These conversations are not statements of our doctrine as expressed in the Book of Discipline, nor are they guidance provided by the Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD), but they are intended to be open and respectful discussions on various present-day topics. Our intention is not to limit discussion but to elevate it by assuring that God’s love and respect is always expressed. For more information click ABOUT.
Month: April,2017
WHAT IS A RACIAL MICROAGRESSION COMMUNICATING?

WHAT IS A RACIAL MICROAGRESSION COMMUNICATING?

April 27, 2017 By dwayman

By Denny Wayman

As a pastoral counselor I have had both formal and informal training in cross-cultural counseling.  However in that training we often think that we have a window into the lives of people from another culture.  But the truth is that we often only have more informed prejudices.

One of the areas in which this occurs is in many forms of micro-insults and microaggressions.

The university of Minnesota created a chart to help explore what people of color experience as a microagression:  Click Here

Wikipedia describes a Microagression this way.

“A microaggression is the casual degradation of any marginalized group. The term was coined by psychiatrist and Harvard University professor Chester M. Piercein 1970 to describe insults and dismissals he regularly witnessed non-black Americans inflict on African Americans.[1][2][3][4] Eventually, the term came to encompass the casual degradation of any socially marginalized group, such as the poor or the disabled.[5] Psychologist Derald Wing Sue defines microaggressions as “brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership””

What is your experience?

WHY AREN’T MORE CHRISTIANS OUTRAGED BY SEXUAL HARASSMENT SCANDALS?

WHY AREN’T MORE CHRISTIANS OUTRAGED BY SEXUAL HARASSMENT SCANDALS?

April 25, 2017 By dwayman

Let’s discuss what we should be saying as Free Methodists – comment below.

In a recent article in RELEVANT magazine, Samantha Field asks the question:  Why aren’t more Christians Outraged by Sexual Harassment Scandals?  Turning the question on its head she walks with us through her own experience of rape and harassment and points out that in the church the objectification of women, the subjugation of women and the excusing of leaders works together in ways that can cause the church to be silent when we should be speaking out.

This paragraph is something that caused the FMC to rewrite our discipline in cases of Pastoral sexual abuse to make sure that we care for the victim of these who abuse their position of trust and influence:

“Christians tend to place more value on our male leaders than on the women they hurt. Just this week, the #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear tag was trending on Twitter. In the time I was reading it, the number of women who said “Don’t tell anyone he assaulted you, or you’ll harm his ministry,” was in the dozens. As heartbreaking as that is, it’s all too common. I have been told—twice—that telling the truth about a man harassing me or assaulting me would “harm the Lord’s work,” and I should keep silent about it.

No one wants to acknowledge that our leaders have feet of clay, but it seems that when our political or religious goals are at stake,

SEXUAL IDENTITY from HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHRISTIAN by Mark Yarhouse

SEXUAL IDENTITY from HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHRISTIAN by Mark Yarhouse

April 17, 2017 By dwayman

According to Dr. Yarhouse in his excellent book, the  crux of the discussion rests in two conflicting “scripts” of how we come to identify ourselves.  This is the second chapter of the book.  You can read the entire digest here.

This is how Dr. Yarhouse suggests we discuss SEXUAL IDENTITY:

  1. Chapter two: Why is sexual identity the Heart of the Matter?  We’ve allowed our culture to choose the terms of the debate…Both liberals and conservatives focus too much energy on the cause of homosexuality…Both liberals and conservatives make their arguments as if the gospel hinged on these claims….My goal here is to do nothing less than change the entire conversation.
    1. What is sexual identity. Sexual identity is about labels.  But the source of a person’s identity can be complicated. What might influence a person to use one label over another?  Here is a list of some of the things that could influence one’s identity: Your sexual attractions; Whether you were born male or female; How masculine or feminine you feel; What you intend to do with the attractions you have; What you actually do with the attractions you have; Your beliefs and values about your sexual attractions and behaviors….two men…One young man experienced a pretty strong same-sex attraction.  He identified himself as gay and Christian.  We talked about the way different things might impact identity and labeling.  He shared that his values and his same-sex attractions were “trump” for him outweighing everything else. 
WOMEN IN THE EARLY CHURCH

WOMEN IN THE EARLY CHURCH

April 15, 2017 By dwayman
The Neglected History of Women in the Early Church A number of prominent leaders, scholars, and benefactors of the early church were women and—despite neglect by many modern historians—the diligent researcher can still uncover a rich history.

By Catherine Kroeger

 

Women were the last disciples at the cross and the first at the empty tomb. they remained integral to the work of the church in its early centuries. Catherine Kroeger scours historical data to compile an impressive collection of stories about noteworthy women in the early church.

One of the best-kept secrets in Christianity is the enormous role that women played in the early church.

Though they leave much unsaid, still, both Christian and secular writers of the time attest many times to the significant involvement of women in the early growth of Christianity.

Celsus, a 2nd-century detractor of the faith, once taunted that the church attracted only “the silly and the mean and the stupid, with women and children.” His contemporary, Bishop Cyprian of Carthage, acknowledged in his Testimonia that “Christian maidens were very numerous” and that it was difficult to find Christian husbands for all of them. These comments give us a picture of a church disproportionately populated by women.

Why? One reason might have been the practice of exposing unwanted female infants—abandoning them to certain death. Christians, of course, repudiated this practice, and thus had more living females.

RACE RELATIONS IN THE CHURCH

RACE RELATIONS IN THE CHURCH

April 12, 2017 By dwayman

Love L. Sechrest teaches at Fuller Seminary.  In this article she writes on Race Relations in the Church.

