Last week we heard the horrible news that Father Jacques Hamel was beheaded at the altar of his church as those in attendance were forced to watch. He was not the first, nor will he be the last to suffer. Jesus declared,
Over the past several months I’ve had many conversations with friends and colleagues about the biblical perspective of women in ministry. Of course, I believe the biblical perspective is that men and women are equal in the body of Christ and are equally called to participate in the mission of God. Since, the adjournment of the Church of God General Assembly, I’ve reflected on those conversations. I must admit that I am deeply disappointed in the position that many in our church espouse.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12).
When Saul of Tarsus encountered the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus he was knocked to the ground and left blinded. A few days later he received the Holy Spirit and his eyes were opened. His encounter with Jesus Christ challenged everything he knew about the God of Abraham and the Law of God. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he presented a renewed vision of God and a new redemptive paradigm in which all of humanity may be redeemed. Even so, he testified that he suffered from poor eyesight (Galatians 6:11).
Since I was first called into ministry I have been an ecumenist. I believe that the church of Jesus Christ is one body. I am also a realist, one who prefers to see things as they are. Therefore, I acknowledge that even as the church is one in Christ we have utterly failed to demonstrate that essential unity.
Several years ago, my wife and I were seated at the table drinking coffee. The phone rang. The caller was Elaine, one of our senior adult women. Her voice was trembling. She said, “Pastor, Gidget is dead.” I didn’t know who she was speaking about, so I asked, “Who died?”
I resist the temptation to paint with a wide brush. I shudder when I hear a white person suggest that all black men are gangsters; or when I hear a black person suggest that all Republicans are racist. Nor do I embrace the typical conservative line “Support our Police;” just as I resist the insistence of leftist political activists that all police officers are corrupt. I have been suspicious of the Black Live Matters movement, because I really do believe All Lives Matter. However . . .
I often read and hear that small churches are not relevant to the mission of God and that they should be closed down. Well, let me tell you about the evening I went to close a church.