538 & 539

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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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57 Responses to 538 & 539

  1. zefi says:

    First, it was equating those who don’t agree with homosexuality with homophobia.

    Now, equating those who believe in complementarianism with misogyny.

    Well, perhaps the condition in your world is different from mine. Here, we suffer from the lack of male leadership. The girls are getting frustrated at the amount of guys refusing the call to leadership.

    I guess I should proclaim that it’s the concept of egalitarianism that’s screwing my side of the world. At least it provides good excuse for the many guys who do not want to be leaders since it demands commitment. You know how sucky and lazy guys are.

    Even so, I do not wish to ruin your message, even though I still feel that you’re painting an unfair picture of it.

    And thank you for giving me room to disagree. I really appreciate it. :)

  2. Carole says:

    Zefi, I for one am glad that you have the courage to speak your mind. It stops me from getting too smug and gives me the opportunity to think things through. ASBO wouldn’t be the same without you. So thank YOU! :)

  3. Carole says:

    I sometimes wonder how I can exist in a church where institutional sexism is the thing…but I do. :(

    By the way I am a great-aunt for the 10th time over. Michael Craig was born at 6.16 this evening and shares your birthday, Jon. Cool, eh?

  4. Forrest says:

    From here:


    “Marcus Tullius Cicero reports that Greek philosophers considered misogyny to be caused by gynophobia, a fear of women”
    I would venture to say that is ture in both but manifested differently in each the Christian and Muslim cultures.
    It likely is not the whole cause of the matter, but one does wonder.

  5. Chris F says:

    Zefi – you’re right, where are the male leaders? Men who lead, not because they are men but who have the gift/calling and are also male; and not afraid to face the criticism that will follow – from those of both sexes who are not leaders themselves but all the same seek for, and enjoy, positions of control…

  6. Caroline Too says:

    oh… don’t get me on to leaders…

    We don’t want any Leaders (male or female)

    what we need are the kind of conversations where anyone can say good, wise and godly things that are recognisable as a good way ahead…

    and so…

    lead us…

    it is not people who should lead but ideas, options, possibilities and maybes…

    and our wonderful God of maybes.

    (ps if you’re seriously sad, you can go and find out what I really think about leadership on my old blog at http://celtic_difference.typad.com
    but only if you’re in serious need of sleep

  7. Caroline Too says:

    sorry, can’t even get my blog address right… here’s another attempt for you to ignore :-)


  8. jonbirch says:

    zefi… i’m with carole… i often love your comments. maybe see you at greenbelt next year? :-)

  9. jonbirch says:

    to all… go and take a look at caroline too’s link… http://celtic_difference.typepad.com/a_difference_that_makes_a/2005/06/in_celebration_.html it really is excellent stuff. thanks caroline.

  10. lolori says:

    Here too, Zefi! Here too! Glad to see I’m not on the wrong planet, just the wrong side. :-)

    “Here, we suffer from the lack of male leadership. The girls are getting frustrated at the amount of guys refusing the call to leadership.”

  11. jonbirch says:

    hey lolori… cheers for commenting. :-) what country are you in?

  12. Pastor M says:

    I’d compare complentarianism with racial segregation, and some have attempted to use Scripture to justify both.

  13. Jen says:

    I have to say I was really disappointed when I discovered that complementarianism was used to describe this particular set of beliefs about the roles of men and women. Previously I’d talked about the complementarity of men and women, but meaning something very different – full equality, together reflecting the image of God when men and women work together using the gifts that God has given them. I feel like a great word has been stolen because it’s obviously used in certain circles to mean something very different!

  14. jody says:

    absolutely jen! me too.

  15. Sam Norton says:

    hate to be a pedant but aren’t you spelling the crucial word incorrectly?

  16. jonbirch says:

    jody, jen… me too!

    yes indeed, pastor m!

    hi sam… you may well be right. both spellings seem correct, depending on the source. i’ll check more thoroughly and correct if i ought to. thanks for bringing this to my attention. :-)

  17. Carole says:

    Jen, I, too, find the whole semantics thing problematic. This word is used euphemistically – making something really quite unjust and unpleasant sound palatable. You are right, the word has been hijacked.

