Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Church Infiltrator #4

Traditional male-female roles in the church are becoming less and less defined or an arena of great tension as the sexes battle over the paradigm for relating. Bottom line is things aren’t categorically clear and confusion of expectations is the least of the issues. Since the door has become more open to women co-laboring in the kingdom alongside men—there are plenty of linked issues that crop up. Some men are visibly terrified of what a relationship with a female co-laborer in the church might come to—numerous sex-scandals in the church to blame. I sense a significantly less tense environment in my community work, likely because if worst case scenario occurred, people care less. The church is held to a much higher standard.

Some women try to make themselves into men, in order to share the “power”. I’ve seen women leaders within the church fight to maintain their status as rational creatures and intellectual equals able and willing to work alongside men. Some women have turned into E woman personalities (stands for the Everything woman—this is my pitfall). Others disassociate themselves from their gender. I saw one bad example of a married woman with children attempting to disassociate herself from the nursery and establish herself as a intellectual equal to men. She was introducing herself to the congregation from the pulpit with her husband and children beside her. “I love my children, but I don’t like babies,” were her exact words. Instead she liked books, ministry, theology etc. It was ugly.

In the church there is a lot of tension and confusion with respect to gender and gender roles, to say the least. This is unfortunate, since God created man and woman (and the relating of the two) in his own image.

Evil Influence #4

Inadvertent Effects of Feminism. Traditional roles in dating are eradicated resulting in confusion of expectations regarding roles and inflated expectations of marriage. There is a tendency for both genders to learn both traditional gender skills, leaving one without the “need”(hence the motivation) for a partner to function in day to day survival.

Church Infiltrator #3

What is a church Divorce? Excommunication—Amish style. I’ve experienced that. But most evangelicals have experience something comparable: membership and non-membership. Perhaps it is more rightly referred to as exclusion and inclusion. Every society and social group and church has it, whether or not it is as spelled out as the sensationalized ritual of excommunication. I’ve also been “excommunicated” from a mega-church. After some very intimate fellowship there came a time when they simply failed to acknowledge my existence. It was as though I had evaporated.

Membership is a formality. Loyalty is a misnomer. Churches don’t really deal with day-to-day resolution of interpersonal issues. Usually, the best people can do is ignore the issues and if they get bad enough, they walk away and have higher expectations of the next congregation they attempt to join.

There are however, two categories that have been shaking out for me. There are those who recognize the lack of relational faithfulness and struggle with changing it and then there are those who simply follow the broken relational model unreflectively out of an urge to self-protect. The later are like the unconverted. They have not yet seen the light.

All in all, comparatively, I would rather be excommunicated by the Amish Mennonites than to be “beamed out” by the mainline Protestants. There was no struggle to acknowledge, I suddenly failed to exist. Comparably, I was able to feel like I still existed within Beachy excommunication because there was yet communication. I watched my parents’ struggle for 20 some years in the church I grew up in. They didn’t abandon the struggle.

Divorce is simply unresolved conflict which has severed human growth in relationship. We don’t know how the resolve conflict on and interpersonal, familial, social network or a national level. The church is no different.

Evil Influence #3

The Divorce Effect. Products of divorce leads one to be skeptical of marriage and children. Children of divorce lack examples of differences that have been worked out in place of walked away from. It also increases the pressure for those looking to find the perfect one, when one could focus energy on becoming the right one.

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