Why I Support Female Pastors: Or, That Feminism Post: Part One

Growing up in several evangelical churches, a phrase I have often heard is “Christ and Culture”.   This phrase generally refers to the difference (real or imagined) between biblical values/lifestyle and those of a secular or atheistic lifestyle.  While “Christ and Culture” is not a phrase you often see applied to the church itself, that is exactly what I intend to do today.

If by chance you have not picked up on it yet, today (or whatever day you happen to be reading this) I plan on talking about the ordination of women and in extension supposed “gender” roles assigned or intended for men and women.  Before I go further, I have a few things to clarify.  While the topics discussed in this post are going to focus primarily on the teachings of evangelical Christianity, I am by no means saying that all evangelical denominations and Christians are opposed to the ordination of women (The Lutheran church and most United European churches do for example).  Likewise, not all mainline denominations and Christians support the ordination of women (such as the Catholic church and Edit: I was informed the United Methodist Church does ordain women and always has.  My apologies for this error.most United Methodist churches).  There is a great variation of beliefs in denominations (and nondenominational churches), however, the general consensus of evangelical churches is that women should not be head pastors and that God instructs men and women to follow strict roles.  With that clarification set aside, I will now move on.

In the beginning….well, a lot of stuff happened, but arguably one of the most important things was the creation of humanity.  Living, breathing, completely self-aware and sentient creatures who were capable of having a relationship with God.  And at first, there was just one, man.  The first man’s name was Adam, and God tasked him with the upkeep of the garden (of Eden) and with naming all the creatures that resided in it.  After this was done, God saw that man was lonely, and thus enacted the next part of his plan.  It was not good for man to be alone, so he created a “helper” (more on that word in a minute) for him.

A bit of a side note, but I’ve always found this interesting: God didn’t necessarily make women from Adam’s rib.  In fact, the word used in Genesis refers to any biopsy, or more literally “section of flesh”.  While it’s quite possible women was made from one of Adam’s ribs, this is one of those things like the forbidden fruit being an apple, we really just don’t know.

Anyways, time to get back on topic.  The word most often translated as “helper” has raised a lot contention.  Often used to justify a complementary (but not inherently diminutive) role for women, “helper” is interpreted as an assisting role.  However, when we examine the actual word in question we see this is not the case.  The word most commonly translated as helper is ēzer k’negdô which literally means “help-meet”.  Again, in a literal context, this would refer to someone who met you where you were and lifted you out of your troubles through, well, help.  Literally, it refers to an equal role.  However, when we actually examine the context and parallel uses of ēzer things get even more interesting.  The word ēzer k’negdô is used many other times throughout the Bible, but never in a diminutive sense.  Elsewhere it is translated as “rescuer” and “savior” within similar contexts.  God himself is referred to as ēzer (salvation) several times.  So why then, is women referred to as the diminutive “helper”?   All evidence points to a cultural bias in the original English translators (*cough* *cough*, KJV, literally one of the word Bible translations available) that has been inadvertently emulated to this day.

Another interesting thing we see here early in Genesis is that both man and women are created in the image of God (tzelem Elohim).  It is not “man is created in the image of God” and then “woman is created in the image of man”.  No, both are created in the image of God!  To suggest that one is greater or more fit than the other borders on blasphemy in light of this.

So, I’ve examined the Biblical creation account to show that man and women were created equally and one is not created to be in subjugation to the other.  Now, I will examine the Fall and Original Sin to show where traditional gender roles came from.  While very few would say that sin was Eve’s fault, I would like to refute that argument nevertheless.  God has told Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit and had commanded him to relay this to Eve as well.  Which he never did!  In addition, we see in Genesis 3:6 that Adam was right with her when she ate the fruit “….She took of its fruit and ate, and also gave some to her husband who was with her” (ESV).

Now, on to the consequences, or results of sin.  Also in Genesis 3, we see God tell Adam and Eve what the results of their sin would be.  For clarity’s sake, I’ve listed them out for you (though you’re welcome to pull out your own Bible if you’d like):

  1. Raising children would be tiresome work
  2. The Husband Will Rule Over the Wife
  3. As they are cast out of the Garden, they will now have to work for sustenance
  4. As they are sinners, spiritual death is now a threat

All four of these are important, but for the purpose of this post the first two I will focus on.  Often translated as “childbirth will be painful”, verse 18 is better translated as “rearing children will be toil”.  This is another example of weird translations of words in spite of context.  And next, “The Husband Will Rule Over the Wife”.  Neither of these consequences existed before the fall.  As I previously mentioned, both were created in the image of God.  So does this mean that this is what God wants?  No!  Look back at consequence number 4, does God want us to suffer permanent Spiritual death?  Of course not!  That’s why he sent his son.  To suggest that God wants us to participate in sin is silly, and glamorizes sin itself.  In the early chapters of Genesis, we are slowly introduced to various types of sin (such as murder with Cain and Abel), and patriarchy is one of them.

