Monday, October 28, 2019

Soft-soled Shoes and Clicking Heels


Every week, new controversies flare up in the Christian subculture. Every month or so, one of them generates enough degrees to pop up in flaming Facebook and blog posts. Ann Voskamp weighs in poetically, the Facebook regulars claim to know what's really behind the event, and someone posts a clever meme.

I deliberately try to stay out of those conversations, since I don't do well with debate and seldom feel like I'm given enough information to form a solid opinion.

A recent event was different. It unearthed and replayed old tapes of angry, disgusted voices, and it triggered that familiar sense of instantly curling up tight inside, terrified, frozen solid, tiny and silent.

John MacArthur made some controversial comments about Beth Moore.

If you don't know: both are well-known evangelical American teachers and authors. MacArthur is a preacher. Beth Moore talks and gestures like a preacher but doesn't claim to be one, I don't believe. Here's a summary of what happened, pulled from this source.

Last week during the Truth Matters Conference at Grace Community Church, MacArthur took part in a panel discussion and was asked to give a “pithy” response to a word mentioned by the moderator. The word given was “Beth Moore,” to which MacArthur replied, “Go home.”
He then elaborated and said, “There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period. Paragraph. End of discussion.”
Later, MacArthur added, “Just because you have the skill to sell jewelry on the TV sales channel doesn't mean you should be preaching.”


I watched the video. The joking, laughter, and applause told me that this was about far more than it pretended to be.

What I heard, to Beth Moore and also to me, was not only "Go home," but: "Will you just shut up?!"

It was the same message the old tapes were playing in my mind.

I talked to Paul and whichever offsprings were in the kitchen, trying to process my reaction. They pointed out that the entire exercise was a bad idea. "Putting these guys on the platform and playing a word association game is like teenagers playing Truth or Dare. There's no way this will end well."

"Even if he thought it he didn't have to say it out loud," I said.

Paul said, "If it were me, I would feel an obligation to actually say whatever popped in my head first. I would feel like I didn't have a choice."

I was surprised by that. He is not a rule-follower.

We agreed that whoever organized the "game" was extremely foolish, and that it was deeply disrespectful to use Beth Moore's name in this context, as a target for derision and laughter.

My family affirmed my gut reaction without fully understanding it. This is a good thing. It means they never heard those angry voices themselves.

I love to stay home, I don't want to preach, and I would rather pick up a live garter snake than be a pastor. I think it's scriptural for men to be leaders, especially in the church and home.

So why did I gasp and flinch at MacArthur's words?

The choice of words, the tone, and the laughter told me this had very little to do with women preaching and much more to do with women having thoughts and words.

---

I think the closest I came to preaching a sermon in a church was at the NEF [Native Evangelical Fellowship] church in Weagamow Lake, Ontario, maybe 30 years ago, and that wasn't very close.

Church on the reserve was not like church at Brownsville Mennonite. Starting times were more flexible, for one thing. Sometimes the service was all in Oji-Cree. Children freely wandered about. People didn't dress very formally. I usually tried to dress our family up, but I realized what an American Mennonite exercise that was whenever Tommy Kakekayash was late starting the fire in the stove and we wore our parkas and hats all through the service.

Paul wasn't a preacher then, only a principal and teacher at the Christian school, but once in a while they asked him to speak at a Sunday evening service. He didn't think of it as preaching, but I did, at least a little, because I thought he was that good and important.

In winter, he'd get up on the platform wearing his suit and his thick, knee-high Sorel boots with the wild green, blue and white print—not an unusual combination for that setting. He would talk and our friend Gary would translate.

Paul was scheduled to speak one Sunday, but he got really sick the week before, and he doubted he'd recover enough to go to church.

"Maybe I should take your place," I said impulsively. When it's your second year in a mission setting, there's a lot you'd like to tell people about how they ought to live.

"All right," said Paul.

"Really??"

"Sure."

What an opportunity. I debated about this, but in the end didn't have the nerve to actually do it, so Paul got someone else to take his place.

The NEF church would have been ok with it, I'm quite sure, because things weren't very conventional there, as I said, and Rhoda Tait, whose husband had been a well-known preacher in the North, would sometimes go up front and talk for a while.

