Weekly Meanderings

How complementarian is the Bible? Listen to Phil Payne discuss this question at TEDS on Nov 12, 7pm. At the A.T. Olsen chapel.

Roger Olson on oppression, sometimes against boys and males.

No matter what! Beautiful story by April.

Greg Boyd… always worth the read or listen: “This message leaves unanswered a multitude of questions that could be raised regarding LGBT people and the church. The goal of this message is to simply point us in the direction of a third way of addressing these issues – a way that transcends the “either-or” dichotomy we’ve usually been presented with. It’s a way in which we confess that we are all sinners, saved by grace, and in the process of being transformed by the love of God. It’s a way in which we wrestle with all of our issues in love and from the inside of the faith rather than in judgment and as a precondition for being accepted into the faith.”

Sarah Coakley on mending the wound between systematic and practical theology: “When that whole system was placed into the American scenario (and I’m missing out a lot of steps of history here), certain further maneuvers occurred whereby the university divinity schools in particular linked their theology departments to Ph.D. programs and made it quite clear that they weren’t giving up on the idea that they were intellectually [legitimate], along the lines of the philosophy faculty, for instance. But as for the practical, pastoral theology, it took up this rather strange position as not really intellectual in the same way, not really associated with doctoral work; more connected with affectivity, pastoral response, love, rather than thought, etc. And I think this has had very deleterious effects, both for the church and for the academy, because it siphoned off so-called pastoral or practical theology away from theology in its doctoral stream, thus creating a disjunction that would have been quite fantastic to the great pre-modern theologians such as Augustine or Aquinas. And that’s meant that practical theology-based interests have become placed under the cloud of anti-intellectualism, very often — even though that’s denied regularly. And doctoral-level theology has itself been denuded by being disconnected from those practical interests. So my view is that we need to, as it were, re-mend that wound. How to do this institutionally, now, is not easy, because to change any institution is a hard slog.” (HT: Pepy)

Do you know about Big Questions online?

Do you know about cat poop coffee? (HT: LNMM)

Nice: “Two Options Arose: 1- Stop going to church. Read the books that suit me on faith. Talk with my friends about my faith and hobby of theology, but get away from the organized crap. This is the option that is statistically preferred. 2 – Find a church I could love, despite flaws, and work within the system while fighting my cynicism. I chose option two. I committed to the church and Christ healed me. I didn’t know how, at the time, but I knew I was being healed. The sermons were good, but it wasn’t that. The Anglican liturgy was new to me and beautiful, and as a student of words this helped, but I think there was something more. The prayers were Trinitarian and theologically based: I could no longer handle all of the prayers that went like this “Lord you are just the best. We just delight in how you just love us.” Grammatical and syntactical problems aside, I did not want to be cynical of my upbringing, and I know that it wasn’t simply a different order of services that was healing me.” (HT: TG)

Meanderings in the News

Britt Hume and his Christian awakening: “Fox News’ Brit Hume is known for his pointed and robust political analysis. But in a recent interview with CBN News chief political correspondent David Brody, the well-known journalist and commentator also spoke candidly about his Christian faith and the pain surrounding his son’s 1998 suicide. Hume told Brody that, throughout his adult life, he gave very little thought to God and his faith. But the untimely death of his son caused that to change radically. Looking back on the painful period in his life, the Fox News analyst said that he quickly realized that many of the events that happened could only be explained as being God-ordained.”

Voting (or not voting) in Hawaii: “I met people like Nani Teruya, a fiery 51-year-old who throws her head back like Kermit the Frog when she laughs. She says the U.S. is illegally occupying Hawaii, and she doesn’t vote on principle. Then there’s Sam Slom, Hawaii’s one and only Republican state senator, who says voters don’t care because it seems like the Democratic Party controls everything in the state. Or Nanci Munroe, 55, who was driving to her polling place during one presidential election when she learned that it didn’t matter how she voted: The winner was announced on her car radio. (Because Hawaii is six hours behind the East Coast, national elections often are called by the news media, and Twitter, before Hawaii finishes voting.)”

