Institutions Opinion

Episcopal Church needs to look for #MeToo in the details

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, the president of the House of Deputies, presides over that house at the 2015 General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Brian Baker

(RNS) — Anyone who follows the news from the Episcopal Church’s General Convention, which begins this week (July 5) in Austin, Texas, might hear about the more than 20 resolutions put forward by an all-female special committee on sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation that will come before the convention.

All of these resolutions are important, though some will make the eyes of even a church nerd glaze over. But the devil is in the details, and we need to get him out of there.

If we pass these resolutions, however, it is essential that we not sit back and say we’ve done what the moment — and the gospel — demands.  

The Episcopal Church has much work to do to ensure the fair treatment of women at every institutional level, from the local parish to the highest positions of power. Even though sexual abuse is the most urgent matter, and should thus be given priority, the problems go far deeper and cut to the heart of how the church treats women.

Biases, both conscious and unconscious, still conspire to push female church employees into lower-paying or part-time positions more frequently than their male counterparts. That means they advance more slowly into leadership, earn less money than men —as much as 11 cents on the dollar less over the course of a career — and retire with smaller pensions.

To work against these biases we need to keep a close eye on disparities in pay. We need to strengthen the internal church laws that prohibit discriminatory hiring practices, continue the collection of compensation data and establish anti-sexism training in seminaries. These measures are included in the committee’s resolutions and are all worthy of support.

Closing the pay gap will require a commitment on the part of bishops to make pay parity a priority. Nine years ago, I instituted a system in my diocese in which I meet with the leaders of a congregation in need of a priest and determine the compensation appropriate to the position before the parish determines which candidates to consider. It is not a perfect solution, because it sometimes results in offering candidates with differing experience the same pay, yet that is a small price to get closer to pay parity.

I don’t suggest that the convention spend all of its time examining pay scales and other personnel matters. We will once again be debating same-sex marriage and deciding whether to revise our Book of Common Prayer. We also will rally against gun violence and the inhumane treatment of refugees.

But the #MeToo movement demands our attention, and we need to make sure that everyone, but especially women, can feel safe in the Episcopal Church. The legislation to be offered at convention that most inspires me calls for the creation of a “Task Force for Women, Truth, and Reconciliation for the purpose of helping the Church engage in truth-telling, confession, and reconciliation regarding gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence against women and girls in all their forms by those in power in the Church … ”

In 2010, I learned that one of my predecessors as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania had sexually abused numerous pre-pubescent girls at the diocesan summer camp 30 years earlier. The months that followed were an education both in the depths of human sinfulness and the profound difficulty churches have in dealing with their own failings.

It takes only brief exposure to people who work on these issues to learn that there is deep dissatisfaction among victims and their advocates over the way the church has handled complaints of abuse, especially against bishops. I hope creating this task force will be the first step to ensuring that complaints of assault and abuse are handled sensitively and confidentially, but also that the interest of powerful perpetrators are not protected at the expense of victims and that we do not put the reputation of the church before the demands of justice.

As with our failures in the human resources realm, we need to address these issues at a detailed level. We need to support a resolution that would create an alternative path for reporting abuse or harassment when circumstances within victims’ home dioceses might give them pause about pursuing a complaint. We should extend the statute of limitations to report abuse or harassment for three years, so that previously unreported cases can be heard under this new system. We should vote to protect whistleblowers who report instances of abuse or harassment but are not complainants or witnesses themselves.

These kinds of procedural revisions are essential to building trust in our disciplinary processes. As the gospel leads us to believe, they are small steps that are necessary and significant if we want to create a safer and fairer church.

(The Rt. Rev. Sean W. Rowe is bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania and bishop provisional of the Diocese of Bethlehem, Pa.)

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  • Misogyny runs deep within the veins of Judeo-Christian culture. It will take several more generations before a full-fledged #metoo reckoning occurs within many Christian denominations. But kudos to the intrepid Episcopalians for tackling the issue head-on at their General Convention. They’re getting it done, which is more than can be said of many Christian denominations.

