Thursday, August 13, 2009

Highlights from the past 6 weeks

We've been enjoying summertime in the San Luis Valley and keeping busy, which is why our blog is lacking in entries. Here's our attempt to catch up: a list of highlights and photos from the past 6 weeks.

1. Camping, camping, camping!!! We've camped at Elk Creek, Rock Creek, near Lake Isabel, and near Creede.
With a group from church at Elk Creek in late June.

Rainy night at Rock Creek the last weekend of June.

With good friends, Glen and Mary Lynn Stillings, near Creede. July 26-27th.

2. Beth Moore Conference. Albuquerque. July 10-11. I (Rebecca) traveled with 12 other ladies from Alamosa for an awesome 2-day conference.

3. Date Night at the local Drive-In Theatre. We watched "The Proposal" and ate Sonic in D's truck-bed. What a fun night!

4. CO Springs trip: July 18-19. Drove up Pike's Peak and explored Garden of the Gods with D's cousin, Kyle. Had dinner with good friends: the Springstons and the Johnsons.

5. Hiked San Luis Peak with our good friend, Lisa. 14,014 feet. Saturday, August 1st. Beginning time: 0630. End Time: 1530. Miles: 13.1 roundtrip.

6. Visit from Rebecca's parents and the Johnson-Clasquin wedding in Ft. Collins. August 5-10.

The newlyweds: Jayson and Mallory Clasquin.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Breath of Fresh Air in the Women in Ministry Debate

My Struggle in Theological Study, by: Deric Sneller

To say the least, I have been dissatisfied with much that has been published regarding the matter of women in ministry.  I think that both sides of the debate disregard matters that drastically affect their understanding of the Gospel.  But yesterday I stumbled upon this approach by John Stott while doing sermon preparation for 1 Timothy 2:1-7, which precedes what I find to be the most problematic passage in the debate.  This approach does not end further study about sexual roles, but prompts more study while avoiding some potential pitfalls.  I post this to prompt such study and ponderings in all of you.  The task of biblical interpretation is not an easy task, but it proves to be a necessary task.  After you read Stott's excerpts, feel free to comment with your feedback.  I'd love to dialogue about this.

Excerpts from John Stott’s commentating on 1 Timothy 2:8-15

            “This brings us to the key question: what is the relation between these two antitheses?  Are they simply parallel and therefore equally normative?  Is a woman both to be silent and not teach, and to be submissive and not wield authority, with no distinction between these instructions?  This is what many commentators assume.  But must submission always be expressed in silence, and ‘not exercising authority’ in ‘not teaching’?  Or could it be legitimate to see the submission-authority antithesis as permanent and universal (because grounded in creation, see verse 13), while seeing the silence-teaching antithesis as a first-century cultural expression of it, which is therefore not necessarily applicable to every culture, but open to transposition into each?

            Some readers will doubtless respond that there is no indication of this distinction in the text itself.  For verses 11 and 12 contain just two prohibitions (teaching and having authority) and two commands (silence and submission).  This is true.  But the same could be said about verses 8 and 9.  There is nothing in the text of verse 8 which requires us to distinguish between the commands to lift up holy hands and to be rid of anger and argument.  Nor is there anything in the text of verse 9 which requires us to distinguish between the commands to women to dress modestly and to avoid hair-plaiting and jewellery.  Yet a Christian mind, schooled in the perspectives and presuppositions of the New Testament, knows that its ethical commands and their cultural expressions are not equally normative and must therefore be distinguished.  So it recognizes in verse 8 that holiness and love are ethical, but hand-lifting is cultural, and in verse 9 and 10 that decency and modesty are ethical, while hairstyles and jewellery are cultural.  Why then should we not anticipate that the same distinction between the ethical and the cultural is to be found in verses 11 and 12?  The context (with its three regulations about prayers, adornment and submission) should at least make us open to this possibility.”[1]

            “If, however, the authority-submission antithesis is to be retained as creational, may not the teaching-silence antithesis be regarded as cultural?  May not the requirements of silence, like the requirement of veils, have been a first-century cultural symbol of masculine headship, which is not necessarily appropriate today?  For silence is not an essential ingredient of submission; submission is expressed in different ways in different cultures.  Similarly, women teaching men does not necessarily symbolize taking authority over them.  Teaching can be given in different styles, with different meanings.  Thus public prophesying by women was not regarded as an improper exercise of authority over men, presumably because it took place under the direct inspiration and authority of God.  Nor was Priscilla’s teaching of Apollos inappropriate, because she gave him private instruction in the home, and Aquila was present, sharing in the instruction.”[2]

            “In the end, our decision whether women may ever teach men, or be ordained to the pastorate, or exercise other leadership roles in the church, will depend on our understanding of the nature of the local presbyter leadership.  If we belong to the Reformed tradition and see the local presbyter as essentially an authority figure, responsible both to teach the congregation and to exercise discipline (including excommunication), then we are likely to conclude that it is inappropriate for women to occupy such an authoritative position.   Supposing, on the other hand, we begin our thinking about Christian pastoral leadership with the teaching of Jesus in Mark 10:35ff., where he drew a distinction between two human communities whose leaders operate on different principles.  In the world, he said, ‘officials exercise authority over them’.  But, he added, ‘Not so with you.’  Instead, in his community greatness would be measured by service.

