Monthly Archives: December 2011

Random Blog Posts and Stuff

My predictions for 2012 are up over at Political Jesus. Rod offers his predictions as well.

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Colin Hansen offers his top ten theology stories of 2011.

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Roger Olson offers some thoughts on Christian Feminism:

To a very great extent, the agenda of the main “Christian feminist” theologians is to flip tradition on its head and replace male images and metaphors for God with female ones.

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Leslie Keeney revisits Egalitarianism:

The Bible requires us to do the hard work of wrestling with God and constantly allowing Him to challenge us. The Bible demands that we interact with it, not just flippantly say we obey it.

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Best prayer of 2011:

2011 A Year in Review — Top Posts

10. The Great Blog Experiment: What would happen if I made myself anonymous on my blog?

9. Theologians Who Just Happen to be Female: Female theologians are not just writing about feminism. In fact, there are some amazing contributions being made in the areas of Christology, ecclesiology, soteriology and much, much more.

8. Malcolm Reynolds’ Loss of Faith Part Two: Guest Series by Charles Hackney

7. Christian Female Bloggers that I Read: An updated list in honour of Girly-Girl Week.

6. Malcolm Reynolds’ Loss of Faith Part One — Firefly and the Psychology of Religion: Guest series by Charles Hackney

5. The Gender Difference — Pulling Apart Leviticus 12: There are several possible explanations as to why the Levitical law distinguished between 40 days following the birth of a male child and 80 days following the birth of a female child.

4. Is Star Trek Friendly to Christianity?: I would argue that the Star Trek universe doesn’t become comfortable with religion until DS9…

3. Rob Bell Round-up: I am doing this round-up mostly for my benefit so I can keep track of the hoopla. But feel free to use it if you want to see what all the fuss is about.

2. Game of Thrones — A Final Review: The vastness of the universe created by Martin is lost in the adaptation to the small screen. The show fails to present the nuances of the rules of honour and chivalry of the world, which means that for a modern audience watching the show, the actions of certain characters seem barbaric instead of justifiable or even noble.

1. Complementarianism — The Litmus Test for Faithfulness: I get that there are different positions on women in ministry. And I respect churches’ rights to decide the qualifications of a pastor (meaning I won’t go crusading to change a congregation that refuses to ordain women). But what frustrates me to no end is the idea that to be an egalitarian, and worse a female pastor, is unfaithful, unChristian and unwise.

A Reaction I Didn’t Expect

I had the strangest reaction the other day, and I still don’t know what to make of it. So I thought I would share it here on the blog.

We were driving around Fairbanks, and we came across some protestors. At first I didn’t know what they were protesting, but as I got closer, I saw their signs. They were anti-abortion protestors picketing outside a medical center.

Now I am pro-life, so I don’t quite know why, but watching them march up and down the street with their large picket signs actually horrified me.

Why did it horrify me? I really don’t know. I’ve tried to sift through my thoughts, and think through it rationally, but every time my mind goes back to seeing the picketers, I still feel that sickening feeling down in my gut.

At first I thought maybe I didn’t like the picketers because I was assuming that they picket instead of actually helping women in trouble. But, I have no idea what those protestors do when they aren’t protesting. They could very well put their money where their mouths are and help women who struggle with unplanned pregnancy.

And then I thought maybe I didn’t like the picketers because abortion protesting is so 1980s. It’s been done. What purpose does it serve? Just like my reaction to the Occupy protests this fall, after they kept going and going, I found myself wondering what purpose it actually served. Protesting is fine, but only if it leads to change. And is picketing outside a medical clinic really going to change the fact that abortions happen?

Was I just reacting to the fact that I saw these protestors in the U.S.? We have abortion protestors in Canada, but I wonder if I was reacting to the fact that these were American protestors, and Americans tend to be much more confrontational and outspoken in their opinions. Maybe, the fact that I’ve been staying in a house that plays Fox News almost 24/7 was making me hypersensitive to American polemics.

Maybe what made was so uncomfortable, was that it didn’t seem loving. Is it loving? Is picketing and carrying signs saying what you are against loving? Christians seem to be characterized so much by what we are against.

So, now I ask you, fellow cheese-wearers, any suggestions as to why I was horrified? How should I think about this theologically? Is it okay to be pro-life and uncomfortable with pro-life protestors at the same time? (Note: this is not a pro-choice, pro-life debate post)

Christmas in Fairbanks

When people heard that I was going to Fairbanks Alaska for Christmas, they would normally ask two questions: Is it cold? Is it dark?

