A Wiki-Protest to Blatant Stereotypes

Through some helpful commentary from my sisters in gospel ministry, I have been made more aware of how male-dominated and chauvinistic our society is. Whether a suggestive ad or a completely distorted picture of femininity, I am becoming more sensitive as to how difficult it is to be a secure, God-fearing woman in our society. I thought I’d illustrate this by putting a humorous artifact from our culture on display – the Bic Pen for Her. The Huffington Post, ABC News, and NBC News reported on the hilarious backlash that this little pen is drawing on Amazon. This also demonstrates the incredible wiki-power of social media, but that’s for another post. Here’s how Amazon described the pen:

I love it – ‘elegant design – just for her!’ ‘thin barrel to fit a women’s hand’. But even better, are the reviews of this pen.

And a couple others for good measure…

In all seriousness, this strikes a chord in me as a male pastor serving alongside many women in our churches. I am a firm complementarian, but I see that as more reason why I need to pay attention and exert more effort to serve my sisters by helping them to identify and empowering them to use their gifts. I know too many like-minded brothers in ministry who are complementarian in doctrine and chauvinistic in practice. If we believe that men and women have distinct and important roles in the church and home, and each are uniquely gifted with the same gifts by the same Spirit, shouldn’t it follow that we do whatever it takes to help both genders use their gifts in obedience? In the same vein, isn’t it more imperative that church leaders pay special attention to empowering women to serve given our culture’s tendency to marginalize women by stereotyping their femininity? Granted, we could make the same argument for men, but I wonder if it’s a bit more one-sided than most of us guys would like to admit.

It’s little cultural artifacts like the BIC pen for her that remind me how far our society has to go, and even moreso, how much our church culture could and should pave the way in demonstrating true masculinity and femininity in all of its complementary functions for the glory of God.

A Visit To Mars…

…Hill, that is. During my recent vacation to Seattle, my wife and I worshiped at Mars Hill Church in Bellevue. Being a satellite campus (preaching is “beamed” in), we expected to watch Pastor Mark Driscoll via video feed. We were surprised when he sat down two rows in front of us. I didn’t know what to expect. If you don’t know who Mark Driscoll is, part of his claim to fame is his strong reformed theology mixed with radical contextualization. He presents himself as a real man’s man with more than a few words about recovering biblical, Jesus-fashioned masculinity. Early on in his ministry, he gained notoriety from cussing in his sermons and his brazen (some would interpret, jerkish) attitude from the pulpit. Needless to say, I didn’t know what to expect when visiting the church. Continue reading

How to Leave Well…and what to expect!

Well, today is the last day of tenure as a pastor at Community Fellowship Church in West Chicago. It’s been a full eight years filled with lots of laughs, tears, sweat, frustrations, and joy. I am grateful to God for the sanctifying influence that my church has had on me as a pastor, disciple, father, and husband. Since we made the decision to move back to Maryland, the last few months have been filled with lots of conversations, meetings, notes, action steps, more conversations, dealing with misunderstandings, forgiveness, some more conversations, and finally closure. I remember having one conversation with a friend who told me to make sure I leave well. I wasn’t sure what that meant so I asked him to clarify. He explained that leaving well is to edify the church, give glory to God, and to set up the church for success. It was a wise and God-supplied conversation. As I finish out this last day of employment at CF, I thought it might be helpful to list a few of the things I experienced as part of the leaving process. In essence, here’s my thoughts on how to transition out of a church well and what to expect. Continue reading