilized society.” Outside the prison, about 40 protesters gathered, carrying signs saying “Death Penalty: Racist and Anti-Poor,” ”Stop All Executions Now” and “Stop Killing to Stop Killings.”

I was kind of taken aback at reading that people feel the death penalty is racist and anti-poor, because that’s something that is also true of another controversial practice in our country: abortion.

Just a couple days before this execution, Texas failed to pass some very restrictive abortion measures that would have cut the number of abortions in the state greatly. The reason behind the failure to pass the bill was not because there weren’t enough votes to pass it – it was because the protests became so disruptive that, though the bill passed in a vote, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst couldn’t sign it in time. (The legislative session ended at midnight)

So what we have here is 2 sets of protesters – one who thinks that the State is wrong for executing convicted killers because those killers are predominantly minorities and poor, and one who thinks that we should NOT cut abortions, even though abortions occur at significantly higher rates in minority and poor populations. My guess is that many of the people who argue against the death penalty are arguing for abortion. They say that convicted killers should live, but that innocent children should not.

And all I can say is, come Lord Jesus…hurry…this world is getting more and more out of control.

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Sweet Land of “Liberty”

Liberty.

Dictionary.com defines it as “freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.”

Supposedly, liberty is one of the three things America was founded upon, the other two being life and the pursuit of happiness. That being the case, the last thing I would expect to hear is that the American Federal court system has “interfered” with college campus religious organizations by “restricting” them from disallowing non-Christians to run for leadership positions. Have you heard about this?  If not, check out this article.

To summarize the whole story, the legal battle began when San Diego State University refused to recognize two Christian organizations – a sorority and a fraternity – simply because they required those in leadership positions within their organization to sign a Christian statement of faith. Apparently this requirement violates the school’s nondiscrimination policy, which was based on an earlier Supreme Court ruling (stating that “public colleges and universities [have] permission to adopt policies requiring all campus groups to be open to all students – as both members and leaders”). That Supreme Court ruling was a general ruling, and those fighting the case at San Diego State questioned whether that ruling could be enforced selectively. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it could not, and now those groups at San Diego State have until April 4th, 2012 to remove the faith requirement or else be removed from campus.

To some this may seem like a small battle, not worth fighting over. But to me, this is government control over the church at its worst. What the courts have effectively said is “the church cannot have any control whatsoever over the government (i.e., separation of church and state), yet the government can exert control over religious organizations.” In my opinion, this may be the worst example of a denial of religious liberty I’ve ever seen in this country. And the logic behind it is absurd. The group defending the campus religious organizations pointed this out:

“Throughout the years of defending its policy,” says the Alliance Defense Fund, “the university did not tell the Democratic club it must be led by a Republican, or the vegetarian club that it must be led by a meat-eater, but it did tell Christian groups that they must allow themselves to be led by atheists.”

And a commenter on the article made another good point:

If you’re going to demand that Christian organizations allow anyone to be in leadership, even if they do not share their faith, then you should open up the office of president so that anyone in the world, regardless of race or nationality be able to be elected president. It’s pretty intolerant of you not to let someone rule our country just because they’re not American!

Obviously this comment was made tongue-in-cheek, but it makes a great point. By saying that anyone, regardless of faith (or lack thereof), must be allowed to act as a leader in a religious organization, is ludicrous.

What about you? What do you think?

UPDATE: After reading a little more on all of this, I’m starting to see that the argument the university is making is that these organizations should not be allowed use of the university’s resources when they discriminate on religion (or race, gender, or sexual orientation, for that matter). Supposedly, the University is not saying that these groups shouldn’t have the right to choose Christian leaders, but that if they do discriminate in this way, they shouldn’t be allowed free use of campus meeting rooms and other resources. When I was in college, the only campus religious organization I ever participated in was the Baptist Student Ministry, and it always relied on it’s own resources (building, etc.), and those provided by area churches, and never any University resources (that I know of). Some would argue that this is what these organizations at SDSU should do…break off and go independent. What do you think? Is that the right thing to do in this case?

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American Growing Pains

There are 5 different kinds of bloggers out there. There are those who blog multiple times a day, there are those who blog on a daily basis, and there are those who blog on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. Then there are two more kinds who don’t follow any particular kind of schedule – those who blog when they have something important to say, and those who used to blog when they had something important to say, but got too busy with life and work and the daily routines of parenthood and church membership and their newly found hobby of knitting, to blog for the last 7 months. This last kind of blogger is a lot more common than you might think. And except for the knitting part, I fall into this last category almost perfectly.

