Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Shoulda Stayed in Bed

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I went to my home church for the first time in several Sundays yesterday.  I enjoyed seeing faces I hadn’t seen in a while.  There was a lot of hugging and “so good to see you’s”. The people there are warm and friendly.  They love me and I know it. I love them, too. That’s what makes all of this so hard. Because when they realize I don’t believe like them anymore I’ll be an outsider.  Not because they don’t love me, but because they’ll think I’m destined for hell and try to save me from myself. Many will be disappointed.  How do I handle this?  I’m not certain.

I’m thinking maybe it was a mistake to go yesterday.  Their worldview and mine don’t match at all anymore.  For lack of a better analogy, I felt like a whore on the front pew.  It almost felt like everybody there could hear what I was thinking.  Could they tell I was thinking heretical thoughts?

It’s spring break here so there were only two of us in Sunday School in our normal class of ten to twelve.  I found myself at odds with the very first scripture and the very first question asked.  Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.  To write to you again about this is no trouble for me and is a protection for you. Phil. 3:1 

The teacher starts out, “For the believer God’s commands are a protection from self-destruction.  How do non-believers view God’s commands?”

Other attendee:  “Unbelievers reject God’s commands because they don’t want to be accountable.  Men want to go out and party and have adulterous affairs and not feel they have to answer for it.  Women want to drink and have one-night stands and not feel guilty.”

Me:  “That’s assuming the unbeliever behaves that way.  Just because someone is an unbeliever doesn’t automatically make them immoral.  Is it fair to assume because someone doesn’t believe that they also are lying, stealing, adulterous heathens?  I don’t think so.  I know many unbelievers who behave more Christ-like than believers I know.”

Other attendee:  “Okay, maybe they aren’t doing anything really bad.  But they want to just sleep in on Sunday morning instead of go to church.  They just don’t want accountability.”

Me:  “Do you really think that they really know there’s a God and they just reject his rules?  Closing their eyes and pretending He can’t see them won’t make God go away.  Do you think they’re that small-minded?”

Teacher:  “As believers we know we should accept God’s rules as protection for our lives.  The black and white ones are easy, it’s the gray areas we have trouble with.  Now to our next scripture.”

Just like that she reigned it back in and changed direction.  I made them very uncomfortable I could tell so I dropped it and stayed fairly quiet for the rest of the hour.  I wasn’t there to hijack the teacher’s lesson.

Then I decided I’d stay for worship service.  I hadn’t been to that since sometime in February.  Then I looked at the preacher’s sermon text.  First Timothy 2:9-15, A Godly Woman. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.  I listened intently because I thought maybe there was something in this I was supposed to learn.  Pastor Mike had prepared an outline and I took notes.

I.  The Style of a Godly woman – vs. 9-10
       A.  Her appearance –  vs 9a
Should be one of order.  People should not be shocked by a woman’s      appearance.  It should be one of modesty with humility and a soundness of mind.  Women are emotional by nature so they should be in control of their passions and emotions. She should attract attention to Christ and not to herself.  A woman should strive to please God first in her attire and then she should be concerned with pleasing her husband with her clothing and attire.  This does not mean that she isn’t to wear makeup or jewelry or to dress attractively, just that it shouldn’t be her first priority and it should never be done to bring attention to herself.

      B.  Her attractiveness – vs 9b-10
The emphasis ought to be on attitude, not appearance.

II. The Silence of a Godly Woman

      A.  Her Attitude – vs 11-12
These verses speak to the attitude of a woman.  She should not usurp male authority.  Males are designed to be in a leadership position.  Women should subject themselves to that authority willingly and not try to take positions that do not belong to them.  Men should be willing to lead.  The main reason women are in leadership positions is because men are not leading.  They have relinquished their authority and if things are going to get done the women step up.  They do the praying, they do the teaching, they do the leading.  It is a failure on the men’s part.  If the men would lead with their God-given authority women would and should subject themselves readily to that.

