Author Topic: Unity and the Means of Grace  (Read 30057 times)

Dan Fienen

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #405 on: December 01, 2010, 11:26:38 AM »
If we want to discuss women keeping silence in the church a word study of  'hsucia   (1 Tim 2:11-12) and sigaw (1 Cor. 14:34) is also useful.  'Hsucia can mean quiet as well as silence. It and cognates also occurred in Acts 11:18, 21:14, and 22:24 where total silence was not implied but rather a quieting down so as to be able to listen, or a ceasing to speak in one way so as to be able to say something else (e.g. stop objecting and start praising). In 1 Timothy in particular, Paul was concerned that women be taught rather than teach.

Sigaw tended to be a stronger vocable for silence. However, it could also be used in situations where people became quiet in order to listen, Acts 12:17 and 15:12. Paul also used the same word to tell prophets to stop talking so that another prophet may speak. The CTCR “Women in the Church” report noted that, "Paul uses the Greek word laleo for 'speak' in 1 Cor 14:34, which frequently means to 'preach' in the New Testament (See Mark 2:2; Luke 9:11; Acts 4:1; 8:25; 1 Cor. 2:7; 2 Cor 12:19; Phil. 1:4; et al.), and not lego, which is the more general term." (p. 33) Once again, the concern seems to have been not that women be absolutely silent but that women not teach or preach.

Dan
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 11:29:34 AM by Dan Fienen »
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #406 on: December 01, 2010, 11:31:54 AM »
As others have said, it is not a question of talent or intelligence.  It is a question about what God has said in His Word and what vocations He gives to whom.

A lot of faithful people read the same Word of God and come to different conclusions. It is not a question about what God has said, but how we interpret the words God has given us.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #407 on: December 01, 2010, 11:34:13 AM »
As others have said, it is not a question of talent or intelligence.  It is a question about what God has said in His Word and what vocations He gives to whom.

A lot of faithful people read the same Word of God and come to different conclusions. It is not a question about what God has said, but how we interpret the words God has given us.
What is the proper process for determining the proper interpretation of the words God has given us?

Dan
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #408 on: December 01, 2010, 11:36:30 AM »
As others have said, it is not a question of talent or intelligence.  It is a question about what God has said in His Word and what vocations He gives to whom.

A lot of faithful people read the same Word of God and come to different conclusions. It is not a question about what God has said, but how we interpret the words God has given us.
What is the proper process for determining the proper interpretation of the words God has given us?

Each denomination seems to have a different process. There are no more Ecumenical councils of bishops throughout the Church to decide for the Christian world. The ELCA has our churchwide assemblies. The LCMS as their CTCR.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #409 on: December 01, 2010, 11:38:15 AM »
My point with those who rightly point that hymns teach is that those who are singing hymns may (and should) also listen, and that they are teaching in concert and not alone.

Yes, the lay reader may also listen to herself as she publicly reads the Old Testament and Epistle lessons.  But unlike a hymn where you can drop out for a moment and just listen or falter without a problem, more concentration on enunciation and cadence is needed to publicly read Scripture readings.  It's more difficult to read and listen in such a circumstance.

Furthermore, you are teaching individually and not together with the rest of the congregation.

I think these differences matter and deserve reflection.

But then "silent" no longer means "silent" as we usually use the word.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #410 on: December 01, 2010, 12:11:06 PM »
My point with those who rightly point that hymns teach is that those who are singing hymns may (and should) also listen, and that they are teaching in concert and not alone.

Yes, the lay reader may also listen to herself as she publicly reads the Old Testament and Epistle lessons.  But unlike a hymn where you can drop out for a moment and just listen or falter without a problem, more concentration on enunciation and cadence is needed to publicly read Scripture readings.  It's more difficult to read and listen in such a circumstance.

Furthermore, you are teaching individually and not together with the rest of the congregation.

I think these differences matter and deserve reflection.

