Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Joy and Sorrow

Last night I wrapped Christmas presents with my eight year old son, Alex.

He is so eager for Christmas. Our Christmas celebrating begins Friday evening at a friend’s Christmas party. Then Saturday evening at my sister’s house for supper. Sunday morning Alex plays bongos with the other boys for a Christmas song...then the kids are having pizza and ice cream, he told me he can hardly wait.He is eager for Christmas Eve, to go to the candlelight service at VCC and light a candle while we sing ‘Silent Night’ his age he senses something sacred about the Christmas Eve candlelight service…then home to open one gift before going to bed. He is very excited for Christmas morning... then it continues with brunch at one of our kids’ homes with all the Swetman kids and grandchildren…then we finish with dinner at my cousin’s house with family and games. It’s a darn good thing that Rich and I are both extroverts!

This is my favorite time of year. I have always loved the Christmas season. A couple of years ago, Rich and I had to redo our tradition around our growing family but now that we have that worked out it is good…

On another note…

Yesterday I had an email from a woman asking me to pray for her son, Dylan. He is being deployed to Iraq this week. On Sunday, a woman in our congregation told us through tears that her brother is going from Afghanistan to Iraq.

I know of two families that are still out of power. The outage has taken a toll on them financially as they have to eat out once a day. They don't know when their power will be turned on and rumor has it another windstorm might visit us tonight.

My cousin found out one of her best friends has brain cancer. The prognosis is not good. She has another friend who tried to commit suicide and is in a psyche ward.

I am watching some people struggle in their marriages…I don’t know if they will make it through 2007.

I have family members that are estranged…it seems too broken to ever repair…

I am watching friends navigate the waters of relationship with mentally ill and addicted adult children…

Lately, I have been meditating a large amount on holding joy and sorrow together in my heart. I have a book from Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Our Life, she says that "joy and sorrow are sisters and they live in the same house." This statement speaks volumes to me. It is so true of my life. I experience so much joy in my family, in relationship with my friends; in the church I serve and so many other areas…I also experience so much sorrow. Sorrow so deep that if I was not a person of faith I don’t think I could have excavated and allowed that part of me to be exposed.
Sorrow watching the people I serve and love go through horrible sorrow themselves…sorrow when I watch the evening news and see the result of war and poverty and every injustice under the sun…

My prayer for these next few days when we will be celebrating the birth of our God that came to us; Emmanuel…is that somehow each one of us can open our hearts to receive the grace that enables us to hold joy and sorrow while at the same time experience moments of peace and hope in the midst or our very real lives.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I have a few things on my mind…

This year for the advent candle lighting each Sunday Jim Fox had the idea that instead of asking different community members to do readings and light the advent candle, we ask diffent members of our community to tell a story of how the light of Christ came into the darkness of their life in the past year. Then light the candle.

The first week we had a married couple share. Last week we had a woman going through a divorce share. It has been very moving. In November Brian McLaren was with us for a Sunday and he spoke on the faith community being a “school of love” and part of what would happen in this school is that we would tell stories of love; how we experience the love of God and how we show and give the love of God to others. This year’s advent reflections and candle lightings are definitely stories of love.

I am just about through Scot McKnight’s book, The Real Mary, and I love it! I am so happy to read about Mary in a way that brings her to life. Scot does a great job of letting us into her world and what might have been going on for her as she grew in her understanding of who her son was and how she would relate to him and then to the new family he brought into being. I am very inspired to teach on Mary this Sunday.

I was brought up Roman Catholic. I have a very small statue of Mary with her powder blue robe that sits on my coffee table. Not because I worship Mary. Rather because I honor her and consider her blessed among women and because she said a resounding “yes” to God. Side bar: one night my husband and I were hosting a bible study in our home. There was a group of young adults sitting around our living room. We had candles lit and in the middle of our meeting a man was sitting on the floor about 3 feet from the coffee table asked, “is that Obi-Wan Kenobi or is that….uh Mary”

Scot does an excellent job of describing to the reader just what that “yes” to God might have meant for Mary. I highly recommend the book.

I bought my ticket for India. I leave February 16th and return March 2nd. The trip to India is Overture II for my DMin program which I am pursuing through Bakke Graduate University. I think this trip is going to have the same affect on me that going to Africa three years ago did only different. I can’t explain it because I have never been to India. I am in a pensive anticipation (do those two things go together?) that this trip will be another one of those life altering trips for me. I am very excited to go with Ray Bakke. Ray is brilliant, humble and probably the most gifted church historian I have met. More on this another time.

I love this season. I love planning with others how as a community we celebrate and enter into this season. I love my eight year old son’s anticipation for opening presents. I love serving at Ballinger Homes apartments at the annual Festival of Lights party, watching over 100 kids living at poverty level so excited to open a gift. I love watching all the VCC people and Turning Point folks that bought the gifts, wrapped them and came to the party to serve and celebrate with the families. Thank you to everyone, including those who live far away yet by donating helped make the party a success…Bob and Kelly!

I love our Christmas Eve candlelight service, getting up in the morning and opening presents with our single kids. This year that’s only three! Wow, three out of eight not married. Then we go to our son and daughter-in-law’s house for brunch with most of the kids and grandchildren.

I love the day after Christmas when Rich and I and Alex get to just hangout and watch movies. Then I look forward to the week between Christmas and New Years to reflect on the past year and dream for the New Year.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Meeting with Mark Driscoll

Last night Rich and I met with Nancy Murphy (Exec Director of a Domestic Violence Center in Seattle), Tom Murphy, Sandy Brown (Exec Dir of World Council of Churches Seattle), Paul Chapman (protest organizer), Dwight Friesen, Mark Driscoll, and Leif Moi (pastor and elder at Mars Hill Church).

My initial thoughts are going to be brief.

Our conversation was frank and honest. I appreciated the maturity and humility that everyone in the room demonstrated. My sense was that everyone felt heard.

We basically focused on two things: First, the offensiveness of Mark’s language in the public arena. How it hurts and divides. After an open conversation with everyone's participation it seemed that everyone felt heard by Mark. Second, we discussed the protest. Hearing from Mark and Leif--their concerns, my hope is that they felt heard.

The spirit in which we all met was not adversarial but was toward reconciliation by all. I deeply appreciated that everyone remained open and respectful.

There was a very meaningful exchange between Paul and Mark with regard to the protest which brought them both to a place of recognizing their words as harmful. There seemed to be an agreement that an apology for inflammatory rhetoric would be appropriate from both of them.

We all agreed to disagree about our theology and that we could have a healthier way of expressing our difference to the wider community.

I am thankful to all for the graciousness and humility displayed in the midst of difference.

Here are a few things I have learned:

Words on a blog or on a paper are one thing—people in a room who those words touch are quite another

Truth and mercy – a powerful combination

We are all life long learners on this journey where confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation is one of our highest callings.

That Mark and I may have serious theological differences but at the end of the day we have both given our lives for the sake of the gospel

I am hopeful that reconciliation has begun and will continue – time will tell.

I want to thank Mark for coming to the conversation as a peacemaker and not a street fighter. I pray God’s best for him and for Mars Hill Church.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Many have asked what I think about Mark Driscoll’s recent post clarifying his words regarding the Haggard posts. I think it was a step in the right direction, his tone that is. I was disappointed that he did not apologize. He did not apologize for offending readers (even if it was unintentional) and he did not apologize for calling a woman priest an animal.

