Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

salt-and-light-bernie-rosageDid anyone ever tell you it seems you have another focus that is more important to you than Jesus?

“It seems that feminism is more important to you than Jesus.”
“Why do you blog on egalitarianism? Why not blog on Jesus instead?”

 

But the question is stranger than it sounds: Nobody actually only talks about Jesus, all aspects of Jesus, and nothing else.

Your practical service to the world may lie in being a truck driver, a school teacher, or a computer technician. You may need to write vehicle logbooks, report cards, or job cards without the word “Jesus” on them. Marriage counsellors will talk more of communication and the right attitude towards one particular human than about the life of Jesus.

Why be an architect or an admin clerk, a fisher or a farmer, a loving mother or a legal advisor, a ditch digger or drama teacher, if the world needs Jesus more than buildings, sorted paperwork, food, human care, legal advice, ditches or acting? Because following Jesus does not mean doing nothing except sitting with Jesus and talking to him, but making Jesus and His work your motivation behind every thing you do, being salt and light in the power of Jesus.

As such, if I preach feminism (equality between men and women, freedom from male oppression), I only need to show the world that the freedom and equality I preach is from God. If it is, then promoting this is being salt and light. It is bringing the truth and love of God to a broken world. Christians close to me may tell me God is calling me to other things (too?), but as for the rest:

Rom 14:4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall.

Do not tell us Christian egalitarians to talk only of Jesus. This is our way of being salt and light.

__________

Note: The picture is a painting by Bernie Rosage, found on Internet. Text and frame by blog owner.

 

I have heard evangelicals say that Christians should focus on the gospel – other concerns should be forgotten for the sake of the gospel. Others say the church should focus on both the gospel message and Christian actions like feeding the hungry, helping the abused, etc.

What if the gospel looks different from what we have been taught? If they are both right about a single-minded gospel focus, and about helping those who need it? What if the gospel actually includes, among others, feeding the hungry and helping the abused?

gospelasusualAs a young evangelical, I attended classes where I learned to “witness.” What that actually means, is that I was taught a formula to repeat to others:

1) God made you perfect

2) You sinned – it messed up your relationship with God and you should be punished.

3) Jesus was punished in your place

4) Accept Jesus so you won’t be punished, but go to heaven instead.

 

I don’t disagree with any word in that. But the fallen nature of man don’t just mean that I do wrong in God’s eyes, and need to be forgiven.

It also means that others are doing wrong against me, and I need a God who promises to dry every tear.

It means that I do wrong against others, and I need a God that can change me from the inside.

It means that the earth is full of pain and problems – illness, natural disasters, human error, even when no direct sin is involved, and the earth is waiting for salvation too.

As such, I propose a gospel that looks more like this:

big_gospel11) Instead of “God made you perfect”, “God made everyone and everything perfect”.

God had a whole creation to relate to, but only one class of being – humanity – could love God back.

2) Instead of “you sinned – it messed up your relationship with God” “Everyone sinned. It messed up everything.”

 

big_gospel2Sin messed up your relationship with God. It messed up other people’s relationships with God. (The red wavy line in the picture stands for a messed-up relationship.)

It also messed up relationships between each other: Your sin influences your relationships. Other people’s sin against you influences your relationships, firstly with them and then with others.

Other people’s sin against you causes you pain and tears. Your sin against others causes them pain and tears. (Divorce, arguments, unfaithfulness, back-stabbing, rape, murder, assault…)

Sin (both of others and yourself) damages even your relationship with yourself It could lead to self-hate and self-harming, suicide, and no desire to take care of the self…

Sin indirectly causes even the planet to be cursed. (“Thorns and thistles”, droughts and floods, ilness, pollution…)

Then, God stepped in, in the form of Jesus, to solve the problem which causes so much unhappiness.

 

3) Instead of “Jesus was punished for your sin”, Jesus came to solve the whole sin problem. (Not just yours, not only on the cross.)big_gospel3

Your relationship with God? You can be forgiven. Your relationship with others? Jesus can make you new, and them new, so you and them can stop hurting one another. Jesus can heal your pain and hate and self-hate.

Even our planet itself is eager to see the revealing of the children of God. (Rom 8:19)

“Let your will come on earth as in heaven” is about God – and us working with them – solving not only the sin problem but all the tears and brokenness caused by it.

