Posts by Denny
WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE – 2019

WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE – 2019

October 16, 2019 By dwayman

A primary consequence of the Fall in Genesis is the subjugation of women throughout history and throughout the world.  A  primary Gospel implication is that in the Kingdom of God this curse will be reversed back to God’s original intention of equality and mutual responsibility to care for God’s world.

However, even in the places where Christianity has been imbedded within the culture for centuries the echo of the curse continues.  In an article in the WSJ the author digests an exhaustive study of Women in the Workplace – 2019 with these observations:

“The numbers tell a stark story: Though women and men enter the workforce in roughly equal numbers, men outnumber women nearly 2 to 1 when they reach that first step up—the manager jobs that are the bridge to more senior leadership roles. In real numbers, that will translate to more than one million women across the U.S. corporate landscape getting left behind at the entry level over the next five years as their male peers move on and upward, perpetuating a shortage of women in leadership positions.

Few efforts are likely to remedy the problem as much as tackling the gender imbalance in initial promotions into management …   If companies in the U.S. continue to make the same, tiny gains in the numbers of women they promote and hire into management every year, it will be another 30 years before the gap between first-level male and female managers closes, McKinsey estimates.

ARTIFACTS DEPICT WOMEN CLERGY IN EARLY CHURCH

ARTIFACTS DEPICT WOMEN CLERGY IN EARLY CHURCH

October 14, 2019 By dwayman
‘Women are seen at the church altar in three of the most important churches in Christendom’

JULY, 2019

by Sarah MacDonald

“New research recently unveiled in Rome suggests women had a greater role in the early church’s ministries and liturgies than previously thought and were present at church altars as deacons, priests and even bishops.

Ally Kateusz, research associate at the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research, presented her findings July 2 to the International Society of Biblical Literature, drawing on iconography from ancient Christian art.

A specialist in the history of late antiquity, she has taught at both Webster University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She told the conference, which was held at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, that three of the earliest surviving images of Christians worshipping at church altars show women in official liturgical roles.

One of the artifacts she bases her findings on is an ivory reliquary box dating from around A.D. 430 that depicts a man and a woman standing on either side of an altar, each raising a chalice. The altar is that of Old St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The gesture of raising a chalice is recognized as a liturgical act performed by priests.

Two other artifacts also depict women at altars: One is a sixth century ivory pyx of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and the other is a stone sarcophagus front from the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople,

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE:  Second Chances in an Unforgiving Society

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE: Second Chances in an Unforgiving Society

September 10, 2019 By dwayman

By Rev. David Thompson

Rev. David Thompson is a retired Elder in the North Central Conference of the Free Methodist Church, a retired U.S. Navy Chaplain and mental health counselor, and former Superintendent of the former Minn-I-Kota Conference. One of his sons is one of the 70 million Americans with a record, for a decade-old misdemeanor that has been a barrier for meaningful employment, housing and credit for the past eight years. Only recently was he offered, as a veteran who served seven years on active duty, a second chance in employment with a good job with the VA to help other veterans like himself, get on their feet after suffering wounds of mind, body, and spirit in war- time service.

Supt. Thompson presents an important and profound call on all of us as compassionate Christians who ourselves live by God’s restorative mercy.

Introduction:

Anytime one starts talking about restorative justice in a world where revenge and punishment are often the normal response for offenses against persons and society, it is to venture into controversial waters.

I am deeply sensitive to the pain and grief that is visited upon victims of crime and the challenge to forgive, feel safe, and rebuild trust that has been lost. This is no small task of mind and spirit requiring sometimes years of counsel and support from friends and caring clinicians. It takes a real touch from the Lord to help many move on in life after such a trauma and not remain captured by fear and anger.

GENDER ISSUES IN BIBLICAL TRANSLATIONS

GENDER ISSUES IN BIBLICAL TRANSLATIONS

August 13, 2019 By dwayman

 

Rev. Dr. Laura J. Hunt explains:

“If Greek and Hebrew are not where you like to spend your time, then what translation do you use? The Common English Bible, the 2011 NIV, and the New Revised Standard Version are all solid translations. And reading and studying the Bible from multiple versions lets you see which passages everyone generally translates in the same way and which require difficult decisions. The English Standard Version, though, despite its recent popularity and ready availability, has some significant issues for Free Methodists. Rather than argue the case myself, I have rounded up the best discussions I can find online (plus one on the New Living Translation). If you have other favorite blog posts, or your own comments or concerns, I’d love to see them in the comment section below!

