Witness

What Women Most Need From Our Brothers in Christ After #ChurchToo

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A Letter to My Brothers in Christ

Dear Brothers,

#MeToo… #Churchtoo…

The systems and power structures that some of you have participated in have been exposed. It is a terrifying process, just ask Adam and Eve; they can tell you what it’s like.

The incredible gift of power that was given to man and woman in the beginning – that is, the gift that is to be used to create, cultivate, and mediate – was quickly corrupted at the fall of Adam and Eve. Suddenly, they were exposed in ways that caused shame and fear. There was one knee jerk reaction –  hide.

As a result, one of the most devastating effects of the fall was the impact it had on the relationships between men and women.

One of the most devastating effects of the fall was the impact it had on the relationships between men and women. Click To Tweet

Down throughout history, men have by and large dominated the global power structures. And while power is a gift, when it is used to sideline any kind of people group, or when it is used to lord over, or when it is used for personal gain, is power outside of God’s intentions.[1]

Ultimately, when power is not formed in Christ, it is bound for destruction.

I believe that’s where we have found ourselves today – decay that has been exposed. I’ve been sad and embarrassed for all of us. The bride of Christ, which I love so dearly, has been exposed. We’ve been found out, and many are crying out, #metoo, #churchtoo.

I’ve paid close attention to the conversations following #metoo, and especially after Bill Hybels and Willow Creek’s recent accusations. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “If Bill Hybels had only followed the Billy Graham rule, this would have never happened.” And now, nearly every response I’ve seen and read has been a call for men to build bigger walls against women so it doesn’t happen again.

Of course. That is, after all, a seemingly safe place to be.

There’s often a lot of shame when we are exposed, and our go-to response is to protect so it doesn’t happen again. But one of the things that I wrote about in Emboldened is, in a culture of strict boundaries and bigger walls, we communicate to women that they are untrustworthy, tempting, and shameful simply because of the shape of their body. In an ecclesial leadership structure led mostly by men, women will have a hard time finding a seat at the table when there are more walls and less chairs.

Furthermore, we don’t have a boundaries issue in the church; rather, we have a formational and accountability issue.[2]

In the wake of #MeToo and #ChurchToo it's imperative for us to recognize that the primary issue we face is not one of boundaries but of formation and accountability. Click To Tweet

I don’t know about you, but I am much more interested in reclaiming the kingdom vision of men and women co-laboring for the mission of God than I am of moving against it.

The gospel – that is, the story of God culminated in Christ – is one that obliterates worldly power structures, flips them upside down, and rolls out a table of inclusion. The gospel invites men and women to take on the shape of the cross in a posture of humility, love, inclusivity, generosity, care, and presence. The gospel is not a gospel of fear, walls, hard lines in the sand, or exclusion. Paul says it himself, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28)

Let us reclaim…

Junia & Paul

Jesus & the woman at the well

Jesus, Martha, & Mary

Deborah & Barak

Esther & Mordecai

Dear brothers, I need you and you need me. There is a mission at hand, and we don’t have time to build bigger walls; rather, I need you to pull up more chairs at the table for me and my sisters.

Dear brothers, I need you and you need me. There is a mission at hand, and we don’t have time to build bigger walls; rather, I need you to pull up more chairs at the table for me and my sisters. @TaraBeth82 Click To Tweet

My prayer for us, dear brothers, is that we move towards the gospel, not away. Let us be people of resurrection and not the fall.

4 Ways We Reclaim a Kingdom Vision by Moving Toward the Gospel

1. Moving towards the gospel means we embrace the kingdom vision

Let the kingdom vision inaugurated in Christ shape how we interact, not the backdrop of the fall. In other words, look to how Jesus interacted with women, and notice how Paul elevated women. Let that be our starting point, not sin. Let resurrection be our starting point, not Genesis 3.

2. Moving towards the gospel means we embrace love, not fear

Fear is a powerful force, and fear is sometimes necessary to protect in dangerous situations. But when it comes to male and female relationships, we must first take the posture of love, not fear. I’ve said this in another article here at Missio, but when fear becomes the primary banner in which we choose to lead with and relate to one another, it becomes increasingly more difficult to love our neighbors. Leading with fear can cause strife, division, racism, paranoia, and hatred. When we lead with fear, practicing hospitality, generosity, reconciliation, and community are hindered. When we choose to respond to our brother or sister out of fear over and against love, we are not responding to the Spirit of Love.

