As you may or may not know, before I became a dedicated follower of Jesus, I identified as a liberal feminist. I believed in the right of women to be strong, independent, equal, and even the right to make hard "choices." My identity changed as I discovered who I really was as a special child of God.
When I set out to write this series, one of my main motivations was to gain clarity in my own mind about the truth of the matter. I had procrastinated on analyzing the biblical data and stating my official position concerning the role of women in the church. I owed it to both to myself and to the Christian community to do so.
In this series on gender roles in the church, we’ve finally come to what has been called “the 1 Timothy 2 proof-text bomb.” There is so much to be said about these few verses!
In 1 Corinthians Paul addresses the entire church, men and women, as “Christ’s body” and says that they should be “eager for the greater gifts.”
I’ve never written or spoken publicly on the issue of gender roles in the church. My philosophy about my personal ministry work has long been: “Lord, here I am, send me, and I will go.” A prayer I pray persistently is, “Open the doors I am to walk through, but seal tight the ones that would displease you.”
Today most people would agree that Human Rights is a hot global topic and a problem prevalent in the world. However, without knowing why Human Rights are important, it is almost impossible to find a solution to the problem. A biblical worldview of man and the Gospel message are the best approach to the Human Rights issue and a solution to the problem.
On our last trip to West Africa, John and I met with a few Christian lawyers. They were very interested in the teaching I do on conflict resolution. The Christian lawyers in this town have a heart to start a mediation center. They asked if I would come and teach. This area has a history of heavy religious persecution, so the need was real and urgent.
When John & I returned the following year to teach, I had hoped for maybe 20 students. However, the interest grew. We were informed we should expect over 100 lawyers, judges, and other leaders in the community. We packed 6 suitcases to take with us, 4 filled with books and other teaching materials.
Thankfully they all arrived, despite cancelled flights, long delays, rerouting flights, and one suitcase temporarily missing.
Words cannot begin to describe this teaching opportunity. What do you say when a woman tells you story of bringing someone into her home to help flee from an attack, and then when she leaves to go get some food and returns, she discovers this person has killed her children? Or what do you say to the wife who's husband has never said he is sorry because the culture does not encourage that kind of communication? What do you say to someone who doesn't want to shop in a certain area for fear of being poisoned? What do you say to someone who decides to avenge a loved ones' death by killing the murderer and eating their organs in order to gain power?
These are very real problems facing very real people on a day to day basis. What could this white woman from America possibly do to help them? Share with them what I've learned about a peaceful approach to responding to conflict.
What did I teach? I started with the anatomy of conflict, explaining our tendency in responding to conflict (fight or flight) and how those responses can actually escalate conflict. Then I explained another way of responding, a peacemaker's way. It requires a new way of thinking, learning to see conflict as an opportunity. Then we dived into how we must examine ourselves first in conflict. It is so easy for us to see what everyone else has done wrong, but do we take the time to look at ourselves first? If we honestly look at ourselves first and deal with our own wrongs, it helps us to see others more clearly. It helps us to respond to the wrongs of others more compassionately. We talked about how to talk to others respectfully, lovingly, and kindly to show them their errors. We talked a lot about confession and forgiveness. People who call themselves Christians are the most forgiven people in the world, so they should be the most forgiving people in the world. It is not easy to breathe grace naturally into the lives of others, but we can learn. We can change. We can do better.
The group has asked me to come back and teach conflict coaching and mediation. I am eager to return.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services unveiled a new policy now known at the “HHS Mandate.” The new Mandate would require nearly all private health insurance plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, surgical sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs—drugs that interfere with implantation in the womb and therefore destroy the life of a human being in the earliest stage of development. This Mandate is the result of Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” passed in 2010. Although the HHS Mandate provides an exemption for “religious employers,” the exemption is so narrow, most religious institutions providing health, educational or charitable services will have no protection.
On February 10, 2012, responding to intense opposition from a broad spectrum of religious institutions all over the country, President Obama announced there would be an “accommodation” for religious institutions opposed to facilitating practices contrary to their moral teachings through their employee health plans. In the so-called accommodation, insurance companies—not the religious employers themselves—would be forced to pay for the abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. However, since any funds the insurance companies would use to make such payments ultimately come from the premiums paid by employers, the “accommodation” is nothing more than a kind of economic shell-game.
The HHS Mandate violates freedom of conscience, a right that is guaranteed by the First Amendment and even several federal laws. The right to practice one’s religious beliefs is protected by The Bill of Rights. The Obama administration’s attempt to force all Americans to buy coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that induce abortion, is a radical incursion into freedom of conscience.
Christians across the country are rising up in response to this unprecedented attack on religious liberty, freedom of conscience and the sanctity of life. Learn how you can get involved by speaking out and signing petitions by visiting Stand Up for Religious Freedom.
(The above information was taken from Stand Up for Religious Freedom.)
Earlier this month I wrote a letter to the editor of Chapman University's student run newspaper, responding to previous articles printed by my alma mater about the gay marriage issue generally, and Professor John Eastman's appointment to National Organization for Marriage specifically. All the articles were from one perspective--in favor of same sex marriage. This was incredibly ironic seeing as how the editors boasted the university was a marketplace where ideas and views could be discussed and debated. Conveniently they had forgotten to print the other "side" of the gay marriage issue. I took them to task. Below is my letter, "edited" of course by the editors. Notice the title-- "Re: 'Gay marriage can be love story, too'." I had a different title for my letter. They made up this title to "control the debate." Interesting. As they say, "He who frames the question controls the debate..."