Saturday, 12 January 2008

This Week's Poll 12/1/08

If you want to do more than click, comment on this post.
(A bit in-house-Baptist this week. For those who don't dwell in this particular denominational domicile, Home Mission is the central source of top up funding for those churches and ministries that can't afford to meet all the costs of a paid minister.)

Last week's poll: "monocultural church" is a contradiction in terms, 8 votes in total, 4 agree, 4 disagree, one more vote, I vote disagree.
(As Catriona pointed out, it all depends on whether you are referring to local congregations - in which case culture-specific church can be a necessary and indeed very good thing, even if it still falls short of the ultimate ideal - or to the wider church - in which case, contradiction in terms, no question.)


Catriona said...

Hmm, good question! Though my vote was instinctive.

I think that there are proportionally more women ministers in HMF funded churches anyway, which has its own implications. Sometimes I've heard it said that 'when it's the second income it's OK to be on HMF standard' (and worse). At which point I grow lots of grace very rapidly.

PS No idea why Blogger is halving your header but I hope it doesn't hurt too much.

Dick Davies said...

This gets me very hot under the collar - and it isn't about Women ministers.

Its the whole power/money issue that gets me - I just abhor the way that Christians think it is ok to force their view (for or against my particular orthodoxy) by means of power and money. That seems to me to be so un Jesus like.

So my answer is no.

Anonymous said...

"I just abhor the way that Christians think it is ok to force their view (for or against my particular orthodoxy) by means of power and money." Surely it depends on the context. I think its right that Chris Brain was fired from the Nine O Clock power was exerted to prevent heresy, and his money was cut. This is clearly a very different issue, but the blanket statement won't hold in some cases. Should we actively pump money into issues that go against our conscience? Thats a tough call...and becomes a massively grey area on the level of denominations.

Anonymous said...

Change the word 'women' for black/asian/disabled and then try the poll again!

tim f said...

Dick - why does not funding sexist churches reflect an attempt to impose values on others by use of power/money? Why can't it reflect a desire to spend money in a way which is in accordance with biblical values (ie not reinforcing patriarchy)?

I voted yes because I think the presumption should be that where resources are scarce they should be allocated in a way which reflects kingdom values. I think the autonomy of churches to decide how to interpret the bible is crucial for anyone who believes in the priesthood of all believers. But the argument that the autonomy to be sexist trumps the importance of demonstrating the equality of all before God, or allowing everyone to fulfil their God-given gifts - or even just the importance of setting an example in the way we use our financial resources - seems a male logic.

I say presumption because a firm rule would stop God getting in the way by calling someone to a sexist church that couldn't afford them. Perhaps He might have a cunning plan to send them someone who would challenge their values, for example. If those who decide who gets Home Mission funding believe after extensive prayer and testing that it's important to fund a sexist church, then so be it. But the assumption should be that they won't.

Dick Davies said...

Reading the responses to my comment - I agree this seems to be something that is very subject to context as Paul says.

Looking at context - one persons 'careful use of funds' (from the donors end) can end up being anothers 'heavy handed manipulation' (from the recipients end).

Where these "kingdom values" are up for debate - in the kingdom - I'm not sure the way to debate them is necessarily to only finance the people that agree with us - in particular when that funding is institutional. (Neither is it always useful to use words like "sexist".)

When it comes to individual giving we may be swayed by personal conviction - along with (I would hope) praying and listening to God.

tim f said...

Clearly each response will depend to some extent on how far this is an issue which is up for debate. I don't think any of us would want to fund a church which preached that the resurrection wasn't a physical event, for example. (Perhaps someone will say otherwise, but I'll be surprised.) We would find that teaching dangerous and be unwilling to fund the spreading of it. A judgement of how seriously wrong it is to oppose women in ministry and how serious the consequences are will also affect whether we're willing to call it sexism or not. (btw, I felt that my use of the label "sexist churches" was slightly unfair because it suggests there are churches, and people, that aren't. But I was happy to use it as shorthand.)