But then "silent" no longer means "silent" as we usually use the word.
'Hsucia does not simply mean "silent".  'Hsucia means 'Hsucia which is used in the Koine Greek language to represent a meaning range.  That meaning range overlaps to a great extent the meaning range that in English may be represented by "silent"  which is why we often translate 'Hsucia as "silent."  If we need to pin down more exactly what part of that meaning range we need to rely on context and how the vocable has been used in other instances that we can draw parallels to.

What is a meaning range?  I'm not sure that is actually a technical term but it should be or something similar.  When we use a word to convey information, unless we are playing some sort of game with language, we use a word that in conventional use has represented the informational bit to be conveyed.  But words are often used to convey a range of (usually) related meanings.  That range may vary from speaker to speaker - hence the posibilities of misunderstandings, and the range of meanings of a vocable in one language rarely if ever exactly matches the range of a vocable in another language.  Hence the old joke of the early computer translations program that when challenged to translate "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak," from English to Russian and then back to English ended up with "The vodka is ready but the meat is rotten."

The word "chair" in English usually means some sort of raised platform upon which one could place one's butt with also a verticle side against which one could rest one's back.  So we usually distinguish between chairs and stools.  But chairs may be constructed out of many different materials, in many different styles and sizes.  A chair can still be a chair and not be big enough for a human use - i.e. a doll's chair.  Chair may also refer to an academic position that has little if anything to do with furniture.  To translate chair into another language one must determine what part of chair's meaning range is being referenced in the particular case, and what word(s) in the other language refer to the same sort of meaning.  Two different uses of the word "chair" may be translated using different words in the other language.

Even within the same language a word may be used in different ways and great humor (or low humor if you don't like puns) can result in mixing the uses.  (Who's on First?)  

So, yes, not all silences are created equal, even when dealing just in English, much less when translating.  Context, other uses, all help us determine just what is meant.  We should not simply pick whatever precise meaning suits us without careful study of how it is actually being used.

Dan
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 01:38:41 PM by Dan Fienen »
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iowakatie1981

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #411 on: December 01, 2010, 12:29:10 PM »
I'm going to push a little bit here, but it's really a sincere question, because I'm wondering just how far this goes.  Please note that despite my uh...current vocation...I am not the first person you should look to for a strident defense of women's ordination.  So, I'm totally open to what you have to say, but I also have to wonder...

Being as women are not allowed to teach, or really even speak, in worship, may they participate in the choir?  May they serve as the choir director?  The organist?  And if they are the organist, if some sort of hymn or tune or liturgical piece gets a little messed up, do they have the authority to stop playing, chuckle a little, and say loudly, "Ok, let's start that one over!"

If announcements are done at the beginning of the service (not arguing whether they should or shouldn't, just if they are) is the leader of the Ladies' Aid allowed to stand up say, "Our meeting on Tuesday has been moved from Sue's house to Nancy's house." ?

I can totally respect the idea that God calls men and women to different sorts of vocations, and I'm definitely okay with the fact that some churches feel that ordination and even some other types of "up-front" leadership ought to be reserved for men.  I (mostly) get the Scriptural argument, or at least see how it's possible to get there.  It's not quite where I'm at, but I'm not hostile to those who are.  Nonetheless, it seems that when we start having (what appears to be) a serious conversation about "whether women should be allowed to sing hymns, because you know, that's teaching" that we have moved from appropriate discussion of gender roles into full-on legalism or (I really hesitate to say it, but) nigh-unto-oppression of women.

I know that Jesus called only male disciples, and that may welll be a good argument in favor of ordaining only men.  But throughout the rest of the gospels, and really indeed the whole of the New (and Old) Testament, I see different roles for women, but not this sort of "putting them in the penalty box" kind of thinking.  Was it not Miriam who led the singing on the banks of the Red Sea?  Was it not Mary who first brought Our Lord to John the Baptist?  Were there no men present in the temple when Anna spoke "about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem."?

I don't know...I'm the last person to ever claim the title "feminist", but I have to admit, I'm having a hard time with some of this...

Sandra

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #412 on: December 01, 2010, 02:06:17 PM »
I'm going to push a little bit here, but it's really a sincere question, because I'm wondering just how far this goes.  Please note that despite my uh...current vocation...I am not the first person you should look to for a strident defense of women's ordination.  So, I'm totally open to what you have to say, but I also have to wonder...