In this article she makes this observation:

“Indeed more often these days I find that I want to challenge the whole category of “racial reconciliation,” since I am now profoundly troubled by the phrase. As the earliest generation of evangelical activists articulated it, the concept was complex and nuanced and always included a focus on institutional racism in society along with the discussion of interpersonal relationships. However, recent evangelical discourse about racial reconciliation tends to diminish the notion by focusing only on overcoming personal prejudice while turning a sometimes deliberately blind eye to structural matters of inequality like poverty, education, health outcomes, criminal justice issues, and the like. I prefer to talk about “race relations in the church” as a category for this kind of work rather than to focus on “reconciliation” as an overarching theme. The former surely includes the latter and is broad enough to include a topic like restorative justice, a biblical concept that usually receives short shrift in evangelical discussions of race. In other words, the divisions we face today are not going to be healed by weeping for an hour followed by a hug.”

SELLING SEX SHORT

SELLING SEX SHORT

April 11, 2017 By dwayman

An academic work has been produced by Dr. Meagan Tyler which looks at the “pornographication of culture or the mainstreaming of pornography”.  Though she is writing from a specific perspective that provides solutions with which we may or may not agree, the introduction of her book Selling Sex Short is an important analysis of Western culture.  As a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in the school of management at RMIT she looks at sex from both a cultural as well from an economic perspective.

 

Part of the INTRODUCTION:

This book aims to explore and explain the model of sexuality currently

being constructed through the industries of pornography and sexology (the

“science of sex”) in the West, in particular the United States (US), the

United Kingdom (UK) and Australia. The book focuses on five trends

which have occurred or intensified during the last decade, namely: the

pornographication of culture or the mainstreaming of pornography, the rise

of extreme and violent sex acts in mass-marketed pornography, the

resurgence of sexology, the creation of “female sexual dysfunction”

(FSD), and the rise of “porn stars” as sex experts. While there is now an

emerging body of literature, both popular and academic, which is

beginning to document some of these trends only a handful of sources

currently engage in critical feminist analysis.

RUTH IS NOT A ROMANCE TALE

RUTH IS NOT A ROMANCE TALE

April 9, 2017 By dwayman

In a fascinating article at MISSIO ALIANCE  the author explores how a male pastor exhibits a clear misunderstanding of the purpose and focus of the biblical book of Ruth.  It is written by Carolyn Custis James, the author of THE GOSPEL OF RUTH.  The multilayered value of this article includes the fact that male patriarchal society turns a woman’s faith journey into a romance novel using a Cinderella hermeneutic.  Misunderstanding both the motivation and cultural setting, pastors can easily miss a great opportunity to teach the true word of God.  As Carolyn James says it:  “Driscoll needs to realize that the Bible is not a Disney movie, but an earthshaking existential confrontation with the deepest issues of life in a fallen world and of the hope that is Jesus.”

in part she writes:

…Abandoning Cinderella for a Better Love Story

Within the patriarchal culture, a woman’s chief contribution in life was to produce sons for her husband. Women in the Bible are desperate for sons. None of them are begging God for daughters. Under patriarchy, a woman’s value is gauged by counting her sons. Sons are essential for family survival. The fate the ancients feared most was for a man to die without a male heir to perpetuate the family for another generation.

So when a post-menopausal Naomi loses her husband and both her sons, she plummets from the status of an honored mother of two sons to a zero.

THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY

THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY

April 6, 2017 By dwayman

 

In a recent article at one of our FM schools’ newspaper a student stated ““My identity has never been addressed…”  This student is described by the author of the article:  “When [student] first came to [the FM university] they’d still been in the closet. It wasn’t until around February 2017 that [student] began to identify as nonbinary, use they/them pronouns and, eventually, paint their nails and wear makeup as well.”  The article goes on to quote the assertion of a student that the  “[the school] ‘respects homosexuals’ but does not affirm ‘queer love’ on the same level that it affirms heterosexual love….”  “I don’t know how long we as a campus are going to be able to do this,” he said. “I think we’re going to have to choose.”

To use the same language as this student, this is a binary solution that requires a Christian to either be for or against a person who chooses to make their identity in their gender or sexual attraction.  This is not a true solution.  The culture has decided that loving someone in Christ is not acceptable.  The culture has decided that love must be conditional and that the person being loved determines on what condition Christians are and can love and respect them.   That perspective does not from Christ or from Scripture.  Christ calls us to love all.  No exception.  That is our Christian Identity.

This identity in Christ as being one of Holy Love,

GENDER WAGE GAP

GENDER WAGE GAP

April 6, 2017 By dwayman

Due to our FMC value of treating men and women with equality, some of this generalized study of the pay gap may not apply.  However, there is much that does.  Here is the conclusion of the article:

“Finding church-wide solutions

In that vein, Simmons encourages churches to intentionally include women in those committees and councils and denominational efforts. “If they have a diaconate, another board, a finance board, board of elders—make sure that there are women who are part of the human resource effort,” she says. “Make sure that there are women there who can make the case: not women who will agree with the men, but women who will make the case. . . . You don’t see enough women in those positions that determine salaries and bonuses and work hours and how you get ordained. You don’t see women in those positions. And until that changes, much of this will never change.”

According to Simmons, another key step in the path to change concerns awareness and discussion among male clergy and staff—not just female. “You have to do both,” she says. “You have to talk to women, but you certainly have to talk to men.”

In her interactions with male pastors, Simmons has “help[ed] them understand what is just, what is fair, and—when their budget increases—who to take care of first, because these are the people who are doing the heavy lifting.”

Ultimately, however, “until women are willing to join the fight for their own liberation and proper pay,