I am disappointed he has not used his same public stage to issue the proper humble apology that this situation warrants.

A few points of clarification from me:

1. I was not able to get an in person meeting with Mark Driscoll
2. I am not organizing a protest

An intelligent piece today at Jesus Creed on this topic…there is hope in many corners of the faith today.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Open Letter to Mark Driscoll

Dear Mr. Driscoll:

My name is Rose Swetman and I am the Co-Pastor of Vineyard Community Church in Shoreline, WA. This is an open letter and response to you concerning your recent blog post titled “Evangelical Leader Quits Amid Allegations of Gay Sex and Drug Use” and your next post, titled, “Ted Haggard Scandal 2.0.” I have followed and added some of my own responses to some of the recent flurry of reaction on various blog sites to some of your statements.

Several things are true about both of us. First, I am a woman, a pastor, and have a specific set of theological presuppositions. I am given to peacemaking. You are male, a pastor, and also have a specific set of theological presuppositions and by your own admission a street fighter. It is through each of our lens that we see and teach the things we do. We both bring different strengths and weaknesses to the body of Christ. Therefore, I speak to you as your peer and your equal before God.

I do not make a habit of responding publicly to church leaders about controversy (although I have placed the comments noted above recently). I rather, because of my leanings toward peacemaking, try to find and keep unity (not uniformity) in the body of Christ. However, recently I have felt like Jude. I find it necessary, in light of the protest planned on your church, to speak out as a pastor, not a feminist pastor, but a woman pastor, on this present controversy because it is affecting the local body of believers who I am called to serve.

From the things I have read, it is apparent that we do not share the same starting point theologically about “women in ministry.” You seem to place yourself in a view held by such noted biblical scholars as Wayne Grudem, called the Complementarian view of male and female gender roles. As I have read your posts and listened to some of your sermon presentations, I rather think you are theologically a Traditionalist and maybe, without knowing it, you are masquerading as a Complementarian. On a recent post on the Act 29 website called “Is the biblical view of women applicable in our culture today?” (May 8 2006), your wife Grace writes on this issue. I assume for discussion that the two of you would hold similar if not equal theological views on this subject. In that article Grace wrote:

To answer the initial question that I asked about the Bible, we have to ask who our God is. Does what the Bible say about women really apply to us today in this culture (submission, can’t be a pastor, weaker vessel, more easily deceived, etc.)? Yes. God created us to submit, not because He hates us, rather because He loves us enough to protect us. Doesn’t it make us too vulnerable to ours husbands? As daughters of Eve we are more easily deceived, but like Ruth under the security of our husband and our God we are safe. Doesn’t it limit our ability to demonstrate our gifts? No. We can lead children and women, which is what a Titus 2 woman should desire.
This teaching alone leads me to perceive that you would follow more to a Traditionalist view of gender roles.

I believe the Egalitarian view of gender roles as closer to the intent of what Scripture teaches and held by such scholars as Gordon Fee and Rebecca Groothuis. I believe Scripture teaches the equality of genders in creation and that female submission, if that is what “rule” means in the fall story, started the idea of patriarchy. Patriarchy was the result of sin and the curse rather than God’s created intention.

My basic theological presupposition is Kingdom of God theology ala George Ladd and N. T. Wright’s theological input. I believe the Kingdom is here now, but “not yet.” This view leads me to the conclusion that the future of the Kingdom is here in the present and that we, the church, are to be a sign and witness of Kingdom order. When the Kingdom is consummated, the Scripture states that “we will all” reign with Christ. I believe that this is a fair biblical perspective. One you and many others may disagree with, but good Christians may disagree without using unchristian and uncharitable words when they differ. I would call your attention to the debates between N. T. Wright and Marcus Borg who have many differing views about the “Historical Jesus,” but in public conversation remained civil in their debate.

It seems to me that in your “Traditional,” or as some have stated, “hard Complementarian” view of Scripture, you seemed to have developed a rather unhealthy, vitriolic, abrasive, unchristian, and uncharitable form of rhetoric to describe women in your posts and sermons. You have been labeled with the descriptive word, “misogynist” by some. When I hear that word used, I don’t just think about a person that only “hates” women, rather I think of the word as also carrying an injustice ideology, similar to racism or anti-Semitism. For me a misogynist justifies and maintains a subordination of women by men for reasons that are not always apparent. I know you say that you believe in equality, just difference of roles. But, to hold a view that submission is in a woman’s DNA, which then disallows equal ministry with a man, is to hold both a far reaching and a destructive theology. The passage in Galatians about no Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free seems to sum up God’s story in Jesus. For some, this issue injures the heart of God because of his desire for justice. It is for many men and women a justice issue as was, and still is to some degree, the issue of racism in and out of the church in the last century.

Here are a few illustrations of what you have said verbally or in writing that I personally find offensive. I have not referenced these quotes but can if need be.

First, there are varying degrees of “Christian” feminism and the more hardened variety is the battering ram on the church door that opens the way for homosexuality. What I mean is this: if we deny the Biblical tenets that we were made equal but distinct as male and female, with differing God-intended roles in the church and home, then homosexuality is the logical conclusion.
Remember, I believe in an Egalitarian view of gender roles. Your comments above seem to say that you would call me a “Christian” feminist. You teach that women like me are out of God’s intended roles for women in the church and home and that if the church allows women in ministry then homosexuals in ministry would be the next logical conclusion. This is not only offensive to me, it is demeaning of my personhood. I would consider myself a daughter of my Father in heaven rather than a daughter of Eve, as per your wife’s article. I believe the work of Jesus has reversed the curse and set me free. I no longer live in Genesis Chapter 3.

Women will be saved by going back to the role that God has chosen for them.
Sensitive men and women with only a passing acquaintance of a theological mindset would naturally hear how unchristian this statement is. It seems you hold the opinion that if I don’t follow the role that you think God has chosen for me, a role that you find favorable because of the theological lens you see through, then I am not saved.

All of this has led this blogger to speculate that if Christian males do not man up soon, the Episcopalians may vote a fluffy baby bunny rabbit as their next bishop to lead God’s men. When asked for their perspective, some bunny rabbits simply said that they have been discriminated against long enough and that people need to "Get over it."
It appears to me that in an effort to be cute or funny, neither of which works, this statement is one of the most mean-spirited I have ever read. Even if you had many valid points from your theological lens in your post, to name-call an ordained minister, whether you agree or not, a “bunny rabbit,” you need to “man up” and retract such a demeaning statement and issue an apology. I wonder why you don’t use such inflammatory language when you write for the Seattle Times!