Being as women are not allowed to teach, or really even speak, in worship, may they participate in the choir?  May they serve as the choir director?  The organist?  And if they are the organist, if some sort of hymn or tune or liturgical piece gets a little messed up, do they have the authority to stop playing, chuckle a little, and say loudly, "Ok, let's start that one over!"

If announcements are done at the beginning of the service (not arguing whether they should or shouldn't, just if they are) is the leader of the Ladies' Aid allowed to stand up say, "Our meeting on Tuesday has been moved from Sue's house to Nancy's house." ?

I can totally respect the idea that God calls men and women to different sorts of vocations, and I'm definitely okay with the fact that some churches feel that ordination and even some other types of "up-front" leadership ought to be reserved for men.  I (mostly) get the Scriptural argument, or at least see how it's possible to get there.  It's not quite where I'm at, but I'm not hostile to those who are.  Nonetheless, it seems that when we start having (what appears to be) a serious conversation about "whether women should be allowed to sing hymns, because you know, that's teaching" that we have moved from appropriate discussion of gender roles into full-on legalism or (I really hesitate to say it, but) nigh-unto-oppression of women.

I know that Jesus called only male disciples, and that may welll be a good argument in favor of ordaining only men.  But throughout the rest of the gospels, and really indeed the whole of the New (and Old) Testament, I see different roles for women, but not this sort of "putting them in the penalty box" kind of thinking.  Was it not Miriam who led the singing on the banks of the Red Sea?  Was it not Mary who first brought Our Lord to John the Baptist?  Were there no men present in the temple when Anna spoke "about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem."?

I don't know...I'm the last person to ever claim the title "feminist", but I have to admit, I'm having a hard time with some of this...

Katie,

Great questions. And this is a great demonstration of what happens when you ask a law question - you get a bunch of law answers. The law is never satisfied, you can never keep it well enough, there's always room for improvement and stricter following of it. That's how you go from a discussion about women's ordination or women lectors to questioning whether women should even utter a peep at all in church.

Personally, I think it has more to do with what honors women most. There's a lot more contained in that than we can get into in this kind of forum, but as the Bride of Christ, we are there to receive gifts from God. As women, we get to be additionally served by the men who also make up the Bride of Christ because they also, in their other vocations as fathers, husbands, etc. are our heads as Christ is the Head of the Church.

So many people get riled up about women as lectors or communion assistants or what-have-you, as though their feminine presence demeans the Office. I actually find it more insulting to the woman, that she is not being served and honored as she should be.

But I'm kinda weird that way.
Sandra (Ostapowich) Madden
sandramadden1119@gmail.com

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #413 on: December 01, 2010, 02:50:11 PM »
This is a good discussion. Like Katie, I have no desire to make a list of dos and don'ts for women in the divine service. I do draw a line at the Office of Holy Ministry that Katie apparently does not, but I think we do enjoy Christian freedom in the service of ushers, lectors, greeters and the like.

That said, I am in total agreement with Sandra that the focus in the Divine Service is on the congregation freely receiving God's gifts in Word and Sacrament and responding appropriately. The emphasis should never be about getting people up front to participate or to be recognized. Likewise, the church should never make an attempt to divide roles equally among men and women in order to make a point about gender equality. The norms that guide corporations and government and social life in the contemporary culture should not override the norms and values of scripture that have governed the church for centuries.

I serve as a lector and communion assistant in my church. I enjoy both duties but that is beside the point. My only focus is on assisting the pastor and serving the congregation; these roles are not a sign of status or leadership or standing in the congregation. If I ever become proud or feel myself special, then I should hand these duties off to others at once. Frankly, I would prefer it if the pastor read all the lessons himself and distributed the whole supper himself and I was free to always enjoy worship and communion alongside my family and friends.

