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.
CNN reported that the PCUSA denomination voted to ordain its first openly gay pastor earlier this week. Rev. Anderson was previously ousted from his ministry because of his openly gay lifestyle, but now has received a new lease on life, or at least in ministry. I’m saddened by the news not solely because of its approval of homosexuality, but because of the underlying view of Scripture that it represents. The fact that this was left to a vote on how to interpret the Scriptures with regards to homosexuality is deeply troubling.
The PCUSA formally changed its ordination policy after a majority of presbyteries, or regional groups of churches, approved the change. The move went into effect in July.
An amendment was passed at the General Assembly, or churchwide governing meeting, last year to remove the marriage language from the church’s constitution and insert, “Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.”
A letter from church leaders posted on the church’s official website explaining the changes called the matter “a Presbyterian family struggle.”
A recent article in the evangelical magazine, Relevant, described our society with an interesting word, “Pornified”. What is a pornified society? The word “porn”comes from the Greek word, “porneia”, which has to do with sexual immorality, or illicit sex. I think we would all agree that our culture and society has become increasingly more obsessed with sex. It’s ubiquitous on the magazine racks, internet ads, and even regular non-cable TV. From shows like Desperate Housewives to provocative billboard ads with 10-year olds posing, sex is everywhere. Some of my more liberal friends would say that it’s just a product of society finding liberation from overtly religious, conservative, and prudish constraints. In many respects, what we’re seeing is the natural result of sexual “freedom”.
But these friends of mine haven’t sat with someone racked with hurt and pain because of a relationship that was ruined by sex outside of lasting and enduring commitment. They haven’t counseled engaged couples and seen the pain on one partner’s face – the look of betrayal and devastation – as a past sexual history is confessed and revealed. The insecurity of knowing your partner for life will always have someone else to compare you with – whether in fantasy (based on what they’ve seen in porn or other media) or in reality (based on prior sexual history) – is a tough starting point for any marriage. In reality, “Friends with benefits” quickly turns into Acquaintances with regrets, and baggage with pain. Continue reading