Adj. Pertaining to complementarianism and egalitarianism.

***Working to be a safe place for all sides to share.***


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

blog focus

Taylor commented:

I have been following this blog for some time, but have not really discovered what its ultimate purpose is...

A bit of history may help. One of my biggest passions in life is Bible translation, both for Bibleless peoples (this is my official job) and for those who speak languages which already have Bibles, but for which those Bibles can be improved. For the second category, I blog at the Better Bibles Blog (BBB).

As often happens in forums, BBB, which attempts to focus on a "narrow" topic, in that case, how to improve English Bible versions, often has gotten posts and comments which are not focused on that narrow topic. This occurred so often for so long that I would not only be frustrated about it, but I would receive email messages from others frustrated about it. So I decided to create this Complementarian blog to try to handle one of the topics which came up most often on the BBB, namely issues about women's roles in the home and church. I simply created this new blog. I believed, and still do, that it should be a "safe" place, that is, a place where no one should be judged for believing differently from others, especially if what they believe is based on their understanding of what the Bible teaches.

That is how this blog came to be. Now, as with any new thing, there are often bumps in the road. We have experienced those. I already knew it was difficult for comps and egals to talk to each other and about each other. Perhaps I was naive in my hope that if I interviewed each blogger on how they would deal with disagreement, and if I would post guidelines about sharing what you believe without putting the beliefs of others down, this blog could function without imploding. I based my hope on my own understanding of what it means for Christians to interact with each other including when they disagree.

It has been difficult for peaceful discuss to continue on this blog in spite of pleading on my part in posts and posting clearer guidelines. Both comps and egals have felt hurt here and some have left.

Perhaps narrowing the focus of this blog even more would help, but I doubt it. Frankly, the issue of the role of women in the home and church is an issue that concerns conservative Christians to the very core of their being. I hope that someday we can discuss this topic on this blog: Why is it that we find it so difficult to talk about gender issues?

Perhaps a more narrowly defined statement of purpose would help contributing bloggers and commenters. Is the purpose to expose areas of similarity, areas of difference, or something else?

Yes, these were some of the topics we started with when the blog began a couple of months ago. Many of us recognized that it would be helpful to find out what beliefs about the gender issues we hold in common and on what issues we differ.

Is it a forum for one side to convince the other?

My own opinion is that this blog should not exist for this purpose, however it is natural for humans to try to promote their views in a way that they hope that others will agree with them. After all, we don't usually promote views that we disagree with. No one that I can recall has put words on this blog which are simply there for the sake of discussion. Everyone seems to have a stake in what they say, and there is nothing wrong with that. I would guess that the majority of people blogging and commenting here do so because they want to believe and act in reference to gender issues as God wants them to. Many of these primarily look to the Bible to discover how God wants them to believe and act. Others, however, find spiritual guidance not only in the biblical canon, but also from the authoritative teachings of their church, or from insights from the Holy Spirit revealed within a faith community. So, some topics we could cover could touch how one's views on gender issues might differ depending on which sources of spiritual authority one considers it necessary or important to follow.

Is it meant to be a bridge to bring the sides together, or to promote healing?

That has been one of my personal desires. I have hoped and prayed that this blog might help each side understand the other better and even bring some healing. I don't know if this has happened yet. I do know that there has been anger and hurt. Perhaps it is necessary for us to work through anger and hurt before we can experience healing. That is often true in the case of personal trauma.

What do you hope to accomplish through this site?

One of my biggest hopes is that we can learn to listen to each other. There are so many sites and discussion forums on the Internet which take either the comp or egal position and condemn the other side. I was hoping not for compromise of beliefs at this blog, but that those who visit here might be willing to listen to each other, to try to understand what the other is saying, maybe even respect the other's position even if we don't agree with it. Maybe my hopes are not worthwhile. Maybe they are not biblical. Maybe we should go through life choosing only one option when people of faith are divided, and believing that that option is the only possible way to understand the Bible correctly. I do believe in absolute truth, but I believe that humans often do not grasp it because we are human. Yet, God often helps us get closer to his truth, if we are humble and willing to work in community (the Body of Christ) together, even though it is difficult and even though we start with widely differing viewpoints.

Perhaps just picking one central focus would help.

It might, but I, for one, do not know what that one central focus would be. I would very much welcome suggestions from you and others what it should be. This is not my blog. It was created to try to remedy a situation at another blog. This blog is intended to serve people who love God and his son and their written word.

For what it's worth, I would be most interested in reading (and/or contributing to) a discussion on exegetical and hermeneutic principles regarding the topic of gender differences/roles in the Bible. Because I want to embrace God's heart on this matter, other people's conclusions are not as important to me as how they came to those conclusions.

I, too, happen to be very much interested in this topic and have been for more than three decades. I have many books on hermeneutics, and some on the hermeneutics of gender issues.

Obviously, there are biblical interpretational issues at play in the comp/egal divide. But, for the most part, most of the people who have come to this blog share the same basic hermeneutic, a fairly traditional conservative hermeneutic which might be labeled the historical-grammatical hermeneutic. I know that the best known authors and scholars promoting both the comp and egal positions follow this hermeneutic. But other hermeneutics are possible, including feminist hermeneutics and others. I also know that if we were to focus on the hermeneutics of the comp/egal debate, we would probably broaden out to focus mostly on hermeneutical issues themselves and lose a focus on the comp/egal debate. And if we focused on hermeneutics, our discussions could travel a long ways here and there.

We humans are so very human when it comes to discussion. And that is perfectly normal. In the words, often repeated, of my dear mother, "People are the funniest people in the world."

Well, I hope there is something helpful here. If not, please follow up.

This has gotten long enough that I think I'll turn it into a blog post.