President Jimmy Carter & Women in Ministry
I am once again happy to see that President Jimmy Carter is in the news. But not for his political views. At least not concerning the U.S. Government. But his views as far as the Church are concerned. He has been a member of the Southern Baptist for many decades. After (60) sixty years he has taken an adamant , publicly visible stand and decided to part company. He does not subscribe to many of their doctrinal beliefs.
There is a belief among the leadership of the Southern Baptist clergy that women are to be restricted and forbidden to be ordained. They in fact believe that our position as women is to basically appease our husbands, be subservient and attend to the non leadership issues that arise as a subordinate. I have always found this interesting. I have in the past regularly attended their services. But have always been concerned with this very issue. As women you can participate in the “Women’s Ministry” teach Sunday School, work with the youth , usher, talk about the Lord but you cannot become an ordained minister.
I find this so very interesting because this does not only exist in the Southern Baptist it existed among the Traditional Baptist as well where we attended FAITHFULLY and generouly supported for many years. It has changed among Baptist somewhat in some places. But there is a definite discrimination that takes place I know this firsthand. To keep women in their place or else. You can be a Minister at home? The C.M.E. Methodist have allowed women to the forefront because they are losing ground and dwindling in numbers. They allow women to become ordained but are still quite controlling. The male clergy in general tend to be very ritualistic, condescending and dominating they allow women to participate by doing the things they deem appropiate.
Is it not God that calls us or anyone for that matter to ministry? Is He not “a respecter of persons?” The Word says “He will pour out His Spirit on ALL flesh.” Male or female! Did not the Lord use a donkey to speak to Balaam his prophet who was overcome by his love for the world and money? Balaam according to the Word taught Balak “to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and commit sexual immorality…” ( See Revelations 2) Balaam allowed himself to be used by baal and caused 24,000 people to be killed. The point is; The Lord can use whomever He pleases. Certainly if the Lord used a donkey to warn his prophet of his sudden death if he continued to proceed; He can use women inside or outside of the walls? I could go on but my point is God never intended for the Church to just be housed in a building of brick and mortar. The building is a dedicated place to come to gather or assemble! God’s Church is the Universal Church of believers who are people throughout the world from every tongue and nation.
I can testify first hand to the underhanded discrimination and outright mistreatment of women within the Church that President Jimmy Carter is standing “UP” for! If you choose to participate then you must subject yourself to the whims of the “man in charge!” Who makes it clear that it is his call and vision you serve? I have personally found it to be true what President Carter stated in his essay
“At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.”
And, later said
“The truth is that male religious leaders have had — and still have — an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. “
When I finished Seminary there was no women being ordained in ministry within our congregation. You could teach Sunday School, be a clerk, become a Trustee, or sing in the choir, or be a Deaconess? There was only one ordained female minister in the whole entire city that I knew of at the time. She had at one time been the choir director but was not allowed to sit in the pulpit were we worshipped whenever she returned to visit. It has changed to some degree. But many of the same chauvinistic issues are still there. It was not out in the open most of the time for all to see. I was just blacklisted and overlooked and labeled. Hmm like jealous, unyielding, wanting to be… as well as unteachable, self serving and …. which is so far from the Truth!
To some degree a few of my supposed “sisters” in the Lord were used to oppress me and make sure I was limited since I did not bow to the authority to the “man in charge.” They were used as examples to me and show me what was possible if I went along with the head. But they could do as they pleased because they would do whatever it took even if it included … Of course I could participate in the “Women’s Ministry.” And yes many would seek me for counseling still. But there was a definite unspoken no to limit me in ministry. So I calmly protested silently. Instead I opted to support my own husband within the ministry and just made a point to Worship and Praise the Lord in “Spirit and in TRUTH.” They were vigilante in their efforts to isolate and discredit me. No doubt my husband was also penalized within ministry because of my position. I can boldly say I have acquired much Patience and have great Peace knowing that the Lord knows my sincere intentions as well as the TRUTH!
After I graduated seminary I was ordained by the University’s Chancellor who confirmed my call. Who too wanted me to support him and just become his assistant. Therefore my husband and I continued to attend were we worshipped for a while faithfully and eventually founded and embraced the concept of “Ministry Beyond The Walls.” It is so true “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is LIBERTY.” I say this because I know first hand. I have lived it! But through it all my fervor, steadfastness, personal and public love for the Lord and devotion has grown tremendously! I can truly say I love the Lord more each day. Their oppressiveness just showed me where I did not want to be. I even tried to support those who wanted to participate in the “Center Stage ” of it all. (That is another story in itself) I also realize that once we ALL have completed this course of life we will have to give an account to the Lord for our actions. Praise God!
