Questions, Questions and More Questions
On Tuesday night, it was this male’s privilege to once again present on the topic of gender reconciliation to a group of young urban leaders in downtown Fresno. These saints are spending this year living in intentional Christian community and pursuing experiences with justice, reconciliation, and ministry with the marginalized. Honestly, it was an honor to be among them.
So I did my 40 minute talk, and then I opened the floor for questions. And, when that happened, the torrent began. Insightful question after insightful question. We spent about 20 minutes, and we could have gone much longer. Some reflections.
1. We need to help people understand the Scriptures related to faith and gender. I gave 2 minute expositions of Ephesians 5 and Genesis 3, and then I gave a longer treatment of 1 Timothy 2. The question about the Timothy text came from a woman in the front row who raised her hand and said, “there’s this one passage, from Paul, in 1st Timothy. Doesn’t it say that woman can’t teach in the church?” After I said my piece, she had a look on her face that said, “I can’t believe there is another way to interpret that text.” What venues can we create in our faith communities where people can honestly wrestle through the Scriptures?
2. People are craving new models for how to live this stuff out. That’s certainly true when it comes to inter-gender partnerships. Models of functional, missional partnerships are so scarce, I had to exhort the students to move heaven and earth in order to seek them out. And then I got asked about how my egalitarian marriage works. Why? Because no one has ever seen one!
3. Creating safe places where people can ask their questions would be a good use of our time in the church. There were a lot of questions on Tuesday night, but, then again, there always are. I think it speaks to the persistent (and frustrating) silence in our churches on the topic of faith and gender. And let’s not fool ourselves. When it comes to these topics, it seems like the church is the only one being silent. The culture certainly isn’t.
Between last week’s sessions at Fresno Pacific and Tuesday evening’s presentation, I’m in need of a break. Good thing the next DMiss year doesn’t start for another 5 weeks…