We also note that Paul was only about ten years removed from his high school and college years among the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodists. They will affirm a woman's call to preach, which surprises people because they are a conservative bunch and the women look like Mennonites who forgot to wear their coverings. So it wasn't such a bizarre idea to Paul to have me speak in his place.

I've spoken to many different groups, but that was the closest I came to even considering anything I might call a sermon, and we see that I was still a long way away. I've never had any desire to be a church leader or pastor, and that has steadily dropped from zero to about minus-515 in the 25 years that Paul has been a pastor.

Yet MacArthur's words seemed directed not only at Beth Moore, who speaks before thousands, but also to women like me.
---

One time I spoke at a conference and wasn't given much warning what sort of Mennonites would be present. I was told ahead of time that my veil was fine as it was, but I should be sure to wear a dress, rather than a skirt and blouse. Those were easy guidelines to comply with, but I wished later they would have mentioned shoes as well. I completed my outfit with a pair of black pumps with 2-inch heels, because pumps with heels make me feel more competent.

It turned out that most of the audience were much more conservative than me. The women all wore black shoes with soft soles. On the hard tile floors their shoes made, at most, soft whispery sounds, and mine went click click click, up the aisle to the podium, click click click, handing out papers, click click click clickclickclickclick, back down the aisle when I was finished.

Everyone in the audience was kind, engaging, attentive, encouraging. But I got the feeling that because they were so quiet they were essentially good, and because I was so noisy there was something flagrant, conspicuous, and bad about me, as though I should have known the rules but chose to ignore them.

Silence is good, you know.

---

Sometimes when I speak to women I tell them about Pilate's wife.

We meet her in Matthew 27. She is back in the palace, but she knows her husband is in an awful spot. Jesus is on trial. The crowd is yelling and demanding. Rome is going to be watching how this is handled. And the decision is Pilate's. Her husband's. It all comes down to him, there at the center of this drama.

She falls asleep and has a dream. That man on trial is innocent! He must not be condemned! What is she to do?

She must do something.

I am guessing it was neither common nor remotely ok for her to influence Pilate's official decisions, but she is desperate.  She sends a message. I picture a note, but it may have been a servant's word.

“Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

Then she waits in terrible suspense, and eventually finds out her husband washed his hands in a pathetic attempt to proclaim his own innocence and then handed Jesus over to be crucified.

Think about this.

The decision is Pilate's. The power is his, the weight, the responsibility.

The dream is hers. The knowledge, the awareness, the desperation.

Why was she given the information if she had absolutely no power to decide or judge?

Why didn't Pilate have the dream or the insights?

I don't know the answer, I tell women, but I know from this story that her voice and her insights mattered. Who else spoke up for Jesus that terrible night?  No one.

The Eastern Orthodox Church called her Procula and gave her sainthood. She spoke truth.

---

"Tell your husbands clearly what you think and feel," I told the women at the retreat in Texas. "No hinting. If he's like a big old hippo, he won't listen to a mosquito buzzing around. You need to talk like a hippo, or maybe an elephant."

"I'm afraid of getting it all wrong," one woman said. "I used to think submission meant silence, and now I don't know how to speak."

That word always pops up in these contexts: submission.

It's in the Bible. My understanding is that it means letting your husband lead, provide, and protect and also supporting and helping him.

I am sure it doesn't mean not saying anything, but we hear the voices from our conflicted pasts. Submission equals silence, the voices say, and silence is good. If we would just shut up, we would finally be good, and everything would be ok. We would know our place. That would be good too.

"Our teaching on submission has made us into good manipulators," says a young friend.

Mennonite women are learning to speak, to chill the sloshing thoughts into solid jello words that can be scooped out and served. "I think this." "I feel this." "Could you please do this?" "I need help." "This happened to me."

Sometimes it comes out all wrong. Miscommunication happens, even arguments. "Maybe silence is better after all," they say.

"No," I tell them. They admit their husbands say the same thing.

"He wants to know what I think about things. He likes when I say it instead of hinting."

The women look surprised as they tell me, and I bless those husbands, finally erasing the voices that shamed and silenced in the past.

