Can God make people who don’t fit our boxes? (The #transgender question)

jazz jenningsWhen I was in my early twenties, I went through a David Bowie phase. I dabbled in androgyny which involved some cross-dressing, sexual experimentation, and even giving myself a Ziggy Stardust-like alter-ego. I called myself Agent Starchild, named after a character in George Clinton’s P-Funk ensemble. I told people I was “bi-curious” because I was fascinated with queer people, who were sort of an exotic hobby to me at the time. I suspect that what I did in my early twenties is what conservative evangelicals like Russell Moore presume that transgender people are actually doing themselves. Though I’ve never been close friends with a transgender person, when I look at the story of someone like 12 year old transgender girl Jazz Jennings [pictured here], who was born anatomically male, it’s obvious that her experience is completely different than my David Bowie phase. Continue reading

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The Christian wife-spanking movement [TW]

spanking paddleI really don’t know what to say. Victims of domestic violence probably shouldn’t read this post. Last night I discovered that there is a movement within neo-patriarchal Christian culture called Christian Domestic Discipline (or DD for short) in which men create a set of rules for their wives and spank their wives for violating them. The strangest thing about it is that the movement at least presents itself as something that ultra-conservative Christian women are begging their husbands to do. This seems like more than just Stockholm syndrome “solidarity” between a victim and her abuser. Is it the product of a Christianity that creates a fetish for punishment? Continue reading

“Biblical” men don’t date? (A face-palmer from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood)

10681746-student-talking-to-female-teen-in-college-classNormally I don’t see much of a point in engaging fundamentalist Christian entities like the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood because I suspect they aren’t particularly relevant to my readership. But a recent post by JD Gunter from CBMW really struck a nerve with me because it so plainly contradicts my experience of dating as a young adult in a way that ironically encourages irresponsible, sinful behavior under the guise of taking yourself very seriously. The only thing missing from Gunter’s post describing why “Biblical” single men shouldn’t stay in un-serious dating relationships with women they aren’t planning to marry is any reference to scripture whatsoever. Continue reading

Should women cover their heads in church?

headcovering

The latest movement in neo-patriarchal evangelicaldom is a call for women to return to covering their heads in worship per the instructions of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. The movement’s website features a quote from neo-Calvinist scholar R.C. Sproul: “The wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century. What happened? Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church…?” Do you think Sproul is right? If not, what would you say to Sproul and on what authority would you justify your response? Continue reading

Is the Proverbs 31 woman a preacher? (Proverbs 31:26)

It’s Mother’s Day here in the Dominican Republic. One of the scripture readings for church tonight was Proverbs 31, which many evangelicals view as the prescriptive model for Biblical womanhood. I had never noticed verse 26 before: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the Torah of mercy.” If the Proverbs 31 woman speaks Torah and wisdom, why in the world would anyone want her to be silent in church? Continue reading

My wife is not a rotisserie chicken or a leaky faucet

Complementarian megachurch pastors are like pitchers who only throw 40 mile an hour change-ups. It feels cheap and dirty to swing at their pitches, but I’m genuinely bothered by what I’ve been hearing lately from that strange foreign land where Christians believe that wives are supposed to submit to their husbands. First I learned that it’s trendy for pastors in that world to tweet out photos and commentary to their congregations about their “smoking hot wives.” And then Mark Driscoll busts out his latest gaffe (transcript here) about how nagging wives who refuse to submit to their husbands are like leaky faucets that keep you awake at night with their dripping. So I just needed to say that my wife is not a rotisserie chicken or a leaky faucet. Continue reading

Submission As Leadership, Marriage As Mutual Servanthood

Few verses in the Bible have been more damaging historically to women in Western civilization than Ephesians 5:22 — “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” This has been a go-to verse in the argument against giving the women the right to vote or letting them have careers outside the home; more drastically it has been used to counsel women in abusive relationships not to leave their husbands since they should submit to them even if they’re violent. It was because of this history that my wife Cheryl and I decided to tackle this verse in the first sermon that we preached together seven years ago at our wedding, also because the passage from which it’s taken — Ephesians 5:21-33 — has beautiful wisdom to share about marriage when the social and Biblical context for the passage is properly understood. This past weekend at Burke United Methodist Church, we preached together on this passage again, washing each others’ feet while the other one spoke in order to model our understanding that submission is the form that Christian leadership takes. Continue reading