Officially Closed

This blog is officially closed.  No more new posts, pages, categories or comments.  Comments will not be moderated.

It was a great adventure but my interests are focused elsewhere.  If you’d like to follow “elsewhere,” pull up a virtual chair and join me at Roads Diverged.

Thanks for reading and God bless!

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Protected: “Riders of Rohan!” Part 4 of 4

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“Your Heart”

Re-reading Waking the Dead (John Eldredge) the other day – this is my third time through – I came across the following.  You may notice this is a little different from some of our usual posts.  December will feature Christmas-related themes.

***

“Each person knows that now his body is the temple of God: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Cor. 6:19). Indeed it is. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). Okay— each of us is now the temple of God. So where, then, is the Holy of Holies?

Your heart.

That’s right—your heart. Paul teaches us in Ephesians that “Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (3:17). God comes down to dwell in us, in our hearts. Now, we know this: God cannot dwell where there is evil. “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell” (Ps. 5:4). Something pretty dramatic must have happened in our hearts, then, to make them fit to be the dwelling place of a holy God.

Of course, none of this can happen for us until we give our lives back to God. We cannot know the joy or the life or the freedom of heart I’ve described here until we surrender our lives to Jesus and surrender them totally. Renouncing all the ways we have turned from God in our hearts, we forsake the idols we have worshiped and given our hearts over to. We turn, and give ourselves body, soul, and spirit back to God, asking him to cleanse our hearts and make them new. ”

John Eldredge, Waking the Dead , p. 68

Happy Birthday!

… to The Few.  The Proud.  The Marines.  Semper Fi.

Upcoming posts will focus on Thanksgiving.  What are you thankful for this year?  Family?  Good health?  Close friends?  God’s mercy and grace in the midst of struggles and trials?  Please comment.  Depending on responses, we may include them in a “reader’s write” Thanksgiving post.

A “Call to Ya’ll”

Yep, that’s you.

HEvencense has caught on!  The blog subscription list has grown by leaps and bounds, with new subscribers being added almost daily.  Thank you!  And thank God!

We’d like to formally thank you, our loyal readers, for your support.  Bless you!  We’d also like to invite you to join our team.  That’s why we’re putting out a call for guest bloggers.

Part of the strength behind HEvencense lies in the active dialogue between readers and writers.  We’d like to expand both.  That means new voices, fresh posts, new subjects, series, and…?  Well, what has God laid on your heart?

We’re looking for submissions that fit our basic theme and emphasis: “exploring the delightful, sometimes dangerous and often mysterious realm of biblical womanhood with candor, hope, and faith.”  This may include discussions about women’s ministry, women in leadership, gender roles, identifying and exercising spiritual gifts, mutuality, community, relational issues, book reviews, questions and comments promoting a biblical worldview – and that’s just for starters!

If you’d like to contribute on a regular basis or have your own column, simply reply to this post in the Comment section.  If you’d like to contribute monthly, quarterly, or occasionally, please let us know that, too.  You do not have to be a trained writer to contribute (we can help), and we’d love to see more submissions from men!

We want to know what’s on your heart and mind – chances are good that it’s on someone else’s, too.  So this is a “call to ya’ll” to dive in and join the conversation.

Thanks again for your support.  We look forward to hearing from you!

If you are interested in gender issues specifically, please visit our sister blog, CBE of Grays Harbor. We’d love to add you to our list of contributors!

CBE of Grays Harbor

Christians for Biblical Equality of Grays Harbor is up and running!  We’ve just launched our new blog, CBE of Grays Harbor.  Feel free to visit.  We’re also on Facebook.

If you can think of a catchier blog name, don’t be shy!  Chime in.  We’re taking requests as well as suggestions for topics and future posts.  Give us a holler.  Women Can Teach, a three-part mini-series by Rev. Cheryl Kincaid, will be up soon!

