Tag Archives: gender

LATC 2018 – Imago Dei: Theological Anthropology in a Hall of Mirrors

The following are notes from Megan DeFranza’s plenary talk.
*Disclosure: The following views are not my own but I believe faithfully represent the views of the speaker as best I could catch them in my notes.*


Imago Dei: Theological Anthropology in a Hall of Mirrors

Current context makes TA interesting because our current knowledge of our self is constantly changing.

Imago Dei

  • Substantival View: Rationality = soul
  • Functional View: “Let them rule” à “Let him rule”
  • Relational View: “Male and Female”

 

Relational Imago

  • Strengths: Women are fully included in the image // Men cannot image God without women // Recovering value of sexual/spousal love as an image of divine love
  • Weaknesses: Paradigmatic “other”/”Mother” = no room for real women, feminine diversity, female humanity beyond womanhood // Privileges “Spousal love” as paradigmatic of divine love, Devalues singleness // Spousal love become sexual love, sexualizes the Trinity, Devalues celibacy, asexuals, sexual dysfunction

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Nashville Statement

  • Article 3 – Okay, an improvement on old views
  • We see the phrase “divinely ordained differences throughout the statement”, e.g. Article 5 – “anomalies” – “We should not sweep them or their differences under the rug”

Stories of Intersex and Faith

  • Showed a video of Megan Brukiewa and Jennifer Brukiewa
    • Megan had Androgen Sensitivity Syndrome // Intersex
    • Joshua Gallardo (Youth Pastor)
    • 5-2% born intersex (same as % with red hair)
    • David Burkiewa – we looked for answers, the right answers, in the Bible – Wants to be able to talk about these things.
    • Reassignment surgeries often happen in infancy – sometimes with emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual effects
    • Jennifer – God has a very specific purpose for Megan, she was not a mistake

 

Nashville Statement 6

  • They acknowledge some people w/multiple sex markers
  • Tell us JC recognized this
  • Remind us – they can live a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ
  • The authors draw a sharp line between those who are intersex and gay – but nowhere in the document are those who identify as transgender or experience gender dysphoria that they too are made in the image of God and can life a fruitful life pleasing to God – See Article 13 which calls “transgender self-conceptions” sinful.
  • Failure to acknowledge the fellow humanity/dignity of all is a weighty matter

 

Why it Matters

  • 57% have family who choose not to speak to them
  • 50-54% Harassment at School
  • 60% doctor refused health care
  • 69% homeless
  • Those who attempt suicide 41% vs. general population 4.6%

 

Telling the Truth About Sex and Gender

  • I am troubled about how Christians treat the “least of these” – vulnerability, those in danger physically spiritually emotionally, numerically
  • Binary (Male vs. Female) is typical – Reality (Male female – an area of overlap between) both in biological and Behavioral Gender Differences
  • Intersex and transgender represent the “least of these” as the minority group but also in terms of the vulnerable and harassed
  • What I do know is that the Good shepherd cares – this (Jesus) is the one whose image that we are called to be in
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A Storm is Brewing…

For those of you who aren’t privileged to be member of ETS, you may have not heard but there is a storm brewing on the horizon about gender and sexuality in relation to the society’s “Doctrinal Basis/Statement of Purpose.”

Below is the abstract to Stan Gundry’s open letter to members of ETS:

In the last business session of the 2015 national Meeting of ETS a set of four resolutions was moved and passed that affirmed human dignity and worth, marriage as a life-long union of one man and one woman, sexual intimacy as reserved for such marriages, and an affirmation of distinct traits of manhood and womanhood as an unchangeable gift that constitutes personal identity. In the aftermath some ETS members expressed dismay that any ETS member would vote against passage of the resolutions. Others, I among them, were shocked that resolutions of this nature would be proposed and passed by a substantial majority. In this open letter to ETS members, I explain the problems with the resolutions and the real issue at stake: Will ETS be true to is Doctrinal Basis and its Statement of Purpose? Hence, my open letter to ETS members, Whence and Whither ETS.


You can read the whole thing here.


With this and the Trinity debate looks like ETS is going to be a lot of fun this year!


The Eternal Subordination of the Son and Divorce in the Southern Baptist Convention

HT: Scot McKnight

Wade Burleson — I’ve seen very few willing to state the matter so boldly and to point the finger not only at false thinking but also at the condition of marriages in the SBC:

How can the divorce rate in every state in the union be declining while at the same time the Southern Baptist divorce rate is accelerating? Because divorce rates are in the culture at large are declining, if Southern Baptists were “accommodating culture,” then our divorce rate would be also declining.

Pay close attention to this categorical statement in the resolution:

“The acceleration in rates of divorce in Southern Baptist churches has not come through a shift in theological conviction…

I disagree. I propose one of the major reasons for the increasing divorce rate in the Southern Baptist Convention is precisely because of a shift in theological conviction during the 1990′s and early 2000′s.

