Thursday, February 23, 2006

FORGE (Mike Frost, Brian McClaren, John Smith etc.)

Thought I'd drop a few names.

Was an amazing intensive these last seven days. So much good stuff. I will try and give you as much of a run down as possible over the next few days, but I will say I got a lot out of it.

Highlights to me:

Mike highlighting accountability groups for missional practice rather than the naughty list.

A re emphasizing of the kingdom of God as the gospel

The need for social justice as mission along side personal salvation.

The problem with extractional outreach

FORGE makes me want to be a better man

the rev

62 comments:

LovesTha said...

Yeah it was quiet the intense intensive, the extra day of it was a bit of a straw that broke the camels back.

My personal favourite session was Mike Frosts second bit, so much of what he said inspired many new questions for me.

Alan Hirsch and Mark Sayers also prooved how good they are with the spoken word.

What I can't believe is that I managed to spend a whole Forge Conference without managing to speak to Stephen once.

Kieren Green said...

So Forge is producing missionaries for the first world? Yes, I know, the word "missionary" is so yesterday - would "missional exemplar" be better?

How is the mission to the first world going in Melbourne? To which sort of people are you disseminating your message of spiritual consciousness?

Does Forge have its effectiveness tracked? Are there customer feedback surveys, statistical analyses, impact surveys?

The Rev said...

So Forge is producing missionaries for the first world? Yes, I know, the word "missionary" is so yesterday - would "missional exemplar" be better?

I am quite happy with the word missionary, and yes that is what we do.

How is the mission to the first world going in Melbourne? To which sort of people are you disseminating your message of spiritual consciousness?

Well, we are targetting:

Artists
role playing game enthusiasts
unemployed people
working class people
vegitarian envirementalists
drug and alcohol addicted people
high school students
cafe goers
cricket players
footy players
martial artists
poor and homeless people
etc.

And its going pretty well thanks

Does Forge have its effectiveness tracked? Are there customer feedback surveys, statistical analyses, impact surveys?

We do feedback surveys, there is some statistical analyses and in fact there was just a well funded study about the effect of missional emerging churches in Melbourne just undertaken by the COC, the Baptists and the Uniting church I believe.

We also believe that our word of mouth growth is quite the marker.

So how is your crusade to dechristianize, insult and irritate people that are actually trying to live their lives according to Jesus message of love, and social justice going? Sorry you have not been more succesful here, I am probably too stupid and judgemental to follow your brilliant logic.

Kieren Green said...

I don't think you are too stupid, Rev. I was hoping you would make a public renunciation of your faith by now. Obviously I will have to try harder - although non-belief is not by works (lest anyone would boast), but by apathy.

As for judgemental, that's ok by me. I like judgmental. Don't you hate it when people describe themselves as non-judgemental? How would they know?

Your say you are trying to live your life according to Jesus' message of love and social justice. I wonder what Jesus has got to do with these areas? Sure, he mumbled a few things along these lines, but so what? He's dead now. Get over it, Rev. Move on.

You don't have to be a Jesus freak to believe in a decent and fair go for all. You could be a Buddhist, freak, instead. Or Islamic. Or callathumpian. Or atheist.

The Rev said...

No I don't have to be, I chose to be.

For me, this Jesus experience has made me a better father, a better husband, and a better human being. Sorry that that bothers you so much.

the rev

LovesTha said...

No but it does seam that you have to be associated with some good type of theology to have any idea of how to try and reduce racism in a praticle way

Kieren Green said...

Lovestha, if you mean bad theology can lead to racism, well yes we all would agree with you.

But you don't have to be a Christian with good theology to be non-racist.

For example, I think you will find many people in Melbourne are not racist, including many who are not Christian.

Kieren Green said...

Rev, how do you know you couldn't be a good citizen, father, etc without Christianity?

You never know, one day you might give up on the Christian faith, and then what? All those wasted years of helping people and being a good dad - when you could have been an abusive crack-cocaine dealing, alcoholic womaniser.

People claim that it is Jesus who is changing their lives, but I wonder if it is really other people down here on earth who are lending the helping hand. Sometimes people change themselves, don't they?

The Rev said...

Kieren,

First, I have seen and heard more racism here in Melbourne than I ever did in America, way more. Now I am not saying all Melbournians are racist, far from it, but I have been shocked how much is here.

