Church Stuff-More or less

Does the church make sense or do we make it too hard for people to come in? I think yes and yes and the task then is to make it easier. Maybe for someone out there, this will be the case. I write as a Lutheran (or, perhaps a Lutherpalian) although I might seem out of the mainstream from time to time. That's okay, isn't it? Let's blog on.

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Location: Northport, Long Island, United States

Contrary to what Google will tell you, I have been blogging for several year, right here. Look for Churchstuff-moreorless. life was a hell of a lot easier when you could talk to someone to get help. Now, you can't do it on the telephone, you can't do it on the internet. Life was easier and made more sense because people actually cared. Now they will screw you as quickly as they will help you. Unfuck the world.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

IS God, then, a girly man?

Rachel Held Evans asked us to respond to some conservative "theologian" named John Piper. I must confess that, until she asked, I had never heard of him. Now, I think that he might be Mark Driscoll's father. Of course, I don't know much about him either. Apparently the man from Mars has been in the news of late as well but where Piper is concerned about gender, Driscoll is more concerned with sex. Of course, neither of them understand their pet subjects very well. To compound things, apparently Piper is enamored with another equally obscure god-talker who was born about 200 years ago.

The problem as I see it is that we can't agree that Scripture was written a long, long time ago and  in a language that was primitive enough to speak to primitive people in a way that they might understand it and believe it. We also can't agree that God, with infinite wisdom, gave us brains to be able to translate Scripture into 21st century mindset. Simply put, just because the Bible was written in a particular cultural idiom is no reason for it to be locked into that. While society and culture changes, God's word does not. However, if we are to understand it, we must frame it or read it in a way that makes sense. As we are much further removed from the cave than people of the First Testament, we are not locked into some kind of Neanderthal/patriarchal society. As we are further removed from a Pauline expectation of an "I'll be right back" Jesus, we have grown in our understanding of gender equality.

Has God changed? No, but the manner in which God is self-revealed has. Where God was once understood as this macho kick-ass celestial being, we now see a God much more in touch with a feminine side. Where once we might have glossed over scriptural references to the Feminine Divine, we now free ourselves to search them out.

Back in the Dark Ages when I was in high school, only boys could put on dresses and be ministers. We were still suffering from a Leave it to Beaver hang over where June was still stuck in the kitchen. So it kinda made sense when the standardized test I took came back and gave me high marks on my feminine side. "Not to worry," said my guidance counselor, "you guys heading to the ministry all do that." I guess we could have done a better job of it because, not long after, we started sharing our priest toys with girls. I don't think that the religious institutions have suffered. If anything, the old dying stick in the mud holdouts are the ones who are suffering. If the good ol' boys club was God pleasing, the new fuller and expressive, gender inclusive one is much more God in ecstacy.

Piper has hung out the "No gurls aloud" sign. I am pretty sure it has God doing some severe head shaking. Fortunately for Piper, the old smiting God is kinder and gentler these days. Things tend to go better when everyone is represented.


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