Weekly Ponderings

These are some of the posts I’ve read over the week that made me think and/or taught me something I wasn’t aware of before. Inclusion does not mean full endorsement. (Anything in bold is  something I emphasized)

“In Americanized Christianity we use Christian as a noun when originally, Christian was more of an adjective. It wasn’t so much about something you were, but was more about something you were doing. You were actively living out the teachings of Jesus, and this was easily observable– either you agreed with Jesus and did what he taught, or you didn’t…

…of course, some will ask rightly, “is it your job to decide who is or is not a Christian?”
Since Christian has come to mean something different in Americanized Christianity, these objections are totally valid. Since we are operating in a culture where Christian is a noun, and where anyone can secretly be one regardless of what they think about what Jesus said, I don’t know who is that type of Christian and who isn’t…

But to me, there are only two types of Christian, and the second one– an adjective instead of a noun, is observable. It doesn’t require the ability to judge the individual heart. It is not something that can only be done by a gate-keeper as if they have any power anyway. It is simply the act of returning Christian to an adjective, and being honest in that it does not apply to people don’t want to do what Jesus said to do…”

There’s Only Two Types Of “Christian” (And You Should Be Able To Tell The Difference) by Dr. Benjamin L Corey

“Every time there is a discussion about the role of women in church leadership, someone throws out this verse: I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.
1 Timothy 2:12 (NIV)

They usually expect this verse to be a discussion ender. It’s very clear. The Bible says, without any uncertainty, that women are not to teach men, and they are not to have authority over men. They must be quiet. The end.

If your entire Bible is only 1 Timothy 2:12, then this would be correct. However, there are 65 other books in the Bible, and over 30,000 other verses…

There are many other verses and stories of strong women who spoke up, who had authority, who were leaders, whose prayers and words are given the authority of scripture, and who were anything but quiet.

So the next time someone throws out 1 Timothy 2:12, remind them to read the whole Bible.

So You Know One Verse. But Have You Read Your Whole Bible? by Kelly Ladd Bishop

“It’s not that they have been harassed by a rogue police officer — the mistreatment that captures headlines. It’s the thousand other ways they are made to feel criminalized, less than, invisible.

A hotel employee ignored their family at the front desk, only to help a white customer in line behind them. Was he racist, or did he just overlook them? A white guy at the airport rolled over Frances’ foot with his suitcase and refused to apologize. Was he racist, or simply rude? Kids at school joked that their son and other black students looked like a gang. When will it end?

This is the gulf in America that people of color feel every day. Whites live on one side, largely unaware it even exists. Families like the Waterses live on the other, exhausted by racial questions intrinsic in each day, each hour, each minute.

A black Dallas family ‘did everything America said we should’ but still endures racism daily by Sarah Mervosh

“I know right now why so many of you will feel compelled to make me understand that I’m not talking about you here before you will consider reading further…

We have died for walking with a certain swagger, for reaching for our wallets, for asking for help, for speaking with the wrong tone, for giving a menacing look, for playing our music too loud, for not walking away, for walking away, for marching in peace…

People of color have been begging you to see what you are doing and why. We’ve been begging you to see what you came from and the true legacy you have inherited…

Find yourselves white people. Find yourselves so that you can know what whiteness is. Find yourselves so that you can determine what you want whiteness to be. Find yourselves so that you can stop your loved ones from voting for a definition of whiteness that you no longer want to subscribe to. Find yourselves so that racism no longer surprises you. Find yourselves so that maybe I can try writing fiction for a change.

