Mark Driscoll and the Art of Unrepentant Repentance

I’ve had a real problem with mega-celebrity, bad-boy, foul-mouthed, plagiarist-publicity-seeking, sex-obsessed, females-better-submit-or-else, God-is-going-to-send-pretty-well-everyone-to-hell* pastor Mark Driscoll for a long, long time. Yes, his church(s) in Seattle have seen significant growth, and if “growth-in-numbers” equals “God-must-like-him-better” theology, then anything I have to say would have to be interpreted as sour grapes. OK, lots of hyphenated words here–I tend to do that when I get passionate. But he has now published a letter of repentance–which says it is only for the Mars Hill Church Family but which he (or his publicity team?) posted on Reddit, and I want to be hopeful about this. But…

The Unveiled Head

“ . . . but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved.” This passage, from the first letter we have that was written to that unruly church in Corinth, has sparked massive arguments among the people of God for centuries. We’re going to look at it this Sunday, September 15.  We’ll also take a peek at other portions of writings that say things like, “women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law…

Red High Heels and Annual Conference

There has been a delightful movement started among the clergy women of the North Texas Conference whereby they are asking all clergywomen to wear red high heels on the Monday of Annual Conference as a sign of our connection and our solidarity with one another.  One quote, apocryphally attributed to Kathleen Baskin-Ball reads, “you haven’t preached until you’ve preached in a pair of red heels.”  The tradition apparently dates to wonderful memories of Cathy Bingman’s ordination. But I won’t be wearing red high heels on that day and I want to say why. Two Reasons: The Practical and The Theological The first…

Can the Morally Twisted Vote for Good?

Can the morally twisted still recognize and support that which is good?  I ask that in light of the upcoming papal election. Now, the former Archbishop of Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has mercifully solved that dilemma for himself.  In the last couple of weeks, as multiple allegations of sexual impropriety against him became public, he did two things. First, he moved his planned retirement forward, so he no longer has the privilege of voting in the elections. Second, he admitted to having crossed sexual boundaries and has pledged to remove himself from any position of influence for the rest of his life.…

Gendercide, Theology and the Female Voice

An excellent editorial in the Dallas Morning News reminds us of the enormous amount of hidden “gendercide” that has taken place over the last generation.  “Gendercide” is the selective abortion or infanticide of female fetuses and infants, particularly in China and India, but also in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. Beverly Hill, the article author, states flatly: Contrary to popular belief, the status of women does not improve when females are in short supply. In fact, just the opposite occurs. Sex trafficking increases, as does the buying and selling of brides. Aging bachelors, unable to find women of appropriate age, marry…

Smelly Women and a Hand Up

A late evening call to the church: “I’m in a motel with my little girl and I can’t pay the bill tonight and I can’t go home because I’m running away from my husband.  Can you give me the money to spend another night here?” A friend accompanied me to the motel where we could check out the story.  We plunged into the dark underbelly of that town where I was serving, both a little frightened.  We noted that the little girl was sick but it did not look serious and both appeared to be safe for the night. We pooled our…

Keeping Silence, and the Destruction of a Generation of Young Women

Those who have been hearing my teaching for a while know how I’ve interpreted the Garden of Evil/Fall story through the breaches of covenant that took place before the woman and man ate the forbidden fruit.  The crafty serpent begins the process by inviting them to doubt God’s goodness:  “Gosh, all this good food and you can’t eat any of it!  How nasty God must be!”  The woman perpetuates the process by embellishing the truth:  “Sure we can, but not that main one–if we EVEN TOUCH IT, we will die!”  Then the man puts the finishing touch on it by remaining silent…