Now to the point of the Ted Haggard posts. I am going to assume you have not been totally insulated from the firestorm over your comments such as:

Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.
And then:

Contrary to some who misrepresented my prior blog, Gayle is in no way responsible for the sin of her husband and by all accounts seems to have been a lovely and devoted wife.
These two comments, no matter how you explain them, are an offense to many women, let alone pastors' wives, and to me personally. Can’t you see how even posting that women have motives such as this — my husband is a pastor so he is trapped into fidelity so I can sit back and let myself go — is offensive? In the second post, you sound patronizing and demeaning of Gayle Haggard calling her “lovely and devoted.” Please don’t call me out as a feminist that does not want to be considered “lovely’ or “devoted” because that is not my issue. The issue is that Ted Haggard’s struggle is homosexuality. It did not seem to matter if Gayle Haggard was the most beautiful, devoted woman, and with her husband the most sexually active woman on the planet, it would not have changed this situation one iota. So for you make this statement in these terms and make it an issue of sexual impropriety, failure, and sin, in my opinion, simply misses the point. It is offensive to talk to men and women this way and certainly reveals something about your character which for this reader seems rather prurient. One of the marks of a great leader, when she or he discovers that they have not faired well under their responsibility to not arbitrarily offend, is to make a public or private apology as the circumstances dictate. Because this was a public statement, it calls for a public apology.

Here are some examples where men have spoken out to support and correct you.

As someone who has spoken out in favor of women in leadership and against Mark’s often-times poorly chosen words and hurtful ideas… I still need to say that I have grave reservations about one set of Christians publicly protesting another set.”

Bob has called you out several times on what many perceived as hurtful ideas and poorly chosen words. I have never seen you apologize or retract. This is disturbing because you have been given a large stage from which to speak. As one Christian leader to another, I believe you need to take responsibility in choosing your words. This boils down to an issue with power and how power is stewarded by leaders. You have continually used your power to demean people with derogatory terms such as “limp wristed, and chickified
And I might add, the PAF group do not identify as a Christian group and don’t seem to be attempting to operate under the constraints of any particular religious guidelines. This is a social justice issue.

These words might seem “hip” to you, but others don’t view it that way. Here are a couple of thoughts from Andrew Jones’ blog (I think Andrew would consider himself your friend). He has posted on the website that is organizing the protest against your teaching and irresponsible use of rhetoric. Here is what Andrew says:

I am not defending mark’s statement here, and i understand the tension and anger, but i just think this protest is too severe, too early, and too divisive. I have not heard yet of your failed attempts to chat with mark about it and I don’t see the love and godly concern for mark that should underlie an attempt at discipline. My gut feeling is that this protest is not a good idea right now and another measure should be found.
And here are a couple of comments from Andrew’s blog, highlights mine:

It saddens me even more that Driscoll (and those who know him) are aware of his tendency towards verbal violence & have known it for some time. Posted by: Bob C | Jan 28, 2006 8:13:28 PM
Here’s another:

Thanks for this piece, esp on the history of relations between the various leaders of Emergent and folks like Driscoll.

Two comments:

First, I have no idea where you get your definition of "midrash" for your definition sounds more like Hegelian dialectic. Midrash is interpretation of all sorts, not just the clashing of views.

Second, it is very pomo of you to say you like Driscoll so therefore you put up with his comments, for it shows the interpersonal relations inherent to all genuine conversation. But, as we learned from Aristotle, relationship does always mean condoning but involves correction and exhortation. Driscoll's rhetoric is uncharitable and unchristian, even if one agrees with his overall stance (which is traditional) about homosexuality.

Andrew, I rarely see such vitriol coming from a Christian leader, and I'd like you to reconsider support of his rhetoric as something Driscoll is known for. Offensive rhetoric puts folks on their heals; conversation welcomes to the table; the pursuit of truth enables us to argue our differences. Posted by: Scot McKnight | Jan 28, 2006 8:49:35 PM
This open letter is an attempt on my part to ask you to stop your insulting rhetoric and not abuse the power that has been given you by using bombastic statements about people, both male and especially the demeaning way you name-call women. In my opinion, you are causing injury to your brothers and sisters. There is enough injury inflicted from our enemy without leaders of the flock adding to the amount of injury.

We are all free to speak our mind and choose the words we use when we speak. However, we as pastors serving in the greater Seattle area and beyond, also have a responsibility to not use our freedom of speech to cause undue harm on the members of the body of Christ. With that in mind, Andrew, Bob, and others have called for a meeting to sit down with you and have a conversation, in which those of us who are offended with the way in which you have used your voice, and those who wish to protest you and your church may dialogue. I do not have any power to stop the protest, but as a woman, an ordained minister, and fully committed follower of Jesus that has been offended by you, I am asking if you are willing to sit down and converse?

I would appreciate a public response to this letter. You get to choose. I hope as a reformed street-fighter, which you have referred to yourself as, that you are able to find a way to be a part of the conversation. I await your response.

Peace and grace,

Rose Swetman
Vineyard Community Church
Shoreline, WA

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Turning 50

I turned 50 on October 16th. I have never been one to get overly concerned with aging, however there was something about turning "50" that began last November as a subconscious running dialogue that found its way front and center in my conscious mind for the weeks leading up to turning 50. The reason I know it was November is I joined an exercise group that worked out on the beach once a week. I remember first going last November and telling our instructor how I wanted to get in shape before I turned 50...hmmm...maybe it wasn't so the way I failed miserably at staying on track with that program.

In April I was working with the Turning Point core team about having a strategic plan in place by October for board approval. We decided to do a fundraiser, our first in conjunction with completing the objectives of a capacity building grant we won this year. Since I was turning 50 in October I wanted to do a birthday theme for the fundraiser. I figured I could invite people from all different parts of my life to the dinner/auction in lieu of a big party. I really had no idea how that would go as I have never even been to a fundraising dinner/auction before.

I had a great team gather and plan the event beginning last April. We met April –June and then again beginning in September once a week to plan the event. As we led up to the event I was a bit afraid… one, that not many people would come, and two, what if nobody bid on the items? Well the night came and went and I could not believe how beautiful it turned out. I loved having my family and friends and people that I didn’t even know all together in the same room either because they were supporting me or they came to support Turning Point. It could not have been better. We ended up raising over 20k for Turning Point!!! I am still in a bit of shock about that. So many people stepped up to make the event a success. I have said this before but will say it again and again…I am rich, rich in relationships, if relationships were how we measure wealth, I would be considered a gazillionaire…and I am thankful, thankful to Jesus that he lets me be a part of something that is so fulfilling and so exciting, this adventure of living in the Kingdom of God.

Now, I am at Disneyland with my husband, my eight year old son, my twenty-nine year old stepson and our good friends. We are having a blast! There is nothing better than watching Alex and Nate (my eight year old son and his nine year old friend) on a ride that literally shoots you up into the air over 100ft and then drops you like you are bungee jumping and I am thinking oh my gosh, they are probably so freaked out and when they get off they are going to be crying…and then they get off and say “that was AWESOME” …

All in all, I have to say, turning 50 has been the best!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mars Hill Bible Church

Below is an email response from Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan. Rob Bell is the of Velvet Elvis which I have not read. I was curious as to their view on the role of women in the church. Obviously there is no relation and should not be confused with the Mars Hill Church in Seattle...


Yes, we do have women in senior leadership. Both on staff and as elders. The following is an explanation.

Redemptive Movement / Cultural Analysis / Women in Leadership We believe that scripture is to be interpreted in light of a redemptive arc. This means that things that once were may no longer be. Therefore, our task becomes to apply the ancient text in light of our current context. Throughout scripture there are texts that speak to a specific group of people at a specific point in time. Scripture is not seen as static truths for all times; its context and ours must be taken into account. For example we cite I Timothy 2.11-12 where Paul says that women are not to assume authority over men. In light of a redemptive arc this is not considered a static timeless truth. It is to be applied to that group of people, at that point in history, in that specific setting. We have come to the conclusion that women in our context must have the freedom to serve in all capacities within the local church. For us, this includes the role of pastor and elder. We believe the church is to be a community of free and equal people.

Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Isaiah 1.17

Nate Dawson
Community Life Team
Mars Hill Bible Church

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Women and AVC

There is not an official document posted on the Association of Vineyard Churches website regarding the role of women in the Vineyard. Here are a few of the statements from the letter we recieved:

"Having completed this process, the Board came together last week and unanimously agreed on the following position in regard to the trans-local ministry of women:

In response to the message of the kingdom, the leadership of the Vineyard movement will encourage, train, and empower women at all levels of leadership both local and trans-local. The movement as a whole welcomes the participation of women in leadership in all areas of ministry.

We also recognize and understand that some Vineyard pastors have a different understanding of the scriptures. Each local church retains the right to make its own decisions regarding ordination and appointment of senior pastors.
There is no hidden message in this. It is our attempt to simply say that we are committed to empowering women wherever and whenever we believe the Lord has gifted them for leadership. The local church is still free to make its own decision regarding who they will empower for local church leadership. Nothing has changed on that. All Vineyard pastors will continue to respect pastors who have a different position on this matter. The attached document outlines the way this respect should be reflected.

This is a very difficult issue. Very sincere Christians have strong disagreements. Even if the issue were as simple as agreeing on the meaning of authentein or kephale, the division would still exist. But this question addresses much more. It involves questions regarding the nature of authority, how we interpret scriptures, and the influence of our understanding of the kingdom on the issue. It requires working through issues of ecclesiology (the nature of ordination), how to relate to our culture in missionally effective ways, and the nature of masculinity and femininity - to mention only a few. These are all issues we will need to work through and questions we will need to address as we endeavor to be what God has intended us to be for the twenty-first century.

The leaders of our movement, including myself and the members of our board are primarily pastor-practitioners and not professional theologians. This has always characterized our movement. Respected theologians and Bible scholars with current or historical ties to the Vineyard have taken opposite views on this issue based on their best reading of Scripture and careful theologizing. Given these limitations, it is not reasonable to expect that this issue could be resolved by Biblical expertise. It is not reasonable to expect that either position could be stated in a way that convincingly addresses all the objections from respected quarters. We can simply assure you that we have approached this decision prayerfully with our best reading of Scripture and spiritual discernment. We share this decision with conviction and clear conscience, but also with humility.

This decision is not a dictate passed down from the national leadership. Pastors continue to be free to handle these issues according to their convictions within the context of their local churches. It is simply a description of how we will act toward women in leadership as we endeavor to lead the Vineyard movement in the U.S. at the national level.

I look forward to providing more perspective on this issue as time and opportunity allows, keeping in mind that we have many important matters to attend to in our pursuit of the kingdom.

Please bear in mind that we have simply addressed the issue of whether to restrict someone from trans-local leadership positions in the Vineyard based on gender. We are not speaking to the questions of marital or family roles as this has never been a prominent concern in our movement.

We welcome, respect, and value pastors in the Vineyard who have different positions on the issue of women’s roles in the church than we have taken. We have worked together for years fruitfully in spite of these and other differences among us, thanks to our shared treasure in Jesus and His Kingdom. The fact is, it is our conviction that a decision had to be made on this question for the health of our movement. Continuing in a position of unclarity on this question was not a viable option.

The tensions we live in are a part of the reality of the already/not yet. May we work together, with our differences, until the kingdom comes in its fullness and removes the barriers to our understanding."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Turning Point

Tomorrow is the final payment made to Turning Point from the capacity building grant we received last December. Today we found out we won a capacity building grant from the Capital Compassion Fund Healthy Marriage Initiative. Wow - so many things are so amazing about this second grant. To be picked from the thousands of applicants is feels very affirming. And to find out we won it the day before we were finished with the first grant...well timing is nothing and timing is everything...

Thank you Lord for smiling at on us...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The Association of Vineyard Churches has come out with a statement regarding the trans-local acceptance of women in leadership. The letter does not fully embrace egalitarianism as it stops short of embracing as a movement biblical equality. My first response to this letter was very mixed. To stop short of embracing a full view of biblical equality was disappointing. I have heard from men and women who feel the same way. They are relieved that the Vineyard has made some movement but sorry the leadership stopped short.

I wanted to respond to a comment by Paul earlier on this topic. Along with Paul, I have had a few people ask me if arguing this issue with Scripture is appropriate. My response to this is I understand the question and agree that it makes sense that women are equal with men and that alone is enough to make a case...that those who hold a view that men are "over" women is just wrong...

When I thought about addressing this topic with our congregation I realized that different people view this issue through different frames. Those who needed the question answered or at least addressed from Scripture was important to me. At the end of the day, I think you can almost make the bible say anything so it is a bit disingenuous to argue from point on this has always been...if it is at best debatable why would we not choose to error on the side of freedom?

To choose to error on the side of dominating and oppressing any group of people is plain wrong. I think from a perspective of pastoral care we needed to address the issue from Scripture, reason and experience. When I did my talk at VCC I was not happy with the approach I took...if I were going to teach on this again I would simply tell my story...

While I am pleased with the direction the Vineyard is moving in I hope and pray that the leadership will soon add female voices to the board and leadership. I also hope we will see more visible female leadership at national and regional conferences. Gender is not the only issue in play by the is the topic of today though and I hope that there will be an intentional move in the Vineyard movement to model visible diversity in leadership with called, gifted men and women of color.

Unless people with power make room for those that have not held power nothing much changes.

I am deeply saddened that Steve Morgan chose to disengage from the Vineyard over this issue. For ten years I as an ordained minister was a part of an association that marginalized my gifting and calling. I would speak up on this issue when it was discussed at regional and national conferences. I would walk away from those times feeling bad, like I had said something wrong because there was so much debate and heat around the topic. I was very conflicted because I was shamed for simply being a woman that sensed from an early age that God had put a call on my life that actually unfolded throughout my life. To be perceived as having an agenda to undermine God and the bible and God's purposes by simply living out my life in obedience to God the best I know how is unbelievably cruel.

It is sort of like a person saying to you "who do you think you are" it is very degrading and demeaning.

Here is my question. There are several very large churches in the Seattle area that attract a lot of young college age men and women. These churches are traditionalists or complementarians and are thriving with young men and women. Can someone tell me why? I really don't understand it. I don't understand how people can compromise on this issue.

Another question. Does chauvinism or sexism equal misogyny?

Monday, September 18, 2006

And More...

Here is an email Rich and I received...