 

4) Accept Jesus, because his plan is good and right and saves from the effects of sin, creating a world where God (who is the Good, the Wise, who is Love personified) is in all. (1 Cor 15:28)

big_gospel4Jesus came not only to take the punishment and forgive sin (2Cor 5:21; 1Jn 1:9), but also:

> To proclaim that his kingdom should come on earth (Lk 10:9 & 11:2) and within us.(Lk 17:20-21)

> To set an example of the kind of life we should live. (Heb 12:3; 1 Jn 2:6)

> To make right our relationship with Him. (Eph 2:18; Col 1:21)

> To make people new from the inside, so they can participate in His justice, mercy, and healing.(2 Cor 5:17; Col 3:10)

> To beat death – to die and come back to live Himself, to beat Satan by that. (Heb 2:14-15; 1Jn 3:8b)

> To make the whole earth new. (Rom 8:19, Col 1:20)

> To wipe every tear, to bring healing. (Lk 4:18; Rev 21:4)

There are certainly some more, but this is enough to get the picture that the gospel has real-world implications:

If God wants and enables you – with the forgiveness and healing of Jesus – to live right and bring healing, it means you will help those who were treated badly. The gospel tells you how to treat the hungry, the marginalized, the person who is bossed around because she is a woman, the poor person who needs medical help, the environment, the immigrant, the criminal who needs a second chance, the person who never had a first chance. It tells you how to think about racism, sexism and ableism.

Pure religion is “helping widows and orphans and keeping pure” (Jas 1:27), in the power of Christ. Social justice is not an add-on after you got the gospel right: It is part of the gospel. If the gospel is not only about repairing your relationship with God, but also repairing relationship between yourself and others, people and the earth, other people to one another and God. It is about establishing God’s kingdom of justice and mercy on earth, as it is in heaven.

It is being plugged in to the God who is justice and love and truth – with the justice and love and truth overflowing to others and to the world. Conversion is not saying a rote prayer, but aligning your will and plans with the One who is bringing this great kingdom.

 

 

 

 

<< Read here for Part 1 <<

2) Studying the evidence:

“The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness” looks at studies, over the years, of female and male happiness.

2.1) For the first graph (page 35) people were asked: “Taken all together, how would you say things are these days, would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?”

Slightly fewer women call themselves “very happy” in 2006 compared to 1972, but slightly fewer call themselves “not too happy”. There are thus more in the middle group.

Also note that using another date’s measurements as first and last, the graph would be almost as likely to say the opposite: Read the rest of this entry »

 

In the communistic Soviet Union era, a Frenchman and a Russian talked about the meaning of true happiness.

“True happiness,” mused the Frenchman, “is enjoying good cuisine with your loved one, followed by great love-making.”

“No,” replied the Russian. “True happiness is when the KGB knocks on your door at 2 am in the morning, waking you up, shouting: ‘Ivan Ivanovich, open the door!’ And then being able to shout back: ‘Ivan Ivanovich lives next door!’ ” (Old joke)

 

Not everyone define “happiness” in the same way. That, in itself, is enough reason to be sceptical of this kind of claims by sexists:

“Every study shows the same thing: as women become freer, richer, better educated and have more choices, they get progressively more miserable,” – Milo Yiannopoulos

Read the rest of this entry »

What do you do if you are the only person at your church, your work, or in your family who care about certain equality issues?

What do you do if your church does not see that their speaker and leader line-up needs to be wider? If your family does not understand why your passion matters? If the country around you support and vote for an accused rapist, while not understanding why you feel triggered by it? If everyone around tells you to stop talking about the things that matter to you?

You are not alone. The greatest love and strength is with you – God. Can a bride be alone when looking at the groom? Of course not. Was Mary alone when she fell pregnant while not married, when Joseph wanted to leave? She may have felt that way, but she was not. Was Elijah and his servant alone when an army of horses and chariots surrounded them? No!

16 “Don’t be afraid,” … “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them. – 1 2 Kings 6:16”

Look at your Maker. Be energized in the knowledge that the Goodness and justice you want to see is found in the Lord. Know that your enemy is not the complementarian or the opposite political party or the sexists at work or the family members who do not understand. The enemy is spiritual, and God already won.

Let the One from whom all love and strength flow make you bold again, to bring his kingdom on earth as in heaven. I know, we get regular reminders that this broken world is not like heaven – yet.

Those reminders should tell us: We need to have our eyes on our Maker.

 

You need:

> 2 small boxes – Write “boy” on one box, “girl” on the other

> Clear space on a table (if the children are few enough to sit in one row/ circle, or if you are on a stage with them below, clear floor space may be preferred)

> Small pieces of blank paper and a few that already bear the words “house cleaning” “pastor/reverend” (what your church calls a preacher) “Kindness” Bravery” “Making peace” “Making decisions”

> marking pen,

> Your Bible, with bookmarks at Gen 2:18, Rom. 12:6, 1 Cor 14:31, Gal. 5:22 and Heb. 13:6 Read the rest of this entry »

I recently read an article by a feminism-supporting writer, called “consent is everything.” It was, as you would expect, on the importance of consent in relationships. Here is how I responded:

Read the rest of this entry »

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