Wednesday, June 29, 2005

bobbed hair, bossy wives, and women preachers

Since these are obviously the greatest issues facing the Christian community in the summer of 2005, I decided to write a little about them today.

Actually, this blog entry has been a long time in coming. Perhaps it was the Dr. R. C. Jr. blog-o-versy that made me really think through what I actually believe about women and their roles within the body of Christ.

Maybe it was the other women controversy swirling around in homeschooling circles about the appropriateness of single women attending college or even living on their own and not under a father's or a husband's roof. Thankfully someone is challenging these views and its a group of conservative Christian women no less!

Perhaps it was the cute and stylish bobbed haircuts I was perusing before my recent visit to Denise, my hair stylist. With all due respect to John R. Rice, I believe a woman can be a lovely example of Christian femininity without "her glory" growing down past her knees!

Possibly it was the invitation I received to be a lay speaker at a small country church a few weeks ago, an invitation which I heartily accepted.

It was an unusal Sunday, to say the least, with my daughter's mother-in-law agreeing to play the piano, my whole family and my daughter's in-laws attending, another woman in the congregation who had been a dear friend to my uncle years ago, mothers of former high school classmates, AND the interesting information that their pastor, who was ill and could not attend, hence the invitation to me, is a guy I had dated in high school! The day was a tad surreal in many ways.

Whatever the reasons, I have recently revisited the topic of women and their roles within the church and have come to the conclusion that every Christian who wants to be culturally relevant, which ought to be every Christian, must have a well-reasoned view of women and their ministry callings. To simply take the word of favorite teachers or to come from a prejudiced hyper-patriarchal position is unacceptable and brings harm to the body of Christ.

A long time ago, my husband and I worked through the issues of women's roles within the institutionalized church. We both came to two conclusions: we did not believe that women were called to be elders in the church but we did believe it was ok for a woman to speak to a congregation as long as she does so under the authority of the church leaders. While I am sure some readers will not see this to be a consistent position, a good explanation of this view written by Wayne Gruden can be found at the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood website.

In the past 25 years or so, I have, upon occasion and at the invitation of church leaders, spoken at a variety of churches on a variety of subjects. While I have claimed no authority over those who heard my presentations, I know that God has gifted me in public speaking (perhaps called the gift of prophecy) and has given me many great opportunities to use my gifts, for His glory.

Typically, we hear churches handing down the list of all the things forbidden to women. In reality, the list of things that she can do ought to be much longer than the list of things she cannot do. But in many conservative churches today, this is not the case. Too often women are instructed that they are called to nursery duty or potluck patrol simply because they are women. I am still waiting for the exegesis on the mysterious passage where this is handed down to us.

The truth of the matter is that God has given to women all the same spiritual gifts he has given to men. He has also naturally gifted men and women alike in the working out of those gifts. You see no gender distinction in any of the Biblical references to spiritual gifts.

I do believe that there are differences in how those gifts are to be used and in what context God calls someone to use them. But we need to be careful to only speak that which the Scripture speaks and to be careful to not superimpose our own prejudices where they should not be.

Oh, and as far as that bossy wife thing is concerned…..when my husband and I were first married, I told him that the perfect wife was Lucy Ricardo. He replied that the perfect husband was Fred Flintstone. ‘nough said.


I live in a neighborhood where there are lots of skateboarders. Unfortunately. Day in and day out, late into the evening, we often contend with dozens of adolescent boys doing various Tony Hawk wannabee gymnastics on our street and particularly next door to us.

These boys have their own uniform of sorts….knee length cut-offs and t-shirts sporting logos such as “Osiris” or “Acme”, and skateboarder shoes that are somewhat like tennis shoes only wider and, as I understand it, much more flexible for performing.

Now, besides the ones who actually do these testosterone-laden stunts, there are a few boys who show up with the right clothes, the newest boards, and the best shoes. They can even talk the lingo.....ollie, nollie, half-pipe, grind, etc. However, they are known as posers, guys who talk the talk, dress the part, but who are not the real thing.

