Last week, John Piper gave a talk at a pastor’s conference where he said that God gave Christianity a masculine feel. Needless to say, a number of people, women and men alike, took issue with these statements. The blogosphere was alight with posts about why his statements are wrong, how they hurt women, and how they give an incomplete view of God.
I absolutely support these posts. When a portion of the Body of Christ is marginalized, it’s important to stand up and say, “No, you shouldn’t do that.” I am thankful that more and more people are standing up for women in the world and especially in the Church. Each time I hear a prominent male leader say, “Women can’t do this,” I’m hearing more and more voices responding, “Yes, they most certainly can.”
I wish I was surprised by John Piper’s comments, but ultimately, I’m not. This is the same man who, two and a half years ago, said that a tornado that went through Minneapolis was a sign from God that the ELCA was in trouble for approving sin by allowing the ordination of gay and lesbian ministers.
That comment had significantly less push-back.
John Piper believes that his stance on both of these issues is biblical. He can easily point to verses that support his views both about the roles of women and about homosexuality. I am certain that he would say that he hates neither women nor the LGBT community and that his statements are strictly about maintaining the integrity of the Bible.
The thing is, if we allow one part of the Body to be marginalized and dehumanized, we open the door for others to experience the same thing.
When we don’t stand up for gays and lesbians in our churches, we are saying that they don’t matter.
When we encourage our congregations to vote against rights for gay and lesbian couples or workers or students, we are saying that they aren’t worth as much as straight people.
When we make jokes at the expense of gay people, we create a circle and put them clearly on the outside.
It can be easier to get riled up when we see an injustice being done to half of the Church. It’s much harder when we don’t even know if our congregation even has any gay people. (Hint? It definitely does.) Why stick our necks out for a group that is so small? Why risk the backlash of standing up for a group that has largely abandoned the Church?
John Piper has been consistent with his statements that are exclusive. My challenge today is to make sure that I am equally consistent in my statements to be inclusive.