  18. on leaders (as the subject was raised) I love this article…


    On the ism…however it’s spelled….don’t ya just hate labels?

  19. Chris F says:

    Paying each other compliments sounds good to me

    I have just complemented my lunch with an apple turnover

    Which was scrummy – to pay it a compliment

  20. jonbirch says:

    haha! :-)

    botticelli woman… that is an amazing piece of writing. thanks for the link. :-)

  21. zefi says:

    Zefi – you’re right, where are the male leaders? Men who lead, not because they are men but who have the gift/calling and are also male; and not afraid to face the criticism that will follow – from those of both sexes who are not leaders themselves but all the same seek for, and enjoy, positions of control…

    But of course.

    On the ism…however it’s spelled….don’t ya just hate labels?

    I love labels. Easier to know who I should be shooting. :D

    And we use it all the time here too. ;)

  22. Linus says:

    Jon i think everyone here agrees with the main thrust of this cartoon (and that in itself is probably a first!) that its unacceptable for people to mis-use theology as an excuse for abusing or mistreating/devaluing other people. I admire your passion about this and confess i need to be infected by it.

    But in focussing on this very serious but quite extreme aspect of the issue, we might miss some other stuff that’s come out of this series of cartoons, and the discussions thereof, which is maybe more relevant to us personally…

    There are some big questions (for me anyway) about how we read and reconcile different scriptures, how we understand the part (if any) gender has to play in our identities/attitudes/self image/the way we relate to others, whether there are (positive, genuine) differences between men and women that should be celebrated rather than denied. If this is just me moaning that my pet points aren’t getting the attention i think they deserve, then please ignore this… but i think there’s more to tease out of these questions in future cartoons if you’re willing.

  23. Kirsty says:

    That is hilarious! Rebranding, relabelling, a jargonistic culture, brilliant!

  24. jonbirch says:

    hi linus… i’d like to hear more about what your pet subjects are… i’m always on the hunt for cartoon themes. any help is always gratefully received! :-)

    cheers kirsty… i thought it was too… but as the cartoonist i’m not allowed to say it! :-)

  25. subo says:

    here’s to all the amazing ASBO dude’s, who are inspired, thoughtful, outside the box, and up for giving a little in the way of ministry

    isn’t the inherent fault in complementarianism, in it’s restrictiveness – ‘don’t keep growing and flourishing and entering new level’s, just stay within your role even if that means remaining self-centred and childish’.

    I guess my thoughts here is that in seeking to work together, to understand each other, and to hear how different we are. Involves us in a process that takes us out of ourselves. Whilst at the same time affirming our own sense of self, as we see others differences.

  26. Robb says:

    The problem I have with complementarianism is that it is exclusive and also definative. As a man, I would need a woman to complement my gifts. However, I can think of a myriad of women who don’t do this. In a leadership role or team, it is more important to find people that complement each other regardless of sex. This is why I get annoyed with people are given a role because of their sex. If I end up working with another man it is because the team is good. If I end up working with another woman it is because the team is good.

    The word complementatianism implies people who work well together. In practice it seems to be a way of stopping that from happening.

    To paint another picture, when someone says “you should be forward in faith” I instantly think “I am faithful and progressive, of course I am forward in faith”. Then you realise that it is something hideous that has been branded to mean something fluffy and nice when in reality it is quite horrific.

  27. jonbirch says:

    exactly robb. :-)

    yes indeed subo. :-)

  28. beatthedrum says:

    Hmm complimentarianism is exclusive, i guess so but only in one aspect. That of church leadership. Aside from that it is not.

  29. beatthedrum says:

    oh forgot to add

    I think the other tyhing to say on this and hopefully my last is that complimentarianism (yeash what a word) should not be mistaken for mysogyny. All the Complimentarians that i know take that view not because they dont want / fear / loath women in leadership but from an understand they have gained from the bible.

    To say complimentarianism = Mysogyny is insulting.