    While Catholic and other Orthodox branches will continue to maintain that there are ontological differences which prevent women from being members of the clergy, which therefore restrict their earning ability as compared to Catholic and Orthodox men, eventually even the most misogynistic churches will have to come to terms with this one truth: the only possible rationale for men being paid more than women in the workplace (all other things being equal) is the belief that men’s “rightful place” is to work outside the home and women’s “rightful place” is to work inside it, rearing children, cleaning, and cooking. Whether this belief is biblically-based or not makes little difference, as the overall effect is the same – to rob women of the opportunity to compete on an even playing field with men.

    The problem is, it’s always difficult finding hard evidence that a man is being paid more simply because he’s a man. Few people go to the trouble of analyzing companies’ (or in this case churches’) hiring habits in depth unless they’re paid to do so, as in during a lawsuit. So the problem of the good ole boys perpetuating their privilege at women’s expense becomes insidious and difficult to root out, sort of like toenail fungus. Try as you might, it never quite goes away.

  • The Catholic and Orthodox, neither of whom btw considers the Anglican Communion a branch, are silent about the earning ability of women.

    Both believe God made them, man and woman, as complements to each other just as is described in Genesis.

    That, plus the command “go forth and multiply”, also torpedo endorsing same sex sexual activity.

  • There is nothing better for churches than task forces devoted to telling truth on all subjects. Just get ready for some folks to get in a huff and leave after truth is presented to them. Some people simply do not want to hear that women should be wholly equal partners with men in running church matters, including ministry. Paul certainly did not think so, for instance. He was wrong about that, of course, but there are those who will never agree that he was.

  • So you know better than Christ, who approved of everything Paul wrote when He commissioned him to start the Gentile Churches,eh? Interesting…..

  • “But the #MeToo movement demands our attention, and we need to make sure that everyone, but especially women, can feel safe in the Episcopal Church.” You want to keep women and children safe? Stop pushing immorality and start following Christ. How can you teach that Christ is wrong on one thing and right about another? Doesn’t work that way

  • There is no evidence that Jesus approved of or would have approved of everything Paul wrote.

    As for women involved in church management and ministry, I’m sure you are aware that there are many so-called megachurches founded by husband and wife teams who bill themselves as co-pastors. The other traditional denominations need to catch up as to how this can work, does work, and is working in churches where the founders virtually own the places for all practical purposes and are not bound to men’s ideas exclusively. The time for women being told to shut up in church is over. My personal feeling is that Jesus never told Mary Magdalene to sit down and shut up and women need to claim their heritage via this particular friend and confidante of Jesus.

  • There is no evidence that Jesus disapproved of or would have disapproved of anything Paul wrote.

    The Episcopal Church began ordaining women in the 1970s.

    Today it is one half the size it was then.

    That does not seem to support the notion that the “other traditional denominations need to catch up” unless they are planning on shedding a lot of buildings and learning to live on less.

    When some church or other endorses your personal feelings as inspired, be sure to let us know.

  • Having complained to the Diocese of Virginia about possible gender-based harassment within my former parish, as well as questionable HR, cash management, financial reporting, and governance practices, as well as bullying, only to be told in writing by the diocese that my concerns were not of “weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church,” I can only say that The Episcopal Church is one hot mess.

    Even worse, the following day, I got an email from my former rector telling me to find a new church; he also instructed church staff to remove us from church directory, and even to illegally misuse funds we had given to the church. While the local office of consumer protection eventually helped obtain the return of our funds, the Diocese of Virginia has said that retaliation also is not actionable.

    What all of this tells me is that The Episcopal Church is morally bankrupt. If you wish to follow Jesus, you won’t find him in The Episcopal Church. Look elsewhere.

    PS All abuse and harassment should be actionable, not just sexual harassment.

  • There is evidence. Paul was commissioned to start the Gentile church. Christ is omniscient and He knew what Paul would write. On top of that, He spent 3 years teaching Paul via revelation in Arabia.
    People can call themselves whatever they want, that doesn’t make them legit; Curry calls himself a Bishop but he is a fraud.
    Christ taught Paul. Paul was setting up the Gentile church. Paul taught in several places – no women pastors

  • My understanding is that Paul, as Saul, stayed busy persecuting early Christians including participation in the stoning of Stephen until he had a self-reported conversion, that he never met Jesus in life, that any teaching he received from Jesus via revelation is only evidenced or referenced by his self-reporting, that all the letters he wrote were written before any of the four gospels were written (meaning he had no access to them as scripture), that some of Paul’s letters may have been written by others later—-writing in his name, that the author of the Book of Acts had no access to any of Paul’s letters, that his status as an apostle is basically self-proclaimed, that his relationship with Peter and James the brother of Jesus was always tenuous and strained, that Jesus is said to have appointed Peter, not Paul, as the rock on which the church would be built, and that Paul was firmly convinced of some things which turned out to not be true—–the most important being his belief that Jesus would return during Paul’s physical life (a thing which did not happen).

