A not notable post on gender

"And then there are the anti-Newfrontiers rants that sporadically appear, none of which I would call 'notable'. Hostility towards the movement usually stems from issues about gender, and while I won't dismiss any genuine concerns, nor claim that Newfrontiers is without flaw, it is a great movement to be in." from Quite a bit: Newfrontiers hat tip The Simple Pastor » I link therefore I am (14.06.2011)

It is always reassuring when a young man is able to confirm for us all that issues of gender are not genuine concerns (he says "I won't dismiss any genuine concerns" and then goes on to dismiss gender issues, hence he does not consider them genuine).

Of course the "anti-Newfrontiers" rants are not notable: the effective ones are mostly written by women and so you automatically ignore them as women should not have a voice on this issue (or any other). After all what could anyone who is unsuited to leadership in the Church or equality in the home have to say that was notable?

I am confident that this wonderful affirming post has set to rest any and all problems that I or anyone else might have with the issues of Male Headship in New Frontiers. The depth of Biblical study and Theological argument are overwhelming.

Score:

  • Empathy 0/10
  • Use of Scripture 0/10
  • Theology 0/10
  • Engagement 0/10
  • Male bravado 10/10

Dave's score in taking the bait: 0/10

21 thoughts on “A not notable post on gender

  1. Andy

    Dave,
    I wrote a post highlighting the things I like about Newfrontiers. I did not address any concerns because it was a post about the things I like about Newfrontiers. I could write a post about ‘concerns’, and it would be in such a post that any gender concerns would be either addressed or dismissed.
    My use of empathy, theology, scripture and engagement is non-existent because it is a post of things I like about Newfrontiers. Similarly, a post of things I like about The Beatles would not refer to theology or scripture or make much effort to empathise and engage with non-Beatles lovers.
    The ‘anti-Newfrontiers rants’ I refer to are ones I have read, which, to be honest, are mostly your own. I would not call them notable as, like this one, they are not constructive or helpful.
    Andy

    Reply
  2. Adam

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for your post which did me good to read. I read Andy’s post, rolled my eyes, sighed and logged off baffled at how some people just don’t get it.
    Best wishes,
    Adam

    Reply
  3. Dave

    Andy,
    If you intended to put my mind at ease I am afraid you have failed.
    You say you have not addressed concerns but you also said you would not dismiss genuine concerns. Ignoring concerns is a very typical way of dismissing them. Do you dismiss concerns over gender issues?

    Similarly, a post of things I like about The Beatles would not refer to theology or scripture or make much effort to empathise and engage with non-Beatles lovers.

    Then you would miss out tremendously. Theology should touch every part of our lives. Beetles lyrics have a lot to say on love and how can a Christian respond without including theology?
    If you have only read rants about New Frontiers and gender from me then you have hardly touched the surface. The fact you have not read any of the posts by women immediately illuminates your own view.
    I would be very interested indeed to know what you would consider a constructive and helpful way of addressing the concerns with gender issues in New Frontiers. How could you and I have an informed and civilized discussion on the subject. So far you appear to be dismissing it which makes it very hard for me to engage with you.
    I have always been ready to discuss this with anyone from New Frontiers but rarely get an opportunity.

    Reply
  4. Alan Molineaux

    Dave
    Having read the above, and previus posts, I feel the urge to nail my colours to the mast on this one.
    1. I know several Newfrontiers friends personally and count them as friends.
    2. They tend to ignore the gender issue because there seems to be no room for a fuller discussion on it. I need to point out here that I do see this as a full representation of Newfromtier Leaders. However it does seem odd to me that they do not see the issue as important.
    3. I have four daughters. I am probably biased. But at least I admit to the possibility of bias. They, like their mother, are incredible women with keen leadership skills in business, Nhs, charities, and the church.
    4. It is easy for those ‘in’ the powerbase ( in this case male) to dismiss dissenting voices as either too emotional, or angry, or just a ‘rant’.
    The luxury to not be those things is only ever experienced by those who have the freedom denied to others.
    5. The reason that this subject is important is because there has been a recent push tonreaffirm the complementation position. We need voices that are willing to argue for the opposite case. Unfortunatley, as Dave rightly states, female voices are dismissed before even being considered. Therefore those men who feel an egalitarian emotion need to take a stand.
    This is not a mild optional issue but an essential component of the life-giving, freedom-making good news of Jesus Christ where there is no longer male nor female.
    Keep up the good work Dave.

