Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Unsanitized Christianity sermon series: The Design of Men and Women

This is not a requirement, but for those of you who are interested, I would love for you to listen to the sermon from July 25 on "The Design of Men and Women" from http://veritascolumbus.com/sermons. I have been praying about and studying roles of men and women from the Scriptures and other theologians. Many denominations do not allow women to hold pastoral roles in the church - often, women can lead women or sort of "work the sidelines" but not be ordained as a pastor. The CRC (Christian Reformed Church, Calvin College's denomination) does allow women to be ordained.

Upon graduation and finding Veritas Church in Columbus, I was dismayed to find out that they do not. I struggled with this for a while (and am still struggling, of course) but that's what made me begin my little research on this. I looked up the CRCs opinions and debate when they allowed women to be ordained as a pastor in 2000. See here for a quick summary, or the link at the very top of the page is what I read - the two positions, for and against, before they took the vote. I read the CRC's position - and was dismayed again! To summarize their point of view, the Scripture passages about women being submissive to men in church were declared contextual rules for the church (mainly of Corinth and for those times.) Women weren't educated and did not have any legal say during those times, so of course you don't want someone leading a church if the church members might not respect them! However, the CRC claimed that Scripture passages about women being submissive to men in marriage were not just contextual rules but are still valid today, for all cultures. That's because of the picture the relationship then paints: it mirrors that of Christ and the Church. The CRC argued that marriage as a metaphor is very much relevant and necessary.

I didn't like that. I was just seeing it as women are totally equal, because they're not less than men. I do believe that women and men have different tendencies or natural roles - like, women tend to be more nurturing than men, and men can (usually) beat women in athletics naturally. But those things are hard to compare; they don't mean that one sex is better than the other.

So I started reading more and praying a lot more about it after I found out I didn't like the CRC's position. A real possibility is that what is wrong is my view. So I have prayed - God, open my eyes to Your Word so that I can see what You have declared, and not just read what I want to read. If we all did that, then you could justify slavery, divine appointments for everything, and sending bears to devour children if they call you "Baldie."

Listen to the sermon and tell me what you think! A lot of it made sense to me - a lot of it rubbed me the wrong way - a lot of it was challenging not just to enact but to comprehend.

Nick's main points:

  • we are all under the submission and authority of God (I Cor 11:3)
  • Uncovered heads (v. 4-6) were a way to rebel to the cultural norms - this may be something like refusing to wear a wedding ring or not changing your last name in today's world, IF your reason for not doing those is to flaunt your independence. Those things are certainly not required but are the norm in the US today.
  • We don't need marriage to make us a complete picture of God, but we need both sexes to in the world and Church to be the complete picture of Christ (I Cor 11:11)
  • Submission does not mean "lesser than." Our mindset interprets submission as a bad thing, but Christ submits to God the Father and we should be striving to be like Christ.
  • The relationship between husband and wife reflects the relationship between Christ and the Church. Just as Christ gave His life for the church, and the church submits to Christ, looking up to Him for our breath and life, so the husband should be giving up his life (metaphorically) for his wife, and the wife loving and holding fast in the faith that he will act toward her with more respect than toward himself.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Spy Bar

I went to a spy bar (called The Safe House) in Milwaukee this weekend - it was quite amazing. The escape route/ secret exit was closed, and I've heard that's one of the best things about it, but I would say it was still worth it. There are no advertisements or signs for the bar, and to enter, you either have to know the password or do some silly task (usually involving a hula hoop or the can-can) for the bookshelf to open up and let you in. Once inside, there are televisions monitoring the entrance room so that you can see what people have to do. There are a lot of spy-things (decor, jails, ejection seats, one-way windows) inside. It was great.

As was Milwaukee- I was there visiting Cara and Nate. First thing on the docket? Eclipse. (For me and Cara, anyway. Not Nate.) It was great - the wolves actually looked scary, not like the little arctic pups they appeared to be in the second movie... only complaint was that one character (who has been in all three films) suddenly generated a Southern accent after reminiscing about his past. Oops. Maybe the directors should have thought of that before filming the first two movies? Or at least before starting to film this one?

From all of this, I managed to take one picture - of funfetti brownies: a birthday cake for Cara and I! (Our birthdays are a week apart.) And then I didn't want Nate to feel left out, and immediately forgot how old he really is (24) so I added an "& 5". Luckily, going one year older means that I just pretended it was a birthday cake for his birthday... coming up in March?
Oh well. I'll let you know if I attempt to create any other fancy treats, but I might be all sweeted out from those brownies right now. And the free cookie on the plane. Here are my next recipes I want to try:
And... just so you know that I am still the Julie you all know and love (yes, I am wearing mismatched pajamas right now... but I was actually talking about sweets): Chocolate chip cookie dough balls

I'll let you know what is going on - I think I'm going to have a lot of life updates in the next few weeks. And my Peru fundraising is going really well! Thanks everybody!!! Please remember to pray for me and my team, especially once we're down there. Our plane tickets were supposedly purchased on Friday.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Congratulations, America! Another year of independence: achieved!

Because I don't have any pictures from the weekend (a direct result of leaving the camera in the car) I will attempt to recap the weekend in a humorous and witty way. I found this weekend a set of hilarious mishaps, so I will share here. And if you want to know more details, feel free to ask me. I just am not planning to subject all three of you who read this blog to all the details.

The weekend begins with grandparents and
smores (as if you didn't know that was coming),
wearing red-white-and-blue tie-dye to celebrate our land.
She stares into the smoke of the campfire, watching the embers,
watching the sparks, the flames be fanned,
watching Grandpa's marshmallow go from uncooked to charred
in ten seconds flat.

A long car drive later...

A sunny day with friends at a beach named the Bowl?
What in the name of Lake Michigan could be greater?
it turns out that the Bowl is named because it is a giant sand dune crater,
and with no clouds in the sky and no foot-shaped ice packs -
She quickly became a hater.
A slight pause for dramatic effect as I check the soles of my feet for blisters. There are none- but I am legitimately surprised. 
It was too sunny to have too much fun,
but they played in the surf and the waves and the towels until later,
they winced their way back up and down the formidable crater,
leaving a cell phone behind with a friend - she wouldn't have climbed back over
if you'd have paid her.

Part of the problems with cell phone usage nowadays is that I rarely look up directions to anywhere. Cell phones have google maps for directions, and other people's phone numbers for directions. Unfortunately, we were in the middle of a small lake town without any knowledge of anything except the direction west. The lake narrowed down our possible directions to head from four to three. Time until the wedding? One hour.

The kind words of a biker led the girls close to their desired spot - but first!
a Captain Sundae!
And in the bathroom of the Captain, the girls wiped off the worst
of the sand, sun, and stream; trading their suits and their shades for black dress -- and ice cream.
And with ten minutes to spare, the girls pulled in - to an open driveway with a little girl playing within.
"Please tell us, dear one, how to get to this church!"
"Mommy?" she called, as if they were cursed... (Maybe we should have offered her more candy?)
But Mommy and Daddy came out to save the day - turns out, the wedding's only five minutes away!
Now with five minutes to spare, we pulled in the church
and sat with dear friends, watching the wedding couple burst
with joy.

And then we went bowling, and I only threw the ball behind me one time.
The songs were plentiful, the pins were not (or were, depending on how you look at it),
My phone returned, to Ohio I went back,
leaving you, dear reader, to know that I wish you a happy weekend
and that you'd cut my writing some slack.