Why I Disagree With John Piper When He Uses Physical Strength to Differentiate Gender Roles

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. Helen Keller
Viet Nam Women's War Memorial wikipedia
Viet Nam Women’s War Memorial-Wikipedia

John Piper’s seeming obsession with women and physical strength.

John Piper seems to be quite concerned about physically strong women. So concerned that he literally makes up fantastical problems for women who become muscular through workouts. I bet you think I am exaggerating. I’m not but I wish I were.

Have you heard about a book called Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood? This book is consistently recommended by the Calvinista crowd as the best book on gender roles. TWW recommends that Christians be aware of the content of this book because there is some pretty bizarre stuff in there. Do not buy it. Here is the entire PDF for free. 

Did you know that Piper claims (without any documentation, mind you) that muscular women do not have significant conversations with their lovers but have volatile and unsatisfying sex lives instead? The more muscular they get, the less they will be treated sensitively by men!

A few years ago, TWW posted John Piper: On Election, Sin and the Painful Lives of Muscular Women.Here is an excerpt from that post.

I cannot believe that I am writing about this. A reader sent me an email alerting me to another bizarre comment by Piper. I was totally unconvinced that even Piper could say such a thing. I went directly to the source and there it was, in black and white.  Here is the entire PDF for the book called Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The following quote was written by Piper although a number of people contributed to the this document

(Start Piper quote from book)

“Consider what is lost when women attempt to assume a more masculine role by appearing physically muscular and aggressive. It is true that there is something sexually stimulating about a muscular, scantily clad young woman pumping iron in a health club.

But no woman should be encouraged by this fact. For it probably means the sexual encounter that such an image would lead to is something very hasty and volatile, and in the long run unsatisfying.

The image of a masculine musculature may beget arousal in a man, but it does not beget several hours of moonlight walking with significant, caring conversation. The more women can arouse men by doing typically masculine things, the less they can count on receiving from men a sensitivity to typically feminine ”

(End Piper quote from book)

I believe this discussion of muscular women to be bizarre. My husband spends a lot of time telling all of his patients to exercise. He is a cardiologist and it is well known that an exercise program strengthens the heart (Note to Piper: The heart is a muscular organ).

Recently, Piper has been writing more on physical strength and gender roles. Much of it has to do with being concerned about women in roles in the military and law enforcement. Basically he is concerned about the physical fitness of women in general for roles that have been traditionally filled by men.

The military, women, and physical capability

There is no question that foot soldiers, throughout the millennia, were usually men of great strength. Traveling great distances and hauling extremely heavy and difficult implements of war (trebuchets, cannons, cannon balls, etc.) was not for the faint of heart.

However, women have long been involved in wars, functioning as nurses, doctors and medical technicians as well as helping to bring supplies to the front. In fact, the profession of nursing got its start due to a brave young woman who rejected a proposal of marriage due to her *active nature.* Florence Nightingale trained as a nurse and eventually set about caring for soldiers during the Crimean conflict.

In 1849, Nightingale refused a marriage proposal from a “suitable” gentleman, Richard Monckton Milnes, who had pursued her for years. She explained her reason for turning him down, saying that while he stimulated her intellectually and romantically, her “moral…active nature” called for something beyond a domestic life. (One biographer has suggested that the rejection of marriage to Milnes was not in fact an outright refusal.) Determined to pursue her true calling despite her parents’ objections, Nightingale eventually enrolled as a nursing student in 1850 and ’51 at the Institution of Protestant Deaconesses in Kaiserswerth, Germany.

…In October of 1853, the Crimean War broke out. Allied British and French forces were at war against the Russian Empire for control of Ottoman territory. Thousands of British soldiers were sent to the Black Sea, where supplies quickly dwindled. By 1854, no fewer than 18,000 soldiers had been admitted into military hospitals.

At the time, there were no female nurses stationed at hospitals in the Crimea. After the Battle of Alma, England was in an uproar about the neglect of their ill and injured soldiers, who not only lacked sufficient medical attention due to hospitals being horribly understaffed but also languished in appallingly unsanitary conditions.

In late 1854, Nightingale received a letter from Secretary of War Sidney Herbert, asking her to organize a corps of nurses to tend to the sick and fallen soldiers in the Crimea. Given full control of the operation, she quickly assembled a team of almost three dozen nurses from a variety of religious orders and sailed with them to the Crimea just a few days later.

Although they had been warned of the horrid conditions there, nothing could have prepared Nightingale and her nurses for what they saw when they arrived at Scutari, the British base hospital in Constantinople. The hospital sat on top of a large cesspool, which contaminated the water and the building itself. Patients lay in their own excrement on stretchers strewn throughout the hallways. Rodents and bugs scurried past them. The most basic supplies, such as bandages and soap, grew increasingly scarce as the number of ill and wounded steadily increased. Even water needed to be rationed. More soldiers were dying from infectious diseases like typhoid and cholera than from injuries incurred in battle.

…The no-nonsense Nightingale quickly set to work. She procured hundreds of scrub brushes and asked the least infirm patients to scrub the inside of the hospital from floor to ceiling. Nightingale herself spent every waking minute caring for the soldiers. In the evenings she moved through the dark hallways carrying a lamp while making her rounds, ministering to patient after patient. The soldiers, who were both moved and comforted by her endless supply of compassion, took to calling her “the Lady with the Lamp.” Others simply called her “the Angel of the Crimea.” Her work reduced the hospital’s death rate by two-thirds.

In addition to vastly improving the sanitary conditions of the hospital, Nightingale instituted an “invalid’s kitchen” where appealing food for patients with special dietary requirements was prepared. She also established a laundry so that patients would have clean linens. as well as a classroom and library for intellectual stimulation and entertainment.

From that time on, women would be an integral part of providing medical care for those in combat. For some, this sacrificial service on the part of mostly female nurses was studiously ignored because only “men went into battle.” Yet, those women helped to carry supplies, medical tents and equipment, as well as the bodies of the wounded and dying.

Slowly the sacrifice of those nurses became recognized. Nurses earned the right to buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Memorials were dedicated in their honor. Here are links to some of those memorials for nurses: WW1, Civil War and Vietnam (this memorial celebrated all women in that war but most of them were nurses. See link.)

Women have long been part of war and it is sad that many men who are involved in the gender role battles turn a blind eye to their sacrifice, claiming combat is only for men.

Did women serve in military roles in  ancient history?

In fact, they did. Here are a couple of articles to explore the subject:The Master List of Historical Women in Combat and Women and ancient warfare.

John Piper and women in combat: He claims it is a physical thing.

John Piper wrote The Folly of Men Arming Women for Combat.

I am not against any job, military or civilian, having a required list of minimum physical strength standards that must be met in order to do the job. For example, to be a nurse in one rehab facility in my area, the nurse must be able to hold a 25 pound weight on her outstretched arms. However, the standards must be truly realistic for the needs of the job.

Here is Piper’s rationale for the disqualification of women in combat.

Now USA Today reports that the minimal standards for strength set by the marines are on hold because half the women in boot camp can’t do three pull-ups. They’re on hold as “part of the process of equalizing physical standards to integrate women into combat jobs.”

Pull-ups aren’t arbitrary. They require, say the soldiers, “the muscular strength necessary to perform common military tasks such as scaling a wall, climbing up a rope, or lifting and carrying heavy munitions.” Why the hold-up on the pull-up minimum? “The risk of losing recruits and hurting retention of women already in the service was unacceptably high.”

There are a number of questions I have about this statement. Most folks know that such tests are waived for those who are going to provide medical care to combatants. Does every recruit need to be able to do pull ups in order to do their job? For example, it appears that women can shoot just as well as men and some say maybe a bit better. 

As time goes on, there will be more and more military positions available that do not require the ability to do pull-ups or haul heavy munitions. I believe that John Piper is well aware of this fact and is ignoring it. After he discussed soldiers *concerns,* without providing any context or even a link to a study that expresses those concerns, he turned away from the physical strength argument and said the following. It is all about cultural choreography! Huh?

That’s the main issue, not pull-ups. The main issue is: how God has designed manhood and womanhood to honor each other and to create a cultural choreography where men and women flourish.

He makes little sense in his argument here.We are apparently becoming suicidal for ignoring the choreographed dance.

I draw attention to the folly of men arming women for combat, and men adjusting military standards for political reasons, so that Christian pastors and parents will clarify for their people and their children how differently God sees things, so that we do not all just go with the suicidal flow.

Piper says women are the weaker vessel and that term literally means *physically weaker.*

In Honor Your Wife as the Weaker Vessel Piper says that 1 Peter 3:7 means that the wife has the weaker body.

Vessel” probably means body, as in 2 Corinthians 4:7.
Therefore, Peter is simply saying in 1 Peter 3:7 that, in general, the woman will have the weaker body.

He then goes on to make his point that a woman has weaker physical strength. For instance, there are no sports in the Olympics that pit men against women although that may change in the sport of shooting in the near future.

There is also an NBA and a WNBA, acknowledging that men are generally larger and stronger.

The same is true in golf and tennis.

Beyond sports, only 3% of construction workers, 13% of police, and 15% of military are women.

Almost everyone would say that generally men have a genetic physical advantage (strength and stamina).

He used the word *generally.* Yes, men are usually bigger and stronger than women when defined by muscle mass. However, there are some women who are bigger and stronger than some men. It seems to me that Piper deliberately skips over this observation. I know some men who are smaller and/or less strong than I am. Does that mean I am not a *weaker vessel* when I am around those men?

Generally, men will beat women at tennis but some women will beat some men at tennis as demonstrated by the match between Billy Jean King and Bobbie Riggs.

Military

Let’s take a look at his statistics for the military. Here is a chart that I found.

Women started getting admitted to the military academies in 1976 (West Point) and Annapolis in 1980. As time goes on, there is little doubt that the percentage of women in the military will inch upwards as the number of women attracted to the benefits of military training continuing to rise.

Air Force

It appears that both men and women are equally competent when flying airplanes which may be one of the reasons that the greatest percentages of women in the military is in the Air Force.

Police

Here is an interesting perspective about the value of women on police forces in The Role of Women in Policing Today. It appears that brute force strength is not the only thing needed. Did you know that female officers often COMPLEMENT the male officers. Now where have we heard that word before?

Over the past few decades, policing and police officers have changed. Policing used to lean heavily toward physical attributes, such as height, weight and brute strength. Over time, the attributes that were thought to make a good police officer have shifted. The job still requires a great level of physical fitness; however, what’s more important now is good ethical character, and excellent interpersonal, problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills.

This shift can be attributed to a new, proactive style of policing called “community policing”.

…Women bring a unique dynamic to policing and female officers are often competent in crucial components of community policing. Generally, women are good communicators with great interpersonal skills. While this is important to policing as a whole, it’s especially helpful in situations where victims feel more comfortable discussing the details of a crime with a female officer.

Female officers complement their male partners and can provide an alternate perspective on a problem. Women often approach and solve problems from a different angle than their male counterparts.

Stamina

Women have more stamina then men, contrary to Piper’s assertions. In Women DO have more stamina than men and will soon be beating them in marathons

Males are typically powerful but women have a greater power of endurance
This makes females better at endurance events, Canadian research suggests
Men became more fatigued much faster than females did in tests

…He said that while there was not a standardised ‘ultra-marathon’ distance, ‘We know from previous research that for events like ultra-trail running, males may complete them faster but females are considerably less tired by the end.

‘If ever an ultra-ultra-marathon is developed, women may well dominate in that arena.’

Previous studies on isometric contractions – where muscles and joints don’t move – have already shown women have greater muscle endurance.

My point is not to prove that women are, in general, bigger and stronger than men. They aren’t. My point is to say that they may excel in areas such as stamina and may be equal to men when it comes to shooting and flying airplanes as well as helping police manage situations that call for strong interpersonal relationships.

Piper does not like women being portrayed as physically strong.

In his post Do Men Owe Women a Special Kind of Care? Piper has this to say.

It fits the half-century-old gender-leveling current of the culture. But current is too weak a word. Torrent or avalanche would be more accurate. One need only sample the movies and TV shows of recent years to see the increasing passion with which women are portrayed as being just as physically strong, harsh, impudent, violent, arrogant, vulgar, two-timing, and sexually aggressive as any macho male hero.

One wonders if this passion for the portrayal of Annie Get Your Gun on steroids is perhaps owing to the rising sense that there is something in nature that won’t adapt to our egalitarian portrayal. The stubbornness of God-given nature, then, creates the need for the egalitarian message to be more forceful, even preternatural (Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Superwoman). Such are the trials of those who try to recreate what God made otherwise.

Piper makes what I believe to be a serious mistake in his concern about women being portrayed as powerful. He is essentially judging men and women on the basis of their strength or their lack of strength. This is a subtle form of discrimination that leads to serious difficulties for his belief in proper gender roles.

When Piper uses the physical strength as the basis of the difference between men and women, he boxes himself into a corner. Five years ago, TWW wrote Ian and Larissa: A Complicated Story of Love, Spiritual Authority and Agendas. There are a number of issues in this story but I want to focus on the issue of strength. Ian was in a serious car accident and he has permanent brain damage. He is mostly confined to a wheelchair and is unable to work or contribute to maintaining the household in any meaningful way. His wife, Larissa, is the strong one. She works, brings in the money, manages the house and helps her husband to move from bed to chair-obviously using her strength to do so.

Piper claims that Ian is still the spiritual leader of this family. However, if we apply Piper’s concern about physically stronger women being outside of a biblical gender role, Larissa is violating that every day.

Sadly, Piper equates physical strength in women with violence, arrogance, etc. since that is what is portrayed in Hollywood with macho men. How odd. Does he do the same thing with his gospel men? If they are physically strong, are they violent, aggressive, harsh and impudent?

Some women are stronger than some men. Some men are crude and aggressive like some women. However, the gospel of Christ teaches us to be good stewards of the life that God has given us. If he has given a woman superior strength and she uses this to serve her community as a policewoman, then she is following His will. If  a man is handicapped by cerebral palsy and is unable to demonstrate any physical strength whatsoever, he is no less a man than a Navy Seal Team member.

We are putting men and women into boxes when we judge them by strength and by profession. There are men in the Armed Forces who are not strong physically yet they are geniuses in inventing programs to surveil enemy territory without making physically strong people risk their lives by diving behind enemy lines. There are women in the Armed Forces who are going into harm’s way to give medical care to the physically strong who have been shot and are now physically incapacitated.

There are some women who are physically weaker than some men, serving in a law enforcement capacity. They can use martial arts, Tasers and guns to protect themselves. They are using their gifts to bring a touch of humanity to the police force. An all male police force will be less effective without the input of women just like many churches are less effective when women are sidelined from contributing to the functioning of the church.

I believe we all have gifts to offer in the service of our country and of each other. When physical strength becomes the marker for what differentiates a man from a woman, it has become an idol for those who are having difficulty trying to define the differences between the roles for men and women. To judge one another on strength is just one more non-biblical measurement which can, and does, lead to unnecessary role discrimination.

The gender folks are going to have to try harder to define the differences between men and women if that is so important to them. When the focus is on physical strength, that dog won’t hunt.


Comments

Why I Disagree With John Piper When He Uses Physical Strength to Differentiate Gender Roles — 267 Comments

  1. If physical strength is the defining line between male and female, wouldn’t John Piper be catagorized as a female???

  2. Since when did Piper become an authority on women and their anatomy? He’s a loon, seriously! He talks about women often doeth thou protesteth to much?

  3. Men & women are equal. In everything. And yes, I know men can’t get pregnant. Probably makes usa little less equal.

  4. Shauna wrote:

    Since when did Piper become an authority on women and their anatomy? He’s a loon, seriously! He talks about women often doeth thou protesteth to much?

    I agree I have always gotten a creepy feeling from the guy not to mention I need to take some Dramamine when watching him with all those hand waves.

  5. God creates individuals, with their own individual lives. We are not clones where every man is the same nor every woman. I think part of the problem with people like John Piper is that they have such small minds that they cannot comprehend that our awesome and powerful God’s creation cannot be confined to the small boxes that they want to put him and us in. How he does he feel about Jael or Deborah? What about modern Israel which conscripts women into the IDF and has been quite successful?

  6. Indeed, Florence accomplished a lot. She was not emphasized as a role model when I was a student nurse, however. I am not sure why, except that by my time nursing was not seen as an alternative to wife/mother but rather as something in addition to it.

    In the history of patient care we must give enormous credit to the religious orders, with one of which Florence trained and out of which she drew the nurses who worked under her supervision in the war. And I want to say here, and you all may quote me, that one must always note the centuries long contribution of the church in the west, both male and female orders, who cared for the sick.

    There is a good wiki article on Florence in which, among other things, there is a section entitled ‘Relationships” and in which the issue of Florence’s own ideas about women in general is presented. She was not impressed with women very much, it seems. And the fact that she referred to herself in the masculine. And the theory that she may have seen her calling as a religious calling.

    She was an extraordinary person from a privileged background who was atypical for her time and who accomplished much. But she is not Everywoman and she herself, or so says wiki, complained that women simply were not much impacted by her ideas. I like her comment about women complaining about the lack of opportunity for women when there were plenty of unfilled opportunities in nursing.

    I have spent the bulk of my lifetime suggesting to various and sundry that they may be missing a great opportunity in not considering nursing as a profession. Most don’t want to listen. I have felt what Florence seems to have felt, that it is easier to complain than to perform.

  7. I was thinking the exact same thing as I was reading blog!!!Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    If physical strength is the defining line between male and female, wouldn’t John Piper be catagorized as a female???

