Category Archives: Worship wars

Amazing Discovery by our RCC Friends

changing-timesThe BBC is breathlessly reporting something that I’ll be NO ONE EVER knew before:

Women are prouder than men, but men are more lustful, according to a Vatican report which states that the two sexes sin differently.

A Catholic survey found that the most common sin for women was pride, while for men, the urge for food was only surpassed by the urge for sex.

I can just Homestar Runner now:  “Seeweeouswy, Strong Bad!  Can you buh-weave it?” 

The BBC has shown us how late in the Empire we are, that this would be news.  Actually, it’s more than news.  It’s subversive, which is why it’s coming out of the Roman Catholic Church, that paragon of Western Patriarchal Purgatory, in which all men are gods and all women are bare-foot and prego.

Not that the Romans have any monopoly on this sort of thing, of course.  It used to be that American Protestantism was rife with sexist oppression — women covering their heads in worship, wearing dresses instead of short-shorts to Church.  Do you realize that not many generations ago there were no female worship leaders?  No generous swathes of female belly-flesh undulating from what old cranks pompously called “the sanctuary?”  No navels winking merrily at the congregation? 

It’s taken a long hard fight, but Broadly American Evangelical Protestantism has finally reached the gender heights of what George Bernard Shaw proclaimed as the proper gender division within humanity:  male, female, and clergy.  Except if you’re female clergy, you’re still permitted to flaunt your femininity.  If you’re male clergy, however, you’d better not speak or act in any way that a woman wouldn’t be comfortable speaking or acting.

Still, those Catholics think there’s a gender component to sin. 

The Pope’s personal theologian backed up the report in the Vatican newspaper.

“Men and women sin in different ways,” Msgr Wojciech Giertych, theologian to the papal household, wrote in L’Osservatore Romano.

“When you look at vices from the point of view of the difficulties they create you find that men experiment in a different way from women.”

Msgr Giertych said the most difficult sin for men to face was lust, followed by gluttony, sloth, anger, pride, envy and greed.

For women, the most dangerous sins were pride, envy, anger, lust, and sloth, he added.

Oh yeah??  Who says??

Actually, it was the Catholic sinners (or, at least, those who still go to confession) who provide the shocking evidence.

The report was based on a study of confessions carried out by Fr Roberto Busa, a 95-year-old Jesuit scholar.

Protestant ecumenists with their gender priorities straight (or, should that be straight/gay/lesbian/transexual?) need to redouble their efforts to liberate Catholic clergy and laity from the deplorable sexism of the past.

10 Comments

Filed under Patriarchy, Worship wars

Jesus and other Heros on the Bathroom Wall

At least they didn’t put photos of Jesus right next to the toilet.

Yikes!  I’ve found another advocate of Christianity in the men’s room! I had thought that the previous example of this was so freaky that readers would think I made it up.  Now, I’m fearful that this may become a trend.  You know — churches getting their knickers in a twist about how feminized they are, so they butch things up by putting hunky pictures of Jesus on the bathroom walls of the men’s room.

 This is exactly what someone at a Methodist church did, and it seems he got run out of town for it. So, what does he do for an encore?  He starts a local Church for Men.  No “wishy, washy, lovey, dovey music.”  No pews or flowers.  There’s nothing about the decor of the men’s room, but since it meets in rented YMCA facilities, we will have to wait until they own their own property to see how they make a men’s room Really Masculine and Religious at the same time when they don’t have anyone objecting at the top.

Now, at the Very Top, things may be different, to judge by what He has said about such environments previously.  “But, hey!  This is the 21st Century, right?  Who cares what that Old Testament God said about His holiness.  Let’s bring Jesus into the toilet where He belongs.”

I need to blog further on this.  The guys griping about feminized church have some legitimate gripes.  But, the solution to this problem is NOT to accept the premise of those who want to keep the church woman-friendly in the way it has become woman-friendly.  Making Christian worship “man-friendly” by littering the sanctuary (and, evidently, the men’s room too!) with counterbalancing man-stuff (Harleys, Pennzoil oil-change signs, trophy deer-heads mounted on the wall) — all this administers as medicine the very toxin that has infected the churches:

It’s all about ME. 