"Speaking takes practice," I say. "It's hard to put thoughts and feelings into words. You won't get good at it if you never talk. You're allowed to make mistakes. That's how you learn."

When you were told to shut up, that your only chance at being good was being quiet, it's an unbelievably long and rocky road to opening your mouth and expressing what's going on inside.

---
Both men and women tried to shush some of us over the years, when we spoke the truth out loud. But there is something uniquely devastating about a man with spiritual authority accusing, condemning, and silencing, especially if you are the only woman in the room.

"You talk too much," they said. "It was actually your fault." "You were out of place." "Stop talking about this." "Do not write about this."

We shriveled and grew smaller before their intimidating gaze. If they were God's anointed, then this had to be the voice of God, confirming all we feared. We must never speak again.

No wonder we reacted to John MacArthur.

Women came to Jesus, weeping, wiping his feet, pouring precious ointment. He found them sinful, sick, bent double for 18 years. He called their names, healed them, and valued them.



"What a waste," said the men with religious authority. "He ought to know she's a sinner." "He violated the Sabbath."

The women didn't have to deal with these men because Jesus did it for them.

"Why do you bother her?" he said.
"Leave her alone."
"Her story will always be told."
"You don't understand love and forgiveness."

To the women he said, "You are set free.” 
"Go and sin no more."
"Go in peace."

The "young man" (we assume an angel) that the women discovered in Jesus's tomb told them not to be alarmed and to go and tell the men what had just happened.

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

---
When we meet Jesus, he becomes both voice and message to us, truth and Word, restorer and sender.

The old tapes playing in our heads slowly turn silent in His presence. We learn to ignore the current clamor as well, telling us a thousand conflicting messages of what we ought to be and do and say, and even more what we ought not to be and do and say.

We listen to Him.

"Go and tell," he says.

"Really?" we say.

"Sure!"

"All right then. We will."


64 comments:

  1. Dorcas, thank you for writing this. I didn't hear about the Beth Moore/John MacArthur incident, but I've been hearing a lot of similar "voices" and feeling similar distress. Reading these words of truth--your words and the words of Scripture--give me fresh hope and courage. Again, a heartfelt thank you.

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    1. You're welcome, and thank you for understanding.

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  2. My first thought when I heard about this was, not a very Christian thing to say. Beth has encouraged many women and that is Christian!

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    1. "Not a very Christian thing to say."
      So true.

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  3. Thanks for your comments on the matter, dorcas.

    I never heard of Beth Moore before this. I can’t say I disagree with John MacArthur’s biblical interpretation of women in leadership/preachers. However I have a huge problem with a bunch of full grown men who claim to be Godly knowledgeable men acting like a bunch of school yard bullies, getting on a stage in front of an audience, and playing a silly hurtful game, of trashing a woman, simply because they disagree with her work. They are asked to describe Beth Moore, and then do so in a hurtful, insulting manner. Whatever happened to the verses in Matthew 18, where you go to the person themselves, if you have a grievance with them? MacArthur should not even addressed the Beth Moore issue. He could have just said his interpretation of the Bible concerning women in leadership/preachers, without mentioning Beth Moore. The very fact he denigrated her is a sign of narcissism and pride. You can promote scriptural teaching without denigrating someone with which you disagree.

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  4. I just spoke about John 20 and those powerful words of truth Jesus spoke to in that Garden!

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    1. Thanks for the affirmation.
      You've looked into the two authors much more than I have, and I respect that.
      I don't know much about either MacArthur or Moore. I listened to this clip several times and found the joking [This might be embarrassing-ho ho ho], laughter and applause deeply disturbing. It wasn't a calm comparison of his beliefs and hers. It was not respectful or loving.
      I reacted to that. I thought it was wrong.
      You are free to disagree.

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    3. Ok, maybe the "well put" was inconsistent, but I think I'm consistent in my deep distaste for much of public debate of this type where people "win" by putting each other down. I almost never watch political debates or creation/evolution debates, those kinds of things, for this reason. I never tell jokes about Presidents, even back when Bill Clinton was President and there were funny new jokes about him every day.
      JM's methods don't work for me.

