Dave “one record” Warnock

After a comment I left on The Road to “Elder” ado: It is all about relationship! POSITIVES I got a response:

Seems like an odd place to play that record DaveW.

So I have been pondering my reaction and the response.

The original post was a celebration that in new Frontiers everything happens and is decided based on relationships rather than anything else. My comment was that this is misleading. Even if true it is in fact only true for 50% of the population. No matter how good a woman is at relationships, no matter how much she has networked with all the right people she is not going to be selected to be an elder. For a woman in New Frontiers it is not all about relationships, instead it is first about gender. Get the gender wrong and the relationships are irrelevant.

Hence, the response to my comment. Perhaps I am seen by some people in New Frontiers as having only one agenda. I don’t think that is actually correct. I just don’t think I respect the conventions and boundaries that male headship supporters like. I hope it is inconvenient to have irresponsible, awkward, rude people like me bringing up this gender issue all the time, especially on posts that are about how men decide who is going to do what in the Church :-)

It is easy for us to be blind about our own prejudices and assumptions. I am confident that it never occurred to David that New Frontiers is not “all about relationships” for women who are disenfranchised within their structures. I am equally confident that there are assumptions and prejudices that I have that I am also blind to. However, I do believe that we all need to become rather more reflective and self-aware as part of our discipleship. As we do so hopefully we are able to face up to and challenge some of our assumptions and prejudices.

Anyway, at the end of the day when it comes to the issue of male headship I hope that I do sound like a broken record, a one issue person. I would love to think that people start to think before they post “if I write this then that boring/fussy/interfering busy body/… Dave is going to be obnoxious in the comments and point out that it is not fair to women”. To that end please keep expecting to read or at least moderate my comments every time I notice you marginalising women. I aspire to being the dripping tap of equality :-)

17 thoughts on “Dave “one record” Warnock

  1. Mad

    Great post Totally agree as a women in New Frontiers. I nearly made a similar comment on David Matthias’ blog myself.

    Reply
  2. Peter Kirk

    Dave, I agree with you. But you might sound less like a “one record” man if you answered David’s implicit criticism of the Methodist church (well, it fits you better than any other church I know) that “Who oversees a Church is … determined by a random decision from above”.

    Reply
  3. Blue, with a hint of amber

    Dave, I was waiitng for the post! Thanks for tone of it.
    Within any Church there are going to be parameters and distinctives.
    I don’t think it serves any level of dialogue to do what you do sometimes, with your comments.
    If I posted about leadership: “ah yes, but you don’t allow women elders”
    Eldership: “ah yes, but you don’t allow women elders”
    Church planting:”"ah yes, but you don’t let women plant churches because you only have male elders”
    Pastoral care: “ah yes, but you only have male elders”
    Evangelism: “ah yes, but how can your gospel be for all when you only have male church elders”
    It just seems a bit of a waste of energy. It is not about a discussion. It is just point scoring in a way I think entrenches positions rather than helps discussion.
    For example, you could have asked the question: what about women? before coming to a judgement.
    It seems odd that you get very angry about things like Together for the Gospel because you feel excluded on the basis of your egalitarian position, and then you seek to discredit the entire thing on that basis. It is evidently your point of no return. That is where unity ends for you, if not in thought then in attitude and by the tone and content of what you write about it.
    Yet your frustration seems to be against people you feel exclude you (such as Adrian on PSA), whereas no matter what he wrote you would jump to exclude Him, and discredit his view, on anything, for his complimentarian view. Snide remarks about women always sneak in.
    It is as though the grace you demand for yourself to hold your view is not available for others.
    I would love to think that people start to think before they post “if I write this then that boring/fussy/interfering busy body/… Dave is going to be obnoxious in the comments and point out that it is not fair to women”.
    So are you going to end up spamming every complimentarian blog until the return of Jesus?
    I just don’t see the point to be honest.
    You will come back to me and say all you are doing is fighting the corner of the weak and oppressed and standing up for justice, and if that means upsetting people so be it.
    and on we go, hey ho…

