Showing posts from 2018

Study at Manchild!

I have noticed (and heard about) some bad behaviour lately: to be more specific, bad online male behaviour involving misrepresentation of feminism and gaslighting of women. My curiosity was aroused by noticing similar patterns of behaviour from different people in different places. How are they learning these techniques?
I’ve hypothesised an educational institution exists where such behaviour can be honed to perfection. What do you think of my proposed curriculum? What subjects should be added?
Manchild Christian University
Subject Choices
Here at Manchild we teach you:
Selective Biblical Literalism 101
We'll show you how the 59 references to slaves in the New Testament need to be read on their cultural context, while explaining how taking l Timothy 2:12 literally is a test of biblical orthodoxy, and that anyone who doesn't ban all women from leadership is a HERETIC!
Women's Issues 102
We will help you develop a pat answer to every complex women's issue (consent, abortion…

Political Correctness or Plain Politeness?

A number of years ago my sister and I took our parents to a rather elegant restaurant for lunch. It was a converted old manor house with beautiful old rooms and quiet carpeted floors; utterly unlike the hard-floored echo chamber of a typical Melbourne café. The gentle clink of cutlery and quiet conversations were the only sounds.
I note this because at a strategic moment when everyone in the restaurant went silent, my father dropped the n-word.
It was like all the oxygen was sucked out of the room.
“Dad!!!! You can’t say that!!!” my sister said in horror.
“What did I say? What’s wrong with that?” he replied.
My father was born in 1916 in country Victoria, and in his mind describing someone of African origin as a “nigger” was descriptive. In this embarrassing context, my sister and I tried to explain that the n-word is considered a highly offensive racial slur.
Political correctness means “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginaliz…

Faith and Order and Blurring the Two

There are things all Christian traditions agree on (faith questions), and areas where there are significant differences around how churches organise and describe themselves (order questions). This is reflected in the name of the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission, where theological dialogue occurs. 
Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christedelphians and others cannot join the World Council of Churches as they do not “confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures… to the glory of the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
There are however a huge variety of churches that belong to the World Council of Churches. They have diverse views on women in ministry, modes of baptism, communion, the priesthood, the weight of scripture vs tradition, etc. These are "order" questions, not "faith" questions.
How should Christians manage their relationships with one another around differences over these secondary questions?

Some of …

Rebranding Hierarchy

Once upon a time, I was involved in the Monash University branch of AFES/Intervarsity called “The Evangelical Union”.
This was the early 1980s, and young men and women alike were leading everything. The term Complementarian wasn't yet a twinkle in Wayne Grudem's eye.*
In this period, egalitarian theologians were arguing that men and women were designed to complement one another; that we neededboth women and men in leadership.
In society more broadly, the ideal of a gender hierarchy was being profoundly challenged. The idea was normalised that women should have equal legal and workplace rights to men - in theory if not in practice.

By the late 1980s, Christian conservatives who believed in a gender hierarchy found themselves with an image problem. They were becoming theologically marginalised, as well as out of step with society at large.
It was time for a rebranding exercise.
To quote Scot McKnight:
'Grudem tells us that he and John Piper, in editing the 1991 sympos…