Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Finally ... Abi's 40 Days of cHesed charts!

Back during my 40 Days of cHesed series, Matt Stone brought to my attention that some of my charts were not coming through. I have finally gotten around to figuring out how to get them in their full versions to you.

Day 9 was the first one. Day 29 was the second one. Day 33 was the third one.

Here's the link to the pdf. Hope it works....

Sorry it took so long.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Women Silenced for ... aargh ... want of Quotation Marks?

Fellow 'gator, Bill Kinnon, had a link to a great piece about Women in Ministry from Rebecca Groothuis. What a wonderful article. And the video from NT Wright, which I've seen a number of other places, is worth watching more than once.
But I just have to say that both the article and the video, while wonderfully supportive, are missing something that has been foundational for me for the last 29 years of processing this debate. And, come to think of it, I have often wondered how Scot McKnight has missed this, too. It would have been perfect for inclusion in The Blue Parakeet....
So, Abi is going to stir the pot a bit ... and she's going to use Online Greek Interlinear Bible and Today's New International Version of I Corinthians 14: 26-39 (below) to do it. So read it all the way through now, as a starting place. Do your best to empty your mind of preconceptions about how you've read it before. You can do it, if you will just give it a try.
Good Order in Worship
26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church; let them speak to themselves and to God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord's people.

34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. f]">[f]

36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If any think they are prophets or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. 38 Those who ignore this will themselves be ignored. g]">[g]

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Okay, now you all know that I am no Greek scholar. I do, however, know quite a number of them. And it interests me that so few of them have considered what I'm about to pass on from my favorite scholar for your consideration. Serious consideration, now.

This entire pericope (passage) concerns orderliness. The entire book concerns orderliness, really. And Paul is addressing issues that have been brought to his attention concern a lack of orderliness among the Christians at Corinth.

What I wouldn't give for a copy of the account to which Paul is responding ... and I really do wish that Koine Greek used quotations marks, so Paul could have made this beyond question ... but enough whining. Back to the task at hand....

I have chosen this translation because it does two very good things. First, it keeps all of verse 33 together. Which helps tremendously. (I'll wait while you scroll back up and read it.) Because when it is added to the front of verse 34, it changes the entire meaning of what follows -- rendering it very confusing.

Now, my friend, who has been known to read aloud from the Greek NT and translate into English on the fly (and does the same with the Hebrew OT), reads this in such a way as to make it absolutely clear what he thinks Paul is doing. He reads verses 34 and 35 in a different voice, as if he is quoting someone -- and with a tone that sounds a bit "superior."

Now, go back and read verse 36 (I'll wait for you, go ahead.) and see that the first word is rendered "Or."

What Dr. Bartchy does when he reads that verse, after finishing his "quotation" presentation of verses 34 and 35 is this. He pauses and says "What?" As in, "Are you serious?" Then he continues with "Did the word of God originate with you?" and the rest of the verse.

Clearly, this reading suggests that Paul is quoting back what had been reported to him. There were some who were having trouble letting the New Covenant supersede the Old Covenant. (Their descendants are, unfortunately, still alive and well today!) And rather than approving of the quoted text, Paul is saying that it is not to be accepted, but that what Paul has taught and written is to be considered from the Lord ... and those who will ignore this will remain ignorant and unregarded.

Reading these verses in this Greek/English Interlinear will be helpful in showing how Dr. Bartchy is not the only one to read the text this way. I'm not even going to attempt to discuss why this is not the common translation.... Sigh!

However, when you read it this way, so many of the troubles that commentators struggle with concerning apparent conflicts with what Paul wrote just a few chapters earlier, and elsewhere, disappear. It makes ultimate sense.

To this Abbess, that is.

And I decided I couldn't keep silent about it one more day....

A Primer on Abi's Purple Martyrdom

My mate, Matt Stone, recently suggested that I post a page describing the Purple Martyrdom for newcomers to my blog, since it is referred to so very often. What a great idea, Matt!

For those who want to wander through the 58 posts tagged as concerning the Purple Martyrdom, click on that tag on the left or this link. Otherwise, the remainder of this post will give you the quicker answer as well as a path to understand the process by which this idea developed. Here goes....

Not coming from either a Celtic or Catholic church tradition, this wee abbess was woefully ignorant concerning the fact that there were three kinds of martyrs recognized in the church. This is good to acknowledge because it gives an opportunity to say that the word "martyr" actually means "witness" ... and became associated almost exclusively with those believers whose steadfast and open witness concerning their new life in Jesus Christ lead directly to their death ... usually by the most dispicable means imaginable.