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    4. Thank you for saying this. I'm not a "Trump supporter" but it would be nice if more people treated him and thought of him as a human being.

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  7. I like your version of consistency. That is truly honorable. I really really like most of what you wrote in your article today, and my above comments were not intended in any way to be hurtful or controversial. I just realized that I can probably delete my own comments, so I will do that simply to save the space on your blog comments. I look forward to your future posts. God bless you!

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    1. It's up to you, but I wanted you to know that I felt that you didn't see the issue the same as me but I still felt respected!
      We all need to see more of that.

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  8. Hi Dorcas. I appreciate your writings and your honesty. I heard about the MacArthur-moore incident last week and out of curiosity listened to the clip. I agree the game they played was childish and disrespectful even though I don't agree with Beth Moore at all.
    Your experience at the conference reminded me of an experience I had in high school. Our school choir was going to sing at a church for Martin Luther King Day. Dorcas I don't know if you have ever been to a black church before.
    In some churches the choir comes in down the aisle singing,clapping and sort of side to side steps.
    Anyway,our director instructed us as we are doing our procession into the sanctuary not to be disrespectful and not to appear to add little dance moves to our entrance. She warned that one of the elderly ladies would grab the offender and give that person and good talking to.

    Anyway, I got off on a bunny trail. I got dressed nicely in dress slacks and a top for the event even though our clothes would be covered by choir robes. Understand, our family didn't go to church and I didn't know what was considered back then "proper" church attire. This was in the 70s.

    I got to school for check in and getting our robes and I overheard a girl (one of the mean girls) say loudly to another girl " I wouldn't put on pants for church!"and they
    both laughed.

    I wanted the earth to swallow me up and found myself terrified of one of the old church ladies "snatching" and yelling at me. So our choir director who didn't see a problem found some safety pins and she helped pin my pants up so they wouldn't show beneath my robe.
    Well I survived that whole ordeal and I enjoyed being in church for the first time though I didn't know at that time I needed Jesus. I was about 15 at the time.

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    1. I find different church cultures so very fascinating. And I want to go back and give 15-year-old unchurched Regina a big hug. How awful that was, to make that comment about your pants.
      I am glad that didn't stop Jesus from finding you!

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    2. And I would have gladly received that hug!

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  9. Thanks for writing this important message. I agree %100 with what you have said. Bless you for putting into words what I have been feeling.

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    1. You're welcome, and I'm so glad it put words to what you felt.

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  10. This idea of being in submission not always meaning silence is something I have been grappling with recently and I agree that in many cases we women should be sharing our thoughts and needs with our husbands more than we do. We still do need to be careful though. Pilate's wife did what she should: she passed on what she was given. And then let him do with what he wanted. She was cleared. What he did with it was on him. It can be hard for me sometimes to speak up. It can be even harder sometimes to then shut up, and trust my husband and God to actually do the leading. It is not submissive to feel holier, or have an I told you so attitude, or to not let it go, whatever "it" is. So, no, we should not tell women to stuff it all and keep quiet under all circumstances. But let's please not swing too far the other way!! That's our temptation too! Sarah S

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    1. In an article of this nature, it's hard to show both sides of an issue. The truth is, I tell women to tell their husbands clearly what they think, and then to be quiet and pray hard.

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  11. ps I just re-read your opening comments, about this recent issue stirring up some old tapes in your head and certain feelings those voices evoked. I have to admit, I wasn't played those tapes. Those voices didn't try to shut me up. So I have to acknowledge that my experience in a conservative church has been different from yours, and that I probably carry less pain and therefore less passion than you do in this particular issue. I still appreciate your voice and your perspective, and your being willing to speak up when you something to say; whether it's at a retreat, in a book, on your blog, or in your own life with your family and circle of friends and community. Keep speaking up!! Sarah S

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    1. That can mean a lot, for people to acknowledge that they might be coming from a different place, like you do! Especially with women's issues, it's hard for some men or different people to understand our feelings. But I really like what Dorcas said: in the future I'll try to remember what a good thing it is, that they don't understand it first hand!