And you can blame my change on whoever you want, but I actually experienced it, and it was Jesus.

the rev

darren said...

wondering how many female speakers participated in teh entire gig, seems fairly male-heavy.

The Rev said...

We had Deb Hirsch FORGE staff in Melbourne, Lindy Croucher director of UNOH in Melbourne, Anthea Smith pastor of Urban Life, Sally Quinn co founder of Green Collect, Raquel Jensen pastor and FORGE associate staff (and my wife), and Naomie from Scipture union.

So I would say we had a pretty good number of female presenters.

the rev

Kieren Green said...

Rev, this is off-topic, but do you believe in a literal 24 hour 6 day creation of the world by God as described in Genesis? Or do you regard the Genesis creation account as allegorical?

The literal belief would also include believing in a literal Adam and Eve and the talking serpent story about the forbidden fruit.

klj said...

Kieren,
What is your motivation here? I love theological debate and there are forums for such. Hell, you could easily create such a forum. But you are not representing your fellow atheists very well at all when you come in here being pugnacious.
I am not a Christian and yet I can come in here and find I have a lot in common with the people who post on this site. I enjoy hearing of their quest to be the best people they can be, even it they go about it differently than I do.
I'm amazed you're still up to this. It should be boring you by now. What whole in your life are you attempting to fill? You make me embarassed to call myself and atheist.

The Rev said...

I am not a young earth creationist, I believe the Genesis account is allegorical, and meant to be read that way. I do not think there needs to be a historical reading, but think there may be one.

I have some interest in the gap theory, but again, I wouldn't say I believe it.

the rev

KenOath said...

Why is it important whether someone is an atheist or not, klj?

I don't see the arguments here as particularly theological. In fact they would concern people from all walks of life.

The cantankerous tone of kieren green's postings could be seen to add an element of "color" to the discussion. But anyway, why not just ignore it if it bothers you and hone in on the underlying message?

The Rev said...

Well first off Keith is my little brother, and as such he has seen my life, and the way I live it, and also loving me as brothers do he doesn't like someone messing with his brother.

Secondly, the cantankerous way in which Kieren expresses himself does make one wonder what his point is. He is obviously not here to converse but rather to insult, and harass.

I hope you find the peace you long for Kieren.

the rev

Rebecca said...

Interesting that you name-drop the blokes, not the women, Rev.

Darren, thanks for noticing.

Kieren Green said...

But Bec, the Rev only mentioned one name in the original post (Mike). Why get sidetracked onto gender balance? That wasn't the point of the Rev's remarks. He was discussing those who had an influence on him. Why would gender matter?

Look, Bec, I hate to see people attack someone like the Rev who is a close personal friend of mine. Also, the Rev is going through some hard times presently, and is particularly sensitive to criticism right now. Give him a break for a while.

Kieren Green said...

I mean, Rev, if I would piss on you if you were on fire. That's what friends are for.

Kieren Green said...

Sorry, I was wrong. Rev mentioned three names. I think my original point still holds though. The "etc" covered the remaining people not specifically mentioned.

The Rev said...

I listed the key note speakers Bec. Though we try over and over to make Deb be one, she refuses.

Kieren, thanks for being willing to pee on me, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

the rev

Kierent Green said...

Good to see you're back on track, Rev. I hope you find the peace you are craving.

Rebecca said...

Rev, there's gotta be women other than Deb out there who could be key speakers.

This isn't really a dig at you or Forge (I'm too scared of KG!) - it's something that most Christians (men and women) are still reallly bad at being aware of. We can talk all we like about gender equality, but as long as Kim Hammond (sorry Kim!) gets up and prays using the word "Father" repeatedly, with not a single non-gender-specific reference to God, all this talk about gender equality is just that - talk.

I'm pretty chilled out about this stuff, probably because my experiences in the church and with men are overwhelmingly positive - but there's plenty of women in my community who are not chilled out about it, and who have struggled to hold on to faith because of these things, and it is they that have made me become even more aware of it. There is a tendency in Christian circles to kind of roll eyes as if people like me are just ranting, raving feminists, but I have seen, over and over again, the very real impacts on women's spirituality that this stuff has.

end rant. ;)

Kieren Green said...

What about all that stuff in the new testament about women deferring to their husbands or being silent in the church, etc. Sure, you can keep re-interpreting it in an attempt to minimise the gender difference, but you can't eliminate the gender bias shown in the text. And the bible itself uses the word father predominately - it does not have a concept of gender neutrality.