Hi Guys. In thinking about the equality of women issue I came up with an analogy for Paul's viewpoint. I think His writings are viewed as backing up patriarchy but it is really undeserved. My thinking changed dramatically by reading his stuff. By allowing women to be in church he was 3 steps ahead of the culture of his day. Anyway, here it goes.
Imagine that tomorrow there is a new president of the Augusta national golf course. One of the first things he does is open the door for women to come play the course. Not just a few, but free access to as many women as want to play. Within a week, half of all the golfers are women. They are pretty happy to be there, but they are duffers and have only played municipal golf courses their whole lives. They show up in jeans and tank tops, drive their carts all over the place, drink eight beers each during the round, hit into the groups ahead of them, take 6 hours to play a round and basically chew up the golf course. After a month, the new president hears about what is going on and decides to take action. What do you think his letter may sound like?
I can imagine it would say things like, "if a woman is in a foursome with a man, do whatever he tells you to do, in fact I don't even let a women tell me how to behave on this golf course at all." You get the idea. Basically, I think if Paul walked into a church where a woman was behind the pulpit he would have a tear in his eye, and think "Wow! This is better than I ever imagined! They have taken loving and respecting each other to a whole new level!" Not, "Where is her hat?" "I really hope there is a male in leadership a rung over her somewhere here." Similar as my golf club president showing up thirty years later at Augusta and seeing an LPGA event and while meeting the new female president of the course.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

More Thoughts

When Rich and I sensed we were to teach a series in our church on this issue we had no idea that in our own denomination this issue was being discussed and wrestled with among the leadership. More to come on that later. In many ways this series is timely for us. Most importantly it is to help our own faith community think theologically about this issue. When you read my previous post where women's status in the "traditionalist" "complementarian" view is no different than the caste system I hope that makes you angry enough or challenged enough in your thinking to study the issue out for yourself and not just take someone's word for it.

I have a friend who when talking about vocation, service in ministry whatever you want to call it...asks the question, "what would you do or keep doing the rest of your life whether you got paid for it or not?"

I like that question. It gives me perspective. I functioned in a pastoral capacity for many years without pay. I would continue doing so for the rest of my life without pay. It is what I know deep down in the core of who I was created to be to do the work I do. I know that without a doubt. It is not about and never was about "getting paid" for me. I am at a place in my life where I do get paid to do what I love and for that I am very thankful.

When I hear talk from traditionalists and complementarians that say a woman like me is out of biblical order and that is what is wrong in this world...that makes my head spin.

I honestly equate it to hearing something like this:

Those Yankees up North are out of biblical order freeing slaves and that is what is wrong with this world...

Or how about:

Those Christians that are in the streets of Calcutta talking to the "untouchables" trying to give them hope...don't they know they are the "untouchables”? They have their place in society and to disrupt it would make the world go wrong...

Speaking of all the modified versions of a woman not permitted to speak ranges from: she does not have the "special" gift of teaching (meaning she cannot teach as one in authority, an elder) to a woman many not preach behind the pulpit on Sunday morning to some who allow women to perform all pastoral duties and to fill any pastoral position except that of senior pastor and on and on...

Another excerpt:

All those who hold these views--despite their divergent applications of the text--appeal to 1 Timothy 2:11-15 as the biblical basis for their position. In other words, even those who insist that the Bible presents a transcultural restriction of women's ministry cannot find clear direction from this text or any other biblical text as to what, exactly, the restriction is.

Rather than acknowledging the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is more consistent with the rest of Scripture if it is understood as directly applicable only to its specific cultural and historical context, traditionalists interpretation begins with the assumption that this text is universally normative. This then requires the ad hoc modification of the terms of the prohibition, so as to allow for any ministry by women for which there is unequivocal biblical evidence and example. (210)

If 1 Timothy 2:11-15 can legitimately be understood as a prohibition relevant only for women in a historically specific circumstance (which it can), and if there is no other biblical text that explicitly forbids women to teach or have authority over men (which there is not), and if there are texts that assert the fundamental spiritual equality of women with men (which there are), then women who are not in the circumstance for which the 1 Timothy 2:12 prohibition was intended may safely follow whatever call they may have to ministry. In other words, it ought at least to be acknowledged that the traditionalist interpretation is debatable on biblical grounds. This being the case, we should give the benefit of the doubt to any woman who is called to and qualified for pastoral leadership, and allow her the opportunity to use her gifts in this way. If we do not have sure reason to judge her, then we dare not risk quenching the Spirit's ministry through her. (211-212)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Thoughts on Women and Equality

In preparation for my part on our series Women and Equality I have been rereading Rebecca Merrill Groothius, Good News for Women: A Biblical Picture of Gender Equality.

Here are a few excerpts:

Traditionalists often seem heedless of the radically different ways in which functional differences can be socially determined. On the one hand, there is the way of free societies, whereby individuals move in and out of leadership roles according to their experience and expertise. On the other hand, there is the way of the caste system, in which certain people are born into a permanently lower status and have no opportunity even to earn a higher-status position, regardless of their experience or expertise. The former is compatible with a belief in the equality of every individual before God; the latter is not. The disagreement between traditionalists and equalitarians does not concern the legitimacy of status differences per se, but the means by which status differences are rightfully determined. (52)

I am going to India in February for my program. Part of the paper is to compare where we might see the "caste system" in other places...this struck me...I had never thought of comparing traditionalists/complementarians view of women with the caste system...

Another excerpt:

To deflect attention from entailments of female inferiority, traditionalists often will make the juxtaposition of equality and subordination appear more congenial by referring to the respective roles of women and men as "different" rather than unequal, and "complementary" rather than hierarchical. Traditional male privilege and authority will be spoken of as a man's "responsibility" to "serve" his wife and church, and to "provide" spiritual leadership and instruction... This makes it sound as though men are saddled with an onerous obligation, of which women are fortunately free. What is meant, however, is that men and not women have the exclusive right to decide and determine the direction of things in both the home and the church. (54)

Some people have wondered what the point is in talking about this issue...when I read the above and other stories of women who were not given the opportunity because of their gender to pursue the gifting and calling of God...I don't know how not to talk about this issue over and over again. I think it is like not talking about the poor.

In many of our churches we have learned to live with inequality, injustice and marginalization of many groups. I think when we begin to wake up to these injustices we must use our voices to co-labor with God to put things to rights.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Equality for Women

Next Sunday we begin a four part series on Equality for Women. The Leadership of our Faith Community take the Egalitarian view. Rich, Winn and I are going to each take a Sunday to teach and tell our stories on how we came to hold this view. The Fourth Sunday we are going to do a panel discussion and open dialogue with the community.

We have modeled our view for years. It seems most people that belong to our community accept this view also. However, we thought it was time to talk openely and do some teaching on the subject. There is a very big, inflential church in our city that holds a complementarian view. The complementarian view in our humble opinion is oppressive to women. It seems the more influence this church gets the more we are hearing questions as to "why" do they teach oppression of women? We want to be clear on where we land on this issue. We also want to be honest and look at the Scripture and wrestle with some of the hard texts. For those interested there are many good books on this topic where the issue has been addressed by scholars. Here is one such work by N.T. Wright on Women in Ministry.

I am looking forward to this series. We want to be known for the place where women can be free to fulfill their God-given gifts, talents and callings.

Monday, August 07, 2006

First Course Completed

I emailed my course work for my first 8 credits toward my doctorate! 26 page journal, 15 book reports, and a 21 page summative paper. This was one of the more challenging projects I have had to do in a very long time. I loved the reading and the lectures. I had a very difficult time with the writing. I learned a lot about how to manage my time with the writing. For instance, I won't read all 15 books again and then go back and write book reports...not a good way to get the work done.

Now I am working on my next two courses so will have to put in a very large order to Bean Books!

