I was out browsing the web the other morning and this pop-up ad appeared on one of the sites I visited. I tried to ignore it. I found myself thinking, “No … I don’t wish I was there. I wish I had that body.” Yeah, well … if I ever did have a body like that, I never will again. Not even close. No matter what I do. Gravity and time have removed the possibility. I wondered why it is that having such a body is so important. I have the body I was born with. It’s healthy and never given me too much trouble. So why do I think I need something else?
It made me think about the hoo-raw in the blogosphere over a certain pastor on the west coast and his ill-thought out words about pastor’s wives letting themselves go in the aftermath of the Ted Haggard incident. In the main, I think that this pastor is somewhat of a lightening rod. He prefers it this way. He loves the spotlight and attention given him when he uses his potty-mouth. Somewhat like a small child, negative attention is better than nothing at all. He stirs the pot and people run around waving their arms and calling for his dismissal. It’s standard fare. Yes, his paradigm is harmful to women. It is. There is no doubt. But we cannot change that. We can’t make him change his stripes.
There are two places my thoughts about all of this have gone. The first is that I’ve continued down the path of wondering how one goes about forgiving those who do not repent. This pastor is not ever going to recant or turn from saying the words he said. He doesn’t think they are wrong. In his paradigm of how the world works, they are not. We can’t expect an apology for wrong thinking from someone who doesn’t think he is. If I have been hurt or offended by him, how do I go about forgiving him? How exactly does that work?
I started to think more deeply tho, about how that paradigm is harmful to women. And to men. We talk in the Christian community about how the male-female issue is not central to issues of the faith, therefore we need to let our brothers and sisters who believe differently alone. I’m beginning to question that philosophy tho. Because the Traditional/ Complementarian point of view (that is that women are subject to men) is harmful to women and ultimately it is harmful to men as well. I read this post on a blog I follow regularly and couldn’t help but wonder who was served by the Traditionalist viewpoint that was being lived out. This is not a healthy relationship by any measure and both the woman and the man are being harmed by paradigm they are living in. So while this may not be an issue central to the faith, I have to wonder, if it is harming brothers and sisters, oughtn’t we to be doing more to protect them? I’m just not so sure anymore …
If we as a community are called to be the Body of Christ, called to continue his mission, then that means we are called to continue the ministry he announced in Luke 4:18. We are called to set the captives free. I believe that means observing who in our society are captives. Who is being constrained in our communities because of the accident of race, gender or class? What can we do to redeem that? There are paradigms which are wrong and cause harm. Which cause captives to remain captive and strain against their chains. So just what do we do with that?