the green fields beyond


Location: Charles City, Virginia, United States

Monday, January 29, 2007

So you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword...

...and we'll try and kill each other like civilized people...

Last week, Books and Culture published a review, by Susan Wise Bauer, of John Stackhouse's Finally Feminist: A Pragmatic Christian Understanding of Gender. Shortly thereafter, Presbyterian pastor Rick Phillips, a contributing blogger at Reformation 21, posted a response to her review, a response in which, by my reading and that of many others, he came across like a bit of a bully and a misuser of words, rather than like one Christian defending a hotly-contested issue to another Christian.

Now, Susan has posted a response to Phillips' article. She's published it not on her blog, which is primarily aimed at readers of her Norton books on history and homeschooling, but here, on the blog hosted by my wife Mel. (Disclaimer: Mel and I have been friends of Susan and her family for a long time, the church she attends has been my "home church" since 1999, and I'll be taking a part-time post there later this year. Let me take this opportunity to say that, no matter what some bloggers may have implied, Susan Wise Bauer is neither a flaming liberal nor interested in undermining the Bible, the creeds of the church, etc. So can we all stop implying so?).

I encourage you to read her original article, Mr. Phillips' post, and then her response, in that order. No matter what side we come down on in the ongoing debate on women in ministry, let's learn how to address the topics without misrepresenting or assassinating each other. That seems like a modest enough proposal.

P.S. Given this latest mess, it seems that John Frame's observations about "Machen's Warrior Children" are, sadly, still timely.
Lord, have mercy on us all.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Loving Enough to be Angry

As a relative of mine continues to go through an awful situation, in which he is being wronged on a daily basis, I've struggled with how to be angry at unfairness without also harboring hatred. My "righteous indignation" so easily becomes plain old bitterness. So this week it was comforting, in a way, to come across this paragraph in Frederick Dale Bruner's excellent Commentary on the gospel of Matthew:
"The wrath of God is not the irritability of God; it is the love of God in friction with injustice. It is the warm, steady, patient, but absolutely fair grace of God in collision with manifest selfishness. God's wrath does not contradict God's love; it proves it. A love that pampers injustice is not lovable." (2nd edition, page 92).
As my family continues to find a way through all of this, may I continue to learn how to love as God does: generously, forgivingly, but still seeking justice and refusing to minimize wrong.

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