According to these folks, a truly just worship environment would change from Sunday to Sunday, to accurately reflect the gender-demographics of the crowd that has shown up that day. Indeed, if you read the comments here, you’ll see that this is exactly what some are proposing.  Again, it’s all about ME. 

Blech.

6 Comments

Filed under Gender wars, Uncategorized, Worship wars

Gender Wars and Worship Wars: a connection

They’re related, right? For some time now I have sensed a living and vital linkage between the “gender wars” and the “worship wars” within Broadly Evangelical American Protestantism (BEAP).  These controversies not only intersect, they seem to reinforce one another.  The problem has been to figure out how and why.  It’s puzzlement.  I suspect many factors are at work.

A one clue may be found in two notices I ran across yesterday about a book by James B. Twitchell entitled Shopping for God.  One notice popped up in a regional newspaper web site in Florida, another  in the editorial pages of the online Wall Street Journal.

Naomi Riley, in the WSJ piece, summarizes Twitchell’s thesis as follows:

Choosing a religion, [Twitchell] argues, is much like choosing any other product–from breakfast food to beer. He sets out to determine why the “spiritual marketplace” in the U.S. seems so hot right now, and, more pointedly, why evangelical megachurches have become, well, so mega. His theme can be summed up in one of the book’s smug chapter titles: “Christian Consumers Are Consumers First.”

So far, Twitchell’s book appears to be the latest, and perhaps most thorough, analysis of a feature of BEAP’s adoption of commercial marketing as the starting point for advancing the Kingdom of God.  Riley (reluctantly?) acknowledges that “… in fact there are churches out there self-consciously engaged in marketing. They hire consultants and public-relations experts to ‘grow’ their flock, and they obey a market discipline.”  From my perspective, those churches that don’t hire consultants are avidly aping those that do.  Why pay for what you can mimic for free? 

But, then, Riley quotes Twitchell to a point that intrigues me:

Mr. Twitchell explains: “Men are the crucial adopters in religion. If they go over the tipping point, women follow, children in tow.” So now megachurches sponsor sports ministries and groups whose members ride motorcycles together. The language of prayers and sermons has moved away from a condescending lecture tone and taken up sports metaphors instead, asking congregants, for instance, to step up to the plate and help the team. In such a way are men induced to buy the megachurch product.

Twitchell, therefore, argues that there is (or, we should expect there to be) a “gender factor” in BEAP’s marketing of Christianity to the masses.  Certainly there are some overt attempts at this as far as marketing Christianity to men are concerned.  There is, for example, The Gospel in the Men’s Room, a deliberate attempt to make a church appealing to men by making a men’s toilet within it redolent of Harleys, Pennzoil, and NASCAR paraphrenalia.  We think, also, of Church for Men  and the virile fellows at God-men.   All these latter are whining, plotting, and campaigning for men in church to get their fair share of the bennies. 

But, consider … except for where individual congregations are big enough and rich enough to do niche-marketing to men (i.e. they’re mega churches already), Twitchell has given us a plausible reason for the female-friendly cache of contemporary Christianity of the BEAP variety, namely that every congregation you can find within BEAPdom is predominately female.  Churches that want to maintain their size, much less grow, cannot afford to displease the majority of their market.

What is the chicken and what is the egg here?  Who knows?  But, if Twitchell is right about BEAP, its female-heavy demographics and its programmatic appeal to feminine tastes obviously reinforce one another.

3 Comments

Filed under Gender wars, Worship wars

Dontcha wish you’d said that?

Don’t you just love it when someone else says something, so you don’t have to?

It’s a blogger’s joy when someone else says something the blogger wants to say but hasn’t yet done so, for any number of reasons big or small.

And, so, I am chortling happily at Tony Woodlief’s saying what I always wanted to say about those who go to church (or, to other august events, such as funerals) dressed in attire not even fit for taking out the trash at 2:00 A.M. on the darkest night of the year.

