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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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61 Responses to 532

  1. becky says:

    How lemming like – this does look sort of like your cartoon where everyone goes off the cliff.

  2. helen says:

    very topical to my reading for today.
    Galatians 3:27-29 (New International Version)
    New International Version (NIV)

    for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

  3. AnneDroid says:

    I am a female member of the clergy myself, or wumminmeenister here in Scotland, but I do feel a lot of sympathy for those whose reading of the Bible causes them to think that women clergy, especially bishops, is wrong. I respect their point of view. (I can also argue both sides of the infant versus believers baptism debate btw. Constantly being on both sides of the fence at once is a nuisance at times!)

    I guess I’m really lucky I happen to belong to the Church of Scotland. We are different from Anglicanism and Catholicism in that we believe in the “priesthood of all believers”. We don’t call our clergy priests and we don’t have bishops, because of what we call “the parity of the clergy”. Our sort-of figurehead, the moderator of the general assembly has no power and only serves for a year as chairman of the annual business meeting, and a representative of the church at civic functions etc.. We look to the prophetic rather than priestly model in the Bible for our ministers. There are women prophets in the Bible so there is much less of an issue about women ministers.

  4. why oh why do we fuss about such stuff !

  5. jonbirch says:

    because we’re insecure and a bit daft? :-)

  6. jonbirch says:

    i like what you say annedroid… however, i’m afraid i don’t respect their point of you although i may respect some of them. all systems will have their problems i guess, but suppression and repression of women is not something i’d like to compromise on.
    i too believe in the priesthood of all believers… the responsibility of serving lies with all of us, i agree.
    i was brought up in a baptist church and most of the key posts in the churches i knew were and still are held by men. male domination seems built in to our culture, so even when the structure allows for women, the church still often struggles not to simply comply with societies norms. i think we should be a little better than that.

  7. AnneDroid says:

    Jon, as someone both insecure and daft, I agree with your reply to dennis!

    But I would add that the reason we fuss about such stuff is often because we earnestly want to “do the right thing” to please God. It’s just we don’t know what the right thing is so we fuss.

    In the process, mind you, I doubt that some of our fussing is very pleasing to God, so well said dennis.

  8. chaino says:

    ahhh…i respect their view. they are trying to follow what they believe the bible teaches. im still not sure on the issue but. i havent done much research on it.

  9. gilly says:

    attitudes rather show priorities don’t they…..

  10. sarah says:

    Ha Ha!

    If you want apostolic succession Ruth, Sarah and many others were ancestors of Christ.

  11. Ros says:

    I would have thought that it was more important for a person to use whatever gift God has given them. If God gave a woman the gift of being an excellent leader in the Church of England, then what human should prevent that!?

  12. dennis says:

    I wouldnt like to comment on the female leadership in church thing but I will say throughout my early career as a hairdresser & a soldier (dont laugh) The best leadership I have ever experienced is from females so I sort of agree with no.11 on this that if the GIFT is present then use it. I guess that does not answer our questions tho as the big ‘cheeses’ above us make the mistakes I MEAN decisions for us.

    See you at Greenbelt, woo hoo!

  13. Will says:

    the thing that has stood out to me is the fact that in such an amazing way people can take the bible and say this is truth and should be followed. Then on the other hand dismiss what someone else is saying based on the bible.

    It is making me rethink what i believe to be truth.

    For example Annedroid: I agree with you but then i think why is “my truth” truer than someone else’s. If they are both biblically based. For me, i then fall back on “what do i feel is most appropriate in this situation” Then hope that common sense or a leading of the spirit guides me in the right direction. If everyone did this and came to different answers what makes my answer correct and theirs not – or my answer more right than theirs?

  14. DrNick says:

    Thats why leadership should be a team thing, men and women not just one or the other. Jesus had 12 disciples and there were at LEAST 14 Apostles (the 11 plus James, Barnabus and Paul), shouldn’t that tell us something…

    On a completely unrelated topic (although technically ‘apostles’ are involved!): I guess you have heard the sad (but I guess predictable) news that the whole lakeland ‘revival’ stuff has hit the fan with a big bamm (sorry about the truly awful pun…)

  15. Forrest says:

    It is likely quite easy (and a bit seductive)after the fall in the garden for humans to slide into operating by matters of personal power and ego than by matters of personal sacrifice to Christ.