    B.  Her Assignment – vs 13-14
This does not mean that women are to sit silently and never speak up in church.  The context of this passage was that Timothy was having a problem with improper use of gifts.  Women being the emotional creatures they are were disrupting church speaking in tongues.  This means that worship is to be orderly and reverently.  It does not mean that women aren’t to teach Sunday School.  They aren’t to take leadership roles in worship.  This does not mean that Adam is less sinful than Eve, but this is a matter of priority.  God created man first to be the protector and teacher of woman.  What a sorry excuse Adam was for a man that he let the serpent tempt Eve right in front of him and didn’t say a word. 

III  The Security of a Godly Woman – v 15

The only way a woman can feel secure is to be what God called her to be – a wife and a mother.

I should have stayed in bed. *sigh*

      

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39 thoughts on “Shoulda Stayed in Bed

  1. I actually kind of like part 1A on modesty, but I HATE HATE HATE section 3. I would have preferred sleeping in too. While I am a stay-at-home mom, it was only after spending over a year looking for part-time work in the sciences (part-time work is rare), and when I spent my entire pregnancy with my son nauseous, I just gave up on the idea…but I often wonder if I didn't have all these negativity about working outside the home by the church, would I have persisted. Being at home full time can be challenging.

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  2. Wow, I haven't been in that situation for almost 20 years now. I remember going back and, of course everyone was "nice", but I felt like I was an evangelism project now: "nice with an agenda". And sitting through a sermon just disturbed my spirit. I decided no good thing was coming out of it… it was like trying to date my "ex". I eventually made a clean break and bit the bullet of losing friendships of over 20 years and moved on. Hard stuff.

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  3. Wow. What a combination… it sounds like you picked The Wrong Moment to stop back by!

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  4. Did Pastor Mike touch on the fact that many scholars believe the Pastoral Epistles are forgeries and not true Pauline works?

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  5. Don't you understand? That wasn't coincidence. God was wanting to get that message to you. You were meant to here those words. :-pExcellent job combating the "other attendant's" narrow-minded view! 🙂

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  6. I'm going to tag a link to this at the end of a post I just wrote!

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  7. Ugh to all the gender stuff! That kind of thing repulses me, especially when it's taught by a man who has no clue what it's like to have someone make these kind of pronouncements from the pulpit.Yikes!If you are still interested in seeing if there is anything left in you that Christianity can speak to….I would recommend visiting all sorts of different churches…especially the kind that your home church would probably disapprove if! 😉

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  8. LAC,The modesty part I could handle. I don't disagree. I think the way a woman carries herself and dresses says a lot about her. I'm a modest dresser myself. What I didn't appreciate in part 1A was the idea that women are basically emotional basketcases – almost as if just by virtue of being a woman I can't control my own emotions to the point I need a man to do it for me. It sort of spilled over into part II. When he got to part II it felt as if he had to sugar coat it because, while he doesn't feel a woman should have any authority in the worship service, he couldn't afford to run off all of his Sunday School teachers. We've probably got 30 to 40 Sunday School teachers and maybe 10 of them are men.When he got to part 3 he was doing my head in. I've been submissive, subjected myself to the "headship" of the man in my household, and I'm no longer married. I'm not a wife and I don't have children. I've had to find security and satisfaction in other things. Not to mention I know several women in the congregation who have had fertility issues. So if the only way to have security and satisfaction is to be a wife and a mother that had to zing just a bit.

