Evangelical women face a myriad of messages related to pastoral and teaching roles in the church and academy. Some evangelical churches open their doors to women leaders while others reject the ordination of women and endorse explicitly hierarchical models of gender relations, both in marriage relationships and also in church and church-focused institutional hierarchies. Others even extend male authority to secular arenas, excluding women from exercising leadership or authority over men that is direct and/or personal.
Confronted with the breakdown of the traditional family, we as Christians wonder how to minister to people in non-traditional family structures, and we also wonder what standards we should uphold in our own families.
I wonder if we in the church have allowed the “catalog itch” to infiltrate our human relationships, and whether it has not damaged our ability to love transcendency, to be “in but not of”? How useful are all of our labels and categories in light of John 15:12?
Before we get too far into this sermon, I need to say one thing: my brother had it coming. So none of this is my fault. Well, not entirely my fault. It might be his fault. Or my parents’ fault, even, for the whole thing started because they had the audacity to sell their house. The one we had was fine. I had my own space there, away from my brothers—a nice reading spot, a shelf full of books, and plenty of room for my favorite pastime: minding my own business.