Therefore I applaud President Jimmy Carter for taking such a noble Stand. As a woman I hold ALL of the Lord’s Word dear to my heart. Inside and outside the walls. I can say that I love being “His child” and a Minister of His GOSPEL! No need to sit in a high chair. I Peter says; “… For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. Wives , likewise, be submissive to your own hubands, that even if some do not obey the WORD, they without a word,may ne won over by the conduct of the wives, when they Observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear…”
I love this scripture because I know who my Shepherd is. “The Lord is My SHEPHERD!” I have no problem with authority! I have no problem with submitting when it does not go against the Lord ‘s Word as well as obeying the laws of the land! If you read the passage of scripture in I PETER slowly again it says to be subject to your own husband not everyone else’s! Think about that for a moment. When Peter refers to us as the “weaker” vessel this is not at all to infer that we are weaker Spiritually. Ephesians assures us “We can be Strong in the Lord and the Power of HIS…..”
The Bible speaks of the women as the “weaker” vessel because we are built differently and naturally tend to be more emotional. I love being a woman and all it entails! If you listen closely you will see that this is a position of STRENGTH as we embrace self control we are able to do this through His Holy Spirit! When a husband does not obey the Lord you can win him over… Without even speaking if need be. The husband prayers are hindered when he mistreats his wife… Read this passage slowly and again if necessary. This is Powerful! By the way this does not mean using manipulation! God truly is awesome!
We live in a nation and a world that is constantly shifting away from God’s principles and many within God’s Church have enlisted and embraced worldly ways, concepts and methods in their attempts to control and dominate God’s people! Lord Help US!
Therefore I applaud President Jimmy Carter because he has brought an issue to the Light that many skirt or avoid. The question for Carter — and for others who find themselves at odds with leadership — is, when a group you’re deeply involved in starts to move away from your own core beliefs, do you stay and try to change from within or, at some point, do you have to look for the exit?
This is the question that each individual must deal with it may be considered spiritual suicide to go against the ideology of an organized religion. But when you really think about it this is how and why we have so many denominations! Some things will just not be understood on this side of HEAVEN! Protesting by sitting down or moving away from oppression can help you move closer to a growing rewarding inner satisfying relationship with the Lord. It frees you to live each and every day for the Lord! Especially when you know that Christ is not coming back for a church made by hands. But He is coming back for HIS CHURCH! Because according to the Lord’s Word there is still “One Lord, One Faith … and One Church which by the way belongs to Him! To GOD Be The GLORY!
PORNography is Growing Within The Christian Community
Pornography is one of the most prevalent social problems we are facing today. There is a great concern in regards to the rate pornography is growing within the Christian Community. It is happening from the pulpit to the pew. The number of individuals and families that have been directly or indirectly impacted is rapidly growing. The issue continues to snowball because to some degree, on many levels it is initially accepted. In some instances it is considered to be a passing fad or on the other hand it is simply ignored. Pornography is dangerous and erodes the moral fiber of one’s character. If you know someone who is involved in pornography please don’t wait, encourage them to get help now! Since it is so readily accessible it can overtake and often consume the life of those who partake in it. Pornography is really quite selfish. It can impair and shatter the life and self esteem of the addict’s spouse and robs the relationship of trust, significance and security. It also can cause a carnal spirit to hover over the household which invites much spiritual warfare.
The internet has a plethora of pornographic sites that are launched every day. The images seduce the captive audience of one or more into an underground world of self-indulgent decadence. Seeking fulfillment in strip clubs, compulsive eating and or cyberspace clubs. There is much research available to substantiate that it is a growing addiction phenomenon for many. Pornography has various levels from soft to hard porn to… At what point is it harmful? Here are some questions to ask or think about. If you can answer yes to any of these you need to really get help.
Do you keep secrets about your sexual or romantic activities from those important to you? Do you lead a double life?
Have your needs driven you to have sex in places or situations or with people you would not normally choose?
Do you find yourself looking for sexually arousing articles or scenes in newspapers, magazines, or other media?
Do you find that romantic or sexual fantasies interfere with your relationships or are preventing you from facing problems?
Do you frequently want to get away from a sex partner after having sex? Do you frequently feel remorse, shame, or guilt after a sexual encounter?
Do you feel shame about your body or your sexuality?
Does each new relationship continue to have the same destructive patterns which prompted you to leave the last relationship?
Is it taking more variety and frequency of sexual and romantic activities than previously to bring the same levels of excitement and relief?
Does your pursuit of sex or romantic relationships interfere with your spiritual beliefs or development?
Do your sexual activities include the risk, threat, or reality of disease, pregnancy, coercion, or violence?
Has your sexual or romantic behavior ever left you feeling hopeless?
Are you unable to properly relate to your spouse and there is a physical void in the relationship?
Recently in the news it was announced that we have many teens who are now starting to do what is called “sextexting.” For too long the subjects of adultery, fornication, immorality, infidelity, incest, same sex relationships , sex outside of marriage….. have merely slid under the Christian radar. This is getting to be a little frightening. This should send us all a clear warning! The porn addict spends endless hours absorbing images of an unrealistic unattainable idealistic fantasy via the internet or videos. It is a billion dollar industry. Unknowingly these images have become their little god. Which really is a form of idolatry. It impacts not only the addict but the family as well just like any other addiction.