    Reply
  5. PamBG

    It is easy for those ‘in’ the powerbase ( in this case male) to dismiss dissenting voices as either too emotional, or angry, or just a ‘rant’.
    The luxury to not be those things is only ever experienced by those who have the freedom denied to others.

    Having grown up in male headship (not NF), this is the most crazy-making thing for a woman. If one, as a woman, disagrees with this theology, it can be (and often is) summarily dismissed as a sin or character flaw.

    Reply
  6. Andy

    Dave,
    You say you have not addressed concerns but you also said you would not dismiss genuine concerns
    This is probably a misunderstanding. When I said “I won’t dismiss genuine concerns”, I meant “in general” not “in this post”.
    Theology should touch every part of our lives
    Agreed. That does not mean it should feature in every blog post. Where are the theology and scripture references in the above?
    How could you and I have an informed and civilized discussion on the subject. So far you appear to be dismissing it which makes it very hard for me to engage with you.
    Firstly, instead of commenting in the way you did, you could have said something like “would you like to have an informed, civilised discussion about this?”
    Secondly, here’s an idea then: if you paste some links to 4 or 5 of, in your opinion, the best, most well-informed posts against the Newfrontiers position I’ll read them, and if you’d like, I will post a response.
    Andy

    Reply
  7. Mad

    I am grateful for this blog. I have been in a New Frontiers church for many years. I have commented on this blog before. I have also attempted to comment on New Frontiers blogs and frequently my comments are not published.Blogs that appear to be open to comments arn’t really. As a women in New Frontiers it worrys me that they are stating their position on women so strongly. I joined the church and told the leader my views and felt there was room to be me and have my views. I also felt that there was a willingness to hear from God and change.I now question what the future is for me in this church. Do they realise that many people in the church do not agree with their position on women? I now feel frightened to speak out my views and I feel like I am treated like a mad emotional women. And I am emotional about the role and identity of women because it so diminishes who I am and what God has called me to be and I also see many women that are limited and the church is not able to share their gifts. I am also concerned that my children are hearing the wrong message and as they grow up this gives them a wrong view of men and women. My husband agrees with me but does not want to change church. Sorry for going on and I hope it makes sense.

    Reply
  8. Hannah

    ‘…frequently my comments are not published. Blogs that appear to be open to comments arn’t really.’
    Mad, this is a something I have recently been concerned about re: the ‘official’ NF blogs. It came about because I saw a couple of tweets the other day from a guy who claimed his comment on one of the blogs had been deleted because he disagreed with the post. I’m getting the feeling that this is happening more than we think.
    You should not ever feel frightened to speak out about your opinions and churches should not create this atmosphere. I hope you can find some peace about this, whether that involves changing churches or having discussions with leadership about how you feel. I really feel for you. You’re definitely not alone!

    Reply
  9. Dave

    Mad,
    You are always welcome here and you are sadly making a lot of sense. My hope and prayer is that change can come so that all the wonderful things about New Frontiers can be for all people and that your children and many others can be blessed by God.
    It is sadly very easy for people who have power to be unaware of those who are excluded and to hide that power and exclusion from themselves.
    If I can be any help in supporting you in being able to speak out and be heard please let me know. I hope and pray that Andy sees you comment and recognises that this is part of the discussion that he says he is willing to engage in.

    Reply
  10. Dave

    Hannah,
    Comment moderation is a very easy path and a very slippery slope if I might mix my metaphors.
    When we use moderation we change the nature dialogue completely and yet often this is ignored.
    So I am pleased Andy has dared come through that and say he is willing to engage, although I don’t think he knows quite what he is letting himself in for!