      One Sunday I attended a service at a very liberal and urbane Episcopal church where they used a gender-neutral Bible, and affirmed gay marriage, and so on. That week's reading was 1 Corinthians 13, and even though the "through a glass darkly" part means so much to me, I wasn't in a particularly holy state of mind as I listened.

      They read, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became an adult, I put away childish things."

      And suddenly tears were running down my face and they wouldn't stop. I've heard that part of the chapter and loved it a hundred times, but somehow hearing 'adult' instead of 'man' made it feel like it was really talking to me, and about me. I'd certainly never felt 'excluded' from that chapter before, but there was something there, in my tears. I'm not interested in rewriting the Bible, and I say "mankind" and such, but I sure don't regret the feelings I had that morning! It was really special.

      If you're a woman who hasn't been respected or listened to, very casually and as a matter of course since you were a little girl, there can be some very painful and sensitive and hungry parts held up inside you!

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    2. Thank you for sharing your experience!

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  12. When these church controversies overwhelm my social media feeds, I want to hide in a hole, stay off my screen for a week, or even delete my accounts all together. So often the voices involved swing all the way over "here" or all the way over "there." Hardly anyone tries to be the peacemaker, the one who seeks out the truth/good of both views. I greatly appreciate that you took the time to speak rationally about this hullabaloo. To call out what was wrong, and to offer a better way of moving forward in the matters that were true to scripture. Thank you.

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    1. thank you for saying this, and I am right there with you wanting to hide in a hole when these controversies overwhelm social media.

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  13. Funny, I had been listening to a John MacArthur question-and-answer session just before I saw your post. I've read several of his books and listened to countless sermons of his over the past 20 years or so. Though he--and I--would be against women preaching, I do believe he strongly supports women who strive to be biblical. On so many issues we can tend to the extremes--say nothing or preach. Two extremes to avoid, and a blessed medium to seek.

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    1. yes. I didn't touch on the other side of this issue in this article, that there are times for discretion and moderation.

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  14. I know my husband values my input on thing but sometimes I'm not always sure when to speak up or be silent. I like keep peace because I don't do well with conflict. I appreciate what Sarah S wrote above not acting holier even though I may feel I'm right.
    Thanks again Dorcas.

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    1. I understand. Ultimately we need speak up but also trust God to change our husbands' minds and hearts.

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  15. I had a very similar reaction, Dorcas. Being the kind of person I am, I immediately began to wonder what precipitated such a reaction in those men... because there was obviously more to the story. I spent far too long researching, going back, back, back. Each article seemed incomplete until I finally landed back in 2016. *sigh* When the Hollywood Access tape of Trump bragging about grabbing women where they should not be grabbed came out, Christian leaders came out in support of him, calling it “merely locker room talk”. I remember having a visceral reaction to that defense, and apparently Beth Moore did too. She had never gotten political but that was a line too far, even for her. She made several tweets which brought a fire storm down on her head. Here’s a link to the article that boils it down: https://churchleaders.com/news/288777-beth-moore-breaks-political-silence-speak-donald-trump.html
    And now we know the rest of the story.

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  16. This all makes me think of a Dorothy Sayers quote people might have read, that I copied out in my journal when I was a teenager. Silencing, disrespect, mocking--we are absolutely safe from these, with Jesus!

    “Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man - there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronised; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as "The women, God help us!" or "The ladies, God bless them!"; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything "funny" about woman's nature.”

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    1. Oh my word, I love this quote! It puts into words the feeling I've gotten from Jesus in the Gospels that I couldn't explain.