But I’ve started to get all riled up about things lately, and since I can only tell my wife how I feel so many times without getting the “yeah, you said that already” face, my only recourse is to blog about it. So here is my first blog post in over 7 months, and let me warn you…it’s a doozie.

So as you probably heard, this past week Kirk Cameron has been blasted over and over about his response to a question by Piers Morgan on his show on CNN. The question was this: “Do you think homosexuality is a sin?” I’ve watched Kirk’s response, and I totally don’t understand the basis behind this furor.  In case you haven’t seen it, watch it here:

Here are the exact statements that I hear Kirk making:

  • Marriage was defined by God in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve – one man, one woman, for life, and no one should try to re-define marriage
  • Homosexuality is unnatural, detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization
  • Everyone uses a standard of morality to make judgment calls on what is sinful
  • He believes that all people are sinful, and he is at the top of the list, and needs a savior and an overhaul of the heart more than anyone

Here is the only real statement I hear Piers Morgan making:

  • Telling kids that being gay is a sin, that in itself is incredibly destructive and damaging in a country where 7 states now have legalized [gay marriage]

It’s not hard to see that Kirk was making broad statements about the act of homosexuality, using a Biblical standard of morality. Morgan was making a very directed statement at Christians, specifically Kirk Cameron, using a standard of morality that is a minority in this country – only 7 out of 50 states have legalized gay marriage, and he thinks that is enough to say that it’s a sin to tell kids that gay marriage is wrong. Kirk never calls any one person a sinner, but instead says all of humanity is sinful. Morgan points directly at people who are anti-gay marriage, and says they are sinning. So who exactly is being judgmental and intolerant here?

Interestingly, Piers Morgan brings the Kirk Cameron interview up in many of his following interviews. A couple that caught my attention were Lewis Black and Cindy McCain. Here’s Lewis Black:

The points I hear them making:

  • It is not possible to be vocal about your religious values and also be a proponent of freedom for all
  • Homosexuality is not a choice, and science has (apparently) proven this already
  • Kirk Cameron’s response did NOT come across as offensive to Piers Morgan at first
  • Lewis Black knows enough about Christianity to know that being anti-gay is not being a real Christian
  • Christians hate homosexuals

Four things jumped out at me:

First, even Piers Morgan wasn’t offended at Kirk Cameron’s statements to begin with. It sounded a lot like he was saying that he didn’t get offended until others started getting offended. Isn’t that kind of going with the crowd?

Second, Lewis Black considers himself an expert in Christianity (apparently because he’s a Jew). I’ve heard Lewis Black’s views on Judaism and Christianity — see this video, but be warned, it’s filled with profanity. In it, Black points out his views on the Bible, and interestingly at the end, he admits that the Bible defines marriage between one man and one woman. All the same, if Black really knew the Bible as he thinks he does, his view of Christianity would be very different. There are people who spend their entire lives studying the Bible, Biblical culture and the original languages, and their truly expert opinions don’t line up with Black’s.

Third, Morgan makes the generalization that all Christians hate homosexuals. Although some self-proclaimed Christians do hate homosexuals, there are plenty of declared atheists who hate homosexuals, too. Any Biblical Christian wouldn’t hate anyone, because Jesus taught to love – even your enemies! And gays are not our enemies, so loving them isn’t even supposed to be hard. The line is drawn between how we feel about people, and what we can allow to become the moral standard in this country. John 1:17 says that “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  Christians are to practice both grace and truth as we imitate Christ – showing grace to people, but standing up for Biblical truth. It’s a hard thing to do, which is probably why the world doesn’t see us doing it very well, but it’s the standard by which we should treat homosexuality. We should love the person, but not allow the sin to become the standard in our country.

Fourth, they state multiple times, with conviction, that science has already proven that people are born gay – they have no choice in the matter. But is that really true?  Actually, although there have been some studies that show that there are a few genetic traits that might lead to homosexual tendencies, there is no scientific evidence that homosexuality is 100% genetic (see this article). And how could it be? Thinking in genetic and evolutionary terms, how could the human race continue if homosexuality was passed through our genes? I won’t give you an anatomy/physiology/reproduction lesson, but homosexuality isn’t exactly conducive to making babies.  Just sayin’….