A Christian community in perpetual fear is a community that fails to comprehend the love of God. You see, as John reminds us, fear and love are mutually exclusive. He writes,

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 Jn. 4:18)

3. Moving towards the gospel means we embolden one another to live the mission

More than ever, the church in North America needs men and women to link arms in the mission of God, not be pitted up against one another.

As a woman in ministry, I have zero interest in trying to dominate any sort of leadership structure to spite my brothers. I have zero interest in pushing my brothers further away.

Instead, I see my brothers as a fellow colaborer and image bearer, and dear brothers, your sisters need you to do the same.

We need more chairs at the table, not stricter boundaries.[3] Why? Because there is a mission at hand that’s way bigger than us!

4. Moving towards the gospel means I see you as an image bearer, not an enemy

Brothers, you are beautiful, gifted, and needed.

We, your sisters, are also beautiful, gifted, and needed.

Even in difficult times like the #churchtoo and #metoo movement, we may be hurting, but we still love you. You are not an enemy. Yes, you may at times represent something that is incredibly frustrating to us, but you are still our brothers, and we are still your sisters. 

The gospel calls us to move towards one another in love, not away.

Brothers in Christ, I love you. Your sister’s invitation is to seek formation in Christ when in positions of power, not seek to build bigger walls. I can only imagine the kind of church we can live into if we get this right. “Getting it right” means building bridges towards one another, pulling up more chairs to the table, and elevating the voices of your sisters. It means linking arms and pressing in together as we participate in the most glorious mission of all – the mission of God.

I believe it would be breath-taking and stunning, and I believe the world would take notice for all the right reasons.

This, dear ones, is the kind of church I long to be a part of.


[1] For more, see Andy Crouch, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Books, 2013)

[2] See https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/time-reckon-celebrity-power/

[3] I am not by any means a proponent of zero boundaries. In my book, Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry, I unpack healthy boundaries for men and women co-laboring together for the kingdom in chapter 9.

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18 responses to “What Kind of Diversity? Seeking a Diversity that Matters Around the Table

  1. When you say, “We are asked to leave behind our cultural, family and religious hertiage in order to enter the public discourse of democracy.” indeed the PUBLIC square is STILL naked, yes?

    It seems to me, politically speaking, a corrective to this would be government that honors this diversity by recognition of the differing spheres in creation. While I can jump on board with diversity in the church and how this will “show the world the way towards which all forms of inchoate democracy seek to move” I don’t see how addressing the church while not addressing some the political issues will ACHIEVE that movement (away from sameness) outside of the church.

  2. I am part of a church of mostly young professionals who were originally about 50 college students at Va. Tech who moved out to LA to help start this church called “Kairos”. We have been helped out a lot by a church with which we share a building called “Hope International”, which doubles as a transitional home for men. As you can imagine, this creates the possibility for the kind of diversity issues to which your blog makes reference. Diversity is definitely part of the vision of our church, and has been from the outset.

    From what I have noticed, however, the democratic sameness/flattening that tends to bunch certain kinds of folks into certain kinds of little pockets, has for the most part still reigned over what is probably Christ’s vision for the Eucharist table. Not to place the blame, but I think part of this is that the issue of democracy has not been directly addressed enough in the church. I think also, it seems that the general model of the church, particularly Kairos, makes us too busy with the running of the programs and machinery of the church for it to occur to anyone, including myself with the exception of a brighter moment not very often, to actually serve the Hope guys who have served us so much. We complain that we are tired and burnt out already.