    We also know that Paul wrote some junk. The opening of Romans 13, for instance, has been in the news lately as Sessions wanted to use it as cover for the preposterous suggestion that Trumpism is of God. Most certainly we know from all human history that rulers do NOT rule as a matter of having authority from God to do so. Such an assertion actually slanders God, denies the sacrifice of every soldier who ever died trying to depose bad rulers, calls democracy and the entire American political foundation (including the whole constitution) into question and is simply baloney to anyone who has the slightest knowledge of history. Net, net, Paul wrote whatever he thought—rather randomly—– and none of us need to be in the least bound by anything he said.

  • Apparently “We also know that Paul wrote some junk” means “I disagree with some of what Paul wrote”.

  • So you’ve got a bone to pick with officials in one diocese. Go pick it and stop tarring the rest of the Episcopal Church with blanket generlizations based on your limited experience with people in one diocese. And maybe get some therapy while your’e at it. Sounds like you need it.

  • The reason for the decline is an assumption on your part. There have been other explanations as well. And even if a factor, many other denominations now accept the ordination of women. The Catholic church has also shrunk dramatically – but mire recently – and loss in numbers of white Catholics has been partially offset by Hispanic Catholics.

    One does not know whether or not Paul would stand by everything he wrote in today’s world given that it was written for a number of churches facing different issues and for a patriarchal society. But one can look at some of the practices of both Jesus and Paul to also form a reasonable argument as to why ordination of women would be accepted. And I think Paul would have been compelled to author another letter to a more modern world to write an addendum as to his words on slavery as not being an endorsement of the practice.

  • Given the remarkably un-Christian tone and tenor of your comments, you prove my point.

  • Where did Paul actually write the words no women pastors in the church? And where did he write that pastors should be paid by the church instead of holding a secular job?

  • If being a Christian in your book means accommodating your refusal to make rational distinctions between peoples and institutions, then count me out. And I also won’t be assuming any guilt for those who for whatever reason choose not to come forward in order to defend themselves from any kind of abuse or harassment – that’s all on them. You really do need to see a shrink – and you can take that as a very Christian bit of advice for dealing with your obvious woundedness.

  • Fact check:

    1) All human knowledge is derived by extrapolating from the specific to the general.
    2) The details of my situation are well documented on major media, including on The Wartburg Watch.
    3) There currently are several active Title IV cases against the relevant clergy.
    4) A “shrink,” as you call her or him, cannot ethically diagnose a patient without meeting her or him. When did you acquire greater capabilities than a professional and fewer ethical constraints?
    5) Nothing prevents the relevant clergy from responding here. Indeed, I encourage them to do so.
    6) You are utterly clueless when it comes to the dynamics of abuse. Try attending a meeting of abuse survivors and making the comments you have made above. If you are lucky you will get laughed out of

  • If you reread my post to which you responded you’ll note I provided no reason for the decline.

    I note A and then B four decades later.

    It is up to the reader to provide a reason, or not.

    The Catholic church has not shrunk dramatically, in fact it has not shrunk at all.

    If one assumes – and an Orthodox, evangelical, or Catholic Christian would assume – that Paul was a divinely inspired writer, one would conclude that on matters of faith and morals Paul would stand by everything he wrote.

    For example, he’d find your “patriarchal society’ non-Christian.

    If, on the other hand, you’re a non-evangelical Christian at best Paul is just one more guy long ago that scribbled some stuff that you may or may not find spins your particular propeller.

    If one looks at the practices of both Jesus and Paul, one would conclude that the fact women were not ordained was dispositive. In fact that is one of the bases of the Catholic position and underlies the Orthodox stance.

    Paul and Jesus both decried exploitation and treating others as less than people, which would cover what you apparently consider all slavery to be.