  30. jonbirch says:

    you’re right. it is an insult. but not to you necessarily… it might be, i don’t know you well enough… but from your comment in the last thread i think i’d like you very much, even if we disagree on a few things… please see my response to you there.
    that women should not be in leadership is something that cannot be gained from the bible… it’s not there. to me it as absurdly strange as saying ‘i learned to make a brilliant dangerous tackle from reading a book of football rules’… i am insulting complimentarianism because i believe it insults women and in the final analysis robs men of their true value too.
    i do cartoons. sometimes they insult. i believe it’s my job sometimes to do that. i love being liked and being popular… but there is something i like more and that is justice. it can make me anxious and worried sometimes saying things that are hard to say, but not saying them would not be honest of me.
    honestly, when i think of all the female leaders and ministers that the nt makes reference to i really do wonder how we came to these bizarre ideas about gender roles.

  31. Will says:

    please someone tell me where is says in the bible that women should not be allowed to be leaders in the setting of a church (or any other setting as well). Where is this understanding gained that beatthedrum refers to. This is not a sarcastic “prove it” type question, Just a genuine “i’m being bible illiterate” tpye question.

  32. beatthedrum says:

    I am not insulted but i do gain my stand on this from the bible which i think is quite clear.

    Will the references are

    titus 1:6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.

    1 tim 3:1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,[a] he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
    8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

    Complimentarians take the bible as it is written in this area. The masculin words such as Fathe, Husband and man as Father husband and man.

    Those of the differing views explain these away using cultural and textual argument, some of which are quite persuasive.

  33. jonbirch says:

    i just don’t get it. where does it say in either of those passages that women should not be leaders. i can see that paul is talking about men and i’d love to see what paul was responding to. probably the same sort of nonsense men often get up to these days when left in charge. :-)

    it’s like the blanks are being filled in with assumptions, pretty huge assumptions at that. what about the women church leaders in the bible? they’re there and paul is in relationship with them. complimentarians come with their cultural specs on too.

  34. Will says:

    Could it be that he was giving a list to people who were in leadership and who were struggling with that leadership. Was it general teaching or a letter to the church Timothy was in at the time. The whole letter to Timothy talks about the structure of the church. Was this in response to a situation.

    I’m not trying to bring it up to date but asking the question was it’s purpose more specific than that?

  35. jonbirch says:

    how can one make up a doctrine on what women should and shouldn’t do, based on a passage that doesn’t mention them once, except in the context of them being a wife?

    phoebe is even referred to by paul as a ‘deacon’, the same name he applied to himself i believe. it’s taken a long time for junia to get her recognition, even though paul recognised her as an apostle before him.

  36. beatthedrum says:

    From what i understand the ‘Pastoral’ letters (Timothy and Titus) are instructions to them on setting up and running churches. They were not sent to specific churches but to individuals.

    Yes there are assumptions in the complimentarian stance.

    The female church leaders you are talking about are also assumptions. It does not clearly state that there are any female leaders in the early church. They are assumed from the text or from the way paul writes about or to some people.

    The prime candidate of course would be Priscilla. We are told that a church meets in their houese. Often because Paul and Luke (in Acts) puts her name first people reason (with good cause) that she was in charge over her husband. Interestingly she is never mentioned without her husband being named. Therefore it is an assumption that she lead a church. If she did she did it jointly with her husband.

    A second interesting thing when Paul is writing to them to send greetings to them he puts Priscilla first but when they send greetings through him it is reversed.

    Another woman mentioned Junias and there is a lot of different view on her. The name can be male or female but it is probably female. And the phrase “who are outstanding among the apostles” can mean two things firstly they are Apostles or they are well thought of amongst the appostles. Again inconclusive as to her role. (The bible does not say that women cannot be apostles btw)

    The other woman mentioned is Phoebe. She is called a servent of the church and the greek word used is the same as the word used for Deacon elsewhere. This could mean she is a deacon or an elder or it could mean she is a servent of the church as that is what deacon means. The problem is the word has two different meaning. Again inconclusive but persuasive

    So the argument from the bible for either side is based on assumptions.

