Wednesday, April 27, 2005

blogging women and R.C. Jr.

I have resisted the temptation, really I have, to even suggest that someone ought to check out R.C. Sproul Jr.'s blog. I do not like celebrity blogs....as a matter of fact they were my pet peeve of 2004. Alas, this week I found myself not only reading his blog but sending others there, too.

Weary of him being referenced so often I asked myself one day how many Presbyterians it must take to change a light bulb and the only real answer I came up with is one, but he has to check out R.C's blog first to see how it is done!

Then last weekend someone, not a woman preacher, not even a feminist by any stretch of the imagination, directed me and several friends to his latest comments on women and blogging, nearly rolling her eyes as she suggested I read it. So I did and found myself rolling my own eyes and wondering just how much smaller R.C.'s slice of evangelicalism will get, how much more narrow you must become in order to fit into his personal basket of orthodoxy. Especially if you are a woman.

I have no masters degree, no Phd, though if I were to be awarded an honorary doctorate for life experience, it certainly would be for Laundry Control. "Dr. Karen Campbell, T.I.D.E., received her award following her dissertation entitled "OxyClean and the Great Grass Stain Controversy." I am a fairly simple person, though not necessarily simple-minded.

However, I can open my own Bible and along side it use a Strong's concordance and numerous other study aids in our nifty Bible reference software package. I could make a Biblical argument for any number of convictions I hold. Some of my children went to AWANA, for crying out loud. But somehow, because I am a woman, I and the rest of my fair sex ought not to be allowed to express our thoughts, share our insights, or publically write about anything the Lord has shown to us because we are women, unless it is, of course, a good crock-pot recipe or an essay about submission for the womenfolk. This is teaching and women teaching outside of the Titus 2 parameters, as we all know, is forbidden.

Sorry, but I think Dr. Jr. has painted with a brush the size of the side of a barn.

Let's look at those parameters for a moment and let's begin with women teaching men. How am I to handle the homeschool teaching of my own teenage sons, since I firmly believe that all subjects ought to be taught with a bibical worldview presented. Is this forbidden?

What about teaching my grown sons, sons who are now heads of their own households? They often call and talk to me, wanting to know what I think, what I have been learning, what my perspective is on some current event. Must I respond, "Well, fiddle-dee,dee, boys, I reckon you'll have to talk to your pa about that?"

What about sharing something I learned from Scripture with men across the table from me at a fellowship dinner? What if that man is an elder in my church and I tell him something I learned from a Bible commentary? Is it appropriate for me to comment or interject my thoughts in a discussion that includes my husband and other men? (I'll pass on the cigars thank you.)

What if I am teaching a woman and she goes home and teaches her husband what I taught her?

Can I teach my own husband about anything more than when to use the oxyclean?

Can I write an article or a book or even a letter to the editor if there is a chance that a man might read it?

What about the women in the homeschooling co-op who teach sons other than their own? What about my sons reading books written by Jane Austen, Nancy Wilson, Mary Pride, or even Dorothy Sayers? Do I have to tear out articles by Andre Seu in World Magazine just in case my husband or my son might be tempted to read them?

What about men attending a homeschooling convention and sitting in a workshop taught by a woman?

What if I read something on R. C's blog and share what I read in a group that includes men and women? Am I sinning by "teaching" a man? As has been stated, "conversation is education" so it must be sin.

I found myself wondering all of these things while washing my hair because that is when I have all my really great ideas (unlike Grant Wood who got all his really great ideas while milking a cow). I was in the middle of preparing a speech I am giving at a Mother-Daughter banquet this weekend. (I am assuming Dr. Sproul would not approve.) The topic I was given was angels and I was left scratching my clean-haired head until I started looking at what the Bible actually said about angels.

As I read various accounts of angels and their interaction with men, I also read about Mary Magdalene and Mary at Jesus's empty tomb in Matthew 28. And do you know what literally jumped off the page at me? God chose the two Marys to be the ones to tell the Good News of the resurrected Christ to the apostles! They were told to run and share the information, to be the first to teach the doctrine of Jesus risen from the grave. Imagine, the most powerful, life-giving doctrine in the Bible taught to the leaders of the church by two women!

But then I paused...was I reading too much into this passage?

So I turned to a sermon that was preached by C.H. Spurgeon on that very passage. This is what he said, "They were the first to see their risen Lord, and we will try to learn something from them tonight. It should be an encouragement to those members of the church of Christ who are neither pastors nor teachers that, if they live very near to God, they may yet teach pastors and teachers. Get clear views of our Lord, as did these holy women, who had no office in the church and yet taught the officers, for they were sent to bear to the apostles the tidings that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. Not first to them who were the heads of the church, as it were, but first of all to lowly women did the Lord appear, and the apostles themselves had to go to school, to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to learn that great truth, "The Lord is risen indeed."