But there are more kinds of witness -- which I came to learn during my time at Seabeck in October of 2007, during which I decided that I was more of an abbess I had previously thought. Each kind was associated with a color, and I wrote the following in that post:
At Seabeck this week I was introduced to concepts of the Red Martyrdom (shedding of blood and death), the Green Martyrdom (deprivation and isolation) and the White Martyrdom (forsaking the comfort of hearth and home).
Then I began to ponder these witnesses ... and wondered whether there might be another one to add to the ranks.
...is there another? A mixture of sorts? Where physical brokenness is evident without actual death … where deprivation and isolation exists in the midst of suburban consumerism … where the call to serve others matches the call to serve one’s own.
...or where forsaking the comfort of hearth and home is a call to live simply and responsibly in a culture dripping in idolatrous excess. I concluded that there was, indeed, room for this kind of witness. A witness that each of us is called to embrace as a type of martyrdom. And since physical brokenness is so often accompanied by brusing, I chose the color purple for this fourth martyrdom.

But purple is more than the color of bruised flesh. It is the color of royalty ... perhaps of a royal priesthood? And while the robe of our sin-stained human nature has been washed pure as snow in the crimson blood of the Lamb of God, we are now to put on Christ as our covering. I see this as the over-coat that covers the linen sheath. But these images are just that ... images. They help me process the metaphor of having a spotless white spiritual linen sheath over which I am to put on the purple cloak as I follow Jesus. That purple cloak speaks of royalty, yes, but not one that rules in strengh ... but, rather, brokenness, submission, suffering and weakness.

Not many of us in the West have been called to the Red Martyrdom (although many brothers and sisters in the East daily bear that color of witness). The history of many of the monastic orders over the centuries tells of those who have been (and are still being) called to variations of the Green Martyrdom of isolation and deprivation. It seems to me that the missionary efforts of the past 100+ years have been under the banner of the White Martyrdom, as they embraced the forsaking of the comfort of hearth and home to take the Gospel to those who have not yet heard.

It also seems to me that, for too many Christ followers, these three paths of witness have not particularly resonated. They are for "others" who have been "called" to serve. But this wee, virtual abbess begs to differ ... offering each and every Christ follower an invitation to join the Purple Martyrdom.

More than anything else, those who follow Christ have been called -- yes, called -- to pick up our crosses and follow the Suffering Servant as he ushers in the Kingdom of God. A Kingdom where the Holy Spirit lives in each of us, empowering our witness in the midst of our weakness. A Kingdom where God gets the glory because we are utterly dependent upon his power to both equip and enable us to do his will. In each conversation. In each relationship. In each activity. In each setback or injury. All day. Every day. Until the day when we move beyond the frail flesh in this mortal vale and are transformed with Eternity's immortal body. On that day, we will not longer have to spiritually "put on" Christ every day. We will have finally put on the imperishable body that will be like Christ's resurrected body.

And I have no idea what colors we will wear on that day ... that will probably be irrelevant.

So, I hope that you will consider yourself officially a member of the Order of the Purple Martyrdom. It is the Everyman's Martyrdom (excuse me sisters, but "Everyperson's" just does not have the same literary connotation), where the simple witness is consciously dying to yourself and living for Jesus. Whatever that means to you in your daily circumstances.

Maybe I see things in a purple-kind-of-way because of those purple glasses I wear, eh? Yes, those are my purple cHesed glasses. I wear them to help me perceive more of what God does. They need regular cleaning ... on the inside ... they are frequently spotted with salt-encrusted tears.

Be blessed in the midst of your brokenness today, friend.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Abi on the cover of Next-Wave!

Well, well, well ... as I live and breathe! You just never know where things will end up, eh?

May has been an interesting month ... more about that another time, maybe. But I did get into a very interesting series of conversations about many purple things. And as we were launching the invitation to participate in Taking Flight, I was primed for other discussions about setting the sisters free to serve in the Kingdom.

And it got my wee purple article on the Cover of the May 09 issue of the Next-Wave ezine.

It's all Sonja's fault ... hehehe.

So, please do click the link and take a look. All the links for the background are there. And the lead article is the perfect follow on. You'd think God knew what he was doing ... ;^)