On the Jews and Israel: “Few issues are as crucial to the future of the human race as the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and few are as misunderstood in American politics. The reasons, naturally, are complex; so too, God knows, is the conflict itself. But much of the confusion arises from the combined ability of professional Jewish organizations, right-wing think tanks and media-based neoconservative pundits to misrepresent both the views and the influence of American Jews and to enforce their misrepresentations on the mainstream media via political intimidation.”

Jacques Barzun.

Are women becoming as unfaithful as men? ” Among the most reliable studies on this issue is the General Social Survey, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, which has been asking Americans the same questions since 1972. In the 2010 survey, 19% of men said that they had been unfaithful at some point during their marriages, down from 21% in 1991. Women who reported having an affair increased from 11% in 1991 to 14% in 2010. A 2011 study conducted by Indiana University, the Kinsey Institute and the University of Guelph found much less of a divide: 23% for men and 19% for women. Such numbers suggest the disappearance of the infidelity gender gap, but some caution is in order.”

What parents can give their children: “Given all the roiling debates about how America’s children should be taught, it may come as a surprise to learn that students spend less than 15% of their time in school. While there’s no doubt that school is important, a clutch of recent studies reminds us that parents are even more so. A study published earlier this month by researchers at North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and the University of California-Irvine, for example, finds that parental involvement — checking homework, attending school meetings and events, discussing school activities at home — has a more powerful influence on students’ academic performance than anything about the school the students attend. Another study, published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, reports that the effort put forth by parents (reading stories aloud, meeting with teachers) has a bigger impact on their children’s educational achievement than the effort expended by either teachers or the students themselves. And a third study concludes that schools would have to increase their spending by more than $1,000 per pupil in order to achieve the same results that are gained with parental involvement (not likely in this stretched economic era).”

Evolution and grandmothers.

Feathered dinosaurs: “It’s already clear that most feathered dinosaurs, strong as they were, were not fliers, and various theories have been floated as to what role the feathers played. Dinofuzz could conceivably have provided insulation. Shafted feathers, though, are a bit more of a puzzle–one current theory is that, on outstretched arms, they might have helped stabilize running dinosaurs as they hurtled across the plains. But the idea that they could have had a use in communication is neat: we have very little insight into the social behavior of dinosaurs, and if more finds produce evidence that shafted feathers grew exclusively on ornithomimid adults, then paleontologists might be able to craft a theory that focuses on communication and signaling.”

Pre-marital sex and marital satisfactionRESULTS (Among many, a highlight): As adults, the people who didn’t have sex until they were at least 20: …Earned more money … Got more formal education…Had fewer romantic partners…Were less likely to be married. If they were married, though, they were less likely to be dissatisfied with their relationship. IMPLICATION: “The precise mechanisms by which late timing of first sex is associated with lower relationship dissatisfaction remain unknown,” but one of their most interesting theories is that it relates to “pickiness” — in that people wait for super satisfying relationships, so they end up being better. But they’re also less likely to be married at all. What’s the perfect amount of picky, science?

The brain and exercise: “RESULTS: Physical activity was associated with larger gray and normal-appearing white matter volumes, less atrophy, and fewer white matter “lesions.” The relationship was linear: The men and women who exercised had less brain shrinkage and fewer structural signs of cognitive decline. This held true even when adjusting for health status and the influence of brain-related diseases, like strokes. Mental and leisure activity, on the other hand, did not correlate significantly with reductions in the brains’ signs of aging. CONCLUSION: Exercise could be regarded as a “neuroprotective factor.” While doing crossword puzzles on the beach and maintaining an active social life (tango?) can’t hurt, physical activity may be the most effective way to keep your brain massive and powerful.”

An intelligent survey of scholarship on homosexuality and genes.

Meanderings in Sports

 This article doesn’t quite answer the question for me but it does discuss why women can’t do pull-ups. But this article says some women (and my niece, Kari) can do some pull-ups. And Gino thinks the basket should be lowered for women.

Mark Grace, sad story: “PHOENIX -Former Diamondbacks announcer Mark Grace has been indicted on 4 felony DUI counts, which could land him years in prison.”