“I had another question come up with the ESV today (English Standard Version), so I thought I would post a round-up of blogs that address these issues. As an ordained Free Methodist, I cannot put this too strongly. The ESV is not suitable for use in our denomination. (The NLT is similarly problematic. I recommend the CEB, the 2011 NIV, and the NRSV.)

The first link is to this endorsement of the ESV by a group opposed to the Free Methodist position on women. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is dedicated to the promotion of what they believe to be God-ordained complementary roles for men and women including the unilateral submission of wives to husbands and the prohibition of women from leadership roles in the church.

MORALITY OF GENETIC ENGINEERING

MORALITY OF GENETIC ENGINEERING

August 12, 2019 By dwayman

Dr. David B. Schreiner in the Summer of 2019 writes an opening volley as a Free Methodist interested in the moral aspects of the advancements in  “altering the genetic code with which people have been born or will be born.”  Both for the healing of disease and the enhancement of humanity, this science is in need of ethical guidance, especially for those of us who are Christians.

Stating his question clearly he asks: “How do the general moral imperatives to tend to the disenfranchised and vulnerable mentioned throughout Scripture implore us to pursue the betterment of life and deal with diseases that have a high mortality rate among the young and elderly? Do the Church Fathers, who used Scripture to comment on many experiences beyond the purview of the original authors, provide any insight on how to go beyond the plain sense of Scripture?”

Here is his work:

CRISPR/CAS9 and Editing the Human Genome: Moving Beyond the Text to Engage in Theological Discourse

On July 29, National Public Radio (NPR) published a story about Victoria Gray’s battle with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).1 SCD refers to genetic blood disorders that affects a patient’s red-blood cells. Instead of the normal, squishy, round red-blood cells, which move effectively through the patient’s blood vessels, the red-blood cells are hard, sticky, and sometimes in the shape of a sickle. Most importantly, the mutated red-blood cells pool at certain junctures in the blood stream and cause an incredible amount of pain.

HOWARD  SNYDER’s HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHURCH

HOWARD SNYDER’s HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHURCH

June 30, 2019 By dwayman

In 2014 Howard Snyder wrote a “personal and pastoral” reflection on homosexuality.  It is presented here as another ingredient to our ongoing conversation.

 

Homosexuality and the Church:

Personal and Pastoral Reflections

 

Howard A. Snyder

 

[Foreword]

 

One of the foundational problems with the contemporary discussion on same sex marriage is that the church has lost the debate before the first exchange of ideas takes place. This is because the underlying presuppositions of the dialogue are never properly disclosed.  For example, the actual biblical teaching regarding marriage is utterly incomprehensible to the wider culture.   If you read Christian interactions about same sex marriage, it is clear that the church has largely abandoned the notion that there is a divine design to marriage.  In short, we have a priori accepted the culture’s view of marriage; namely, that it is a legal arrangement which allows two people to fulfill each other’s emotional and sexual needs and desires.  Personal choice and autonomous notions of personal fulfillment are just a few of the values which fit neatly within the larger utilitarian framework of the modern understanding of marriage.   Today, marriage has become commodified along with the rest of the culture, as even social relationships are often reduced to measurable economic and emotional exchange units.

In contrast, the Scriptures posit a covenantal view of marriage which is unitive,

AMERICA’S ORIGINAL SIN

AMERICA’S ORIGINAL SIN

June 20, 2019 By dwayman

As congress begins the discussion on reparations the language being used is distinctly Christian – that of our theology of Original Sin.  This language is arguably made the focus of our discussions by Jim Wallis of Sojourners. Theologically the concept of an “original sin” is that it is a part of the human condition and does not mean that we willfully commit it – but are nevertheless influenced and impacted by it such that everything is tainted or destructive because of it.

In his magazine, Sojourners, this article gives a taste of Wallis’ book by the same name: America’s Original Sin.   You can read the article online here.