Well, it only took a thousand words to get through Genesis, so now we’re finally going to move on to another: Job.  Now wait, what does Job have to do with feminism?  Isn’t that the poem about the guy who had a really bad day?  Well, you’re certainly not wrong about that last point.  Historians believe that Job is the earliest written book in the Bible.  So, a reading of Job offers us a unique perspective into the early(ish) history and culture of mankind.  It is especially helpful in examining God’s intent, as Job is one of the godliest men in the Bible.  In chapter 42, after God blesses Job once again, he distributes his inheritance among his children.  But interestingly enough, he gives an equal share to his daughters!  This flies in the face of old world tradition.  You never gave your daughters our inheritance, you gave it to your sons! And while his sons also received an equal share in the inheritance, they are never even mentioned by name, in contrast to his daughters.  This also flies in the face of traditional Hebrew chronology, which at this time was based on of important men only (as the family name was passed down through men).  So the fact that the earliest-written Biblical account primarily mentions a man’s daughters as his successors is a pretty big deal. 

Finally, we will examine female prophets in the old testament.  The bible, especially the old testament, did not have the current concept of a pastor or priest that we have today.  The new testament has ministers, but the old testament had prophets.  Prophets took on many forms and spoke many messages.  But their primary purpose was to speak God’s will to his often-disobedient people.  And interestingly, there were exactly seven female prophets in the old testament (for those of you who have never attended church or studied the Bible, the number seven is kinda’ a big deal).  These prophets were: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Isaiah’s wife (we don’t know her name), Huldah,  Noadiah, Esther.  (There were other women who could have fit the prophetic role, but they are not explicitly referred to as prophetesses).  Now, I would love to talk about each of these individuals but for time’s sake, I will focus on one: Deborah (who is conveniently pictured above).

For those who may be a bit rusty on their bible stories, Deborah was a Judge, which was basically a Warrior-Priest that settled disputes in the time before Israel’s kings.  They could preach God’s Word and kick-butt.  So not only did Deborah teach mean, preach to men, she also led men.  In a time of war, the current commander of Israel’s rather ragtag army did not feel confident he could lead them to victory.  So Deborah agrees to help him command the army but tells him a woman will claim the victory because of this.  Indeed this was the case, as the women Jael ends up killing the enemy leader.

So that’s it for the old testament.  While I have not written up a comprehensive examination of God’s will for “gender roles” in the old testament (that would be a book, not a blog), I hope I have at least written a thorough summary.  Next week I will continue my study into the New Testament, especially the oft-misinterpreted letters of Paul.  Thanks for reading, and as always, feel free to comment!

 

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Eight Courses I Hope Are Taught in the Future

As those of you reading this may or may not be aware, I have a blog.  For those of you who were not aware of this fact, what you are reading presently is in fact a blog post.  My intentions have always been to post somewhat frequently, but due to many factors such as school, work, and an unfortunate number of good movies in theaters have lead to me neglecting this duty.  So what follows, if you haven’t picked up on it yet, is a blog post.

Some of us have fond memories of our favorite classes in high school and college.  Others completely hated school altogether.  And a few of us don’t even remember school at all.  Below (or up, if you are reading this whilst upside down) is a list of eight courses I wish were taught in school, most of which have no value whatsoever but would be fun nevertheless.