    Reply
  4. PamBG

    Dave -
    I totally agree with you on your point. I really can’t grasp how anyone – male or female – can buy the idea that both genders are equal before God but that men get to act like they are in charge. And I don’t understand why any woman would think that they are equal when repeatedly taught this idea.
    But I also know from experience that BWAHA’s response here is pretty much what happens. And, if you’re a woman, you either expect that the other person thinks that you are misguided and rebellious or they tell you that.
    As to: Who oversees a Church is … determined by a random decision from above”. Even in a secular context, that would be a gross misrepresentation. The decision is not made ‘randomly’, it’s not made without the input of the minister or the congregation and it’s not made without people who know both situations (the church and the minister). Do we really want to say that ‘no one but this congregation and the minster can make a prayerful discernment?’
    I know of a denomination where congregations and ministers make their own decision. A congregation I know (knew) called an inappropriate minister and, within a few years, the congregation had collapsed and the minister was defrocked. The powers that be knew all about that minister but it wasn’t the denomination’s policy to ‘interfere’ in a call process. Why is that a better process of calling?
    Sometimes local people don’t have the guts to stand up to bullies and power-mongers and tell them ‘No, you’re not called by God to leadership; in fact, you could do with a bit of humility’. Regional and national leaders can be in a better position to do that.

    Reply
  5. Dave Warnock

    Peter,
    “I agree with you. But you might sound less like a “one record” man if you answered David’s implicit criticism of the Methodist church”
    a) David has said in his own comments that he did not have a particular church in mind.
    b) That description does not fit my experience and understanding of Methodism. Pam points some of that out but I will add my own thoughts in a separate post. I nearly did that in this post but did not want to distract from the gender issue.
    c) Unless by “above” you are obliquely referring to the living God, in which case I would not use the description random but would otherwise say hallelujah!

    Reply
  6. Dave Warnock

    David/Bwahoa,
    “If I posted about leadership … Eldership … Church planting … Pastoral care … Evangelism”
    Yes, Yes, Yes!
    At last you are staring to grasp the significance of the issue. Excluding women from specific roles within the Church impacts every aspect of Church life, it disenfranchises them in every single area.
    You just can’t isolate the gender issue and pretend that restricting women from being elders only affects x,y & z. It doesn’t, it affects everything, starting with the relationships it is supposedly all about.
    You try to make it sound as if I am rejecting unity by not accepting those who reject women (remember the first T4G conference demanded that women return their tickets so they could be used by men). But I have a choice. No woman has a choice. No woman minister in the Methodist Church can choose unity with T4G because their very existence is said to damage the gospel.
    The position over PSA and Evangelicalism is somewhat different. Adrian and others keep trying to redefine Evangelical to exclude me. I am resisting that.
    As for comments about women always sneaking in. See earlier in the comment. The issue of excluding women affects everything (for example no comments on your post by women).
    Also an interesting definition of spam. Would you like me to start offering to sell you some pills?
    If Jesus will return because I comment supporting women then I must do it more often, I had not realised it was that easy.

    Reply
  7. Blue, with a hint of amber

    Pam: good points. That comment was not aimed at any particular church group. Almost every church group I know would say they were “all about relationships”.
    If I posted about leadership … Eldership … Church planting … Pastoral care … Evangelism”
    Yes, Yes, Yes!

