On the first leg of the trip, the gentleman seated beside me struck up a conversation. After some small talk about our respective vocations and where we were headed, the conversation took an unlikely turn. We soon found ourselves talking about the impact of fathers on their children’s lives (don’t ask me how). Himself a father of three young children, he was especially keen on my sharing my story about my own father and how I came to a place of forgiving him several years earlier. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for June, 2010
What does the ideal church look like? Graham H. Twelftree, in his recent book entitled People of the Spirit: Exploring Luke’s View of the Church, poses that very question to the author of Luke-Acts. While Twelftree admits his study is not comprehensive he does claim it identifies and explains the major aspects of Luke’s ecclesiology. Given the amount of subjects covered in the book and the controversial nature of some of the material it would be unrealistic to think that Luke and Acts scholars as well as those interested in ecclesiology will not appreciate Twelftree’s nuanced analysis and careful investigation of Luke’s writing. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever heard a parent tell their child something like this: “it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, what matters is that you have fun?” That might work in little league baseball or bantam hockey, but in the race of the Christian life, winning actually does matter.
At this point you might be thinking to yourself, “Christianity isn’t a competition!” And yea, you are right in one sense … but perhaps wrong in another, or so the Apostle Paul might conclude. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul admonishes the church saying “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Cor 9:23-24). Paul here uses the metaphor of a runner to describe the Christian life. More than that he compares the Christian life to a racer. Some might shudder at the thought that a Christian is supposed to compete like an athlete, but Paul does not. For Paul, the Christian life is a battle and the sinful nature and spiritual principalities of darkness are our competitors. So are Christian’s really like competitive athletes?
At the same time, a new opportunity emerged through the rise of monasticism at the end of the third century. Monastic orders allowed women to continue to have leadership roles outside of the structure of offices. From the fourth century through the Protestant Reformation, virtually all of the significant female voices come from women who belonged to a monastic order. It is significant that women never ceased to prophesy, have visions, or perform miracles in the name of Christ. There is a vast array of literature from medieval women, in particular, who wrote down their visions as a way of providing charismatic leadership for their fellow Christians.
My contention is that the role of women and the charismatic dimension of Christianity go together. Even though women were excluded from church offices like presbyter (priest/elder) and bishop by the end of the third century, they continued to function in the charismatic and thus remained teachers and leaders. If the history of Christianity guides the interpretation of scripture at all, then it suggests that the Spirit’s continued calling of women through the charismatic gifts may be God’s way of trying to say something about his daughters. They are the “handmaids of the living God,” whom God has gifted to occupy all offices. Read the rest of this entry »