  8. I have a female cousin who graduated from West Point. She went on to serve overseas in the war. She is now married with 3 children. She is a physically strong woman. But she is 100% female too. Plus being a christian. I’ll put her up against Piper any day and see who comes out a winner when discussing this. I’ve never equated physical strength with part of being male or female. Some ladies are, and some aren’t. So with men. I’ve also got a niece who is a nurse, and her daughter is in the marines. Physically strong women. But the world needs more women like these.

  9. I agree there is nothing to defend in Piper’s position on this one. False guilt goes in the garbage can.

    Looks like the future of war will be more robotic and AI oriented so physical strength will be of much lesser value.

  10. kin wrote:

    Looks like the future of war will be more robotic and AI oriented so physical strength will be of much lesser value.

    Exactly.

    And not only in that area but also our whole civilization has shifted to much less need for physical strength. We have eliminated the pressing need for the physical to the extent that In health care there is a lot more emphasis on get up off your…. and get moving, go to the gym, get the fat off, eat differently, turn off the electronics and if you don’t no amount of prescription pills will make it be okay for you.

    There is something odd about Piper that the word ‘strange’ does not begin to address.

  11. It’s all part of throwing in anything and everything in a massive last-ditch drive to save the patriarchy.

  12. I think this is a difficile subject to addresss without risk of misunderstanding, but, having some experience in this, I would like to address a potential issue I see in both sides’ reasoning.

    For several years I participated in a very obscure but physically demanding sport that contained all the activities pertinent to the claims both Dee and Piper make about male and female physical ability, such as general athletics, strength training, survival, military fitness, etc.. I would like to add that I was on a co-ed team because there were not enough females in our program to qualify for a team according to the competition rules, simply because it wasn’t viewed as a very “feminine” thing to do. Then again, not many guys wanted to do it either, because it was really just an exercise in pain.

    Incidentally we won the National title (co-ed division).

    Thus, I think I’m fairly qualified to speak about the athletic differences between male and female, not only at a high level of athleticism, but also in the examples cited.

    Even though every female on the team could beat the snot out of the average male at pretty much anything, that said, given equal training optimization and standard deviation, males have a significant advantage in running (even ultra distance, e.g. 50-100 km), weights, endurance and speed (swimming, cycling, fastwalking, etc), and structural features that make it so (such as musculoskeletal and endocrinal, for instance).

    Of course, the men and women competing at professional and elite levels are so ridiculously beyond what the average person is capable of, that in any case the difference between an average Joe and an elite male is essentially equal to that between an average Joe and an elite female. But look at the finishing times of top males and top females in any distance of almost any event, and you will notice a significant difference.

    But those physical differences have absolutely nothing to do with value, they are simply different physical functions. Just because men are generally stronger does not mean a man should be in authority on the principle that he is male. We’ve seen plenty of examples of that approach failing miserably.

    On a side note: Our team captain was both extremely intimidating and exteremely kind hearted — and extremely “girly” in her likes and culture. She was one of the smartest and most “girly” girls you would ever meet — until it was time for competition. Gender has no monopoly on ferocity of spirit, nor on decisive leadership.

    Moral of the story: while physiological differences exist, and are quite stark, they have nothing to do with the value or dominance of either gender. They’re just differences, not normative statements. Of course each gender has strengths and weaknesses the other lacks, but it is the responsibility of each to decide, “How can I best love others with the hand I was dealt?” If that becomes the focus — which for Piper it clearly isn’t — then I think we would have a lot less hostility in the world.

  13. “there is something sexually stimulating about a muscular, scantily clad young woman pumping iron in a health club” (John Piper)

    Warning to all women living in Minneapolis: When checking out health clubs in your area, make sure John Piper is not a member!

    The man has a sickness. Ole John calls himself a hedonist … I believe it!

  14. I think you’re all wrong to cricitise Pastor Piper. He is a true preacher of the biblical scriptures – look how his tweetings are packed with scriptures from the bible. I think we should all get back to the scriptures, don’t you? And besides, didn’t Jesus teach that women must be like little children, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to see the Kingdom of God? It’s all in the Bible. I think it’s all about Jesus, don’t you?

    God bless,

    Arnold Dummarse

  15. @ kin:

    A lifelong study of history has convinced me that war will always be first and foremost brutally physical. No matter how advanced technology gets, the most advanced asset in any military is and always will be the human being. A computer can’t decide whether or not to show mercy; even now, in the words of Sherman: “War is cruelty; war is hell.”

    They thought wars would get less physical after the advent of repeating rifles. They thought fewer combatants would be needed after the advent of machine guns. They thought gas and high explosives would remove the need of human numbers on a battlefield. They thought electronics would make wars more humane. “Nothing under the sun is new.” The better the technology gets, the more horrific war will become.

    Sorry for the dark words, but that is the world into which this discussion has plunged itself.

  16. Max wrote:

    “there is something sexually stimulating about a muscular, scantily clad young woman pumping iron in a health club” (John Piper)

    This is vintage Monty Python.

    To anybody struggling with sexual temptation in a health club, I suggest the following remedy:

    Picture a scantily-clad, pasty, small, balding middle-aged man pumping iron. (Or foam rubber if he can’t manage iron.)

  17. Jarrett Edwards wrote:

    God creates individuals, with their own individual lives. We are not clones where every man is the same nor every woman.

    That sums up my entire post!

  18. Harley wrote:

    I’ll put her up against Piper any day and see who comes out a winner when discussing this. I’ve never equated physical strength with part of being male or female. Some ladies are, and some aren’t. So with men

    She sounds like an awesome woman. You got my point!

  19. kin wrote:

    Looks like the future of war will be more robotic and AI oriented so physical strength will be of much lesser value.

    Exactly! In fact, it will be the geeks who will win wars. Strength will not be necessary.

  20. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Moral of the story: while physiological differences exist, and are quite stark, they have nothing to do with the value or dominance of either gender. They’re just differences, not normative statements. Of course each gender has strengths and weaknesses the other lacks, but it is the responsibility of each to decide, “How can I best love others with the hand I was dealt?”

    Yes. And again yes.

  21. TomkeinOK wrote:

    It’s all part of throwing in anything and everything in a massive last-ditch drive to save the patriarchy.

    Sound the alarm!! Put the trumpet to thy mouth!! Watchmen, shout it from the wall!! “The Women Are Coming … The Women Are Coming!”

  22. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Moral of the story: while physiological differences exist, and are quite stark, they have nothing to do with the value or dominance of either gender. They’re just differences, not normative statements.

    However, some women are stronger than some men in a given population. Most professions which require strength do. not hire the primo examples of muscle mass out there. Look at the police force. Except for professional athletics, where people will train to the max, most jobs are filled by average people with minimum standards for strength. In those situation, the judgement should not be on gender but on who is best qualified for the job.

    Also, some jobs put physical standards on the job which are either irrelevant or can be bent. The best example of this is the military which hires physicians and nurses who do not necessarily meet that criteria for being a Navy Seal.

    Also, one quibble. There is evidence that women have higher levels of stamina than men. They can also shoot just as well.

  23. Max wrote:

    Warning to all women living in Minneapolis: When checking out health clubs in your area, make sure John Piper is not a member

    I found his statement creepy. he had to think that through in his mind. Can you imagine coming u with “women who are physical strong have volatile and hasty sex? Seriously? Who thinks about stuff like that….no, don’t answer that question.

  24. TomkeinOK wrote:

    It’s all part of throwing in anything and everything in a massive last-ditch drive to save the patriarchy.

    If there is an Achilles Heel to the New Calvinist movement, it might very well be with women who have been ensnared by it … who rise up en masse to declare “Wait just a darn minute here!” and then start dragging their sorry husbands and boyfriends out of the mess.

  25. dee wrote:

    Jarrett Edwards wrote:
    God creates individuals, with their own individual lives. We are not clones where every man is the same nor every woman.
    That sums up my entire post!

    Exactly ……. Each one of us should use whatever abilities God has given us.

  26. Max wrote:

    The man has a sickness. Ole John calls himself a hedonist … I believe it!

    I think he has Little Man Syndrome, and he is deathly afraid of women.

  27. Max wrote:

    Sound the alarm!! Put the trumpet to thy mouth!! Watchmen, shout it from the wall!! “The Women Are Coming … The Women Are Coming!”

    Tee hee, we’re already here. Stealth ….. maybe we snuck in the back door.

  28. dee wrote:

    Also, one quibble. There is evidence that women have higher levels of stamina than men. They can also shoot just as well.

    I’d like to see a manly man endure 14-16 hours of labor. I think if men had to give birth to every other baby, the Quiverfull movement would be dead in the water.

  29. dee wrote:

    don’t answer that question

    🙂

    dee wrote:

    he had to think that through in his mind

    “Have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in their minds?” (Ezekiel 8)

  30. Do not forget that there are things in the older and more traditional attitude about males and females which some females intend to hold on to against any and all attempts to take it away from them.

    There is a huge difference between saying that women can serve in the military and in saying that women must serve in the military.

    There is a huge difference between saying that women can pursue a difficult and time consuming career and in saying that women must do so, and if they do not then federal monies will be withheld from educational institutions until enough women actually do it. Remember that one? How many men are in the early childhood education program and how many women are enrolled in the plumbing program at the local Tech?

    There is huge difference between using Title 9 to foster female intramural sports and in requiring colleges to scroll back on male intramurals because not enough females complied with the mandate to participate. That actually happened, people trying to coerce women to abandon their own plans and conform to the new cultural demands.

    This stuff is not a one way street, nor is it as simple as merely about physical strength.

    I pursued a demanding profession. That had its pluses and its minuses. I married a dominant male. That had it pluses and its minuses. I had children (plus) owned a side business (minus) migrated from one religious tradition to another (too soon to tell). I have always had a lot of stamina and next to none physical strength and never willingly participated in any sport. Again pluses and minuses. Who the heck thinks they are going to get away with trying to tell me what I ought to think about any of it–least of JP and least of the gov. Just saying.

  31. @ dee:

    That was my whole point, but I don’t know if I made it clear in all that verbiage. I totally agree that there are many outliers from the norm, and they tend to go into professions for which their total make up (mental, physical, etc.) Is well-suited, and couldn’t care less about dogma either way. But again, they are there because they are qualified, and that should be the determining factor.

  32. It must be difficult to be Piper [or any complementarian] who sees complementarianism as an essential part of the gospel. Our culture is on a march toward equality, which they must see as apostasy or a sign of the end times, or at least something really bad. But they don’t give up, even though they are on the wrong side of history. And the wrong side of the Scriptures, as I understand them.

    Personally, I’m just challenged to spell “complementarianism” correctly. Made up words are usually hard to spell.

    And made up movements are hard to defend.

  33. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    we’re already here. Stealth ….. maybe we snuck in the back door

    Now, how did you do that Nancy2?! I thought you were a Southern Baptist … the back door at most SBC churches are plugged by New Calvinists sneaking in through stealth and deception … it would be hard to get past them.

  34. Jack wrote:

    Men & women are equal. In everything.

    I’m not sure what that means, and whether or not anyone actually believes it. I know the comps don’t. But I don’t think the egalitarians do either, at least in practice. Here is what I mean. If men and women are equal in every way, then a group of men making a decision will be statistically identical to a group of women making a decision, or a mixed group making a decision. That pretty much undermines the idea that all-male leadership in a church is bad, because statistically, all-male leadership will render virtually identical decisions/vision/goals as all-female or mixed gender leadership. I don’t know anyone who does not think that a group of men and women working together will produce better results than just a group or men or just a group of women. This tells me that people in their gut know that men and women are not necessarily equal in all respects. The big problem is when people assign value to the differences, or create some kind of a caste system, or use it to justify elevating one gender while pushing down the other.

    I probably did not nuance myself enough in my explanation, but I’m trying to suggest perhaps men and women are not exactly identical in all ways other than plumbing, and it’s precisely this reason why both genders should work together.

  35. dee wrote:

    John sees a he man when he looks into the mirror.

    If I referred to John Piper as the Barney Fife of the evangelical world, would it be an insult to Barney Fife?

  36. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    I’d like to see a manly man endure 14-16 hours of labor. I think if men had to give birth to every other baby, the Quiverfull movement would be dead in the water.

    Let’s maker sure they carry the child for nine momths, hold down a 40 hour job, take care of the other kiddos, THEN give birth 😉

  37. Max wrote:

    Now, how did you do that Nancy2?! I thought you were a Southern Baptist … the back door at most SBC churches are plugged by New Calvinists sneaking in through stealth and deception … it would be hard to get past them.

    Now Max, you know we don’t come through the vestibule and walk right down the main aisle carrying all those covered dishes!
    BTW, I’m not so sure I want to be a Southern Baptist anymore. I’ve seen too much change here in rural Kentucky over the past few years. Women are being pushed more and more out to the margins.

  38. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    I think he has Little Man Syndrome, and he is deathly afraid of women.

    Unbeknownst to Ole John, his wife Noel has been pumping iron in the basement. Taking tea up the stairs when he rings a bell from his third floor study is getting old.

  39. Bridget wrote:

    Let’s maker sure they carry the child for nine momths, hold down a 40 hour job, take care of the other kiddos, THEN give birth

    Diapers and dishes and laundry and broken wrists and high fevers ……… and dirty diapers stinkin’ up the whole house when they’ve got supper about half done on the stove!

  40. Definitely can agree women are equal to better then men in shooting firearms. My husband has been a youth coach for years. He is delighted when girls join, they are super accurate.

    Have known more then a few six foot women, a couple who were are on the muscular side. Awesome women, I would not want to physically tangle with. All are married, husbands are tall but not feminine.

    God created us both male and female… that’s all, no cookie cutter mold for either. Heredity, genetics determine so much for both sexes.

  41. Max wrote:

    Unbeknownst to Ole John, his wife Noel has been pumping iron in the basement. Taking tea up the stairs when he rings a bell from his third floor study is getting old.

    I was just a thinkin’ ……, Noel …..walking up all those stairs for so long …… That lady must have some powerful leg muscles due to that ……. betcha she’s got a mean kick!

  42. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    dee wrote:
    John sees a he man when he looks into the mirror.
    If I referred to John Piper as the Barney Fife of the evangelical world, would it be an insult to Barney Fife?

    Yes, Barney Fife was a likeable soul!

  43. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    BTW, I’m not so sure I want to be a Southern Baptist anymore.

    Well, I’ve been a Southern Baptist for 60+ years … my family’s roots in SBC life go back 100+ years … I have taught Sunday School and been a lay-minister for over 40 years … my daughter has been a worship leader in SBC churches … my son-in-law is an SBC pastor. Sadly, as New Calvinism sweeps the ranks and the “whosoever will may come” message slips away, I am now transitioning into the Done ranks – done with SBC, but not done with Jesus.

    Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    all those covered dishes

    While mainline non-Calvinist Southern Baptists were “fellowshipping”, their denomination was deceptively taken from them. The average Southern Baptist doesn’t really give a big whoop about theology, but if you try to take away their potluck dinners, you will have a war on your hands!

  44. Max wrote:

    If there is an Achilles Heel…

    Loosely on the subject of which, I’ve been nursing a slightly sore achilles tendon for the past few weeks. However, I managed a Dumyat hill run this afternoon, and there doesn’t seem to be any reaction from it, which is nice.

    A sore achilles is tricky to manage (I get one from time to time) because, although you don’t want to over-stress it, you also don’t want to over-rest it – the biochemical process of “maintaining” a tendon is triggered in response to loading and usage.

    IHTIH

  45. Max wrote:

    I am now transitioning into the Done ranks – done with SBC, but not done with Jesus.

    Max:

    That is exactly how I feel. The SBC world makes me sick on many levels. It drains me everyday.

  46. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Now, how did you do that Nancy2?! I thought you were a Southern Baptist … the back door at most SBC churches are plugged by New Calvinists sneaking in through stealth and deception … it would be hard to get past them.

    Now Max, you know we don’t come through the vestibule and walk right down the main aisle carrying all those covered dishes!
    BTW, I’m not so sure I want to be a Southern Baptist anymore. I’ve seen too much change here in rural Kentucky over the past few years. Women are being pushed more and more out to the margins.

    If Southern Baptist leaders were honest, Women do not count in the SBC world.

  47. How I wish we dealt with these matters on a sensible level.

    In my youth most oilfield jobs were closed to women unless they were bookkeepers or secretaries. Came the 80’s and the industry realized science and math minded women with good people skills made wonderful geologists and industry scientists and leaders. And hired them in abundance.

    Came the 90’s though and women not so abundantly blessed intellectually wanted what they deemed “fair treatment.” So one male water hauler driver would have to be replaced with the two women it took to carry the physical load of lines and connections. That was blatantly unfair to the companies, having to pay double for the same work.

    Came the 2000’s and a many excellent women oil haulers driving. Doing a wonderful job. But a few would refuse or were physically unable to throw chains when needed, calling dispatch and expecting a man to come rescue them. They got fired as did the slight of build not very strong men who expected someone else to throw chains for them. But those women would threaten discrimination suits and get placed in some other position, the men who did the same thing canned.

    Set the job requirements. As needed. If that means most women or most men cannot do a specific job, so be it. Hire those who can. Male or female, burly or lithe, old or young, whatever.

  48. mot wrote:

    The SBC world makes me sick on many levels. It drains me everyday.

    And what does this have to do with a blog piece about John Piper? Besides the ole boy patriarchy that’s been characteristic of SBC life for years, a new breed for young pastors are reinforcing it even more – thanks to the godfather of New Calvinism, John Piper and other leaders of his tribe. Somehow, God was able to cut through the patriarchal nonsense and use the denomination for evangelism in times past … but the message is changing as reformed theology becomes the new SBC default for belief and practice.