Later Piers Morgan interviews Cindy McCain, wife of Republican Senator (and former presidential candidate) John McCain. Here’s that video:

There’s a lot less to pull from this interview, and Mrs. McCain does stand up for Kirk Cameron’s right to have his beliefs. I thought it was interesting that Mrs. McCain basically says that the reason homosexual couples should have the right to marry is because they already have the right to adopt children. Isn’t that a little backwards? But the thing that stands out the most is Piers Morgan’s statement: “What I don’t like is some of the rhetoric used against the gay community. Whether you agree with them or not, whatever you believe about gay marriage, just don’t use the abusive rhetoric that, in my view, sort of de-humanizes them as a community. I find it ridiculous.”  He is basically saying that the words that Kirk Cameron used (unnatural, detrimental, destructive) were “abusive” and “de-humanizing.” What about the rhetoric used again Kirk Cameron since that interview?

  • GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) made a statement calling Kirk Cameron old-fashioned: “Kirk Cameron sounds even more dated than his 1980s TV character.”
  • Roseanne Barr tweeted that Kirk Cameron is an accomplice to murder: “Kirk or kurt or whatever Cameron is an accomplice to murder with his hate speech.”

These are just two of literally thousands of tweets made since that interview that bash Kirk Cameron and Christians in general. Where’s Piers Morgan when we need him?  We could use him to say on national television that he doesn’t like the abusive rhetoric used against Christians in this country. Of course, that would never come out of his mouth.

In the end, Kirk Cameraon, and almost all Christians, have been labeled intolerant and bigots. Perhaps the intolerant label is correct. We must stand for truth, and we can’t tolerate what is blatantly sinful behavior to become the norm in our culture. But calling us bigots is wrong – that implies hatred for homosexuals, and I don’t think that is the case. I don’t think Kirk Cameron hates anyone – he said as much in his response to all the reactions to his original interview.  He said, “I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect…”  Well said, Kirk. Well said. The worst form of intolerance here is that people can’t tolerate Kirk Cameron having an opinion different than their own.

I didn’t intend for this to become a rant, but I see that it has, and I apologize. I’m sure I’ll get some emotion-strewn comments, and they are welcome (as long as they are clean). So go ahead and tell me…what’s your opinion on all of this?

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I’m Back…And I’m Spilling the Beans!

So last week I posted that my family and I were going to be spending a few days away, on what you might call a “vacation” of sorts, and would be going to the ever-popular Sea World theme park in San Antonio, Texas.  We got back yesterday, and I’ll tell you, we had a wonderful time.  Of course, I did learn a few lessons:

  1. 100 degrees Fahrenheit is hot.  Very, very hot.
  2. Even shade is hot in 100 degree weather.
  3. 5 month old babies don’t like 100 degree weather.
  4. I should be given a medal for putting up with that kind of temperature and a screaming baby at the same time.
  5. My wife should be given the Nobel Peace Prize for putting up with that kind of temperature and a moaning husband at the same time.
  6. My wife should be given another Nobel prize for putting up with my smell (I forgot to put on deodorant…).
  7. I love doing things like this with my family.

Even in the adversity of sunscreen-infused sweat pouring into my eyes, causing them to burn like I just poured some concentrated acid in them, I can look back and say that we had a great time. We had fun – my 5 year old rode a kiddie-coaster 3 times, I got to see people dive from 30-something feet in the air, and Shamu did her thing without hurting any of the trainers. Good times…  Good times…

On to other things, I said last week that I had a great secret that I would be sharing very soon with everyone.  Well, here I go…

First, I should point out that this affects no one but my family and me.  I don’t really even know why I said I was going to tell everyone – you probably won’t care in the least bit.  But since I said I would tell, I will.

My wife and I are prayerfully considering the fact that God may be calling us into vocational ministry, specifically missions.  We have talked about it for a while, and although Amy has known for years that this is where we were most likely headed (and apparently she’s been telling me this…), I am just now figuring it out.  We don’t presume to know whether we will serve in another country or just around the block from our house, but either way, I believe we are starting to see the beginnings of God preparing us to serve Him in this new way.

To prepare, we are going to soon be starting ministry-related degrees via distance learning, and hopefully I’ll be able to start talking more about what I’m learning here on the blog.

If you come across this post, even if you don’t know us, if you get an opportunity to pray for us, we would greatly appreciate it. We are very excited about this “new chapter” in our life, and although we expect it to be a slow transition, we can hardly wait to see what God will have us doing in the future.

 

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