Also, aren't there neurological and other subtle differences between the sexes that suggest the "women's liberation" style idealistic approach to gender equality is flawed. Differences such as communication style and interpreting emotional signals.

I'm not excusing the apalling treatment of women in patriarchal religion and society, but isn't there a better way to approach this than adopting the world's ways and the baggage of conflict between the sexes that it brings?

love in an elevator said...

Mmmm so forge is positioned as the cool, progressive ministry at the moment. But if i can just call them on some progressive issue, then i will seem even cooler and more progressive than they are, i will be sooooo cool. And if i can make my self seem edgier and cooler than john (who is pretty cool and edgey) with my comments then i will feel better about myself and improve my self esteem levels and show that i am the real alternative voice of the church. what a plan!!!!

Rebecca said...

Nice one KG. *giggling*

Actually, one of the limits of translation of the Bible into English is the English language's lack of non-gendered pronouns. I'm no theologian, but my understanding was that in Hebrew and Greek, God was often referred to with non-gender specific pronouns. Also, in both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, the Spirit is generally referred to with the feminine pronoun.

That's without even getting start on the clearly feminine metaphors, like the mother hen...

I don't think the fact that Jesus prayed "Our Father" is sufficient justification for the constant use of "Father" in prayer. If people can use both "Father" and "Lord", surely they expand their horizons a little further and include "Creator God"...

I won't ask them to pray to a Mother Hen, that's probably pushing some blokes a bit to far...

Rebecca said...

...love in an elevator...what are you on about?

I hope you are not referring to my comment - I believe Jesus was concerned with sharing the gospel with women too, and the whole point of my post is that some women are feeling pushed out of communities because of this stuff. This isn't about being "cool", it's about ensuring that everyone can meet with Jesus with as few restrictions as possible.

Kieren Green said...

I like what you're saying, Bec, but what about the obvious gender bias that is not a result of mis-translation or limitations of the English language? Please explain that one away too.

Mother Hen, the sky is falling!

Rebecca said...

Kieren - before this goes to far, I should say again that I am no theologian! I haven't read up on this for a while either - it was something I spent a lot of time reading up on about 6 years ago, when I first enountered some of the thinking you're referring to...my upbringing wasn't one in which I'd ever caught any hint of a suggestion that women and men were somehow anything but 100% equal. ;)

Can you give some specific examples? There's heaps of stuff written on Paul's writings...

The stuff about women staying silent in church is related to the fact that women screamed out across the temple at their husbands to explain what was going on - so that one's more about respectful and orderly worship than the relationship between the sexes.

Interpretations will be obviously be different depending on what people mean when they say the Bible is "inspired". I'm not into the idea that the Bible was written word-for-word by God - briefly, I see the Bible as a record of people's experiences with God, so I'm quite comfortable with the notion that Paul was speaking into a particular social context and with his own particular baggage...

Kieren Green said...

If you see the Bible as a record of people's experiences with God, does that mean that you accept other records of people's experiences with God on a par? Alternatively, how do you know the Bible IS such a record, or is as good as alleged alternatives?

Does the Rev have a similar view of the Bible?

Jen Folds said...

As a 28 year old female who has just committed herself to full time ministry, I agree with you girls on the bible stuff but I have to question this statement "the whole point of my post is that some women are feeling pushed out of communities because of this stuff. ". How is this true when the church is now predominantly female in demographics and women are far out numbering men when it comes entering Bible colleges and training to be ministers/pastors? If we don’t address this situation we wont have to have this debate because there will be no men left in church.

darren said...

KG, it's hard to figure out where you're coming from so cant figure out the sarcasm and humour from the seriousness of your comments...

John, cheers for the names of the women involved, but I still wonder why all the publicity material I've seen for the gigs, including the ones listed in the latest catalyst newsletter only use male names to publicise the training.

not being critical, just noticing...

Rebecca said...