  1. Meme Studies Honors: Unless of course you’ve never been on the internet or your Aunt’s Facebook page (wait, that’s still the internet), you are aware of the blessing and curse memes are on humanity.  In addition to being incredibly amusing, memes are also unnervingly influential.  Take the last U.S. Presidential election for example, certain Russian groups were able to instigate a whole lot of divisiveness with just a few poorly captioned images.  Or, that post of your Aunt’s Facebook page that used pictures of Minions from Despicable Me to convince you that climate change was a hoax.  As you can see, tomorrow’s leaders, wage workers, and tax evaders need to be equipped with the knowledge necessary to navigate the meme-saturated future.
  2. AP Lunch: Knowing how to make lunch is a relatively useful skill for those who enjoy not starving or for those who not John Cisna’s “My McDonald’s Diet”.  Spend 18 weeks mastering the art of sandwich-craft and microwave science.  Also, boost your GPA with an easy 5.0!
  3. AICE Cheating Skills: In the world of turnitin.com and intelligent teachers, our students are finding it increasingly harder to swindle their way to graduation.  Equip your students with the skills they need to succeed in a world where integrity matters!
  4. Math for College Readiness: Experience a math class so easy it’s designed for slackers and Seniors who’ve failed Standardized testing!  Sleep your way through two semesters as you engage in a rigorous day-by-day grind consisting of 20 minutes of review of the last three years of high school, followed by another 30 of sitting on your phone.  Oh, wait, you’re telling me this class already exists?  And it’s taught at most schools?  Never mind then….
  5. Google for College Readiness: Hail from an isolated rural community or super-strict home-school family?  Then this 101 class is just for you!  Spend one semester learning the basics of keyboard use, procrastination, and the No Internet Game.  Impress your friends back home with your newfound life skills.
  6. Pre-IB Pig Latin: Why bother learning a real language when you could learn a fake one?  Rearrange and replace those letters as your strive for an A!
  7. Values of Anecdotal Evidence in Speech and Debate I: Tired of losing in arguments?  Fed up with not getting your point across?  Then get ready to master making up statistics and quoting your childhood experiences in order to blow the opposition away!  Weave a complicated web of truths and half-truths as you bewilder your opponent in heated debates!  Now with integrated Trump Tweets in the second semester!
  8. AP Pop Culture References: Let’s face it, the only thing keeping most people from joining the top 1% is a lack of pop culture knowledge.  Buckle-down for a crash-course in everything from the MCU to the DCEU to Steam-Sale Culture.  Get ready to get learnt!

Welp, that’s it.  With these eight courses our education system could experience unprecedented reform the likes of which we’ve never seen before.  Are there any courses you felt were left out of this list?  Comment below to share!

 

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An Extremely Late, Less Serious Post

Hey, anyone remember when I said three weeks ago that I was going to be posting weekly again?  No one?  Well, me neither, but I figured Spring Break was as good a time as any to start.  So, as some of you may remember I promised a less serious post (which is a bummer ’cause I had a few very good serious posts in mind).  So today I’m going to teach you how to turn your handwriting in to a font.

Now, some of you may be wondering, why would I need/want my handwriting as a font?  Others, like me, are wondering, so how do I do this, I’ve been waiting my whole life to type in my handwriting on my computer.  I regret to inform the latter group, that you’re going to have to wait a little while longer.

For those who still aren’t convinced, here’s a few reasons as to why you need a handwriting font in your life.

  1. Bragging Rights
  2. Typing up handwritten notes
  3. Just because

Wait, that’s it?  I couldn’t come up with any other reasons?  If you can come up with any other reasons, comment below.  Now, on to the part where I actually tell you how to do it.

  1. First, go to this website.
  2. Second, download and print the provided template (PDF works best, and any standard printing paper should be fine).  It says you can do it in a paint program, but I would strongly suggest against that.  It won’t look anything like your handwriting.
  3. Using a thin sharpie or felt tip pen write each letter, symbol and character inside the form.  Don’t trace the letter, write them in each box as you would write the letter normally (unless of course you write outrageously large, then of course you may want to write a tad smaller).
  4. Now, scan the page onto your computer (depending on your setup this may be indirect or direct, you may wish to have a USB flash drive on hand).  Make sure you scan it black and white, and if your scanner has the option, scan it as 300 dpi and as a .jpeg or .pdf file format.
  5. Back on the same website as before, upload the scan we just created.  Give it a name.  Mine was called ParkerScript.  Wow, such an original name.  For compatibility purposes, you may want to convert it to a TTF file.  OTF works to, just not with some very old programs and computers (i.e. more than 10 years old).
  6. Download your font.  Double-click the file.  Congratulations, your handwriting is now a font on your computer!  Open up your favorite offline text editor and try using it!

Please note that this tutorial will probably not work for your phone, or any online text editor such as Google Docs or Office Online.

Whooh, that took me all of ten minutes to write.  It hopefully took you even less than that to complete the tutorial.  That’s all for this week.