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  9. s-p said:I decided no good thing was coming out of it… it was like trying to date my "ex".That's exactly what it feels like. As Chris over at Cognitive Discopants says: It's like trying to put a square peg through a round hole. It just doesn't work.==================================================@Michael Mock,I don't think there is a good Sunday for me to go back. Every Sunday has turned into "turn or burn" preaching. And since I'm not a big believer in the burning part anymore it's pretty much lost on me. He's kind of an old time preacher who gets red in the face and pounds the pulpit as he's screaming hell, fire and damnation. ==================================================@SteveJ,No, definitely not! He believes that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired, infallible Word of God. At least his interpretation of it.==================================================@TWF,Yeah, yeah. I know. That message was directly from God's mouth to my ears. Because, you know, I haven't already tried all that. :-)==================================================@terri,Thanks for the link. I have visited the Episcopal church in the town next to mine. I live in a small town of about 6000. The churches we have here are Primitive Baptist,Southern Baptist, Fundamentalist Independent Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, a very tiny Episcopal Church, and several Churches of Christ. I also visited a Southern Baptist church in the next town. It's pretty inconvenient and if I'm honest I don't know that I'd keep up going. If I were more dedicated and less agnostic at this point wild horses couldn't keep me away. I may try the tiny local Episcopal Church.

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  10. That's just too "funny" that that was his preaching topic. Yup, sounds like it was god's last chance to get through to you!

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  11. ExrelaymanI, like your other guests here, rejoice to see a mind critically reaching out to embrace reality, and mourn to see what that costs you in your environment. Also I much regret not having any wisdom to share with you about what you should do in your situation. Too bad religion divides us into us and them.Hopefully your cyber friends brightens your life a little bit.

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  12. We had a very similar sermon at my church two Sundays ago. Our pastor likes to get his wife to preach the bits about women submitting to male authority (see how progressive we are?). I couldn't help but notice the irony when she insisted that these principles were non-negotiable because they were in God's word. Meanwhile, here was a woman teaching the congregation – with her head uncovered to boot! I love how we pick and choose which verses can be ignored as culturally relative and which ones must be obeyed as timeless truths.

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  13. Do you know what I have never read?A story about a deconvert going back to their same church after entering doubt. I’ve read lots and lots of stories about deconverts never going back to church. (I am one!) I’ve read lots of doubters going through church-search. I’ve read deconverts who find more…liberal…(for lack of a better word) congregations such as Unitarians.Like you, we go back and instead of the words dripping over our brain like a salve, they become points of questions. “Why?” becomes a response, stunning the tranquil monotony with an unexpected rejoinder. Questions are deferred, avoided, sedated because they cannot be directly addressed.And we don’t want to hurt the confused masses next to us. We aren’t there to cause a ruckus; to be the constant dissenter. Yet our hearts feel the push—and demand to push back. We find ourselves aching to shout from the pew cushion; instead internalizing the volcano and later punching the steering wheel in the parking lot.Alas, we are creatures of hope. We forget. A few months go by, and we start to ponder, “Gee…was it really that bad? Those are friends, acquaintances, people who know and understand me.” And so we cross the portals again with a smile. A glad buoyancy as people we know great us with genuine enthusiasm and care. To see faces we watched grow up.Then the poisonous doctrine spills out, we watch those same faces gladly reiterate untruth, vile words, and ignorant ramblings and recall—yes, it was that bad.

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  14. Oh Their God! You went to a sermon where they stereotyped women all over again.You're a brave woman. I would've ran away screaming, pulling my hair like a mad lady.The first verse you cited caught my attention "Rejoice in the Lord always." Another instance of court-ordered emotional behaviour. Who cares if you feel happy today? You have to rejoice. That's how Christianity causes emotional damage, but teaching followers to ignore their emotions and feel what they're supposed to feel. Enjoy staying in bed next Sunday!

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  15. DagoodS says:"Do you know what I have never read? A story about a deconvert going back to their same church after entering doubt."Maybe I should visit my old Calvary Chapel the next time I visit Albuquerque. Pastor Skip is still there leading the thing, but since I have not been there since about 1993, I am certain I no longer know anybody there. I sometimes still hear Pastor Skip broadcast on CSN radio, and his style and message has not changed at all since those days. Referring to DMA's latest blog title, I can't tell whether he is Live or Memorex.