    I am always commenting from my perspective, from my framework. So are you. If every time we wrote about anything we had to do a big disclaimer recognising the context and differences with how other people see things then it would get intensely dull.
    I have tried to engage in the discussion here when you raised the issue about newfrontiers and women. That seemed like an appropriate place to discuss it.
    Do your comments “add” to the discussion? Will they “win” me? Or is it just another opportunity to have a pop?
    It certainly feels like the third. All that does is entrench positions.
    You complain that complimentarians stick together and don’t include others, but then act in a way that makes me prefer to hang out with people less aggressive towards me. Don’t worry, I will stick around though ;o)
    On the issue of “gender” and my post on relationships I would say this. It is about how we understand the bible, the values we share, what we believe the Church to be, our understanding of the work of the holy spirit etc etc. Within that framework there is a spectrum of complimentarian viewpoints.
    In ten years time will we be having the same discussion regarding sexual orientation and Church leadership based on our differing views about same sex relationships? Genuine question. Will it be “all about relationships, gender and sexual orientation”?

    Reply
  8. Dave Warnock

    While I would not want to claim to be anything but an admirer and certainly would not want to suggest being in any way the equivalent. Isn’t your response rather like those aimed at Wilberforce for many years?
    “Leave us alone, stop talking about Slavery when we want to talk about the economy, about sovereignty, about the war, about unemployment, about our own wealth, …”
    It really bothers me that you are not concerned at all that your post was entirely inaccurate for all women involved in New Frontiers. So for me it is not about having a “pop” against you but about raising the injustice that your post perpetuates, breaking the silence that allows women to still be marginalised.
    I am totally unconcerned whether you want to hang out with me. But I am very concerned that you won’t accept, welcome and free the women in your own Church.
    This was not about the Bible, values etc. It was that you are so wrapped up into a mindset that you did not even notice that your post did not apply to 50% of the population. You have still not acknowledged that your post does not apply to women in New Frontiers. Instead you are attacking me for pointing it out.
    As for 10 years time, I rejoice that implicit in your comment is the idea that in 10 years time you will have moved away from a position of male headship while at the same time mourning for my GLBT sisters and brothers who it seems will still be waiting for justice.

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  9. Mad

    I am marginalised in New Frontiers and I know many women who feel this way. I am made to feel by leaders that it is not acceptable to talk about my views and I am ignored, told it is not a prioity and made to feel like I am a rebellious women. My husband agrees with my views.
    You may wonder why I am in New Frontiers. I think it is the best place near me for my children but as they grow up I am getting more concerned that they are in a culture where whatever might be said about women being equal they only experience women as second class citizens and don’t get a chance to see women funtioning fully in their gifts.
    I also love the people in my church. In the past I was in a church that over a number of years changed its view on women and I keep hoping for the same. My concern recently has been that New Frontiers are getting more entrenched in their views on women particularly giving people like Mark Driscoll a platform.
    I have asked leaders why they don’t give the same opportunities to women in the same way I see being given to young blokes. They say a women can do any thing except be an elder but this is not true or they would give women many more opportunities. The frequent response is that they are doing what God has called them to and what I am saying does not fit in with that.
    I could go on for ages on this subject and I am always concerned that a few lines of comment on a blog by me does not explain fully what I feel and can be misunderstood.

    Reply
  10. Blue, with a hint of amber

    Instead you are attacking me for pointing it out.
    If anything I have written has come across as an attack then I apologise. It certainly feels like that the other way.
    You have still not acknowledged that your post does not apply to women in New Frontiers.
    Because I don’t feel that is the case. I serve many women who through relational teams are released into a wide array of church ministry, leadership, oversight, speaking, local church planting, overseas church planting and pastoring. I do however, have a different definition of an elder.
    You won’t agree with that, and it will probably make you angry, but that is why I don’t see the point in going over it again and again.

    Reply
  11. Dave Warnock

    Mad,
    Many thanks for sharing your story. You highlight exactly my concerns about the role of women in New Frontiers.
    I hope and pray that you find a way forward for you and your family.