    I have also found that, even WITHIN the sphere of the young professionals, there seems to be a fragmentation that wants to happen along the lines of the economic specialization that has occurred in our modern world. It is only by the Spirit of God, for example, that myself – an Architect – and my Engineer former roommate are now VERY close friends. And in the past it was a clash. It seems like this same kind of fragmentation is the accepted standard prevalent that is programmed into the machine…”Singles Groups”, “Family Groups”, “Young Married Couples”, “Ethnic Groups”, “Artistic Groups”. By the same token, in opposition to the small success experienced with my Engineer friend and myself, I was part of an artistic, poetic, “Expressionist” community for two and a half years in which much bonding occurred among like-minded folks. I count that as a failure, though, as the bonding really did seem to be grounded in and even conditional upon being like-minded…”creative”, “soul rebel”, “annoyed with all things political, especially Bush”, ect…

    I do have a flag question, Dave, about the Babylon thing. I have kind of a hard time with what you said there, although it doesn’t end up effecting your basic point at all, I don’t think. What about how it says that the separation of languages occurred in direct response to the King Nit-Wit’s and his peoples’ building of their tower “to the heavens” “out of fear of being spread across the surface of the earth”, so that they could “be like gods”? I’m guessing Yoder’s article addresses that question, so I will probably just read it this weekend if I can find it.

    Interestingly, about the only place where I’ve felt I’ve seen or experienced real success in terms of this diversity thing was when I had the priviledge of attending an AA meeting with one of my friends from Hope (the transitional home). At AA there is no pretension or illusion that one person is higher up in the Tower than the other. Everyone is there because they are in one sense a failure, and because they NEED EACH OTHER to finish the race in which they are all in TOGETHER. My experience at AA was a pretty amazing one…a huge blessing 🙂

    God bless,

    Jason

  3. And b – in my opinion it’s not so much a question of the political issues needing to be addressed or changed. We are asked by democracy to leave our house and go over to their big fat warehouse. Honestly, I think it’s kina like David and Goliath talking smack to each other before David knocked his a$# out with a pebble! 🙂 They can come over to OUR HOUSE! And we will welcome them with open arms…our lamps will be lit and up on top of the table rather than hidden underneath. I think maybe sometimes we’re too nice, a bunch of wussies. But I have a tendency to be too aggressive oftentimes, so take this as just a thought…

    Jason

  4. Oh! Forgot…and what I meant partially by the democratizing sameness reigning over Christ’s vision for diversity was partially, for example, that we have a small group that was formed about seven months ago. Some Hope guys were attending at first. Their attendence dwindled over time, and now we can count on them not being there. I think some of it is that some of them are back in jail, some have left Hope, and some of it is just scheduling conflicts. But I can’t help but think that the issues raised in this blog are also part of it…

  5. Jason,

    Basically, it seems to me that David is saying if we (the Church)can have TRUE diversity, the world may see this and move into this direction. He speaks about the “healing of the NATIONS” which is a foretaste of the eschatological future. This is VERY political.

  6. Well then we are on the same page. I’m not saying that Christ wasn’t political or something like that. I guess I was just referring to my own history of wanting to “change the world”, but I think in one sense the world is the world and a church is a light in it, where our job is just to be a exactly that. Sounds like that’s exactly what you are saying. I felt like I sensed that tendency in myself in your original post. A tendency that puts the weight or burden on the “me”. I mean, obviously its good if the world changes for the better (take Civil Rights Movement for obvious example). But to expect the world to be the church, or do what the church is to do…something’s wacky there in our conception…this has happened to me before.

    As you seem to hint in your second comment, the darkness being drawn to the light is different from what I percieved your saying in the first comment, where there is a “corrective” to be “achived” OUTSIDE the church, as if that becomes the goal, idea or vision.

    If this doesn’t address the issue, then I’m sure were are either going in circles or miscommunicating, so I’ll just defer to whatever it is exactly you are trying to say. Especially since we seem to be reaching an area more tangential to the central thrust of the post…I’d rather not take the focus of the comment dialogue way away from that center…unless someone begs, becons or asks. But I’m not an expert on this politics and the church stuff, so I don’t forsee anyone begging for me to go talking about it a whole bunch. I was mainly just hoping to give the asked-for examples and then offer a little nugget of thought in response to your comment -b – instead of ignoring it. I would still be happy, however, to listen to and possibly respond to any of your thoughts (I’m not trying to shut you down)…

    Jason

  7. Hey Jason,

    Sorry for the deletion. Same post, hopefully conveyed a little better. Anyhoo…appreciate your comments. I understand your sentiments about “changing the world” as I have myself thought that we Christians could do this, given my traditional evangelical roots. I think Marsden, Hatch and Noll’s “In Search of Christian America” is a very good response on this question.