    Reply
  11. Dave

    Andy,
    Delighted you are willing to engage.
    I have a few starter suggestions for you.
    1. How about we discuss the comment above left by “Mad”. Specifically let’s focus on the teaching of Jesus for her situation. What does Jesus mean for her to have life in all it’s fullness? How do you understand the teaching of Jesus should inform the way she acts in her situation? Include in your discussion actually asking “Mad” about her experiences and views (remembering that there may be good reasons why she won’t be willing/able to share too much detail).
    2. A post by Maggi Dawn (you could do a lot worse than read a lot of her blog and books). This one breaks you in gently: “Women Bishops” – it will cease to be an issue
    3. For the 3rd and 4th posts I suggest we ask two of the people who have commented in this thread to choose one of their blog posts for you to discuss. Pam and Hannah both write widely on theological issues and both write on male headship.
    Let the discussion commence.

    Reply
  12. Andy

    Ok. Let me ask a few questions here, and then I’ll respond on my blog.
    Mad,
    Thanks for your honesty.
    I now feel frightened to speak out my views and I feel like I am treated like a mad emotional women.
    I’d be interested to know what led you to feel this way, if you feel able to share it. Also, would you be happy for me to reproduce some of your comments on my blog?
    Pam, Hannah,
    If you’re happy to be involved, could you choose one of your posts on this issue you’d like me to read and comment on?
    Thanks.

    Reply
  13. PamBG

    Andy, I don’t frequently comment on gender issues.
    I’ll be open and honest about my problem in dialoging with the sort of view that I grew up with.
    My problem is that I don’t read the bible in the same way as the folks in my MH church did. I interpret general principles firstly from Jesus’ life and teaching as recorded in the Gospels and secondly from the interpretation of Jesus’ life and teaching as recorded in the Epistles.
    I do not believe that the bible is an instruction book, but rather a series of narratives showing the Church how Jesus taught and lived and how the early Church taught and lived.
    So, I see no validity in arguing chapter and verse. I acknowledge that there are individual verses in the bible that tell women to be silent. With many, I’m not convinced that this was a general instruction to all women for all time.
    A good deal of why I’m not convinced is that I think that one of Jesus’ overarching themes is that all individuals are equal in the sight of God, even those commonly believed to be inferior. (I do not accept the argument of “ontologically equal and functionally subservient” as equality but rather see it as mealy-mouthed inferiority.)
    So I begin with recognising a very basic problem which is that I have a very different hermeneutic from MHship. And I’m as convinced of my hermeneutic as you probably are of yours. Like I expect you think of me, I think you need a good conversion experience. I intend no disrespect here, just honesty.
    Thank you for being willing to dialogue, anyway. I agree with Dave and Hannah that I don’t see NF blogs valuing either dialogue or disagreement. They simply seem to preach in the worst sense of the word.

    Reply
  14. Hannah

    Andy, I will have a look through my posts and see which ones might be most relevant. I don’t write about theology in an in-depth way but like Pam, I recognise a different hermeneutic to male headship and stand firm on this position. In the meantime, I wrote one last night about a conference I attended on Wednesday.

    Reply
  15. Dave

    Andy,
    As you can see things are not so easy :-)
    One of the challenges for the New Frontiers perspective is that women who do theology do not restrict themselves to the issues that perhaps those with a Male Headship viewpoint think they should be writing about.
    In a world where people live equality then women do the whole of theology.
    I’ll be writing a post on different approaches to scripture.
    Meantime, there are also some fantastic links to some posts on scripture such as looking at Genesis and gender.
    I have also got some other theologians to point you at, I was kind of saving them because their scholarship is pretty deep and I don’t want you drowning.

    Reply
  16. Auntie Doris

    My biggest hate is the fact that if I comment on a Newfrontiers blog disagreeing with what has been said the chances are that comment will not be published.
    By all means type Newfrontiers into the search function on my blog… there are definitely a few posts on there. It’s not exactly academically perfect, but it is my experience

    Reply
  17. Dave

    Auntie Doris,
    Nice to see you again.
    I agree that your posts are well worth reading. Real lived experience is a vital element of our narrative.

    Reply

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