            Why should it be thought inappropriate for women to exercise such servant-leadership?  They have done so throughout biblical history.  Besides, there are now no authority figures in the church, who can teach like the apostles in the name and with the authority of Christ.  The New Testament is now complete, and all Christian teachers are called to teach humbly under its authority.  If then a woman teaches others, including men, under the authority of Scripture (not claiming to any authority of her own), in a meek and quiet spirit (not throwing her weight about), and as a member of a pastoral team whose leader is a man (as a contemporary cultural symbol of masculine headship), would it not be legitimate for her to exercise such a ministry, and be commissioned (ordained) to do so, because she would not be infringing the biblical principle of masculine headship?  Our answer to this question is likely to depend on whether we consider it legitimate to apply the principle of cultural transposition to verses 10 and 11.”[3]

            “In developing the concept of cultural transposition, I am not claiming (as my readers might wish me to claim) that it provides a slick solution to all our questions about sexual roles, although I think it will save us from wrong solutions and will put us on the road towards right ones.  But further theological reflection is needed, especially in relation to three questions.

            The first is a question about complementarity.  How should we define the created complementarity of the sexes (including the notions of ‘headship’ and ‘submission’), not just physically and physiologically, certainly not culturally (in terms of popular gender stereotypes), but psychologically and in particular biblically?  What does Scripture teach about the essence (permanent and universal) of our created maleness and femaleness?  This question must be at the top of our agenda for debate, since whatever creation has established culture can express but not destroy.

            The second is a question about ministry.  Once the complementarity of the sexes has been biblically defined, what are the roles and responsibilities which belong properly to men and not women, and to women and not men?

            The third is a question about culture.  What visible symbols in our particular culture would appropriately express the sexual complementarity which Scripture lays down as normative?”[4]

[1] John R. W. Stott, The Message of 1 Timothy & Titus (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1996), 79.

[2] Ibid., 80.

[3] Ibid., 81.

[4] Ibid., 88.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Florida Trip: 6/5-6/10

Deric & I were so thankful to be able to celebrate our wedding anniversary on the beautiful beaches of northwestern Florida!  What made it even more special is that we met up with my siblings (since they're all living in Ft. Rucker, AL, only a couple hours from the beach).  We enjoyed talking, laughing, camping, and fellowshipping with Jonathan, Jessica, and Daniel.  My only complaint was that it wasn't long enough!  We hope you enjoy the photos of our vacation!

We flew into Pensacola on Friday, June 5th, and Jon and Jess met us at the airport.  We explored the Naval Air Station and its beach.
That first night, we stayed at at KOA "Kottage", which was very nice.  We made a delicious dinner of BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, and salad.

Saturday morning we caravanned to Destin, FL.  It was about a one-hour drive.  Jon and Jess brought both of their cars so that we could use one.  It was sweet to drive Jon's Acura RSX, and fun to follow Jess in her new Mini.

Destin has such a beautiful beach: sugar-like sand and crystal clear water.  It was breath-taking!
Daniel had to fly a helicopter on Friday evening, so he met up with us Saturday around noon.  
The water was perfect for floating!

We camped at Henderson Beach National Park, which I highly recommend if you're ever in the area.  It was lovely to be so close to the beach (about a 1/4 mile walk) and yet be able to take a hot shower when needed.
Saturday night we enjoyed a seafood feast at local favorite: The Crap Trap.
Deric tried (and liked!) raw oysters for the first time.

After dinner, we enjoyed a walk along the boardwalk and pier, just in time for the changing skies of sunset...
...and a beautiful moon rise.

We made the mistake of stopping by Wal-Mart for some groceries. Apparently, Saturday night around 9:30pm is when all the tourists hit up the Wal-Mart. I've never seen a store so crowded (of course, I avoid shopping on Black Friday)!
Breakfast on Sunday: pancakes, fruit, and French-pressed coffee.

My make-shift sun shelter, made from part of our tent. :)
Sunday afternoon we went to a local "Fun Land" for go-karting and putt putt.  We found this fake 'stache stuck to a sign.  I think it looks pretty real on Jon and Deric.

Deric beat me at go-karting, but only by a couple of seconds!

Group shot!
Dan had to head back to Rucker on Sunday evening.  Jon, Jess, Deric and I headed back to the beach.
Jon caught a big crab with the net, but it crawled out before I could get a picture.

A perk of staying at a National Park is that it isn't commercialized.  Instead of being surrounded by tall hotel buildings, we had these beautiful dunes.

On our walk back to the campsite, we ran into this little guy.
We have the same taste in tents. :) 
Jon and Jess took off Monday morning.  Deric and I enjoyed Destin's beach one last time.

Monday afternoon we drove to our next destination: the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.  After we checked into our cottage, we headed to the downtown area to explore and have dinner.

We ate here, a cute Italian place.

In honor of Pensacola's 450th anniversary, this old Spanish ship was docked in the harbor.

Deric loves those classic cars!

Here's where we stayed on the Naval base--very utilitarian, but very comfortable and affordable!

We were only about 200 yards from the beach!
And about 1/8 mile from this lighthouse, built in the mid 1800's.

Tuesday afternoon we explored the infamous Naval Air and Space Museum.  It was well worth the visit!

It was hard to leave this place, but once we were back in our home in Alamosa, it felt good to be back.  What a perfect vacation! :)