Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

What in the world are we doing together

Written by: on March 19, 2020

Reflecting on these two texts, I am focused upon the term ‘Ezer Kenegdo.’[1]

The word Ezer Kenegdo is an old Hebrew term, but the purpose of discussion essentially means a strong warrior, a complimentary partner with the other half of the adam. I love the word complementary. Complementary is what one is and doing if they are “in Christ.”

Complementary is true that some women do not want to be complimentary. However, I find it to be far the other opposite in circles I journey.  In the Church world, I am a part of, women are celebrated, have been given leadership opportunities since the denominations inception since 1908. However, does this mean that a woman cannot be whole without a man? I don’t think so. Men are beloved sons of God and women are beloved daughters of God.

Please do not tell my mom that she could not be the best parent she tried to be for her children not having a wayward husband at home. She was and is a warrior princess if I ever saw one who does not yet fully realize it but she could do much more with the power of the King of kings. The image of the King of kings is not something we fully comprehend.

Early on in my training and interviews for ordination, I heard friends describe themselves as one’s who could not serve under a female pastor. I understand because the way I see it there are many men I could not serve under either! Having served or been taught by women is a reality that none of us able to say has not been a reality happened.

Men and women are like two hands of the same body. One’s left hand and right hand are in some ways the same but also different. Our left and right hands are the exact opposite of each other, but the one hand is not more important than the other one. One hand might be a little stronger and likely the hand we give more attention to, but we can perfectly use each hand on its own. If we have the blessing of two hands; they can do so much more together than apart. It is not a zero-sum game. My experience is that two hands are even stronger than one’s preferred hand. You can get more done with less effort when using both hands together. Of course, this is only going to work when one’s hand is the Ezer Kenegdo to the other hand. Genesis 1 and 2, in large part, describe a partnership and not a ruling over like there is a subordinate one. “God said, “let…”” Genesis 1:3-25.

In particular, Genesis 1:26 reads (English Standard Version), 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”[2]

With the above discussion, I think it is entirely inappropriate to refer to humankind being made in purely the physical image of God. God is Triune, God is a Spirit, and other than those who lived among Jesus that is only physical aspects of God that there was. Brueggemann wrote,

“There is one way in which God is imaged in the world and only one: humanness! This is the only creature, the only part of creation, which discloses to us something about the reality of God. God is known peculiarly through this creature who exists in the realm of free history, where power is received, decisions are made, and commitments honored. The image of God in the human person is a mandate of power and responsibility. There is nothing here of coercive or tyrannical power, either for God or for humankind.”[3]

Some around me want to rewrite Scripture to fit their agendas, which some agendas probably come out of pain. Obviously, I am not a medical expert, yet I do not believe that it would be prudent, especially in the area of subscribing to genders (male and female) that are not a part of Scripture or clinically proven from birth or before. With that, the two genders of adam, both male and female are probably the closest we can get to the crowning glory of God’s creation.

In my research topic, healthy markers of (bi) covocationally led congregations, I did not find any data from any denomination or dissertation that differentiated the percentage of female or male covocational pastors. Therefore, this week’s study helps me be more cognizant and celebratory that “in Christ” we can see more redemption/ restoration in our world.

Colossians 1:27 (English Standard Version), “27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

            [1] Lucy Peppiatt, and Scot McKnight, Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women: Fresh Perspectives on Disputed Texts, Downers Grove: IVP, 2019, 52 and Adams, Katia. Equal: What the Bible Says about Women, Men, and Authority, DCC – UK. Kindle Edition.

            [2] Genesis 1:26, The Hebrew word for man (adam) is the generic term for mankind and becomes the proper name Adam

            [3] Joseph E. Coleson, Genesis 1-11: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, New Beacon Bible Commentary. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2012, 69.

About the Author

Steve Wingate

6 responses to “What in the world are we doing together”

  1. Shawn Cramer says:

    What did you find most compelling in the case they laid out? I thought Peppiatt’s side by side English translations of “helpmate” and the discourse on “head” from Corinthians were most potent.

    • Steve Wingate says:

      Sorry for not being more clear for you. I attempted to address the noun, adjective, and even a verb in a sense when I wrote about ezer kengedo. Neither helper is given the right to be coersive or dominate the other. I’ve witnessed in life both genders being coersive.

  2. John McLarty says:

    I liked the idea that spoke of God in terms of relationship instead of gender, emphasizing God’s nearness, not maleness. If that basic shift in understanding could move us past our limited human metaphors for God, we might be able to see that play out better within God’s creation.

    • Steve Wingate says:

      Thank you John. I appreciate how you imply that metaphors just don’t do justice. And, yet, metaphors are one of the tools we have to communicate experiences and views of Father God.

  3. Greg Reich says:

    I also like the concept of complementary when discussing men and women. John in his response brings up a good point instead of looking at God in a male gender look at him as someone who is near.

    I remember my first exposure to theology at 21 years old. One of the definitions of the existence of God was “God is the infinite and perfect Spirit in whom all things have their source, support and end.” Though we call God father and endow him with human attributes we need to remember that he is not human and truly beyond are ability to describe. I find it interesting when we are asked to describe people we usually start with their physical looks, when asked to describe God we start with attributes.

    • Steve Wingate says:

      yes, that is interesting how we refer to people. I appreciate the beauty of my wife. I’ll never forget that I could barely speak when we were engaged in the wedding cermony. I couldn’t believe God brought Pam to me. How we describe beauty are only attempts. During our first few years of marriage, which is probably the closest to a relationship with God, my behavior was not that pretty. We both nurtured our daughter, yet I have to admit Pam does this far better than me. For that, the heart of God is distinctly visable.

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