Many of those who were in positions of leadership during those years promoted a doctrinal error called The Eternal Subordination of the Son.  Few Southern Baptist lay men and women even know what that doctrine is, but when you go to a church led by a Southern Baptist pastor who believes it, the emphasis of the teaching will be on “the authority of the husband” and “the subordination of the woman to her husband.” This pastoral demand that a Christian wife alone (not the husband) is called to be subordinate and submissive is based on the false belief that Jesus the Son is eternally subordinate and submissive to the Father.

The Word of God teaches a mutual submission of husband and wife to Jesus Christ–the creator God who became Man (Emmanuel)–and a mutual submission to each other (see Philippians 2:3, 5-7; and Ephesians 5:2 and 5:21).

When the emphasis in any Christian environment–be it a church, home, or ministry–is on one’s alleged superior authority and demand for another’s unconditional submission, a separation in relationship is imminent.

A desire to exert power, control others, and demand submission is unnatural to God’s design for His creation. …

Here’s the catch. Southern Baptist leaders have made the tragic error of believing that a husband should rule and a wife should be submissive because the Bible demands it. Truth be known, the Bible calls any desire to control and dominate–be it the husband or the wife– “the curse.” The divorce rate increases when Southern Baptists call “the norm” what the Bible calls “the curse.” When the first man (Adam) sought to rule over the first woman (Eve), Adam was manifesting a curse, not meeting a commandment (Genesis 3:16).

Jesus came to reverse the curse. Redemption causes curse-filled people to become grace-filled people. Those who seek to rule over others by exerting authority, when they come to see what Jesus says about life, will turn loose of trying to control other people and will only seek to love and serve, NEVER exerting any alleged authority. Again, Jesus said that “the Gentiles lord over others” and “exert authority,” but “it shall not be this way among you”(Matthew 20:24-26).

A Rich Guy Walks into a Room…. (Cultural Capital)

I have spent all week studying the book of James – getting ready for a new series at Soma. As I have been reading James 2 I have been struck by the gravity of his injunction against favoritism.

Essentially James says, if you are believers in Jesus Christ don’t show favoritism. Period. He gives us some examples of how favoritism plays out in the church. Basically, a rich guy wearing gold rings and flowing robes comes in and everybody pays him close attention, people flock to greet him.

Liberace – aka The Glitter Man aka the man from James 2.

A poor guy comes in and people make him sit on the floor, or stand in the back of the room. The problem with this (there are a few problems that James mentions) is that in doing this believers have become “judges.” Essentially they are saying – X is what makes you a valuable person, X justifies your existence & you have X. The thing is though that their “X” is not God’s X. It’s a radically different X.

According to James, and he thinks they should already know this, God has choosen the poor (the not X’s) to inherit the kingdom. They have things backwards. They have bought into the world’s way of seeing things.

Roman culture says you are a “have” if you “have” money, land, prestige, fancy clothes, etc. King Jesus though says you are a “have” once you recognize that you are a “have not.” To say otherwise is to deny the fact that the gospel is for those who are poor in spirit.

Anyway… I’m really interested in what makes you valuable today, because the truth is, if somebody walked in wearing a gold ring and flowing robes into our services aka if somebody came in looking like Liberace most people are going to stay away from that dude.  I guess what I’m really thinking about is….

What do we consider “cultural capital?”

According to sociologists “cultural capital” is very similar to “economic capital” – it consists of things we posses that are exchanged for goods, resources, and/or power. If you have “economic capital,” i.e. money, you exchange that for food, education, electricity, etc. If you have cultural capital, you “exchange” or “reveal” those things and get some sort of cultural good i.e. favor, prestige, status, friends, followers, gifts.

When talking about “cultural capital” sociologists will tend to classify it into three categories:

  1. Embodied – that is properties one possesses. This would include your language (formal or slang), your physical looks, race or even gender. All these things are used/revealed/exchanged for cultural goods.
  2. Objectified – the physical objects one owns. This includes the type of car you drive, the type of clothes you wear (or don’t wear), the gadgets you own, etc. Just like all other cultural capital, possession of these things (and the public display of them) give you cultural goods. Those might include special treatment at the store, by the opposite sex, or even in the marketplace.
  3. Institutionalized – these are markers accorded to a person according to one’s position in some sort of institutional system. For example, within the education system degrees count as cultural capital. Within the workforce, one’s position (intern vs. ceo) count as cultural capital.

In all honesty, most young adults and college students could care less about “institutionalized cultural capital,” but embodied and objectified cultural capital matter a lot. And that is just as true among Christians and non-Christians.

