Saturday, February 24, 2007

Women, Men & Sex

I've just finished reading Men and Women in the Church, by Sarah Sumner. Its a refreshing and challenging stab at the decades-old issue of how men and women should relate, looking at headship and leadership both in the home and in the church. It challenges both those who hold to Grudem/Piper-esque Complementarism, as well as those who believe more in Egalitarianism.

She points out that both camps make assumptions and both camps depart from the teaching of the bible. In doing so, she points to a third way. She isn't the first to do this (Craig Blomberg has suggested something similar). Nevertheless, her book is a fresh and provocative overview of the whole issue, and left me reconsidering my beliefs.

At the end of the book she looks at some issues surrounding the core debate, one of them being the issue of sexual sin in the church.

It should be normal for men and women to fight together for sexual purity. Most of the time the subject it so taboo that we feel way too ashamed to admit out temptations, much less to confess to our sin. Thus we tend isolate from each other rather than ministering to each other. We practically pretend that none of us have any hormones. Consequently, many Christian men are rarely held accountable for the suggestive and demeaning kinds of things they sometimes say to Christian women. And women in the church are rarely held accountable for the way they dress.

How can the people of God win the world for Christ when we are unwilling to modify the way we express our sexuality? Much of us know that the issue of sex and modesty is a hypersensitive subject in church.

I believe the church could greatly recover from a lot of our sin if Christians would be more willing to confess our sins out loud and repent.

-- "Men and Women in the Church", Sarah Sumner. 2003.

What do you think? Do you agree with Sarah? Is she on to something here?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Wright fuming over UK adoption fiasco

I can't take much credit for this post, as its pretty much nicked from Times Columns blogger Ruth Gledhill. But since N T Wright is much appreciated round here, I thought this was worth reposting:

There is no way that the Catholic Church is going to change its mind on this one given 18 months or so...This completely fails to take into account the views and beliefs of all those involved. The idea that New Labour - which has got every second thing wrong and is backtracking on extended drinking hours, is in a mess over this cash-for-peerages business, cannot keep all its prisons under control - the idea that New Labour can come up with a new morality which it forces on the Catholic Church after 2,000 years - I am sorry - this is amazing arrogance on the part of the Government.

Legislation for a nouveau morality is deeply unwise. That is not how morality works. At a time when the Government is foundering with so many of its policies - and I haven't even mentioned Iraq - the thought that this Government has the moral credibility to be able tell the Roman Catholic Church how to order one area of its episcopal teaching is frankly laughable. When you think about it like that, it is quite extraordinary. I suppose the hope is that in 18 months time there will be a different Prime Minister who might take a different view, and this will kick it into the long grass until then.


See the full story at Ruth Gledhill's blog.