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  16. @Exrelayman,Yes, it has been nice to find people online who share my questions and concerns. It's bee very helpful. ==================================================@Chris,Yep, gotta love cafeteria Christianity, eh? And the irony is completely lost on those who should most know more than anybody else what the "word" says.==================================================@DagoodS,I haven't done much church hopping. To be honest, I'm questioning the very fundamentals of the Christian faith so finding a more liberal church or one whose doctrines line up with mine are not necessarily the problem. If I still had confidence that Jesus was who he's claimed to be I'd have no trouble finding a church to suit me. Going back to my home church was bittersweet. It reminded me how much I love the friends I have there and how terribly painful it is to listen to it's teachings.==================================================@Lorena,The fact is I once bought into every line, jot and tittle of everything that was taught on Sunday. So it didn't make me run away screaming, it made me sad to remember who I'd become and helped me realize I'm not her anymore.

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  17. October 1999. Same sermon you heard on Sunday. On the ride home I said quietly to my husband, "I refuse to go back. That's it. I will not go to a church that continually preaches that women are "less-than" and women can't "preach" the Word of God."

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  18. D'Ma, I was planning to take this huge blogging break, and then I had to click on to a couple of blogs, and here I am back. (LOL) Where will it end?My son was recently at a community Bible study, not his church, where the pastor discussed this very portion of the Scripture, and actually asked the one woman present not to make any comment at all since the Bible clearly states that the women should remain silent, and ask their husbands at home.. The woman left.. My son is like, "Does this make sense..?" He actually came home to discuss it with me, and his dad.But, you see, this is what comes of using the Bible like a scout handbook,and not considering the context of a specific verse, or the culture of the times. I'm guessing this pastor would probably consider this "cherry picking."But, I'm wondering what this preacher makes of Paul's comments elsewhere about women praying and prohesying in the church…If someone is prohesying, are they not speaking forth the word of God? Or, did Paul get his wires crossed?And how about women such as Prisilla teaching a man from the Scripture, Phillip's daughters who were evangelists, Paul naming women who were co-laborers with him in the gospel, you know, things like that??And, how do women like Deborah in the OT fit into this picture? Wasn't she a judge over all of Israel?What do you think?Becky.

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  19. Becky,Having withdrawals, huh? LOLThe short answer to your question, "what do I think?", is I don't really know. The long answer is: I see a huge disparity in the entire Bible between the roles of men and women and I think some men, especially in fundamentalism, twist scripture to mean that ultimately men are superior to women. Having said that I do think on the whole that the Bible advocates for a role of submission to male authority. You mention Prisilla, but I'm pretty sure she was operating in conjunction with her husband, Aquila. So although she and Aquila are said to have taught together it isn't clear what her role actually was. Possibly just a helper? That's part of the issue with those women Paul names as co-laborers in the gospel as well. We don't exactly know their roles. Were they financiers? Were they cooks for Paul? Did they offer him a place to stay? Who knows? As for the women prophesying and praying: who were they prophesying to? Other women? Were they in any kind of authoritative position over men? Again, who knows? It could certainly be that they were, but we're really not given that information.I would have to really research the background on Judges to make any guess about Deborah who, yes indeed, was a judge.

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  20. @HeIsSailing,Maybe I should visit my old Calvary Chapel the next time I visit Albuquerque. Pastor Skip is still there leading the thing, but since I have not been there since about 1993, I am certain I no longer know anybody there.If you do that you'll have to make a post and tell us all how it went. ======================================================@Zoe,It's been my experience that women in general are much more serious about studying scripture than men are. Wouldn't that render them better qualified to teach or preach than a lot of men? Now I'm not casting dispersions on men. I know quite a few who take bible study seriously, but I also know a lot of women who come to church alone while their husbands sleep in. Then there are those who come because their wife dragged them in on Sunday morning instead of "letting" them go hunting or fishing. 🙂

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  21. D'Ma, Paul names a woman, Junia, as an apostle.But, I do agree that the entire culture of the time was quite patriarchal. The Greeks, and Romans treated women terribly.Jesus, in His time, and culture elevated the status of women.Becky.

