Does My Gender Effect My Bible?


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

Gary 2015It didn’t take too many steps on God’s planet earth to discover that I didn’t understand the opposite sex.

Apparently, I am not the only one without a clue.

In 1992, John Gray’s book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus went viral with eventual sales of over 50 million copies. It’s easy to see that the book struck a nerve.

gender1Over the 286 pages Gray explores differences between males and females in the way they deal with emotions and ways they interpret the world and each other.

Here is what I think. (Excuse my generalities.)

We impose this same contrast of gender viewpoint when we read our Bible.

I don’t understand all of the “whys and wherefores” but I suggest women are more warm and sensitive than men. They just seem equipped for the mission of care and nurture—given they weren’t robbed of their compassion by evil-others.

gender4Their hearts must understand in greater depth the abundance of Bible accounts of women who placed their trust in the Holy.

I suspect my female counterparts read the Bible accounts of barren women of faith with an increased empathy that we males cannot generate.

As residents of a male dominated world and as members of a male dominated church, Christian women read Paul’s words from Ephesians three:

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

My guess is many women see in Paul’s summation greater freedom in Christ than their Christian brothers find comfortable.

grnder7Now for us males.

My observation is that men are more dominant and arrogant than their female counterparts.

Against opponents, males are “sock it to them” and “grind them into the ground” warriors. When men speak everyone must listen.

And so, we open our Bible.

If we are not careful, we guys tend to read our Bible with a spirit of dominance. From far too many of our pulpits and lecterns flow the male proclamations of “see it my way”.

Our Bible sets out to tell the story of God. That alone should call me to respect its incalculable depths. It would surprise every one of us if we could see the myriad of nuanced interpretations taken from our Bible due to gender viewpoints.

Could it be that we forget the Genesis 1:27 account where BOTH male and female were created in the image of God? Perhaps I need to remind myself that men and women are equal and designed by God to complement each other as The Holy’s Creation.

gender2What if I make it a point to listen more closely to the texture brought by feminine voices to enhance my own Biblical interpretation? I suspect my male-gender only viewpoint of my Bible results in less than a complete reading.

Rather than create division over what might at first seem to be a conflict of viewpoints, could it be that we need both gender viewpoints to gain a fuller insight into our Bible?

I would love to hear your own insights into the subject matter of this post—especially from the feminine voice.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Does My Gender Effect My Bible?

Gary@GodReflection.org     http://www.GodReflection.org    http://www.MakeYourVisionGoVital.com

The View is worth the Climb


denise-croppedA couple of weeks ago John and I vacationed at a long-time family spot in the mountains. On my last morning I enjoyed a 30-minute jog along a pristine lake with perfect weather that made the run a joy, and reason to worship God more deeply.

As I was finishing up my workout, I ran into my sister-in-law who was at the start of a walk up a hill we all agree has the most beautiful view around.

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“I found a loop at the hill’s summit and thought I’d check it out,” she stated without breaking her cadence.

“I’ll join you!” I responded in my usual eagerness to enjoy good company. I fell in line behind her on the shoulder-less road. What would it be, one hour tops?

marathon-80120__180I should have known better. My dear sister-in-law is a recreational athlete, having run countless road races from 5Ks to Ultra-marathons…not to mention being former military.

I couldn’t keep up with her. She rounded back often to check on me. It took us 2:40 to do the whole trek, but I must say I kept up very well on the downhills!

The comfort on this progressively uncomfortable unplanned trek was the beauty of the scenery and my prayers that flowed so easily – sometimes desperately when hitting another incline or barking dog.

Story book house on my treck

Story book house on my treck

“Oh Lord, I thank you for this hike, but if I make it down this mountain, help me to remember the wise Japanese saying about climbing Mount Fuji – if you climb Fuji-san once, you’re wise; if you climb it twice, you’re a fool.” There were more petitions and thanksgivings that may have never graced my lips without the discomfort I was putting myself through.

I meditated on Psalm 121:1 & 2.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Von Trapp Lodge, Stowe, VT

Von Trapp Lodge, Stowe, VT

This passage first caught my attention when I watched The Sound of Music and verse 1 was quoted. Ironically I was hiking a mountain not one-and-a-half hours from where the Von Trapps settled when they left Austria.

When John and I drove my trek later that afternoon, he noted that the “circle” at the top of the hill was actually a complete descent on the other side of the 1000-foot hill, and back up again. My total run/walk was almost 13 miles, just shy of a half-marathon. All I knew was that I needed to keep one foot in front of the other and talk a lot to God while finding joy on the journey when on the lonely portions.

Farm on my trek

Farm on my trek

I couldn’t help but think on how God still speaks through creation (Romans 1:19-20), through an understanding of family order (Ephesians 6:1-4), through the sciences and unusual physical phenomena (Joshua 10:13) and through the arts (Acts 17:28), and finally, how Jesus holds this whole world together despite the adversary’s advances (Colossians 1:17).

And in the end I can say that the view was worth the climb!

