Friday, April 24, 2009

Women in Ministry: A Look at What Scripture Says

Over the past several months at Southgate, we've been wrestling through what Scripture says about women in leadership. Our current bylaws don't state that a woman can't serve in a position of leadership, but it has seemed to be our understanding of them, as well as our praxis has demonstrated something other. Therefore, we sensed the need to wrestle through Scripture and Tradition. 

This past sunday night at our annual business meeting our congregation voted on two females who will serve on our deacon board. While woman have been leading in various capacities, this public recognition does seem to be significant for the ongoing movement of our community. 

Below is a teaching that we presented to our congregation in regards to what Scripture says about women and how we've come to understand their place in the Body of Christ.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Story of Scripture: Understanding & Interpreting the Bible From 30,000 Feet

Have you ever showed up late for a move? It's a sick, sick feeling, isn't it? It's not uncommon to see people briskly walking, even running with  popcorn and drink in hand, as the look for the number corresponding to their movie ticket. They run, because they understand something very fundamental to all movies and novels. For, it is in the first few opening scenes (or pages) that the story begins to take shape and characters development. Missing the nuances surrounding the plot or character can leave one lost, sometimes for the entire movie.  Very few people will simply wander into a movie that's already started, even if it started only minutes ago. Rather, they'll wait until a later showing.

Likewise, who buys a novel and turns to page 55 and begins reading? No one! For we acutely understand that every sub plot is only fully understood within the context of the larger plot these sub-plots find themselves in. 

As oddly as this sounds, many violate these very principles every day with the greatest Story ever penned - Scripture. We often read it, and live off the life of the sub-narratives, without a clear understanding of the overarching plot of Scripture. For example, many love the story of Daniel in the lions den. In fact, for many adults, that's all they know about Daniel. Understanding this element of Daniel's life may make for a great lesson, sermon or flannel graph. However, if that's all I know, I've missed the whole point of Daniel's life, mission and purpose. I fail to see how Daniel fits in to the unfolding narrative of Scripture. This is true with all of our favorite Bible characters. We need more than their story, we need to understand how they fit in to the larger story. Without such insight, we can never accurately understand and interpret Scripture. Further, our hopes of becoming "biblical Christians" living out the message of Scripture in the day and age that we live in will be virtually impossible.

Starting this Wednesday at Southgate, we'll be taking a five-week tour of Scripture. We'll be looking not only at the Story of Scripture, we'll look at the different ways it has been read and interpreted. Our ultimate goal is, how can I apply and live the essence of Scripture in the time and place that I find my existence.

Monday, April 13, 2009

April in the Loft

It is the desire of Southgate Kids to immerse our children in the adventurous and life forming Story of Scripture. In September we began exploring the creation narrative of Genesis. October and November we studied how God created humans in His own image and what that means for us to also be created in His image.

Through January and February, we began to look at the choice God gave Adam and Eve in the garden. We wrestled with why God put the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden and how God ultimately wants us to love Him because we want to love Him, not because we have to.

Further, during these months, we examined the lie and temptation proposed by the Serpent and the corresponding effects on humanity as a result of the choice to disobey God. In short, in Adam, we all were “disconnected” from God.

During March we began to see how Jesus is the Second Adam and came to restore everything that was lost with the original sin of Adam and Eve.

This month, we will be talking more about not only Who Jesus Was/Is, but also what He did for us on the cross. We will see that one of the things Jesus accomplished on the cross is a way for each of us to be “re-connected” with God. As a means of “remembering what Jesus did” for us, we will be taking communion Easter Sunday. The “remembering” Jesus instructed us to do in the Gospels, doesn’t merely look to an event that happened in the past, but to a Story this is ongoing in the present.

Our prayer is that our children will not only cognitively remember what happened long ago, but also will personally experience and be re-membered to Christ in an intimate and ongoing relationship.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


I frequently talk to people who read the Bible, but readily admit, they don't know how to read the Bible. They affirm they need to, but simply struggle with where to start or how to begin. Reading ends up being a chore, a check-list, an endeavor without much life transforming fruit.

Scripture, in-tandem with the Spirit of God, possesses the power to transform our very whole being.

Recently, I picked up Eugene Peterson's Solo: An Uncommon Devotional. It's quite different than any devotional I've seen. It's developed around the ancient practice of engaging Scripture known as Lectio Divina. It consists of a passage of Scripture (from the Message rendering of Scripture) followed by applicable ways to engage that particular passage via lectio divina (READ, THINK, PRAY, LIVE).

If you've found yourself in a route or perhaps looking for (needing) a fresh approach to engaging Scripture, this could be an excellent option. You will definately find yourself engaging the Story of Scripture in personal and transformative ways.