Thursday, April 23, 2009


I recently finished reading a thought-provoking book called The Blue Parakeet, and I'd like you to chew on a few ideas with me if you've got the time.

A great theme of the Bible is God's desire for oneness and restoration with everything he has created. The disobedience of Adam and Eve messed up the relationship between people and God, between men and women, and between people and the rest of creation. But we learn that through Jesus  we can be reconciled to God, to each other, and to creation (Colossians 1:15-22).

Since the church is God's body, we continue this reconciliation until it is complete at the 2nd coming of Jesus. An example of this reconciliation is the issue of race and slavery. If I decided that I was going to move to another country, start a plantation, and buy some slaves, how would the elders at my church react? Would they quote Ephesians 6 and remind me to treat my slaves well? And if I brought the slaves back to Tulsa for a visit, would they quote Colossians 3 and remind the slaves that they need to obey everything I say?

Both of these are biblical New Testament responses, but can you see the shepherds of the flock saying these things?  Hopefully they would reference Galatians 3 and say in Christ "There is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free." Because Christ has freed us from bondage, we no longer bind other people. 

If this is the way we interpret the Bible when it comes to race and slavery, why do we interpret it so differently when it comes to women? Mary and Elizabeth prophesied at the beginning of Luke's gospel.  Anna prophesied about Jesus to both men and women.  She did not do this in her house but in the Temple of God. The four daughters of Philip were all prophets.  And Peter himself said at Pentecost that God would pour out his Spirit on both men and women, and they would prophesy. 

Why have I always gone to 1 Timothy 2 and read about women learning in silence without balancing it with the numerous examples of God pouring his Spirit out and speaking through women? Priscilla shared the load in educating Apollos because she had knowledge about Jesus through the Spirit that Apollos needed but did not possess. That passage in 1 Timothy also prohibits braided hair and pearls, yet I have never found it necessary to be legalistic about those commands. Why have I lived my whole life being legalistic about women using their gifts to teach others about the glorious good news of Jesus Christ? Why do I feel comfortable snuffing out the Spirit of God as long as the person was born a woman?

In one of the best lines from The Blue Parakeet, the author says that Paul would roll over in his grave if he knew that his letters were being treated like Torah (the law). I think one can read Galatians and agree that this is certainly true. Paul destroyed the early Christians' reliance on the law not so that we could create a new law based on his letters, but so that we could actually live out a life where the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Before the Fall, there was no concern between man and woman about who was in charge. God was in charge and they were in complete union with him and each other. Why do I have so much pride and arrogance now that I would not want to hear the words of God coming from one of my own sisters in Christ who has been given the gift of teaching or encouragement? Should we not let the Spirit of God determine what each person's roles and talents should be? 

As a wise man once said, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully." I need to let these verses sink into my soul.

I have defended the silence of women in the church for much of my life.  I think the time has come to humble myself and learn from whomever God chooses to teach me through his Spirit. I no longer want to demand respect but to live a life that is worthy of respect. I want to do more than read the New Testament as the new law.  I want to realize that it is the new covenant being lived out daily as the Spirit works through us just as he worked through Paul.

I wonder if the Christians of the 22nd century will look back at our times in bewilderment just as we look back and can hardly comprehend the use of the Bible to defend slavery in the 19th century. And I'd love to hear what you, my 21st century family, have to say about it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


We've reached that stage where Benjamin learns something new every day, and we get to laugh and soak it up.  If I had to choose what career field Ben will enter based on his current skill set, I would have to say he should be a conquistador. His talent for claiming things that don't belong to him is unparalleled.  A few weeks ago, he claimed an entire park near our house in his own name and began instructing other children to get off of his swings and slides immediately.  This behavior led to an early ejection from the property, and on the way home Adrienne and Ben discussed his disputed territorial claims. By the end of the conversation, he capitulated with sobbing and tears running down his face, "It's everybody's park."  I don't think we've seen the last of our little "Coronado".  

Our commercial for St. John Hospital has finally hit the airwaves in Tulsa, and everyone else can check it out at It's on the home page in the bottom right hand corner where it says, "Ben's Story: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit". 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to China for a week. It was a fantastic experience, and if you want to know more, you can hit me up on Facebook or shoot me an email. I've included my mug shot in Shanghai just so mom and dad will believe I went on the trip.