KG - those are tough questions, and you'll have to ask the Rev what he thinks, I can't speak for him. Those questions are better served by a conversation than a post on a blog, but VERy briefly - I believe God acts through human agency, so I am happy to trust, to an extent, the collective wisdom of humanity through the ages, so I accept things like the Creeds and the Bible as canonical literature. I don't think that all texts are the same, and there's not as much debate within Christianity as within Judaism about the content of the Bible (though of course there are differences in the Catholic and Protestant bibles, which may or may not be due to the different traditions emerging from the Greek and Hebrew, but...) So - Jesus is God living among us, the Bible is a sacred collection of sacred texts, and the Holy Spirit works through the whole mess...or something like that. :)

Jen - I don't think it's as simple as you make out. I'm a lawyer, and women far out number men as law students, but we've still got the reverse in the profession, and it's worse the higher up you go. I suspect it's probably the same for ordained ministers.

And yes, the church is predominantly female in demographics, but if you look at things like how we worship (lots of words) and how we make decisions, they are models of communicating that most political theorists would say are very western and very masculine in their orientation.

Jen Folds said...

I was not being simplistic at all Bec. The reason that so many people as you say higher up in the law profession is simply a reflection of who was going to law school 20-30 years ago, in ten years there will be a sea change. It will be the same in minstry, men are burning out and leaving the pastoral vocation in droves. In fact is actually the theological convservative pentecostals who are attracting the most female leaders despite the posturing of liberal denominations as to their theological feminism (mostly sprouted by men in mainline denominations i would aslo add) . In fact also the pentecostals have the most non-anglo leaders as well. I would totally disagree with you about worship. The contemporary form of praise and worship as well as small group worship is very female orientated. And as for politcal theorists and masculine language, in a post feminist environment this also refects a previous paradigm under which the ground has shifted.

The Rev said...

Yes that is pretty close to my view of scripture.

Bec,

Has anyone mocked you about your prayer before? One time I heard someone mock the Calvary Chapel folk for their style of praying. They use Father, Lord, Jesus every other word. After hearing that I became more self conscious about how I was praying, and couldn't really focus on God. Now I mainly relate to God as Father, or Lord. When I pray I pray from the heart and don't write them out before hand. I think its a bit much to have people analyzing their prayers.

Now I see much that would be "feminine" about God, and have no problem with your ideas, but they are not in my practice. Why it is even an issue is beyone me. If Jesus said father over and over again, that is what I learned to do, from following Jesus.

As to the speakers, Deb Hirsch keeps us trying to make the balance as equal as possible, but perhaps you can tell me one female that is as recognizable as McClaren, Frost, or Hirsch in Melbourne? Now add to that the specific of practioner in an emerging church context, and then get them to agree to do it.

I am actually a bit offended by the whole thing when we are bending over backwards to get more women involved, giving women coaches much more responsibility, and having women speakers as often as possible. Heck they even had my teenaged, american, daughter give a brief speach at the national summit last july. In a church world dominated by men, we are doing our best to right the balance.

the rev

The Rev said...

And i did say a bit, not a lot.

the rev

Rebecca said...

Jen - the writers I was referring to are not feminist writers. I came across them when studying discursive democracy. They often look at the political process, or legal processes, and show how things like parliamentary process or the burden of proof basically discriminates against non-Western ways of doing things. I think a lot of what they say applies to the church as well.

But more importantly...Rev! I really, really did not mean to mock anyone, and apologise *profusely* if it came across as such.

I reacted when I heard the word "Father", and I don't normally, so for that reason I noted my reaction and have thought about it a lot. I do see it as significant, because in my own community, I'm often the one telling the women to chill out a little and go easy on the blokes that use gender-specific language. :)

There's a difference between private, personal prayer, and someone leading a communal prayer. On one end of the spectrum we have the problem of overly self-conscious prayer - a "performed prayer". But on the other, we have prayer that is so unconscious of others that it marginalises them. There has to be a happy medium. I do not feel that using gender specific terms constantly is a happy medium. It is *not* too much to have people analysing prayers - it's actually quite important. Personally I think it can be quite insightful too - sometimes it's only after realising what I've prayed that I realise what God's trying to reveal to me, or what my preconceived ideas are, or...

Rev - again, without wanting to mock *anyone*, for that is not my intention - why are these ideas not your practice? Is it because you don't know women who've been well and truly marginalised by gender-specific language? Why do people find it so radical to think about using non-gendered language? I can guarantee that if a chick had got up and prayed that prayer, and had constantly referred to God as "she", then people would have reacted. So why is it ok to constantly refer to God in the masculine?

Re: speakers...I totally understand. I struggle with this issue myself. I am constantly the one woman in things, and I struggle to get female writers...but we need to keep trying.