    Basically, I agree with David’s thoughts in this post in which the church is driven by differing “teloses” (OK. I just made up that word, but I think we all know what I’m talking about 😉 ). As Christians, however, we know that there are “modes of discipline” (J.K. Smith) that the world offers with particular ultimate ends in sight. Now, some of these ends are not “proper for humans” or “proper to human flourishing” while others are. So the Church NEEDS to be countercultural and a new community that is not driven by these goals (though I wonder if this is entirely possible, given sin, finitude and the fact that while we change culture we are at the same time being changed BY it).

    For me, David’s thoughts as expressed here are a part of the solution (though a fundamental part) toward what God created us to be. It seems to me that David was saying that the Church has the possibility to show the world what true diversity looks like. But what good is showing the world what true diversity looks like if we in fact don’t intend to influence others “toward (this end in) which all inchoate democracy seek to move.” I believe that David has “global” concerns here in both the Church and world arenas and so I’m not questioning this, however, he more or less concentrated his concerns on the Church side of the issue.

    Having said that, all I’m doing is saying that true concern for diversity will be wholistic just as we should be concerned for both the soul AND the body. Inevitably, this will involve questions of Christian engagement “in the world” with regard to seeing some measure of achievement in this area. What this means is that governments can contribute to this human flourishing and diversity by “creating a space” by which each sphere, i.e. family, businesses, schools, church or religious institutions, etc, are honored in their own distinctiveness.

  8. Yeah – b – I’d say we’re pretty much on the same page I think. While by profession, I’m a Architect whose a Christian, and so obviously don’t believe you have to be a pastor or on staff or something to be Christian (OK, extreme examples to express a point), I often struggle with my frustrations with my secular environment. You make some references at the beginning of your last comment to which I am not privy, but I think I see what you’re saying. I doubt that anyone human, with any feelings at all when they read the news, has a great LACK of “‘global’ concerns in world arenas’.

    And F.Y.I – when I made reference to Christians being wussies, I think I was just referring to the comfort of the Christain bubble, or even the comfort of a subgroup of “same” people constituting their own bubble. Or even to our tendency to give up and defer to “the world” – which I think is what David’s post was about anyway.

    If the bubble pops (both the bubble of comfort and the bubble of our funny illusions that God is a Republican – I DON’T say that to start a political conversation, but as an example of how democratized the church has become, especially in certain parts) we can invite some folks from the big warehouse to our little chapel. In my environment of frustration as an architect this invitation, both open verbally and simply through the ways in which my life might be intriguingly different from others, has been my mode of operation. As opposed to going on mission attack through the world. I don’t, for example, always confront my various folks ahead of me in “authority” at work when I see one of these frustrating occurances unfold before my eyes. But again, I feel I’m getting off topic, so I’ll shut up. It is, of course though, related I’m sure.

    Women, for example, certainly feel at a disadvantage in my work environment. Is it any different in the church? I know a woman Latino at work, who feels especially disadvantaged. Would THAT be any different in the church? I would hope so. You said you wonder if it would be entirely possilbe for the church to change the world since those in the church are so changed BY the world. When I returned to America from the clean air of the deserted and undeveloped regions of the Trukana region in Kenya, where no one can afford the billboard space to exploit a woman’s sexuality for advertising “teloses” (or where those in Nairobe COULD afford it look down upon those of Trukana and don’t see them as worth spending the advertising money on), I was quite humbled (and frustrated) to find that I seemed to fall right into the trap, that I seem so effected by it, and so immediately.

    Anwyay…God bless,

    Jason

  9. Fascinating give and take between b – and Jason … so glad you guys didn’t just exchanges phones numbers and talk this out … I think the tension between you reflects brilliantly the tension of an ecclesiocentric strategy to engage the world for transformation. There are those who will read this approach .. in knee jerk fashion … as a sectarian withdrawal … But Yoder helps us see that we, the church, are a politic that is always seeking to “make peace” happen in the world, not just withdraw into our own pacifist stance. In the same way, the diversity we seek is the one Jesus is leading us to … and thru us, the rest of the world… I think the Civil rights movement as led by Martin Luther King Jr. in its earliest and greatest of days … (before it was capitulated to another ethos – the power discourses of broader American politics) was a prime example of this…
    Blessings … DF