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  22. Becky,Is Junia mentioned anywhere other than Romans 16:7? She could have been an apostle in the sense that she supposedly was among those who knew Jesus personally and saw him post-resurrection. This doesn't necessarily convey any authority to her within the church. She could be a messenger without being in authority of any kind. I am NOT disputing that she was an apostle. What I am saying is that there isn't enough information in the text to support any particular view of her apostleship – authority or no.

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  23. I would think the meaning of apostle is one who was sent forth in authority as a missionary to preach the gospel.Of course, it could be postulated that Junia only preached to the women and children? Or, that if women were prophesying in the church, only other women were always present. :)I wonder though if someone looking at the Scripture, and not conditioned or coming from a fundamentalist background would even think in terms of these possible restrictions. Becky.

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  24. Becky,I think someone not coming from that time period and that culture would be conditioned to look at it through the lens of their own culture. Part of the problem I'm finding with scripture is that any number of view points can be supported by it. Certainly you believe that she was an apostle granted with authority. I'm certainly not saying that she wasn't because I have no understanding of the culture nor the use of the term in it's application to women at the time. I wasn't proposing my answer as my view, only that there is always more than one way to look at any given scripture. To place that much weight on on tiny blip out of the scriptures could be viewed as cherry-picking. It's something we all do to support a view we have. Although I would like to think I've read scripture and come to my views based on the text and not the other way around, we're all guilty of it.Re: Jesus, in His time, and culture elevated the status of women.Yes he certainly elevated their status, but it's all relative. He didn't elevate them to the level of men. Only to a higher level than they had previously enjoyed.

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  25. One of the things that astounded me when I started attending the Orthodox Church was the icons of Photini (the woman at the well) and other women in Church history and they are called "Equal to the Apostles". The devotion to Mary is simply because without her God would not have become flesh. She is the human fount of the salvation of the human race. It was a refreshing elevation of womanhood after years of "let the women keep silent" crap.

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  26. Paul uses the same greek word to describe Junia as he does himself referring to her being an apostle. I would take that to mean that whatever authority Paul had, she had too.Also, the Greek word in that passage referring to authority is only used once in the entire bible. And it is used extrabiblically to describe an autocrat oppressing those in his household. Sorry, too tired to find the reference again.Umm, that kind of 'authority' is wrong for anyone to practice. It is better translated as 'oppression'. The word 'teach' is used in a verb form English does not have which is closer to 'constantly telling what to do'.The word 'silence' is translated in other parts of the NT to mean 'peaceful'. Same word, different agenda of the translators.When I was a Christian, I found the closest translation of that verse to be "Wives, don't constantly nag and oppress your husbands, but learn in a peaceful state". This was huge because some Jewish traditions forbid women from learning the Talmud.But all this doesn't matter because Paul is not the ultimate authority of morality. If he was, slavery would remain unchallenged but sugar coated.

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  27. It really is a bizarre feeling to not fit in where you fit so well before. My husband and I are beginning to feel that way at church, he more so than me. He's wondering what people are thinking during worship because he no longer sings or takes communion. He just can't contain or hide his changing beliefs, so it's much more obvious that he's going through a change. It makes me more self conscious as a result. We don't go to church on Sunday night or Wednesday night anymore. It really is more difficult when you don't fit in, though we have close friends there. If we didn't have them, I'm not sure we'd even go Sunday morning.

