Jesus Creed folks, welcome to the “One T Saloon” and to Courtney Pace Lyons, Ph.D., whom I had the privilege to hear preach on December 27 at Collective Church, Roanoke, TX. (For the newcomers, “the one t saloon” was one of the first alternative names of this blog site. Please note that Scot McKnight spells his first name with only one T. We come into the “One T Saloon” to have good conversations, perhaps civilly wrangle over important issues, but hopefully nobody gets huffy and starts a gun fight.) Now, about Courtney.
Dr. Lyons, aka “Rev. Dr. Mom,” opened up Mark 5:21-43 and led us in an exploration of Jesus’ gospel compassion. Courtney focused mainly on the woman with the “issue of blood for 12 years.” Courtney is a scholar. I was captured by her knowledge of the text and the unfolding flow of Mark’s story. Dr. Lyons referenced cultural realities, Greek constructions, and exegetical nuances on which the text turns. She made astute comparisons and contrasts between the older, hemorrhaging woman and the synagogue ruler’s 12 year old daughter who died. Courtney had me mesmerized with the text. Even more, she had me looking at Jesus through a woman’s eyes.
I’ll never, let me repeat, I’ll never hear a sermon like this about an old woman and a young girl from a male interpreter. That is a solid fact. I was ready to accept Jesus as my Savior as Courtney finished her sermon. My Savior from male-dominated exegesis and male only rule over the church. God, and I mean it, my God! how we need our gifted and called sisters’ voices in the maturation of the church and the expansion of the kingdom of God. I don’t care how they slice the text, the complementarians among us are going to have a large splash of egg on their faces at the final judgment when Jesus asks them to evaluate Rev. Dr. Courtney Pace Lyons in view of their niggling handling of the Scriptures.
I am a Moody Bible Institute (now University) grad as well as a Dallas Theological Seminary grad. I know very well the arguments posited for a hierarchical view of male-female relationships in home and church. Can we talk? The last thing some complementarians will do is actually listen to an excellently trained, mature in character, and Spirit-gifted sister preach and demonstrate her leadership contributions to the church at large. So obsessed are they with exegetical minutia, they cannot lift their eyes up and see the phenomenal beauty of sisters and brothers serving absolutely equally in the local church (which is the current expression of the kingdom of God). “Strain at a gnat, swallow a camel,” someone once said.
I pray to God that Dr. Lyons (Ph.D. in Religion from Baylor University), who teaches Church History at Memphis Theological Seminary, will be well received here. She’s not had an easy life. Courtney is a competitive ice figure skater. I’ll let her tell you about that. My life is richer, fuller and deeper from hearing her preach and getting to know her personally on a Sunday morning. Courtney, you and your Stole Sisters, are welcomed to the community here. We’ve got your back. Grab a table and drink deep at the “One T Saloon.”