Next O.T. Theology which I am hoping I can do as an Independent Study with Winn Griffin. Winn is acting as a mentor and editor for me as I go through this process. What a gift he is! He has traveled this road twice himself so he has much to impart to me.

I am also going to take the Off The Map conference in November for credit. Go here
for all the details of a party you won't want to miss. I am looking forward to seeing many great folks from around the country at this event. Also, the guests that will be facilitating discussion are some of my favorite people.

It's nice that Bakke Grad School offer this kind of learning experience as course work.

Summer has been interesting. Lots going on. I am hoping for a silent retreat in September! Still working at getting Turning Point off the ground. The faith community is doing well. I have to say it again...I love the faith community I serve. Real people that have found a way to love Jesus in the midst of all their struggles and brokenness.

I was at an event this summer that was over the top "religious" I sat listening to all the blah, blah, blah that religion offers and all the while had to deal with the anger and frustration in my own the way this is a spiritual discipline for me...sitting through that kind of event and not go away judging...real observations, yes, judging that's another level for me..anyway...the point being, the next morning when I got to our worship gathering it struck me once again how incredibly wealthy I am to be in relationship with the people of VCC.

This was a brief interruption of my blogging break!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Thoughts on Leadership

Today I am writing book reports and working on my summative paper for OVI.

I am also reflecting on leadership. This summer our community is going to gather to discuss what leadership at the Vineyard might look like. We are going to have a meal and use thoughts from different sources to help with the discussion. Several years ago I read a little book, In the Name of Jesus, by Henri Nouwen. A couple of thoughts then that I think could be helpful today:

Christian leaders cannot be persons who have well-informed opinions about the burning issues of our time. Their leadership must be rooted in the permanent, intimate relationship with the incarnate Word, Jesus, and they need to find there the source for their words, advice and guidance. Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn again and again to the voice of love and to find there the wisdom and courage to address whatever issue presents itself to them. Dealing with burning issues without being rooted in a deep personal relationship with God easily leads to divisiveness because, before we know it, our sense of self is caught up in our opinion about a given subject.

This book is small but rich. Like the thought above I realize how many times I am quick to respond with my opinion from a place that has not taken time to be with God. There is something so true about spending time in contemplative prayer, being present to God, that carries me into situations and being present to other words, I find myself not so quick to respond with my opinion when I practice contemplative prayer consistently...I find that instead of offering a quick opinion I slow down and ask questions and listen.

I am looking forward to these times of discussion and reflection. We will also use some thoughts from Brain McLaren's article "Dorothy on Leadership", the Nouwen book and "Missional Leaders" by Roxburgh....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

McLaren at the Vineyard

Here is an event we are looking forward to. If you are around let us know if you can make it.

Brian McLaren with Off The Map

Vineyard Shoreline – 17712 15th NE Shoreline WA 98155

June 13th 9:30 -11:30 AM

$20 per person at the door

Brian will talk about his new book, evangelism and take questions on any topic

Friday, May 19, 2006

Random Goings On

Today I am at the office preparing to officiate a wedding and speaking for our Sunday gathering. It's raining in Seattle. It has been a beautiful, record breaking week and now the rain actually feels nice.

I am finishing up Overture I for my DMin program. My deadline is June 30th, the pressure is on.

I am working on the Strategic Plan for Turning Point which includes planning our first annual fund raiser...we have a great planning team for the event. It is going to be good fun.

I am seeing the beginning possibly (I almost don't want to say it) of the facility community center dream form. The local YMCA wants to use the building for youth summer camps. I met with a woman from the community who is interested in starting a "community living room" she is a barista and would like to do a coffee shop with free wifi and have youth volunteers to staff it as job training and leadership development. I think it's a great idea. I am praying for all the pieces to come together. We would also like to be a venue for local in some discussions about that. Very exciting times ahead!

Recently read "Simply Christian: by N.T. Wright -- I highly recommend it. I really want to do a spiritual exploration group with it for people interested in exploring the Christian faith.

Thinking about how to form a group from within our faith community who would be interested in meeting some and discussing missional leadership. Something is coming together though not fully yet. We don't want it to be leadership development classes or the such...just a space to gather and discuss dreams, passions and what does a missional leader do...that kind of thing.

Lot's going is very good!

Enough diverting...back to preparing

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Recent Happenings

It's been a while since blogging. Lets see...
We went to Winn's hooding ceremony at George Fox in Portland. Winn is a friend, he received his second doctorate degree which is a big accomplishment... it was fun to be with him and his family for part of the celebration.

Last Thursday through Saturday I went to Whidbey Island with about 35 women from my faith community. We went on a retreat. It was pretty friend Sharon, who is studying spiritual direction and a new friend, Anita facilitated the retreat. We had meaning, fun, great food, great conversation...there was singing, laughing, collaging, praying, walks on the beach and so much is times like these that I am reminded how rich my life is...

Life is so full right now but good, very good...

Today my friend Jim was in my office. He was opening mail and someone sent him some promotional stuff...a button that said I heart (a picture of a heart) my job...he left it on my desk...after he left I looked at that button and smiled...I heart my job!

I am finishing my reading for Overture I in my program...almost completed my 4000 pages! Next I need to do about 25 book reports and write a paper...then I complete Overture I. I am going on a study retreat with my friend Deb the first week of June since school keeps getting pushed to the back of my schedule...we are going to go to her beach house and finish up our writing...

Rich's birthday is at the end of the month...have a surprise 3 day trip to the sun planned with some friends...

Lots to do right now with next steps for Turning Point, VCC and school...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Spring is here

I am thankful I live in a place that has four seasons. I really love all of the seasons. Everytime a new season begins, I think, this is my favorite season. I think I have finally realized that the seasons so reflect the way I view this journey.

This week started with news of two deaths. One person I only knew from reading his blog, a young man, a father, a church planter, a husband that has lived through losing his first wife to cancer and now losing his own battle with cancer. The other, an older man, my god-father, he was 82 and died unexpectantly and suddenly. He was in great health, still worked 5 days a week...

Death, sadness, despair...then I wake up and it is spring...there is something about coming out of the literal season of winter, death, and waking up and it is spring that reminds me of the story I live in...that there are seasons...that out of death will come new life, that in our relationships and in times of death and despair there is joy in the morning, in the spring, when new life appears...

As I approach the end of the lenten season and follow Jesus as he turns his face toward Jerusalem, death, despair I also have an inner joy that says, I know that's not the end of the story...there is new life, what all that encompasses I have no idea...that's why I follow Jesus, why I want to learn from him...that someday...when all things are put to right...I will see clearly what it all means...but now...mourning and joy...they go hand in hand

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thoughts from NT Wright

We were gone at the start of Lent. I wanted to have some times of noticing and participating in Lent this's a bit late, however, I have been reading and reflecting on the upcoming Holy Week. We begin with Palm Sunday and we will have a Tenebrae Service on Good Friday and then of course an Easter Celebration...I love this time of year...with Spring in the air...time to clean, plant, watch as the death of winter comes to life...

As I was reading some articles on Easter and Resurrection, I came across this (I need to have someone teach me how to hyperlinnk) if you are interested, NT Wright has an article on Resurrection and a parable for us will have to cut and paste into your browser. It's worth a read and then I would like to hear your thoughts...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


We arrived Bangkok late yesterday afternoon. We got to our hotel, security checked our van for bombs...there is a bit of unrest here, demonstrations in the streets. Our hotel is beautiful, right on the river. We stayed at the hotel, had dinner and went to bed.