Christians will certainly value some things non-Christians wont. For instance knowing the Bible will give you cultural capital, experience on mission trips will give you capital, speaking Christianese, or not-cursing will probably give you capital. There are certain identity markers that we Christians (sadly) have that are used to assign cultural value to some and not to others. However things aren’t that straightforward. Although we would repudiate certain things – like looks giving one cultural capital, fashion giving one cultural capital, etc. – the truth is that things just aren’t that simple. Most of the things that non-Christians consider valuable are the same things non-Christians consider valuable. At times these things are at odds with the gospel but they are too subtle for us to notice.

The Church is always at risk of embracing anti-kingdom cultural values. Some are obvious, but most are subtle.

So what contributes to what counts as cultural capital within any one particular culture? How do people come to learn what is worth something and what isn’t? Is it simply because somebody told us once that some thing is valuable and some other thing is not? I don’t think so. To believe that we are shaped to value some things and not value others simply by means of propositional knowledge is to deny the fact that we are embodied beings. More on that, and how we are shaped to value some things as “cultural capital,” next time.

Book Review – The Dude’s Guide to Manhood by Darrin Patrick

You have seen them. They like to congregate around weight benches and mirrors. They wear their cutoffs so you can see their ink. They have their hair gelled even when they work out. They always have a can of Monster or Redbull with them. And they drive a lifted truck. They are “men.” Or shells of men to be a bit more accurate. Society around us has taught us that these guys are “men.” When in reality they are kids who stayed in adolescence a bit too long, maybe even perpetually. In The Dude’s Guide to Manhood Darrin Patrick tries to show us what real masculinity is all about. He provides a roadmap, so to speak, for those who have not been instructed in the ways of men.

Overview

The Dude's Guide to Manhood

We have a problem. “Men are simply unprepared to face the journey of manhood, in part because they have never been prepared in the first place…. We are on our own, and we don’t know where we are going” (XVI). Darrin is brutally honest with us, he is one of those guys, he didn’t have a great roadmap, thankfully though we won’t have to deal with that same problem since we have this book to help guide us.

Each of the chapters of this book deal with one aspect of what it means to be a man. Men are determined. Men are coachable. Men are disciplined. Men work. Men are content. Men are devoted to their woman. Men love their family. Men are connected in meaningful ways to other men. Men display the right emotions at the right time. Men fight. Men are heroic. And most importantly, men live in light of God’s grace.

Each chapter treats one of the topics I just mentioned. In each chapter you will probably find some personal anecdote, some movie quotes, some sociology, and maybe even a little bit of biblical material. Each chapter shows us how men have failed in one of those particular areas then it provides encouragement to step it up in that area.

Pros

  • He Knows His Pop Culture – Without a doubt, Darrin knows his pop culture. Which is great because he can illustrate his points well. At no point was I bored reading his description of books, movies, current events, etc.  You can tell he is a pastor and he has honed the craft of coming up with illustrations.
  • The Chapter About Jesus – I don’t mean to be snarky. Well maybe just a little bit, but the one chapter about Jesus was fantastic. He shows us how Jesus is the one true, perfect man. Jesus was perfectly determined, coachable, disciplined, hard working, content, concerned for his family, devoted, relationally connected, emotional, and strong. As Darrin walked through each of these areas I felt how “awe”-some Jesus really was. Unfortunately this part of the book was limited to only a few pages. Regardless of that fact, this chapter is a wonderful primer on how to shape and preach gospel centered, Christ exalting topical messages.

Cons

I will be honest with you. This book just didn’t do it for me. At worst I felt like I was reading a self-help book the whole time.

At best I felt like I had picked up one of those “Christian” self-help books that Family Christian stocks its shelves with.

Everything that Darrin says in the first 10 chapters could have been said by somebody who isn’t even a Christian. Yes, he sprinkles some scripture here and there, but none of those chapters felt as though they were rooted in the bible. I expected way more from Darrin. But maybe I missed the point of the book. On the back cover John Piper endorses this book and says “Buy a bundle, read one, and give the rest to believing and unbelieving guys you know.” Piper might be on to something, this book might actually be written for nominal Christians or people are not-yet Christians but are seeking. I could see myself handing this book to some friends I know who go to church every once in a while. They would really profit from it. But I can’t see myself giving this book to a mature, or growing for that matter, Christian guy. The chapter on Jesus and grace confirms my belief that this book isn’t really for Christians. Its almost as though Darrin ends the book with an altar call. Essentially the book is one long sermon on manhood: Here is what it is to be a man, you don’t live up, Jesus does live up so put your faith in Jesus.

Conclusion

This book was probably written for non-Christians or nominal Christians. If that is true I give it a 8/10. I would even recommend it to some people I know. However if you are a Christian guy, this book really isn’t for you. If this book is for Christians I give it a 5/10. It was well written, but it felt like a pseudo-Christian self-help book with a gospel message tacked on at the end because Darrin Patrick (the vice-president of Acts 29) needs to be “gospel-centered.”

Note:  I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive/negative review.