  16. soniamain says:

    I’m not so sure anymore that it is people’s interpretation of the bible but rather fear that is leading them. After all us women are just so scary:)

  17. zefi says:

    Isn’t it unfair to place everyone who disagrees with women being clergies as being irrational people of some sort?

    There are people who disagree because they believe in complementarianism, you know?

  18. Forrest says:

    Hey Zefi, that’s a term not heard before, could you elaborate?

  19. drewman says:

    Its odd isnt it that at the same time as the big

    ‘keep the women out of leadership’

    thing there was a whole

    ‘keep the leadership out of women’

    thing as well!-Very bizarre!

  20. zefi says:

    Hey Zefi, that’s a term not heard before, could you elaborate?

    Here.
    :)

  21. Robb says:

    DrNick, what has happened? I am on holiday and not reading the news…

  22. Robb says:

    Oh yeah, apostolic succession – what happens when you take something sensible that someone says too far. “show us how you have got this crazy teaching from the apostles” becomes “show us some ontological magic hokem trick”.

  23. soniamain says:

    sorry Zefi, I am not suggesting people who disagree with women in leadership are irrational, but just read the blurb on complementarianism'( as I had not heard that phrase before) and completly, fundamentally disagree with all of it!. As a woman I find it offensive that men are able to dictate what I should and should not be allowed to do, in the same way I don’t want to dictate what roles men should do.

  24. Jen says:

    I think that complementarianism is so pernicious. It seems to me that women end up denying their ability and insight, squashing any initiative or ideas and swallowing their wisdom and opinion to maintain the facade of the man being the ‘leader’ of the family or church. I don’t think that’s at all biblical.

  25. jonbirch says:

    what a load of old guff complimentarianism seems to be. far too long a word to be taken seriously, although i know many do. it is another thinly veiled way of men holding on to power. servanthood is secondary in this model unless you happen to be the woman.
    complimentarianism clearly argues that annedroid is in the wrong job, that jen should not be writing books, that sonia shouldn’t really be a leader in her field, that dr ruth can only say things of use to me if i let her, that carole should never have trained in her new profession and that my own wife has to continually bow to my will.
    i find it offensive, pathetic, based on fear, the need for control. the biblical justifications for this model are poorly thought out and really have to be invented. it is amazing what people will say and do to hold on to power and very sad that sometimes women do not seem to fight it. they are true heroines all, who crack on with their lives disregarding this nonsense. come on men, we need to be committed to the removing of shackles not the creation of them!

  26. jonbirch says:

    yes dr nick. i’ll not be doing any cartoons on it though. the whole thing leaves me sad really. the surprise to me is that it has fallen apart so quickly and completely… i expected it not to last, but i do feel for those whose need has driven them to a ‘revival’ which is so clearly flawed.
    looking down from mountain tops is very beautiful, but life is existing further down the slopes and in the valleys below.

  27. subo says:

    in reply to Jen, “It seems to me that women end up denying their ability and insight, squashing any initiative or ideas and swallowing their wisdom and opinion to maintain the facade of the man being the ‘leader’ of the family or church.”

    it’s scary, when you reflect on the content of an ordinary church service, how huge the gaps are, and how quickly anything outside the leaders own agenda is sidelined as a little eccentric, to be honest I don’t think it’s only women’s insight, creativity, experience and wisdom thats crushed, it just seems we are stuck with a framework that excludes most human experience and reflective ability, and that to suggest you use the Bible in any way other than has been used for the last 20 years is heretical. and of course huge chucks of church history are airbrushed out in our need to stay within our own framework

    meanwhile the Buddhists put together a solid brief for pastoral work, including getting in touch with our feelings and empathising with each other, (actually, of course there are Christians working in the field of pastoral care, but there’s an humungous amount of un-pastoral church stuff blocking the arteries, and disabling people without due regard or awareness) I know I’ve got a B in the bonnet, but this stuff does cause a horrid amount of pain as well as excluding people from the warmth of belonging

  28. zefi says:

    It seems to me that women end up denying their ability and insight, squashing any initiative or ideas and swallowing their wisdom and opinion to maintain the facade of the man being the ‘leader’ of the family or church.

