Yes, The 10 Commandments ARE Un-American

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on 20 July 2023 0 Comments

Hooray! Yet another Christian Nationalist effort to strangle American values has gone out with a whimper. This time, it was a Texas Senate Bill that, if passed, would have required the 10 Commandments to be displayed prominently in every classroom in the state.

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What do Progressive Christians believe about gender roles in the church?


Dear Reader,

The Southern Baptist Convention recently made news for voting to uphold the removal of Saddleback Church from the Convention for having women in leadership.  This illustrates, once again, that the way that the Church has approached gender is based on bad, unbiblical theology. Not to mention the fact that gender is a construct and is certainly not a binary!
Jesus did not discriminate based on gender in his ministry.  Think about how many women we hear about in the gospels, many of whom serve as catalysts for the story.  I’ll point out just a few.  The Syrophoenician woman who challenged Jesus when he called her a dog and initially refused to help her daughter - this woman is the only person in the gospels to rightly correct Jesus.  Mary and Martha who are very close with Jesus and host him as he teaches.  The woman at the well and the woman who washes Jesus’ feet who break down social conventions.  Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ mother who make it clear that they are the most loyal disciples by sitting at the foot of the cross after all the others have left.  The women who run forth from the tomb to tell the others what they have seen.  As Jürgen Moltmann stated, “Without women preachers, we would have no knowledge of the resurrection!”  What’s more, scholars now believe that Jesus’ ministry was largely funded by wealthy women.  Jesus couldn’t have been in ministry without the backing of women!
Paul gets a bad rap on gender issues, and some of it is deserved, but much of it isn’t.  In fact, much of the problematic language in 1 Corinthians is very likely an interpolation of a later author.  Most of the language about women keeping quiet in church and being subservient to their husbands comes from the later pastoral epistles.  Paul seems to have believed that one’s gender and all other identifiers were secondary to one’s identity as a Jesus-follower, which is why he declares, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28, NRSV).  He also acknowledges women in leadership in the early church (Phoebe is named as a deacon in Romans 16, for instance). 
Jesus and the earliest Christians believed that by following Jesus, all other identifiers became secondary.  This is important.  Jesus’ message of inclusion was so radical that as time went on, Christians began to feel the need to “tone it down a bit.”  Churches that set strict rules about who’s in and who’s out have completely missed the point of Jesus’ message.  His point was this: everybody’s in, nobody’s out.  Perhaps someday, all churches can act accordingly.

~ Rev. Dr. Caleb J. Lines




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