Monday, September 10, 2018

To Nike or Not to Nike: Police, Priests & Paradigms

I have been trying to process our national response to the new Nike ad campaign. My own gut reaction was to ignore it. Cashing in on the protest seemed to cheapen the message, but since kneeling has somehow led to the end of his career, I don't feel I should complain about him finding another source of income, so I shrugged and went on with my day.

Then people started burning their Nikes.
Let me take a step back and get a wider view. I see so much division in our nation right now. Words seem to have taken on new meanings depending on which side is talking so that just as in the story of the tower of Babel, confusion and misunderstanding are driving us apart.

In this specific case the split seems to come from the question of who's lives are worth defending. The left says "black lives matter," and the right hears "officers lives don't matter." So the right responds "blue lives matter," and the left hears "minority lives don't matter." This leaves both sides rightly (at least in their understanding) defending their positions saying:


Just as when Colin Kaepernick sat down with Army Green Beret Nate Boyer, I truly believe that if we could slow down and listened to each other most of us would find that we really do agree on more than we imagine.

How so?

Perhaps it will help by starting with a separate situation, one I'm 99.9% sure both sides agree on: abusive priests. Neither side approves of pedophiles taking advantage of their position as priests to hurt children! Of course from the outside looking in, it's a lot easier to accept that priests are corruptible and to even go a step further and start seeing all priests as dangerous and untrustworthy. 

From inside the church it's so much harder to believe that leaders you know, you see regularly, you trust to administer communion and hear your confessions, perform your weddings could possibly be (or be covering for) such monsters! Surely the authorities would deal with abusers and justly punish them and remove them from situations where they could abuse again! 

But no, in hindsight, they did not do that. Instead they hushed the accusations and shuffled the abusers to places that were unaware of the the truth, other states, other countries, other vulnerable children.

Back to the topic at hand, I think statistically (correct me if I'm wrong) those on the right are more likely to have good trustworthy relationships with police officers. They are family, neighbors, fellow church members, and so on. When the left says "police brutality is a real problem," the right says, "my dad isn't brutal, my neighbor isn't racist, my daughter is working for the good of our community and would never take a life without it being absolutely necessary, my friend gave his life in the line of duty!" It is so personal and thus so hard to imagine that trusted organizations wouldn't justly deal with abusers who step across the line of decency.

On the left side of the "debate" are those who've lost sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, friends, and teachers to officers who claimed to fear for their own lives, but then watch news reports where white mass shooters are arrested calmly, taken to burger king on the way to the police station, and so forth. The officers who seem to casually take minority lives so often get minimal consequences and if they are thrown off one force may be hired to police another community where their past actions aren't known.

Do you see the parallels? 

In both cases, abusive priests and abusive officers, wouldn't it be better for everyone if the "bad apples" were dealt with correctly and barred from ever being in a place of authority where they could damage another life? And, when they aren't given serious consequences for lives destroyed, doesn't it suggest that those in the administration may also be rotten?

If your loved one is a police officer, do you want them working along side officers who take innocent lives, who rape women, who plant evidence at investigations? Isn't calling out such atrocities the correct response? Doesn't sweeping it under the rug or letting them off with a slap on the wrist put your loved ones lives in danger? If the community cannot trust the police department in their neighborhood, why would they trust that your father, daughter, friend or cousin is an honest officer truly there to help them? Don't both sides have a common interest in holding the police accountable?

When I saw that The National Black Police Association responded to the current controversy  saying:
 “Kaepernick’s stance is in direct alignment with what law enforcement stands for—the protection of a people, their human rights, their dignity, their safety, and their rights as American citizens,” 

I was thrilled. It is a statement of the common interests of both sides!

Then I saw the that The National Association of Police Organizations is "calling on all our member officers, their families and friends to join in boycotting all Nike products," I was left reeling!

For those of you boycotting the NFL or burning your Nikes, let me see if I can explain the feeling of betrayal this letter evokes in me. I get the same sinking pain in my gut as when I read that Catholic League President Bill Donohue defended the Catholic Church saying:

“There is no on-going crisis—it’s a total myth,” he writes. “In fact, there is no institution, private or public, that has less of a problem with the sexual abuse of minors today than the Catholic Church.”

Really?He's defending them? 

Don't stick up for abusers, don't defend those who take innocent lives, or tase 11 year old girlsI truly don't believe my friends and family knowingly support this behavior. Surely we can come to agreement if we just take a step back and listen!

Update: When looking up links last night I ran across one heartbreaking story that I can't get out of my mind. 

Sadly, I think it illustrates my point perfectly. Just as minorities are often told to "stop making things up,"  "stop resisting," "do as you're told," "the police are there to help you," this child was told not to lie about the priest and sent to be counseled by his abuser!

'Instead, [of believing him] he said, his behavior was dismissed, shrugged off by parents and teachers labeling him a “bad kid.” 
"And they were kind of happy that I was spending time with a priest, ya know — like he'd be the one to straighten me out." 
'Nobody will believe you' 
He hit his breaking point when he was about 13 years old. 
An argument after detention led to him telling his parents what Brzyski was doing to him, and had been doing to him for years. 
His parents didn’t believe him though. 
“You don’t lie about a priest like that,” Delaney father's said as he slapped his son across the face.  
“They didn’t know what to do with me.” 
Delaney said his parents did reach out to the priest after his confession to them. However, it wasn’t to protect him like he had hoped, and said he needed.

They asked his abuser to counsel him — “their son was troubled,” giving Brzyski even more access to him.
So Delaney went to counseling.  
With the man who had been raping him.'

