Genesis 2:25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Genesis 3:8-13 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
I’ve been listening to that anxious dialogue in our world right now about sexual assault, abuse, rape and I have been at the same time thinking about Genesis chapters 2 and 3. Genesis 2 tells us of a wonderful garden within which human beings walk with God in the cool of the evening and men and women flourish in safety and trust—not only in God but in one another. Genesis 2:25 makes the astounding claim that the first couple is naked and not ashamed.
They are the representative humans representing all of humanity in relation with God and one another. There is no assault, there is no taking of what is not given, there is no fear and there is no shame. Human beings are free from the brokenness and suffering that will later come through sin and the sin system.
In Genesis 1:26-28 they were called to image God and reign in the Earth, filling it—creating families, who would create communities who would create nations. As agents of God, the first humans were to act in union with the one who is completely good and just and holy. And God’s people were naked and not ashamed. Continue reading Rape, Assault, Abuse and the Fall
Shortly after the #MeToo movement, another movement surfaced, #ChurchToo. #ChurchToo is about sexual harassment and abuse within the body of Christ. I am so grieved about the #ChurchToo movement as it hit’s at the vision for beloved community in Christ. And I have begun to ask the question, how do we live out the beloved community in Christ between men and women working together for the sake of the Kingdom of God? I have a couple of thoughts but first I want to lay out some Biblical support.
Ezekiel 34 tells the story of evil shepherds and good shepherds. Essentially, the evil shepherds have been feeding on the sheep instead of feeding the sheep. While the sheep are bleeding, hungry and suffering on the mountains, the evil shepherds are getting fat. And the Prophet asks the question, who will care for and bind up the wounds of the sheep? The answer is, the good shepherd. The good shepherd is, of course Jesus, the coming one who will bind up the wounds of the sheep, and tend to them in the sheepfold where they will flourish.
The prophet is helping God’s people to understand that the task of leaders and shepherds is the task of tending and caring for the sheep. I think the #ChurchToo movement is surfacing this issue in the church today so that we might become more whole as leaders and so that our communities might flourish. As those who long for the beloved community, we must be aware of the human lust for power, ego issues and self-gratification when in ministry. I want to lay out some principles that could help us move closer toward a healthy and safe community within which men and women are respected, and the sheep are fed. Continue reading #ChurchToo, Good Shepherds and Beloved Community
by Aaron Taylor.
Sometime in the latter part of the first century, during the peak of the Roman Empire’s power and decadence, Jesus appeared to his beloved disciple John while he was imprisoned on the island of Patmos. John’s vision led to the writing of what we now know as the Book of Revelation. Between 666, seven-headed dragons, and the whore of Babylon, Revelation’s imagery is cryptic and notoriously hard to interpret, but there’s one passage that stands out as particularly relevant for Americans living in 2017.
Jesus tells the Church at Ephesus they’ve lost sight of their first love, and that if they don’t repent, He’ll quickly remove their candlestick (Rev 2:1). As a person raised in the Protestant faith, I don’t believe that anyone—not even the Pope—has the infallible ability to speak for Jesus today, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make an educated guess as to what He might be thinking. So I’ll give it a try: I think Jesus is removing the candlestick of white evangelical Christianity. Continue reading Why Supporting an Accused Pedophile is Disastrous for White Evangelicals
What does the Bible have to say about sexual harassment, sexual assault and the #MeToo experiences that are coming to light? And how might the Bible reveal how the distortion of power can create conditions for a #MeToo culture.
I believe God is a purging our country today and powerful people are being exposed because they have abused their power and have exploited men and women sexually. Many believe that sexual harassment and assault are primarily about sex and desire and indeed sex has something to do with it but harassment, assault ,abuse and rape are about entitlement, power and about powerful people exploiting the vulnerabilities of others. Sometimes that power is physical strength but often times that power is from a higher position entailing more social status or the power to offer jobs or take them away. Sometimes it is the power of an older adult exploiting the inexperience and gullibility of the young. Continue reading Biblical #MeToo Stories
by Katarina Viola Hedman.
A couple of years ago I was at a Christian conference. The speaker was a completely ordinary charismatic with a dramatic voice, a suit, some extra pounds and was – of course – a man. Nothing out of the ordinary. This man even made attempts at being funny. And judging by the reaction of the room, he succeeded. Only I couldn’t laugh.
Majority of his jokes were about women. About how little men understand these strange creatures and how awful mothers-in-law are, and so on. Again, no different than what we are exposed to daily. Not just in church. He delivered joke after joke as if the service was his personal little comedy gig. Like men often do. Continue reading The Toxic Church Culture that Causes Sexual Harassment – #MeToo