  10. Thanks DF (resonances of your “To think that the person and work of Jesus Christ demands that we ourselves embody a politic in the form of the church with given social practices that engage society as an embodied presence, is completely alien to the evangelical mind.” maybe…???) – And OK, I found Yoder’s article, and read it. First of all – FYI – you professorial gooberhead…you referenced an UNPUBLISHED article! Jeez, man. Give us a break 🙂

    Second of all, OK, either the article is unpublished, or whatever it was that I found was not really the article. Which is very possible, because I did not find the quote you provided from it about the multiplicity of cultures under the sign of God’s will being a restoration of his original plan. Third of all, OK, in a certain context…I found in whatever it was I found in the internet (http://www.nd.edu/~theo/research/jhy_2/writings/method/relativism.htm) that the article is written in the context of a discussion on foundationalism…I think I see what you mean.

    My dumb self should have continued listening AFTER I stopped at “restoring His original plan”, at which point I was like, “Huh?” I would have GOTTEN to “True diversity, dialogue in concrete relations between particular communities, is God’s means to save humankind from ‘its presumptuous and premature effort’to become like God.” Yes, I know. You don’t have to say it. It was the very next sentence! So you already answered my question – with my question. Thanks.

    The plan is that its not our plan. OK, got it. Thanks. I think Yoder might be a poet (eerrr…prophet!) in a theologian’s mask (that “pluralism” stuff). I’m no expert, but my guess is that there are probably lots of theologians out there who turn their noses that that guy…just based on the little I read so far. Either that or there is some suddenly popular theology since the time I was born that none of the old folk who taught me anything were taught by their own old folk teachers…

    I’m off topic again…sorry. But this little Yoder exploration was fun for me. I’ve heard his name a lot lately, but haven’t had the foggiest idea who the guy is.

  11. David,

    When you say that others will view your post as “sectarian withdrawal” whereas we should not do this by withdrawing into a “pacifist stance,” I hope that I was not conveying that. I believe that your concerns for diversity are global-meaning, in this instance, such that the world will see our love (as displayed by this diversity) and move towards that.

    But then, this gets to the heart of what I’m trying to say with regard to Christian political engagement. It seems to me (by the nature of your article and the example of the challenges of African American women and your use of Yoder) that you are coming from a position in which one will “speak to government from without” i.e. Yoder’s “Christians like non-Christians can be easily seduced by wealth and power. Therefore, they need to guard against being diverted from their primary responsibility of witnessing to the coming of the Kingdom through communities that practice faithful obedience.” In this instance, if the Church exemplifies true diversity (the practice of radical obedience), the world will see that and (possibily?) move in that direction.

    What I find problematic about the “prophetic tradition” is not only do they identify “the powers” with existing political institutions ([Wallis and Sider] not saying you have done that here)? But “themes of “protest against” and “liberation from” the powers implies CRITICAL DISTANCING from offices of government (Skillen), such that the diversity of which you seek “for the world” may not or may only be limited.

    This brings up another fundamental question that I have and (it seems I forgot about this only to be reminded by referring to some discussions I had on the internet a couple of years ago).

    It seems to me that the driving assumption is that the practice of diversity within the Church can PROVIDE A MODEL for change in the larger world. Question: Aren’t we a little overconfident about that? That is, should the Church be a undifferentiated model for EVERY form of human community including the state? It seems to me that the appeal to the Bible (and what it says about diversity) can be both arbitrary and idiosyncratic if they do not go hand in hand with a clear articulation of the principled task of government.

    For example, should we say that the church be distinguished as a loving diverse community modeling the Kingdom on the one hand standing against anti-community and diversity, yet simultaneously believe that the church should call on the government to legislate and even enforce what the Church first develops as a model on the other? Let’s just say that some Christians will argue that Christians should NOT ask the state to make it illegal to violate biblical ethical norms (could we not see diversity possibly being in this category i.e. equal amendments which honor diversity?) except where such violations harm the rights of others. But one has to ask why this is a biblical and just principle FOR government. Why limit public law to protecting people (human flourishing) from the harm of others (who oppose humman flourish through diversity)? If it is because the church is a diverse assembly of love IN CONTRAST TO THE STATE which uses coercion to punish evil (anti-community and anti-diversity, can I say GENUINE diversity?) then it would appear the Church cannot serve as a model for the state. And that’s the thing. If you DO believe that the state SHOULD enforce certain laws to protect people from the harm of others the modeling concept loses much of its appeal and the power of biblical mandates diminishes as the church mediates them to society.