    However, slavery in that time and place was not all chattel slavery, ownership of human beings, and classes of slaves had a variety of rights enforceable at law, including the right to procure their own manumission.

    In any case, Paul did not “endorse” the practice. He simply didn’t run a resolution past General Convention to tsk tsk about it.

  • 1 Timothy 2:12 – English Standard Version

    I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

    Then let’s go to 1 Corinthians 14:

    English Standard Version

    the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.”

    The first Corinthians follows the teaching on speaking in tongues in a church, so from my reading, women should not even be speaking in tongues in their assemblies. It has been prohibited.

    1 Timothy 3 New International Version (NIV)

    3 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

    8 In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

    11 In the same way, the women[c] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

    12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

    1 Corinthians 11:13 – New International Version

    But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”

    Which would say that if a woman were teaching a man – had it been allowed – that she would need to get her knowledge from a man, so it is much easier to just let the men teach and that would assure accuracy.

    1 Timothy 2:14 – English Standard Version

    and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”

    This is another example of the woman not having Christ as her head, and a woman being easily deceived.

    For that reason, they should not be teaching a church.

    Now…let’s go to Acts: 22:21

    English Standard Version

    And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

    Paul was called to teach the gentile church while the apostles taught the Jewish segment. Paul was teaching the church the standards that Christ was setting for the church – no women preachers – were Christ’s desire for the church He was setting up through Paul.

    It does not mean women didn’t help. It means they were no longer wanted to help by

    Christ.

    As Christ spent three years teaching Paul via revelation in Arabia, I do not doubt the accuracy of Paul’s teachings. (Galatians 1:11-18)

  • When Paul met Jesus, the others heard Jesus voice

    The Damascus Road: Saul Converted

    9 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

    3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

    5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”

    Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. [a]It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

    6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”

    Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

    7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. – Acts 9

    Paul met Christ and was taught for 3 years via revelation:

    Call to Apostleship

    11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

    15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. – Galatians 1

    “Rulers” are appointed by God:
    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Romans 13:1

    “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding. Daniel 2:21

    Christ in His omniscience knew everything Paul would teach and approved of it

  • You are correct that my knowledge of abuse survivor meetings is, thankfully, nil. But that does not mean that I’m not allowed to offer my opinion that you need to get beyond your sense of victimhood as well as your tendency to assign blame elsewhere rather than assume responsibility for yourself. If you can’t, you’ll remain forever stuck.

  • You are allowed to offer your opinion; that is guaranteed by the First Amendment. Your opinion, however, is misinformed. Survivors move past abuse when it is addressed, not when an officious third party lectures them on what they “need” to do.

  • To sandinwindsor:

    It appears to me that you come from the school of thought which demands that all people consider every word of the Bible to be true, God-breathed, seamless in flow, inerrant and all-sufficient. I am from the school of thought believing that the Bible is a collection of separate old writings done by various men over hundreds or thousands of years, some true, some not, some really good, some awful, some helpful to making Christians into good people, some existing as impediments or stumbling blocks.

    For me, there is no more evidence that Paul did not merely “write out of his own head” than there is that the Genesis authors did not (as they spun such non-factual fantasy as the Tower of Babel story), or that the author of Revelation did not in creating indecipherable prophecy of future events, or (importantly) that Muhammad did not in his claim of receiving more than two decades of “revelation” from an angel or that Joseph Smith did not with his claims about how he received Mormon doctrine. Many people have written many things to “create” religious dogma from the ancient times write up to present-day ministries. We are to cling to Jesus’s priority of actually trying to love all of our neighbors and conduct our discernment about religious writings from that one standard. We are NOT to insist on untrue things being called true merely because they are written in what some men have called “scripture”.

    Please know that I am not an atheist or a critic of Jesus. I want his love to come true in our lives and hearts. We are to ask, seek and knock with Jesus privately and not let “books” make us mean or hardened as many unfortunately did in humans’ history with religion.

  • I’d ask why you think that the Genesis historical account of the Tower of Babel is a “non-factual fantasy.”

    It’s a bit off-topic, that’s true, but
    the dismissal of the foundational Genesis as accurate history is at the root of why the mainline churches like the Episcopalians have deteriorated so very far & fast.

    Foundation goes, house goes.