As for the need for speakers to be "recognizable"...aren't we supposed to be about subverting Empire? ;P

Look, I am not meaning to mock, or criticise anyone here - it's merely something I noticed, that got to me a bit, and clearly there was at least one other person - Darren - who noticed it too.

Jen Folds said...

Bec,

I almost choked on my dinner when i read this
"the burden of proof basically discriminates against non-Western ways of doing things. I think a lot of what they say applies to the church as well."

I am sorry but I am a non-western woman, my father is half- english half Kenyan and my mother is of Indian decent although she was also born in Kenya. Before I came to Australia I spent a year in the UK where i attended a liberal Church of England. We were constantly feed by normally white males and some females the whole inclusive langauge debate and told how non-inclusive pentecostals and evangelicals were of women and people of colour. Despite all this rhetoric our church was all white people with university degrees. White liberals always talk about how they want to accept nonwestern people and women yet their church leadership is always mostly men. When i came to Australia I joined a conservative pentecostal church and found that although the rhetoric was not there they practiced inclusivity and our church is full of women leaders and white people are in the minority, it is time that white european women stopped telling us what they learnt in University courses and left us to run our own lives. I am sorry if i am raving on here but i found your email a bit condscending. You critize male dominated power forms and tell us what you learnt in the academy! Do you not see the irony here. When i did attend a couple of sessions at forge intensive back in 99 i found it far more honest and engaging and accepting than when liberals patronize my and try and include me because they are so excited to have finally met a young black woman leader. Instituional rascism can really ruin your day.

The Rev said...

First off Bec, didn't say you were mocking, I just thought that my story was a great way to look at the situation. Again, you were not mocking, this was a completely different situation.

Second, I do not like performed prayers. I pray like I lead worship, I connect with God, and you are included because you are there, but I do nothing with you in mind. I would never talk to you thinking about what Dan or Jen were thinking about my words. I find it pretentious and dishonest to do so.

Third, if you prayed to mother God, I wouldn't blink an eye. What others do is not my concern, but if they had a hard time I would tell them to get over it.

Fourth, the bible is full of gender specific language, and therefore I have learned to look at God as my Father, not as my mother. Though God is a Spirit, not a body, and therefore has not male genitalia, the one I follow, Jesus (also unfortunatley a man :) ) called God His Father over and over again. Paul did as well. If women find that offensive then I think that is something they have to deal with. I find it offensive when I read about the genocide in the Old Testement, but I have to deal with it.

As to the notoriety of the speakers, I agree one hundred percent. But I am over ruled. Apparently the people in charge actually think that getting more people to the open nights will help us to spread the nets wider and bring in income that helps us fund our internship which get to help people actually do ministry.

Now the problem I have with most of this stuff is that it never seems to be enough. We have women pastors, leaders, and presenters. We discriminate not at all. And now I am not allowed to call God my Father? I don't care if you call God your mother. The political correctness thing can be taken too far.

As a blokey man, I am tired of being made to feel guilty for being myself. I encourage my daughters, I make way for female leaders, and endorse female leadership whenever I can. I also like to wrestle, drink beer, and grunt like an animal. The modern politically correct movement feminizes men, and I don't want to be feminized. If gals want to act more masculine, and men want to act more feminine fine, go for it. But I am tired of feeling guilty for being a man.

the rev

Kieren Green said...

I find myself agreeing with you, Rev. Hear, Hear!

Rebecca said...

Jen - there isn't really anywhere I can go with that. You say that institutional racism can really ruin your day, and yet then explain your background...there isn't really anywhere I can go with that. I can't dispute your experience - it's yours. However personally, I have found some of the theories of discursive democracy incredibly insightful when I've then thought about them in relation to how we run church services, and how we make decisions.

For example, most churches - whether via committees or the entire membership - would have a vote in order to make a decision, right? This isn't what would occur in many societies, which would instead sit and talk about it for hours and hours and hours.

We ran a series of seminars on reconciliaton recently - I was fascinated to find how frustrated I was by how long some of the Aboriginal people took to tell their stories. I saw others struggling with these even more than I. I've also experienced this in the Solomons - I have a very Western, directional way of thinking, and can really struggle to be patient and sit with things, waiting for them to emerge via story telling.

