I’m confused. I know that fundamentalists and other conservatives do not support women in ministry. As a Baptist I’ve faced my share of criticism from such folks because the churches I serve have women deacons, Sunday School teachers, ministers, and leaders. Most of the folks who now lead the Southern Baptist Convention and other similar groups do not even want to associate with churches that have women in such roles. A church in Georgia was removed after over a hundred years of fellowship because that church called a woman pastor. Yet the SBC is saying that diversity regarding charismatic gifts and Calvinism is OK but women leaders in the church is not. The SBC says it does not want to fight about whether you believe Jesus only died for some or for all people but if you have a woman in leadership in your church then that’s a violation of core Biblical teaching! I’m amazed.
Leaders in the SBC are saying that as long as churches hold to core teachings (Jesus, Trinity, etc) they can disagree on lesser issues (such as Calvinism and who Jesus really died for). They throw women leaders in with core teachings. I find this interesting.
Just when I have come to terms with the fact that it really bothers some Christians that women have equal roles in some churches a new twist has been introduced to me. I’m addicted to podcasting and I read many things and so over the past few years I’ve heard many leaders in the SBC and other conservative groups not only stress that only men can preach and pastor but that such men must also be manly.
I’ve heard Al Mohler (president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) comment about the need for manly pastors and men who have a “masculine presence.” I heard a podcast from Acts 29 (a Calvinist church starting group that has many SBC folks in it) talk in interviews about manly preacher.
I recently heard a young Baptist leader in NC talk about what type of pastor who can start a church and he needs to not only be a man but a “manly man” and with a “man with some gospel chest.” What does that mean?
Mark Driscoll and others who really push for women to submit to men talk about wimpy pastors with sweater vests who preach. They talk about church buildings that have feminine colors, etc and that the building must be masculine. The more you listen to these folks talk they go on and on about masculine men who are “dudes.” I’m not making this up. What’s this about? Not only is Calvinism becoming hip and cool (growing rapidly in conservative and SBC circles) but so is this masculine he-man attitude.
The big leader is Mark Driscoll who pastors a mega church in Seattle- Mars Hill. The church is aimed toward the young, tattoo, unchurched crowd and preaches a gospel where men lead and women stay home and take care of kids. Driscoll preaches over an hour and he is known for cursing in the pulpit and talking about sex in very coarse ways that has created some controversy. His humor and comments are such that I can’t even repeat some of it here. So I guess I’m not manly?
Driscoll talks about Jesus being manly and not a wimpy meek and mild wuss. He talks about Some call it “hypermasculinity” mixed with Calvinism. Driscoll says to those in his church who are critical, “They are sinning through questioning.”
On the plus side Driscoll does reach many the traditional church does not but I find some of the ways strange. Here are some Driscoll quotes:
“There is a strong drift toward the hard theological left. some emergent types want to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. In Revelations, Jesus is a prize fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up. I fear some are becoming more cultural than Christian, and without a big Jesus who has authority and hates sin as revealed in the bible, we will have less and less Christians, and more and more confused, spiritually self-righteous blogger critics of Christianity.”
“You have been told that God is a loving, gracious, merciful, kind, compassionate, wonderful, and good sky fairy who runs a day care in the sky and has a bucket of suckers for everyone because we’re all good people. That is a lie… God looks down and says ‘I hate you, you are my enemy, and I will crush you,’ and we say that is deserved, right and just, and then God says ‘Because of Jesus I will love you and forgive you.’ This is a miracle.”
I read a web site where one key SBC leader who commending the new pastor to his new church and said that the new minister “has a masculine presence which is important.”
So do I need to life more weights? Am I man enough to pastor? Is God needing more Rambos? Does the worship service need to be more like WWF Smack Down? Do we need a Jesus who beats up the bad guys like in a Church Norris movie? Do we need a God of war or peace? I would love your comments but here are mine.
I do admit we need more men in church. Many churches are made up of a majority of women. I believe that many men in our culture do not desire a spiritual growth with God and shy away from church. I don’t think we need to strip emotions and sensitivity from God or change God into a tribal war god to draw men inside the doors. There is much work that needs to be done to help men understand their need for God and there is a need for stronger ministry to men in the average church. I admit that. I’m just not willing to change God or Jesus or the church into a he-man woman hater’s club (remember the little Rascals).
I don’t like seeing God as a mean God who zaps his enemies. I don’t like putting on tough guy images that are the only way a man can be. Rambo isn’t the only image of a man. The whole thing just creeps me out. I just don’t get this manly man stuff. Jesus laid down his life rather than waging war. Jesus washed the feet of his servants rather than bossing them around. The image of a servant is not a wimpy and weak one. It takes more guts to go against the violent hate filled world than to join it. The civil rights movement was made of men and women who allowed others to beat them, turn dogs on them, and water hoses on them rather than picking up clubs and weapons. The result was victory. Peter reached for his sword and Jesus said to put it away. Jesus was the one who called himself the Prince of Peace.
I also don’t believe a woman has to stay home and tend the babies only. If a woman wants to that’s fine but women have a right to work and be mothers if the wish. Guilt trips are not fair.
I also don’t believe women have to stay silent in the church and let the men do all the leading. Why can’t we work together and serve Jesus? Why do we keep longing to have power over one another? Why can’t we let God be boss?
I could go on. But I might need to find some weights and beef up.