    Reply
  12. PamBG

    Mad, from my point of view as a woman, I hear you loud and clear.
    For me, this is exemplified by a ‘story’ that I saw repeated over and over. A woman would say something and it was as if she were totally invisible and inaudible. Then later a powerful man would say the same thing and suddenly the thing that wasn’t worth listening to was the best thing since sliced bread.
    ‘Women are equal in their being but not in their doing’ is simply another version of ‘All animals are created equal but some animals are more equal than others.’ You can’t preach equality and live out inequality and expect girls to see themselves as equal.
    Also, I think that there is a difference between a congregation that is journeying from one understanding to another and an entire denomination that is dedicated to preserving the theology of the inequality of women. I know whereof I speak having been brought up in such a denomination.

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  13. Dave Warnock

    Pam,
    “You can’t preach equality and live out inequality and expect girls to see themselves as equal.”
    Amen!
    Seems to me that one of today’s lectionary passages is very relevant. Peter and his companions are astonished in Acts 10:44-48 when God acts through the Holy Spirit in Gentiles.
    Throughout the Centuries people keep finding groups to consider 2nd class. Peter got a big shock when God clearly showed him that that was not God’s view.
    Over the centuries people have found so many groups to treat as not equal: Roman Citizens vs Barbarians; Christendom vs infidels; white vs black; Castes in India; men vs women; heterosexuals vs homosexuals.
    Yet my experience is that time and time again God acts through the Holy Spirit and shows us a different image. An image where all are loved individually, where all are God’s children (another lectionary reading for today 1 John 5:1-6).
    In the gospel reading for today John 15:9-17 we see God in an amazing way remove distinctions in another way when he declares his disciples to be friends not servants. Now there we would see a clear difference, a non equality yet God chooses to break it down and call the disciples his friends. Wow!
    How come Christians and the Church (the body of Christ) are so determined to create illusions of inequality despite the determined efforts of God to break them down?

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  14. PamBG

    “How come Christians and the Church (the body of Christ) are so determined to create illusions of inequality despite the determined efforts of God to break them down?”
    The thing is, of course, that we all do it. We just have different categories of what makes ‘us’ good and ‘them’ bad. As conservatives are forever trying to point out to liberals when we liberals start getting self-righteous.
    The thing is that lived example is so, so important. But if one has not experienced a lived-out environment of ‘you are a substandard human being’ it can be difficult to ‘see’ or understand how influential such examples can be.
    I do, however, get intensely frustrated and even angry that someone who is supposed to be a professional in human psychology would be peddling complimentarianism. Lord, please keep me far away from such a ‘mental health professional’.

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  15. Dave Warnock

    Pam,
    “The thing is that lived example is so, so important. But if one has not experienced a lived-out environment of ‘you are a substandard human being’ it can be difficult to ‘see’ or understand how influential such examples can be.”
    This is a really good point.
    I have at times wondered if it is healthy for me to retain detailed memories of the times I felt excluded. They are mostly not very recent. However, I do find that, as you suggest here, they are helpful when it comes to trying to understand others.
    I guess a danger for me is if I make assumptions that groups and theologies that excluded me in the past still do so today. Or if I assume that because I have these memories I can automatically understand other peoples issues when in fact they are very different and in particular are systematic rather than personal.

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  16. PamBG

    “I guess a danger for me is if I make assumptions that groups and theologies that excluded me in the past still do so today. Or if I assume that because I have these memories I can automatically understand other peoples issues when in fact they are very different and in particular are systematic rather than personal.”
    Yes, absolutely. A good point. It’s good to try to be open-minded and to give people a chance. And that can be difficult at times. Point taken. ;-)
    A story. I remember about ten years ago when I started preaching that my mother asked her pastor what he thought. She was worried for my soul because that denomination officially believes that women cannot teach (some have even moved to preventing women from reading Scripture in church lest it give the ‘wrong impression’ about women’s roles). Anyway, her pastor said ‘I think it’s wonderful!’. That made things much easier for my mother (and for me). :-)
    But even when people still disagree with me, I know from experience that much of it is sincerely-held disagreement. And I do well to remember that.

    Reply

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