  49. Max wrote:

    mot wrote:

    The SBC world makes me sick on many levels. It drains me everyday.

    And what does this have to do with a blog piece about John Piper? Besides the ole boy patriarchy that’s been characteristic of SBC life for years, a new breed for young pastors are reinforcing it even more – thanks to the godfather of New Calvinism, John Piper and other leaders of his tribe. Somehow, God was able to cut through the patriarchal nonsense and use the denomination for evangelism in times past … but the message is changing as reformed theology becomes the new SBC default for belief and practice.

    Max: I was only responding to several comments you had made. Please do not get snarky with me–I do not appreciate it!!!

  50. “She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task]
    And makes her arms strong.”
    Proverbs 31:17 (The Amplified Bible)

    Just saying.

  51. mot wrote:

    If Southern Baptist leaders were honest, Women do not count in the SBC world.

    You are exactly right, and I speak from experience. Women are there to provide childcare and catering services …. and sing the alto and soprano parts.
    There are men’s meetings on top of men’s meetings (no gurlz allowed except when we serve the snacks and clean the kitchen after the meetings). Married couples have to come in separate vehicles, or wives just sit and wait, and wait ………………
    That’s why I haven’t been to church since February 2016.

  52. Max wrote:

    And what does this have to do with a blog piece about John Piper? Besides the ole boy patriarchy that’s been characteristic of SBC life for years, a new breed for young pastors are reinforcing it even more –

    I didn’t see the “ole boy patriarchy” in my neck of the woods until the last …. hmmmm, 7 or 8 years? But, I know rural Kentucky is about 20 years behind on everything.
    I think autonomy is going the way of the dinosaur in the SBC.

  53. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    mot wrote:

    If Southern Baptist leaders were honest, Women do not count in the SBC world.

    You are exactly right, and I speak from experience. Women are there to provide childcare and catering services …. and sing the alto and soprano parts.
    There are men’s meetings on top of men’s meetings (no gurlz allowed except when we serve the snacks and clean the kitchen after the meetings). Married couples have to come in separate vehicles, or wives just sit and wait, and wait ………………
    That’s why I haven’t been to church since February 2016.

    I am beyond disgusted with what I have seen SBC leadership do as it relates to women, they are just like Piper in belittling them.

  54. @ Jarrett Edwards:

    ” John Piper is that they have such small minds that they cannot comprehend that our awesome and powerful God’s creation cannot be confined to the small boxes that they want to put him and us in.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    all the gender role nonsense is so the bible can be everything they need it to be: the means to protect their comfort zone

    *not having to deal with the threat of the strange, powerful and fearsome female species by having the authority to control them

    *not having to deal with their perceived ick of LGBTQ by pretending they’re not there — if that doesn’t work, then by quarantining them

    *protecting entitlement to power
    (to be on top and observe the others below, to be influence, to make decisions, to have the last word)

    *being able to have all the answers to everything
    (for the comfort of it, and the power of it)

    *for professional christians, protecting the primary source from which flows their entire career & paycheck
    (and all the rewards of social standing, influence, significance, if not additional revenue streams)

    *being able to create God in their own image
    (defining and shaping God to be everything their insecurity, squeamishness, & entitlement needs ‘him’ to be — so they can sort their world accordingly)

  55. elastigirl wrote:

    *for professional christians, protecting the primary source from which flows their entire career & paycheck
    (and all the rewards of social standing, influence, significance, if not additional revenue streams)

    Piper and others make money by saying nonsensical things that are Gospelly.

  56. The gender folks are going to have to try harder to define the differences between men and women if that is so important to them. When the focus is on physical strength, that dog won’t hunt.

    For many reasons I am not a Piper fan; ditto for the rest of the complementarian industrial complex. I have to wonder, though, if the emphasis on physical differences is made in order to avoid alleging greater female weakness intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Anyone familiar with this aspect of Church history knows that the latter was the rule, in contrast with today. Do we really want the New Calvinists going on the offensive with teaching that women are all around a lesser form of humanity, because God decided that we should be made this way?

  57. I am kind of in the middle here. I thinks Piper obsesses on this issue way too much and is rather extreme and kinda wierd on his focus on strong women. Personally I think his words would be better spent encouraging men to be fit not lazy and to keep learning more about the faith. But I also treat my daughter differently than my son’s and I protect her more just because she is female and I fear for her safety with predatory men. Maybe that’s why it’s good for women to be strong!! But I do see and look at her differently than my six one son. They are different…men and women. And I like the differences! So I am not like others that see us the same. I think all women should carry mace and maybe learn a little self defense or even pack a firearm to protect themselves.

  58. Max wrote:

    Warning to all women living in Minneapolis: When checking out health clubs in your area, make sure John Piper is not a member!

    On March 31, 2013 (Easter Sunday), Piper preached his final sermon as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist[2] and announced in an open letter to the congregation that he and his family would be moving to Tennessee for at least a year so that the new leadership can develop a strategic vision for the church without distractions. wikipedia

  59. @ Max:

    Sound the alarm!! Put the trumpet to thy mouth!! Watchmen, shout it from the wall!! “The Women Are Coming … The Women Are Coming!”
    +++++++++++++++

    yes, they are.

    ‘complementarian’ is sounding more stupid & regressive by the day.

    i can feel the tremors in christian patriarchy, and see the imminent crumbling — and those left exposed will nervously gather the debris and build bunkers where they’ll hide out frightened by the worldly world of evil equality. believing themselves to be the true remnant in prophecies of old.

    what a waste of energy, emotion, and resources.

  60. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Max:

    Sound the alarm!! Put the trumpet to thy mouth!! Watchmen, shout it from the wall!! “The Women Are Coming … The Women Are Coming!”
    +++++++++++++++

    yes, they are.

    ‘complementarian’ is sounding more stupid & regressive by the day.

    i can feel the tremors in christian patriarchy, and see the imminent crumbling — and those left exposed will nervously gather the debris and build bunkers where they’ll hide out frightened by the worldly world of evil equality. believing themselves to be the true remnant in prophecies of old.

    what a waste of energy, emotion, and resources.

    So much majoring on the minors. The men have done such a great job without the women’s help in spreading the GOSPEL–Not!!!

  61. http://www.sunnyshell.org/2013/06/why-i-no-longer-follow-john-piper-or.html
    “Why I No Longer Follow John Piper Or Desiring God Ministry” Thursday, June 20, 2013 by Sunny

    “About a decade ago, I followed John Piper and his ministry “Desiring God”, with great joy.”

    “But in 2006, there was an uproar within the Christian community after John Piper extended an invitation to a young, filthy mouthed, unabashed preacher from Washington state, Mark Driscoll, to be one of the speakers at his Desiring God National Conference. And it didn’t stop there.”

    “Unfortunately, Piper’s lack of obedience to God’s word in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” continued to perpetuate his decline in discernment …”

    “I share all this to show you how much Piper and his ministry “Desiring God” has, in some ways (not all), been led away from sola scriptura (Scripture alone), so that you might be more discerning about following their ministry (writings, sermons, etc.).”

  62. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    No, no, you are missing the point. You are being far too honest about this. The point is not to help the tendon heal. The point is to make up some story about how you got hurt in the first place such that you look like a hero, and then limp around for the next ten years or so-to the glory of both you and God of course.

    Maybe some child was falling off the mountain, and while no one noticed, you and only you (1) rescued the child but (2) suffered a traumatic injury in the process. And now must suffer (3) bravely the rest of your life or so the (4) specialists in East Wherever said, you having been sent there due to the (5) uniqueness of your injury. But you did, while in East Wherever, get to (5) meet CertainCelebrity, a really nice sort, and you and he (6)continue to send christmas cards yearly.

    Nick, do not miss this opportunity. I have seen people do this with great results. You can too. But don’t say that I was the one who told you. Feel free to copy and repeat that format as needed-it has many applications.

    BTW, good results on your tendon. They can be difficult.

  63. @ mot:

    for the record, in my mind you are always the exclusion to what i observe in professional christians’ compromise.

  64. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Often when the hubby is small and pastey, the Mrs. is feisty with girth. Which is not an issue in itself. However, when there’s insecurity, and throw God theology in the mix, that’s a story.

  65. “Meagan Leavey” is a 2017 film, true story, about a Marine and her dog Rex during the Iraq War. Excellent. Stream it live on Amazon Prime. Inspirational.

    Perhaps Piper creates a theology around muscular women because they are what he is not – in shape and physically fit. Jealousy is what caused Cain to go astray. Not a new phenom. Does a God of love promote a theology that hates women who work out? (And not just hates but also sexually fantasizes them? Fetish?)

  66. dee wrote:

    John sees a He-man when he looks into the mirror.

    Why – has he got a picture of one on his pyjamas?

  67. @ Harley:

    My late mother would carry me in a body cast when I was three years-old-that was about 35 pounds of kid (I was about the size of the average 5-year old) and push my year-old sister in a stroller. She often took me to orthopedic appointment this way on public transportation. Being the early 60s, people were helpful, but she still had to be one strong lady to handle all this, and sometimes a few groceries stashed in the back of the stroller. My 6′ 2” dad could carry me or my sister, but he didn’t have the coordination to handle us both together. So much for “weak” women! (My mom also held down a full-time job in corporate. I was raised to think I could anything I wanted.)

  68. Arnold Dummarse wrote:

    I think you’re all wrong to cricitise Pastor Piper. He is a true preacher of the biblical scriptures – look how his tweetings are packed with scriptures from the bible. I think we should all get back to the scriptures, don’t you? And besides, didn’t Jesus teach that women must be like little children, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to see the Kingdom of God? It’s all in the Bible. I think it’s all about Jesus, don’t you?
    God bless,
    Arnold Dummarse

    Oh my– I couldn’t have said it better myself! But don’t sell yourself short (no pun intended). I think you should go by Arnold Smartdonkey instead. It has a much more masculine feel. And speaking of masculine feels… I was worsipping recently with some muscular men, and that ol’ masculine feel just started breaking out like June on a bug. If it is done right, this masculine feel creates a space. It is big, it’s roomy, it’s beautiful, it’s peaceful. It’s just full and radiates with all the good things of life and in it women, flourishing, will give it that feel. So that as you walk in on Sunday morning and strong singing, led primarily by men, and then a voice from God is heard, and women are loving this, they’re radiant, they’re intelligent, they’re understanding, they’re processing, they’re interacting. Then all the gifts that were just articulated will flourish in that space. And as you navigate that community there will be feminine feels all over the place. Oh my!

  69. Just a final comment (at least from me) on physical strength. I have had two friends nurse their husbands through diseases in which the became bedridden (ALS in one case). These middle-aged, not so athletic women, learned to lift, turn, transfer, and care for their husbands using harnesses and wheelchairs. It takes an enormous amount of physical, not to mention emotional, strength to care for someone in that conditions. One of those kind of women may be caring for Piper someday!

  70. @ Pastor John:
    I’ve got to stop. I’m laughing myself sick thinking of how everything after the word “bug” (except the closing Oh My!) was really said by the real pastor John.

  71. @ Linn:
    One of my inlaws competed on Survivor. She’s an ex-Marine, buff as can be, Christian, Republican, and gay. Categorizing people in little boxes just doesn’t work

  72. @ Pastor John:

    “If it is done right, this masculine feel creates a space. It is big, it’s roomy, it’s beautiful, it’s peaceful. …. and strong singing, led primarily by men, and then a voice from God is heard, and women are loving this, … And as you navigate that community there will be feminine feels all over the place.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    you’re long past your expiration date.

  73. It’s all so bizarre. There’s a wistfulness for the days of women in too-tight corsets fainting about the place, so men could save them after they swooned. Maybe we should consider footbinding again, so that us women have dainty little feet & can’t out men the men?

  74. “Did you know that Piper claims (without any documentation, mind you) that muscular women do not have significant conversations with their lovers but have volatile and unsatisfying sex lives instead? The more muscular they get, the less they will be treated sensitively by men!”

    Really? Because I’ve seen a whole lot of non-muscular women with volatile and unsatisfying sex lives, who also don’t communicate well with their partners, lovers, spouses, etc.
    As for the bit about men’s treatment of women. Generally speaking, there a lot of men who treat women insensitively because they perceive them to be either “weaker” or “inferior”.

  75. Beakerj wrote:

    There’s a wistfulness for the days of women in too-tight corsets fainting about the place, so men could save them after they swooned. Maybe we should consider footbinding again, so that us women have dainty little feet & can’t out men the men?

    Ooh, ooh, ooh, then we instigate the rule of thumb, so Godly men can make sure we stay in line. Then, we take away women’s right to vote so they won’t step outside biblical gender role boxes. Also, don’t forget the old if he hits/humiliates you, that means he really, really likes you mentality! (Currently, a thing if you look at the Fifty Shades of Grey and Outlander books!) Remember kids, if a man controls every aspect of your life, or beats you with a belt after a traumatic event, it’s all good! All together now, *singing*, “He hit me and it felt like a kiss…”

  76. @ Sam:
    Totally. We are are losing the art of cringing in fear in a womanly way, & seeing our bruises as the pretty roses of love.

  77. A couple of points.

    In the early ’90s I was in our local Christian bookstore, perusing the books on the sale table. RBM&W was one of the books. I picked it up and leafed through it carefully, recognizing many names. Even though I was firmly in the conservative Evangelical world at the time, life experiences and relationships gave the lie to the bilge I was reading. On the same table was another book: “A Cord of Three Strands” by Linda Raney Wright. I could see it approached the same issues from an entirely different angle. I bought it. It saved my sanity. (Sadly the author and her husband, who also contributed to the book, later got a divorce, but that doesn’t negate what they wrote.) It was the first time that it actually dawned on me with impact, not just as an interesting factoid that logically explained some things, that different interpretations of Scripture MATTERED.

    In addition, my older daughter made a carefully considered decision to enlist in the Army as a step on her career ladder. While growing up, she spent 10 years in ballet and jazz dance; this helped her cultivate the discipline needed to maintain the physical stamina required as a condition of her staying in the Service. She is 5’1″ tall and is happily married to a recently mustered-out Marine. She has tattoos (one of which is the Shakespeare quote, “An she be but little, she is fierce.”), and she rides a Harley. She has enjoyed decorating and landscaping her new house. She does cross-stitch, and she is already an “old cat lady.” There are actually many women like her, and also many men who don’t conform to strict gender norms. Piper knows very little about how human beings actually are; he prefers to believe in the made-up categories of “biblical manhood” and “biblical womanhood”, examples of which appear ***nowhere*** in Scripture.

    Finally, in spite of what certain individuals in the ancient Church wrote, there is no official doctrinal teaching in either Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy that says that “women are all around a lesser form of humanity, because God decided that we should be made this way.” Nope, nope, nope. I know this because I grew up Catholic and saw how women were actually treated, both in church and in marriages, and am now EO. I also spent +30 years as an Evangelical in between the two, and when I was contemplating the move, what EO believed about women ***was a deal-breaker for me.*** There are doctrinal reasons why women are not priests, but those reasons have absolutely nothing to do with women being thought of in any way less human than men. In every other area of the Church, women serve, teach and lead in every way men do, and are generally respected; and it’s the same in RC. I never, ever felt as a Catholic or have experienced as EO the undercurrent of oppression, repression and suppression I did as an Evangelical simply because I am female. I appreciate all the good from those Ev. years, and don’t regret them. Some Ev. churches tried to put a positive spin on things, and individual men in leadership were kind and respectful to me (providentially I have escaped being involved in abusive church situations), but their doctrine tied their hands in terms of being able to minister to me and letting me minister from my strengths. I am not going back, for that reason and other important reasons.

  78. @ mot:
    You read me wrong, Mot. I was simply reminding folks in my response that the SBC discussion has a direct link to Piper … since he has been actively involved in leading young SBC Calvinists astray on complementarity, etc. I agree with you – the SBC is wrong on many levels these days.

  79. Max wrote:

    @ mot:
    You read me wrong, Mot. I was simply reminding folks in my response that the SBC discussion has a direct link to Piper … since he has been actively involved in leading young SBC Calvinists astray on complementarity, etc. I agree with you – the SBC is wrong on many levels these days.

    Max, my sincere apologies for reading you wrong. I wish I did not care as much as I do about the SBC. I am literally heartbroken and depressed over what has happened to this once GREAT missionary organization.

  80. kin wrote:

    Looks like the future of war will be more robotic and AI oriented so physical strength will be of much lesser value.

    Your comment reminds me of an episode of Star Trek where a war was conducted by a computer that would periodically select those who were to perish while the civilizations continued in their normal every day lives. The civilizations didn’t even remember why they were at war.

  81. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    A lifelong study of history has convinced me that war will always be first and foremost brutally physical. No matter how advanced technology gets, the most advanced asset in any military is and always will be the human being.

    Unfortunately, you could be right.

  82. “Did you know that Piper claims (without any documentation, mind you) that muscular women do not have significant conversations with their lovers but have volatile and unsatisfying sex lives instead? The more muscular they get, the less they will be treated sensitively by men!”
    And on a different thread Gram3 opined that Christians might be embarrassed by the likes of Roy Moore. If they aren’t embarrassed by Piper then there’s your answer.

  83. mot wrote:

    I wish I did not care as much as I do about the SBC. I am literally heartbroken and depressed over what has happened to this once GREAT missionary organization.

    I understand, Mot … I share your heartache. I truly believe that the SBC carried the gift of evangelism for well over 100 years. Home and foreign mission efforts and local church outreach by thousands of SBC churches across America reached countless souls for Christ. That is all changing for various reasons … and the torch of evangelism has been forfeited.