 

“Addressing multiple reports of a white police officer shooting an African American, such as in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Lauquan McDonald in Chicago, Jim Wallis—public theologian, political activist, and founding editor of Sojourners magazine, argues that the events are part of a legacy stretching back to slavery. His new book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America(Brazos, Jan.), not only tries to diagnose the underlying and systemic issues that are causing racial strife, but asks Americans to recognize what he calls their original sins — slavery and racism — before they can move forward together.

‘We have to address our country’s racial injustice and the fundamental difference of opinion and perspective between white and black people about the criminal justice system,

JUSTICE ADVOCACY PASTORAL PRIMER

JUSTICE ADVOCACY PASTORAL PRIMER

May 21, 2019 By dwayman

The work of a pastor is complex and multilayered.  From the care of individual Christians, to the care of a congregation, to the care of a community, pastors are responsible not only to assist people in their own spiritual growth but to assist individuals, congregations and communities to pursue justice.   Speaking on behalf of God the prophet Micah states:  “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).

Knowing how to act justly and to love mercy, Superintendents Michael Traylor and Mark Adams have written a primer for our pastors.  They define their purpose as:

“This primer seeks to provide brief guidelines for pastors and church leaders who seek to proclaim biblical truth, represent the needs of their congregation and community, becoming fully engaged as salt and light on earth while grasping the great truth that our citizenship is in heaven and our allegiance first and foremost to the Lord Jesus Christ.  In this primer you will find a brief framework in which to 1) understand advocacy in a contentious time, 2) view various legitimate but often competing moral advocacy views, 3) remember the Free Methodist story of advocacy and action borne of a passion to be more like Jesus, and 4) specific guidelines for advocacy that will keep you in the fight but above water, undergirded by the victory of Jesus Christ.”

They further explain:

“Free Methodists operate in a connection of congregations that is ethnically,

EQUALITY FOR WOMEN IN THE HOME

EQUALITY FOR WOMEN IN THE HOME

May 17, 2019 By dwayman

One of our Five Freedoms as Free Methodists, is the “Freedom of women and men to be treated respectfully and use their gifts equally in the church, in the home and in the world.”  This profound reversal of the results of sin’s consequence in Genesis 3, is  Salvation in action.  Throughout the world women have not been and still are often not treated respectfully and rather than empowering women to use their gifts given to them by God men have defined their place by their gender.  The Free Methodist church respectfully empowers all persons to be the person Jesus redeemed them to be!

However, there has been a struggle in recent years with a theology that affirms the respect for women but sees God as having limited their place because they are women.  This theology is called complementarian and is based on a hierarchical theology that retains the rule of men over women, but does so in a loving manner.  The result of this is many gifted women have not been able to take their place of leadership that utilizes their God-given gifts and calling.

To bring complete saving grace into the lives of women, the Free Methodist Church empowers women to serve in every place for which they are gifted.  This is called egalitarian. Though this is still a struggle within the broader Christian world it is no longer so for our churches and denomination.

DIGNITY AND WORTH OF PERSONS

DIGNITY AND WORTH OF PERSONS

May 12, 2019 By dwayman

At the Spring meeting of the Board of Administration of the FMCUSA, the Book of Discipline article ¶3221 was modified due to the work of three scholars of the FMC:  Dr. Ed Song, Dr. Helen Rhee and Pastor Kate Wallace-Nunneley.  Writing three separate resolutions to expand the article on the Worth of Persons, the SCOD took their work and combined them with the present article and changed the name to the DIGNITY and Worth of Persons.

This is our new article for the 2019 Book of Discipline:

¶3221           Dignity and Worth of Persons

We are committed to the dignity and worth of all humans regardless of gender, race, color, or any other distinctions (Acts 10:34-35) and will respect them as persons made in the image of God (Genesis1:26-27) and redeemed by Christ’s death and resurrection.

The  Old  Testament  law  commands  such  respect  (Deuteronomy 5:11-21). Jesus summarized this law as love for God and neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). He ministered to all without distinction and His death on the cross was for all (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).

We are therefore pledged to active concern whenever human beings are demeaned, abused, depersonalized, enslaved or subjected to demonic forces in the world, whether by individuals or institutions (Galatians 3:28; Mark 2:27; 1 Timothy 1:8-10). We are committed to give meaning and significance to every person by God’s help. Remembering our tendency to be prejudicial,