Those of us who only observe from a distance do not know any better and assume they are all boarders. Sure, the posers will learn to balance on their boards and even skate around, but they do not really qualify as skateboarders. And, this is very important, those who are genuine boarders know the difference and secretly they make fun of those who only show up and “pose” with their boards.

One of the reasons that the Church today is so ineffective in much of our culture is that it is full of posers. I am not going so far as to say that they aren’t really Christians; only God is able to discern the human heart. But there are far too many people who profess Christianity, who have been through all the right Bible studies, can quote all the right verses, can sing all the right hymns and praise choruses, have attended all the right conferences, have jot and tittled themselves right into ineffectiveness, and have missed entirely the purposes for which we are called as believers.

But for what have we been called?

In John 13:35, Jesus tells us that “by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Indeed, Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were to love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.

The Pharisees did not understand this. To them, religion was all about a list of rules, about obeying men who had set themselves up as keepers of others' spirituality. It was not about a relationship with God, through Jesus. It was not about a relationship with other people. The Pharisees where posers, the ones who looked religious to the outside world but who did not know that being a believer was measured by God according to how to they treated other people.

Lord, today, help me to not be a poser. Help me to willingly set aside all the manmade rules and regulations that have governed my life, those weights that I carry that are not a part of who You are, and give me genuine love for others in both word and deed. Amen.

Monday, June 27, 2005

got me a college girl

After reading what seemed to be endless blog entries and online articles by a variety of people, men and women alike, on the benefits of no college education for women, a group of online friends, which includes my daughter and yours truly, have started a blog on the value of a college education for women.

A number of years ago, my husband worked with a fellow who was a few fries short of a happy meal. This guy came in to work one day, thrilled that he had a new girlfriend who attended the local community college. "Yes sirree," he crowed, "I got me a college girl."

Ever since that day, when either Mollie or I would come up with something exceptionally brillant, which, if you know us personally, happens often :), Clay would say to us "yes sirree, I got me a college girl" in his best rural Fulton County accent!

We hope you will join us at We would welcome your comments and look forward to meeting new online friends in the process.

Doug tells us how to be a wet blanket

In the latest article by Doug Giles, we can learn how to really become a loser by first becoming a wet blanket. Here is a taste of today's wisdom:

"Having given up on the pursuit of happiness, the decidedly defective one must also try to debilitate others who are stupidly pursuing their great purpose in life. There are three main reasons you must do this:

1. The potentially dangerous transference of their winning attitude spreading to you and to your friends and thereby, screwing up all chances for failure.

2. The personal embarrassment that others’ success will cause you when they leave you in the dust by actually doing something with their lives.

3. The jealousy and envy that will spawn in your heart over someone else’s achievement will wrinkle your flat line existence. And you wouldn’t want that, would you? Why not? Well, you can’t be happy when someone else is happy. That’s why!

Therefore, it is imperative that you be the drunken donkey that whizzes on the wannabe’s dreams. Think about it. . . ."

Friday, June 24, 2005

friday's quotes of the week

Heard, read, or spoken by me this week:

"I don't like that there Mexican food. Them beans n rice is fattenin'."
Old farmer to other old farmer in doctor's waiting room

"I have seen the future and it's like the present only longer."
Dan Quisenberry

"On the other hand, you have different fingers."

Jack Handey

"Following the light of the sun, we left the old world."

Christopher Columbus

"There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I screamed and slammed the door because there was a possum at the top of the basement stairs wanting in my kitchen. What do you suppose he eats?
Terrified mother to sons

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

a time to talk

The past few days have been busy but with the sort of busy that I enjoy. I am most definately a people person and enjoy welcoming people to my home for fellowship and food. As a matter of fact, I am never more happy than when I am feeding somebody!

In the past few days, several people have just dropped in to visit with either me or someone in my family. When this poem arrived in my mailbox as the poem of the day, I thought I would like to share it.