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  28. @s-p,I can see how that would be a nice change of pace for women to be elevated like that. It's really depressing for any group of people to be downgraded all the time regardless of the reason. I'm assuming the names of some of these women are part of the oral tradition since the woman at the well isn't named in scripture?==================================================@prairienymph,I've gone back to the lexicon for a lot of my studies as well. One thing that has always puzzled me is: Why were words translated as they were? There are usually several options from the Greek word used. Why was a particular word chosen the one? In addition, I use several versions as I study. Part of the problem I see is that Paul doesn't exactly call Junia an apostle. It says she AND her husband were notable or well known among the apostles. Am I saying she wasn't an apostle? No. I'm using this as an example of how several different interpretations can be made and scripture used to support the conclusion. Each person believing that they have unlocked the answer in the most truthful way.=================================================@DoOrDoNot,It is extremely awkward. The last time I was at church during the Lord's Supper I quietly passed the plate without taking a cup or a wafer. The people around me made due note of that. I, like your husband, can't seem to participate in that. I still sing the songs because they're familiar and I love music. To be honest I pay much more attention to the words now than I did before. They all carry such meaning where before I sang them without really a thought of the meaning. Strange huh? I'm finding it very difficult to hide what I believe, so it's easier to not go. That's easier to explain than "I don't believe all of this anymore".

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  29. D'Ma, Yes it is part of the oral tradition. It is funny that as a protestant I believed the "Bible" but had no clue what to do with the verses in the NT that referred to "extra-biblical" teachings (II Thess. 2:15, I Cor. 4:17, John 21:25) much less wonder what those things might have been and if Christ's community kept them alive somehow. I finally came to the conclusion that the NT was more like a "map" than a blueprint. A map shows you major landmarks and paths, but if you want to REALLY know a city you talk to the natives of it. They know that at the intesection of Main and Oak is a gas station that belonged to Joe Smith whose uncle as killed in WW I and his kids inherited the family business etc etc. The NT as "blueprint" assumes that there is a static structure to be replicated, but the problem for me was "OK, if we're supposed to restore the NT church… which one in which chapter of Acts?" Acts portrays a dynamic community led by the Holy Spirit that changed and added ministries and offices and defined dogma as needs arose. There was no final stamp in Acts 28 that said, it all ends here and the Holy Spirit says BYE BYE I'm done! It was tough to break out of "biblio-idolatry".

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  30. Sorry, I made a mistake. Paul refers to PHOEBE as a deakonos, the same word he uses in reference to his own ministry.I was talking to a former pastor on the weekend and he said that the most flack he got from any sermon was on the female imagery of god in the bible. The bible has patriarchal misogyny in it, but it is also used to promote that garbage and the contradictory stuff that can be used to elevate women and minority groups is often ignored in practice.

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  31. Hi D'Ma,I seem to come late to the party on this one :-)Wow, what an experience. I think that churches tie themselves into knots too easily over the women issue. Especially when the whole inerrency of the Bible attitude clashes with interpretation. Its very sad to see as invariably it causes more harm than good.A few stories for you….- Many years ago, early into our marriage, my wife and I visited some friends and went to their church on the Sunday. The serman was on women leadership. While I can't remember any specific comments from that service, I do recall being very uncomfortable with what was said and over lunch our conversation with our friends avoided the subject entirely. Later we would find out that they left the church because they didn't like the way the teaching was going. The church in question went through a very tough period and I am not entirely sure what its eventual fate was but our friends were not the only casualties of that.- This will make you laugh. Its a second hand story so I can't be absolutely certain of its authenticity. I was told by a girl from a very evangelical church that a visiting pastor was to preach on women's roles and his take of the passage of what women should wear was that they should wear head coverings so that when the angels look down on the congregation they can't tell the difference between the men and women, (or it might have been the head coverings don't distract the angels). Either way it was a preposterous excuse involving angels. When the girl telling the story heard this she laughed out loud, only to discover the chap telling her this was being deadly serious.- lastly. My wife has done much preaching and worship leading in the past at our church and I have always been very happy to support her in that. She does it very well. Yet we have a specific friend in our church who won't come and listen to her (or any other woman) preach due to this women issue. Its crazy, and its sometimes hurtful.