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  17. Wonderful quote! Thank you so much for your post, and thanks to all for the thoughtful responses. I have heard of this incident, but I can't bring myself to look at it.
    The conversation surrounding it has caused me to reflect that it is sobering that no one of us, in leadership or not, is perfect in everything that we do and say. We all stumble in many ways. We need to look up at the Lord, and down at our Bibles, not look sideways at our brethren, that is, make sure we don't put any Christian on a pedestal. I remember the story in 1st Kings 13, where the young prophet was deceived by the old prophet, and came to his death. That story is very, very sobering; that the young prophet took the word of a man over the word he had gotten from the Lord. May God protect us from ever doing that!! I was reading a book about Corrie Ten Boom recently, and the question came up of her speaking in front of men and women together. She basically said that she only spoke where she was invited. I'm sorry I don't have the book with me right now, so I can't quote her exactly. What a Godly woman she was, and what a message she had to share. Many women missionaries have gone out and shared the Lord, shared the Gospel, talked about Jesus, however you want to say it, and led many to Christ. I remember the story of one woman who translated the Bible into a tribal language in an Asian country. Some of the men came to the Lord, and when they got to the point in the New Testament translation where it says the men should teach, the men more or less told her, "Okay, we'll take it from here." She still studied the Bible with the leaders and translated, but the men assumed the position of leadership of the congregation.
    A thought: The Bible clearly says that the older women are to teach the younger woman to love their husbands and children, and be workers at home. If a man wants to sit in and listen when the older woman is teaching the younger women, that is his choice. May God bless everyone who is sharing the gospel, sharing Jesus, and provoking believers to love and good works! And may the Lord lead us all into a deeper knowledge of Christ, and of His purpose and will for us!

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    1. Fascinating stories/examples here. Corrie ten Boom and others like her were focused on following Jesus, and God led them to such out-of-the-box ministries. I can learn from that.

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  18. I basically just disagree with your viewpoint on this whole thing. I don't feel that MacArthur is putting down women, but he is speaking out about women that are not in their proper place.
    Beth Moore should not be preaching nor teaching men. Thats it. Thats the issue.
    He's not even touching on her unbiblical viewpoints.
    It's not a little issue. And its an issue that is totally out of control.

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  19. First time on your blog. Very nicely written. As a man, I value what my wife thinks. She's a real angel.

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  20. As a person that was abused by men in the name of God, this spoke to me greatly. There are so many times when in the name of submission we are really just cowards. It is sometimes easier to be quiet.

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  21. In case no one else touches on the one little detail that titled this piece, Dorcas, I really think your shoes at WAC bothered only you. :)

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    1. As I said, everyone was very kind. I was already feeling conspicuous as a speaker, and then those clicking heels on top of it...I would love to know how other women in the audience would have felt in my shoes [literally]. Was it just me, or would others have felt bad/uncomfortable as well?

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    2. I know very little of conservative Protestant culture,
      but could this really be more of a "squeaky shoes in the library" kind of mortification that feels like a judgement because of the context?

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    3. Well...Having been a speaker there this past spring, I admit I would also have been mortified. :) I thought that wearing the Speaker nametag was awful. BUT I have no idea what shoes the other (composed, gracious) teachers wore, and I still doubt anyone else does either!

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    4. Anonymous mentioned context, so I'll insert this information on high-context cultures:
      "High-context cultures are those that communicate in ways that are implicit and rely heavily on context. In contrast, low-context cultures rely on explicit verbal communication. High-context cultures are collectivist, value interpersonal relationships, and have members that form stable, close relationships."
      [study.com}
      I've always experienced the Amish and Mennonite world as being high-context, in that my whiskers pick up unspoken and unseen messages.

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    5. Oops, that posted before I was ready.
      So, knowing the cultural expectation of blending in, especially for women, I felt the significance of being a conspicuous woman in that context, even though my whiskers didn't pick up any actual judgment.

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  22. As someone who wrestles a lot with gender issues as a traditionalist in a liberal church culture, and in particular with the question of where the boundaries should actually be (so, our theology doesn't have woman priests but does mostly accept woman preachers), and with the question of what is actually misogyny and of the fall rather than a fruitful acceptance of "male and female created he them", I think you express some of the issues incredibly well. Being genuinely concerned about what scripture says is completely different from, "just shut up and stop thinking and do whatever we say because we are men and you are a woman". To say, "go home," of a woman preacher/teacher is completely different from saying, "I have every respect for her personally but I don't agree with her theology and I don't believe women should be preaching." Disagreeing with someone, and treating them as if they can't even be taken seriously enough to disagree with, are completely different.

    A historical note: I don't know what the situation was with Pilate's wife specifically, but when Cicero was writing at the end of the republic, not that many years before, it is clear that upper class women have a serious political role.