I also think that the whole sermon thing is quite culturally biased. This isn't to say that non-western people don't get anything out of it, but it's interesting to think about whether that's because non-western people have adopted western ways of doing church. I don't have any answers to this stuff - it's just some of the stuff I've been thinking about over the years. Of course, the whole idea of a sermon isn't just culturally-biased in the sense of it fitting within what would be traditionally regarded as a Western masculine way of speaking - it doesn't really work for a lot of people in the postmodern context either.

For the record, I wouldn't question your experience in liberal and pentecostal churches. It's something my own progressive church can be guilty of...but then p'raps it's just because we're so overly aware of our own biases. :)

K, I'll respond to the Rev in another post...

Rebecca said...

Rev...

1. Cool...I thought you were saying I was mocking, and I was horrified, because I certainly didn't intend to!

2. I wasn't talking about "performed prayers", I thought I made it clear...?? I was merely contrasting private prayer, or prayer with a small group of people, and leading prayer. I do think that they're very different. I think that lead prayer can alienate and stand in the way of people connecting with God, or it can draw them closer to God. I think we need to be aware of how we lead worship, prayer included - it is not just for us, but for others as well. There are songs I would like to sing in church, but don't use, because I know they push people's buttons (and yes, there's a point where people have to get over themselves, but it's also necessary to be considerate of every person's journey). Similarly, I will think about what I'm going to pray for, and the language I will use, for the audience I am with. I don't think that this has to be as artificial, ingenuine and "performed" as you suggest - we all do it to a greater or lesser extent, because we're social beings.

I choose the music, visuals, lighting carefully when I think about a service and when I'm leading it - why not consider the words, too?

I would suggest that if you started using other words for God, it would seem artificial at first, but over time you might find that they are a really helpful way of breaking down barriers, expanding your understanding of God, and would draw you into a deeper relationship with the Creator. Language is a wonderful thing like that. :)

3. There is a place for telling people to get over it...I have told women that before, but sometimes I don't. I wouldn't tell an indigenous Australian to "get over it" if visuals of Jesus used in a service were all white. Similarly, I wouldn't tell a woman who has been terribly hurt by men to "get over it" if she was upset by the imagery that the use of the word "Father" created for her. I really appreciate where you're coming from, there's a place for people to move on (because it damages them if they don't), but I don't think that *generally* (generally!!) it's the place of a bloke to tell a woman to "get over it", just like it's not my place as a white, tertiary educated, middle class kid to tell an indigenous Australian to "get over it". I stress that I say *generally* and that I am just using *examples* here.

4. I tend to think of God as masculine, and that's never been particularly unhelpful for me, but I know it has been for a lot of people I know. For that reason alone I have been more careful about how I speak and pray in public spaces, and in doing so, I have personally found that my view of God has expanded enormously. I also find it helpful to use words like "Creator" and "Yahweh" - they are words that, unlike "God", "Lord" and "Father", don't have so many connotations and steretoypes attached, and by using them, we can actually find more of the mystery and wonder of God.

The gender specific language in the Bible has a lot to do with the limitations of the ENGLISH language, and limitations of language generally. God cannot be encompassed by mere words, and so we must use many words in order to encompass more of who God is.

Finally - guilt is a waste of time. I don't feel guilty for being a white, female, middle-class, tertiary educated person. It's who I am, and there's nothing I can do about it. Guilt is destructive - if I feel guilty, it is a sign to me that I am not doing enough to address inequality. I can't change who I am, but I can change what I do with the advantages that social systems may have conferred upon me because of my personal characteristics.

Rebecca said...

btw - Rev, in case I haven't already made it very, very clear, I think you're a very, very good bloke. :)

Rebecca said...
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Rebecca said...
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Rebecca said...

man, i should try and get things right before I post them...

ummm, Jen...

I had no idea who you were until you posted your background. I'm really sorry if you felt that I was condescending. From the passion in your post, I obviously unintentionally hit some sore spots. I'm really sorry for any hurt caused, but as I said, it was unintentional.

However, there's some pretty full-on accusations directed at me in your post, and they hurt.

I am now retreating, licking my wounds, and seeking comfort in the fact that my friends have never accused me of being a condescending white european woman who essentialises people and sprouts abstract notions she's learnt in the academy without thinking critically about how they might work out in reality...

Kieren Green said...

Phillip Yancey describes guilt as a gift (in "rumours of another world").