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  32. limey,When the girl telling the story heard this she laughed out loud, only to discover the chap telling her this was being deadly serious.Awkward!I'm glad you support your wife in her activities. Even if you don't believe the same things, spouses should build each other up and support each other's work. Kudos to you for that. We have a few in our church as well who won't come if they know a woman is the speaker, not even necessarily preaching. That fellow who wrote the articles at CARM I mentioned also said he would leave a church where women were placed in authority. I've heard the teaching that because Eve was deceived by the snake women are easily deceived and have no place in authority over men. Utterly ridiculous when you consider there was no Eve.

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  33. I agree, that is an utterly ridiculous reason. Its also extremely patronizing towards women.Which brings me to a pet peeve of mine. How come its okay for women to teach our children in the Sunday School if its not okay for them to lead worship or preach in the adult service? If you are concerned about the ability of women to pass on a proper representation of the gospel then you most definitely don't want them let loose on the kids!The irony of it seems to have totally escaped those who most need to see it.

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  34. Hi D'Ma,I seem to come late to the party on this one :-)Wow, what an experience. I think that churches tie themselves into knots too easily over the women issue. Especially when the whole inerrency of the Bible attitude clashes with interpretation. Its very sad to see as invariably it causes more harm than good.A few stories for you….- Many years ago, early into our marriage, my wife and I visited some friends and went to their church on the Sunday. The serman was on women leadership. While I can't remember any specific comments from that service, I do recall being very uncomfortable with what was said and over lunch our conversation with our friends avoided the subject entirely. Later we would find out that they left the church because they didn't like the way the teaching was going. The church in question went through a very tough period and I am not entirely sure what its eventual fate was but our friends were not the only casualties of that.- This will make you laugh. Its a second hand story so I can't be absolutely certain of its authenticity. I was told by a girl from a very evangelical church that a visiting pastor was to preach on women's roles and his take of the passage of what women should wear was that they should wear head coverings so that when the angels look down on the congregation they can't tell the difference between the men and women, (or it might have been the head coverings don't distract the angels). Either way it was a preposterous excuse involving angels. When the girl telling the story heard this she laughed out loud, only to discover the chap telling her this was being deadly serious.- lastly. My wife has done much preaching and worship leading in the past at our church and I have always been very happy to support her in that. She does it very well. Yet we have a specific friend in our church who won't come and listen to her (or any other woman) preach due to this women issue. Its crazy, and its sometimes hurtful.

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  35. D'Ma, Yes it is part of the oral tradition. It is funny that as a protestant I believed the "Bible" but had no clue what to do with the verses in the NT that referred to "extra-biblical" teachings (II Thess. 2:15, I Cor. 4:17, John 21:25) much less wonder what those things might have been and if Christ's community kept them alive somehow. I finally came to the conclusion that the NT was more like a "map" than a blueprint. A map shows you major landmarks and paths, but if you want to REALLY know a city you talk to the natives of it. They know that at the intesection of Main and Oak is a gas station that belonged to Joe Smith whose uncle as killed in WW I and his kids inherited the family business etc etc. The NT as "blueprint" assumes that there is a static structure to be replicated, but the problem for me was "OK, if we're supposed to restore the NT church… which one in which chapter of Acts?" Acts portrays a dynamic community led by the Holy Spirit that changed and added ministries and offices and defined dogma as needs arose. There was no final stamp in Acts 28 that said, it all ends here and the Holy Spirit says BYE BYE I'm done! It was tough to break out of "biblio-idolatry".