    The monastics in my church have an interesting understanding of submission. Which is, basically, that it is compulsory to whole-heartedly accept the decision made by the person in authority, or the outcome of the vote, when taken, but it is equally compulsory to say what you really think when the matter is under discussion. I think St. Paul probably spends more time abjuring husbands to love and care for their wives than he does abjuring wives to be obedient to their husbands - and it is no more possible to assist someone if they don't tell you what's going on for them, than it is to obey someone if they don't tell you what they want done!

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    1. to quote you:
      "To say, "go home," of a woman preacher/teacher is completely different from saying, "I have every respect for her personally but I don't agree with her theology and I don't believe women should be preaching." Disagreeing with someone, and treating them as if they can't even be taken seriously enough to disagree with, are completely different."
      That's what I was trying to say, and you said it much better than I did.
      Thank you.

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  23. Hello Sister. I always look forward to your blog posts😊. This one was a harder one for me... I am still thinking. I would caution blessing what Beth Moore says and teaches. My husband has done some studying on the theology she stands for and feels she is in error. (Not necessarily the fact that she is a female teacher, though we would see that as Biblically eroneous as well) Maybe that is totally not what you wanted to come across as your heart in this post... I have no bones to pick at all. But just giving some food for your thoughts!

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    1. Hi Sheila. Thanks for stopping by.
      Actually, I was very careful not to endorse Beth Moore in this post, because I've taken only one of her Bible studies and haven't researched her at all.
      My point was, as Cherry Tree said better than I did, a comment or two up the page, " To say, "go home," of a woman preacher/teacher is completely different from saying, "I have every respect for her personally but I don't agree with her theology and I don't believe women should be preaching." "
      I have no problem with a respectful point-by-point comparison of beliefs.

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    2. I can see ur point on that part very well. Thanks for the reply

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  24. Hi Dorcas, I am so glad that you were careful not to endorse Beth Moore in this post. I realize that the question of her theological soundness was not your point, so I have not commented about this until now. But much has been written about her teachings as not being biblically sound. Much. Warnings against her teachings have been sounding for years, and with good reason. I have not read all of the following articles, but I did read the first two and a number in the last "group". I have listened to Beth Moore a time or two as well, and am convinced that (despite the pro and con discussion) I do not want to subject myself to her smooth talking. If you care to, scan through a few of these to see what others who have really studied her teaching have to say: https://pulpitandpen.org/2017/05/22/tami-breaks-free-of-beth-moore-a-testimony/ Also see Bob DeWaay's thoughtful article: https://cicministry.org/commentary/worldview0006.htm Finally, Elizabeth Prata has pulled together a listing which she calls "All Beth Moore Critiques Here In One Place". Elizabeth missed some though, because there are many more, but here is her list. https://the-end-time.org/2017/12/03/all-beth-moore-critiques-here-in-one-place-newest/ Warnings abound against her interpretation of Scripture.

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    1. Thanks, Ruby. I was hoping someone would link specific, researched critiques.
      Just a note, though, to be clear: there are warnings out there about many writers, including me. Warnings need to be read as critically as anything else.

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  25. I can't think of anything to add to this conversation, but kudos to you for addressing it. I found your thoughts wise, and I loved the tale of Pilate's wife. I've never thought of it in that context before.

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  26. Hi Dorcas, The following link may be a little "off-topic" from the main point that this post is about; but I do think it [the article which I have linked] has a place in this discussion. There are a number of principles included in it about where women can teach which to me are very helpful. For example, during our church's summer VBS week, I teach one of the large-group Bible lessons. There are usually a few men present--the pastor and a few other men. But since I am teaching the children, not the men, I do not believe that I am going against Scripture. Many other women experience the same situation, I know. This article is an encouragement for all of us to keep on teaching! https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/women-teaching-men-how-far-is-too-far

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  27. I spent the first 18 years of my life in a conservative Mennonite church, and I know all about those voices/tapes. It is mostly behind me, and I believe, healed. I could not be part of a church again that would not respect men and women equally. I so appreciate your loving, thoughtful response to the issue here. Please keep speaking up.

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