By way of background, about a year ago I met with a pastor of a church we had tried. He and I discussed sphere or red pill issues. We focused on marriage and pre-marriage counseling, with a brief discussion about teaching women directly from the pulpit. His take was one I hadn’t heard from any of the other pastors I’d met with. He said he doesn’t like the idea of an individual man teaching another man’s wife, individually. The thing is, that’s not what preaching is, and that doesn’t afford cover for not talking at and to women in preaching. It would also suggest that he would teach men, then, that they need to teach their wives certain things. If that were to be done it would be even more toxic to the attending females than if just the pastor were to say them.
Yesterday, on one of the social media sites, I saw where he has some related interaction with people who are members of his church, or just follow him for other reasons. It is standard evangelical fare.
One female follower wrote:
God has a plan for us all and we need to get out of his way!!! Gods will not mine always!!!!
The pastor followed that with this claim:
That combination of the two comments gave me mild heartburn. I cannot find a biblical basis for his response to the woman. I can find a churchian basis steeped in personal Jesus teaching.
How can people read things like that and not see it as powerful food for the hamster? The women who frivorce their husbands almost always invoke God’s will. Then later, the church, not God, protects their reputations. The combination of these two statements is an outline for the overarching thoughts that lead to family destruction.
So simple, so innocuous sounding, so encouraging even. The gospel as taught by the evangelical church is at root a gospel that encourages women and corrects men. Both aspects are necessary for the teaching to be complete. To those sitting under it while stuck in the matrix it sounds perfect. It has answers for everything, yet nothing to snag big girl pants on pews because it may make a woman squirm. There are cliche’s to address any choices. These cliches, collectively, are the churchian gospel.
It is no wonder men are slacking off of the task list approach to being the so called spiritual leader. There are no lessons. Period. There is no teaching and there is no correction under that so called leadership. So, if the pastor says he cannot teach a woman what a husband should teach, and the husband cannot challenge the cliche based teaching of the church, what can a man do? He can embrace it all and regurgitate it.
Most evangelical pastors, including the one above, like to say they try and make scripture “relevant” for today. Therein is the problem. Scripture needn’t be made relevant. What starts out as teaching that takes a historical biblical circumstance and applies it to a modern scenario becomes teaching that takes a historical biblical scenario, then adapts it to a modern circumstance. That adaptation is really accommodation.
Or worse, the teaching asserts that something in the bible is so complicated that it needs to be simplified and boiled down to a cliche. First, the only reason it seemed complicated is because they know the audience will reject the plain spoken truth. So they twist grammar and definitions, substitute word forms from one scripture to another, and end up with a happy little ditty that is so nebulous that the only thing that can be taken away is something nice and encouraging….especially nice and encouraging for the 70 years or so we travel the earth.
I am not sure, therefore, that the idea of making scripture relevant is a good idea. Our small group has been studying Judges. Great stories, awesome events chronicled, but the study guide, and the members of the group are trying so hard to make every syllable into something we can “apply to our daily lives” that they are missing the point. I say the point is, most of the time, to take in the context of the story of how God created the world and has guided it/us along and ultimately how He will do His wrap up. Certainly in Jesus’ teachings are found” relevant” prescriptions and proscriptions. Clearly in the epistles are found God given nuggets of how-to wisdom. But these are plainly stated, and are roundly feared as such by the evangelical church.
Having said all that, I, therefore, personally like religion based teachings. I like that by making the teaching in the bible not have to fit, necessarily, the relationship paradigm, it is so much easier. Imagine an instruction manual on how to rebuild an engine. The instructions are exact. Add then that there must be a relational aspect between the engine and the person rebuilding it, therefore, none of the arm contorting things can be taught without apology, some heavy parts that require lift assistance cannot be spelled out as such, etc.
My heartburn is gone. That pastor didn’t cause the crap storm of 2013 that his my office yesterday, only heartburn for me.