A Time to Talk
by Robert Frost

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, 'What is it?'
No, not as there is a time talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Doug Giles on mindlessly following others

Today, Doug has the following to say about following the crowd:

"To enhance your chances for hell on earth one has to cease to think for one’s self. Teach yourself to become enslaved to other people, TV, feckless political parties and corrupt ecclesias. Do not develop the powers of common sense. Do not study the rise and fall of nations and their worldviews. Never doubt our current thoughts and trends or contemplate that they have been previously tried and found wanting. Teach yourself to be enslaved to public opinion. Live under the authoritative whip of the thought police, ever fearing man and marching to the beat of the masses’ drum. Bring on disaster by thinking nothing, saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing different than what everyone else is."

For the rest of his great article, go here.

Friday, June 17, 2005

friday's quotes of the week

Either heard, read, or spoken by me this week:

"You look like you're having a bad day. How about a steakburger?"

Mom to Daughter

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."
Winston Churchill

"It's true, it's really true. I AM married to Batman."

Wife to Husband

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening but this wasn't it."

Groucho Marx

"This is going to make you really, really mad, mom, I mean really, really, really mad."
Son to Mom

"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
Nelson Mandela

"I'm built for comfort, I'm not built for speed but I've got everything a man might need."
Diunna Greenleaf

"To the man who only has a hammer in the toolkit, every problem looks like a nail."

Abraham Maslow

"You must never double-cuff the Pants. It's tacky. There will never be a time when this will not be tacky."
Bee, Tibby, Carmen, and Lena in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

"I'm highly attracted to you. Why, when I look at you, I feel wee tadpoles jumping in my spine."
Meg Brockie in Brigadoon

Thursday, June 09, 2005

the Gilder factor

Ok, so I live in a house with men. I have one husband and 5 sons and soon-to-be 5 grandsons. On some level, I understand men.

A truly frightening thought.

If I could give you their motto it would be "If it is there, it is to be conquered." We could be talking about bullding a deck, changing the battery in the TV remote, planning an assault on North Korea, or getting rid of dandruff.

George Gilder, in his most wonderful book Men and Marriage (formerly titled Sexual Suicide), masterfully articulates the age-old truth that men and women are different and that men are, indeed, hunters and in need of women to civilize them. He shows, statistically, what happens in cultures where a lack of civilizing, that is, socially aberrant behavior, occurs and challenges society to embrace this concept by encouraging one-man, one-woman relationships in marriage. A novel idea in our post-modern world.

Gilder goes on to suggest that this conquering takes wings when women and children are the reason for the quest to conquer. According to Gilder, prosperity, productivity, and a healthy, peacful environment occur when men channel their need to conquer by providing for their families and, in the process, produce a legacy for future generations.

Think of that today, ladies.

You aren't merely wiping the whiskers out of the sink and picking up the dirty underwear.

You are saving mankind!

Peacemaker Ministry recognizes spiritual abuse issues

Peacemaker Ministry is an international ministry whose goal is to equip and assist Christians and their churches to respond to conflict Biblically. I have read their materials over the years and have known of organizations and churches who called upon their expertise in resolving conflicts.

Most recently they are offering materials that address the issue of spiritual abuse in the church. Their online catalog offers this autdio tape of a message by Ed Keinath speaking at the 2004 conference:

Abuse of Authority: Dealing with Power Abuses by Church Leaders: (Ed Keinath - '04) This workshop is a work in progress. It is recognized that within the church, power and authority have their roles in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as holding individual members accountable in their walk of faith. When accomplished to God’s glory, power and authority are complimentary. However, when sin motivates for self-serving purposes, power and authority become abused and the Body of Christ suffers.

I am happy to see this fine organization recognizing spiritual abuse for what it is and look forward to more materials cooming from them that will be a part of the solution of this widespread problem. My tape is on the way!

Also for more information on spiritual abuse, check out The Bruised Reed blogspot.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

more favorite women bloggers

Dare a proud grandmama list one more blog with pictures of beautiful children? Stacie is the daughter-in-law of your dreams and her blog entries are a delight to read. Of course, the pictures of my sweet Penelope are worth many thousand words. And then there is today's special pictures of our precious new grandbaby coming in the fall. The pictures alone make this worth the read!

