Oct 23, 2005

NYWC: retrospective - late-night options 2

Late-Night Options:

After the General Session let out I booked up the third floor to grab a seat for the late-night option I'd been looking forward to the whole convention - "Late Night Theology Discussion" with Tony Jones.

Due to the size of this post it's on-line HERE.


tony said...

Tony, I love that you've taken the time to post this. Let's keep this conversation going!!!

Tony Jones

Madelyn said...

okay, back to the Eve and Adam thing...this is a female's point of view. If we take the written word literally we see that Eve was not created when the direction was given for them not to eat the fruit. So who told Eve she wasn't to eat it? Was it Adam or God? If it was Adam then he somehow exaggerated what God said as Eve told the serpent that if they even touched the fruit they would die...God did not tell Adam that...or Eve mistakenly quoted Adam. Also, Adam was given the responsibility of "keeping" the garden...if that is so, then how did satan get in? Was Adam slacking? It seems to me that God might have waited to pronounce the curse because it was Adam that was warned and it was Adam that was responsible for the garden. Maybe Eve was more susceptible to satan's trickery because Adam hadn't prepared her and God was holding Adam accountable? Onto the curse...doesn't it seem odd that God would say to the woman that she would desire to please man and isn't that still going on today? It's one of the biggest psychological traps I see in young women today...they are trying to please men in the way they look (sexually), the way they think...they are trapped into trying to impress men, instead of desiring after God. Why that curse? Could that possibly be related back to why Eve took the bite? Was she somehow trying to displease Adam? And doesn't it seem odd that God only sent Adam out from the Garden...

-Justin- said...

Tony, thanks for all of your reflections. You are getting me so pumped for Nashville!

Jason said...

Good golly how did you remember all that? Did you record it or write it down? I kept dozing off but I enjoyed it. The dozing was all me.

I was thinking how it would be good to talk like that amongst people from my church. My experience has been people in churches NEVER sit around and talk like that.

~Jason Pauli

Tim said...

I like Madelyn's questions: how did Eve know about the fruit and the consequences? Did Adam tell her and misquote God? This is certainly a problem isn't it... Misquoting God I mean... This gets us in trouble a lot doesn't it. Wouldn't it be nice if we all had our own literal audible conversations with God like Adam did.

I also find it absolutely fascinating that in the conversation (which I was not at, I must admit, so I am only going off of the description here) the woman did not want to speak up. And also that the conversation never got around to the issue of the sexism of the whole story! As the original question was asked, what happened to Eve after she ate it? The story basically ignores her - she is just a plot device to tell the story of MAN and GOD (who is also a man by the way). When she ate, nothing happened except that SHE tempted Adam (all her fault!) and then and only then (when the man ate) the evil-effects set in.

Now I know this sounds absolutely rude in blog form (so please picture me saying this with a whimsical grin on my face rather than a wagging finger in yours!), but it seems like the conversation the other night followed this biblical pattern of ignoring the woman! Who ever said that postmodern youth ministers weren't biblical?! At least you talked about atonement theory though (did I say theory? Sorry, I meant FACT). Now that is an important issue for the church today... As long as we have the ins and outs of the atonement worked out, who cares about women right? If they submit to their husbands they'll be in heaven soon anyway, so let's ignore away!


Jason said...

Alright since I said something kinda smart alecky above I'll say something serious.

What I took away from that night and Tony's debate with Duffy was his insistence that we stop interpreting Jesus through Paul's writings. I began to think of it in how we approach social issues. Take homosexuality for instance. We open up our Bible and look for specific instances where homosexuality is mentioned. Christ doesn't mention it so we go right for Paul. BUT... Christ does mention how we are to treat people. Maybe the church would be more loving to homosexuals in general if they focused on Jesus' command to love each other and less on Paul's statement that homosexuality is a sin.

I'm beginning to try to approach situations in my life by asking what Jesus says about them in the gospels instead of what the Bible says about them. I'm trying to imagine how my faith would be different if I only had the 4 gospels instead of the whole Bible.

~Jason Pauli

danny2 said...

thanks for your honesty about first impressions, tony.

i wonder if theology apart from passion could be evidence that the person is not really encountering God but just searching for facts. how can we study Him and not get pumped!

Katie said...

