If we won’t let Esther speak, at least listen to Mordecai

If we won’t let Esther speak, at least listen to Mordecai October 22, 2012

Ruth Moon at Her•meneutics introduces us to Lee Grady, an editor at Charisma magazine and founder of The Mordecai Project.

The purpose of this ministry is to (1) confront the global oppression of women; (2) empower women to discover their God-given spiritual gifts and ministries; and (3) equip Christian men, including church leaders, to recognize, value, protect and train the women in their lives. This mission is accomplished through books, preaching, mentoring, leadership conferences, ministerial retreats and television programs in various languages.

King Ahasuerus had binders full of women.

I’m happy to learn of The Mordecai Project — although not nearly as happy as I would be to learn of The Esther Project.

But still, this is a positive step, particularly given that most conservative evangelical “books, preaching, mentoring, leadership conferences, ministerial retreats and television programs” seem to be supporting The Ahasuerus Project — or even The Haman Coalition — when it comes to the spiritual gifts and ministries of women.

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In an insightful discussion of readers’ assumptions, and how those shape how we read Genesis, Scot McKnight writes:

Example: in teaching Genesis 3 over the years I found the serpent talking an opportunity to explore assumptions. Some assume this happened — as the text says — so they think either that there were snakes with voice boxes or that God did a miracle. Others assume — because they know science and snakes — that, since snakes don’t talk, the incident in Genesis 3 is taking on fictional/mythic dimensions. Discovering assumptions, sometimes knowing it is hard to admit, is important for reading Genesis.

I’m not sure that “snakes don’t talk” is an assumption that some of us bring to the text as much as it is simply an undeniable fact about snakes. So, yes, count me among those who assume — or, rather, conclude — that a story featuring a talking snake “is taking on fictional/mythic dimensions.”

But McKnight’s post now has me thinking about the assumptions of the other approach — the creationist notion that this a literal, historical account of a snake literally, historically talking because “God did a miracle.”

The assumption there isn’t as interesting as the implication: that God chose to intervene miraculously to enable the serpent to tempt Eve. That pretty much makes the serpent God’s hand-puppet or ventriloquist’s dummy.

And that changes the story, literally.

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Sometimes the blogosphere is smaller than you think.

This post from Hemant Mehta at The Friendly Atheist — “Atheists: Stop Making a Big Deal Out of Nothing” — struck me as a smart piece of advice that reminded me, more than anything else, of evangelical blogger Jon Acuff’s occasional warnings against “The Jesus Juke.”

That seemed interesting. Those are two bloggers I admire and enjoy reading, but they come from two very different perspectives. Yet they share a similar objection to the kind of graceless proselytization that elevates an agenda over people.

But before I got around to writing about that, I read this post two days later at The Friendly Atheist — “Jesus Is Not Better Than the SpaceJump,” in which Hemant appropriately facepalms in response to comments from Mark Driscoll, writing “That’s not even a subtle Jesus Juke …” and links to the post by Jon Acuff above.

Worlds collide, but in a good way. This makes me happy.

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Sojourners says “Meet the Nones.” This is an interesting collection of stories — “personal testimonies,” even — of people from the 20 percent of Americans who make up the “nones,” or the religiously unaffiliated. Sojo is also interested in hearing your story, and sharing it with others. Got a story to tell? Let ’em know.

Scott Paeth takes up the challenge of theological science fiction with a fun portrait of life after the big scientific/Calvinist break-through of a paternity test for the elect.

• At Cheesewearing Theology, a post about Christian apocalyptic theology and how it relates to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and to Doctor Who. Now I’m entertaining a theory that Amanda MacInnis doesn’t so much write blog posts, but instead uses a topic-generating algorithm even better than those used by Google, Netflix and Amazon and “Thoughts on the Theme of Apocalyse and the Portrayal of the Nature of Humanity” is what the algorithm created to appeal to me based on my browser history. (To test this theory, I’d have to link to that post from James McGrath’s blog to see if it changed into a post on Christian theology, Doctor Who and Star Wars. …)

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