    I also think that it’s a waste that there are many men who could’ve been really great husband, choosing not to for the sake of our Lord. But can I say that their decision to celibate is wrong, and that our Lord was wrong to even commented positively on such thing? I know it’s off-topic, but it’s just an example.

    what a load of old guff complimentarianism seems to be. far too long a word to be taken seriously, although i know many do. it is another thinly veiled way of men holding on to power.

    When wise men accuses speculatively…?

    and that my own wife has to continually bow to my will.

    It’s one thing for her to continually bow to your will, but why, are you such a bad husband that you cannot be trusted to love her like Christ loved the Church?

    come on men, we need to be committed to the removing of shackles not the creation of them!

    It’s saddening that we men cannot be trusted with responsibility and authority. Having a fallen nature is one thing, not knowing what is love/how to love is another.

    Just to clarify, I don’t agree with complementarianism. I’m just wanted people to know why some people are against women leaders.

    You know what? I rather you say that they’re just a bunch of simple minded people. I would even prefer if you say that they’re idiots. Comparatively, it still sounds better than accusing them of having such view because they wanted to keep holding to power, when all they ever wanted to do was to follow God’s will, no matter how narrow-minded we think they are.

    Still, of course, the desire to follow God’s will does not make their mindset/actions correct, but that’s another story.

  29. janetp says:

    Sonia (23): Having read the blurb on complementarianism, I totally agree with you, though my gut response was rather more forthright and pithy! I shall not repeat it here: Jon expresses it much better (though less succinctly!) :) I assure you, Zefi, it’s nothing personal and I have no wish to offend.

    Jon (25): “and that my own wife has to continually bow to my will.” Can’t see that happening anytime soon … :)

    Will (13): If only more of us (men AND women) had your humility, perhaps we might start to see more grace being exhibited in these situations.

  30. becky says:

    Well if you go back to the tomb, not even the disciples believed Mary Magdalene that Christ had risen. That’s what I love about some of the movements I’m seeing to uncover a pre-Constantinian church structure – the radical nature of Christianity before it got co-opted by empire goes so much against he current status quo that we can’t deal with the ramifications today let alone the 1st century when women were deemed property (at least in the Jewish cultures). The women Paul encountered in the Hellenistic communities had some degree of social stature at least.

  31. janetp says:

    Subo (27): Very interesting observations. I agree that “it just seems we are stuck with a framework that excludes most human experience and reflective ability, and that to suggest you use the Bible in any way other than has been used for the last 20 years is heretical. and of course huge chucks of church history are airbrushed out in our need to stay within our own framework”.

    Jon: The toon reminds me of a flock of sheep I used to pass on my way to work. Every morning, a bunch of the sheep would be purposefully trekking, in single file, across the hillside. Then the leader would suddenly wander off the track and start eating the grass, apparently unaware that all the other sheep were now looking around in a dazed and confused manner: “I thought you knew where you were going!” “Me? I was following her!” “Well, what about him?” “Wha, what? What’s going on? I wasn’t going anywhere in particular. And I just spotted this tasty patch of grass …. ”

    Maybe I’m being a bit cynical. :)

  32. DrNick says:

    @Robb (21): Theres a good bit of chatter on the blog-waves about it, but I’ve got most of my info from Brother Maynard (here: http://www.subversiveinfluence.com/wordpress/?p=1784) and from TBs own ministries website over at Fresh Fires…
    Basically though he has filed for seperation from his wife (another woman is involved somehow) and he has also mislead people about some of the ‘miracles’ and suprise suprise, the money…

    @Jon; I know what you mean, it breaks my heart to think what this will do to the public perception of the Gospel and to those who are new/young/naive Christians…

  33. Annedroid,

    ‘ We are different from Anglicanism and Catholicism in that we believe in the “priesthood of all believers”. ‘

    You may like to stand on our side of the fence for this one too – and find we also think we believe in this…..just differently to you. Cool hey?

