The Core Sunday Gathering

November 20, 2011

Series: The Sexes
Week 8: Beyond the Truce

The Truce

-You get the impression that Christianity’s best-case scenario for the genders is a truce, or a cease-fire

        -If we could just quit fighting, or quit stepping on each other, or quit holding each other back

                -Then we’ll have arrived.

        -Men need to learn to see women as having equal value and women also need to see women as having equal value

                -And we’ll all be equal and BOOM! It’s all sunflowers and cotton candy

        -But Equality should not be our goal. It should be our starting point. It’s our touchback at the 20 yard line

                -There is no Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female

                -Assign Acts 10:34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism

                -God has done everything necessary to teach us that we are all equal

                -The goal is not equality… the goal is true fellowship… to bless each other and complete each other

                -To recognize that we are one body with many parts, and that each part is valuable for a different reason

Feminism

-Question: what was the goal of the women’s movement of the 60’s and 70’s? Did it work?

-It’s good that society has come to value equality between men and women

        -If only women’s movement could have been led by Christians, instead of opposed by them.

        -Because the result, although good in many ways, is horribly fractured.

        -Now we see explosions in pornography, plastic surgery, and the conviction that “sex sells”

        -This objectification rips away at the value of a person

                -But the work of Jesus is to restore value

                -Like an abandoned house stripped of all its fixtures and pipes and copper wire

                        -With its windows knocked out and roof disintegrating

                -Its value is gone, evaporated… only a memory

                        -This is what society has been doing to women, to femininity, and as a result, to masculinity as well

        -But Jesus comes to restore everything that’s been stolen, corroded, faded and broken

-Jesus was the greatest feminist of all time

        -We want to think of feminism as a movement to make women just like men

        -But Jesus’ vision was so much higher and deeper than that

                -He saw our condition, and dreamed of lifting everyone up, of setting everything right

                -Men, in our constant battle to succeed, to prove ourselves tough and tactical and capable

                        -in our obsessions over sex and money, in our addictions to games and drinks

                -We have fallen far below the standard of humanity. We are failed beings

                        -Shame on you, ladies, if you covet this. It’s a deadly practice.

                -And men, when we put on this veneer of sensitivity or style

                        -And we covet the women when they have beauty and class even when there’s no substance behind it

        -Jesus came with a clear eye for the frying pan of femininity, of women trapped and melting

                -And the burning wasteland of masculinity that’s like a sneak peek of hell

                -And he knew that we all needed him just as badly. That we all need to be rescued and redeemed

                -Never to jump from the frying pan of femininity into the fire of masculinity

                        -which is what we do when we covet each other’s junk

                        -Imagine two neighbors with garage sales, and they each buy the other out every week

                        -We’re trying keeping the crap fresh, but it just keeps getting older and crappier

        -Jesus was the ultimate feminist. And the ultimate masculinist, if there is such a thing.

                -He holds in his hand the only key to unlocking the meaning of both, of redeeming gender

                -So that those who follow him will realize the dream of equality, but more importantly, unity.

True Fellowship

-We won’t even take a step toward true fellowship until we understand One Body, Many Parts

        -ONE VOLUNTEER PER VERSE 1 Corinthians 12:20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

        -Question: What does Paul mean by “those parts of the body that seem weaker” or “less honorable”?

                -What if God was calling you to one of these roles? Would you still put your heart into it?

                -Or would you grumble about it and covet the leadership positions?

        -It might be argued that, although a pastor is equally valuable as every other member

                -the role itself is more seems stronger and more honorable – there’s more responsibility, more accountability

                -and in a couple of weeks I get to experience the distinction between those roles

                        -Will I still feel equally valuable as a Christian, or church member, when I’m not running things?

                        -Or have I allowed my higher profile role to define my worth?

        

        -Are you counting on God to give you a certain kind of status before you will feel valued?

                -Do you need a leadership position, or a performing role? Do you have to be front and center?

                -What if nobody ever knew what you did for the kingdom, or for the church?

                -It’s not until we change our motives, and our desire to truly serve, that we’ll understand Fellowship

-Men and Women are different

        -A lot of the differences really are stereotypes, but they are have mostly gotten that way from being true.

        -Men count on women to help us understand relationship, and compassion, 

                -and how to not wear the same shirt three days in a row.

        -And Women count on men to help them understand leadership, and risk-taking, and channel-surfing

                -And there are a lot of exceptions to these stereotypes, but that doesn’t matter

                -Because you don’t have to know them, or memorize them, or use them at all.

        -All you have to do, is notice the people around you, and notice yourself.

                -Be prepared to be bad at some things that they’re good at, and vice versa

                -Be prepared to celebrate the successes and aptitudes of your brothers and sisters

        

        -God called everything he created good, but humankind was not fully good until we were together

                -And the first waking moments of that togetherness were found in the male-female relationship

                -That energy that exists in the space between… in so many ways it makes us who we are

                -Whether it’s confusion or cooperation or sexual tension, it defines us as humans

                        -We are created male and female. And that’s only meaningful because these two are distinct. Different.

                -And because, when taken together, they draw a fuller picture of God himself. Him-and-herself.

        -If you read the Bible cover-to-cover and follow the story arc, the dramatic rise and fall…

                -You see that our Father’s heart beats with the desire to restore all the “good” of creation that was lost

                -All these thousands of years, and billions of lives, and the life and death of His Son

                -All point to one thing, and that is the restoration of everything broken

                -What is the broken? It’s oppression, It’s inequality, It’s slavery, It’s misogyny and confusion and hatred.

                -God has made it clear to us at the beginning that all men and women were created equal

                        -Our sin has broken that. But God is restoring it. He’s transforming us with his revolution of love

                        -If we take to his kindness, and repent of the sin that broke us, we have an open door to that revolution

Read Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

        -All of the wasteland of masculinity and femininity created by our culture will be transformed into an oasis.

                -And his perfect order can be restored

                -He is calling us to live that out now… to lean into the promise and not the curse

                -And as we men and women, no matter how different we are, connect and relate and love each other,

                        -To show the world exactly what he looks like