It may take a huge paradigm shift to see those we trust as possibly not worthy of the faith we've placed on them, but let us, as a nation, listen to those who tell us they are being abused. Let us weed out the abusers from those meant to be helpers.
I welcome your comments, but reserve the right to delete any that cross the line of decency.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Turning Thirteen Part III

My youngest will be a teenager tomorrow!!

You have filled this last chapter of parenting with music: singing yourself to sleep as a baby (you were over the lullabies before you could talk,) humming during circle time in preschool, teaching yourself piano songs before we found your beloved teacher. We've been given so many "concerts" throughout the years!! Now, on the last day of childhood, tallest in the family, developing your talents, I'm excited to see what adventures await!

My first teenager.
My second teenager.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Women's Ordination Debate "Pink and Blue"

I really think this needs to be spread far and wide!

"Despite the fact that the word for helper, Ezer, is most often used in the Bible to describe God as our helper (and never used to describe animals as our helpers), when Piper and Grudem read Genesis 2 and find the word helper applied to the woman, they toss out the sweeping human identity statement of Genesis 1 where woman, just like man, fully bears God’s image and is fully called to fruitfulness and rulership. Instead, they banish woman from the man’s side and place her alongside the animals. She loses her place among the rulers and must join the ruled."

You can read the rest here by downloading the PDF of Hermeneutics in pink and blue from CBE International. Here is their statement on equality: statement on men, women, and biblical equality !


Here's more of what caught my eye:

  • “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (N I V). Thus, even as they have adjusted the woman’s identity, they would have to adjust the man’s identity to fit this revelation of his inadequacy as the “not-good-one,” indeed, as the “help-less” one.
    The Grey Men of Austerity

  • The promise of salvation is not simply that we escape from the wrath of God, but that we receive empowerment and transformation for the present life. We are restored to our calling as Genesis 1 image-bearers. Hence, 1 Peter 2:9 defines the renewed identity of believers as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” The Bible speaks of all this transformation and empowerment as offered to believers without any qualification by gender. Yet, for traditionalists, while a male’s renewal in Christ leads, at least potentially, to offices of authority within the church, renewal for females does not.
  • Parable of the talents: Under female subordinationism, the parable requires an implied footnote reminding women that under certain circumstances God would be offended by females who exercise their teaching and leadership talents. Only for a male audience can the parable stand as written.
    on the eve of her resignation... - _MG_9139

  • Is this what God had in mind when the oneness of Adam became the oneness of male and female? Is this what Paul had in mind when he wrote 1 Timothy 2:12? Are we truly not a single human race in two sexes, but rather two distinct human races?
  • The bedrock of our human identity is given to both males and females in Genesis 1. Nothing that follows in Scripture—neither specific behavioral directives such as 1 Timothy 2, nor regulations concerning existing social orders and structures such as slavery, polygamy, or patriarchy—redefines our original, God-given, human identity.
  • While the full humanity of Genesis 1 has been allowed to define maleness, tragically, it has been stripped away—systematically and relentlessly—from females. Under some theologies we are left with barely enough humanity to make a single rib.

Vater Adams Rippe 1901
Update: Found a list of articles shared in Facebook.  
I have not yet checked out all the links, but here's a quote from the article by Carl Cosaert of Walla Walla:
"A plain reading of the passage reveals that Paul is not speaking about church leadership and authority, or ordination. He is talking about the way women should relate to their husbands. The passage says nothing about the headship of all men over all women. If anything, the passages affirms not only the right of women to pray in public, but also to prophesy, which is a form of teaching."
The original post from Facebook: are some links I posted half a year ago. Lots of good resources there:
The worldwide study in the Adventist church of the theology of ordination and women as leaders and pastors has created a lot of discussions, and several people write to me asking for more resources.
There is now a preponderance of excellent Adventist material showing why God is calling both men and women as leaders and pastors. Here is a small selection:
My own paper for the Inter-American Division discusses Luke-Acts and shows how the current SDA practice of ordination is based on ecclesiastical needs at the time and does not flow directly from the New Testament:
Actually, our practice of ordination (particularly the way ordination is understood and argued by those against women's ordination) is more indebted to medieval Catholic theology than to Scripture, as Darius Jankiewicz of Andrews University demonstrated (a rather long video, but watch at least the first hour, you will not regret it):
The North-American Division has produced a great collection of exegetical and theological papers, all but one are in favor of women in leadership:
Carl Cosaert of Walla Walla summarized well some of the arguments in favor of women in ministry at the recent Annual Council:
Virtually all the professors of Andrews University, the leading theological institution of Adventism, have rejected the concept of "masculine headship" (a doctrine espoused by many who are against women in leadership):
Actually, the masculine headship concept is a new theology in Adventist circles, originating in the 80s with Bacchiocchi who was influenced by certain Calvinist headship-theologians. The history of the new headship concept in Adventism is summarized well by Gerry Chudleigh (Pacific Union Conference):
Jon Paulien, one of Adventism's leading New Testament scholars, explains why he rejects the male headship doctrine:
Ellen White and the Adventist pioneers had to deal with many of the arguments against women preachers a hundred years ago (since Ellen White was a female preacher and leader). Martin Hanna (Andrews University) and Cindy Tutsch (Ellen G. White Estate) have gathered many of Ellen White's statements, as well as important biblical passages in favor of women pastors in a useful book published by Pacific Press:
When all is said and done, God must be allowed to be God and have the prerogative to call whoever He wants to whatever ministry He chooses. This is not about "women's rights" as much as it is about God's rights, as Kessia Reyne Bennett reminds us: