Friday, August 19, 2005

Hammer Time

I am a stickler for theology, so I tend to be pretty particular on the conclusions that other people reach, as well as the way they reach them. (Yes, I am also that way about my own conclusions and methods, but we don't get into trouble discussing ourselves nearly as often as we do when discussing other people.)

For example, in my conference we are discussing the possibility of eliminating all restrictions to women in ministry leadership (currently only the office of senior pastor is denied to women). The method used to arrive at a consensus, which has been used very well in the recent past, has failed us in this instance. That's because the process has foucssed on what has clearly become the wrong question. The conclusions that people are reaching are by and large being influenced by a new hermeneutic, one whose validity ought really be discussed on its own, independantly of the women in ministry issue. But there doesn't seem to be a desire to really discuss the hermeneutic; it seems that the "need" to answer the question of women in ministry is too pressing.

That distresses me. It seems to me that the value and validity of the hermeneutic must be discussed first, or else we risk arrriving at the right decision for the wrong reasons. Those who are more concerned with the immediate question of women in ministry might not be upset about that, but some of us who take a longer view to things realise that the wrong reasons won't always lead to the right answers, so its better to get your reasons right first. Jesus taught as much with the parable of the two builders.

Then there is the issue of women as elders in our church. Thankfully there is enough wisdom in the elders to realize that we do need to have a sound process for determining what direction the church takes. We still ahve to figure out what the process should look like, but at least ther seems to be more of a commitment to the process than the outcome. IMO, if we fail in that we fail as elders, for we will have begun to lead by pragmatism.

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