This morning we had a delicious breakfast, let Alex swim for a few hours then we started our adventure into the city. It was a bit like being in a movie. We took a water taxi from the hotel up the river and got off at the sky train. We took the sky train into the city and went to look for some shopping.

Our first stop was like a high end US mall. We asked some folks where to go and ended up in a Tuk Tuk (small cycle with a seat on the back) and were off through the back streets of Bangkok. He took us to a building and said we could shop for clothing. We went in and realized this wasn't what we thought it would be. But, I wanted to shop for a dress for my son Michael's wedding in July and we were in a shop that had Thai silk and a tailor. I ended up being fitted for a beautiful silk dress and jacket which is being delivered to our hotel tomorrow evening...

what a fun experience...

then our Tuk Tuk took us to the MBK -- a shopping mall with bartering---I think it has 10 floors of every kind of shop you could imagine...

We had so much fun bartering for gifts and a few things to bring home....

4 hours later we were back on the sky train to the pier and on the water taxi to our hotel...

We are sitting in the business center checking email and blogging...

We are off to shower and go to dinner...then tomorrow back to MBK....

We can't go to the street markets because of the mobs demonstrating, they told us it wouldn't be safe for Americans...

We have one more day in Bangkok, then we leave very early on the 17th but gain a day coming home so we arrive Seattle the 17th around 11:30 a.m.

I was dreading Bangkok, it 's not so bad...we had a great day

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Our last day on Koh Phangnan

We are down to the last day on the island. Nicole is keeping Alex for us at the beach so we can have some alone time...we are puttering around the island, buying a few gifts for home and then we are going to do something very adventurous...shhhh don't tell anyone...we are getting tatoos...yes, we are...there is a very talented artist here that does the lettering in beautiful Thai...we have watched many of the people here get them and so we decided our last day we would...I am a little afraid...I don't like needles but we are going to do it....

We leave tomorrow morning from here on a speedboat back to the island of Koh Samui, then fly to Bangkok where we will spend 3 nights and 2 days...then home on St Patrick's day...if anyone reading this sees Aaron will you remind him to pick us up at 11:30 a.m. on Friday? Does anyone know how Mr. B is doing?

Back to our last day on the has been wonderful....

Friday, March 10, 2006

Thoughts after the wedding

The last two days have been magical. On the day of the rehearsal, Nicole took Alex for a few hours to give Rich and I some alone time. Rich had his first Thai massage! woohoo...he liked it! We went into the little village and bought a few trinkets and then back to get ready for the rehearsal. Doing a rehearsal on the beach had some challenges but all went well and then we went to the pool bar overlooking the bay for a beautiful, delicious Thai buffet. Lots of toasting and very fun. Had some great conversations with some of the young people that will be traveling on with nicole.

Side note: Do any of you remember the 1970's hit song "Just call me Angel of the morning" by Merrilee Rush and the turnabouts? A remake by some Thai artists is playing every where we go funny, I remember my high school dances...during the rehearsal dinner the bar was playing Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd and Michael seems so funny to hear those tunes here...

Yesterday the wedding was surreal...picture 50 people on a beach, torches, candles in the rocks, it was still daylight, around 5:00 -- the resort has a sound system on the beach so the music was hooked in through an ipod -- Erika walked in to a Dave Matthews song, not sure which one but it was stunning...the whole thing from the ceremony to the dinner following to the all out dancing party in the sand after...what a memory! Alex did his share of dancing! Break dancing in the sand -- such a fun night....

Today we are pretty much exhausted -- oh yeah, I fell down the steps last night..on the way down to the beach after the ceremony, I missed a step and have pretty skinned up knees and hands....makes for going in the salt water tricky today...

We are spending the day at the pool, just hanging out...tonight we are going to a bbq on the beach...

Alex was invited by one of the local families to come to their daughter's b'day party yesterday...I wish we could have gone...couldn't go because of the wedding...

Several of the local people came to the wedding...people erika and nicole met when they were here last year for 5 weeks and have hung out with since being here again...

I met several local people who told me they love my daughter!

Also have had some great conversations with the hotel staff...a few of them worked on Phuket and after tsunami came here...interesting stories...the staff here are so kind, they treat Alex like a prince...I'm not sure how he will readjust to reality!

Back to the pool...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Grid Blog for International Women's Day: Fear

When the idea came up to write on smashing patriarchy I was a little hesitant. Why? Because in certain traditions of the Christian church you open Pandora’s Box when you talk out loud about this topic…so your choice is to remain silent on an issue that causes injustice. I can’t do that anymore. Not when it comes to the issue of power.

I have a few simple thoughts regarding “big voices” such as mega churches that especially emphasize patriarchy or as stated below, “control by men of a disproportionately large share of power…

Someone said or I read recently in regards to women in leadership, that nothing can be truly human that excludes one half of humanity…

Good, smart Christian thinkers disagree on women in leadership or more specific ordination of women. When smart people study out the Scripture and see opposite results I wonder why one would not error on the side of freedom rather than oppression of people? It doesn’t make sense to me. Jesus was inclusive of all. He made room for women…here is a website if you are interested in studying equality.

What do we do with women like Jackie Pullinger or Mother Teresa? Do we say they were out of biblical order because they taught men? How arrogant…how condescending…how conceited…how haughty…how egotistical…how bigheaded…how proud, wait don’t these words describe the people you know or hear that espouse patriarchy?

I recently read a book, Divided by Faith, in it the author explains that in the late 19th Century Christians, good Christians, smart Christians published why slavery is biblically sound, socially sound, etc, etc, etc…

After all we have learned about oppression in so many ways why wouldn’t we want to follow the way of Jesus? The way of sharing power, restraining power and including everyone?

I wonder if fear is an underlying driver to not accept women leaders? Please don’t respond with biblical arguments, as I stated before, smart people have studied the Scripture thoroughly and land at an egalitarian view of women and men leading. I am more wondering if it isn’t fear that causes men and women to buy in to patriarchy? I wonder what would happen if men and women found a way to co-lead as they did in the garden?

Day 3 on Koh Phangan

It's 10:00 a.m. here on March 8th...that means it is 7:00 p.m. on March 7th at home.

Alex is fried from the sun. We keep total block on him all day but the sun is intense and he doesn't take a break from the water at al. Today he is has to rest from the water. He is a trooper. He doesn't complain and he is having a blast.

I talked Rich into trying a Thai massage today...he has some adventure in him...

Today at 4:00 we have the wedding rehearsal then a rehearsal dinner at the pool bar which overlooks the pool and the is beautiful...

Tomorrow is the's going to be beautiful, the ceremony makes me cry just reading through it...

Rich saw a komoto dragon on his walk this morning. There is an area of the beach that has large rocks...he was walking through and saw a 5 - 6ft very thick komoto dragon and wouldn't you know it he didn't have his camera...

Back to the beach...

Monday, March 06, 2006

We landed in paradise

We are finally here. Have been on Koh Phangan for one full day now and we are having a blast. We thought we were going to have to spend the night on Koh Samui because we ended up there so late (the ferry to Phangan doesn't run at night) but when we finally arrived at Samui, Nicole surprised us there...she had hired a speed boat to come and get us and bring us straight to Phangan...we were so relieved because we were exhausted, plus we were so happy to see her!

