25.6.08

More on the marriage my parents demonstrated

I hinted earlier at the marriage my parents modeled - based on giftings and callings. This meant that by society's standards they were actually traditional because my mum's calling was to the care of her children - all four us and then to employment once we were in school. My dad worked, he could earn more and found his work fulfilling for the most part. My husband and I have learnt from both our parents' marriages. We work on giftings and callings. My husband on discovering we were pregnant was adamant that whoever could support us better financially and whilst feeling fulfilled would work - it just happened to be him. I worked part-time and then gave up to bring up the girls, with them both in school 08, I will retrain and then work. My husband's parents marriage has weathered the storms of cultural barriers and the stress of fending for a family in a new country after the war. They came from Poland. He also has a very strong, independent and gutsy mother and so grew up knowing that gender is no barrier - his mother was determined, loving and brave in the carving out of a life for herself and her family, in a country she came to not speaking the language and where there was little recognition of the qualifications she'd gained in Poland.

I love this from Gilbert Bilezikian in Chritianity Today:
A woman's place

Most Christians will not argue with the primacy of servanthood. But out of Bilezikian's concept of community has come another teaching, more controversial in its outworking: gender equality.

"I am not a feminist," Bilezikian says. "Feminism is about power, and I am about servanthood. I'm not pursuing equality for its own sake; there is no mandate in the Bible to pursue equality. But there is a mandate to establish community. And authentic community necessarily implies full participation of women and men on the basis of spiritual gifts, not on the basis of sex."

Bilezikian was one of the proponents of mutual submission long before it was fashionable in evangelical circles. "Mutual submission is a biblical concept," he says. "The words are used specifically in a number of texts but especially in Ephesians 5:21, where it says be mutually submitted to each other." The wife submits to the husband just as the church does to Christ, but there is a reciprocity, he says: "Christ submits himself in-depth to the church, and the church submits itself in service to Christ. But then the husband is also under submission because he has to love his wife as he loves himself, even to the point of self-sacrifice as Christ loved the church."

Both men and women, then, desire to serve the other rather than to control the other, Bilezikian says.

"Our natural tendency is to compete or take advantage of," he says. "The Bible says lay down your arms and instead extend your hands toward each other to help each other and to support each other; and for the relationship to be one of partnership and mutuality rather than one of hierarchy."

Bilezikian says he tries to live out these principles in his marriage, and they are also evident at his church. Not everyone at Willow Creek initially agreed with Bilezikian's position on women's ministry: among others, Hybels himself taught the traditional view of male headship. After months of study and debate, the church decided that it would support women in any position of leadership—teacher, preacher, elder.

Thank you Christianity Today

If Hybels changed his views once he'd studied and reflected, there's hope for our warring church yet.

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.