Christian Relationships | CBE International

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Christian Relationships

I had a conversation once with a pastor and his wife that I have not been able to forget.  My husband and I had been visiting that church for a few months and considering the possibility of making it our spiritual home.  It was important to us, though, that the church valued women in leadership to the same extent that it valued men.  So we sat down with the two of them and asked many questions. And this is what they told us:  They were a couple who did ministry together.  Women served in all ways in the denomination.  Women in the denomination could even serve in a pastoral capacity, but they would not have the title “Pastor”. “And,” said the woman, “I am awfully suspicious of women who are looking for titles anyway.  Any... Read more
“Where?” I asked Angela (not her real name).  Our kids are in the same ballet class.  Seated next to her in the parent peanut gallery the other day as “Simon Legree la Ballet Instructor” put the class through Arabesques, Pliésand other Baryshnikov-isms, Angela saw I was reading from Galatians.  One observation led to others about families, grandparents, kids, spouses and marriage. Somewhere in the conversation, Angela mentioned that her husband had asked her to “take the lead” in the “spiritual training of our kids.”  Angela clearly found the suggestion that a wife “lead” anything akin to asking to be launched into space without a parachute.  Or flight control.   “That... Read more
Women, are often told that emotions are invalid, or that feelings are a sign of weakness. I have heard time and time again the statement against women in leadership, on the basis of protecting the “weaker sex,” that leadership is reserved for individuals (presumably men) who possess a thicker skin. At a conference a couple weeks ago, I came across a booth selling a series of paintings depicting Christ. This artist portrayed Christ as a good-looking tanned gentleman who glowed in oil pastels. His white robes were unsullied by the dust and the movement of the crowds around him. His smile was practically an advertisement for White Strips. The paintings didn’t jive at all with my mind’s picture of the person of Christ. If we cannot portray Christ realisti... Read more
Joe’s parents believe women should work only at home, so his father worked long hours at his job while his mother did all the housework. Susan’s parents shared housekeeping tasks because they both worked outside the home much of her growing-up years. Susan thought it normal that husbands do a fair share of work at home. After their wedding, Susan sought a job to help with college loans and a down payment on their house. Recognizing their need for the money, Joe did not complain. But when he came home from work, he assumed his wife would do all the house work just as his mother had. Susan, however, believed that a husband who really loved his wife would not just “bring home the bacon” but would also “help fry it.” Having seen these patterns all thei... Read more
Galatians 3:26-4:7 Have you ever wondered what it means to reign with Christ? Scripture tells us that those who have been purchased with Christ’s blood have also been adopted into God’s family (2 Tim. 2:10-12). As family members with Jesus, we are also heirs together with Jesus—inheriting all that God extends to the Son. Because we are heirs of God through Christ, both men and women are also said to reign with Christ. In Revelation 5:10 we learn that, through Christ, God acquired “members of every tribe and language and people and nation,” making them a “kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” The word “reign” here means to hold dominion, influence, or sway such as a monarch's rule. To reign... Read more
If he had said so a few years ago, I would’ve smiled and nodded.  Today, however, I blinked, smiled sweetly and asked my friend to explain. Bart (not his real name) was telling me about his role as “family priest.”  I told him why I disagreed.  Now, I like Bart.  He’s a well-spoken, gregarious fifty-something with ten kids and five grand kids.  We’ve worked together on various projects and ministry events, primarily at the local Christian camp.  Bart’s an engaging, amiable guy and although I like him personally, our paths diverge on the issue of gender roles like the Rift Valley splits East Africa. “Family priest” was a case in point.  (If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, Google “family... Read more
From the very beginning of our ministry life together my wife (Liz) and I have had an egalitarian approach to both marriage and ministry. Way back then we were unaware of the extensive body of literature available that supports such a stance and so it was more of a preferred and personal way of doing things. Even though I am more naturally an expository preacher, I recall having great difficulty preaching with any conviction the apparent 'male headship' referred to in Ephesians 5:23, or offering an alternative, so I usually avoided going there. When our children were small Liz was more restricted to the home which left me to attend to church leadership matters but we always talked about issues at home and I valued immensely her wise and experienced input. We tried to teach and mode... Read more
“Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet…” I Timothy 2:8-12 (TNIV) I’m about as much a literalist as any complementarian. The rule I learned, and largely use, is: “If the common sense of Scripture makes good sense, seek no other sense.” Biblical interpretation is so much about context, context, context. So, when we read I Timoth... Read more
Have you ever wondered why the Bible remains a best-seller? After all, the teachings of Scripture can be downright unappealing. This is never more the case than in the words and deeds of Jesus. The gospels, for example, make it clear that each human being, regardless of their upbringing, accomplishments, or fine intentions is spiritually bankrupt and in need of salvation. Furthermore, despite our rebirth in Christ, becoming holy is arduous work. And, throughout our lives we are called to some very unpleasant efforts in our relationships, like turning the other cheek, forgiving the offenses of others, going an extra mile, loving our neighbor as ourselves (whether or not they are lovable!), giving our cloaks away, and more! Now, I ask you, why is this book a best-seller? If you've b... Read more
(Movie spoiler alert!) First off, Courageous (the most recent movie release from Sherwood Baptist Church, the makers of Fireproof) is far from a terrible movie. There are very funny scenes. The characters wrestle with real life struggles. It resists the hyper-sexualization of females that runs rampant in Hollywood movies. It touts important values like integrity, deep faith, sacrifice, and, yes, courage. So how could we have anything negative to say about this, a Christian movie? I’ve had people ask me. But, as a wise CBE member shared recently, the fact that it is a Christian movie is precisely why we must hold it to a higher standard. This movie is meant to reflect Christ, and to demonstrate how those in Christ’s kingdom are to live. So it begs our ca... Read more