    Anyhoo…we may be getting off of topic here. But for me personally, I see much more at stake in this discussion.

  12. Greetings from Kuala Lumpur! My family and I are attending St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church which serves as the international church in KL. The body is comprised of about 50% locals (meaning mostly Chinese Malaysians) and 50% expatriates from all around the world.

    There is real challenge and dialogue to do most everything as a result of our cultural differences but there is definite blessing in it. I have learned/and still learning so much about my own prejudices through being there, loving Christ and loving His body the church there. I also learn a lot from seeing how my brothers and sisters are acting with each other there.

    Last spring we became without pastor. There was some pretty inflammatory talk at the Annual General Meetings afterwards but from what I can see people are coming together and hopeful about what the Lord is doing there. We will now have an interim pastor, a South African of Chinese ethnicity. I think it is going to be great, and of course not without its difficulties.

    I know our case is a bit special with being an international church but we are learning from each other through our common worship and also through other modes of fellowship. The pot luck lives on down here and if there is any one thing that helps us dip into the culture of another it is FOOD!

    In reading this post I was thinking about the implications for missions work of not just “americanizing” the way our faith is practiced in other cultures. Maybe you will touch on that in the future 🙂

    Peace,
    Jenny

  13. FOOD – OOHHH – HAH! “Seeking a Diversity that Matters Around the Table” 🙂 I like food 🙂 When I was in Africa, we went to a refugee camp up in the Northern reaches of Kenya, where no sane man goes (you DON’T want you car to break down on the way there…robbers). Near Sudan. There I had my first authentic Ethiopian meal, in the presence of two Kenyan Christians from very differing tribes, my white pastor, my white teammate with a degree in economic development, my Phillippino American friend named “Genesis” 🙂 and my own little white poet American self. I swear its like the digestion of food gets the conversation juices pumping…Same could be said of the relationship between Hope and Kairos. When we first got here (LA) the Monday night dinners were the ministry of choice for most of us young whities.

    And -b…are you a politician? Just kidding. But really…you said, “What I find problematic about the ‘prophetic tradition’ is not only do they identify ‘the powers’ with existing political institutions ([Wallis and Sider] not saying you have done that here)? But ‘themes of ‘protest against’ and ‘liberation from’ the powers implies CRITICAL DISTANCING from offices of government (Skillen), such that the diversity of which you seek ‘for the world’ may not or may only be limited.” My own views on what you’re gettting at are either colored by or easily sympathetic to Walter Wink’s Engaging the Powers series.

    I don’t necessarily IDENTIFY the powers with the institutions. But I certainly do enjoy the sanctuary of unconditional love that REALLY DOES bring life to my relationships with my church family. That REALLY IS in stark contrast to my work factory where the love for me is conditional upon my production and efficiency (not my primary gifts, being primarily gifted as a “prophet”!).

    So there might be some sort of “critical distancing”, but I don’t know who on earth Skillen is. I can say that my own journey with Christ, my frustrations at work, is certainly a journey of being loved and learning how to love. What theoretical stuff I DO know, I’m a fan of neither “criticism” nor “distancing”, so, I dunno. I also know that when I’m at work, I’m in work. Otherwise I wouldn’t have the frustration or the struggles in the first place…

    And I jokingly asked if you are a politician, but it really does seem like there’s a lot behind what you are saying that is going unsaid. And it’s not entirely clear to me what it is. Please paint your bulls eye more clearly. You jump around a lot…the problem with the prophetic tradition…the problem with the bible…the problem with the concept of modeling…things that don’t seem to be problems to me until confronted with whatever it is you aren’t saying (I mean wha’ts with the discussion on whether the government should only pass laws for xybad?…we aren’t government officials!). Either that or I missed something you DID say? Either way, it would help (for ME) if you clearly and directly stated “the problem”. This may sound like I’m dismissing what you are saying. I am not. I think I see some connections between your various “problems”, and maybe even SOME connection to whatever it is you aren’t saying (like, if we’re the church, and we need or want to influence the government, we need to know HOW we want to do that)…but I just need some clarity. Thanks and God bless,