  84. Max wrote:

    mot wrote:

    I wish I did not care as much as I do about the SBC. I am literally heartbroken and depressed over what has happened to this once GREAT missionary organization.

    I understand, Mot … I share your heartache. I truly believe that the SBC carried the gift of evangelism for well over 100 years. Home and foreign mission efforts and local church outreach by thousands of SBC churches across America reached countless souls for Christ. That is all changing for various reasons … and the torch of evangelism has been forfeited.

    I still want to know why 1,000 SBC missionaries were brought home. It has been crickets as far as the details. I think something stinks.

  85. To keep up with my grandchildren’s reading, I read The Hunger Games. The main character is a young woman who is thrust into a situation not of her own making. She has superior archery skills and becomes a heroine. I was not intending to like this series. I did like it though. Enough to watch the movie of the first book. The storyline is of a young woman doing what she needs to do to save her sister . Even though it is no way Christian, I think the moral of the story fits into this discussion very well.

  86. mot wrote:

    I still want to know why 1,000 SBC missionaries were brought home.

    A funding shortage was the stated reason … but I suspect there was more to the story. The drift to reformed theology throughout SBC will redefine evangelism and mission.

  87. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    The big problem is when people assign value to the differences, or create some kind of a caste system, or use it to justify elevating one gender while pushing down the other.

    And it really comes out in Damon Young’s Orwellian diatribe which you cited on a previous thread. Dare and disagree with any of the anointed Satraps in those circles and you’ll get branded misogynist, brute, troglodyte, or worse.

  88. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    A lifelong study of history has convinced me that war will always be first and foremost brutally physical. No matter how advanced technology gets, the most advanced asset in any military is and always will be the human being. A computer can’t decide whether or not to show mercy; even now, in the words of Sherman: “War is cruelty; war is hell.”

    No doubt you are more versed in history than I am, but my gut says, in this case, history will be made more than it will be repeated.

    http://time.com/4948633/robots-artificial-intelligence-war/

  89. Mae wrote:

    Definitely can agree women are equal to better then men in shooting firearms. My husband has been a youth coach for years. He is delighted when girls join, they are super accurate.

    Russian women snipers were greatly feared by the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front (1941-1945).

  90. Beakerj wrote:

    It’s all so bizarre. There’s a wistfulness for the days of women in too-tight corsets fainting about the place, so men could save them after they swooned. Maybe we should consider footbinding again, so that us women have dainty little feet & can’t out men the men?

    Really. Our girls while growing up for the most part were better shots with the rifle, dirt bike riders, and were much better equipment/vehicle operators than their brother was (he had incredible skill at that age, but too much ego). I trusted my neck to their abilities at young ages on a machine many more times than I did to my son’s. They were simply doing what they enjoyed doing.

  91. This reminds me of the saying:

    Ginger Rogers
    did everything
    Fred Astaire did.
    Backwards.
    In long skirts.
    And high heels.

  92. Juulie Downs wrote:

    This reminds me of the saying:
    Ginger Rogers
    did everything
    Fred Astaire did.
    Backwards.
    In long skirts.
    And high heels.

    Well, what can we really expect when men lead??? ; ^ ).

  93. And Piper himself isn’t anything to brag about in the physical strength department — 5’4″ (160cm) and built like a wet noodle.

    Think that’s a reason why he worships physical strength as masculinity and requires all women to be weaker than himself?

  94. dainca wrote:

    Finally, in spite of what certain individuals in the ancient Church wrote, there is no official doctrinal teaching in either Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy that says that “women are all around a lesser form of humanity, because God decided that we should be made this way.” Nope, nope, nope. I know this because I grew up Catholic and saw how women were actually treated, both in church and in marriages, and am now EO. I also spent +30 years as an Evangelical in between the two, and when I was contemplating the move, what EO believed about women ***was a deal-breaker for me.*** There are doctrinal reasons why women are not priests, but those reasons have absolutely nothing to do with women being thought of in any way less human than men. In every other area of the Church, women serve, teach and lead in every way men do, and are generally respected; and it’s the same in RC. I never, ever felt as a Catholic or have experienced as EO the undercurrent of oppression, repression and suppression I did as an Evangelical simply because I am female. I appreciate all the good from those Ev. years, and don’t regret them. Some Ev. churches tried to put a positive spin on things, and individual men in leadership were kind and respectful to me (providentially I have escaped being involved in abusive church situations), but their doctrine tied their hands in terms of being able to minister to me and letting me minister from my strengths. I am not going back, for that reason and other important reasons.

    Dainca: Ditto to all that you wrote. The increasing popularity and promotion of gender roles within large segments of Evangelicalism is quite disturbing, and makes me glad that I have left that camp. I, too, am an Orthodox Christian and recognize that women are treated with respect and honored for our gifts and talents. Never would I hear the Complementarian doctrine preached in my parish.

  95. kin wrote:

    my gut says, in this case, history will be made more than it will be repeated.

    http://time.com/4948633/robots-artificial-intelligence-war/

    I’m not really sure how this article shows that war will become more palatable. Look at all the examples the author cited of “banned” weapons, some of which we now laugh at from our more civilized and educated societies — which, through the mechanization and automation of war that promised an end to war (“peace in our time”), caused the 20th century to be the bloodiest in history.

    But now we’ve got better technology that gives us an even bigger promise to the end of war.

    But in a certain sense, my gut also tells me, in this case, history will be made more than it will be repeated…

  96. @ kin:

    I realize my last comment was rather dark and depressing — that’s war.

    So now before you think I’m a cynic, I’d like to say that the love of Christ gives strength and hope to man and woman alike — gender has no monopoly on God’s love and acceptance.

    And it is precisely because of the darkness and suffering of the previous century that my faith in that love, and in the words of Christ, has been bolstered.

    Not to give the Sunday School Answer ™, but the answer to war, the answer to gender problems is: “What does Christ do? Do that.”

    (Unfortunately, even that can be twisted to, “I want to do this bad thing, so how can I make it look like Jesus does this bad thing?”)

  97. @ Leslie:

    I would also argue there are many ways the plot relates to how millenials are being raised socially, emotionally, and even spiritually, which could be why it’s so popular. Maybe we could argue that the culture sets up youths to battle each other mercilessly for survival while the older generation looks on with amusement, periodically toying with their emotions. #howtoconfuseamillenial is a perfect example of this…

  98. I just read your post Dee and have to say, this is a brilliant piece of work. Thank-you for calling out the misinterpretation of Scriptures by John Piper.

    As a former John Piper addict, (I used to worship every word that came out of this individual’s mouth), it certainly have been liberating and joyful to have wisely made the conscious decision to eliminate his preaching and teaching from my life. The freedom in Christ is so much more perfect and loving!

    This man’s heart puts such a yoke of burden on women of faith and it just grieves me to no end.

    I believe there a need here, perhaps it is time for a national holiday entitled, “Women: Invite John Piper To Your Work Week.” I would be delighted to see Piper working alongside women in various professions across this nation, and the fatigue and lack of strength that ensues would perhaps give him a common sense perspective on life/and Scripture.

  99. Karen wrote:

    I believe there a need here, perhaps it is time for a national holiday entitled, “Women: Invite John Piper To Your Work Week.” I would be delighted to see Piper working alongside women in various professions across this nation, and the fatigue and lack of strength that ensues would perhaps give him a common sense perspective on life/and Scripture.

    Karen, I would add other men who sadly think like Piper also work along side women in various professions and hopefully their views about women would change.

  100. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    It must be difficult to be Piper [or any complementarian] who sees complementarianism as an essential part of the gospel. Our culture is on a march toward equality, which they must see as apostasy or a sign of the end times, or at least something really bad. But they don’t give up, even though they are on the wrong side of history. And the wrong side of the Scriptures, as I understand them.
    Personally, I’m just challenged to spell “complementarianism” correctly. Made up words are usually hard to spell.
    And made up movements are hard to defend.

    You nailed it GSD! Great comment. The “false gender gospel” taught by Piper is what finally woke me up to the fact that he was ripping my faith in Jesus Christ, to shreds.

    Wolves “do” have sharp teeth, indeed.

  101. @ mot:

    @mot

    I completely agree mot! Currently praying for that change in the hearts and minds of both genders enslaved to Piper’s vain philosophies.

    Thankfully, I have replaced Piper with coffee, a far wiser decision!

  102. Linn wrote:

    Just a final comment (at least from me) on physical strength. I have had two friends nurse their husbands through diseases in which the became bedridden (ALS in one case). These middle-aged, not so athletic women, learned to lift, turn, transfer, and care for their husbands using harnesses and wheelchairs. It takes an enormous amount of physical, not to mention emotional, strength to care for someone in that conditions. One of those kind of women may be caring for Piper someday!

    Thank-you for sharing this Linn. They are truly inspiring women, receiving the blessings required to love and care for their loved ones.

  103. Muff Potter wrote:

    Dare and disagree with any of the anointed Satraps in those circles and you’ll get branded misogynist, brute, troglodyte, or worse.

    This is a very real danger for all of us. It is so very easy to get sucked into a tribe that views other tribes with disdain. As an example for me, my hatred of New-Calvinism tempts me to despise the people who push it. But I don’t think this is a good temptation.

  104. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    Personally, I’m just challenged to spell “complementarianism” correctly. Made up words are usually hard to spell.

    Especially when said words are twelve-syllables long and reminiscent of Marxspeak.

  105. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    This is a very real danger for all of us. It is so very easy to get sucked into a tribe that views other tribes with disdain

    You mean like today’s American Social Media Politics?

    At that point all that’s left is to break out the pangas and start hacking because we’ve become Rwanda.

  106. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Not to give the Sunday School Answer ™, but the answer to war, the answer to gender problems is: “What does Christ do? Do that.”

    “When somebody asks/tells you ‘WWJD? Do that’, remind them that flipping out and throwing tables around is a viable option.”

  107. @ The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday:

    “(Unfortunately, even that can be twisted to, “I want to do this bad thing, so how can I make it look like Jesus does this bad thing?”)”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    oh, my goodness, how many times i have heard my fellow christian person ascribe their conjecture from the bible (or the one impressed on them by others) to Jesus himself.

    (Jesus is God, God wrote the bible, therefore Jesus said it)

    allusions from Genesis, Proverbs, and Paul all stirred together, contradictions & all = Jesus said it.

  108. Just another thought:

    I’ve heard a lot of Comps saying that Wonder Woman is an unbiblical portrayal of femininity, and that no woman should be like that. “Her character is so unrealistic,” they say. “No woman could possibly be that athletic and actually care about other people.”

    I wonder if they know that Gal Gadot, the actress who played her, is kind of a real life wonder woman in her own right (special forces, athlete, mom, etc.) and was pregnant during filming, but still did a lot of her own stunts.

    Oh, and she was a supermodel.

    “But powerful, attractive women can’t possibly be good mothers or role models, right?”

    Personally, I think she portrayed an incredible fusion of strength and femininity. But I guess certain comps would question my salvation for saying that…

  109. @ Dale Rudiger:
    Karen wrote:

    I believe there a need here, perhaps it is time for a national holiday entitled, “Women: Invite John Piper To Your Work Week.” I would be delighted to see Piper working alongside women in various professions across this nation, and the fatigue and lack of strength that ensues would perhaps give him a common sense perspective on life/and Scripture.

    If that is a bridge too far, a good start would be for Piper to be invited to participate in real work. His pontifications don’t work in any real world where people have real jobs. It could be a cable series: “Real Jobs with John Piper.” Each week he would have to put in a full shift in some meaningful job, perhaps even with muscular women. He would only have to endure it for a season.

  110. @ Karen:

    “I would be delighted to see Piper working alongside women in various professions across this nation, and the fatigue and lack of strength that ensues would perhaps give him a common sense perspective on life/and Scripture.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    his fatigue and lack of strength, i assume.

    women are as tough as kevlar. the constant safety net.

  111. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “When somebody asks/tells you ‘WWJD? Do that’, remind them that flipping out and throwing tables around is a viable option.”

    It gets even better because Jesus did not just suddenly flip out. He took the time to methodically make a whip from scratch. That had to take longer than counting to ten. “SERENITY NOW!”

  112. elastigirl wrote:

    @ The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday:

    “(Unfortunately, even that can be twisted to, “I want to do this bad thing, so how can I make it look like Jesus does this bad thing?”)”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    oh, my goodness, how many times i have heard my fellow christian person ascribe their conjecture from the bible (or the one impressed on them by others) to Jesus himself.

    (Jesus is God, God wrote the bible, therefore Jesus said it)

    allusions from Genesis, Proverbs, and Paul all stirred together, contradictions & all = Jesus said it.

    As George MacDonald once said,

    “Neither let thy cowardly conscience receive any word as light because another call it light, while it looks to thee dark. Say either the thing is not what it seems, or God never said or did it. But of all evils, to misinterpret what God does, and then say the thing, as interpreted, must be right because God does it, is of the devil. Do not try to believe anything that affects thee as darkness. Even if thou mistake and refuse something true thereby, thou wilt do less wrong to Christ by such a refusal than thou wouldst by accepting as His what thou canst see only as darkness.”

    I’ve gotten in quite a lot of trouble in theological discussions for not accepting what I could only see as darkness….

  113. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    Also, what is the context of Jesus “flipping out” in that scene? I think it’s safe to say he was hardly dealing with honest businessman who just wanted to ensure temple visitors were just getting the best experience with God they could get. Of course, one could argue, Jesus said “blessed are the poor,” and the money changers were just trying to “bless” as many temple visitors as they could. They were making people “blessed,” right?

    Who did that guy think he was when he came storming in cleaned house?!?

  114. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):

    “He took the time to methodically make a whip from scratch.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    neat. never really thought about that. i can totally see it… maybe standing in a corner, calmly braiding away, looking up every now & then with an ironic look. then rising up to his full height and stature and then some with big strides to the center of it all, & SH-KAHHH!!

    wish he’d come in the flesh and do that at the T4G conference and its Nashville Statement pre-conference.

  115. @ elastigirl:

    Or, let me ask you: did you ever go to middle school? What would you do if you saw your younger brother getting bullied and exploited by kids stronger than him? And they stole his lunch money every day?

    Now what would you do if you saw them doing that in your parents’ house? Say, in the living room, where you’re supposed to feel safe at home?

    Would you approach the kids courteously, and in a very non-confrontational manner, politely ask them to take their business to the back yard? After all, they were just trying to help your younger brother grow, right? They were helping him to overcome adversity by giving him adversity to overcome, right?

    Or you might try flipping the coffee table. It’s a little subtle, I know, but it might just do the trick.

  116. @ kin:
    That was satire 🙂 Anyone who’s been here a while knows my views on women, & that I am a woman who leads men at work. Your daughters sound par for the course for females.

  117. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    It could be a cable series: “Real Jobs with John Piper.”

    I would definitely watch that show. Especially the part at the end of the show where they interview John about what he learned this week. It would be nice to see him learn something about the capability of women in a variety of jobs, but I doubt that would actually happen. More likely, John would interpret everything in his workplace as reinforcing his idea that men are strong leaders and women are weak helpers, and that anything that pulls them out of their God – given roles is an abomination.

    Maybe abomination is too strong of a word, even for John. But certainly anything that pulls men and women out of there narrowly defined roles is Twitter – Worthy.

  118. GSD wrote:

    It would be nice to see him learn something about the capability of women in a variety of jobs, but I doubt that would actually happen.

    He would likely use it as a platform to shame men for not stepping up and doing manly work. And he would shame women for violating biblical(TM) roles(TM).

  119. Juulie Downs wrote:

    Ginger Rogers
    did everything
    Fred Astaire did.
    Backwards.
    In long skirts.
    And high heels.

    Grace Kelly; Harlow, Jean
    Picture of a beauty queen
    Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
    Ginger Rogers, dance on air

    They had style, they had grace
    Rita Hayworth gave good face
    Lauren, Katherine, Lana too
    Bette Davis, we love you

    Ladies with an attitude
    Fellows that were in the mood
    Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it
    Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it

    — From Madonna’s song Vogue
    (Love it!)

  120. @ GSD:

    “John would interpret everything in his workplace as reinforcing his idea that men are strong leaders and women are weak helpers, and that anything that pulls them out of their God – given roles is an abomination.

    Maybe abomination is too strong of a word, even for John. ”
    ++++++++++++++++

    he could easily just call it “sin” — the favorite trump card word amongst many a christian — and they all would respond like automatons with “hear hear”, “yes sir”, & “amen”. (but probably not l’chaim)

  121. GSD wrote:

    Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:
    It could be a cable series: “Real Jobs with John Piper.”
    I would definitely watch that show. Especially the part at the end of the show where they interview John about what he learned this week. It would be nice to see him learn something about the capability of women in a variety of jobs, but I doubt that would actually happen. More likely, John would interpret everything in his workplace as reinforcing his idea that men are strong leaders and women are weak helpers, and that anything that pulls them out of their God – given roles is an abomination.
    Maybe abomination is too strong of a word, even for John. But certainly anything that pulls men and women out of there narrowly defined roles is Twitter – Worthy.

    GSD, you made my whole day! God BLESS you!

  122. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    I’m not really sure how this article shows that war will become more palatable.

    Thought the article showed how the future of war will become less dependent on human brute strength and more dependent on electronics. Sorry – not sure how I conveyed it would become more acceptable or less violent.

    Beakerj wrote:

    That was satire Anyone who’s been here a while knows my views on women, & that I am a woman who leads men at work. Your daughters sound par for the course for females.

    Yes, I was completely aware of that. My ‘really’ should have been stated as “for sure” or “I agree”. Sorry!