Far from being a waste of time, it is an essential attribute of humans as moral actors.

Rebecca said...

KG, guilt is a gift if we heed it as a signal that something's not quite right. To stay in that place is not healthy.

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

Long time away, so I'm going back aways.
The reason I bitch about Kieren is that he spends a-lot of time starting fights based on assumptions and/or just coming out of left field and it's obnoxious.
When a discussion actually gets going his contributions can be interesting but he has trouble not making personal attacks which naturally lead one to believe he has personal issues.
That the attacks are based on his inaccurate assumptions about my brother, who I know as a sincere, passionate and introspective person it's annoying.
As far as why I labeled myslef or him as an atheist, it was so that he didn't think my disagreement re; his methods was really a desagreement with his supposed message.

Great conversation going here though. I like it.

Kieren Green said...

KLJ, do you think there any reasons at all to believe? Is atheism the better alternative?

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

I don't think this is the appropriate thread for that conversation. Feel free to contact me if it's a conversation you'd value, though I'm guessing it's more a conversation your dying to have publicly, for everyone elses benefit rather than for your own.

Jen Folds said...

No stress Bec,

sorry if you felt hurt. I did not mean to direct my rant at you personally. I just get frustrated by with Western women always telling me how to think ( I am not including you). For me politcal correctness is just the latest fad in a long line of european thought patterns that people who are not white are forced to accept by the west. western people's concept of tolerance is often deeply rooted in intolerance when it comes to other world views. Most of my Muslim friends in Kenya are far more angry at the West's concept of politcal correctness than they are of George Bush's policies who although is hated is also sort of admired as a man of strength. Anways time to go, no offence Bec. You sound nice and sorry if i offended you in my ramblings. ah all's well that ends well. now for a herbal tea...:-)

Alan Hirsch said...

Jen Folds, thanks for a highly refreshing take on the whole gender and stifling 'pc' thing. A breath of fresh air in the blogosphere.

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

"Most of my Muslim friends in Kenya are far more angry at the West's concept of politcal correctness than they are of George Bush's policies who although is hated is also sort of admired as a man of strength."

I have trouble buying that.
The political correct movement is a good movement taken too far by some people. Anyone who really understood the main drive behind the movement would not push their beliefs on Muslim women but would rather try to respect their culture and individual choices.
I feel the backlash against the PC movement was the bigger problem. People being racist, sexist jerks and then saying, "Oh sorry, guess I wasn't 'Politically Correct?'" (and doing those annoying finger quote things).
But mainly I just can't hear Muslim women admiring Bush as a man of strength, no matter how hard I try to suspend disbelief.

Rebecca said...

Thankyou KLJ.

I'm sick of the term "PC" being used to shut down debate.

Jen, I 110% agree with you that there can be a deep rooted intolerance in "the West" - I regularly get pretty angry about statements (express or implied) that the "solution" to "fundamentalism" is to "impose liberal democracy".

BUT - all societies have norms which, to a greater or lesser extent, it's not acceptable to break. Those statements which we would label "politically correct" are norms over which theres much competition. To suggest that "political correctness" (whatever that is - I think it's difficult to define) is a product of "the West" is like saying that "law" is a product of the West. Which is just plain silly - us white european women in the academy realised that there was law in all societies a long time ago. :)

The Rev said...

and I am sick of my lack of pc verbage used to make me seem like a knuckle dragging trogladyte

The pc crowd has caused this reaction by taking things too far. Sir Bob Geldorf in Attitude Chicken goes so far as to say, "the politically correct are the nazis of our time"

Now ofcourse that is artistic overstatement. But the suggestion from the pc people is that if I say retarded instead of mentally challenged, I do not care for these beautiful people. The suggestion is if I don't use a non gender specific name for God, or if I do not make equal feminine names when I pray in public that I am somehow not appreciating the contribution of the feminine in the God head, is social facism.

Should we show sensitivity yes, but Bec on another thread on another blog you admitted that you are prejudiced against americans, that you try not to be but you just can't help it. Well as an american, I could get offended, or I could say, well, "there are some good reasons to be, and I hope I am not contributing to that" And accept the fact that you treat me with respect, and love regardless of you racist soul. :)

I will point out, that you are on of very few Aussies that I have met that actually admit these feelings, and try to deal with them. I have heard some shocking statement that were followed by, but I love americans, or the equally endearing, "but not you, you're different"

love ya bec

the rev

Rebecca said...