Here is Dory's awesome blog. Too many great articles and links to mention but Dory covers much-needed territory for reformed believers. And, she has links to pictures of men in kilts. Being a Campbell, what more could I want? Johnny Depp in a kilt perhaps?

Bonnie's blog
always has new thoughts and refreshing commentary by a homeschooling mom who, obviously, is a super thinker. I would highly recommend dropping by Off the Top on a regular basis for words of encouragement and to have your thoughts provoked!

Monday, June 06, 2005


"I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive."
Albert Einstein

sad tales of spiritual abuse

I ran into her over the weekend. I had not seen her for a long time, probably several years, though she lives less than a mile from our house. She hadn't changed at all, still her smiling self, happy to see me, friendly and wanting to know what all of our grown children are now doing.

As we talked, her tone became serious as she told me that she had not been to church in years. She and I had attended the same church at one time and both of us had moved on, me because I found myself changing dramatically in regards to doctrine, she because she could no longer take the abuse.

She did not use that word, however. It was me who first introduced the concept to her after she told me her story. As I did I could see relief roll over her face. "You mean there is actually a word for it? They actually call it abuse?"

"Yes," I told her. I went on to explain that those who had ministered to former cult members began to see remarkable similarities in those who had left what they now call abusive church situations. Though I know some people would say this borders on psychobabble and defies "church authority" I contend that the concept of church abuse is very real and is a growing phenomena.

I have come to the conclusion that there are many who walk in the valley of spiritual abuse. There are those who have rejected the Church and have turned their backs on a relationship with Jesus because of how they have been treated by those who walk under the banner of being Christ's disciples. Some have been mistreated by fellow church members, others by pastors and elders or others in authority.

You often hear the phrase "there is no such thing as a perfect church and it wouldn't be perfect if I went there." This is a true statement. However, it cannot be an excuse for refusing to recognize and hold accountable those who are called to feed the sheep. I am hoping to begin a blog that, Lord-willing, will address the concept of spiritual abuse from a Biblical perspective. While much has been written about this idea from a sociological and psychological viewpoint, offering research and a literal Mt. Everest of personal stories, I have not found enough that offers a sound, Biblical solution to what I believe is a growing problem within the church today.

Several years ago I remember the epiphany I had regarding spiritual abuse. World Magazine offered a comprehensive article on sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. As I read, a light went on...this isn't about sex. This is about power and control. I went back and re-read the article from that perspective and began to think about all the instances where I had known people personally, sometimes pastors, sometimes even entire congregations, where the sword of "church authority" had been weilded as a cover for abuse of power. In the family of God, this becomes known as spiritual abuse.

In the 25 plus years that my husband has been a salesman and has traveled throughout several states, he has met dozens of people who were once active members of a local body of believers. These people will profess to be Christians and many of them are living godly lives. But they refuse to ever again be involved in a church situation. As he has listened to them, they have stories to tell that would make you weep. One man was excommunicated because he disagreed that his wife was "called" to head their church. Another fellow spent 30 years outside of a local congregation because of how his family had been treated by church leaders.

So many of these grieving brothers and sisters in Christ are devastated because they have grown children who have refused to hear anything of the Gospel of Jesus. They cannot see past those who claimed to be acting on God's behalf but in reality were abusing the flock and beating the sheep.

Last week, providentially, as I began a plan for my newest blog, The Bruised Reed, I came across this series of articles at the Whittenberg Gate. Dory and I are on the same page regarding the need for a Biblical response to this issue. She says that she has been unindated with personal e-mails since she published those articles.

I hope you will come into my blog spot and share your stories. Posting anonymously is welcomed and you can also e-mail me at

Let's work together to find a solution to this black mark on the body of Christ.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Doug on embracing hopelessness

One great way to take the sizzle off your fajita is to cuddle despair. I’m talking about getting so gloomy that you make Eeyore, Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock and Sylvia Plath look like Paula Abdul compared to you.

This is a quote from Doug's latest in his series of articles about how to mess up your life. Check it out.