 

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Who Is My Neighbor?: Reflections on The Good Samaritan

Some of you may be wondering what the story of the Good Samaritan and Black Panther have to do with each other.  Others may be wondering, “Wasn’t this supposed to be a weekly blog?  Why then has it been two weeks since your last post?”.  These are both good questions.  And I hope to answer them by the end of this post.

I recently, like most indoctrinated into the cult of capitalism and pop culture, watched Marvel’s latest movie Black Panther.  In fact I watched it twice, one of those times being unintentional.  How watching a movie can be unintentional is a tale for another time.  Anyways, it was pretty good.  Pretty good indeed.  And it raised some pretty important questions, much more than the typical super hero flick.  Chiefly, it asked a question that seemed pretty familiar to me: Who is my neighbor?  (Yes, I am aware I used ‘pretty’ way too many times in that last paragraph.  My inner English student hates it.  My pragmatic self doesn’t care much.)

Now, as the title of my blog post suggests, some of the themes addressed in Black Panther reminded me of the New Testament Bible story, or rather parable, of the Good Samaritan. In the story of the Good Samaritan, a student of Jewish law questions Jesus, ‘Who is my neighbor’, in response to hearing the Great Commandment, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself.  Now, in typical Jesus fashion, he didn’t answer the question directly.  Instead he did it via a parable, a simple allegorical story with a simple truth.  In it, a man is beaten, robbed, and left for dead on the side of a road.  Several people pass him, people you would expect to help him, and it is not until a Samaritan, the last person you’d expect to help a Jew in those times, passes by that he is helped.  Whew, that was a lot of run-on sentences.    I’m gonna’ take a breather for a sec.  Don’t mind me.  Go get a snack or check your email.

I’m back.  I’m sorry to have left you in such a long and arduous state of suspense.  So back to the parable.  The Samaritan proceeds to administer first-aid to the Jew, and brings him to the nearest hotel.   He pays the innkeeper to care for the man, and promises more money a few days ahead.  All without any expectation of getting paid in return.  The parable ends.  Jesus asks, ‘Who was the Jew’s neighbor?’  The student of the Law answer, ‘The one who showed him mercy’.

Nowadays, this story kinda’  seems like common sense.  But back in Jesus’s day this was a big deal.  Due to a long and complicated history, the Jew’s and Samaritans hated each other (even though they were basically the same people who lived exactly the same life-style).  So as I mentioned before, a Samaritan was the last person you’d expect to help a Jew.  But he did it anyways.  As Christians, and just as decent people in general, we are called to provide aid for any in need, not just the people we like, or those who are similar to us.  Now, on to the Black Panther connection.

I will try to avoid any overt spoilers of Black Panther, but I will touch upon some of the basic themes.  So if you would not like to see these, scroll ahead until the next bolded sentence.  But you’ll kinda’ be missing out.

In Black Panther, the fictitious country of Wakanda is one of the wealthiest and most technologically advanced countries in the world.  And nobody else knows about it.  Wakanda has hid from the world and remained out of any conflicts as a policy, which is probably the reason they ended up as they did.  So while they might not have to deal with issues such as poverty or racism, the rest of the world does.

This fuels the motivations of the movie’s villain.  He’s grown up in the outside world, so he know’s what it’s like.  He also knows Wakanda has the resources to help with this.  However, he takes this to extreme levels.  So while his heart was in the right place, his actions certainly were not.  But by the end of the movie, Black Panther, a.k.a. T’Challa, realizes there’s some truth to this.  So he ends Wakanda’s  isolationist practices and instead begins to offer aid to the outside world.

So, who was Wakanda’s (and our) neighbor?  The short answer is, anyone and everyone in need.  We’re all human beings, so if possible, we should help each-other out.  That includes those who are different from us.

An increasing trend in America, and some other parts of the world is to keep aid internalized and not help those outside of their own borders.  And what disturbs me even more is that this trend is especially prevalent inside of some Christian groups.  How could you claim to follow Christ’s teachings and not help the poor?  Or shelter the refuge?  Or tear apart the immigrant family who’s barely making ends meet?  For those of you who already “Love your neighbor” I don’t mean this as a criticism.  And for those who may not I don’t mean to criticize you.  Instead I mean this post as a wake-up call, a rally to serve those in need, in whatever way you are able to.  Also, you should go see Black Panther.  It was a pretty great movie.

So remember how I said I would tell you why I missed a week (or two) back at the beginning?  Turns out I was busy.  A lame excuse, but a real one.  So tune in next week for a new post….hopefully.  Probably.  Yes, probably.  And I’ll try to make it a little less serious than this one.