Find yourselves so that next time you offer up the “white perspective,” you might actually say something that surprises me

White People: I Don’t Want You To Understand Me Better, I Want You To Understand Yourselves by Ijeoma Oluo

I do not know if or how advocates of a gender revolution would sort out this tension. But perhaps, from a Christian perspective, both Richards and Nef are onto something. Nef is right that a nuanced approach to gender must avoid naïve gender essentialism, where we mistake culturally specific gender expressions for the essence of what it means to be male or female. (Blue is for boys! Pink is for girls!) But Richards is also correct that a strict social constructivism (which sees gender as nothing more than a social construct) misses the way gender seems to be inscribed into the core of who we are…

If this is true, then Christians need to be able to listen patiently and sort through the complicated medical, relational, and theological questions related to intersex and transgender persons. For making something of those gender identities is a communal project that requires the church body to be engaged…”

How Should Christians Navigate the Gender Revolution? by Branson Parler

“First of all, white men will seize upon this to add to their pitifully thin file of actual cases of false allegations, to throw about whenever one of their white faves is accused, screeching that false allegations happen all the time. And yet, at the same time, the allegations will be forgotten, because if false, they do not neatly justify the hysteria against Muslims and refugees. The racist genie is out of the bottle, and all that will be remembered is that brown men did some mass sexual assaults. The specifics, and the fact this may not be true, will be forgotten. White men are capable of holding these two conflicting beliefs simultaneously: they have proved they are capable of believing at the same time that all women are liars, and all Muslims are rapists…”

If the New Year sexual assaults were made up, it reveals ugly truths about what white men believe by stavvers

Ending child marriage should be simple….

Consider Sherry Johnson of Florida, who said she was raped repeatedly as a child and was pregnant by 11, at which time her mother forced her to marry her 20-year-old rapist under Florida’s pregnancy exception in the 1970s.

Additionally, teenage mothers who marry and divorce are more likely to experience economic deprivation and instability than those who do not. If the father wants to co-parent, he can establish paternity and provide insurance and other benefits to the baby without getting married.

Legislators should remember that pregnant teenage girls are at increased risk of forced marriage. They need more protection, not less.”

Why can 12-year-olds still get married in the United States? by Fraidy Reiss

But the Desiring God article about the dangers of superbowl ads doesn’t say anything about sexism at all…

They don’t care what the commercial is actually about. They don’t care whether it presents a healthy view of sexuality where everyone respects each other, or a view where women are public property and don’t make their own choices about sex. In their way of thinking, all that matters is that the ad includes an image of a sexy woman. They don’t look at how other people in the ad treat her; instead, it’s the sexy woman herself who is intrinsically dangerous. Her body is dangerous, and good Christians must not look.”

BREAKING NEWS: Purity Culture Adherents Completely Miss the Point by perfectnumber628 over at Tell Me Why the World is Weird

And we will keep coming back—because Samir deserves more than our admiration and praise. He deserves a chance at a normal life. He deserves to be happy, whole, and safe.

He deserves a chance to walk normally to school, to play soccer with his friends, and to be back on his feet, standing tall and caring his family…

Because when you look at Samir, you see more than a boy who was traumatized by ISIS. You see a boy who defied hate, who stood up for his grandmother, who deserves to be just a boy again.”

See Beyond Trauma: Meet the Boy Who Stood Up To ISIS by Matthew Willingham

Confirmation bias happens when we preselect for our attention only those data which support the beliefs we had before we even began our quest to find the truth. As long as we can find quick and easy ways to dismiss and ignore all data which contradict our preconceived ideas, we will find that the remaining “evidence” perfectly supports whatever we thought from the very beginning

These are the games Christians play, and in order to illustrate what I mean by that I’ll highlight three common claims of the Christian religion and explain the rationalizations that kick in to ensure their confirmation and avoid their falsification…

Does the failure of these promises necessarily mean that all religion is false or that gods cannot exist? No, it doesn’t… And more to the point of this post, the mental gymnastics we put ourselves through to avoid losing faith in them should tell us something about our own lack of objectivity in the matter. We clearly have something to lose, and it clouds our judgment. If we learn nothing else from this, we can at least learn to recognize the games we play.”

Making Your Faith Impossible to Disprove by Neil Carter

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