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  36. Becky,Having withdrawals, huh? LOLThe short answer to your question, "what do I think?", is I don't really know. The long answer is: I see a huge disparity in the entire Bible between the roles of men and women and I think some men, especially in fundamentalism, twist scripture to mean that ultimately men are superior to women. Having said that I do think on the whole that the Bible advocates for a role of submission to male authority. You mention Prisilla, but I'm pretty sure she was operating in conjunction with her husband, Aquila. So although she and Aquila are said to have taught together it isn't clear what her role actually was. Possibly just a helper? That's part of the issue with those women Paul names as co-laborers in the gospel as well. We don't exactly know their roles. Were they financiers? Were they cooks for Paul? Did they offer him a place to stay? Who knows? As for the women prophesying and praying: who were they prophesying to? Other women? Were they in any kind of authoritative position over men? Again, who knows? It could certainly be that they were, but we're really not given that information.I would have to really research the background on Judges to make any guess about Deborah who, yes indeed, was a judge.

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  37. D'Ma, I was planning to take this huge blogging break, and then I had to click on to a couple of blogs, and here I am back. (LOL) Where will it end?My son was recently at a community Bible study, not his church, where the pastor discussed this very portion of the Scripture, and actually asked the one woman present not to make any comment at all since the Bible clearly states that the women should remain silent, and ask their husbands at home.. The woman left.. My son is like, "Does this make sense..?" He actually came home to discuss it with me, and his dad.But, you see, this is what comes of using the Bible like a scout handbook,and not considering the context of a specific verse, or the culture of the times. I'm guessing this pastor would probably consider this "cherry picking."But, I'm wondering what this preacher makes of Paul's comments elsewhere about women praying and prohesying in the church…If someone is prohesying, are they not speaking forth the word of God? Or, did Paul get his wires crossed?And how about women such as Prisilla teaching a man from the Scripture, Phillip's daughters who were evangelists, Paul naming women who were co-laborers with him in the gospel, you know, things like that??And, how do women like Deborah in the OT fit into this picture? Wasn't she a judge over all of Israel?What do you think?Becky.

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  38. Do you know what I have never read?A story about a deconvert going back to their same church after entering doubt. I’ve read lots and lots of stories about deconverts never going back to church. (I am one!) I’ve read lots of doubters going through church-search. I’ve read deconverts who find more…liberal…(for lack of a better word) congregations such as Unitarians.Like you, we go back and instead of the words dripping over our brain like a salve, they become points of questions. “Why?” becomes a response, stunning the tranquil monotony with an unexpected rejoinder. Questions are deferred, avoided, sedated because they cannot be directly addressed.And we don’t want to hurt the confused masses next to us. We aren’t there to cause a ruckus; to be the constant dissenter. Yet our hearts feel the push—and demand to push back. We find ourselves aching to shout from the pew cushion; instead internalizing the volcano and later punching the steering wheel in the parking lot.Alas, we are creatures of hope. We forget. A few months go by, and we start to ponder, “Gee…was it really that bad? Those are friends, acquaintances, people who know and understand me.” And so we cross the portals again with a smile. A glad buoyancy as people we know great us with genuine enthusiasm and care. To see faces we watched grow up.Then the poisonous doctrine spills out, we watch those same faces gladly reiterate untruth, vile words, and ignorant ramblings and recall—yes, it was that bad.

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  39. LAC,The modesty part I could handle. I don't disagree. I think the way a woman carries herself and dresses says a lot about her. I'm a modest dresser myself. What I didn't appreciate in part 1A was the idea that women are basically emotional basketcases – almost as if just by virtue of being a woman I can't control my own emotions to the point I need a man to do it for me. It sort of spilled over into part II. When he got to part II it felt as if he had to sugar coat it because, while he doesn't feel a woman should have any authority in the worship service, he couldn't afford to run off all of his Sunday School teachers. We've probably got 30 to 40 Sunday School teachers and maybe 10 of them are men.When he got to part 3 he was doing my head in. I've been submissive, subjected myself to the "headship" of the man in my household, and I'm no longer married. I'm not a wife and I don't have children. I've had to find security and satisfaction in other things. Not to mention I know several women in the congregation who have had fertility issues. So if the only way to have security and satisfaction is to be a wife and a mother that had to zing just a bit.

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