  123. GSD wrote:

    Maybe abomination is too strong of a word, even for John.

    Depending on how one reads that sentence, I would argue “no.”

  124. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    GSD wrote:
    It would be nice to see him learn something about the capability of women in a variety of jobs, but I doubt that would actually happen.
    He would likely use it as a platform to shame men for not stepping up and doing manly work. And he would shame women for violating biblical(TM) roles(TM).

    Clever assumption and perhaps not too far off the mark. The thing is with these types and shadows of preachers/teachers running off at the mouth is that they are not believers who listen and experience life in another person’s shoes, steel toed boots, heels, comfy loafer footwear (for that person who is on their feet all day long serving the needs of people), tennis shoes, or even bare feet……depending upon the job.

    To these types of religious hypocrites, I believe Jesus called them “vipers,” religion is black and white and the “jot and tittle” of their words must be heeded and followed or I dare say, these men would call folks like me “unsaved or an unbeliever.”

    So glad to have been “delivered” out of the slough of Piper theology -101.

  125. kin wrote:

    Thought the article showed how the future of war will become less dependent on human brute strength and more dependent on electronics.

    That’s the theory. Here is what Einstein said about theory: “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” I would bet that electronics and AI in war will make human effort even more demanding for the jobs that require boots on ground. They will also increase the brutality and devastation of combat.

  126. kin wrote:

    Thought the article showed how the future of war will become less dependent on human brute strength and more dependent on electronics. Sorry – not sure how I conveyed it would become more acceptable or less violent.

    I appreciate the clarification, but I still think the main question is still: Is making war less dependent on brute strength and more dependent on [technology] a good thing?

    I just wanted to point out that every time new technology promises to make the future of war “become less dependent on human brute strength and more dependent on [technology]” the result is far more destructive than otherwise. I won’t give you a history lesson, but if you disagree, there are plenty of resources on WWI, WWII, the Thirty Year’s War, etc., where there were incredible advances in technology and philosophy just prior that promised to make war less dependent on human beings, and invariably succeeded in removing more and more human beings for war to depend on.

    In a certain sense, warfare might one day end its dependence on human beings — there will be no more human beings for it to depend on, thanks to our incredible advances in technology.

    I don’t mean to kill your hope for the future — there is indeed hope, but it is not to be found in machines or the politicians who wield them.

  127. Completely off topic:

    I’ve been trying to find a church to go to after not having gone now for about 5 years. The Anglican Church had a short service advertised for tonight so I thought I’d try it.

    I arrive about 8 minutes early, go in & no-one speaks to me. Not many people there yet. A few more arrive & I hear a woman talking to an older couple about how the service is up at the front (in the knave) so I follow them up there & then dither, still not really knowing what to do or where to go, so I sit on the nearest seat to the front & hope someone will come & say hi & I can make sure I know what I’m doing. No-one does. Lots of people glance my way & clearly realise they don’t know me but no-one smiles or comes over.By now my chest is tight (I don’t have asthma) & my knee is bouncing & I must have looked uncomfortable. I say to myself I’ll give it a couple of minutes, which I do, & then bolt out of the building, fumbling the door, & back to my car & get tearful in the car on the way home.

    Aaaargh. Great. I now feel stupid for even trying & amazed at how anxious I felt in a church building. They did nothing wrong, probably thought I was waiting for someone. I was only there for less than 10 minutes. I’m an idiot, clearly.

    I should have listened to Arnold Smartarse.

  128. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Not to give the Sunday School Answer ™, but the answer to war, the answer to gender problems is: “What does Christ do? Do that.”

    There’s another complication, of course.

    Someone comes to [generic] you and says, “My son/daughter is ill and in terrible pain”…

    AWWBA, In every remotely similar instance recorded in the Gospels, Jesus offered to pray that God would help the family and teach them ways of being at peace in their suffering.

  129. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    AWWBA, In every remotely similar instance recorded in the Gospels, Jesus offered to pray that God would help the family and teach them ways of being at peace in their suffering.

    On reflection, this may not be entirely true.

  130. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    I would bet that electronics and AI in war will make human effort even more demanding for the jobs that require boots on ground. They will also increase the brutality and devastation of combat.

    You might be right.

    Having lived almost my entire life near a massive amount of people who work directly for the FEDS and for contractors who provide services, I wish I didn’t know what I know, or hear, sometimes. Last week a customer told me his company tests anything the military wants to purchase in quantity to make sure it will perform in extreme cold and heat per the manufacturer’s specs. Found it fascinating and almost unbelievable what some of these gizmos do, and at the same time downright scary being that a fifth grader with basic video game skills could man them.

    BTW – do you personally subscribe to pacifism or any forms of nonviolent aggression?

    Have been reading articles by Brad Jersak and others and get the feeling many of them are, though I don’t know for sure. I was close to being of that position in my mid thirties to mid forties, but am no longer.

  131. @ kin:

    As far as it relates to the topic of the post, warfare is really one field where I think the people who clamor for equality don’t know what they are asking for.

    War is not the province of women, for the exact same reason it is not the province of men. It is not the province of humanity, but of savagery. Even harder than dying is killing; Slaughter is a beast whose jaws open wide and clamors for more and more people and nations to devour.

    This is not a game of backyard football where everyone has a right to play. This is the destruction of human beings we are talking about. As necessary as it is to prevent the spread of evil and tyranny, and as unpopular as this idea might be, it is not an ideal setting for equality; it is an ideal setting for maximum superiority and violence of action. Those who enter this field do so knowing the cost.

    My fear is that many who want equality for equality’s sake, in this instance, might not be fully aware of what they are asking for.

  132. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    I’m not sure what that means, and whether or not anyone actually believes it.

    I do. Or I wouldn’t have said it. I think there’s a fair number who agree with me. Like a majority of the judiciary for example, judging by many of their decisions.

  133. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    I don’t know anyone who does not think that a group of men and women working together will produce better results than just a group or men or just a group of women. This tells me that people in their gut know that men and women are not necessarily equal in all respects. The big problem is when people assign value to the differences, or create some kind of a caste system, or use it to justify elevating one gender while pushing down the other.

    I’m not quite getting this. I’ve in majority male, majority female and mixed groups in my career. There’s good folks, bad folks and everything in between.
    Equal doesn’t same in regards to physiology but equal means a woman and man are both entitled to lead. Both entitled to teach each other and entitled to further themselves the best they can in their chosen profession.

  134. @ Jack:
    Man bad phone. Sorry for poor grammar. Men & women aren’t the “same” but under the law they are entitled to the same rights & privileges. Including career choice. Some Christians get confused on this point.

  135. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Not to give the Sunday School Answer ™, but the answer to war, the answer to gender problems is: “What does Christ do? Do that.”

    There’s another complication, of course.

    Someone comes to [generic] you and says, “My son/daughter is ill and in terrible pain”…

    AWWBA, In every remotely similar instance recorded in the Gospels, Jesus offered to pray that God would help the family and teach them ways of being at peace in their suffering.

    I think (and I probably could have worded this differently in the other post) what I was trying to get at was, treat people with compassion, and if there is anything in your power to help them, do it.

    Of course, I have my own issues with “WWJD,” specifically because he is God and I am not — from that perspective, there are things he does that it would be wrong for me to do, not because they are wrong in themselves, but because I lack the knowledge or ability to do them rightly (such as, I don’t know a person’s inner thoughts, so I can only act based on what I perceive. But if Jesus is truly God, then he can act beyond appearances, where it would be dangerous to that person if I presumed to do the same).

    But aside from those instances where he could clearly do something I couldn’t, I think the general idea of self-sacrificing love for others still stands — but that will probably be unique for every situation.

    The thing that I find terrible is that even this simple idea of self-sacrifice can be so over-analyzed that we tie our hands from helping anyone at all — at least, that’s how I used to be. I was so focused on correct doctrine that I totally forgot about helping people in need (something I’ve felt ashamed of often). I paralyzed myself by overthinking until action was relegated to the dust bin. And not only that — I felt justified because I had “sound doctrine,” and I was taught that’s all God cared about. The New Testament (and the Old) seems to differ on that point.

    Just a little.

    “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.” — Micah 6:8

    (Interesting side note on suffering: I have found in my own life a transformation in my views of suffering. If it is simply God’s punishment, then there’s nothing we can do. But if we view suffering as the way God helps us grow — as in, God takes our chaos and turns it into order, and gives us a hand in the task — then our perspective is no longer of fear but of hope. I don’t say this for everyone, I’m simply saying it for the suffering in my own life, from my perspective. I do believe suffering is difficult and terrible — but Jesus’ response often seems to be, not to simply eliminate the suffering from existence, but to take it and turn it into something beautiful. And that takes time — might not even be finished in this life. That is not an attempt to justify apparently unnecessary or gratuitous suffering, but just to try and show that God takes suffering, feels compassion with us, and turns our suffering into life. But growth is painful, and there is no cookie-cutter growth plan for anyone. That’s how I’ve come to see it anyway, and boy, is that a lot more liberating than what I used to believe…)

  136. Beakerj wrote:

    Completely off topic:

    I’ve been trying to find a church to go to after not having gone now for about 5 years. The Anglican Church had a short service advertised for tonight so I thought I’d try it.

    I arrive about 8 minutes early, go in & no-one speaks to me. Not many people there yet. A few more arrive & I hear a woman talking to an older couple about how the service is up at the front (in the knave) so I follow them up there & then dither, still not really knowing what to do or where to go, so I sit on the nearest seat to the front & hope someone will come & say hi & I can make sure I know what I’m doing. No-one does. Lots of people glance my way & clearly realise they don’t know me but no-one smiles or comes over.By now my chest is tight (I don’t have asthma) & my knee is bouncing & I must have looked uncomfortable. I say to myself I’ll give it a couple of minutes, which I do, & then bolt out of the building, fumbling the door, & back to my car & get tearful in the car on the way home.

    Aaaargh. Great. I now feel stupid for even trying & amazed at how anxious I felt in a church building. They did nothing wrong, probably thought I was waiting for someone. I was only there for less than 10 minutes. I’m an idiot, clearly.

    I should have listened to Arnold Smartarse.

    You’re not an idiot (I hope you were joking, but it’s always best to double check online).

    I know the exact feeling you’re talking about — I even had it at a church I went to for several years. In my case, it was mostly my inherent introversion, and the intimidating perfection that the culture of that region demanded of people, so I felt like I really didn’t fit in.

    But if you’re an introvert like I am, here comes the hard part: Maybe it is your turn to initiate conversation. That thought often terrifies me, but I find that once I overcome the seemingly-impossible hurdle of starting a conversation, natural friendliness takes over, and a cordial acquaintance begins that can open doors with others.

    I say this from very recent experience: I am on a completely different continent and am slowly learning the language, and finally found the only non-Catholic church in my area. I knew nobody when I first went there, and it was in a super sketchy apartment building with big weathered workmen smoking outside. But, I went in, and decided, “I need a church if I’m going to maintain my sanity while I’m here, so I don’t care how afraid I am, I’m going to speak to the first person who makes eye contact with me.”

    In a different language (which might actually make the social part easier, I’m not sure), I spoke to the first person who made eye contact with me.

    Long story short, I felt like I was supposed to stop being just a receiver and start being an initiator of friendship. Because, despite what it seems like our common inclinations are telling us, we can initiate conversation exactly at the moment when we feel least able. Just ask yourself, Do you want fellowship? Do you want friends? If yes, then no amount of shaky knees can keep you from it. You have the choice to act contrary to your feelings of awkwardness (Ain’t that the story of my life!!!)

    After that first contact, they directed me to people who were prepared for helping new people settle in, and then the small talk started, and slowly they included me in more and more things. By now, about a month and a half later, they are a huge source of joy to me, and I feel a sense of belonging that I hadn’t felt in my church back in America.

    My point is, most people naturally want to be your friend (it took me years to finally realize that). If you make the effort to initiate relationship, they will see your courage, have compassion on you for being a stranger, and most likely welcome you into their company. After that, it’s a piece of cake — in some cases, literally.

    Making the effort may be the hardest step, but here’s the thing: You have the power to make it. You have the freedom to begin that friendship — even in the face of a pounding heart and a tight chest. Trust me, that goes away after the first hurdle is overcome, and every time you make that choice, it gets easier and easier to make.

    I can also almost guarantee you, nobody else cares as much about your appearance as you do. Chances are, though you’re feeling uncomfortable, they just see you as a new face, and don’t want to make you feel pressured, so they give you respectful distance. They’re probably just waiting for you to introduce yourself on your own terms. In that sense, you’ve got a lot of freedom in how to act — from what you write, it seems like all you’ve got to do is smile and say, “Hi, I’m Beakerj. I’m looking for a new church, and I’m not really sure what to do. Could you help me?” Works like a charm for me.

  137. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    A sore achilles is tricky to manage (I get one from time to time) because, although you don’t want to over-stress it, you also don’t want to over-rest it – the biochemical process of “maintaining” a tendon is triggered in response to loading and usage.

    I often used to battle the same thing. I find, though, one way to both strengthen the tendon and get a good run workout is to go to the pool, and just run back and forth in about a meter of water (more or less, depending on height) for as long as your feet can touch the bottom, really focusing on form and cadence rather than speed. Specifically, focusing on firing the glutes and landing with a strong core tends to put less strain on the achilles, especially using a more “natural” form.

    (Also, IMO, you might want to avoid hills for a while, or at least take it easy)

    I hope your achilles does better, it’s certainly no fun to be sidelined like that. Frustrating, at best.

  138. @ Jack:

    Not everybody considers ‘the law’ to be the final word on reality. My dad, an attorney, and I argued about this from my childhood on. I told him that he considered ‘the law’ to be equal to holy writ, and he just kept reiterating his convictions without justifying them. We never resolved that. But I do not consider the two, secular law and scripture, to be equal.

    There are quite a few things that impact my behavior but a lot fewer which impact my thinking.

  139. Jack wrote:

    Men & women aren’t the “same” but under the law they are entitled to the same rights & privileges. Including career choice. Some Christians get confused on this point.

    Thanks for the clarification. “Equal in all ways” leaves lots of room for misinterpretation. It could, for example, mean equal in mysoginy. While I agree with how you clarified it I think most complementaeians would also agree that men and women are equal under the law. The conversation gets complicated because there is so much room for misunderstanding.

  140. kin wrote:

    BTW – do you personally subscribe to pacifism or any forms of nonviolent aggression?

    Have been reading articles by Brad Jersak and others and get the feeling many of them are, though I don’t know for sure. I was close to being of that position in my mid thirties to mid forties, but am no longer.

    I’m not sure how to answer that question. I am not a war hawk, but I also believe in a strong national defense. Interestingly, when our Department of Defense goes to war it means the defensive mission failed. Along this line, many people serve in the military precisely because they are opposed to war. That might sound counter intuitive.

    I have personally met with and corresponded with Brad Jersak. I greatly respect his heart and his theology, and I highly recommend his books and other materials. I do believe he describes himself as a pacifist, but it’s a pretty broad term that requires clarification when someone uses it in a conversation.

  141. Pingback: TWW, Piper, Manhood, Womanhood, and Gender Roles | 1st Feline Battalion

  142. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    I’m not sure how to answer that question. I am not a war hawk, but I also believe in a strong national defense.

    Thanks for the helpful info on Jersak.

    My question wasn’t necessarily in regards to a national responsibility (GOVT), but rather on a personal level.

    Would you have gone after and shot the recent TX church shooter with an AR rifle like Mr. Willeford did?

  143. kin wrote:

    Would you have gone after and shot the recent TX church shooter with an AR rifle like Mr. Willeford did?

    That’s a much harder question. It’s a bit theoretical for me since I don’t own an assault rifle. However, I hope that in real life I would do whatever possible to interrupt a person terrorizing others.

  144. kin wrote:

    Would you have gone after and shot the recent TX church shooter with an AR rifle like Mr. Willeford did?

    A pressing question to be sure, but I have a better one.
    How is it that a convicted felon (Texas shooter) for domestic violence, and an individual with a known history of mental illness, can still procure the latest military assault gear on the open market?

  145. Beakerj wrote:

    I now feel stupid for even trying & amazed at how anxious I felt in a church building. They did nothing wrong, probably thought I was waiting for someone. I was only there for less than 10 minutes. I’m an idiot, clearly.

    You are clearly not an idiot, Beakerj. You are quite wise. I don’t know your history, but I’m guessing that something painful happened that caused you to leave the church you were attending. When you tried to go back, even to what should be a very safe place, it brought back those memories and triggered a fight or flight response.

    Or maybe, like friends of mine, you just came to the point where you realized you couldn’t do the church thing anymore. Maybe you were like my spouse and I, who had been through a couple of church explosions, saw that our current church was heading in the same painful direction, and decided to back out quietly. Oddly enough, that was about 5 years ago.

    Now, there are some churches where I can’t sit still. I need to get out. I guess it’s hyper-vigilance. There are other churches which seem safe enough, but I can’t figure out why we’re all sitting there listening to some kid yammer on, telling stories to illustrate his paper-thin theology.

    Trust your instincts, Beakerj.

  146. GSD wrote:

    More likely, John would interpret everything in his workplace as reinforcing his idea that men are strong leaders and women are weak helpers, and that anything that pulls them out of their God – given roles is an abomination.

    Yes, that is exactly what he would do. In his preface to Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, he point blank makes the claim that it is impossible for a woman to initiate sex… Apparently, she can only invite the man to do his kind of masculine initiation. His mental gymnastics are truly mind boggling, to the point that they send sane people into fits of giggles.