  • IMHO:

    1) Jesus, not Genesis, is the foundation for Christians.
    2) Learning to love the neighbors (all of them to the best of our ability) is the whole point.
    We can only do this by telling each other the best truth we know or can discover.
    3) The Tower of Babel story within a 6000-year-ago creation did not happen from an engineering standpoint, does not explain truthfully the source of multiple languages on earth, and would make God look capricious and petty if the story had actually happened as recorded. It is a myth. We do not love each other by insisting myths are true.
    4) Any church should be the house of honesty, not the house of myth insistence. We have to recognize that there were eras when people did not know better. They had, for instance, no concept of deep space or deep time. But NOW WE DO. Christians should be leading the charge for keeping the point and message of Jesus while down-playing anything else in “scripture” which is either conflicting or a pile of stumbling blocks for those with modern education. This is precisely what we wish Muslims would do with their scriptures as well, in order to make Islam into kindness instead of the dangerous mess it is when stuck with unfiltered scripture.

  • Homosexuality is not depravity. Stop harassing gay and trans people just for walking down the street and using public bathrooms.

  • I find it interesting that folks would believe every word of a text as old and as unreliable in its authenticity today as Genesis is literal historical truth, but naysay Mohamed’s 1300 year old account of his experiences or more recently that of Joseph Smith.

  • You need to follow the teachings of Paul, shut up and get back home where you belong.

    The fraud here is you and the bizarre beliefs that you have acquired regarding Christianity and who you dictate is in and who is out.

  • Well, Eric, at least Dio VA could be a hot mess. I don’t think that it’s fair to stamp every diocese in the Province with your experience in but one.

  • Jesus taught that the greatest commandment was to love God. And that the second was similar, to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. Through the story of the Good Samaritan he helped us understand who is our neighbor. And from the 2nd greatest commandment we know that we should also love ourselves. The Episcopal Church is attempting to live those two commands to the best of each member’s ability, inspite of your self-appointed right to judge them harshly.

    Go back home and be quiet. Paul said that you should.

  • Hi David. Good to see you here. 🙂

    The issue has been kicked up to the national level multiple times, to be met pretty much with silence. Indeed, I sent a note directly to PB Curry, but didn’t get a response at all. So I’m not exactly feeling the “liberating and life-giving part.”

    Meanwhile, Bob Malm, the priest in question, continues his vendetta, even going so far as to subpoena my mother, who is dying of emphysema. That speaks volumes to his personal ethics and those of diocesan officials; there is a special place for those who bully the dying.

  • To love God is to follow His commands

    You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22

    If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13

  • Indeed. You have well described the root of the disconnect with those for whom EVERY word of the Bible MUST be held as literal truth. But we can’t be laughing. These people are very busy ruining America as we speak.

  • Okay, thanks for your considered reply. However, Genesis is absolutely foundational.

    No Genesis historical credibility? Then no Jesus historical credibility either especially since He affirmed the first humans Adam and Eve in Matt. 19:4-5 as literal history, a claim which the theory of evolution specifically denies. Thus Evolution falsifies Jesus, or Jesus falsifies Evolution.

    No historical Adam? Then no historical Atonement either (see Rom. 5:12-17), a point which even Non-Christians have expressed. Genesis’ miracles false? Then Jesus’ miracles false too, including the super-fast, creation-from-nothing miracles Jesus performed (the feeding of the 5000; the healing of a man’s withered hand).

    “…Darwin’s theory tells us that because new species only emerge extremely gradually, there really is no “first” prototype or model of any species at all—no “first” dog or “first” giraffe and certainly no “first” homo sapiens created instantaneously.
    …If there is no original ancestor who transmitted hereditary sin to the whole species, then there is no Fall, no need for redemption, and Jesus’ death as a sacrifice efficacious for the salvation of humanity is pointless. The whole raison d’etre for the Christian plan of salvation disappears.”

    — former pastor Mike Aus (you get three guesses as to what theory changed him from Christian to Atheist!).

  • Let’s also do your claim about the Tower of Babel. You did not actually say what makes Babel’s construction impossible from an engineering or scientific standpoint. You offered only silence.