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  • CGC

    Hi Scot,
    Is the Bible complementarian or egalitarian. Can it be both? I remember reading a very persuasive article by Craig Blomberg who made this argument very well.

    I read Greg’s Boyd’s article on a third way in regards to same-gender relationships. I don’t believe he gives any specifics but he does point the way towards some of the tension the church may have to live with while also calling out the church’s hypocrisies and double standards. I am all for Boyd’s “third way” since I dis-like the polar-political opposites of the other two ways in which most people argue these issues today.

    In regards to the Jews in Israel, is it not possible to be pro-Israel to have a safe place to live and defend while also being pro-Palestinians in giving them some land so that they can be a nation and have the same rights and protections as other nations?

  • scotmcknight

    I don’t think someone can be consistently complementarian and egalitarian at the same time.
    Israel: I agree with you if the answer to the question you are asking is Yes.

  • That video just made my day. Thanks for the laugh.

  • It was my privilege to speak with Jacques Barzun about the person of Jesus. He was gracious throughout our ten minute interaction. He seemed inclined toward a more Gnostic belief. Kyrie eleison!

  • EricW

    As I read and listened to Boyd, it seemed to me that he considers either being LGBT, or engaging in same-sex erotic acts, as sinful. He seems to say or imply that God needs to work on the issue of their sexuality, as he suggests that for some God is currently working on that issue in their lives, but for others God’s working on other issues. He wants all to welcome non-heteros into the church on an equal footing, since all persons in the church are also sinners and we need to just love one another, whether those in the church or those outside of it. But he also seems to imply that LGBTs are not fully equal to all the others in the church because of who they are or who they’re attracted to , which at some point God and/or they will hopefully begin working on.

    I think a LGBT person who reads or listens to Boyd would conclude that he’s still siding against them, no matter how he tries to talk-talk-talk up and down and over and around the issue. In fact, it seems to me that he would be much better off clarifying this than seeming to downplay or dance around it by saying the issue is The Kingdom of God, not what a person’s sexuality is or who they have a physical relationship with, whether recognized by the State or not.

    What do others hear or read him saying?

  • Dianne P

    Re Boyd: I think you’re right in that there’s a “suggestion” that God is working on the sexuality of LGBTs. However, imho, Boyd here is putting the emphasis on the much bigger picture of 1) what is sin anyway? and 2) who are we to judge?

    He goes into detail on those 2 points, yet skips detail on the LGBT issue, leaving that to God. Maybe God is working on the issue of sexuality in the life of someone who is LGBT by telling them that it is ok, in the midst of a church society that tells them that it is not. I need to listen to the video a 2nd time, but I don’t recall Boyd directly condemning LGBTs. He seems to leave much of that open to interpretation.

    Given all the drama about LGBTs in the church, if I were in that place, I would be looking for God’s guidance in my life. Even if I were convinced in my heart that the practice of my sexuality was blessed by God, I’d still be looking for God’s wisdom as to how to live that out in the context of the church and in the world. In other words, how do I live out who I am in the KOG?

    In any case, I commend Boyd for calling out the sins of greed – especially in seeing the incredible (over) consumption in this country as a sign of God’s blessing. And that, as Christians, we are called to vote for those who promise to help us keep even more. Ok, I’ve blown my political cover… I’ll stop now.

  • Thanks for excerpting our post on “Am I Too Cynical for Evangelicalism.”

  • CGC

    Hi Scot,
    You may be right that somebody can not be consistently egalitatian or consistently complementarian at the same time. I rarely run into anyone that is consistently anything. I run into egalitarian men who put down complementarian women and I run into complementarian women who put down egalitarian men. Who is perfectly consistent with love and truth? (even though I understand that the above positions are more opposites and love and truth can be complementary 🙂

    What Blomberg says is the Bible has both complementary aspects to it and egalitarian aspects to it. You can argue against that one if you want but I find both sides have a strong tendency to radically reinterpret the Bible to fit one scheme rather than let the Bible with all its rough edges and non-systematic style simply be what it is in all its diversity and challenging stories.