In the summer, Fairbanks has nearly 20 hours of sunlight per day. In June, they even have the Midnight Sun baseball game, where the local team plays a game that starts at 10pm, and is played completely without stadium lights. In the summer, it is warm, and often quite hot. Several years ago, we went all the way up to the Arctic Circle and it was warmer up there than it was back in southern Ontario.

The winter is another story. It is very dark and very cold. But, cold is relative, and having now lived in Saskatchewan for two years, the winter temperatures are comparable. Both Fairbanks and Caronport are dry climates, so the snow is that dry, crunchy, loud snow. The temperature is often below freezing. The difference is that in Caronport we often get to -30 through the windchill, in Fairbanks it’s -30 without the windchill, which actually means it doesn’t feel as cold as Caronport.

The biggest difference is the dark. Here are pictures of Christmas Day.

9am.

11am.

1pm.

3pm.

5pm.

Envisioning Hell

There have been a variety illustrations of hell. Fire and brimstone. Circles or levels based on the badness of the sin. A giant bureaucracy. A place where the roof always leaks. Suburbia.
I suggest that the best way to picture hell is to think of the airport.

You get to the airport and stand in line. Once you get to the front of the line, the attendant says that they can’t help you, you have to use the self-serve kiosk, which ultimately doesn’t work, and the attendant has to use it for you. It would have been quicker and easier for the attendant to do it herself right from the get-go, but quick and efficient is a characteristic of heaven, not hell.
After you check-in, you stand in another line, where you give permission for the security to search your body and your bags. You must take off your shoes, because the airport needs everyone to walk around in their socks since they can’t afford brooms to clean the floor.

And then once you’ve put all your clothes back on, and repacked your purse, you have to spend the next hour wandering the airport while you wait for your flight. What to do? Wander up and down the terminal. If the airport actually has shops and restaurants you can give all of your money to them for a tiny bag of potato chips and a bottle of water.
Finally, it’s time to board the plane, which means you get crammed into a tube with 150 other people in teeny tiny seats, with no leg room, where you have to sit for three hours only to finally be released back into yet another airport.

4 airports in 24 hours. And lucky me, I have to do it again in a week.

Reading Scripture, Teaching, and Women

I don’t think it was meant to be a controversial post. Tim Challies was offering tips on how to publicly read Scripture. Good tips. But one little comment has set off a firestorm. In his church, only men can publicly read Scripture because it is a teaching ministry.

Complementarians and egalitarians alike rose up in the comments and asked about this. So, he offered some clarification. Oh boy. And all that clarification did was blow up the issue even further.

Scot Mcknight weighed in: Anyone who says reading Scripture is a teaching ministry is just making stuff up.

Chaplain Mike brought it to the attention of the I-Monk community: Women should be allowed to read Scripture publicly. Restricting women from doing so has no theological foundation and will only lead to a lot of overscrupulous nonsense in practice.

Sarah over at Emerging Mummy says she’s done fighting for a seat at the table: Enjoy your table, gentlemen.

And Rachel Held Evans put out a call for women to rise up and prophesy: To those who will not accept us as preachers, we will have to become prophets.

And the conversation continues today as Derek Ouellette suggests that egalitarians commit eisegesis in trying to harmonize equality (feminism) and Scripture. He suggests that egalitarianism collapses all gender distinctions. The majority of egalitarians I know do no such thing. Are there distinctions (biological, psychological, etc)? Absolutely. Is there equality? Absolutely. Does being egalitarian mean sacrificing maleness or femaleness? Nope.

Grrr. Round and round and round we go. The two sides aren’t learning anything from each other. People who believe that women should be allowed to teach, preach, and prophesy will line up and cheer Scot and Rachel and Sarah. Those who don’t will line up and cheer for the other side instead.

I don’t know that there is any more fruitful discussion to be had about this topic around the blogosphere. It just ends up being a way for those who already know which side of the debate they’re on to affirm their position and sharpen their polemic against the other side.

Part of me is tempted to do a self-imposed moratorium on writing about women and ministry issues on CW Theology.

Part of me says, “Amanda are you nuts? Writing about women in ministry brings in the big page hits.”

Part of me wants to throw everyone in a UFC cage and let them fight it out — The last person standing wins.

All of me is tired.

End of the Semester Zombie Fog

Yup. That’s about how I’m doing right now. It’s the “I’ve survived the semester” look. All my coursework for this semester is done. And, now it feels like all the energy has drained from my body. I am a walking corpse.

I’m too tired to be tired. How did I survive this semester? I have no idea. Somehow I got all my work done. And now I have nothing left in me. No brilliant thoughts. No creative thoughts. No sarcastic thoughts. No snarky thoughts. Not even any happy non-thoughts. Just zombie me, attempting to survive.