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Paul and Women #4 – A Scribe Added It! (Interpolation) – 1 Cor. 14.34-35

Paul and Women #4 – A Scribe Added It! (Interpolation) – 1 Cor. 14.34-35

This is the second of two episodes in this series that will deal with 1 Corinthians 14.34-45.

This series explores Paul's vision for how women fit into the announcement that Jesus is Lord. It argues that Paul was an egalitarian, believing that women should be included (without distinction) in leadership roles within the church and home. Paul did not believe that women were "the same" as men, but that they equally offer gifts to the community as leaders, teachers, pastors, bishops, etc. This series will demonstrate why Paul was pro-women.

Join the Paulcast Revolution: Give Via Patreon

Also, this episode is the launch of the Paulcast Patreon online tip-jar (think Kickstarter for ongoing content creators). In order to make this show sustainable, I (Kurt) need like-minded folks to come alongside it as financial partners. For as little as $3 per month, you can make a tangible difference in this shows sustainability and quality!

http://patreon.com/kurtwillems

Episode Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. They are excited to announce the launch of the new Master of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture. This online program, designed for practicing pastors and ministry entrepreneurs, will help you understand and integrate sub-cultures, theology, and leadership into practice. Guest faculty like Bruxy CaveyGreg Boyd and Brian Zahnd model practical integration of Anabaptist theology and 21st century kingdom work. Learn more at fpu.edu/paulcast

*Show sponsors do not endorse every word or idea discussed on The Paulcast.

Goodbye, Hello (An Announcement)

Goodbye, Hello (An Announcement)

Cliff notes Version: Friends, this is a rather long post - the short version is this: Hey, look, I have a new web address! To celebrate the new address and Valentine's Day, I'll be posting a short poem or story each day this week around the theme of love.  Check back frequently - next week I'll return to my usual posting schedule.  
A Field of Wild Flowers grew out of a vision that arrived in early 2011 as I sat praying in the calm, white, spacious place of my Spiritual Director’s office.  It came at a time when life as I knew it (i.e. planned it) seemed to have ended.  It came when, for reasons deep and wide, I could no longer see a clear path laid out ahead of me; my sense of destination as well as my means of travel appeared to be irreparably lost.
Which is all a fancy way to say that my life was upended by the arrival of twins, by a departure from my job as an Associate Pastor, and by the slow surrender of my long-held dream of attaining a PhD in Biblical Studies.  Before the twins’ arrival, I lived cloistered in our culture’s fantastical illusion that life is a highway – a long, sometimes winding, but steady road toward a distant destination which, most often, goes by the name ‘success.’  And, although we may each define it differently, the successful among us all agree that steady and determined movement toward it is key. 
But, like Dante, “Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself in dark woods, the right road lost.  To tell about those woods is hard – so tangled and rough.”  I worked through those tangled, rough woods for months before I was free enough to embrace a new vision – to accept my placement somewhat “off of the main road” and commit to really exploring it.  What came to me, in the wake of acceptance, was the image of a field of wild flowers – a place with many paths, a space for wandering and discovery, a place of being rather than going.   
Thus was born, A Field of Wild Flowers.  Words became the lens through which I explored the daily looking for signs of life in the middle of this wide open space on the side of the road.  For five years, now, I’ve lived and written from that field, finding God in everything from housework to hens.  The more I explored the field of my life, the more I realized what I feared most wasn’t my failure to reach life’s highway’s destination, but the idea that God was somehow waiting for me in that imagined destination - the idea that the love and acceptance, the presence I longed for, was tied up in success' illusory arrival.  Imagine, then, my continual surprise and delight, at discovering again and again that God is right here with me on the side of the road, picking flowers, tending house and home, incarnate in each moment as it comes.  
Now, five years in, I find myself again in a place of transition, though less lost and less afraid.  I’ve learned to make my home here in the field of God’s goodness and grace and discovered that this is, in fact, my destination.  Writing has been the means of both discovering and exploring this destination.  Over the past several months I've found a new sense of clarity around my intentions as I continue to nurture and expand this site.
I want to create and hold spaces where others can consider the possibilities of God’s presence in all aspects of their one precious life.  I want to help others learn to live in and listen beyond the surface of their days, to begin to discover the heartbeat of God that rolls like a steady drum beneath the peaks and valleys of daily life.  I want to tell stories that explore the possibilities of God’s presence, that illuminate the incarnational realities of God’s dwelling in our midst.  As such, I want to open and share with you the joys, sorrows, hopes and heartaches of This Contemplative Life.
My hope is that this new site will allow me to both broaden and deepen my reach online and through in-person events.  I plan to continue to post here once or twice a week and will also add a newsletter that will go out twice a month.  This site will continue to boast a wide array of stories, thoughts and reflections; my hope isn’t to narrow my content but rather broaden my audience.
My newsletter, Quiet Lights, will, offer short, simple reflections, images or poems to serve as an invitation to contemplation.  The newsletter will also feature updates on upcoming events. 
While I’m a little sad to move away from the image of wild flowers, which continues to ground me in the present, I’m excited to move into This Contemplative Life.  This Contemplative Life will continue to be a space that focuses on the small, day-to-day stories of my own life, but my hope is that my practice of attending to the intricacies of my own life will inspire you to attend to the details of your own life – for, contrary to popular opinion it’s God, not the devil, who’s found in the details.
As always, I'm grateful for the quiet, faithful readership that has grown up around A Field of Wild Flowers.  A change to a new web address is a bit scary and I'd love your continued support and help as I move forward.  Here are three simple ways you can help me grow this space:   
* Please share this webpage, help me build a growing audience.
* Like my Facebook page (still working to update the name there!).
* Sign up for the bi-monthly newsletter, Quiet Lights, and feel free to share that and the resources therein with others too. 
Note: If you currently receive my blog via email, you may need to resubscribe to continue seeing posts in your inbox.