  34. AnneDroid says:

    freedombound #33 I’d love to hear more. My thinking is that, not just because of the priesthood of all believers verse, but because the temple curtain was torn in two there is no need for priests any more.

    However, ironically enough at work I am in a two person chaplaincy team with a Roman Catholic priest. In many prisoners’ minds (and honestly in our own minds too!!!) the two of us are interchangeable and I’m often asked “are you the priest here?”

  35. Robb says:

    Jon – “dr ruth can only say things of use to me if i let her”

    That is my general rule but she kicks my arse about it all the time :D

    Subo – *sorry*… “the Buddhists put together a solid brief for pastoral work”

    Do they? Have they? Are they? Where when how why what? Real queations because I am multifaith blerk who is wondering.

    Zefi – “fallen nature”

    The unhinging of an arguement!

    DrNick, I would like to give hime the benefit of the doubt on this. Not everthing. Think he may be nuts BUT,…….. he is human and needs a bit of compassion. Everyone can be following God, following God,,,,,,,,,,,,,, following God ………………..total idiot.

    I am the king of that!!

    In fact, there are girls dancing around the room singing “Robbs the king” who will testify to that!! (if you think that this is real and not a “friends reference, you need help!!).

    “priesthood of all believers”

    Is there anyone here who says this like a quote rather than a doctrine? Quick hands up….

  36. Robb says:

    Does anyone here have a problem with the apocrapha? Why? Go on, give me a real reason other than money.

  37. Robb says:

    Does anyone here go to a church that “does it like the early church”?

  38. Linus says:

    did the early church do it like the early church? And in any case, so what if they did?

    Being more or less terminally single, what do i know about wimmin? But as i understand the teaching of Jesus and His followers marriage, and indeed any kind of friendship between two people, is meant to be all about mutual submission.

    Having said that, I’d feel a lot easier about this whole question if someone could explain the whole Timothy passage to me.

    I’ve even sometimes wondered if Paul is taking the piss and people haven’t got the joke, but it does bother me that this radical liberator of women and incredibly learned man seems to go very off message here. And he’s talking about our fundamental nature, not cultural issues… help! i don’t get it!

  39. zefi says:

    Linus: I take it that you’re referring to first epistle to tim?

  40. zefi says:

    And you’re referring to chapter 2 or 3?

  41. Linus says:

    I have quoted the passage below. It is ugly and I hate it. It is even worse than i remember it. It makes no sense in the context of Paul’s other writing. And yet i am told it is God’s instructions to me. And i don’t take that lightly. I’ve heard rhetoric from all sorts of PoVs on this, but nothing that really rings true, which is very… frustrating.

    1 tim 2 v11-15 (NLT): Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.

  42. zefi says:

    I would love to hear an explanation from the many people who are excited about this particular cartoon strip.

    But I think it is easier to understand certain verses by referring to the verses that surrounds them, because ultimately, these are letters that are meant to address problems. They’re not written with the thought that perhaps one day the letters will be used as canonical Scriptures. Or so I think.

    And it’s kinda interesting if you look beyond what is plainly seen, and try to figure out the intention of the author. Translation is another problem, as sometimes, the meaning is lost when one journey from one generation to another. English is still an evolving language, and we read these text according to our current cultural interpretation of them.

    Few things you can ask yourself:
    Since Paul said that women are not allowed to teach men or to have authority over them, then how about their son(s)?
    Submission sounds like a demeaning term, but Paul did ask us to be submissive to one another.
    He said that women should learn quietly. What is he implying? Or a better question would be, when is one usually asked to be quiet?

    There’s also some other interesting stuff I learned from a recently-turned-Catholic scholar, but maybe I’ll share it next time.

  43. Linus says:

    me too Zefi, cos i would value their insight. It is obvious why people are “excited” about it though – its an issue that strikes at the heart of self-worth, value and justice for many people.