Said quite well I would say.

The other point that R. C. makes is this....women are to teach the Titus 2 curriculum to younger women, which is pretty straight forward and would get no arguments from me....being sober, to love their husbands and children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that God's word would not be blasphemed. However, he is assuming that considering doctrine, church history and polity, government policy etc. is NOT teaching women to do those things.

Again I disagree with Dr. Sproul. There are many men, strong Christian leaders in their homes, churches, and communities, who not only want their wives to think and express themselves, but they actually encourage it! These are the same men who have rejected the hyper-patriarchial views that are imposing lifestyles and views of a bygone era on to women who have been placed by God to serve and glorify Him in the 21st century. These men realize that to be salt and light in a culture that is increasingly influencing the church and especially the young people, women must also be prepared to articulate the "hope that is within us." Biblical womanhood and modeled femininity go beyond ruffled dresses and stock pots.

Some of my favorite places to read on-line are the blogs written by women. There is a gentleness, a sensitivity to others, especially their children, and the attitude of a servant's heart that is missing in so many of the blogs I have read by men. Lord-willing and the laundry pile don't rise, I will include links to those blogs very soon!

29 Comments:

At 8:38 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks from one woman who is trying to be Biblical in the 21st century and not reactionary. The past is gone, let's live in the present!

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger Stacie said...

Wonderfully said Karen!

 
At 5:49 PM, Blogger Adrian said...

The link to RC Sproul's site is what's displayed as the address but this doesn't work. It needs an extra /hsc in it. A working address is www.gospelcom.net/hsc/journals/hsc/

 
At 8:06 PM, Blogger prairie girl said...

Thanks, Adrian. I can wash a mean load of whites or colors but I am still baffled by computer technology!

 
At 6:29 AM, Blogger Walt said...

good thoughts, PG.

I "commented" something very similar to him in an email that I wrote before I read your entry...

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger Ben, Kyri & Rachelle said...

It is a shame that some of our spiritual leaders don't understand the difference between the biblical positions of leadership that men are supposed to fill (presiding over the sacraments, etc...) and the important place that God has allocated to women. After all, who nurtured the boy Jesus? And who coaxed him into performing his first miracle? As I read Scripture, Jesus basically told his mother that the wine problem wasn't His and she responded to the effect that He WAS going to do something about it. And He did it.

I often wonder if men were assuming their roles and not feeling threatened by thinking, speaking, writing women, if we wouldn't have so much clamor over the ordination of women?

Scripture is full of women who did more than quilt, bake bread, and darn their husband's socks. Deborah, for instance, was judge over ALL of Israel. Lydia was a businesswoman. And next to the Triune God, the most important figure to our salvation was the God-bearer, Mary, herself. Her obedience to God is an example to us all and you can bet, whatever she had to say, the Early Church listened to. Thanks for a great post!

 
At 9:03 PM, Blogger greenemama said...

you said it!

but you aren't giving yourself enough credit -- i don't think you're simple at all. :)

three cheers for the complexity of women who aren't afraid to do more than shuffle in silence!

 
At 10:34 PM, Blogger IDigAK said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger IDigAK said...

(sorry, previous post accidentally had extra stuff pasted in!)

prairie girl,

...just following the link from your post on xatiguy's blog. you've definitely got a great point here. i've struggled with the extent of the application of this issue for some time...and participated in some rather spirited conversations on it, too!

I particularly liked the way you explored the way it could effect so many aspects of normal life if taken to it's logical, literal, strictly applied end.

"These are the same men who have rejected the hyper-patriarchal views that are imposing lifestyles and views of a bygone era on to women who have been placed by God to serve and glorify Him in the 21st century...Biblical womanhood and modeled feminity go beyond ruffled dresses and stock pots."

How true is this?!? I mean, listen up folks, spiritual responsibility and primary leadership in the church is what's at issue here! And it's high time we men recognized that yes, women most times are ahead in the game, and we need to get off the high horse of chauvinism and be willing to listen. The patriarchal society of Genesis, etc. is pretty much ok to stay there. =}

Thanks for you thoughts and comments...Great for clarifying my own.

 
At 7:35 AM, Blogger kristen said...

I've been really encouraged at how widespread the criticism of this comment RCjr made has been in reformed blogging circles. Even people who have been to his compound-er-community and love most everything he says didn't make any excuses for him and just plain said he was wrong.

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger prairie girl said...

ben and mom,

While theologically I do not subscribe to Mary any part in salvation,rather, trusting in Christ alone and His one time sacrifice, it is interesting to think about Mary as the mother of Jesus as he grew up. Jesus was fully man, though without sin, so we know that her relationship with him was similar to ours with our own children. I cannot read the accounts of the crucifixion without feeling Mary's agony and Jesus's suffering regarding his mother as evidenced in his making provision for her care. I do believe that women in the early had a great deal of involvement after his death and resurrection, though I have not fully made a study of it. Perhaps for future blogs.....