 

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That Awkward Moment When Someone Asks You What You Want to Be When You Grow up and Your Answer Is, “a Librarian”

Like many people, I possess to some extent career aspirations.  As attractive as living in your parent’s basement is to some, I’ve never really understood the appeal of it.  It also helps that my parents don’t have a basement.

Over the years my exact goals have changed at bit (sometimes quite a lot), or as I would say “grown more refined”.  They’ve ranged from Firefighter to Video Game Designer to MPAA Movie Rater.  I know, I’m a man of many talents.  Or lack thereof.  I prefer to think I have many.  Or at least some.

Despite this wide variety of potential careers in mind, over the past four to five years I’ve narrowed it down to a more specific field: Computer Science.  But wait, hold on.  Some of you may be thinking, “I thought you want to be a Librarian?  What does that have to do with Computer Science?  And nice use of bolding”.  First of all, congratulations on reading the title.  And to answer your questions: Yes, I’m getting to that, and thanks for noticing!

Before I get to the Librarian bit, I’ll go over the progression of interest in IT jobs.  First, I wanted to be a Video Game Designer.  I’m mean, who didn’t in middle school?  It turns out however, they don’t make a lot of money.  Yikes.  Next I wanted to into Cyber-security.  Lots of money, lots of jobs.  Sounds better.  Then, I got a little more specific.  I wanted to be a Computer Forensics Analyst.  It combined two of my favorite topics, computers and law enforcement.  *Cue Batman Voice* “JUSTICE!”  And that idea stuck for a while. A good two years in fact.  But as I grew older and began to understand the type of person I was, something seemed to be missing.  It turned out that something was just a few books.  Or a lot of books.  Ya, more like a lot.

So if there’s one thing that interests me as much as Computer stuff (OK…..There’s a lot of things that interest me as much as Computer stuff…..but that’s not the point….) it’s the wide world of Literature.  I love books.  Which is ironic because for the first six to seven years of my life I hated them, hated them!  That didn’t last for long, though.  Soon I couldn’t get enough of them.  It actually got bad for a bit though.  I would read in class during lesson time and got in trouble.  I guess you could say I was a “problem child”.

So ya, I like books and I like computers.  For a while that didn’t really seem compatible to me.  That was of course until I took a Myers-Briggs personality test (which by the way, if you haven’t taken one yet I would strongly suggest you do.  One of my favorites can be found here).  This is the standard 4-letter personality test that many of you have probably heard about or even taken.  My results were the INFJ type, which it turns out is the rarest type in the world.  I share my type with the likes of Jesus, Hitler, Gillian Anderson.  Yikes.  That’s a mixed bag.  Anyways, back to my point.  One of the suggested jobs after my test was “Librarian”.  “That’s interesting” I thought.  So I engaged in one of my favorite pastimes: impulse googling.

It turned out being a Librarian was right up my alley.  Not that I have an alley.  Come to think of it I can’t think of anyone who “has an alley”.  Let me know if you do.  So it turned out that being a Librarian held a great deal of interest to me.

Here’s a brief list of reasons why it held a great deal of interest to me:

  1. I could still specialize and work with computers.  In America, Librarians have to get at least a Masters degree.  And whatever they get for there Bachelors often determines their specialty as a Librarian.
  2. I definitely would get to work with books.  Do I even need to explain this point?
  3. The Pay’s decent.  Finding your dream job is nice, but so is having a reliable sufficient income.  While Librarians earn on the lower end of Masters degree recipients, they still earn a good salary and have the potential to eventually earn six figures.
  4. You get to help people out.  From the comfort of an air-conditioned building with free WiFi.  I like helping people out.  It’s a part of my who I am and a part of my faith.  Whether it’s helping a library patron find the perfect book or assisting in job training being a Librarian holds plenty of opportunities to serve.  I don’t however like strenuous labor and as an introvert I tire easily in large crowds.  As a Librarian the largest crowds I’ll have to deal with on a regular basis are long book checkout lines and the occasional community event.
  5. Did I mention there’s books?  Gosh, I can’t believe I just wrote that line.  So cringy.

As much as I would love to keep discussing how excited I am to be a Librarian, I’ve rambled for almost a thousand words and I think that’s probably a good place to stop.  There’s always a future blog post where I can expand upon the topic.  So thank you for reading, and don’t forget to tune in next week!

 

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