Early Pentecostals on Nonviolence and Social Justice

Brian Pipkin’s and Jay Beaman’s new book documents some of the pacifist and social justice convictions of early Pentecostals, many of whom were called traitors, slackers, cranks, and weak-minded people for extending Jesus’ love beyond racial, ethnic, and national boundaries. They wrestled with citizenship and Jesus’ prohibitions on killing. They rejected nation-worship, war profiteering, wage slavery, patriotic … Continue reading →
Tender: Showing Gentleness and Kindness

Tender: Showing Gentleness and Kindness

Tender adjective 
 
1. Showing gentleness and concern or sympathy 
2. (of food) easy to cut or chew, not tough 
    (of the body) sensitive to pain 
Tenderness noun 
 
1. gentleness and kindness 
2. sensitivity to pain 
A quick Google search tells me that the word tender, in all of its various forms, has fallen out of use steadily and dramatically since the 1800's.  Maybe that’s why, early in my tenure at Physical Therapy, I noticed it as it drifted gently across the far side of the large, open room.  I lay on my own table alone, staring at the ceiling and exercising my abs, when my ears caught wind of the word floating softly like a butterfly on a summer breeze. 
I listened as a young therapist asked, in a gentle, rolling central Pennsylvanian accent, “Is that tender?”  Although I couldn't see the other patient, I imagined the therapist gently moving his or her arm through a slow stretch, palpitating the muscle with deep attention and focus. 
The beauty of the word moved me as did the concern and care evident in the therapist's voice.  The fluttering word landed inside my chest, opening and closing its gentle wings and I gazed upon its intricate beauty as I continued my own careful stretching, flexing and bending.
Later that night I told my husband, “I heard the word ‘tender’ today.  It’s not something you hear very often, is it?  I was so struck by its beauty.” 
Noodling around online, observing the forms and uses of the word, I notice the breadth of its application.  Tenderness might describe a concrete physical reality, like a perfectly cooked pork loin or bruised muscle, but it also refers to an inward stance, a posture of the heart, if you will. 
For me, moments of tenderness, feel like a softening, a movement of openness toward the other that, inherently, leaves me vulnerable to pain – either the awareness of another's pain or the personal pain I might face if someone responds to my openness with attack.  It is often our most tender places that root us most deeply in the reality of our human vulnerabilities and, in that way, my own tenderness points beyond itself to yours, to the truth of our shared humanity.
I don’t know if the decline of the use of the word signifies a hardening of the heart among English language speakers, but I do find it interesting that the phrase’s demise parallels the advent of industrialization and the movement from tactile and interdependent agrarian life to more isolated and automated ways of life.  The less I depend on the natural world and my neighbor for my own well-being, the less I need to worry about your places of tenderness, the less I need to risk telling you about mine, in order to ensure survival. 
Of course, we lose something when we lose awareness of our tender places - in the physical realm we might compensate with a limping gait or inactivity.  In ignoring the tender places, we shut ourselves off from the possibility of their healing and become less tolerant of the tenderness of others.  Our current culture, here in the United States, is one in which it is often unsafe to either reveal or respond in tenderness.  In such an environment we lose not only connection and companionship, but also a fundamental truth about who we are and how we were created to live in relationship others and with the natural world in which we live.
I’d wager too, that when we lose the ability to be treat one another with tenderness, we also lose the ability to recognize tenderness as a key attribute of God.  Even without checking a concordance or delving into Greek and Hebrew word studies, I’m prone to accept Brennen Manning’s affirmation that “Scripture suggests that the essence of divine nature is compassion and that the heart of God is defined by tenderness.” 
 
Signs of this – the tenderheartedness of God – are all over scripture.  The willingness of God to be moved on our behalf, even at the risk of pain, is evident in the thread of love that weaves its way throughout the entirety of the Old Testament all the way through to that fundamental verse of the New Testament that declares, “God so loved the world that he sent . . .” 
Maybe this is a bit much to be making of a word that drifted into the focus of my attention one afternoon.  But maybe it's also possible that simple words and postures like tenderness and kindness hold the key to our future as a human race.  And if that's the case, then I'd like to suggest that we might start a return to tenderness by simply paying attention to the tender places that reveal themselves right in the middle of our daily lives.
The next time you feel the impulse to lash out at your spouse or that faceless troll online, it might be worth it to pause a moment or two to palpitate around in the depths of your being.  Gently ask yourself, "Is that tender?"  Or maybe, simply begin by paying attention to the way the people around you limp - emotionally, spiritually, physically - and spend some time daydreaming about what it would take to create a space where tenderness births an environment where real healing and recovery can begin.

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