    Frankly, with his ability to spin any situation into proper complementarian roles, I kind of question why it is even necessary for him to tell women to stay in their places. It seems that they are incapable of actually getting out of line.

  147. I guarantee you that in the next few years John Piper’s son will get married again despite what daddy says about remarriage after divorce. That also reflects Piper’s views on men/ women. If my husband has an affair I am supposed to stay single.

  148. Max wrote:

    the SBC is wrong on many levels these days

    Question: Why stay in it then? When I read words like those that are often written here from others about how bad the SBC is, and how much it makes them physically sick, isn’t the obvious question why people stay? If you (generic) understand that the Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice, and your church body has departed from that standard, then why do people stay in religious systems that they know to be wrong?

    There is so much information out in the ether about these scallywags that separating one’s self from the abuse of their teaching ought to be a fairly easy decision, right? So what are people waiting for? They aren’t going to change for the sake of a few pewons. If they are so wonderful, get out and let them run it into the ground. No?

  149. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    I just wanted to point out that every time new technology promises to make the future of war “become less dependent on human brute strength and more dependent on [technology]” the result is far more destructive than otherwise. I won’t give you a history lesson, but if you disagree, there are plenty of resources on WWI, WWII, the Thirty Year’s War, etc., where there were incredible advances in technology and philosophy just prior that promised to make war less dependent on human beings, and invariably succeeded in removing more and more human beings for war to depend on.

    Looks like I missed your posts for some reason. Definitely can agree with that…you have good insight.

  150. Abigail wrote:

    I guarantee you that in the next few years John Piper’s son will get married again despite what daddy says about remarriage after divorce.

    Highborn of House Piper, and Rank Hath Its Privileges.

  151. ER wrote:

    Yes, that is exactly what he would do. In his preface to Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, he point blank makes the claim that it is impossible for a woman to initiate sex… Apparently, she can only invite the man to do his kind of masculine initiation.

    Even if the Masculine doing the Initiation is a 5’4″ fluttering-handed Drama Queen who’s muscled like a wet noodle?

  152. Kin wrote:

    Dunno. Ask the Air Force – they goofed either intentionally or unintentionally it seems.

    Well,people across the states with mental illness can still acquire weapons. It’s not just an Air Force problem.

  153. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    My fear is that many who want equality for equality’s sake, in this instance, might not be fully aware of what they are asking for.

    We in the USA have a funny relationship with war because no one living has experienced it on home soil here. For us, war is somewhere over there. It makes it easier to theorize and glamorize.

  154. kin wrote:

    Looks like I missed your posts for some reason. Definitely can agree with that…you have good insight.

    I don’t know why, but my posts seem to get a little bogged down. I can’t think of any off-limits keywords I’m putting in.

    Maybe it’s because of the length of my replies — I just want to make sure I don’t accidentally write something that could be taken the wrong way.

  155. The Man Who Wasn’t Tuesday

    The fact that you cannot think of which words you are using that cause your comment to be held is good. It protects our blog. If you knew the list so would the bad guys who would avoid those words and cause issues.

  156. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    Question: Why stay in it then? When I read words like those that are often written here from others about how bad the SBC is, and how much it makes them physically sick, isn’t the obvious question why people stay? If you (generic) understand that the Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice, and your church body has departed from that standard, then why do people stay in religious systems that they know to be wrong?

    There is so much information out in the ether about these scallywags that separating one’s self from the abuse of their teaching ought to be a fairly easy decision, right? So what are people waiting for? They aren’t going to change for the sake of a few pewons. If they are so wonderful, get out and let them run it into the ground. No?

    Personally, I struggled for two or three years to leave an SBC church where there were abusive practices and relationships going on. The reason it took me so long is that I had a lot of friends there — genuine friends — who genuinely didn’t seem to see the problems until tragedy struck.

    Also, as Arnold Smartarse so wisely suggests, “There’s no such thing as a perfect church.” Which is how I reasoned staying there. In a certain sense, that is a good plan, because a lot of times it is either a misunderstanding, or you end up being part of the solution. But at a certain point, but it’s a fine line between perseverance and self-mutilation.

    I left at the self-mutilation and the “well–I’ve-got-to-question-your-salvation-for-disagreeing-with-the-pastor-on-a-tertiary-issue” part.

  157. okrapod wrote:

    Not everybody considers ‘the law’ to be the final word on reality. My dad, an attorney, and I argued about this from my childhood on. I told him that he considered ‘the law’ to be equal to holy writ, and he just kept reiterating his convictions without justifying them. We never resolved that. But I do not consider the two, secular law and scripture, to be equal

    While Canada and the U.S. are two different countries, there are many similarities in outlook vis a vis laws and human rights.

    The secular laws of our respective countries govern how we as members of society are expected to act towards each other and how the state (government) interacts with the citizens. I’m not getting into a discussion here about how governments circumvent laws or how people dodge them or how lawyers play with words…we all know that goes on at all levels. I’m talking about the principle.

    These laws are drafted and enacted by elected officials who act on behalf of their constituents. Again, I’m talking principle (so the peanut gallery can stop snickering now)

    The laws are held up or struck down when weighed against the Constitution (in Canada, this is called the Bill of Rights) which a guiding document that states the principles by the the country protects the rights of all citizens – not just the “majority”. In principle this system would guard against theocracy, autocracy and a host of other “cracies”

    Holy Scripture (and take your pick which faith, creed or manifesto you wish to quote) is not on the equal footing of the law of the land. We do not stone people for moral crimes, our armed forces cannot legally slaughter our enemies to the last man, woman, child and farm animal, a woman can (and should) receive full equality in the workplace and in civil society. There should be no targeting of any group based on orientation, colour, religion (or lack of religion) – again I’m not saying this doesn’t happen but the principles for it not to are enshrined in our guiding documents. This was used to great effect by the civil rights movement among others.

    For years Christianity held sway with complete domination of the conversation. The table is a lot more crowded now. Some Christians are embracing this new reality but there are a significant number that are hunkering down behind theological barbed wire not only to keep that reality out but to prevent those inside from taking advantage of their rights as citizens.

  158. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    why do people stay in religious systems that they know to be wrong?

    Old folks like me, who were brought to Christ by evangelistic Southern Baptists with “whosoever will may come” on their lips have mixed feelings about jumping ship. We witnessed the SBC during better times, when it was focused on the Great Commission. I suppose tradition still has a firm hold on a lot of SBC members, but it’s definitely not the denomination it once was – belief and practice are drifting into reformed theology which mainline SBC members would not agree with, but hold on nevertheless. But it’s never-the-‘less’ for me, so I’m currently in the “Done” ranks after 60+ years as a Southern Baptist … but I didn’t leave the SBC; it left me.

  159. @ Jack:

    Law of the land is a good thing — and I am stoked that most people subscribe to it — but then the real question becomes, “Why?”

    We could get into a long discussion about the groundwork of the metaphysics of morals, (to steal a Kant title), but that is precisely the issue. I agree that in almost every instance, the laws of the land should hold sway. But why? (Other than feeling or preference; if that is the case, then there are seven billion modes of morality)

    Historically, the cultural and moral milieu that led to the founding of our common law was extremely religious — I’m not sure there’s any room to argue against that. But what grounds our belief that the law is binding? If it is simply consensus, that can change almost in an instant. What is it based on that makes it, itself, transcendent?

    (For the record, I am very happy you and almost everyone I know subscribe to our common laws — I’m not trying to get you to abandon belief in them! But the real issue becomes, Why ought we to follow those laws? Besides fear of retribution, of course. That’s not really a reason to follow a law, but just a reason not to get caught breaking one. But then, what is the basis of human value? For all laws assume the basic value of human dignity — and I agree — but on what does this value depend?)

    I don’t know if I’m ripping open a can of worms here, and I acknowledge we’re all free to subscribe to our own ideas. But for me, I would hate to believe our common belief in the validity of law is simply a useful fantasy.

  160. Max wrote:

    Old folks like me, who were brought to Christ by evangelistic Southern Baptists with “whosoever will may come” on their lips have mixed feelings about jumping ship. We witnessed the SBC during better times, when it was focused on the Great Commission. I suppose tradition still has a firm hold on a lot of SBC members, but it’s definitely not the denomination it once was – belief and practice are drifting into reformed theology which mainline SBC members would not agree with, but hold on nevertheless. But it’s never-the-‘less’ for me, so I’m currently in the “Done” ranks after 60+ years as a Southern Baptist … but I didn’t leave the SBC; it left me.

    What I noticed is that the older generation in my old SBC church was quite gentle and compassionate; it was the young adult crowd that felt entitled to authoritarianism and complementarianism. Often I found that the older adults had no clue what was being taught to the younger — or else, it was presented to them as a more “intentional” and positive way of doing things, and some of them jumped on the wagon.

    Youthful zeal is contagious. Zeal with the promise of control — even more so.

  161. @ Jack:

    Unless one understands the extent to which some people (a lot?) will disagree with some trends in the ‘the law’ based on religious principles then all that we all can do is choose up sides.

    Example: In this nation Catholic adoption agencies have been faced with having to either place children with same-sex couples or else shut down. Some (all) chose to get out of the adoption business. This is ‘the law’ versus ‘religion/ scripture/ church’.

    Other issues just involving health care issues include whether pro-life pregnancy centers must provide information to abortion service to all their clients-or not. Or whether Catholic hospitals must provide referral at least for birth control services-or not.

    I am not a Catholic; I am merely mentioning some things which have been pubic knowledge for a long time.

    Then there are those churches which do not ordain or hire women as preachers or priests, and some who still place limitations of the job opportunity of divorced/ remarried people, and restrictions on openly gay people in public ministry-all of which is counter-cultural but which they do based on what they see as biblical principles. I am thinking the only protection that these people have is that so far the law does not extend that far into the church. Will we see this challenged? Perhaps.

    None of this applies to my particular denomination, but it is going on here in the US.

    I follow what is going on in the churches in China now, and recent history is clear what went on in Europe not very long ago between the Reich and the state church. This stuff happens. I am saying that I do think it can happen here, and I do believe that the churches and those who make up those churches must, that would be must, draw a line and refuse laws which infringe on what they see as biblical principles.

    Now let be blunt and personal. Not all that long ago it was illegal to teach a slave to read. People, including the Moravians, defied that law. I think they were right to defy that law. Do you? Not too long ago inter-racial marriage was against the law. People defied that law. Do you think the law was right and should have been obeyed? If you think that these people were right, then that raises the issue of who is to decide when laws are to be resisted-who makes that decision. Is it ever right for people to decide these things based on some biblical basis or not?

    To what extent do a free people capitulate to the state? I think there are some times to dump the tea overboard, and in some areas I think I see some people doing that.

  162. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    We in the USA have a funny relationship with war because no one living has experienced it on home soil here. For us, war is somewhere over there.

    To paraphrase General Patton (the REAL one, not the Vision Forum Cosplayer), better to fight on (and wreck) their country than yours.

  163. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Even if the Masculine doing the Initiation is a 5’4″ fluttering-handed Drama Queen who’s muscled like a wet noodle?

    How bout’ the chuckling one? You know, the one who claims to be an apostle?

  164. Well, it’s obvious to me that the trouble with all of you is that you’re looking for the perfect church.

    What I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it – you’ll spoil it.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

  165. Muff Potter wrote:

    How bout’ the chuckling one? You know, the one who claims to be an apostle?

    That’s odd – I’ve never heard Kenneth Brannagh claim to be an apostle.

  166. dee wrote:

    The Man Who Wasn’t Tuesday

    Hmm… we did have a Man Who Wasn’t Thursday. Do we now have someone else who wasn’t Tuesday?

    This suggests an excellent thought experiment, to my mind. A question that might usefully divert conscientious Wartburgers is this: if you weren’t a day, which day would you not be?

    I wouldn’t be Sunday.

    IHTIH

  167. ION:

    Both the apple and caramel cake, and the sausage casserole, are coming along rather nicely (judging by the smell in the kitchen the noo).

  168. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    It’s a good thing I’m not Tuesday either.

    (My internet name is actually a play on a really trippy book by G.K. Chesterton called “The Man Who Was Thursday.” Without giving away the plot, “Sunday” would have some very big shoes to fill. And Tuesday — well, he would be a little strange…)

  169. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    That’s odd – I’ve never heard Kenneth Brannagh claim to be an apostle.

    I’ve heard “he is but a warrior for the working day.” I’m not sure he would fit in with that high-class crowd.

    Besides, if Kenneth Branagh said some of the things those others said, I’d almost be tempted to believe the doggerel — it doesn’t matter what he says, just the fact it’s him saying it. Kind of like Morgan Freeman.

    Let’s hope the YRR’s don’t get their hands on either of them; With Piper’s hands and Branagh’s or Freeman’s voice, the world would be powerless to stop them.

  170. okrapod wrote:

    Example: In this nation Catholic adoption agencies have been faced with having to either place children with same-sex couples or else shut down. Some (all) chose to get out of the adoption business. This is ‘the law’ versus ‘religion/ scripture/ church’.
    Other issues just involving health care issues include whether pro-life pregnancy centers must provide information to abortion service to all their clients-or not. Or whether Catholic hospitals must provide referral at least for birth control services-or not.

    I can’t talk to the adoption issue. I haven’t heard that happening here but can’t say. But, hey, just think of all the babies that could have got good homes but now won’t. Way to work towards the greater good. I’m sure Jesus is thrilled.

    As for the health services – as I understand it hospitals/clinics have a catalog of services as part of accreditation. If abortion is not a service then the woman would have to attend a clinic/hospital that provides that service. I don’t think the religiously run hospital has to provide it but they can’t actively stop the woman either.

    A case happened here where a publicly funded Catholic care facility attempted to obstruct a Sikh man from accessing the provincial team responsible for assessing “right to die” requests. He’s 80 odd years old dying from ALS. No one was saying he had to have the service performed there but the facility had no right to drag it’s feet on a legal request.

  171. okrapod wrote:

    Then there are those churches which do not ordain or hire women as preachers or priests, and some who still place limitations of the job opportunity of divorced/ remarried people, and restrictions on openly gay people in public ministry-all of which is counter-cultural but which they do based on what they see as biblical principles. I am thinking the only protection that these people have is that so far the law does not extend that far into the church. Will we see this challenged? Perhaps

    This is a battle that all religions may have to fight at some point. Right now I don’t think our society is there yet and may never be. If you define a faith as a type of voluntary club then maybe you can say what roles can be held by what people. But even then…
    Our society is conditioned to give religion some special privilege. Even those of us who don’t subscribe to it would be wary of standing up to it. For a politician, it would be political suicide, even Canada’s governor-general got dinged for speaking ill of religion (google it and find out).
    Do I think it’s right? No. But consider…if I wrote a tract today containing what the bible stated regarding the treatment of children, and others…it would be considered hate literature.

  172. Crossfit is *not* the Gospel Glitterati exercise program? How interesting that a cross-selling opportunity has been passovered.

  173. okrapod wrote:

    Now let be blunt and personal. Not all that long ago it was illegal to teach a slave to read. People, including the Moravians, defied that law. I think they were right to defy that law. Do you? Not too long ago inter-racial marriage was against the law. People defied that law. Do you think the law was right and should have been obeyed? If you think that these people were right, then that raises the issue of who is to decide when laws are to be resisted-who makes that decision. Is it ever right for people to decide these things based on some biblical basis or not?
    To what extent do a free people capitulate to the state? I think there are some times to dump the tea overboard, and in some areas I think I see some people doing that.

    Awww, do we have to get all blunt and personal?

    Slavery was an affront to the principles of the constitution. So was it ever “legal”? Same thing about mixed marriages, some of those laws are still on the books in South Carolina. I think these laws are wrong and I don’t need the bible to tell me so. Heck the bible was used to argue both sides of slavery and miscegenation and segregation so I’m not really sure what you’re getting at.

    If someone tried passing those laws today, yes, I’d stand up to them. But I would use (just as those that fought did) the justification of the Constitution (or in my case bill of rights) and I would not abide by those laws – yep I’d go to jail or camp or whatever.

    Stanley Milgram’s experiments in social psychology showed us that what happened in Nazi Germany could happen here. I suppose there could be a rebellion by force, with a dictatorship in our respective countries but then that would be an illegal government, not an elected one. Thankfully, through the efforts of our ancestors, that seems unlikely right now.

    To what extent do free people capitulate to someone else’s god?

    When I was a kid, we would get American Saturday morning cartoons. From what I understood from Schoolhouse Rock, the Boston tea party had more to do with taxation without representation.

  174. Muff Potter wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Even if the Masculine doing the Initiation is a 5’4″ fluttering-handed Drama Queen who’s muscled like a wet noodle?

    How bout’ the chuckling one? You know, the one who claims to be an apostle?

    That’s HEAD Apostle of the People of Destiny!
    (HUMBLY, of course…)

  175. okrapod wrote:

    I am not a Catholic; I am merely mentioning some things which have been pubic knowledge for a long time.

    Okra, that’s “public”, not “pubic”.
    (Though given the subject matter immediately above, the malaprop somehow fits.)

  176. Jack wrote:

    While Canada and the U.S. are two different countries, there are many similarities in outlook vis a vis laws and human rights.

    Both British America, just the US were the first breakaway colonies while Canada stayed with the Crown.

  177. Dee has chosen such a fun Pastor John quote from the RBMW Bible which explains the original 66 Book Bible. Dee says it is bizarre, and I wonder if there is even more to it than that.

    “Consider what is lost when women attempt to assume a more masculine role by appearing physically muscular and aggressive. It is true that there is something sexually stimulating about a muscular, scantily clad young woman pumping iron in a health club.