Ok so nobody likes the new gal who jumps into the already formed conversation but you invited so I'll throw in a few thoughts:

1. Your original question about Adam and Eve is interesting. A few thoughts come to mind - Sin in its inception and its pervasiveness would need to "infect" the first created man, i.e. Adam, so for sin to have its full effect on mankind Adam would need to eat. Now I'm not saying that Eve wasn't filled with sin immediatly after her actions but if sin was to infect mankind and spread to all men (and women) through Adam and Eve both would have to be filled with sin, so it is only after Adam eats that sin would have fully infected the race of man.

2. Second thought: There seems to be some Paul hatin goin on. Ok not really hating and I understand the point trying to be made that people choose what part of the Bible to camp out on and just listen, study, and live by their favorite author. And while that extreme is wrong the other of completly dismissing all writings not attributed to Jesus is wrong (I know this is not what was said but i'm moving it to an extreme to ask a question). If all scripture is God inspired, and the gospels were in fact written by man and not Christ, there are no writings attributed to the written hands of Christ, then are not all words actually the words of God? My point is that, yes, we should listen to Christ's words and they should guide our hearts and thoughts but all other scripture is in fact the "words" of God and therefore carries within itself the same weight. You can argue that the disciples might have misquoted Christ, or in the time between His life and the actual writing of the gospels they had forgotten things. My point I guess is that Romans is a great text, all of Paul's writings are great texts, and Paul was in fact a disciple and was not only visited by Christ (post ascention) but was taught by Him and inspired by Him for his writings.

Ok so just some thoughts, not trying to stir the pot AT ALL. I like the conversation and the fact that it is making me think about all these things.

the price is wrong! said...

Alright…I first want to thank you for all the notes you took. I’m the guy “who has kids and I don’t want to overlook the selfishness of my 2 year old” & I am also the guy who said that if you want to hypothetically rip the book of Romans out of the Bible that you are going to have to rip other books out as well. I hope that I can be honest without being disrespectful or unloving but this is also my second experience with Tony Jones and thought both experiences were lacking the authority of Scriptures and therefore dividing us as a Christian Community. Maybe it’s me and I just missed the point Tony was trying to make but I can’t explain why my 2 year old son concisely makes a choice to haul off and hit my 3 year old daughter in the head but he does and he does full knowing what he is doing! He knows to do bad things without being taught. My son considers his sister in all sorts of ways without being told or taught. I have seen this since from the first time they met each other. The story about dogs threw me for a loop. Humans have something dogs will never have and that’s a conscience. My boy has had one since he was born. 2 Timothy talks about knowing Scripture from infancy and there is a reason why we should be taught from an early age. I have to mention one more thing and that is the part about looking through the lens of Paul. There is not one book of the Bible that I know of that you are not looking through the eyes of someone other than Jesus. That is why you have to rip up the whole book all together. Why would you not want to look through Paul’s lens that are always focused and zoomed in on Jesus? A good thing is that we do come together and discuss and share theology but, the environment at the time seemed manipulatively controlled for a personal agenda and not to glorify God. Did we pray as a group? I came in late. I know we did not pray when we left. Did we pray for the Holy Spirit to lead us? Can the Spirit lead us without us having to pray? Yes, but should that negate us from praying? NO! I’m sorry but I didn’t have much fun. I felt bad for the one gentleman who Tony ripped a new bum for by making fun of him for using the word “just” and “simply” and “basically”. Simply stated, he would not let him talk clearly and make his point without interrupting him. Thanks for letting me talk without being interrupted.

Brian said...

Couple of thoughts in response to the prince...

1. "Lacking the authority of Scriptures" is a tricky thing. It's not like Scripture is going to speak up. People may appeal to Scripture for authority, but then not everyone will agree since that Scripture also has to be interpreted. So what your kinda saying is that the conversation lacked your authority since it is your understanding of scripture and what it says that you felt was lacking. Does that make sense? It's also why conversations like these are really important and potentially helpful. It give us a bigger picture

2. Has you\r son ever done anything good that you haven't taught him? I don't recall teahing my daughter that it's good to help others, but she loves to "help," at least, as much as a not-quite-two year old can help. (She picked up sin pretty good too.)

I wasn't in PA for the conversation, but I think Tony is making a very important point. The tendency for Christians is to elevate "original sin" higher than our "being created in the image of God." Check this out for more... http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=491


curious servant said...

Eve didn't sin by her self. She had implicit permission from Adam:

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6

Tony Myles said...

These are all great comments, everyone! I'm especially thankful that those of you who were there added a few extra thoughts and those of you who weren't felt cool about jumping in.