Here’s his opening salvo:

I’m looking forward to our new church sanctuary because it will have pews. Right now we sit on folding chairs, which is part of the reason why I had to stare at the pimply ass-crack of the young woman in front of me, until I left to sit in the lobby, where the view was brighter and the sermon sounded kinder. She was a visitor, and some grace must be afforded, though the regular member who brought her treated everyone to more than we needed to see of her lime-green underwear.

It gets better.  Much, much better.  Read the whole thing.  And, don’t overlook the comments.  A few of them are priceless, and Woodlief provides you with some nifty retorts to those who’d defend the thing Woodlief skewers.

I notice that Woodlief has filed this particular blog in a category named “irritations.”  Heh heh heh.

12 Comments

Filed under Worship wars

The Gospel in the Men’s Room

NOTE CAREFULLY:  In the following conversation, the words attributed to “Christ’s Family Church” are Really and Truly the words on their website, as you can confirm by going there yourself (until they decide to take them down; and after that Mother Google will still remember them).  All these direct, complete, and unexpurgated statements from Christ’s Family Church’s website are speaking  about the matters discussed in the following conversation.  And the photos are real photos taken in a Real Men’s Room that really and truly looks like the photos.  If you think I can make this stuff up, I wish you’d put in a good word for me with the producer of Comedy Central. 

And now, on to our main attraction …

Christ’s Family Church in Hastings Minnesota wants you to do a bit of spiritual daydreaming.  Here’s how it worked for me.

Christ’s Family Church: Imagine… if you will, walking into a men’s room, where the first thing you see is a pair of chrome hubcaps on the wall. You look around and see a clock made of a rotor and brake pads. There is a huge 1989 Pennzoil sign mounted above a towel dispenser.

Moi: How about this? 

Oil changes in the men’s room?  Why not?

Am I imagining things correctly?  I hope you don’t mind my imagining the Penzoil sign as advertising oil changes.  I mean, like, oil changes in a men’s room.  Kinda funky, huh?  And for any kinky visitors (present company excepted, of course), it signals some double untundra stuff too.  But, hey – it’s a men’s room, right?  They’ve been known to host some pretty funky stuff. 

And, yes, I know how to spell “double entendre.”  It’s just that “double untundra” is what I thought people were saying all through my boyhood, and it’s stuck.  So don’t go writing me any snotty comments correcting my spelling.  I like my spelling better.  It doesn’t look so revoltingly French.

So, okay.  I’ve got this picture of a men’s room in my head, rotor and brake pad clock and Penzoil oil change  sign.  What next?

Christ’s Family Church: As you step into the room you can’t help but notice a framed painting of a Renault Racer, a parking meter mounted on the wall, and a “No Parking” sign above the toilet.

Moi:  Hmmmm.  I can imagine the Renault.  But “No Parking” above the toilet is … well, you see, every time I try, I get this picture of my father-in-law, of blessed memory, and “no parking” is not what comes to mind with him and a toilet.  It’s kind of dissonant, dontcha know? 

How about if I imagine a related receptacle.  You said it’s a men’s room, right?  Unlike my house, Real Men’s Rooms have these very manly wall whizzer thingys. Will this do?

The Essential Men’s Room Appliance

Christ’s Family Church:  The wall tile is done in a black and white checked flag motif.

Moi:  Uh oh.  I wasn’t thinking NASCAR.  Okay.  How about this?

Whizzing on the checkered flag?

‘Cept I can’t shake the idea that I’d be whizzing on the checkered flag.  There’s gotta be something deeply Freudian about that.  Do you think it’s safe for a guy to do on THAT wall what those guys in 1 Samuel 22:25  were doing?

Christ’s Family Church:  … centered on the back wall is a picture of a Ziegler Cat Motorcycle.

Moi:  Awwwwlll right!  Ya know, last week I went to this goody two-shoes luncheon with a gaggle of lavender scented, purple haired … well, they are supposed to be pastors, you see.  But they were so pink and poofed that at one point, I just had to escape to the men’s room for a breath of something other than Fruit-passion Potion, or whatever they’re slathering at the men’s hair salons these days.  I mean, these guys would make Metrosexuals look butch.  