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger prairie girl said...

idigak,

Not long ago I attended an all-church meeting where one of the women was taken aback by something I had said. As I tried to discern whether or not I had actually offended her, she explained that she wasn't used to women talking in meetings. Her experience was to go home and tell her husband and THEN he could do what she would have suggested at the meeting. I have a hard time seeing this as the better way...

 
At 4:15 PM, Blogger prairie girl said...

kristen,

Thanks for your comments. I would love it if you would place those links here....

 
At 4:46 AM, Blogger prairie girl said...

walt,

I read your e-mail to R.C. Great thoughts....I, too, had wondered about that passage in Acts.

BTW, looks like you are resurrecting a VW Beetle...be sure to post pictures when you are finished...that sure brought back memories of my youth! :)

 
At 2:12 PM, Blogger joy mccarnan | karagraphy.com said...

thanks. i waxed way too verbose on my own pastor's challenge of dr. sproul's comments -- HERE at http://weblog.wordcentered.org, so i won't take up your space to elaborate on what you've already said. you're not alone.
joy
karagraphy.com

 
At 2:12 PM, Blogger joy mccarnan | karagraphy.com said...

thanks. i waxed way too verbose on my own pastor's challenge of dr. sproul's comments -- HERE at http://weblog.wordcentered.org, so i won't take up your space to elaborate on what you've already said. you're not alone.
joy
karagraphy.com

 
At 2:13 PM, Blogger joy mccarnan | karagraphy.com said...

thanks. i waxed way too verbose on my own pastor's challenge of dr. sproul's comments -- HERE at http://weblog.wordcentered.org, so i won't take up your space to elaborate on what you've already said. you're not alone.
joy
karagraphy.com

 
At 7:49 PM, Blogger kristen said...

Some links for you, Karen:
http://rabbisaul.com/blog/index.php?title=sproul_jr_on_women_bloggers&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1
http://www.upsaid.com/scarecrow/index.php?action=viewcom&id=322
http://www.boarsheadtavern.com/archives/2005/04/21/15028244.html
http://www.coffeeconversations.com/?p=28

It's been two weeks now, so it's hard to remember! In comments, you'll see some really well respected reformed bloggers (dr. joel garver, etc.) on the anti-sproul side.

 
At 9:11 AM, Blogger Barb said...

Thanks Karen. I loved your insight and the Spurgeon totally rocks!

 
At 12:13 PM, Blogger prairie girl said...

Barb,

Wasn't Spurgeon's commentary awesome? I can only imagine how he would have responded to R.C.!

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger MTG said...

I would also suggest that Sproul Jr. read and understand Proverbs 31:10 - 31 and get a real grip on what God has to say about the role of women. Great post...you said it all.

 
At 10:49 PM, Blogger barbara curtis said...

Prairie Girl -- I was so going to blog on this, but when I read your response to Sproul jr. I had so little left to say.

Eccl. 6:11 says "The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?"

I think I'll just refer my readers to your perfect wisdom and move on to more constructive stuff -- like encouraging Christian mommies in between loads of laundry

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger Bonnie said...

Got here via Kirsten's blog and am glad I did -- you've made me LOL and I concur with your post 100%!

 
At 4:11 AM, Blogger james3v1 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5:32 AM, Blogger james3v1 said...

Deleted comment because I thought better of it.

Dr. Sproul did post another squib on the topic last night, 2 parts repentance, 3 parts clarification.

 
At 5:39 AM, Blogger greenemama said...

after reading your post your blog, james, about being gracious, i was really a bit horrified at your response on here. thanks for extending "giving the benefit of a doubt" towards someone yourself. particulary when sproul's apology has only been up for a few hours and most of the US isn't even awake enough to read it, let alone respond to it. :)

 
At 6:41 AM, Blogger james3v1 said...

Mollie:

note that comment was deleted. Check my blog out later today for comments about how the internet allows us to sin much more quickly than we might have in the old days (and by "we" here I am referring primarily to "me").

As I showered this morning, between posting the original comment and its deletion, similar thoughts to yours here struck my own spirit.

 
At 1:50 PM, Blogger San said...

All I can say is, it's a good thing Esther didn't know her "place" when she wrote ...

Esther 9:29 (NASB) Then Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim... 32 And the command of Esther established these customs for Purim, and it was written in the book.

 
At 11:53 AM, Blogger prairie girl said...

Morgan, Barbara, and San,

Thanks for your kind words.

This whole topic has caused me to do alot of thinking the past few weeks and I think there is more that still needs to be said regarding women and writing and ministry etc. I intend to address some of the ideas that have come to me....they will have to wait until my laundery is done, however!
Toujours, toujours, la laundry, toujours!

 

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