"but Bec on another thread on another blog you admitted that you are prejudiced against americans, that you try not to be but you just can't help it"

I'm glad you love me Rev. ;)

BUT - that's taken way out of context. I actually said that I recognised my prejudice, and that I was trying to do something about it. That comment on another thread was a confession.

Rev, this is not about being PC or otherwise. This is actually about caring about behaviour and language that can marginalise, exclude, and create stumbling blocks. If we recognise that we are doing something that does any of those things, then there's no excuse for not doing something about it.

I am not proud of my biases re: Americans, and I am working on that one, and I'm happy to say that I think I'm winning the battle. Similarly, once we recognise that gender specific language is theologically unsound, and might create hurt, then we should do something to remedy that.

I'm somewhat bemused that my suggestion that people make an effort to use gender-inclusive language caused such a stir. Jen's experience with Forge is not the same as mine - I get a lot out of attending Forge events and hanging out with you and other Forge people, but I also hear a lot of language that I *know* highly offends many women I know, who refuse to get involved in the emerging church movement as a result. Now, this language is (a) theologically unjustifiable, (b) hurting people, and (c) actually creating a barrier to people getting more involved in the emerging church movement.

I really do believe that there is a difference between private and public worship - both for sociological reasons, and for theological ones (ie tongues - presumably we can speak in tongues to our hearts content in private, but there should be translation in the public space. Similarly, the direction for women to be silent is clearly about orderly, respectful worship).

When we lead prayer - or any form of worship - in community, in public, our words must come from the heart but must also be thoughtful for other's experiences of that worship. There's no more excuse for consistently (nb I said consistently) referring to God as "Father" than there is for having an art exhibition that contains only images of Jesus or God as a blond haired, blue-eyed bloke. Both are public, both represent only a very, very small aspect of God's nature, and that nature is biased in a way that might negatively effect those whom are supposed to be able to engage in that public worship.

The Rev said...

Perhaps you are reading a different bible than I am Bec, but Jesus calls God his father over and over and over again. And Jesus was also male. So the idea that gender specific language is not theologically supportable is in my mind absolutely ridiculous. There are many that are offended by our assertion that Jesus is the only way to the Father, should we change that as well? I really don't think the radical feminist agenda is worth catering to, just as I think the current chest thumping promis keepers stuff is inline either.

Now I understand the pain and anquish someone may deal with when their father was a molester, or even just a vebally abusive person. And I understand why they struggle with an image of God as Father, but I can think of many reasons why just about everything will offend someone.

So I don't care if you pray to your heavenly mother, why do you care if I pray to my heavenly father? Sounds a bit sexist to me.

Oh and I thought I put your comment about americans in context, if not I apologize.

the rev

Rebecca said...

Rev, there's a lot of words used to describe God in the Bible, 'Father' is but one of them. I'm not saying we can't call God 'Father' - I'm just saying that perhaps we should supplement this with other words as well.

I generally use the word "Creator God" in preference to "Mother God" (which I don't think I've ever used) or "Father God". It goes beyond gender, something which is helpful for blowing apart our human tendency to box God.

As for the issue of Jesus' gender...surely you're not suggesting that we can conclude anything from that?

What exactly would you define as the rad fem agenda? I don't believe that any rad fem would regard me as one! *laughs*

KLJ said...

"Rev, this is not about being PC or otherwise. This is actually about caring about behaviour and language that can marginalise, exclude, and create stumbling blocks. If we recognise that we are doing something that does any of those things, then there's no excuse for not doing something about it."

To me this is the very definition of PC. You're not against PC your against stupidity. It's like Punk. You might hate what's being sold as punk on the radio and in the mall, but at it's core, punk is awesome and ya dig it, at least I do. And I love the idea of being sensitive to the strengths of words. I want to know how what is considered offensive to other people, it's allowed me to make more friends (and also to offend more people, when that's the goal.)

Rebecca said...

KLJ - yeah, ok, you're right. ;) I guess I was using the term "PC" as a dirty word for a moment there (the very thing I rail against!)

"I love the idea of being sensitive to the strengths of words"...I like the way you put that. If we're trying to be Jesus with skin on, then our words matter...

Rebecca said...

BTW - Happy International Women's Day everyone! ;)