So... here's the million dollar question - what does what you wrote tell you about how you think when it comes to theology?

Jason said...

"So... here's the million dollar question - what does what you wrote tell you about how you think when it comes to theology?"

I don't think about it enough and I don't talk with others about it enough.

~Jason Pauli

Caroline said...

I like T. Jones' attempt to hear from a woman. Is your record correct? Did only one woman respond?

madelyn said...

How I think when it comes to theology...
When I read all the comments and all of our human attempts to understand God I see many different life experiences and filters that we process God's Word through. How each of us has a different story and when we try to interpret the bible our experiences flavor the outcome. For myself, I see that one of my strongest experiences that I filter through is my feelings of not being accepted as a pastor because I'm female. When I look at what I wrote I see myself trying to defend Eve and allowing Adam to look less than capable of guarding the garden. Does that mean my interpretation is wrong or does it mean that God is using my experiences to bring a different side to the table?!? I'm very content in understanding that God uses all of us in our imperfection, warped filters, and baggage. Somehow He is able to use us to help bring His word to the masses. That is the most humbling thought to me...it makes me very careful when I prepare a sermon.

Brian said...

"What does it say about how I think about theology"

Very appropriate question, Tony. In looking at my response I would say that I believe theology is best done in community and that I feel the fact of "humans being created in the image of God" ought to be on a more level playing field with our sin... in other words, I'm not into total depravity.

Hey Madelyn, for what it's worth, I often tossed more blame Adam's way. He was there and stood by watching. And, it is possible that he didn't communicate what God said to him properly to Eve. (I've always wondered how it was that the serpent knew God's words better than Eve did.) Anyway, I'm not a woman and I've approached it similiarly to you. To respond to your second question ("is my interp. wrong? bringing a different side? etc) I would say that it again higlights the importance of community.

Finally, with the fracturing of the protestant church into so many smaller parts, what has this done to our theology? We've been missing large pieces of the conversation, it seems to me. Perhaps our theology has suffered as a result. (Not to mention a Catholic voice.)


Dsrtrosy said...

Caroline...that would not have been the case if you and I had been there!

I'm only starting to "get" the idea of HOW I think vs. WHAT I think. I love that dichotomy--it's an excellent place to start a conversation...and I agree, Tony...it would be GREAT to have these conversations in our churches. I'm hoping I can start that in mine.

I am finding that what I think is very much influenced by the way my processing has changed in the last year. For example, one gentleman brought up the issue of homosexuality. I have long believed that God had a role for me in the homosexual community because I have a great love for these people. But WHAT I thought has always gotten in the way of my heart on this issue. That's starting to change. I'm not sure HOW, exactly!! It just seems as though the possibilities for ministry in this area are much greater than I had originally thoughyt.

Tony Myles said...

I just realized I didn't address a couple of questions...

1) The guy to girl ratio was definitely slanted... there were a handful of gals in the room but many of their comments were more reactionary (i.e. "No kidding!" and "Come on"). One exception was a gal who commented on how Tony Jones was interacting with another guy (see "The Price Is Right's" final comments).

2) We didn't pray, and I agree... that would have been foundationally cool. As a side note, though, I would ask how often you and I pray before posting in a conversation on the internet (unless you count the whole "practicing the presence of God" or "pray without ceasing" mindset). Just an alternative thought... it definitely convicted me.

I know I haven't yet given my two cents on the Adam & Eve deal. Maybe that's because I'm not sure I have one. Or rather, if anything I think my position has been to hear other positions. In that way it's cool that I had the chance to even bring up the issue. It's taught me more about this Scripture than I ever imagined, not to mentioned given me some insight as to how we all think about God (and possibly why).

A note on the female perspectives. It's been my experience (as well as the experience of at least two close friends) that women in ministry is a hotter issue than most men realize. I see this trend getting some support (i.e. at the convention they had a special dinner for women in ministry as well as specific seminars on the topic), but still lacking in paradigm.

On that note, my experience (and my buddies') is that many women pastors come across as having a secondary agenda to ministry. I'm not doubting that, nor do I dispute its need in most church circles. But in light of the comments on theology I wonder...

1) Do women tend to view Scripture differently through the lens of this bias/agenda? Perhaps without realizing it?


2) What is *my* secondary agenda that causes me to view Scripture through another lens? Perhaps without realizing it?


3) What's yours?

Tim said...