The view that was worth the climb!

The view that was worth the climb!

Amazing!

 

A Turtle Tale turned Teachable Moment (Part 2)


denise-croppedDavid Hume, the Scottish philosopher had a great mind. Living in the 1700s, he argued against miracles. While not a Hume scholar, my lay understanding of his thesis was for there to be miracles, the Diety has to intervene in nature. He proposed that what has been repeated more times than not is the cycle of nature, not the miraculous, therefore, miracles either didn’t exist, or don’t today.

thI must confess that entering history with so much opportunity and wealth tempts my mind to flirt with this philosophy. Were it not for Christ, I might fully accept it. But because of Christ, I reject it. I believe in the miracles.

In fact, not only do I believe the miracles of Christ’s day, but I believe the first miracle of Creation, the miracles of the Bible, the miracle of resurrection and the prophesied miracle of the return of Christ. I also believe all unexplained phenomena in between that glorifies God and serves humanity. I credit God’s miraculous nature, seen and unseen.

In my mind, I think it’s a shame that Hume missed the most profound rational proposition of all; that a mind created by God must be bent towards God in order to understand the unending study of natural law. This is why the miraculous stands out. If the miraculous were the norm, it would not be appreciated. Yet, I wonder if the miraculous is the norm.

fantasy-181304__180

The sun continues to rise as on its first morning. Law? Or God’s miraculous creativity?

Life continues to proliferate. Law? Or God’s miraculous love?

We’ve not suffered yet as Christ has to an exhaustion that keeps God’s work from being done on earth. Law? Or God’s miraculous empowerment through belief in Christ and doing work in His name.

michelangelo-71282__180

I think it may be both. I believe God uses material phenomena to point to his unseen reality. To get lost in the mysteries of what is to come at the expense of observing and appreciating natural law makes me humanly poorer. To get lost on the temporal materials of this world at the expense of eternity makes my soul poorer.

God’s marriage of both tells his complete story.

turtle-707475__180Even a turtle, a creature that to one might be nothing more than a pawn in a game of squash the turtle, to myself was a life that must be given a chance to live. To want to live is a miracle. To want to worship screams miraculous in my soul when my rational mind argues otherwise. And yet, without the miraculous, the rational would have no purpose.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse… –Romans 1:20

avenue-336552__180I may not have all my theology systematically mapped out, or my thoughts formed from A to C, but this I know, Jesus loves me so. His gift is eternal life and an opportunity to walk planet earth and observe God’s creative hand, his redeeming love and his salvific plan. It points to the last miracle, the return of Christ. So when I look at the constructs of nature, I see God, and I see miracles all around, reminding me to continue working out my salvation with fear and trembling as to be counted among those who’ve chosen to be counted with the wisest of all, Jesus.

Amazing!

God Is Alive and Future Church


God is in charge.

Am I afraid to let Him work?

I am rather good at setting limits on God. I know what He can do and what He can’t. I ask Him to take care of a cold and with medicine and a week or two, I feel well.

I don’t ask for a tour of heaven like the one He gave to Paul and John. He doesn’t do that any longer.

I learned we pray for illnesses conceived in our minds and those attacking our bodies but find it useless to pray for the restoration of veteran’s limbs.

Rather arrogant of me to have God figured out, don’t you think?

When I have God figured out, He becomes dull. God is too great to figure out. Job thought he too had God figured out.

Then God speaks.

power_of_godThat is so understating what happened.

It is more like God dropped His power on Job and blew him away. For three chapters totaling 129 verses God recites His wonders, describes His creation, and declares His power. I can hear the roar of His voice and the deafening sound of the wind.

Surely, the ground shook beneath Job.

He left Job speechless. I suspect Job’s response was so timid and humble he could hardly hear his own reply over the sound of his knocking knees and shaking body parts.

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

God is powerful, alive, and in charge. If I am serving church—I can miss Him. When I serve Jesus and listen to His Holy Spirit—I can’t miss seeing God.

church1By seeing God alive and moving powerfully around the globe within the church and throughout His creation, I can relax. God is in control. It is not my job to worry about keeping the church faithful. He can watch over the church.

Now for my own take a ways.

It seems to me that personality influences people’s approach God. There are those who are cautious in most all areas of life. They despise change. They are comfortable with the church as they know it and perhaps have a hard time believing it might look different and still be faithful to Jesus and Scripture.

If ever there is a time to depend on God as He guides me to tax the brain He gave me, the time is now. I must be astute in interpreting today’s world. Lies seem to be the norm of the day.

To learn to think for oneself based on God’s truth (not based on traditions even if they may be good ones) is probably the greatest tool to help navigate life. God is alive and active. I don’t want to miss what He is doing by standing on the backside of reality defending a tradition that is not true.

I think it is time to be bold and to trust God with the future of His church. It might just be possible for the church of future generations to reflect the cross, be faithful to Jesus, and Scripture, and yet look different from the church of my generation.

Stay tuned.

Gary J. Sorrells – Reflecting on Cross Church.