    Jason

  14. – b – I just reread your comment, to see if I had misread it; and I’m more confused than ever. You said, “It seems to me that the appeal to the Bible (and what it says about diversity) can be both arbitrary and idiosyncratic if they do not go hand in hand with a clear articulation of the principled task of government.” Is “arbitrary and idiosyncratic” the same as or different from not-understood-by-Pontious-Pilate and set-apart-as-Holy? I say that sort of viscesiously (spelling is nto my gift eiether), but seriously, I’m confused. I don’t get it.

    Also, you say, “Let’s just say that some Christians will argue that Christians should NOT ask the state to make it illegal to violate biblical ethical norms (could we not see diversity possibly being in this category i.e. equal amendments which honor diversity?)except where such violations harm the rights of others. But one has to ask why this is a biblical and just principle FOR government. Why limit public law to protecting people (human flourishing) from the harm of others (who oppose humman flourish through diversity)?”

    Here I get extremely confused. Diversity’s push against human flourishing becomes a possible reason for it to be unbiblical, whereas amendments in the constitution become authoritative toward affirming the goodness of diversity? I can’t even tell if that’s what you’re actually saying; but if it is, it’s wierd (TO ME…so take that for what its worth). Plus, honestly, I can’t tell if maybe you’re trying to sneak in a possible Republican political agenda about border control (and not necessarily YOUR Republican agenda, but the possible goodness/validity of that particular piece of that agenda).

    Then you say, “If it is because the church is a diverse assembly of love IN CONTRAST TO THE STATE which uses coercion to punish evil (anti-community and anti-diversity, can I say GENUINE diversity?) then it would appear the Church cannot serve as a model for the state.”

    Again, I am simply confused. Does the contrast remain contrast as if contrast is the same yesterday, today and forever? I mean, I read what you say UP TO THE POINT OF “then it would appear the Church cannot serve as a model for the state”, and I’m thinking, “Yeah, that’s why the church is to be a model…” But then you say, “then it would appear the Church cannot serve as a model for the state”, and I am simply confused. Plus you there throw in the thing about genuine diversity in reference to your previous parenthetical conversation, and I am again at a loss, probably based on my previous loss.

    Anyway, then in your next sentence you go to, “And that’s the thing. If you DO believe that the state SHOULD enforce certain laws to protect people from the harm of others the modeling concept loses much of its appeal and the power of biblical mandates diminishes as the church mediates them to society.”

    At which point it looks like you’re saying the exact same thing as what Dave is saying in his post, with which I resonate highly, except with an entirely different logic of your own, which I am just not piecing together.

    All that just to clarify my points of confusion…if you woulnd’t mind addressing them, that’d be great for me…??? Thanks,

    Jason

  15. Nice to hear from Jenny .. a different voice .. ahhhh … I too think there are possibilities for a diversity in a church culture which inherently self-corrects any Americanizing of the faith and then colonizing to other countries as foreign missions…I’d like to hear more …
    As for Jason .. “Meaning After Babel” by Yoder is found in Journal of Religious Ethics 24, no.1(Spring 1996) 125-39. I use it in my Christianity and Pluralism class at Northern.

    Blessings

  16. What’s wrong with homogeneity (when it is combined with macro-diversity)? It’s always popular to say that our churches need to be more diverse, but diversity is the exception and not the rule and like DF said multi-racial diversity usually exists when these same people have a pretty homogenous socio-economic background.

    Unlike DF I live in a very diverse cultural if not racial community and the typical church has 2 signs and congregations: one in English and another in Spanish or Korean. The Church displays diversity when one homogenous church partners with a culturally different homogenous church to further the kingdom of God.

    In multi-cultural teams that I have been on, there is usually a common goal that binds us. Missio Dei must drive us to not so much be micro-diverse, but to be macro-diverse in order to see the kingdom of God spread.

  17. DF – I found some info. on it by some guy with a Doctorate who, sounds to me, knows what he’s talking about. Also sounds to me like that stuff involves a whole class worth of intriguing study and work that, unfortunately, I can’t cram in right now 🙁 Thanks,
    Jason

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