Jesus isn’t a misogynist; neither should we be

Happy International Women’s Day!

21 years ago today, I remember exhorting an audience at my prep school that the Bible advocates for treating men and women equally. That the rampant paternalistic misogyny in the world is one of the boldest proofs of the Fall talked about in Genesis. (Eve wasn’t to blame; Adam was. He stayed silent.)

As I see it, women are such a threat to the evil one, he keeps up an incessant attack on them in a vain attempt to keep them under his thumb. But they keep overcoming!

Jesus isn’t misogynistic

Jesus didn’t attack women, demean them, or try to keep them down. Despite His culture, he treated women with as much respect as men. He had a habit of lifting them up. He was a Jewish rabbi that had women disciples.

The first apostles were even women. (Matthew 28) An apostle is defined as one who has seen the risen Jesus and tells others about Him. Peter and the boys quickly took credit, but it was women who were the first “sent ones.”

Jesus still isn’t misogynistic. I want to be a man like Jesus.

Oddly, just last week I got an irate review on one of my books because I almost exclusively used “she” and “her” in talking about a donor prospect. The guy was really ticked. “Your book is way out of wack (sic) with reality…it’s poorly written with your constant referral to She (sic) as if Men (sic) don’t do this. I guess your secretary must be handling things while you promote your special skills.”

Shocking. Even with the bad grammar, we see this attitude all over. I figure we’ve used “he,” “his,” and “men” to describe all people for enough millennia, it’s now time to use “she” and “her.”

Equality is biblical; misogyny is evil

For those of us who follow Jesus, it has to go. Check out Galatians 3:25-28.

Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Can’t get much clearer than that.

Raise a glass

So today, I raise a glass to all of you with the two X chromosomes. Thank you for making our world a much better place. We’ve come along way in equality. Let’s celebrate that.

But we still have a long way to go. For those of us in the USA, let’s recommit to the ideal that “all [people] are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” (modification mine).

Action overcomes inertia

We passed out dozens more Peeps tonight.

“We ‘peeped’ the neighborhood.” ๐Ÿ™‚

It was a blast. Our kids were so excited to help. People were blessed.

But it almost didn’t happen. I almost cancelled it.

You see, I really didn’t feel like going to the church. I really didn’t feel like making the effort to reach out to our neighbors. I really didn’t even want to walk up to the first door.

I almost cancelled it. And I probably would’ve been thanked.

I’m so glad I didn’t.

Not caring about people is so much easier than reaching out. But showing God’s love in practical ways is so much more rewarding!

Can you help me name this brew?

I’m getting ready to bottle my third brew.

#1 was Bombadil, a nice java stout. Tom Bombadil was a great magical character in Lord of the Rings that didn’t really need to be there but certainly makes the books richer.

#2 was Advent Ale, an sort of spiced ale. Advent is a significant time of the year for me.

#3 is a nut brown ale. But I’m really not wanting to just call it “nut brown ale.” B-o-r-i-n-g.

So would you help? There may be something in it for the winning contribution!

Peeps Outreach

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.”

Last year, VCW families went up and down streets passing out Peeps.

This year, Easter’s early. So our Peeps outreach was done in the snow!

We were able to give out 120 trays of Peeps to area businesses and a college. It’s so much fun doing nice things for people! People were so excited to get them!

You learn new things as you do servant evangelism. For instance, today I learned that a “Mud Duck” was a Peep in hot chocolate. And a “Drunken Duck” is a Peep in spiked hot chocolate.

Apparently, Duck’s are fond of peppermint liqueur.

Men’s Small Group: Gospel of John

Gospel_of_JohnTonight at 7 p.m., the Vineyard Church of Waterville men (and any other men that show up!) will be watching The Gospel of John.

It’s three hours so we’ll watch the first half today and the rest next week. (We all have jobs to wake up for!)

This is a movie that uses the Gospel of John as a script. Word for word.

I find we Protestants often dwell in individual verses and passages out of context. So it’ll be great taking in the whole gospel in a couple sittings.

A terrific way to prepare for Easter!

Leadership and Clarity

Listening to Marcus Buckingham speak at a Willow Creek conference.

He’s so good.

He says every culture ever studied has been documented as having a fear of the unknown. And every leader’s job is pulling people to a better future…which is unknown.

The antidote to the unknown, according to Buckingham, is clarity.

Particularly, clarity with these three questions:

  1. Who do we serve?
  2. How do we keep score?
  3. What specific action do we take now?

Great questions!

One’s we’ve asked ourselves constantly at the Vineyard Church of Waterville.

Here are the answers as I understand them at this time:

  1. We serve those without a church.
    Irregardless of where someone is on their spiritual journey, if they’re without a church home, we’re here to serve them.

    This gets tricky. It’s easy to find people with a church home…at least on Sundays. But the group we serve is quite decentralized.

    So we do lots of things: servant evangelism, random acts of kindness, pool parties, supporting a local worship station (people without a church home still need feeding, radio is often all they get), partnering with Chamber events.

  2. We keep score by number of people served.
    There are lots of ways to keep score. We could count kinship numbers or Sunday morning attendance. We could judge success on how many first-time, second-time, and third-time visitors we have. We could keep score based on Sunday offerings and average amount given per person.

    All good stats. And stats we track. Here are our weekly averages for our Sunday worship services in 2008:

    2008 Weekly Averages
    Total attendance: 21.1
    adults: 12.8
    teens: 1.4
    children: 7.2
    first-time visitors: 3.6
    average offering: $340.39
    total first time visitors in 2008: 25
    average offering/person: $16.13

    If we kept track on these numbers, we’d have reason to beat ourselves up. Giving should be around $25/person, not $16. And we’d have reason to feel good: 3.6 first time visitors each week. That’s 17% of a Sunday attendance. (Sure, the “.6” person is hard to accomodate.) ๐Ÿ™‚

    But we keep score by numbers served. Check out our 2008 score card:

    Jan: 215
    Feb: 224
    Mar: 100
    Total 539 served

    539 people served! That’s more than 25 people for each person that shows up on Sunday. Including the kids under 10!! 25 people served for each of them too!

    Some of these have been through formal VCW events and projects, some have been done individually and reported back to me. All are done because we believe our community has heard that God loves them but few have seen Christians actually be loving. And we’re out to change that.

    Our goal? 3000 touched in 2008. We’re right on track, especially with the 406 boxes of Peeps we’re passing out this week. (Check out our Easter invitation at our website.)

  3. Our next specific action is the Peeps Outreach this Saturday at 10:45 at the VCW building.
    We are constantly instigating ways to get us out of our comfort zones. The goal is that we’ll get so used to serving the people around us, that we’ll do it even when it’s not a “official” VCW event. The point is about Jesus, not VCW.

Buckingham points out that it’s not if the answers are “right” or “wrong.” The point is are the answers clear?

I think ours are.

If VCW is your home, do you agree? From your experience of us, do we serve those without a church home? Do we keep score with numbers served? Do we keep having a specific action?