There are many deeper unresolved issues here. Quite often something that happened in childhood has resurfaced in the addicts mind. The emotional pain has fermented and pornography becomes a destructive outlet. Dealing with someone who has an addictive personality can be overwhelming and or quite devastating. You are really often dealing with an out of control child encased in an adult body. They want what they want, when they want it. It is difficult for them to delay self gratification. They will do whatever it takes to satisfy their insatiable desire. It is often difficult for them to see that they are so unreasonably demanding and controlling. An intervention is constructive, warranted and often necessary in order to begin the path to recovery.
Talking about sexual issues openly and honestly will help dispel a lot of the rumors, myths and inappropriate behavior that has gone on and on… Education is key. No one really often wants to really come out and discuss or say; what God has to say, for fear of being perceived as too religious or judgmental. If you are a believer, one surely knows that absolutely nothing happens anywhere or at anytime that God is not aware of. For example let’s look at I Samuel 1. Eli who was a priest had two sons Hophni & Phinehas whose behaviors were simply outright outrageous. They were disobedient, humiliated and slept with the women who came to the Tabernacle for help. The Bible says they were wicked, “corrupt sons who did not know the Lord.” They were warned as to what would happen. They twisted their privileges in order to satisfy their flesh. Eli did not discipline his sons properly. When he tried to correct them they totally disrespected him. They displayed that same disrespect towards God …. They had established a pattern of sexual abuse that needed to be broken. But look, on the other hand Hannah had dedicated her first born son Samuel to the Lord. Samuel came up in the very same household along with Eli’s sons. Hannah had brought him to Eli. Samuel at a very young age ministered before the Lord and grew spiritually. Despite what was going on about Samuel, the Lord intervened and he grew in “stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men.” (For more details of this narrative read I Samuel 1-3) What a contrast.
If you want to break a cycle of abuse, dysfunction or addiction, you have to do something differently than what you are already doing. If your “helping is not helping then you are not helping.” Addiction needs to be replaced with a healthy productive activity. It is important that we help subsequent generations not to fall prey to these destructive behaviors. DON’T continue to sweep things under the rug. The enemy always tries to subvert and corrupt what God intends. Absolutely nothing gets by God! Sexual sin is not a new problem. There is power in the blood of Jesus! Let’s really begin to ask and seek the Lord’s direction “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” All of God’s Word is true!
Less seminars, workshops, programs and more practical application of God’s Word implemented within our daily lives. All too often when issues arise God’s way for resolve is totally disregarded. Less excuses such as “Nobody’s perfect.” Yes, this is a truism; but God tells us to continue to strive for His perfection! Perfection according to Webster means: 1: the quality or state of being perfect: as a: freedom from fault or defect : flawlessness b: maturity c: the quality or state of being saintly 2 a: an exemplification of supreme excellence b: an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence3: the act or process of perfecting. God’s perfection brings wholeness. God would not tell us to do something if it were not possible. To be a Christian means to commit to live in the WAY that pleases God!
God really is able! Marriage and the family were created by God from the very beginning. It was originally designed so that He would be the central theme of our existence. Since He created us He really does know what is best. He gave us healthy boundaries so we could learn discipline. So remember what He says in Jude: “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who will divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit…
God intended that your physical sexual needs were to be met within the confines of the “undefiled marriage bed.” Otherwise it is like “fire outside of the fireplace.” God loves you so much that He allows you the freedom to choose. It is evident that many choose to do “their own thing.” But, are the consequences really worth it? Think about it! Everywhere you are He is, everything you do or have done, He knows! There is a very significant security available to you when you choose to make His will and WAY your primary concern! Repentance is possible but first one must recognize that there is sin. Sin is missing the mark. Take some time to get refocused. A conscious that is sensitive to God is precious. You can be set free from any addiction. God has called us to live differently. He has given us healthy boundaries in order to properly satisfy any personal needs which can be experienced within the sanctity of marriage. He can fill that void.
God always has a better way but too often the ways of the world have taken His place. Healing and restoration are possible. Take some time for a spiritual cleansing. Seeking Him through His Word one really can find rest and peace for the wearied soul. God has left us a marvelous wealth of knowledge and examples within His Word to help us to avoid the pitfalls and consequences of partaking in fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. Read the writings of the Song of Solomon its beauty and honesty shows a balanced contrast to the sexual perversions of this age.
Begin being consistently accountable to someone for your actions and developing self control which is part of the Fruit of His Spirit. Someone who has healthy boundaries and knows the importance of not walking in the flesh but walking in the Spirit. Prayer and fasting are valuable tools. You can rededicate your life to sexual purity. You really can experience a growing healthy self esteem as a result of walking closer to the Lord.
I realize that this subject will not win a popularity contest. It may even cause a few jaws to drop. But at this point I have come to the conclusion that it is much more important “what Gods knows rather than what people think.” Especially when you know that He knows there is “no secret agenda.” My intentions are to shed Light where the darkness continues to keep the people of God and those in the world trapped in its snare. Christ lived a sinless life to overcome sin in the flesh for us! He died a painful death on the cross for us so we could live differently. Too many are more concerned about protocol rather than who to call. Help Me Lift His Holy Name! To God Be The Glory!