And, wouldn’t you just know it!  The first thing  I see as I walk into that pansy-pants men’s room in that foo-foo-a-la-mode bistro was NOT a Penzoil oil change sign.  It was a vase of pink hibiscus and the odor of Sultry Nights blended with the raunchy aromas of various intestinally produced sulphur-oxide gases.  Blech. 

Give me the sight of Penzoil oil change signs and the sight of sweaty bikers with 55-gallon beer guts hanging over their black leather belts any time.  Okay, at your suggestion, I imagine this:

Chariot of Fire, no doubt.

Will this do?

Christ’s Family Church:  And the center piece of it all is a black, masterfully air brush painted partition wall, complete with flames that look so real you might get burned if you stand too close.

Moi:  WHOAAAOOOooooooo!!!  Outa-freakin-sight, Dude!  I’ve wanted something like that in MY bathroom ever since I saw Mel Brook’s Blazing Saddles!  But, I couldn’t warm up to the Western Motif and a saddle just doesn’t work as a toilet seat. 

But, Chariots of Fire!  Or, better yet, Thrones of Fire.  Now we’re talking!  No wonder there’s a No Parking sign above the toilet.  It’s not for parking.  It’s for riding the flaming jets into the sky!  How about this?

Flames on the door to the flaming throne room.

Christ’s Family Church:  Where do you suppose you are? The Old Brickyard at the Indianapolis 500?

Moi:  Well, that’s a sorta tame possibility. 

Actually, I was thinking this might be the first bathroom make-over done by Thomas Kinkade after he’d been released from his slavery as the sex toy at the last National Joint Convention of the Neo-Nazi Bikers and the Diesel Dames Fuel-injected Tea Society. 

Christ’s Family Church:  Nope! You have just entered the men’s room at Christ’s Family Church!

Moi:  Well, I’ll be gobsmacked with an oily bicycle chain. This is a joke, right?

Christ’s Family Church: Does that come as a bit of a surprise? 

Moi:  A bit of a surprise? Like I said … gobsmacked am I.

Christ’s Family Church: We hope so, because part of the mission statement at CFC is to “proclaim God’s reconciling love through Jesus Christ to neighbors, co-workers and friends.”

Moi:  Let me get this straight (if that’s possible, given the images you’ve gotten  me to imagine) … You actually have a men’s room like this?  In your church?  And that’s how you accomplish your church’s mission? 

This is a joke, right?  I mean, I’ve heard of Christians in catacombs, but I don’t recall that they invited anyone down there, except other Christians.  But, you proclaim God’s reconciling love through Jesus Christ in your motor-oiled-thrones-of-fire men’s room?  You invite your neighbors, co-workers, and friends to your Men’s Room?  For evangelism

Christ’s Family Church: The men’s room is just one of the many ways this church is trying to accomplish this mission. As Pastor Paris likes to say: “We are willing to go to any lengths, use any means necessary, to bring people closer to Christ.”

Moi:  If this is an example,  … well, the mind boggles at what else you’re doing in order to go to any lengths. 

Just curious … are you members of the Metropolitan Community Churches?  I’ll bet some of them would think your Men’s Room is slicker than calf slobber.

Christ’s Family Church: Our men’s room gives members a reason to invite people to church. That is what CFC is all about; reaching those who have become disenchanted with religion but are searching for a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Moi:  I just have to ask.  Do they “find a relationship with Jesus” in the Men’s Room?  Do you, perhaps, hold church in that men’s room?  Leaving aside the spiritual implications of the setting, it’s kinda small, don’t you think? 

Or, is your ministry designed exclusively around small groups?  If so, does that mean you invite the female visitors to your church into your Men’s Room?

Christ’s Family Church: A visitor in attendance was so moved that she returned later in the week with a guest from Tulsa who took photographs and was very excited about a concept so outside the box.