    The complimentarians assume because women are not mentioned specifically in Titus and Timothy then that ecludes them from this, AND ONLY this mininistry

    The other side of the coin say you cannot base an argument on what is not said. They base their arguments on assumptions that the three women mentioned are church elders / deacons when this is not clearly defined.

    The other way of looking at it is from the Old testiment which clearly favours the role of men as leaders not women. Only Deborah is clearly identified as female leader and then not head of the priesthood.

    Stands back and waits to be flamed!

  37. jonbirch says:

    there is a cracking good, very detailed essay here
    on this subject.
    there’s a lot of it… but for those who like to read i recommend it. it is written by a man with a depth of cultural understanding of biblical times and places than is usual. it both re affirmed stuff i knew and told me a whole bunch of things i didn’t or had forgotten.
    reading stuff like this makes me wish i were a scholar… ah well, can’t do everything i suppose.

  38. jonbirch says:

    haha! stand back and wait to be hugged… that’s more my style! :-) that’s of course if you’d be comfortable with that! heck… stuff the comfort zones, let’s hug anyway! :-)

    btw, beatthedrum… thanks for having this conversation. we get nowhere without it… maybe we disagree, but we talk. try to relate. that means a lot to me. :-)

  39. beatthedrum says:

    I agree jon, what annoys me are those shrill people on both sides of the argument who cannot seethe others point of view. the Egalitarian argument is strong, but in my mind not strong enough. I have read that essay its very good. I have also read others by equally eminent scholars who say different. The Joys!

    Blessings all round.

  40. jonbirch says:

    i’ll take that as a hug. :-) thing is, in discussion one can relate to the other as a person. i hold a very different view to you, but you clearly are not of the ‘dominating women’ brigade. if you were, the whole thing would have become shrill, or probably not happened at all. i’m not sure where these conversations get us… i, of course would like to persuade you over to the noncomplimentarianist (now there’s a word i made up!) side of the debate… but i do know that sweeping these big differences under the carpet is ultimately more damaging than anything else.
    respect. :-)

  41. Carole says:

    That’s what I love about this place. x

  42. beatthedrum says:

    how about predestination vs free will… now there’s a divisive subject

  43. Will says:

    lol the challenge is made. ;)

  44. zefi says:

    Throwing few random sentences:

    Exceptions are not rules.

    Can we not serve the Church without being ordained or officially recognized as leaders?

    Why the fuss over the Catholic-priest-can’t-be-married-(technically)-but-I-want-to-get-married-and-at-the-same-time-serve-God? Can’t you serve God without being a priest?

    Wouldn’t it be good that if you’re not allowed to serve IN the Church (no matter your interpretation of this sentence), because that’s the door to serve people OUTSIDE the Church (no matter your interpretation of this part).

    I like Deborah, especially the part where she said you’re-the-guy-go-ahead-of-me-and-take-the-glory.

    Sometimes I feel that if God were to restrict women from leadership (no matter your interpretation of this sentence), there’s prolly something more to it than meets the eye. You only tell someone to back off if that person has the ability to move forward.

    Sometimes I feel that if God were to order men to take up the role of leadership (no matter your interpretation of this sentence), it’s prolly to restrict the ego, and to teach em to give glory to others, to put others first, and to especially learn to be fair enough to offer women an equal share in leading. You know, the thing about if you wanna be the first, you have to be the last thingy.

    I still maintain that these are the two things that would lead to the downfall of any man:
    1. Listens too much to women.
    2. Listens too little to women.
    3. I know I said only two, but you can change the ‘women’ part to ‘men’ also.

    Too much of anything is good for nothing.

    I suspect there’s a lot of grammatical mistakes in what I’ve written.

    Geez, I should post this stuff in my blog instead of some other fella’s comment section.

    It’s time to sleep lest I sleep at my office tomorrow.

    Stay alive. At least to experience a little bit more of God, and to be part of His interesting plans. Don’t be trapped by that false sense of urgency, whatever that means.

    Yea, you can label me as a Charismatic. And that has nothing to do with my personal charisma.