    He starts by confusing what a woman *is* with how she *appears* with how she *is perceived* and then begins to formulate some kind of thought experiment or something. My guess is that most male observers would say that there are a lot of unnecessary non-italicized words in that paragraph to make the point that men find women sexually attractive. Or at least a reliable source says so. There may be some negotiating about some italicized ones. I have no idea how she can appear to be aggressive merely because she also appears to be muscular, whatever that means. It sounds to me like that says more about Piper than it does about any woman. He’s trying to mix in Masculine Role language about Authority and use “assume” language which is right from 2 Timothy 2. The spiritual blackmail comes in with the “consider what is lost when women attempt to assume.” Women mess everything up when they try to take over. And in the Complementarian Worldview, Women are always trying to Usurp Male Authority. It cannot ever be win-win or mutual in the Complementarian World.

    But no woman should be encouraged by this fact. For it probably means the sexual encounter that such an image would lead to is something very hasty and volatile, and in the long run unsatisfying.

    No woman should be encouraged by the fact that a man finds her muscular (however that is defined???) body sexually attractive and satisfying to him (because, according to Piper it won’t be to her!) His “probably” is an apt use of weasel language because, for a woman, if the sexual encounter is a pickup from the health club, it “probably” will end up being volatile, hasty, and unsatisfying. OTOH, exercise, muscles, a certain athleticism, self-discipline and a long marriage is perfectly compatible with controlled volatility and can be quite satisfying in the long run if a husband and wife are mature and mutually kind and respectful. No hierarchy or artificial Role constructs are necessary.

    The image of a masculine musculature may beget arousal in a man, but it does not beget several hours of moonlight walking with significant, caring conversation. The more women can arouse men by doing typically masculine things, the less they can count on receiving from men a sensitivity to typically feminine”

    This paragraph is quite odd, though I did not look up the remainder of the quotation in the book. Images beget arousal?!? Well, sort of I guess, metaphorically…But that’s not the kind of thing we should be encouraging, should we???…Is this a binary choice? Muscles or beaches? Fewer muscles and an hour along the beach? Does any woman want to walk along the beach for hours? Can I have some volatility *and* thirty minutes on the beach? Is there something like a BMI chart for Significant-Caring-Conversation-Moonlight-Beach-Walk-Hours? How about shells? Can I pick up shells? I don’t remember that from RBMW, but maybe it’s on the CBMW website since Denny took over from Owen. Also, note the weird but distinct threat. The more women arouse men by doing masculine things, the less women can expect to receive sensitivity from men to typically feminine [something]…I am afraid to look that up…

    As aggravating as it is to read Piper and as it must be for the Deebs to post it multiple times, there are so many people who are steeped in Piper, but, even more importantly, in Piper’s thinking who need to be de-programmed. Piper was an early adopter of the internet, and there are so many Piperbots I have come across who assume that what they believe (Piperism) is the gospel truth. If You talk to someone who is 40 or so in a conservative Baptist or even Presby or Bible church, they have been influenced by Piperism, even if they do not quote him. It is vital to get them to just stop and read what he says, word-by-word. Sentence-by-sentence. Paragraph-by-paragraph. He uses persuasive language. I am not saying that he intends to deceive. It is quite possible that he intends to persuade in the positive sense. But I believe he is wrong on the facts, and that can be demonstrated and people need to see that from sound reasoning and from the text, if they are conservatives like I am. Saying he’s crazy isn’t going to do it.

  178. Piper’s writing of women who are muscular being masculine, which is attractive to men, leaves me wondering WHAT MEN? Is he discussing male female arousal or homo eroticism here?

    If masculine women arouse a man wouldn’t that mean the man is attracted to well, other men, rather than women?

  179. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Even if the Masculine doing the Initiation is a 5’4″ fluttering-handed Drama Queen who’s muscled like a wet noodle?

    Well, yes, because he has the right equipment to initiate – whereas women do not. You see, much to my husband’s confoundment, any initiating I do is really his initiation…

    Of course, if we carry this to its logical conclusion, women are incapable of initiating sexual relationships at all – so therefore should never be held responsible for any cheating they do… seeing they lack initiation.

    Of course, in practice, he tells it the other way around, if they dress wrong, or move wrong, then they have invited the initiation and are therefore responsible for the man’s initiation.

    Sorry, my brain goes in illogical circles on this particular teaching from John Piper. I think he must have failed his geometry class in high-school because his if-then statements cancel each other out.

  180. Jack–churches are not social service agencies. They have a different purpose. But if they decide as part of that purpose to provide adoption services, of course it will be per their own guidelines. In my neck of the woods it used to be that Catholic Social Services would not consider Baptist applicants. I know that from experience as a former Baptist and an adoptive parent. Jewish agencies wouldn’t consider Gentile homes, and the Protestant agencies eschewed Jewish, Catholic, and non religious homes. If churches are forbidden from placing the children in what the church considers a good home, it doesn’t mean the child doesn’t get a good home or isn’t placed for adoption. It either is placed privately, or through another private agency, or through a public agency.

    If Lutheran birth parents want their child placed only in a Lutheran home, why should the law get involved and say “nope, raise it yourself or we get to force your church’s social service agency to place it with a bunch of heathens.”

    Since the whole point of various religious agencies was not to place children but to place them in homes within that faith family, being forced to place them contrary to the church’s beliefs made in a no brainer to quit placing them.

    In our specific area there are now very few agency adoptions. Many birth parents DO want a say in what religion their child will be raised, or do not want it raised by homosexuals, or do not want it to go to a single parent home. (Often they could offer the single parent home but choose adoption to provide a two parent home.) Most adoptions are privately arranged as per the birth parent’s desires.

    Adoption isn’t considered a “right”. You offer the home you can offer, and either the one’s doing the placing accept that or they don’t. It can be a variety of reasons another home gets chosen.

    But here at least there is no plethora of adoptable kids losing out on good homes. Rather, there are few to adopt. There are many in foster care true, BUT it is because our state believes that with contact with the birth parents is better for the child than adoption, or is working to make the birth home a safe and good home eventually. I may disagree with that whole idea, but still there are just not that many legally adoptable kids here.

  181. Gram3 wrote:

    there are so many people who are steeped in Piper, but, even more importantly, in Piper’s thinking who need to be de-programmed.

    So at what point do you instruct the Piper-bot to divest themselves of their Piper-stash?

    What good does it do to deconstruct Piper and analyze his writings and musings without comparing them to something objective? Surely these people respect Scripture, so wouldn’t a better approach be to point out how they have substituted Piper for Christ, and demonstrate through the Word of God how their idol (because that is really what you are talking about here – idolatry) diverges from Christ’s own words?

    At some point the addict has to stop using. They might say, “You (generic) don’t agree with Piper? Yawn. You (generic) are just a feminist anyway, who cares what you (generic) think?”

    Are you (not generic) trying to dissuade those slowly being taken in by Piper, or the Piper-bot? I doubt seriously that the Piper-bot is going to listen. IMO, until one is physically removed from the substance (whatever they are addicted to / idolizing) there isn’t much hope. People gotta get rid of the stuff and get out of these destructive situations / churches before they can see clearly.

    I used to have the big library / media cache for my idol. Until I got rid of it and got out from under the influence (a.k.a. stopped using) no progress was made.

  182. Gram3 wrote:

    It is vital to get them to just stop and read what he says, word-by-word. Sentence-by-sentence. Paragraph-by-paragraph. He uses persuasive language. I am not saying that he intends to deceive.

    I really struggle with how he can persuade anybody. I know, and have witnessed that he does persuade, but he has always come across to me as burying nonsense in flowery language. I think he sounds smart and educated, so those who are attracted to sounding smart and educated, fail to see that the emperor has no clothes. Interestingly, he really doesn’t do a whole lot of proof texting. When you pay attention, his words are really just his words because he has enough sense to realize that there is no Bible verse that says women can’t lift weights.

    I agree, piece by piece, sentence by sentence is the only way to address his issues. Furthermore, he has a bad habit of representing his conjecture, as gospel truth. He thinks that if he were to have sex with a muscular woman that he would only be interested in a short fling… short flings are ungodly, therefore women who lift weights are in sin.

    Do I think he is intentionally deceitful? No, I think he is writing down his thoughts, and giving us a peak into the goings on in his head. He really thinks this way. I have thought for a long time that he has confused his own insecurities for Biblical truth. He really cannot see the difference and has managed to create a god in his own image. A god, who will punish those sinful women who make him feel whatever it is that he feels about them. His feelings on the issue are probably quite complex considered the complexity of his musings about what sex with a muscular woman would be like.

  183. ER wrote:

    His feelings on the issue are probably quite complex considered the complexity of his musings about what sex with a muscular woman would be like.

    And thus he has committed adultery according to Jesus’ standard regarding adultery of the heart. So Piper the idol is an adulterer and he leads other men into adultery via his musings.

  184. @ A.Tumbleweed:

    I cannot disagree with you. When I read his preface to Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood I was equal parts creeped out and dumb founded.

    Why was a creeped out? Well, I dance extensively and am naturally pretty muscular, as I take after my dad, which means that I fit his description of the kind of woman who… yeah, I can’t even say it. All I could think at the time was that he was spending way too much time hypothesizing about the quality of sex with women he is not married to… And no, I do not think that these statements can be explained any other way.

  185. Jack wrote:

    Do I think it’s right? No. But consider…if I wrote a tract today containing what the bible stated regarding the treatment of children, and others…it would be considered hate literature.

    But still protected under our form of Government.
    Even if it has no redeeming social value.
    Both the hard right and the hard left want to have it both ways.

    If it’s not James Dobson and the whole fundagelical rogues gallery wanting laws to keep Bob and Bill from getting married, it’s Stan and Sue getting their boxers and panties in a dither over kids praying at school…

    And on it goes; reason, common sense, and just a plain old fashioned live and let live ethos become the casualties in a war that is every bit as senseless as the Vietnam conflict was.

  186. linda wrote:

    Jack–churches are not social service agencies. They have a different purpose. But if they decide as part of that purpose to provide adoption services, of course it will be per their own guidelines. In my neck of the woods it used to be that Catholic Social Services would not consider Baptist applicants. I know that from experience as a former Baptist and an adoptive parent. Jewish agencies wouldn’t consider Gentile homes, and the Protestant agencies eschewed Jewish, Catholic, and non religious homes. If churches are forbidden from placing the children in what the church considers a good home, it doesn’t mean the child doesn’t get a good home or isn’t placed for adoption. It either is placed privately, or through another private agency, or through a public agency.
    If Lutheran birth parents want their child placed only in a Lutheran home, why should the law get involved and say “nope, raise it yourself or we get to force your church’s social service agency to place it with a bunch of heathens.”

    Ok, fair enough. I hadn’t heard of religious adoption agencies being forced to give babies to same sex couples here, but I’m not up on what’s going on in the world of adoption. If the person giving the baby up wants the baby to be raised in their faith then that’s their business.

    One caveat though, I’ve read about and seen on the news (I think it was 20/20) of young women being forced to give their kids up for adoption – I think that case was involved an Independent Fundamentalist Bible church. That’s not cool.

    In our neck of the woods churches and parachurch organizations (like the Salvation Army) have provided many social services from addiction counselling (the actual licensed kind) to food banks to clothing banks and so forth.

    It’s one of the reasons to justify them not having to pay taxes. But the local minimega whose pastor has a nine bedroom mansion doesn’t pay tax either. Go figure. Like I said, religion gets a pass.

  187. @ Max:
    Just saw a ice skating duo perform, both married to others, but highly talented as a coordinated pair working at their chosen career. They had the normal costuming (scantily clad for the woman? form fitting for the gentleman?).

    So this is a problem for Christians according to some theologies being preached and published? Hearkens to other religions that some Christians may consider backward? Apparently, some Christian leaders have their own culture issues.

  188. Muff Potter wrote:

    it’s Stan and Sue getting their boxers and panties in a dither over kids praying at school…

    I think it was the late seventies when we stopped having to say the Lord’s Prayer in our public school. At the time it seemed natural enough but in our town there were few non-christian families. As I’ve gotten older and less christian, forcing others to pray to a god doesn’t seem fair. I remember the argument being “well they could pray to ‘their” god” – but what if you don’t believe in any god?

    Neither does telling people who to love really fit either.

    Without the constitution, those of us with no faith would find our kids indoctrinated with someone else’s idea of faith.

    Folks with a religious bent have plenty of time to pray before, during and after school. That’s live and let live.

  189. Muff Potter wrote:

    But still protected under our form of Government.

    Not here. If I wrote an edict that stated certain orientations should be put to death, then handed it out or sold it in a book store, the cops would be knocking at my door pretty quick.

  190. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    What I noticed is that the older generation in my old SBC church was quite gentle and compassionate; it was the young adult crowd that felt entitled to authoritarianism and complementarianism.

    Whether old or young, the compassionate types are too gracious to confront this virus.

  191. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Historically, the cultural and moral milieu that led to the founding of our common law was extremely religious — I’m not sure there’s any room to argue against that. But what grounds our belief that the law is binding? If it is simply consensus, that can change almost in an instant. What is it based on that makes it, itself, transcendent?

    If I understand correctly, what I think you’re getting at is religion is basis of law. But if we accept that premise, then whose religion? The law codes of Hammurabi weren’t Christian – or Jewish for that matter. And as for fear of retribution, most Christians believe that if you don’t believe you’re going to H-E-double hockey sticks – if eternal damnation isn’t a motivator, I don’t know what is.
    Our laws may have evolved out of religion but I think over time, humans being social animals, recognized that law was a pretty good to regulate ourselves. So we become conditioned to it, socialized to it.
    One of my anxieties falling away from faith was, without faith could I still be a good person? What would happen to my moral centre?
    Well, I’m still faithful to my wife, still raising my kids, still working my job, not embezzling, paying my taxes, giving to charity. You could argue that my time in religion conditioned me to this but by the tenets of my former faith – I’m darned. What’s my motivator? I do right for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do. Evolutionary theory says it’s in the best interest of my genes to go along with society so I can be around to raise my offspring for the continuation of my lineage. That seems a little too clockwork monkey for my liking. If at the end of it all my eternal reward is hot coals in my pants then…oh well… at least I was honest.

  192. linda wrote:

    Piper’s writing of women who are muscular being masculine, which is attractive to men, leaves me wondering WHAT MEN? Is he discussing male female arousal or homo eroticism here?
    If masculine women arouse a man wouldn’t that mean the man is attracted to well, other men, rather than women?

    That’s exactly what I was wondering when I read that. It almost sounds like he is saying that men are naturally attracted to masculine muscles, doesn’t it. Again though this is where, again, individualism comes in. But, he doesn’t seem to understand the concept of individualism. “Some” men are attracted to muscular women, “Some” men are attracted to rail-thin women, “Some” men are attracted to curvy women, “Some” men are attracted to men who are muscular, or thin, or curvy, “Some” men are attracted to various combinations of the above, and “Some” men are attracted to non-physical characteristics. Thankfully, our God is much more awesome than John Piper’s imagination. If John Piper was the creator every male would look like him and suspect every woman would look like him in a wig, and we would all go around spouting his nonsensical drivel all the time.

  193. @ Jack:

    First, contrary to popular belief, Jesus didn’t teach anything new when it comes to morality — he was reminding people to follow what they knew in their hearts was “right” but consistently chose not to. Human nature hasn’t changed since the codes of Hammurabi — which, in the main, are shockingly similar to our own beliefs (some of the cultural applications and punishments differ, but the moral principles are the same).

    Further, I never said you cannot be moral if you don’t posit a transcendent moral law — but you will face logical problems in finding an objective basis for that law, and thus render it little more than a useful delusion.

    (I applaud you for striving to be a good person, by the way. There are many good people regardless of their worldview, and many bad people regardless of their worldview)

    But precisely the whole point lies in the question: by what standard do you claim something is actually “right?” A brief study of history and anthropology shows that even cultures without written legal codes believe that “murder” and “theft” are objectively wrong — the chief differences lie in defining what constitutes murder or theft, in the sense of what “excuses” such as dehumanizing the victim so that it is no longer “murder” to kill them, etc. But the very act of trying to rationalize it shows that at core “we all agree on what things we call evil; the chief difference lies in what evils we call excusable.” (G.K. Chesterton)

    You say you try to do the right thing simply because it is right; fair enough, I agree. But that only begs the question — you say so.egging is right simply because it is right. That’s like saying the sky is blue simply because it is. I agree it is blue; but what makes it blue?

    Even granted the evolutionary adaltatiin to apprehend moral valyes, does the apprehension itself make them binding, or the lack of apprehension dissolve them, any more than what I see as a blue sky is meaningless to someone born blind? But does that difference of opinion in any way change the objective existence of a visual realm of objectively existing objects to be beheld?

    Either moral values are objective (i.e., actually exist) and are binding; or else they are simply evolutionary constructs and can be discarded once they are no longer relevant to our situation.

    “But they are advantageous to our survival, and so we ought to follow them.” I agree they are advantageous; but how does that possibly make them binding? Why OUGHT we to preserve the human species — do we not (rightly) assume the value and dignity of human beings? But whence comes that value? Blind chance cannot ascribe value — only persons can ascribe value, and only persons can prescribe purpose or intention. Nature has no intentions, for it is not a person; evolution has no intentions, for it is simply a mechanism. At the heart of morality is purpose — which we all believe is objectively binding on all people, else all moral judgment and denunciation of wrong is simply an exercise in personal preferential frivolity. Whence comes that purpose other than a personal will, and why should it be binding apart from a will transcendent of human opinion? And why should that law be binding, unless human beings have intrinsic worth? Whence comes that worth — for an effect is not greater than its cause, and to say we give ourselves value would be as inexplicable as to say we cause our own existence — not only that, it would be to admit that others with stronger wills than ours could take away our value, and therefore eliminate any force from our moral denunciation of their bullying.