Moi:  Yessiree Bob.  So at least one woman got in there and was “moved.”  This isn’t meant as a double untundra, right?  I thought not.  Still.

So, she took photos in the Men’s Room.  This will get you a citation for disorderly conduct in most locales, at a minimum.  No wonder she was so excited.  Cheap thrills.  How many of her woman-friends ever got to do a photo essay of the inside of a working Men’s Room?  I’ll bet she’s already contacted Oprah. 

Christ’s Family Church: When you come, you may want to stay for a cup of freshly brewed latte or espresso of your choice and experience God in a unique atmosphere.

Moi:  You guys have really thought this through, haven’t you?  Coffee (even when it’s called a latte or an espresso) is a powerful diuretic.  It makes you want to go … to the Men’s Room!  What a concept!!  And, even women can go there too, from what you’ve indicated already.

But why, then, do you call it a Men’s Room?  Why not “Family Room” like in the malls or airports, where either men or women, and children too, can use the facilities?  Or have you called it a Men’s Room because of the decor? 

If so, it’s a really affirming and nice thought in this day of feminized Christianity.  Everyone gets to use the Men’s Room!  How affirming for men. How egalitarian for women!

All this, and Jesus too!  I didn’t notice him anywhere in the photos, but maybe I just don’t know what to look for.  Is he, perhaps, that rather imposing figure on the bike?  I notice that this picture is inside the flaming throne room.  Or is he somewhere in the various dispensers on the walls? 

Jesus in convenient metered doses.  There’s a thought!  The sinks have loads of possibilities:  “Wash your sins away here!” and you could have the Sinner’s Prayer written on the mirror with industrial-strength crayon.  Over the towel dispenser: “Wipe your sins away here!”  The sinks could also serve as baptismal fonts, unless you guys are the dunking kind.  How about “Let the Holy Ghost breath new life into you here!” over the electronically-timed hot-air hand-drying appliance?

 The possibilities are almost limitless!
 

UPDATE ON NOV 1, 2007:  Checking back at the church website, I find that the amazingly outrageous pages are now gone.  Past their shelf-life, I suppose.  I also notice that you cannot retrieve them via Mother Google, so someone at the church may have had some misgivings when it was posted in the first place, and set the robots.txt file so that search-engine spiders wouldn’t archive these particular pages.  I notice further that the domain names are different for most pages now.

Anyhow, if anyone questions that the idiocy reported above never actually happened, I did find one other blogger who preserved the text of those pages in his blog.  You may verify that Christ Family Church did indeed tout their gospel-men’s room by checking it out here.

3 Comments

Filed under Worship wars

Who’s dating Jesus?

He’s Jesus’ bride?Agnieszka Tennant’s recent essay in Christianity Today entitled “Dating Jesus” is a mixed bag, mostly for what it does not say.  Where she speaks to her topic, I’d agree with her, though with more urgency than she displays.  But, still … as far as it goes, what she says is spot on.

Her criticism boils down to this:  Christian women, aided and abetted by popular evangelical writers and some church ministries, are going overboard with the Bible’s bridal imagery.  And, she acknowledges that this mistake is not exactly new.  Neither is reading the Song of Solomon and other biblical passages as erotically charged letters addressed directly to the reader.

In support of the antiquity of this error, Tennant points to bridal imagery in the vows of Medieval nuns whose vows of celibacy are construed as spiritual marriages. On the modern scene, Tennant alludes to unnamed female writers who urge their female readers to go on dates with Jesus or to have “Tea with Jesus,” wearing their wedding dresses to the affairs. 

When it comes time to sum up her critique, Tennant tells us this:

I have little patience for taking biblical metaphors too far and giving one’s relationship with God an air of irreverent chumminess. Somehow, the scenario in which “his princess” shaves her legs for a date with Jesus seems to leave little room for fear of God. And consider how unhelpful this misreading must be to single women who are hormonally awake. The cruel message they get is: If Jesus is really your husband, what’s your problem? Be satisfied!

