As I’ve scrolled through my social media feeds these past few days, I haven’t been surprised to see one celebrity pastor after the next declaring nothing but great things for you (whoever you are) in the New Year. They do this madness every year. But, honestly, this year their shenanigans actually caught my earnest attention, namely because I know first-hand how what they “declare and decree” each year is so off base from what the Lord has already promised His children.
If I had to do a year-end review of my most controversial piece of 2018, “No. Women may NOT be Pastors.” Where’s the Lie? would easily make the list. To be clear, I don’t set out to be controversial. Trust me, I get beat up so much by detractors I certainly have days when I’m tempted to never say or write another word (not out of fear, but out of frustration). But then there’s this whole “fire-shut-up-in-my bones” thing happening that won’t let me stay quiet long, and I’ve come to accept that repeating God’s Word is by virtue a controversial feat. As such, during Women’s History Month this year, “No. Women may NOT be Pastors” went live, and even after all of the backlash I’ve received for it since, I still stand by it. I know that most with a solid handling of Scripture do as well.
Yet, while there are those who would agree that Scripture prohibits female pastors, I recently learned that some of these same individuals would argue that women can be deacons, per the qualifications for the role outlined in 1 Timothy 3.
“Social justice” is a term often thrown around, but very rarely defined, explained or even clearly understood in daily discourse. Yet a clear definition of this concept is necessary because there is indeed a such thing as social justice - and then there is justice. Contrary to popular delusion, there is a difference between the two, for if they were indeed one and the same, the term “justice” would be sufficient. No qualifier or modifier would be necessary. But I've found that most often conflate these two concepts, which causes much confusion, contention and debate amongst Believers regarding our charge as Christians. One might argue that it’s just semantics, but I’d passionately beg to differ. And I am sincerely alarmed when professed Christians not only claim “social justice” is what the Body of Christ is charged to pursue, but that they’d dare argue it’s what Jesus preached or supported during His earthly ministry.
As a Christian woman, it’s hard to admit that physical attraction is one of my non-negotiables. I'm often made to feel like I’m confessing some secret sin from which I require immediate deliverance, as if wanting to be attracted to my spouse makes me carnal, superficial or “loose”. Now, it is quite possible my present perspective on this topic is spiritually immature. I might look back on this piece years from now, perhaps after I’m married, and find that my current priorities are slightly out of whack. Nevertheless, I feel very strongly about this at the moment and, even on the chance that it isn’t the most mature perspective, I’m certain it isn’t a sinful one.
I truly appreciated the diversity I witnessed at The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference this year. Granted, this was the first TGC conference I’ve ever attended, so I’m not sure what the attendee and speaker demographics looked like in years past. But I was honestly blessed to see women of a myriad of backgrounds all up and through that place - speaking on the main stage, facilitating workshops, walking through the halls, leading praise and worship, checking in at registration, volunteering - all over. I saw a beautiful tapestry of women who varied in age, ethnicity, marital and parental status, education and vocation, ministries, and time in Christ. Yet, as I basked in the beauty of the diversity in the sisters around me, ironically, I found myself quite disturbed by an event the conference held for women of color.
Proclaiming Christ, defending the faith and sharing the deeper mysteries of the Gospel give me absolute life. I sincerely enjoy it. But, admittedly, I recently experienced a bout of near exhaustion, and I noticed that I was becoming easily frustrated by those who rejected the truth. It's disappointing to see many willingly remain in sin and confusion even after you’ve taken them through the Scriptures - line by line, precept by precept - to show them that Jesus truly is THE way! And it's all the more infuriating when you're demonized by those who, themselves, do the work of satan by suppressing the truth! It's enough to tempt one to grow weary in well doing!
With Cardi B's rapid rise to success, it's easy for many to presume she's being showered with God's favor and blessings. At least, that's how she and many of her fans tend to see it. Yet, as I watch fame, money, and influence inundate this young woman at warp speed, I've grown increasingly and genuinely concerned for her. Not that my concern should at all matter to her, but I share it knowing that Cardi professes Christ, yet lives a life completely counter to His Word. And because she's super vocal about every and all things - and her fans tend to hang on to her every word - I would be remiss if I didn't respectfully interject where Cardi believes her faith and her career intersect.
Black Panther did well to bring black representation to the big screen, and I was delighted to see men and women who look like me playing roles that weren't of the “thug” or “slave” variety. Black despondence nor dejection were on the menu for this film, and I am 100% here for it. I’m also here for the diversity this film brings to media and entertainment. As far as film productions go, Black Panther was quality all around, and I sincerely believe it is Oscar-worthy. It really was THAT good!
But as other moviegoers across social media have shared their feedback on the film these past few days, the hype has reached a level that has caused me concern for my people - my Family in Christ.
In her piece, “How to Be a Safe Space for the Same-Sex Attracted,” writer Rachel Gilson issues a guidance to Christians to help us respond to church members who disclose they are same-sex attracted. Gilson presents this matter as a high priority issue because she believes the same-sex attracted are actually more prevalent in the church than we know. Yet, for fear of “ugly assumptions...misunderstanding….and suspicion,” she says these individuals are often forced to remain in the shadows.