According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals
and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power
is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. - anon

Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: "Half the Church," by Carolyn Custis James


Half the Church: A Brief Interview with Carolyn Custis James
 
I admire Carolyn because she says what needs to be said respectfully and with power. She is not shy about ruffling some feathers, if that’s what it takes. And it usually does.

Whats the back-story that led you to write Half the Church?
 
Half the Church opens with, Sometimes when youre searching for answers, you get more than you bargained for. When I started searching for answers to personal questions I was asking for myself—about God and about his calling on me as a woman—I had no idea I was wading into one of the most important (certainly one of the most controversial) issues facing the 21st century church. I didn’t imagine where that search would take me either.
 
I started asking questions when my life veered off course and I became the first women in my family who didn’t marry during or immediately after college. Instead of following the traditional roadmap for women, I joined a sizable and largely forgotten demographic of women who live outside the parameters drawn for women by the church. Messages for women coming from the church say a lot about women as wives and mothers, but rarely acknowledge or champion other paths we follow.
 
Furthermore, Christian discussions about women tend to focus largely on women in American pews, excluding women in other cultural settings, ethnic groups, socio-economic classes, and circumstances.
 
I came to the realization that we weren’t asking big enough questions of Scripture or challenging our conclusions by the real experiences of real women and girls in a fallen world.
 
I wanted to know how big God’s vision is for women? Will it hold up under the 21st century pressures bearing down on women’s lives? Does it equip us to advance boldly into the future or does it summon us to retreat into the past? Can the Bible still speak with relevance into the diverse lives of every 21st century woman and girl or should we, as many women are doing, simply move on without it?
 
So by asking those questions, what have you found?
 
This is much bigger than questions about me. And the stakes are a whole lot higher than just my personal concerns. Living with a small vision of God’s calling on your life has serious consequences. God’s mission in the world suffers setbacks when women settle for letting others take care of things or believe they’re out of line if they step up and lead.
 
The Bible contains too many examples of God calling his daughters to violate cultural conditioning and religious expectations by stepping up and leading for us to think it’s okay to take a backseat to what God is doing in the world. When God created the woman, he wasn’t making more work for the man. He was providing real help for a staggering mission—advancing God’s kingdom on earth. We’ve lost sight of that.
 
I found a vision for women that is bigger than I ever imagined and raises the bar for all of us no matter who we are, where or when we live, our marital status or circumstances, or what we see when we look in the rearview mirror. These callings apply to every woman and every girl from first to final breath.
 
We are God’s image bearers—which isn’t simply descriptive. It is a mission that necessitates knowing and representing God and joining his mission in the world. We are ezer-warriors alongside our brothers in the battle against the Enemy that commenced in Eden. God created the woman after making the emphatic blanket statement that “It is not good for the man to be alone.” God is the Ezer of his people, so this is a major way women uniquely image God. We belong to the Blessed Alliance of male and female image bearers mandated by God to be his vice-regents—ruling and looking after things in this world on his behalf.
 
This vision frames every woman’s story and calls her to strive to be more, never less. And despite apprehensions to the contrary, this is not a win for women and a loss for men. God doesn’t do that kind of math. When women step up to answer God’s call, the men in their orbit will benefit.
 
 
How did learning these things impact you?
 
It was a wake-up call for me.
 
I grieved my own complacency and wasted years. I knew I needed to change—to let go of old ways of thinking and to embrace responsibility for my part in God’s work even when it means moving out of my comfort zone.
 
What was the biggest aha moment in writing this book?
 
Actually there were several. But this one reshaped the entire book, including the title.
 
In 2009 I was stunned to see the connection between my work and what Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn call the “paramount moral challenge” of the twenty-first century.” Their book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, exposes how low values of women and girls result in sex-trafficking, honor killings, child marriages, female genital mutilation, gang rape, etc. Their statement, “Americans of faith should try as hard to save the lives of African women as the lives of unborn fetuses,” hit me squarely between the eyes. I knew first, that we have a message that completely undermines the devaluing of women and girls and second, that we have responsibility to do something about this crisis.
 
Half the Church needed to be more than a reassuring and empowering message for women. God’s vision for his daughters is a call to action for God’s justice that demands a response. As God’s image bearers, this crisis is our responsibility. I was deeply encouraged that Sheryl WuDunn endorsed my book. Now many are reading both books together.
 
What surprised you most after publishing Half the Church?
 
Well, I wasn’t surprised that my book drew criticism. What did surprise me, however, was the fact that any thoughtful Christian could read a book that sounded the alarm about unspeakable suffering in the world and come away irked and obsessing over the fact that I didn’t address women’s ordination or male headship over women. Really? Women are being raped 24/7, little girls are being killed for being girls, and you’re miffed because your party line wasn’t endorsed? I still don’t get it—how American evangelicals can be so short-sighted and self-absorbed?
 
The best surprises are seeing how this message continues to change women’s lives and how God is using his daughters to change the lives of others. One of the biggest surprises was learning my book had inspired a woman to lead a group of women to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and funds to combat sex trafficking. Forty-eight Freedom Climbers (ages 18-73) tackled that climb. They raised $300,000, made two Guinness World Records for the most climbers attempting and the highest percentage summiting, and are gearing up to climb to the Mount Everest base camp this year. These are the kinds of stories that motivate me to continue to write.
 
Like I said, Sometimes when youre searching for answers, you get more than you bargained for.”
 
 
 
 
 
Synergy - the whole church
 
 
http://synergytoday.org/