As I said. well and good.  But, is it sufficient (as a critique, I mean) for Tennant to tell us that “she has little patience” with this kind of thing?  Why should it matter that it seems to be irreverent chumminess to her.  And why is her special concern only for the single woman who is hormonally awake?  

What’s wrong with Tennant’s critique is simply this:  it’s myopic. And, it’s myopic in a way that’s typical of modern egalitarian evangelicals:  the whole “problem” is considered purely from a woman’s perspective, a kind of gender-affirmative action, if you will.  Oddly, for women to co-opt the Bible’s bridal imagery for their own personal feminine spirituality seems fine to many evangelical women.  Indeed, Tennant seems to object only to those who go overboard with this sort of stuff.  Going overboard offends Tennant’s sensibilities.  Otherwise, we suppose, construing or attempting to live out one’s spiritual life in terms of bridal or spousal concepts is okay.

Of far greater consequence is the impact of this kind of thing on men in the church.  Leon Podles work The Church Impotent: the Feminization of Christianity  propounds two theses: (1) that the application of bridal imagery to the personal spirituality of  Christians has had the effect of driving men out of the church, and that (2) the chief culprit is Bernard of Clairvaux, whose preaching and discipleship ministry was largely responsible for injecting bridal imagery into the personal devotions of Christians in the West.  Podles gets challenged on pinning this tail on Bernard’s bridal donkey; but, even if Podles is inaccurate in that charge, his case for man-unfriendly bridal spirituality in both Catholic and Protestant communions is difficult to dispute.

Podles is Roman Catholic, but reading his book gives one who grew up in a thoroughly low-church Protestant environment the willies.  Often, you’d think he were speaking of the Sunday School at First Baptist Church back in the 1950s, or the revivalist tent meetings of a half-century before that.  The saccharine sentimentality of old gospel songs is aimed straight for the feminine heart, and in the mouths of men these songs are emasculating.  

Fast forward, now, to the “Jesus is my boyfriend” choruses so popular in evangelical settings today.  Imagine the spiritual impact on men who are prompted to sing “I cry your name out in the night, I want to feel my arms around you, I long to hear you call my name, I want to be your Holy Bride.” 

I actually watched an assembly of Christians crooning these and similar lyrics in a dimly lit sanctuary (resembled a night-club lounge) as they appeared on the wall.  By my estimation two-thirds of the people present were women, and by the sound of it all, the only voices who were singing were the female ones, except for the male crooner on stage, moaning these lyrics into the ever-phallic microphone.  Glancing around, I saw mostly still male faces, or occasionally ones which seemed to be mumbling something.  

There are strong and potent reasons why this kind of thing is toxic to the spiritual life of both men and women.  But, how it is toxic differs depending on the sex of the worshiper.  For women, to eroticize their relationship with the LORD goes a long way toward idolatry. It has this same effect with men plus this additional disaster: a wholesale repudiation of their created masculinity.  Men are not and never will be “brides” without severe distortion of their personal identity.  

Someone somewhere in my hearing once said “Jesus has a bride, not a harem.” Relating to Jesus as a romantic, or erotic, or spousal, lover is simply not permitted by the Biblical texts.  That alone should give pause to any who suppose it to provide an “option” for one’s personal spirituality.  For men and for churches that hope to evangelize and disciple men there is an additional liability.  Men not only sense the perverseness of such thinking, a majority of them get right up out of their pews and flee for the door.  Permanently.   

15 Comments

Filed under Egalitarianism, Man, the glory of God, Worship wars

Want to get published by Egalitarians? Here’s How …

Christians for Biblical Equality has issued a call for papers for their Winter 2006 issue of Mutuality.  The theme for this issue will be “worship and equality.”  They announce that they “still need authors” for the following topics:

  • The role of spirituals and freedom songs in the long struggle for ethnic equality and justice in the United States
  • Examples of worship leaders in the Bible, like Miriam and David
  • Examples of worship leaders in Church history, like Hildegaard of Bingen
  • Themes of justice and equality in the Psalms, and how the Psalms have influenced the church’s worship
  • Themes of justice and equality in Mary’s Magnificat
  • Reflections on how worship has influenced your understanding of biblical equality and justice, and vice versa
  • Examples of how worship can be a topic of division, but also a source of unity and healing