    Do modern engineers know all there is to know about engineering principles? Absolutely not.
    There is a walled complex in Peru, part of the City of Cuzco and on the UN’s World Heritage List, called Sacsayhuaman. It has giant walls, “… different from Stonehenge, different from the Pyramids of the Egyptians and the Maya, different from any of the other ancient monolithic stone works. Scientists are not certain how these huge stones were transported and processed to fit so perfectly that no blade of grass or steel can slide between them. There is no mortar. The stones often join in complex and irregular surfaces that would appear to be a nightmare for the stonemason.”

    (World Mysteries Blog, 07-21-12, “Top 10 Unexplained Ancient Achievements.”)

    So it’s pretty likely that the humans of Babel’s time, with their fully-united one-language ability, knew some engineering principles that may be lost to us modern folks. Also, the Bible makes clear that Babel was all about humans starting to rebel en-masse against God again, which would lead to another planetary disaster unless God intervened. So God broke up and mixed up our fully-united monolithic language, which stopped Babel and saved us from ourselves.

  • I find it equally interesting that Genesis naysayers can’t answer the rational and Scriptural responses that are offered by Christians who accept its historical claims as accurate history.

  • And thanks for your reply too. Genesis doctrine may be foundational to the operation of some churches because they cannot continue justifying what they have been expounding for so long without insisting on the literal truth of things which are not true. But real Christians are joined to Jesus one by one—-not necessarily through institutions at all. I do not believe in telling people they cannot have Jesus unless they either hold to origin ideas which are less and less believable as time and science go by or they fib about “believing” things which they actually don’t (because they can’t really). Perhaps it is a religious bummer that we are living these past few hundred years in the age of exponential discovery, but we are. Jesus exists to change out hearts from careless and hard to empathetic to all those around us. This is the beneficial point of Christianity. We have to preach it so that anthropologists and geologists and space scientists can have Him too. Again, IMHO.

  • Must have been a doozy – which is a surprise because I know what you have liked to cite in support of non-ordination of women in spite if pPhoebe Junus and others mentioned in terms of their leadership roles in house churches and in evangelizing by Paul, Hpwever, I did want you to consider that Paul was a tent-maker who worked at that .occupation,while building the church

  • While building the church that Christ asked him to and to set the rules for it, yes.

  • Try Titus 2: 9=10 as to endorsement/acceptance of practice. But then many do not believe he was the author of that letter or 5 others. Paul did identify specific women as being significant in the churches he established.

    The US Catholic church is only 59% white compared to 87% of evangelicals and Episcopalians are even whiter. Decline in the latter’s membership is believed to have more to do with small families, older than average congregants and failure to attract people from other cultures. A number of sources identified the US Catholic population as in decline https://news.gallup.com/poll/232226/church-attendance-among-catholics-resumes-downward-slide.aspx and http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/

  • Would be more forth-coming and less self-editing in talking to a female pastor just like I prefer seein a female doctor. And less likely to run into someone like Paige Patterson

  • Both the Gallup and the PEW were speculative at best, and both rely on self-definitions of “Catholic”.

    Titus 2:9-10

    9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and
    not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so
    that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

    So, what are the “slaves” Paul mentions?

    What they are not is the chattel slaves of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

    They are a class in Roman society.

  • not a mistranslation whatsoever – only to those who do not want to know the truth. The fuss that would be caused by unbelievers on their languages being mistranslated by Christians would be heard world wide. Poor excuse for avoiding the truth David.

  • If I wanted to speak to a minister or pastor on a personal matter, I wouldn’t want to talk to either a male or female lay person because generally speaking not the same thing. To use an analogy, sometimes a para=legal will do but sometimes you really do need a lawyer

  • You might remember that I do not believe Genesis to be literally true and in fact, I worry that such a literal approach in association with education and exposure to the world outside of the piece of land one grows up has a lot to do with the rise in nones. Genesis is quite similar in many respects to other creation stories that predate it in terms of records at least. The Tower of Babel story occurs with the Muslim faith – although not identical – and in other stories of antiquity. It may in fact be based on a ziggurat called Etemenanki in Babylon with remnants of the actual structure still there today. With respect to the story perhaps this is a follow through tor realization of the ‘be fruitful and multiply’ which has been argued had a different meaning than multiply – especially in that multiply would have been an uncommon or unknown math operation. To you it matters whether literally true but I find it ok to consider these as stories that help explain our beliefs.

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