I have been waiting to respond to Tony's question about what my comment might indicate about my theology, considering not answering at all b/c it seems that I may be in a minority theological perspective here. Now with Tony's new questions in the mix though, I just can't help myself.

I think most of all my comment indicates that I have a very human view of scripture. Some would call my perspective a "low" view of scripture, just like this adjective is used in "low church tradition" or a "low" view of ordination (i.e. priesthood of all believers). Many of you might even share these other "lows." But I don't like to think of it in terms of a low view of scripture. I still hold scripture highly, reverently (albeit, not with the same reverence as the usual high-viewers).

So, I like the adjective "human" to describe my view of scripture, as well as theology. Humans are extremely involved in the process. As a result, the wordlview of those humans permeates the writing. In the case of the Bible, the worldview of those MEN permeates. And this is why 9 times out of 10 (more than that in fact) women are just plot devices or worse in these writings. This is not to say that I mean any disrespect to our scripture, but I think we need to realize this about it, and deal with it openly and honestly...

This brings me to Tony's second round of questions. As I began reading the post & questions I was concerned that you were accusing women of something - having an agenda as they read a text that is so demeaning to them, or at the very least often dismissive of their important and vital role in life. How can they not have an agenda in the face of that? I share part of that agenda, as much as I can as a man who is not in their shoes.

But then my concerns were eased when you brought it back to asking what each of our agendas is. This is important - we all have agendas when we read scripture. This is related to, or perhaps synomymous with, what I have said about worldviews. Just as the writers had worldviews, so do we. The important thing, as you have included Tony, is that we can either realize it or pretend it is not there. If we realize it, then we can be a part of the process of changing it, refining it.

So, one of my main agendas as I approach scripture is to see BOTH the God in the text AND the human in the text. I believe that we have much to learn from both sides, not just the God side. Some of what we can learn from the human in the text is through acceptance and imitation, and much of it I think, we can learn from by rejecting it. And for me, the belittling of the role of women, in the creation story and many other places, is something to reject.

And by the way, I still can't believe how little attention the whole women question has gotten here!! That in itself shows some agendas I think...

Amanda said...

Hey Tony,

Thanks for making Tony Jones discussion public!

Just a quick note to throw in the mix...No where in Genesis 3 do we read that Eve was cursed. God curses the serpent, God curses the ground, but no where in this story does God curse people...not even in the King James Version. ;)

I think this is important to keep in mind as we explore the text.

Amanda Drury

Brian Scramlin said...

"And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner." 1 Timothy 2:14

Caroline said...

Is the intent here to throw around Scripture for the sake of an argument or to pursue truth together?

Caroline said...

You are right, Tony; "women in ministry" is much deeper than another issue to debate late at night over coffee during youth worker conferences. In fact, it has taken most of us (speaking as a woman in ministry here) most of our lives to develop ears to hear God on this. It is a matter of calling to us and has required a great deal of sacrifice. Many have been wounded deeply and feel terribly alone in regards to the church.

I have a few questions:
1. How many "female ministers" do you know?

2. Get outside of your personal experiences and stereotypes. How do you think a woman called by God to speak and lead in truth will affect the Kingdom of God?

3. How can we as the Body of Christ come alongside of those God is calling right now into ministry?

How can we make that road smoother for them?

Who are those women and how can we recognize and encourage them?

Do the girls in your churches and youth groups have any mentors who lead (and not just children and other women)they can look up to and pray with?

Do we as church leaders intentionally get to know the young men and women and help provide opportunities for them to use their distinct Spiritual gifts of leadership in our own congregations?

Tony Myles said...

Caroline - thanks for sharing your heart. I'm thankful you feel comfortable enough to use this as a forum to share.

Per your questions:

1. How many "female ministers" do you know?

Every female Christian I know is a minister. I know this is a bit of semantics, but anyone who is a Christian is a minister. Now, if I can read into your intent, as per how many women pastors I know... hmm, I think I have some kind of current relationship with about a dozen or so. Definitely in the minority versus the amount of male pastors I know.

2. Get outside of your personal experiences and stereotypes. How do you think a woman called by God to speak and lead in truth will affect the Kingdom of God?

Hopefully the same way a man will, but perhaps from a different angle. I know (for example) that when I think of illustrations I tend to focus on my own experience first. Perhaps we all do, which is why often having a female teacher can give a whole new paradigm of perspective.