 Worship via leaders

It will be fascinating to see how the editors of Mutuality view the intersection of worship and “equality.”  What, I wonder, amounts to “worship and inequality?”  Oh, I know!  That tedious business about women never exercising authority or teaching a man somewhere in one of Paul’s minor epistles.  He was having a bad day, right?  Anyhow – women need to be in those pulpits for our worship to have equality.  I’ll bet that’s what’s on their minds. 

But, returning to those topics for which they have no authors, their requests provide some fascinating insights into how egalitarians evaluate and assess various theological things.  Consider …

“Long struggle” is illuminating, as it is defined as extending (at most) back to 1776, or perhaps a few years earlier.  So, if a struggle has gone on for 230 to 250 years, this is a Long Time for an egalitarian.  It helps to keep this in mind, because the Church has been around for 2,000 years, or, possibly, for up to 3,500  years (assuming a 15th Century BC date for the Exodus and incorporating the entirety of Israel in “the Church”).  That’s 8 to 14 times as long as what egalitarians will call “long” in terms of the calendar.

Why is this helpful to know? 

Well, it suggests that perhaps the Mutuality editors cannot apprehend real antiquity, real historical momentum, as one finds in the entirety of the Church.  If they could apprehend this, they would see how novel, how radically Nouveau Chic their egalitarian values actually are in the historical scheme of things.  After all, men have been heads of their families and churches for about 1900 years, maybe a few decades more than that.  But, does this count for anything in the egalitarian scheme of things historical?

Nope.

Two hundred plus years is about as much as the folks at CBE can reckon for “long time” stuff.  No wonder they can’t appreciate how really long time the patriarchal values have held forth in Christ’s Church.

But, there’s more here …

Did you know that the Old Testament had “worship leaders?”  And that they included women?  And that the Medieval Church had them too?  And that Hildegaard von Bingen was one of them?  I’ll bet this is news to the elders of the tribes of Israel, and to  Asaph, and to Zechariah, as well as to Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, and Obed-Edom, along with Jeiel, Benaiah, and Jahaziel.  And, I bet it was Really News to Popes Eugene III, Anastasius IV, Adrian IV, and Alexander III, since Hildegaard’s writings and music were confined to her convent until after her death. 

But, whatever. 

We have worship leaders today, and they are almost entirely women, right?  So, of course, the Medieval Church must have had some women worship leaders.  And, so too did Israel’s Temple worship.  Just stands to reason, right?  Whatever we have today must have been back there too, right?

And those themes of justice and equality in Mary’s Magnificat?  Wow!  How fantastic, that here in the 21st Century we’re finally learning about that. 

And, you know what??? These themes were in the Psalms too!  Themes of equality in the Psalms, if you can believe it.  Surely we can find someone to author a paper that lays this all out for us.

Worship a topic of division?  Hey, here’s an idea — how about the equality of Agag and the sheep?  Didn’t the Prophet Samuel hew Agag to pieces before the LORD, kind of like the sheep were hewn into pieces at the altar worship? If that isn’t division in worship, I don’t know what is!

And you know why, of course.  It was because Saul and Agag didn’t wait for Samuel to show up for worship.  They went ahead of him (see?  a-HEAD; not WITH Samuel).  So, that most definitely led to multiple divisions of Agag. 

You know, this egalitarian perspective sheds a whole new light on those otherwise confusing (and, seemingly, patriarchal) books of the Old Testament.  Can you imagine those centuries of misled believers who never heard a word about equality until the editors of Mutuality came along to bless God’s Church?  How horrid it must have been! 

Everyone equally praise the Lord, following those mostly female worship leaders!  Today we have Mutuality and those wonderful papers that will appear in the Winter 2006 edition, once they find people to write them.
 

5 Comments

Filed under Egalitarianism, Polemics, Worship wars