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  46. subo says:

    just curious, but where do we find bilical texts on ‘complementarianism’?, the story goes that Adam’s response to Eve was, ‘bone of my bone …’, not ‘my conplementary bone’.

    i know St Paul goes on about asking men to love their wives, and women submit ect…, but no one questions the hope that women will love their husbands, (does that mean Paul expected men to submit? [red herring])

    there’s the buisness women in Proverbs, and other women getting up to all sorts – even advising various Kings as to who should be killed, maybe thats what complementarianism means?, i’ve no idea

  47. zefi says:

    just curious, but where do we find bilical texts on ‘complementarianism’?, the story goes that Adam’s response to Eve was, ‘bone of my bone …’, not ‘my conplementary bone’.

    Just an example, but that’s like asking “where in the Bible did Jesus said that ‘I am God?'”

  48. subo says:

    cheers Zefi, i don’t find it difficult to see references to Jesus’ status in the Bible, he clearly claimed some of the old T. stuff was about himself – including texts referring to his death. He also got a full on affirmation from the Father at his baptism

  49. zefi says:

    cheers Zefi, i don’t find it difficult to see references to Jesus’ status in the Bible, he clearly claimed some of the old T. stuff was about himself – including texts referring to his death. He also got a full on affirmation from the Father at his baptism

    Yes, of course, but that’s not the context of what I’m referring to. Aren’t we talking about explicit proclamation here?

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  52. Steve says:

    Interesting. I’m a complimentarianist. So is my wife. We’re both very happy. But then you’d probably interpret that as her having to be because I’ve forced her into that position.

  53. jonbirch says:

    hi steve… not necessarily by any means. i don’t know you, i have major problems with the ideology. i’m sure there are many whose relationships are good who say they are complimentarianists. but i would doubt that complimentarianism is at the heart of what makes it good. i would imagine that you and your wife had much love for one another, mutual respect, an even hand in guiding the family and parenting, even if the roles are different… in short, i would imagine you had a relationship built on love with all the flexibility and restraint that allows and were not particularly legalistic about it… that’s what i’d imagine of any good relationship. that and more.

  54. Steve says:

    Thanks for the reply Jon,

    Your words don’t match what I perceive to be your cynical and sometimes self righteous attitude on this blog. I hope that’s not too blunt for you and you take it in the spirit it’s meant. :)

    Mmmm, that is blunt. But this is the internet. Subtleties are hard to pick up on so best say what I’m thinking.

    *hides his fundamentalist ass*

  55. jonbirch says:

    :-) my cartoons are sometimes blunt… it’s funny, i don’t think i’m cynical, in fact i think i’m the opposite mostly… however, every once in a while i am perceived that way. i hope i am more than the sum of my cartoons. :-) cartoons are cartoons and i do them to provoke a response and a conversation… they often reflect a view i may hold and often take a polarised view and a satirical stance. i guess that’s the nature of these kinds of cartoons. i don’t for instance think that all fundamentalists are the same… i have a problem with all fundamentalist ideology, but i take people as i see them and i hope i might be judged the same way by others. there are many people whose views i often disagree with but like very much indeed… some are real friends. i think, often, our worldviews and theologies etc are shaped by our surroundings, our experiences, our influences etc… but i wouldn’t want to think that is all we are. eg. i firmly disagreed with the war in iraq (still do), and i am part of a culture that went to war with iraq. many of the views of my culture i share in, but i’d hate to be labelled as ‘jon birch, belongs to a people who invaded iraq, therefore that is who he is.’
    i think the world is big and complicated and people no less so… i love people… i can get infuriated, hot under the collar, angry, all sorts… but i love people. i want the best for all of us as i’m sure you do and am just engaged in the process of making sense of it all. that sounds pompous… i do not for one second think i will make sense of any more than the most tiny piece of it. :-) i appreciate your comment and your honesty… and if i may say so, your ass is just fine where it is i’m sure. :-)

  56. Steve says:

    Sure. Thanks for your honest reply and not taking my comment as a flame. I love suppressing my wife and she loves to be suppressed.

    And she’s the only one whose allowed to comment on my a…hem

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