Monday, June 29, 2009

Theolog: Blogging toward Sunday: More rejection

Here's an interesting short that I found instructive. How much of our arrogance as Christians stems from our unwillingness to realize that we're always wrong. Our best theological thinking doesn't come even near to understanding the mystery of God nor the paradox of our living in mystery while claiming certainty.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

(More swimming) Diggin deeper

I am happy when I hear statements such as "We must value the special gifts women bring to pastoral leadership." Generally what follows, though, is a litany of stereotypical "women's qualities." Of course, there is some truth to those observations, but such responses miss the point entirely. Women are important to pastoral leadership because they are women and not men. It's really that simple. If a field of yellow flowers ask, "What could purple flowers bring to the meadow?" there could be a long list of qualities that many purple flowers might bring, but the truth is that the chief reason they are needed is because they are purple, not yellow. Yellow flowers have never been purple so they don't really "get" purpleness except in a very external way. Purple looks different. Beneath that difference is a whole different internal wiring and experiential history that really isn't accessible to yellow flowers and perhaps not entirely accessible to a purple flower's awareness either. The whole meadow would benefit if purple flowers were allowed to shape the meadow and make decisions about the meadow based on their natural inclinations rather than based on some qualities that yellow flowers assign to them. If the two colors want to collaborate in such leadership, then the structures and policies that go into meadow making and even the concept of meadowness needs to be the product of collaboration as well. And, if the meadow is not one that can support both colors in leadership, the whole idea of how the meadow is to be organized and run needs to framed by a process that includes the input of both colors.

Analogies always break down but this one just came to mind as I was seeking to put words to what's bothering me about the way we "include" women in leadership roles in our churches. Perhaps some of you have insights that will help us move forward in this discussion.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Swimming between certainties

I'm in one of those places of liminality. I'm learning faster than I can assimilate and the things I am learning are messing with my plausibility structure. I'm swimming between certainties while contemplating giving up certainty altogether.

My teachers are a variety of books, Randy Woodley, my North Valley Community, and a variety of others "too numerous to enumerate." (quote from a wonderful movie, "The 9th Configuration.")

Some soundbites from the process are:

I am learning to attempt to understand Christianity from the perspective of its victims. For example: Gender justice in Northwest Yearly Meeting is sabotaged by this problem: The dominant culture (patriarchal) is the arbiter of justice. So when things are made to be "a level playing field" it only means that Men allow Women equal access to a predominately male paradigm of leadership. We (men) assume that a level playing field is the end of gender justice. Actually justice demands that women's paradigms of leadership, and the assumptions that go with them be given equal value as men's. More than that, they should be considered essential to a full expression of God's kingdom on earth. These paradigms aren't in competition with one another, they are essential components to a single paradigm of leadership through which they inform and complete one another.

Victims of Christianity abound. More later about ethnicity, spirituality, dualisms, etc. If I get time and energy. (don't hold your breath)

I'll continue this thread in further posts. That's all for now.