Faith and relevance in the 21st century

Category: Women

Jesus and women

Last month’s revelations of Donald Trump’s boasting and allegations of sexual assault have thrown up stories of the pain suffered by literally millions of women around the world. For followers of Jesus, it highlights the contrast of the fact that Jesus treated women with their full God-given dignity. Here’s my article from Christian Today on Jesus and women…

Jesus and women

The recent revelations of Donald Trump’s boasting and allegations of sexual assault have thrown up stories of the pain suffered by literally millions of women around the world. Despite many of the gains made in the last 100 years for women’s rights, it is clear that much still remains to be done.

A prayer for all who aren’t mothers

2484011508_ba8b22965a_zOn this day, as we celebrate the wonderfully selfless contributions of mothers the world over, this is a prayer for those for whom this day is racked with unbearable pain.

By Cheryl Lawrie

A prayer of love for those who aren’t mothers. Today may you know all you are.

A prayer of love for those who decided they wouldn’t be a mother because they dared not for fear they would replicate a world that tried to destroy them.

A prayer of love for those who did but not by choice, who had decision thrust upon them and now live searching for a love that will catch up to their truth.

A prayer of love for those who couldn’t, who tried but it never worked, and for those who did, but lost.

A prayer of love for those who never got the chance to even try and who with all the other pain that lives inside, today bear the fear of being someone else’s pity.

A prayer of love today for those who hear the word ‘mother’ with resentment, disappointment, guilt, fear, rage, horror, sadness, ambivalence, grief.

A prayer for those who cannot love their mother or their child and who no longer have the strength to try.

A prayer of love for those who have no day that speaks their worth, that tells their story, that reminds them they are also gift to the world.

A prayer of love for those who aren’t.

Today may you know all you are.

 

Ben Witherington on women and ministry

One of the world’s leading New Testament scholars, Ben Witherington, speaks here on women and ministry. He looks at how Jesus viewed women, as well as those difficult passages in some of Paul’s writings on what women should and shouldn’t be allowed to do. Click here for the first talk, and here for the second talk.

An Eye-Opening, Gut-Wrenching Film

A friend sent me this article and link to a movie about sex slavery. One of the alarming things is the quote that “we know that porn profits directly fund the acquisition of new women and children being forced into sex slavery.”

Porn is never a bit of innocent, harmless fun. It is not even a victimless crime. Simply, there is nothing good about porn at all. I wrote more about this here some time ago.

Rahab the woman made in the image of God

As part of an ongoing celebration of the 100th International Women’s Day, I have been asked by some colleagues to say a few words about a significant woman of history. Here is an extended version of what I plan to say.

As a male, I am aware of the responsibility I have to my colleagues to present a woman of history in a way that does justice to their real struggle. And so, of the women that were on our list to choose from, I chose Rahab, a woman we know about through the book of Joshua in the Old Testament.

To give some background, Joshua had been Moses’ right-hand man. So when Moses died, Joshua took over as leader of the Israelites. As they were about to go into the land that God had set aside for them, Joshua sent two spies to Jericho to check it out before the rest of them went in there. That night the spies were taken in by Rahab. She had heard about Israel’s God and was afraid of the mighty deeds of this God and so wanted to do something to help.

When soldiers of the city guard came to look for the spies, Rahab hid them on the roof of her house. After escaping, the spies promised to spare Rahab and her family after taking the city, even if there should be a massacre, if she would mark her house by hanging a red cord out the window. What is interesting in all of this is that Rahab was a prostitute, and some have claimed that the symbol of the red cord is the origin of the “red light district”.

As we think of the type of woman Rahab was, I am reminded that Jesus was known as a person who ate and drank with prostitutes. In Jesus’ day, who you ate with mattered. It spoke highly of who you considered was important. Status and honour was everything. But Jesus didn’t care about that. He was known as one who cared for those that nobody else cared about. And aren’t prostitutes still seen like that in today’s society? But not in God’s society. Contrary to the way we would think of a prostitute, Rahab is included in the genealogy in Matthew’s gospel as an ancestor of Jesus, she is mentioned as one of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews, and she is given a special mention in the letter of James as an example of faith resulting in action. People like Rahab matter to God.

I believe that men in general need to apologise to women in general for the treatment many of us have inflicted on them, in all sorts of ways. And so, as a male I want to offer my own apology for that. I apologise for the times in my life when I have thought of and treated women as less than men.

If you consider someone like Rahab today, the great injustice about women in the oldest profession is that they are the ones who have the stigma attached to them, but the truth is that prostitution is a profession driven by men. And as far as using prostitutes goes, thousands of men visit prostitutes every week in my city. And I heard a statistic some years ago that said that 25% of prostitutes try to kill themselves. Prostitution is considered by many to be simply trading in commodities, to use a financial term. There is no relationship, no care, and no love. These women, like Rahab, are someone’s daughter, someone’s partner, and someone’s mother – human beings made in the image of God.

Women have suffered terribly at the hands of men. And while I can sympathise all we want at the mistreatment of women, I can never put myself in the position of a woman simply because I am not one. The nearest I ever came to relating to the experience of women in this regard was about 15 years ago when I was doing some volunteer work in a mainly gay environment. I remember being looked up and down by some of these men, and my immediate thought was “back off!” It made me realise the sense of violation that women must feel every time a bloke ogles them and sees them as an object.

The woman who hid the spies in Jericho is not known to Jesus as Rahab the prostitute. She is known to him as Rahab the incredible woman made in the image of God. Her profession does not define her. This woman, considered a slut in her society as she would be in ours, is a heroine in the eyes of God. Jesus warned the religious leaders that the prostitutes were going into the kingdom of God ahead of them because they believed the message about Jesus when the religious leaders – the church of that time – didn’t. I pray that I will not be like the religious leaders and that, as a man, I will treat women as Jesus does – with dignity and full equality – as people made in the image of God.

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