    Thanks for engaging with this. Agree with everything you say about addressing problems, context, translation and author’s intention, but it still only gets me as far as the end of the first sentence… Why doesn’t Paul let women teach when he says that there is neither male nor female in Christ? Why is he justifying this position by referencing Genesis 1 if its a cultural/specific issue? What the *!@# is “But women shall be saved through childbearing” supposed to mean? (Yes I’ve heard the Athena thing and it doesn’t wash with me)

    Could you expand on your point about Women having authority over their sons? don’t think i’ve grasped the implications you’re trying to show me from that. Thanks for bearing with me on this.

  44. It beats me why women would want to be bishops, anyway….smacks of getting on and climbing the church ladder…all very male establishment and not much to do with God

  45. Carole says:

    It’s a nicer uniform…

  46. Robb says:

    Lol with botticelliwoman :lol:

    Carole, I agree. Purple is a very girly colour too…

  47. This is probably why there’s such a stink….the clergy outfitters would have to branch into matching shoes and handbags.

  48. Carole says:

    Ha Ha, I didn’t think of that, Boticelliwoman.

  49. jonbirch says:

    see now, botticelliwoman… i have an image of you rising out of a conch shell, naked, with golden hair and matching accessories! i’m off to take a cold shower! :-)

  50. Linus says:

    jon, i’m confused (as usual!)… what are the matching accessories for a naked woman?

  51. Carole says:

    For once in my life I resisted the temptation to ask the mildly dodgy question…well done, Linus!
    .
    .
    .
    .Chanel No 5? ;)

  52. zefi says:

    Could you expand on your point about Women having authority over their sons? don’t think i’ve grasped the implications you’re trying to show me from that. Thanks for bearing with me on this.

    What I mean is that since Paul said something about women shouldn’t have authority over men, should we generalize and assume that he’s not talking within a certain context, and address a certain issue?

    If we were to generalize and said that he’s addressing the thing as a whole, is a mother expected to submit to her son(s), and to have no authority over them? That would be pretty ridiculous, wouldn’t it?

    And about the recently-turned-Catholic scholar I mentioned earlier, he said something that is rather new and interesting to me.

    His excuse/reason to why they don’t allow women priest is that Jesus Himself did not ordained one, so it is not rightful for the Church to circumvent Him. (Unless, of course if you consider the Gospel of Mary to be canonical.)

    Yes, we can talk about how the Catholic Church has done many extra things that Jesus didn’t and yada yada, but that’s another story.

    And the only thing that are restricted from women is the office of teaching, meaning to be a priest and preaching from the pulpit. He argued that the rest of the ministries in the Church are dominated largely by women, for example for the Liturgy and stuff like that.

    I’m not a Catholic, so I don’t know how true are the things he said, so I’m taking it at face value until perhaps someone here who is more knowledgeable point out otherwise.

  53. Robb says:

    But surely Paul says things like “I’m not prepared to have a woman in charge of a man…. well except Phoebe, Priscilla (“those women who work hard in the Lord”)” or words to that effect

    ‘Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.’

    etc…

  54. could be a rather attractive shower cap I suppose

  55. BTW…in the middle-east, older sons do have authority over their mothers, especially if their mother is widowed….

  56. jonbirch says:

    quite right robb.

    linus… a naked man? or maybe botticelliwoman’s shower cap would be the better option until mr (or mrs)’right’ comes along. :-)

  57. hmmmm….never thought about the naked man as an accessory…could work… and shower caps (no matter how attractive) rarely flatter

  58. zefi says:

    BTW…in the middle-east, older sons do have authority over their mothers, especially if their mother is widowed….

    Some links to prove this please. Thanks. :)

  59. sorry zefi I don’t have links, just experience. I lived in Egypt for 4 years and saw it with mine own eyes

  60. zefi says:

    Hmm… I don’t want to appear as if I’m sourgraping that your statement seems to negate my argument, but the discussion was about an era some 2000 years ago.

    Let’s avoid the possible error that can be caused by presentism, shall we?

    But if you can provide some information with some references, I would gladly accept it even if it nullifies my argument.
    :)

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