Contributors and guest bloggers welcome!  Simply respond to this post in the comment section below.  Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with latest posts!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

What are Best-Sellers Selling? Part 2 of 2

Trekking though our local Christian bookstore recently (see prior post), I left the “Best Sellers” aisle and meandered into the section marked “Women.” Is anyone besides Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore writing books for this market these days?  I also wondered why:

  • Half a shelf was devoted to books with titles like, The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace, What’s He Really Thinking? and 10 things You Aren’t Telling Him.
  • Six of six shelves in the Women’s section were simply labeled “Women
  • The Men’s section had two shelves labeled Men, three shelves labeled Leadership and the final, bottom shelf was Finance.  What, women aren’t leaders or money managers?

Turning around – the Women and Men sections were separated by an aisle – I saw books in the Men’s section with titles like Game Plan for Life, Beyond Half Time, Championship Fathering and Lead Like Jesus, Everyday Greatness, Leadership Gold, The Executive Calling, The 360’ Leader.

Of the roughly three hundred books in the Women’s section, guess how many focused on leadership (of any kind) or had “leadership” or a related concept in the title?  That’s right.  None.  Zero.

Why are sports, competitiveness, championships, leadership and uh… “everyday greatness” male-only domains?  I know plenty of women who are plenty competitive in contexts like sports, politics, the courtroom, and the corporate boardroom.  But if bookstores stock what sells, and what sells is what’s popular, what does the difference in titles for “Men” and “Women” tell us?

Why Is That?

Many of the “women’s books” were on marriage, men, motherhood, and what I’d loosely dub “emotional/relational/therapeutic issues” such as The True Secret to Happiness, Confident Woman, Overcoming Your Need to Please Everyone, So Long, Insecurity, etc.

Why is that?  And why are “historical romance” titles top sellers?  Are we that starved for love and hope?  Are our relationships so shallow, boring or vapid that we have to turn to historical romance to find “what’s missing”?  Some of this is simply a matter of taste and personal preference, but are “best sellers” saying something else about the “Youniverse” state of Christian hearts and minds?

A “Detrimental Practice”?

In Why the Church Needs More Christian Women Scholars, Sarah Flashing of The Center for Women in Faith and Culture writes:

We often think and meditate on a single verse or short passage at a time, a practice which can be detrimental not only to understanding the bigger picture, but can equally undermine our ability to practice what we believe in every area of our lives. We do not want to be fragmented in our approach to living, but that is a real risk if we study the Bible in that same way.

I saw a lot of this evident in the Women’s section of this bookstore.  I’ve seen a lot of this evident in countless “women’s ministry” contexts, where an author or curriculum will take a passage here, a chapter there (typically Proverbs 31)  or yank a few verses out of their historical, cultural, grammatical context and use them to build an entire “study” or worldview and present it is God’s “divine design.”  This can be a hazardous practice, but it’s common in many women’s ministries settings – seminars, retreats, Bible studies, etc.  Flashing continues:

Many women’s Bible studies and gift books encourage this fragmented way of thinking due to the relatively short meditations they contain, or through spoon feeding which generally does not model an appropriate method of interpretation because the work has already been done (and we hope correctly). When the most probing questions direct the student to look within themselves—“how does this make you feel?”—the time has come to assess our discipleship materials.

Seriously now, when  “getting out of that pit,” “overcoming your need to please everyone “and “so long, insecurity,” etc. are hot topics in the women’s aisle, what does that tell us about the culture of  women’s ministry these days?  Flashing offers an observation:

The culture of women’s ministry in evangelical circles has largely been focused on women’s survival….getting enough encouragement to get by. Because of the complexities of today’s world, in the areas of worldview and activism, its becoming more urgent for seminary-level trained women to enter the evangelical community vocationally. The needs of women in church and culture are well beyond the scope of what traditional event-driven women’s ministry can address.

Shaping or Reflecting?

Are the topics “selling like hotcakes” in the Women section those that really interest and energize Christian women – or are they merely reinforcing popular stereotypes and gender myths?  What assumptions regarding gender and gender roles are in play?  Are these titles and resources shaping the culture or reflecting it?  If the latter, what does that say about the state of Christian womanhood in America?  Can we do better?  How?



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