DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Mirror, Mirror

Written by: on April 10, 2020


I used to like to think of Jesus as a hippy. Jesus, a long-haired perfectly tanned and toned white guy who spoke with a surfer’s accent and walked with the swagger of John Lennon. He loved the outdoors like Dick Proenneke, the oceans like Jacques Cousteau and animals like St. Francis. He may have laughed like Steve Urkel, too. At least, I’d like to think that Jesus had the kind of laugh that made others laugh. I love to imagine Jesus in ways that help me picture him better. Jesus the hippy made sense to me, when I was a hippy ‘but,’ as Katia Adams puts it, ‘Jesus is no careless hippy. He is careful, and planned, and deliberate.’ [1]. The approach of Jesus and his messaging was careful, planned, deliberate and so much more. His Theology was from before Abraham, his Praxis was revolutionary and his stance Original (consistent with the Ancient of Days). Maybe I was a little deceived at Bible School to think that I was cool like Jesus to have my hair up like Aslan’s mane, smoke cigarettes after class and drink on the beach. Yes, Jesus is somewhere in the midst of it all on the fringes where surprises are always coming about.

As God does in a never-ending present tense, Jesus loved everyone and showed his love with accuracy according to the person and the moment (each, ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, Ps. 139). The justice and equality and liberation that the love of Christ contains is not exclusive but, can be divisive (ref. ‘I have not come to bring peace but a sword’, Matt. 10:34). Katia Adams and Lucy Peppiatt, authors respectively of Equaland Rediscovering Scriptures’ Vision for Women, care to help/guide the understanding of scripture with regards to God’s heart for both men and women together in the context of the community of believers (those who follow Jesus), in marriage and in leadership. There continues to be a popular disconnect that keeps an equality from surfacing in our communities and, ‘despite denominational differences, and differences in approach to the Bible, it is true to say that patriarchal views have held sway over much of the worldwide church for hundreds of years, unquestioned by many (but certainly not all), and have shaped the lives and ministries of millions of men and women both within the church, in the home, and in the world.’ [2].

Katia Adamas affirms the nature of Jesus as being one that ‘liberated women around Him. He didn’t patronise them but treated women as equals as He empowered them’ [3]. It has been said of Katia Adams that she ‘is a cultural architect, leadership mentor and inspirational speaker’ not to mention she has a medical degree, has practiced medicine for 6 years, is a consultant for NGOs, directs an international Non-Profit organization, is planting a church with her husband and has two toddlers [4]. Lucy Peppiatt (PhD, Otago), whose thoroughly refined writing both encaptivates and informs, is the principle of Westminster Theological College, is married and has four sons [2]. Lucy and Katia are contemporary Christian leaders writing to encourage the community of believers toward an egalitarian expression and reception of Christian faith.

The only reason that I know what colour my skin is because I see the backs of my hands and when I’m in shorts, I see my hairy white knees. The only other time I think about the colour of my skin is when other people talk about it in the context of ‘differences’. The only reason why I think of God in the masculine sense, is because of the pronoun that is used to describe ‘him’.

Katia Adams seems to be concerned with the popular perception that ‘simpleton’ Jesus was on a lesser and, perhaps less credible academic level than Paul. ‘Some of us may be comfortable with the idea of Jesus as a revolutionary; however, I wonder how many of us give Him enough credit as an intellectual who was not careless in His radical behaviour but was thoughtful, detailed, and intentional’ [5]. Describing Jesus as more than just expressing Love but of ‘God in His fulness using words and actions to carefully and precisely teach us theology’, Katia reveals the prescription for accurate male-female dynamics and just distribution of leadership between men and women within the Christian community. Jesus ‘wilfully ignores and disturbs the cultural order of his day’ [1] as he does not give special attention to ‘one’ and not ‘the other’.

As a little boy, I remember my mom at home in tears after church meetings. She was the Executive Director of Christian (denomination-driven) Summer Camps for kids; she was a gifted, sought-after leader. Wide-eyed and riveted, I watched as she spoke with large audiences, connected with staff teams in big group rallies and focused her presence into the encouragement, struggle or discipline of an individual staff member. Camper, staff member, volunteer, board member or church congregant my mom was unswerving and the same for each, not presumptuous, stable in character with truest integrity. Her humility continues to resonate with me as she did not strive to be anything more than she was in a position that made her exceedingly vulnerable.

“I was somewhat naive in those days but now I see that Jesus used a person who demonstrated naivety ~ laced with a need for justice and integrity ~ for my eventual good. The steep learning curve and my increasing dependance upon Him was what I needed then and so need today. Very difficult days but so glad I stayed the course and had the opportunity!” [6]

As I look back on those wonderful years of Summer Camp, I see my mom simply as a woman who continued with the hope to have an encounter with the Church as the Samaritan Woman had with Jesus that day at the well. ‘This was no patronising conversation from a superior man to an inferior woman, but a radical discussion based on the countercultural assumptions that the woman had both the intellect and the value to warrant such theological discourse.’ [3]. The thing is, it wasn’t the Church that ever inspired her, in the Church she found disappointment. She found glimpses of Jesus in Church and witnessed his life-giving faithfulness; in Jesus she was inspired. Like the woman at the well, my mom though bullied, targeted, persecuted, stayed the course being the person that Jesus liberated her to be. Redeemed from those oppressive chains of religion.

I learned about Christian Leadership from a woman and it brings consolation for me to think that maybe Jesus did too?

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

[1] Adams, Katia. Is God Sexist?Medium. https://medium.com/@kadams_76047/is-god-sexist-8494674a514. February 13, 2019.

[2] Peppiatt, Lucy. Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women: Fresh Perspectives on Disputed Texts.InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, Illinois. 2019.

[3] Adams, Katia. Equal: What the Bible Says About Women, Men, and Authority. David C Cook, Colorado Springs: 2019.

[4] Riswold, Caryn. I am Not a Hostage.Patheos.  https://www.patheos.com/blogs/carynriswold/2013/01/i-am-not-a-hostage/. January 3, 2013.

[5] Adams, Katia of Frequentsee. (Biographical Description). Naseba. https://naseba.com/thought-leaders/katia-adams-frequentsee/

[6] A quotation from Beverley Ellen Pollockfollowing her reading of a draft of this BlogPost.

Silk, Mary. Is God a Feminist?The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1982/04/11/books/is-god-a-feminist.html. April 11, 1982.

 

 

About the Author

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Chris Pollock

Dad of Molly Polly Pastor at the Mustard Seed Street Church Trail Runner

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