    So, again, whence comes that value? I am glad that nearly everybody honors that value, and that almost all of us view morality as binding and objective, no matter our worldview — but coherence then becomes the issue, and moral denunciations of abuse and evil lose all their force if there is no coherent basis for their existence.

  194. @ Jarrett Edwards:

    I was going to say something along these lines, but you said it better than I would have. Another thing I would like to point out is their obsession with rippling muscles and testosterone in conjunction with contempt and control — did you read what someone posted on Desiring God for Easter a few years back? I felt like I needed to burn my computer after reading and brush my teeth with bleach to get the taste out.

    The article was borderline spiritual pornography on the topic of Jesus’ trial and execution, but the author frequently put it into very graphic and, quite frankly, trashy language that placed a heavy emphasis on the “shirtless, sweaty, rippling back muscles” of the Roman guard who was beating Jesus.

    I’m pretty sure I puked a little in my mouth when I read it. These guys seem to take delight in showing as much pain and cruelty and control and contempt as they can possibly come up with — and then attribute it to God. This particular article (which was heavily circulated and featured as a top D.G. article at the time) went way above and beyond the descriptions given in the written accounts, apparently because it’s more “spiritual” to delight in the cruelty with which Jesus was killed — because God was apparently satisfied and pleased with hearing the “scream of the damned”. It’s a perfect example of why I “turn with loathing from the god of Jonathan Edwards,” in the words of George MacDonald.

    Even thinking about it now kind of ruins my day, but it’s a perfect example of these people’s histrionic obsession with all the things they claim to despise — muscular women and seashells among them.

    What shocked me most is how many people were sharing it as “sound doctrine”…

    (I won’t post the link because it’s too filthy for me to post in good conscience. If anyone is interested in reading it, it’s on Desiring God, under the tags Easter, Substitution, etc. — but have some chocolate ice cream and puppies on hand after reading it to recover your joy…)

  195. @ Jack:

    I should mention, if you actually believed and were taught some of the things you say about God, it’s no wonder you left — I don’t believe those terrible things about God either! It’s actually a wonder you didn’t leave sooner. (There are ways to clarify those problems, btw, and most of the time it is cultural and linguistic. But I won’t lecture you on that…)

    But the question of the foundation of moral values is something all worldviews have to answer. Frankly, some worldviews provide a more coherent basis for morality than others — but the fact that all religions disagree on a lot of things does not necessarily mean they are all false on every issue.

    (At this point I was not trying to argue for Christianity in particular, but just for the authoritative and transcendent objectivity of the moral values apprehended at all times and all places by all (known) cultures — universal and objective do not mean “absolute,” by the way. And almost all without exception have accepted those values as pointing to a Mind beyond the physical world that gave those values meaning — aside from Buddhism, which is actually atheistic, seeking moral foundation apart from supernatural purpose really only began when Enlightenment thinkers wanted to preserve the benefits of morality without the uncomfortable interference of a personal deity that actually cares for the human race, the idea of which they found base and repugnant.)

    And even their general moral principles are the same — the troubles arise when they disagree on whom those moral principles apply to (e.g. some humans are worth more or less than others, such as in ancient times) or cultural prescriptions for punishment for violating those principles (e.g. amputation vs. lawsuit).

    Some may be more repugnant or beautiful to us, depending on our upbringing, but the general moral principles appear universal: only to be violated under extenuating circumstances. (Rationalization for crime is also pretty universal)

    As for incentive for moral action:

    Far stronger than fear is self-sacrificing love. Love (wishing well for others) fulfills the law — but requires far more effort than merely refraining from evil, and is therefore a less popular option. It is a choice to give respect and do good to others, not simply respectfully seek self-fulfillment. And it’s not merely a feeling beyond control, but a choice, sometimes even in the teeth of contrary feelings.

    But of course, perhaps the biggest problem in these discussions is settling on common definitions for the topics we’re addressing specifically, “love,” “law,” “universal,” “objective,” and “right”.

    In any case, I hope you felt no disrespect in my disagreement — argument without respect is just obnoxious, and it is especially easy to misinterpret tone online.

  196. @ Jack:

    One last food for thought — at least for American laws: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    I’m not sure about the Canadians, but according to the framers of U.S. law, our “unalienable rights” are endowed by a power beyond simply current social law. If we then argue from human legal documents, even the Deistic and utilitarian framers of the U.S. legal system appealed to an objective moral law beyond mere evolutionary convention.

  197. JYJames wrote:

    some Christian leaders have their own culture issues

    We seem to be having a variety of “cultural moments” in America. From Bill Cosby … to Harvey Weinstein … to Judge Moore … and now Charley Rose, the underbelly of celebrity culture is being exposed. Add to the top of that heap, the continual string of failures by Christian pastor-celebrities reported on TWW. America is sick because the church is sick! In its attempt to be “culturally relevant”, the 21st century church is operating in the gray zone rather than black vs. white as it’s called to be. Once a counter-culture to the world, the organized church is now a sub-culture of it. It’s no surprise that moral lines are being blurred and the masses are being confused on what is right and what is wrong.

  198. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    What I noticed is that the older generation in my old SBC church was quite gentle and compassionate; it was the young adult crowd that felt entitled to authoritarianism and complementarianism. Often I found that the older adults had no clue what was being taught to the younger

    Agreed. Much of the SBC pew has no clue that New Calvinists are walking in the door with a theology that will cause a generational shift in Southern Baptist belief and practice. Their gentleness and compassion is being taken advantage of as the new reformation captures one SBC church after another. The older folks are uninformed, misinformed, or willingly ignorant about this development. Surely, they can trust young new pastors? They always have before … so they slip into complacency and wonder “What happened?!” when the “gospel” message changes in their churches.

  199. Max wrote:

    Agreed. Much of the SBC pew has no clue that New Calvinists are walking in the door with a theology that will cause a generational shift in Southern Baptist belief and practice. Their gentleness and compassion is being taken advantage of as the new reformation captures one SBC church after another. The older folks are uninformed, misinformed, or willingly ignorant about this development. Surely, they can trust young new pastors? They always have before … so they slip into complacency and wonder “What happened?!” when the “gospel” message changes in their churches.

    Too bad there’s not an analogy in nature to describe this kind of behavior —

    Wait. I remember. Something about “wolves in sheep’s clothing”…

    Having been privy to some of the leadership circles implementing these tactics, I noticed there is really an emphasis on trying to spread this theology almost “stealthily” — there were a lot of dealings where you were led to know that certain ministry practices would best be implemented without too much fuss and “division.”

  200. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Having been privy to some of the leadership circles implementing these tactics, I noticed there is really an emphasis on trying to spread this theology almost “stealthily”

    Stealth and deception are not gifts of the Holy Spirit. Control and manipulation are not fruit of the Spirit. The strategy behind New Calvinist church planting programs is not focused on planting churches, but planting theology.

  201. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    One last food for thought — at least for American laws: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    My apologies to everyone – the Bill of Rights I was referring to was not the quasi constitutional 1960 document that the government implemented. The Bill of Rights was legislation that could be amended through Parliament. (Canada had no constitution and was governed by the British North America Act that created the country in 1867)
    The document I’m referring to is actually called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that superseded the Bill of Rights in 1982. This is the “Canadian Constitution” – though Quebec still hasn’t signed it.

    So discussing similarities to the U.S. Constitution, here’s the first statement from the Canadian Constitution.

    ” Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law”

  202. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    In any case, I hope you felt no disrespect in my disagreement — argument without respect is just obnoxious, and it is especially easy to misinterpret tone online.

    No disrespect taken. Opposing views are not disrespect.

  203. okrapod wrote:

    To what extent do a free people capitulate to the state? I think there are some times to dump the tea overboard, and in some areas I think I see some people doing that.

    Dumping tea, for the sake of basic justice, is all well and good. It’s when churches start dumping people overboard, for the sake of preserving their beloved hegemony, that I take issue.

  204. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Both British America, just the US were the first breakaway colonies while Canada stayed with the Crown.

    There were minor, short-lived rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada in the 1830s. But the Crown decided to actually take the time and listen to the colonists’ concerns, and eventually came up with something called “responsible government”.

    I think that (in part) we have our neighbours to the south to thank for that. I’m pretty sure that the Lords and Ladies in England were thinking to themselves, “Not another revolution. Anything but another revolution…”

  205. @ Jack:

    I’m glad you don’t feel disrespected. I enjoy discussing stuff like this with people from different perspectives, but online I sometimes get a little paranoid about the tone in my responses, since it can sometimes be difficult to show cordiality while disagreeing on stuff so personal.

  206. @ Jack:

    I would like to have added: “Sometimes it is difficult to show through only words the cordiality I intend.”

  207. Jack wrote:

    Without the constitution, those of us with no faith would find our kids indoctrinated with someone else’s idea of faith.

    And so it was in olden times. School prayer was by social force and social coercion, and it was bad stuff, no contest, no way was I suggesting that we return to those ‘good old days’.

    My Stan and Sue snark had to do with the opposite extreme we have nowadays. When a small minority of Christian kids are prohibited from holding a strictly voluntary Bible study and prayer meeting in an unused room on school grounds at lunch time, the tyranny is just as odious.

    This has been successfully argued in the 9th circuit court down here in the lower 48, and the court has ruled in favor of the kids.

  208. Muff Potter wrote:

    My Stan and Sue snark had to do with the opposite extreme we have nowadays. When a small minority of Christian kids are prohibited from holding a strictly voluntary Bible study and prayer meeting in an unused room on school grounds at lunch time, the tyranny is just as odious

    I agree. To deny freedom to pray on your own time, in an unused space is not acceptable.

  209. @ Jack:
    Interestingly enough, my workplace set aside space for a prayer room. We have a diverse workplace. This I have no issue with.

  210. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Too bad there’s not an analogy in nature to describe this kind of behavior —
    Wait. I remember. Something about “wolves in sheep’s clothing”…

    The formal term is something like “Predator using Mimicry to lure in prey.”

  211. Jack wrote:

    This is the “Canadian Constitution” – though Quebec still hasn’t signed it.

    Sometimes I wonder if Quebec is being contrary to Anglo-Canada just to be contrary.

  212. Max wrote:

    We seem to be having a variety of “cultural moments” in America. From Bill Cosby … to Harvey Weinstein … to Judge Moore … and now Charley Rose, the underbelly of celebrity culture is being exposed.

    Latest news on Weinstein is financial shadiness, that he also used his company’s assets & funds as a bottomless personal ATM:
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/celebrity/harvey-weinstein-allegedly-misused-millions-of-his-companys-money-%E2%80%94-including-75k-for-marchesa-dresses/ar-BBFpLH9?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp
    Legal, but shady.

  213. linda wrote:

    Piper’s writing of women who are muscular being masculine, which is attractive to men, leaves me wondering WHAT MEN? Is he discussing male female arousal or homo eroticism here?

    If masculine women arouse a man wouldn’t that mean the man is attracted to well, other men, rather than women?

    From the first time “Muscular Women and Unnatural Arousal” came up in Piper tweets:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=457N1m4oUZw

  214. ER wrote:

    In his preface to Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, he point blank makes the claim that it is impossible for a woman to initiate sex… Apparently, she can only invite the man to do his kind of masculine initiation.

    Lol. In all the dumb things, this stands out.

    Maybe women initiating sex is outside his range of experience.

  215. Gram3 wrote:

    Crossfit is *not* the Gospel Glitterati exercise program? How interesting that a cross-selling opportunity has been passovered.

    It is a cult…so maybe that would fit well 😉

  216. @ The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday:

    ” online I sometimes get a little paranoid about the tone in my responses, since it can sometimes be difficult to show cordiality while disagreeing on stuff so personal.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    what is cordial means different things depending where on the globe you are, what culture you hail from, what generation, so many factors.

    i think you an relax a bit on that one.

    (i wonder if you need to detox from church culture, the tone police state)

  217. ER wrote:

    I think he sounds smart and educated, so those who are attracted to sounding smart and educated, fail to see that the emperor has no clothes.

    I think he sounds like what not too smart people think ‘smart sounds like.

  218. @ Lea:

    I think it’s because people think incoherently spouting big words makes you smart.

    “Man, this guy is so over my head. I just can’t wrap my brain around what he says; but other people say he’s smart, so that must mean I’m just not smart enough to disagree with what he says. Maybe the reason I don’t understand him is that he’s so out of my cerebral league that a mere mortal like me could never figure out what he’s saying.”

    (Coincidentally, that’s also why people followed Forrest Gump on a running tour across America — except that Forrest Gump was actually qualified to lead, and actually treated people like human beings.)

    I’ve heard this logic many times. But if you disagree, so goes the logic: “You disagree with these people we have a hard time understanding; you’re no smarter than we are; therefore, you don’t understand the people you’re disagreeing with; therefore, you are causing foolish division; therefore, away from us you evil doer!”

    Or, in a milder form, “I’m concerned you’re missing out on the beautiful plan I have — I mean God has — for your life.”

  219. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Gross. I started reading it, and then realized I’d rather not toss my cookies over it…

    I wish they would pump out enough of this trash that people finally wake up and see the evil in it.

  220. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):

    But it’s so devotional! It’s so pure!

    … If you change the definition of “pure” and “devotional,” to match the text, which I’m sure they have no problem doing. They’ve already changed “love” and “grace” to match an abusive theology and practice. Why stop there? Let’s call violence “peace” and death “life” while we’re at it…

  221. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote (first quoting The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday):

    The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:
    What I noticed is that the older generation in my old SBC church was quite gentle and compassionate; it was the young adult crowd that felt entitled to authoritarianism and complementarianism.

    Whether old or young, the compassionate types are too gracious to confront this virus.

    The instruction given by Jesus to his followers (i.e., by inclusion, to us and, at the end of that chain of reasoning, to me) to be as innocent as doves, and as shrewd as snakes has always bothered me. Not in the sense that I think Jesus was wrong, but in the sense that it’s much easier said than done, and very few people actually are both.

    One reason why Driskle was so successful at building, then controlling, a large source of wealth and power in Seattle was the ease with which he could bully people who refused, on principle, to stand up to him. Instead, they rationalised his behaviour away by one line of reasoning or another, until a tipping-point was reached in which he had undisputed control and the security and unity of the church became conflated with Driskle’s leadership. This might sound as though I’m blaming them – I don’t entirely. I don’t think I would have done any better.

  222. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I’ve always thought of that in conjunction with the command of “unless you are like these little children…”

    A lot of people seem to think kids are stupid, dull, and simply do whatever they are told — but it seems more like Jesus is talking about a child’s sense of wonder and adventure that seems to die if it is not fueled during aging.

    In the same way, I’ve always thought of “shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves” as meaning a child-like heart but a fully formed adult brain.

    Or, in other words: a sharp brain and a soft heart.

    But I feel like far too often it’s the other way around…

  223. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The instruction given by Jesus to his followers (i.e., by inclusion, to us and, at the end of that chain of reasoning, to me) to be as innocent as doves, and as shrewd as snakes has always bothered me. Not in the sense that I think Jesus was wrong, but in the sense that it’s much easier said than done, and very few people actually are both.

    I think we all avoid the perfect church because it will ruin us, in the sense of calling us to turn from beliefs and behaviors that we are not ready to give up. So we end up twisting and rationalizing. It seems like these particular words of Jesus get twisted into being as innocent as snakes and as shrewd as doves, because it’s easier. The requirements Jesus puts on us are impossible to meet without him working through us.

  224. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    And sometimes we see people “as shrewd as doves and innocent as snakes.”

    No fair! Your comment must have been in customs when I stole your line in my most recent comment. My problem is I’m looking for the perfect blog…

  225. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    I think it’s because people think incoherently spouting big words makes you smart.

    I’ve heard people describe Piper as “deep.” Well, a good outhouse is also deep because of what is has to contain. But I’m not implying anything…

  226. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    I’ve heard people describe Piper as “deep.” Well, a good outhouse is also deep because of what is has to contain. But I’m not implying anything…

    I just figure that kind of “deep” as “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance…” with sides of “You don’t need any intellect to be an intellectual” and “just fake it”.

    Or… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0hIxVN2OQM

  227. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    But it’s so devotional! It’s so pure!

    … If you change the definition of “pure” and “devotional,” to match the text, which I’m sure they have no problem doing. They’ve already changed “love” and “grace” to match an abusive theology and practice. Why stop there? Let’s call violence “peace” and death “life” while we’re at it…

    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

    My Dear Wormwood,
    I refer you to my previous epistle on Semantics, specifically the redefinition of words into their “diabolic meanings”.
    Your Ravenously Affectionate Uncle,
    Screwtape

  228. Lea wrote:

    ER wrote:
    I think he sounds smart and educated, so those who are attracted to sounding smart and educated, fail to see that the emperor has no clothes.

    I think he sounds like what not too smart people think ‘smart sounds like.

    I’m one of the “smart people” — former Cold War Kid Genius.
    And I can tell you being “smart” has its serious downsides.

    Wesley Crusher and Doogie Houser are the FANTASY of the Kid Genius.
    Dallas Egbert III (the steam tunnel kid) and me are the reality.

  229. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    One of the aspects of my life that I am truly thankful for, is that I am no longer a slave to the preaching and teaching of John Piper and his world of double standards/craziness.

    Because of the Holy Spirit working in my faith life, I have been set free! The liberty and freedom in Jesus Christ as my LORD and Savior is so full of joy!

    Free indeed! Singing His praises today!

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