Thursday, November 20, 2008

Women as leaders in the 'church'

A friend of mine recently asked me my opinion of women in leadership within the 'church'. I put the word church in quotations because it is the definition of our institutionalized machine that we call church that I am particularly referring to.

So I began thinking about this topic. I have normally kept my distance and simply listened to opinions on this topic because I have never really had any good evidence or advice to form a coherent opinion on the debate and disagreement surrounding it. Though, essentially, I have come to understand, that it is traditionally viewed that women will not receive or attempt to have positions of authority within the church. Also that women will exercise particular restraint when helping to make decisions or simply talking in church. These are, I would hazard to guess, rather conservative views nowadays.

So I asked my beautiful wife Kari (pictured above) what she thought of women in the church and in the process of our conversation, I began to realize how I felt about it and I'll share that with you here:

  • It does not seem reasonable to me to assume that women should be relegated to any particular position of lower authority than men. Partly I come to this conclusion because I find that the Bible is full of women who are leaders (both good and poor). Partly because I believe it is God who calls all people to do and be who and what they are, not people. But it is, and has been the supposed duty of the male dominated authority of the church to discern where best to put people. It has also fallen to those men to interpret scripture as such that we have these particular views of women in the church.
  • It does not seem reasonable to interpret any of the verses that speak directly to women regarding their roles in the church in the epistles as completely literal and blanket truth for all time. These verses (likely more than most) have been examined thoroughly in the context and persons they were written to and about. And a good majority of the conclusions favour interpretations that do not classify or pigeonhole women into narrowly defined roles or responsibilities.
  • Most importantly, in the light of the character of the God I love and serve, it does not seem true that women ought to be thought of as not appropriate for positions of supposed 'high authority'. 1 Corinthians 1:27 - 29 "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." If chooses the weak and lowly and despised things to accomplish his purposes, then it stands to reason that God has already 'used' [I have recently despised using this word as such] women to much more greater profit and effectiveness in the Kingdom of God than he has men because of their relatively constant debasement by the male gender. Kind of flips our thoughts of our work for the Lord on it's head.
  • An interesting thought I had during this discussion with my wife was this also, that Jesus had chosen 12 male disciples. He also had numerous female disciples who were with him for a good part of His journeys. I have also found that men seem to place far more importance on numbers than women do. (I'm much more excited to watch the odometer on our vehicle hit 100,000.00 than my wife is). Not sure why this is and it isn't a judgement statement on men or women. But it almost seems to me like Jesus had more than 12 disciples. Creating the number kept the number of committed men down, but then we're told that there were a large number of women who followed and learned from him as well. Were these not also his disciples who learned the ways of Christ and gained an understanding of the good news of God's salvation too??

I'm certainly not trying to men bash here (I am a man!). But I think that the debate about women in authority over men in the church is most often tackled from a limited point of view. We so very rarely look at these type of issues from the perspective of who God is and his character. It would save us all a lot of headache and heartache if we simply knew our Lord well enough to know how he views us.

For the record, I have worked in churches and camps under the authority of women and have visited churches with women pastors and have, for the most part, had no negative opinions on their place because of their gender. If they happen to be poor leaders or poor examples of godly people, then it really doesn't matter whether their male or female, does it?? We may be better suited for particular tasks because of our strengths accorded to us because of our sex, but we ought always to make these decisions in the light of who God is and how it is that He values us.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The second Larson child has arrived!! Pictures below!

At 5:24 am this morning Nov. 7th, weighing in at 8 lbs and 11 oz, 21 inches long with a full head of rather curly hair, our second boy Maerk Nils Larson emerged into the world for the first time. The birth was a far less traumatic one from when Griffin was born. Kari is doing very well and we expect to be home from the hospital tomrrow. He's healthy and breast feeding well already. Thank you to all who prayed for us and rejoice with us in this new little life. Sorry, no pictures yet. I will post some as soon as I get some in.

And yes, the baby pool is now officially closed. The winner will be declared shortly.

The baby pool contest is closed and the winner is declared below!

1. Joey Polishak! With a total of 33 pts out of a possible 50 pts!
2. Miles Bissky - a CLOSE second with 32 pts
3. A tie for third between Megan Bissky and Kyle Kjemhus with 29 pts
4. Graham Blackburn with 28 pts
5. Chris Klix with 25 pts
6. Jon Polishak with 24 pts
7. a tie for seventh between Pat Wiens and Dave Wismath with 18 pts