We are in paradise...this island is beautiful..we are in a cottage overlooking the beach...the Thai people are so hospitable...we spent the day between the pool which overlooks the bay and the beach body surfing...Alex got a little sunburned yesterday...we are keeping him covered in sun block today..we cannot keep him out of the water...

The beach is white sand, coral, warm is breathtaking...

I got a Thai massage was 500 baht which is 12 USD and it was better than any massage I have ever relaxing...I think I may have a daily massage...

Alex exchanged his money and thinks he is very wealthy, he has 100,000 baht!

Yesterday, we had lunch -- thai beers, pad thai, spring rolls, fried rice, Alex was so delicious...our bill was 1245 baht which is about 30 USD...amazing!

The beach is great, about every 100 yards you can have a massage or spa treatment...

The wedding is Thursday evening, we are 15 hours ahead of PST...there is about 40 people here for the meeting new people in such an unusual setting...

Tonight we are walking to a village for dinner...I can tell we have a few more adventures ahead of us...and much relaxation!

Got to get back to the pool...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

1st Leg of our journey down

We made it! We left Seattle at 12:20 a.m. and are now on a 7 hour layover in is 10:00 a.m. here so 6:00 p.m. Seattle time...

our 14 hour flight was easy...just got on and went to sleep..we all slept well...woke up watched two movies had a meal and we were landing in Taipai...

Sad thing is there was a flight directly to bangkok when we arrived but they wouldn't let us on unless we paid an extra 260.00 per we are hanging out at the airport...nothing here but a couple of shops and this free internet room...

next stop bangkok, then fly to koh samuai...spend the night and take a ferry to koh phanghan...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Our trip to Thailand begins with a story

Rich, Alexander and I are going to a little island in SE Thailand. We have been planning this trip for almost a year. My daughter's best friend is getting married on the beach on March 9th. They asked me to officiate the wedding and they bought Rich and my tickets six months ago. The tickets came in the mail in October. We were leaving March 2nd and returning March 17th. At Christmas we decided to buy Alex a ticket and bring him along....

We planned to go to the airport on March 2nd at around 8:00 p.m. thinking we would get there super early, check in and hang out. The groom and about 20 other people going to the wedding were all on our flight.

Wednesday we went to bed so midnight my cell phone rang, it was my niece asking me why were not at the airport. The groom didn't know my cell number so he called her worried as they were boarding the plane and we were not dawned on me, oh my gosh...March 2nd at 12:40 a.m.

We missed our flight...

We were in shock...

We cried...

I emailed my daughter, she is already in Thailand with the bride and others and was so excited we were on our way...

We called the airlines to see if we could get on the next flight....they were closed until 6:00 a.m.

We cried...

I began looking online for any possible flight to Bangkok in the next few days...

At 2:30 I took a sleeping pill...

At 6:00 a.m. I called China airlines and they rebooked us for March 4th at 12:40 a.m. with a very minimal change fee... they were very helpful...

It will take longer as our connecting flights had to be rebooked as well so it will take us 24 hours longer than planned to get to the island...

We are going to the airport at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow night...

We are still in shock that we missed it...funny how one's mind can lock into something and then not be able to see the obvious...I think there might be some sort of life illustration in this but don't quite see it yet..

The good news...we will get there...

So our vacation begins...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Currently Reading

A Theology as big as the City by Ray Bakke - For school and VCC book study--go here to review or join the discussion
or here and click on the left link to discuss

For school:
Transforming Mission by David J. Bosch
Part I - New Testament Models of Misson chapters like Luke-Acts Practicing Forgiveness and Solidarity with the Poor
or Part 2 - Historical Paradigms of Mission - chapters like the Missionary Paradigm of the Eastern Church
Part 3 - Toward a Relevant Missiology - with chapters like Mission as the Quest for Justice
I am just beginning this book...

Also for school:
The Female Advantage - Women's Ways of Leadership by Sally Helgesen
Really enjoying this book...


I just lost a long post...second time today that's frustrating...

Okay, cloing comments from me on my rant..bottom line, I think it's extremely bad manners...

Nicole, my 26 year old daughter left for SE Asia on Tuesday night...she will be gone four months...traveling with friends through Thailand, Vietnam, Lous, Camodia, she would like to get to India. Rich and I and Alex are meeting her here for her best friend's wedding...I am officiating the wedding on a white, sandy beach. We will be gone a little over two weeks on the small island of Koh Phangan...nothing really there except the resort, the beach and a small village. I am looking forward to rest, sun and getting some reading finished for school. I have about 2000 pages to finish and reports to write so it will be nice to have some downtime away from everything to read...I am also looking forward to spending time away with Rich and Alex and the bonus is to be there with Nicole and her friends...

I don't think Rich and I would have ever chosen a vacation in Thailand. When I was invited to officate with expenses paid we realized again the way gifts come to us

all of a sudden the period key on my computer has stopped working

time to reboot!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Exit Etiquette - Warning this is a rant

One of the most painful things about pastoring/leading in a faith community setting is disappearing people. I know it is part and parcel for working with people but I still don’t know how to deal with the pain which causes anger which causes reflection on the anger and so on…

For those of you who do the same or similar work, you probably know what I am talking about. For those of you who don’t maybe you could listen with an attitude of trying to understand?

People come into the faith community. Some people, especially those who have grown up in church come with hurt and legitimate wounding from past experiences. I have a lot of empathy – I have had terrible/abusive/self-serving leader experiences on more than one occasion in my 30+ years of being in different churches…(4 to be exact). So, I want the faith community I serve to be a place of healing.

When people come in, there are some that come with a sense of what community should be…there seem to be many different expectations. Here is the experience I find most painful…when I or when I observe others in the community invest time and genuine effort trying to get to know someone and let relationship unfold…then the person is gone, gone from any contact… there is not so much as an email or conversation that says “thanks, it was nice to begin to get to know you and the community but this isn’t the right fit for me so I won’t be around anymore” or, “thanks, it was an experience trying to get to know you and the faith community, but the truth is, I think you guys are way off, no offense but this isn’t the place for me”, or, “just wanted to let you know I won’t be around anymore, don’t want to go into the why, but wanted to let you know I noticed you tried to have relationship with me, thanks”

Am I wrong? Is there no church-faith community exit etiquette? I don’t mean the one or five time visitor that’s looking – I mean people who get invited out and over and in other ways have been intentionally noticed and people have tried to get to know them…

For those of us who choose to be in community that has a front door for people to come and go through it would be nice and less painful to have some exit etiquette….

Any suggestions?

That’s my rant, thanks for reading…

Friday, January 20, 2006

Two Week Intensive

Today I finished my first two weeks of a DMin progam at Bakke Graduate University and I am manic...Two weeks of rapid fire lectures and interactions with people (other than a handful) I had never met before...

So much to process...both in what I heard and what I experienced...I feel like my world was stretched wide open and I'm not sure what or how the expansion will reform me...

I am very thankful for this opportunity...

I am continually in awe of the Most High for giving me people in my life that make this sort of thing possible and I hope they all know who they are....

not the least of, my faith community for the space to follow this path...

My brain is somewhat fried...