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

Bible pictures about Pentecost all have the same oversight in common: Invariably the pictures show flames on male heads and men

Freebiblepictures is a great site for Bible teachers - but their pictures on Pentacost - males with flames, males speaking about God, male listeners asking about the message, males fellowshipping together - do not reflect the truth of God's spirit coming to gift all flesh, of a Gal. 3:28 kingdom where male and female does not matter.

Freebibleimages is a great site for Bible teachers – but their pictures on Pentecost – males with flames, males speaking about God, male listeners asking about the message, males fellowshipping together – do not reflect the truth of God’s spirit coming to gift all flesh, of a Gal. 3:28 kingdom where male and female does not matter.

preaching the gospel. But Pentecost is the story of God’s spirit falling on manservants and maidservants, of sons and daughters prophesying. (See Acts 2:16-18)

The pictures are so male, because it is the reality of how the church at large thinks. It is male because the mere thought that women and even children could have the same spirit empowering them in the same way is not the first thing the artist think of.

In my vision, the church will look very much like and very much unlike these pictures: Women will be as much encouraged to speak as men, and lay people as much as clergy. Children usually won’t not have the benefit of knowledge and experience adults have and (like anyone else) cannot be teachers without being taught – but they will also have that same Spirit enabling them to speak – and in the power of that Spirit they will participate too.

A change in the church will be seen in many things, but it will be reflected in new Sunday School  pictures to tell children about Pentecost too. One day when the church functions better, these pictures would show men and women and children gathered to pray and talk about Jesus, men and women and children with flames on their heads, and men and women and children speaking after receiving the Holy Spirit.

This will not happen only when the artist have been alerted to be age-inclusive and gender-inclusive beforehand. It will happen automatically – the artist, like everyone else, will see this kind of thing at church meetings, and know that a church empowered by the Spirit has participating men and women and even children. After all, God calls everyone to bring their teachings and prophesies and songs and interpretations to church, and wants all these gifts to build up. (1 Cor. 14:26)

And that gives me an idea for an egalitarian logo: A man and woman on the same height (it could be only the heads too, as long as one is visibly male and the other female), with flames on both heads and both mouths opened equally wide. This spirit gifts everyone equally, regardless of gender, and all gifts (regardless of gender) should equally be used to build up.

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Note:

The site from which this set of pictures come includes women in two of the set of 12 pictures – there are women among the gathered believers before the Spirit is poured out, and a token female among the believers being baptised by men. That still does not amount to anything like real representation of women’s actual full participation in church.

However, I do not want to pick on that site, as it is otherwise a good resource, and the male-centred pictures does not make them any worse than the rest of the church.

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Comments on: "A vision for the church, and for an egalitarian logo" (8)

  1. “The site from which this set of pictures come includes women in two of the set of 12 pictures – there are women among the gathered believers before the Spirit is poured out, and a token female among the believers being baptised by men.”

    Great observation! Those artists may not be as innocent as you suggest. Notice there are women present before the Spirit is poured out, but none shown receiving or having evidence of the Spirit. Why only show 1 woman being baptized? It suggests women are not important. This is not accidental. A few years ago, my sister shared that when she told the pastors in her church that she saw no need to repent of something she thought was biblical and that God had not prompted her to repent of. The pastors replied that of course God would not speak to her about that; God would speak to her husband! Retha, that is part of complementarian teaching. The reasoning seems to be that God (the Spirit) is not likely to speak to a wife, therefore she must turn to her husband for word from God. The only time she is not to submit to (meaning obey) her husband is when he is telling her to do something that is CLEARLY sin. (John Piper spelled that out. He gave the example of a bedroom three-some being clearly sin.) I take from Piper’s statement, that if a husband directed his wife to s*xually fondle their child, she should obey, because no Bible verse clearly says a parent should not fondle their children. Even if the wife thinks or feels it is sin, if the Bible doesn’t CLEARLY say so, she must obey her husband. Piper also says the church should have a “masculine feel.” Driscol may not state it that way, but that is the sense I get of the gatherings at Mars Hill. Many of the mega-church leaders teach and preach as if women are invisible–kind of like the wealthy may see their household staff. Women’s purpose, as seen by many male leaders and their followers, is to make life easier for men. They are not to be included in things that are important enough to record in history books, or the chronicles. If Vashti had not refused to show herself before the King and his drunken guests, we would never have heard of her or of Esther.

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    • Waneta, this is sometimes hard for me to write. We don’t want to be like this:
      I demand equality! The church is unjust towards me! My gifts are not appreciated, it is not acknowledged that I have the same Holy Spirit to speak in church!”
      That will not be the attitude of Christ.
      We should rather be like this:
      “God is a God of justice who loves all, and we are grieved to see some people being undervalued on things like age or gender. That is not the attitude of Christ, and it makes the church, which need their gifts as much, poorer to the extend that many gifts are not fully used.”
      It is so easy, when you are in the marginalized group, to be seen for the former while being the latter. (That is why I love the men who speak out on this: They are never seen as demanding rights when they speak of the full inclusion of women.) I do not want a gender quota “let us count how many women are in leadership compared to men at Church X” attitude. Instead, I envision a world where women and children are included in christian gatherings in the same way and for the same reasons men are – they are loved and their gifts are needed.

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  2. krwordgazer said:

    This reminds me of the time I saw the cover of one of the lesson pamphlets for children’s Sunday School in our church. The lesson was on Priscilla and Aquila. The picture showed Aquila and Apollos sitting at a table, with Aquila teaching and Apollos listening– and Priscilla, standing demure and silent to one side, arranging the flowers on the table!

    I should have had more courage and spoken up. If I saw that today, I certainly would! Back then I was too timid.

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    • Kristen, that is infuriating and cannot be an accident. The text distinctly talks of the both teaching. For the sake of interest, I searched “Priscilla Aquila Apollos” in Google pictures and came up with at least a somewhat hopeful mixed bag: Of those pictures that actually shows two men and one women (the on topic pictures), about half shows Priscilla as the one talking. (Although both are teaching, both mouths won’t be open at the same time.) So they are, for the most part, not quite as bad as Acts 2 pictures.

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  3. Terri Tippins said:

    I taught in a Christian school for a few years. They used the ACE pace books. I remember vividly one picture displaying the gathering in the upper room of Acts 2. The picture showed the men, with hands raised and the dipiction of a flame of fire above thier heads. Behind the men you seen a wall where three little heads (women) were peeking around the corner, looking amazed. Spoke volumes.

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    • And the sad thing is, there really are no alternatives anywhere that are better! On the whole Internet, I only saw one very abstract depiction of the Spirit poured out on male and female…

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      • Terri Tippins said:

        It is just so sad because depictions like this teach boys and girls that girls are really just spectators in Religious life. Women receive the Baptism just like the men but thier primary spiritual contribution is most often cooking, childcare, and clean-up crew. Of course, the men have to make a BIG deal of all these (gifts?)or women might start asking for the whole loaf of bread instead of the crumbs that they have always been given. In my exerpience there are women that are just as spiritual and Godly as men, but it gets them nowhere in a public/visible ministry.

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  4. Terri Tippins said:

    Now don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a ‘kitchen counselor’, or a ‘closet prayer warrior’, we need people that can give us good counsel. We also need others to bind together with us in prayer until God sends an answer. The very fact is that these very things are considered ‘private’, that is what makes them acceptable for women. Boys/men Women/girls are taught that women take care of details and then should not take credit for them. I think when some people get to heaven they are really going to be amazed by what God deemed important in this life.

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