Showing posts from 2014

A Eulogy for Rosie James

1956 was an important year in Australian history: the Olympic Games were held in Melbourne, television was broadcast for the first time, Melbourne football club actually won a premiership, and most notably of all, on the 30th of September Rosemary Anne White (later James) was born to Ed and Nancy White in Footscray and District General Hospital.

Rosie spent the first years of her life living in Creswick Street in Footscray in a house designed by her father. There she attended kindergarten and then school at Footscray Primary School. At age 5 she moved to 68 Canterbury Road Blackburn South, and she lived there for most of her life. She attended Laburnum Primary school, and also endured a year of having her own father as a classroom teacher in year six! I hear some of her peers were less than impressed that Rosie was the favourite student of that teacher by far! After this she attended Blackburn South High School, and made lifelong friends there.

Church was a huge influence in her youn…

More on I Timothy 2:12

Sometimes people who like things done a particular way (and isn't that all of us?) latch on to one verse in the bible. And for those who like to keep women out of church leadership, I Timothy 2:12 is one such verse.

Tim Harris has critiqued Claire Smith's and Peter Bolt's critique of John Dickson's book "Hearing Her Voice" (complicated enough for you yet?) here, and I thought his perspectives on this verse are worth repeating. (One doesn't need to all this background to appreciate the reflections here!)

To quote Bolt:

"It is a common strategy to suggest that 1 Timothy 2:12 is not clear. However, the only possible element that is unclear is the presence of the word authenteĊ, since it does not appear elsewhere in the Bible—even though, thankfully, it occurs frequently enough outside the Bible to remove any real doubt as to its meaning (‘to have authority’). In this verse, Paul prohibits a woman from teaching or exercising authority over a man, and f…

Yet More Complementarian Incoherence

Any followers of this blog would be aware by now I believe Complementarian theology is poor theology... and indeed, poor logic.

I have just been reading this paper by Rich Nathan, and thought I'd steal one of the sections of his long and thoughtful article on the subject. I quote:

"Virtually every book by complementarian authors that I’ve read sets up some sort of subjective grid that meets the comfort level of the author. Just read James Hurley or Grudem & Piper and try to apply their grids. It would take a massive computer program to do so. In the meantime, women are wounded in conscience by constantly wondering if they are violating God’s will by taking on a certain role.

"To apply these criteria would take the form of creating an entirely new Talmud, deciding that it would not be okay for a woman to teach in a Bible study when her husband is present, but okay if her husband is not present. Or to use a real example from Grudem and Piper, it is okay for a woman to…

Being Made Right, Being Right, Being Open

One of the many wondrous things about Christian faith is that the Way to Life is not a proposition but a Person; the Living Word we call Jesus Christ. Even demons might believe correct theology (James 2:19), but the life of the Spirit is not a matter of correct “doctrine” so much as right relationships. We are called to shalom with God, with others, with ourselves, and with the created order; not to a check list of correct ideas.

Strangely however (perhaps due the fact Western theology has a long history of patriarchal domination) the church has tended to be obsessed with “right” ideas about God. In perhaps the ultimate betrayal of Christ, there have even been periods of history where the official church persecuted or killed people for “wrong” ideas about God. When the name of the One who proclaimed and demonstrated sacrificial love is used for oppression and violence, then surely blasphemy has occurred.

One area of much theological discussion (and argument) has been around the nature…

Prejudgment, Proof Texting, and Theological Nonsense

Complementarian teaching in my view is such poor theology, it is quite frankly mock-worthy. Not that people who hold to such views are bad or stupid people. For many it is an issue which attaches itself to the issue of the authority of the bible, indeed, of the validity of their faith. The fact they have chosen such a bizarre issue as a test of orthodoxy is a topic worthy of another blog post altogether. My point is that this is an issue that has strong emotional attachments for some, therefore it is actually difficult for such people to genuinely look afresh at what the bible has to say on this topic. Let’s give out generous grace to the people who feel this way. No doubt all of us have massive blind spots on some topic or other.

But the ideas themselves require no such grace, and Rachel Held Evans has written a cracker of a satire on her excellent blog. I have reposted a section of this article for your reading pleasure, the fine tradition of Complementarian mockery displayed here a…