3. How can we as the Body of Christ come alongside of those God is calling right now into ministry?

I'm a strong believer in mentoring from lots of different directions. For instance, I ran a mentoring program for teens in my last church and it was an equal split of guys and gals who felt called into some form of ministry. On the other end, if God places a person in my life who needs personal mentoring I try to find a way to encourage them or lead them in most appropriate way possible.

4. How can we make that road smoother for them?

I'd say listen to their journey and find ways to fill in the cracks.

5. Who are those women and how can we recognize and encourage them?

I think it's harder to identify the women versus the men because the paradigm is more masculine in our current culture. Ironically, women aren't as seen on the stage while they tend to be the "Sunday school" teachers. So while a congregation of adults may not hear from a female I would guess that a whole lot of school age kids do. Interesting slant on both ends, I think.

6. Do the girls in your churches and youth groups have any mentors who lead (and not just children and other women) they can look up to and pray with?

Again, the pickings are slim. But honestly I would say that is true of the guys, too. Finding an authentic God loving man to pour into guys is as hard as finding a solid Godly woman to lead a group of gals.

7. Do we as church leaders intentionally get to know the young men and women and help provide opportunities for them to use their distinct Spiritual gifts of leadership in our own congregations?

I hope so... I know I'm doing my part in this where I can, but the battle isn't about gender... I believe the battle is about letting the leaders lead, the teachers teach, and so on... regardless of gender.

Some great Q&A... keep it coming!


P.S. I hope we're never about just throwing around Scripture... and I don't believe that was the intent.

Caroline said...

Wow--I'm impressed with the quick response. :) Way to go! McLaren has an interesting quote from "The Church On The Other Side." He says to the idea that, "We should stop comparing our best with their worst and feeling smug about it."

This is what has happened to women who minister all too often. Many with "agendas" (as you mentioned earlier) scream those for all to hear. Unfortunately, women struggling with Scriptures and church culture are afraid to step forward in ministry due to those stereotypes.

A few weeks ago, I was leading a youth retreat in Florida. A 17-year-ago asked if we could talk later. That young woman confessed to me through tears that she was so afraid that God was calling her into ministry.

Interesting point, also, about women not teaching "on the stage" but in Sunday school.

What advantages do you think could come from a woman speaking "on the stage" on behalf of the Kingdom? What perspective are we missing as a Christian community by not hearing that voice publically?

Tony Myles said...

We're probably missing a perspective on stage in as much as we're missing one in the Sunday School room. I'm familiar (and have participated) in movements to help Godly men invest into teen guys in "masculine" ways (i.e. survival trips, boot camps, etc) in order to help them experience a form of discipleship man-to-man. On the flipside, I believe the conversation that's getting louder about having more women preachers is stepping in that way, too, to compensate the local church.

Here's where the catch is, though... if a lead pastor has 5 staff members and one of them is a woman, should he have her speak more than the other four if they are all equally good teachers? Even if he has everyone speak twice in a year, that would only have a woman on stage in that role 2 times out of 52.

Is it fair to be fair or should we give the woman more time?

Caroline said...

i'm assuming that you are assuming that lead pastor is a man. . . :) kidding with you, tony.

"On the flipside, I believe the conversation that's getting louder about having more women preachers is stepping in that way, too, to compensate the local church." Help me unpack that sentence. What do you mean by compensate?

I see your "catch" and raise it. First, realistically, what are the chances of 6 staff people all being good teachers? Anyway, that is beside the point.

In the words of Bryan McLaren, we are continuing to ask the wrong question. If a woman is seeking face time with an audience, that should be our first red flag. As a preacher or teacher or prophet or evangelist or apostle (funny those eph. 4 folks all got by with women leading accept for the preacher one, hmm), we should be leading as a response to what God is doing in the Kingdom through us.

Instead of giving everyone equal face time, let's look at where God is moving, and who has the "best voice" for it. Ask God to show us who is to speak, listen (the sheep hear His voice), and start talking. Look what happened when that woman at the well followed the instructions of Jesus to go back and tell her story. Her entire village became followers of Christ. Look first to see what has a story to tell.

I alternate weekly with another preacher (who happens to be male); it is quite the combination. The congregation has moved in directions we have never imagined due to the diversity in perspective. God is moving through all of us, and I am seeing woman and men lead together in a way I never have before.

An elderly African American woman once said that it takes men and women to birth anything. That is what my dream is. We work together in love and health to open the doors of the Kingdom to everyone.

Sorry, I know that I didn't answer your question. . . .

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to write this post. It's a real benefit to all of us who couldn't be there!

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