In a congregation where people are well-catechized to understand the different roles that men and women play  in the church (as Sandra is), gender issues just never come up. I know one woman in particular who serves the church in many ways, but makes a point of remaining silent in worship and Bible study. She would refuse instantly if anyone were to ask her to do something in church outside her very conservative idea of the proper role of women. Yet, perhaps because of her silence, she has absorbed more Biblical knowledge than anyone I know. When she does speak, the things she says are remarkable for their wisdom. She carries herself in a way that exudes dignity, intelligence, peace, wisdom and spiritual maturity. I would very much like to be like her except that I talk too much and think too much about the politics of the congregation rather than focusing on the priceless treasures that we constantly receive in Christian worship.  

Karl Hess

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #414 on: December 01, 2010, 02:55:16 PM »
]
If we want to discuss women keeping silence in the church a word study of  'hsucia   (1 Tim 2:11-12) and sigaw (1 Cor. 14:34) is also useful.  'Hsucia can mean quiet as well as silence. It and cognates also occurred in Acts 11:18, 21:14, and 22:24 where total silence was not implied but rather a quieting down so as to be able to listen, or a ceasing to speak in one way so as to be able to say something else (e.g. stop objecting and start praising). In 1 Timothy in particular, Paul was concerned that women be taught rather than teach.

Sigaw tended to be a stronger vocable for silence. However, it could also be used in situations where people became quiet in order to listen, Acts 12:17 and 15:12. Paul also used the same word to tell prophets to stop talking so that another prophet may speak. The CTCR “Women in the Church” report noted that, "Paul uses the Greek word laleo for 'speak' in 1 Cor 14:34, which frequently means to 'preach' in the New Testament (See Mark 2:2; Luke 9:11; Acts 4:1; 8:25; 1 Cor. 2:7; 2 Cor 12:19; Phil. 1:4; et al.), and not lego, which is the more general term." (p. 33) Once again, the concern seems to have been not that women be absolutely silent but that women not teach or preach.

Dan

Even if it's just that women shoud be quiet in order to listen, as you said, woudn't that imply that they should not be up in the front of the Church, leading the whole congregation by reading the Scripture to them?

Karl Hess

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #415 on: December 01, 2010, 02:57:11 PM »
My point with those who rightly point that hymns teach is that those who are singing hymns may (and should) also listen, and that they are teaching in concert and not alone.

Yes, the lay reader may also listen to herself as she publicly reads the Old Testament and Epistle lessons.  But unlike a hymn where you can drop out for a moment and just listen or falter without a problem, more concentration on enunciation and cadence is needed to publicly read Scripture readings.  It's more difficult to read and listen in such a circumstance.

Furthermore, you are teaching individually and not together with the rest of the congregation.

I think these differences matter and deserve reflection.

But then "silent" no longer means "silent" as we usually use the word.

Therefore, "women must be silent" really means "they can speak in all the same ways that men can."


« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 11:15:58 PM by Karl Hess »

Michael Slusser

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #416 on: December 01, 2010, 02:59:22 PM »
Back on the thread subject for a moment, I've just heard of a conference at the University of Dayton on the theme of "Ecclesiology and Exclusion" to be held May 18-22, 2011. The theme, which can be read here http://exclusionconference.ecclesiological.net/theme.htm, sound as if it could interest readers of this thread.

Excerpt from the theme:
Some ecclesiologists are taken aback by what appear to be efforts to secure traditional identities to the neglect of engagement with others. Other ecclesiologists are troubled by what appear to them to be tendencies toward relativism and toward a watering down of core beliefs and standards.

At what point do concerns for unity of faith and practice become exclusionary? At what point do radical attempts at inclusion become relativistic?


Peace,
Michael
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 03:01:37 PM by Michael Slusser »
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kls

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #417 on: December 01, 2010, 03:08:39 PM »

Sounds interesting.

How far is Dayton from Columbus?  I know that football season should be long over by then, but I'm still wary of OSU fanatics.

Michael!  Dayton is actually just about 45 minutes north of Cincinnati.  You could swing by the Creation Museum on your way!  Some crazy OSU fanatics would even be willing to host you as you pass through!

Steverem

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #418 on: December 01, 2010, 03:11:35 PM »
Back on the thread subject for a moment, I've just heard of a conference at the University of Dayton on the theme of "Eccl;esiology and Exclusion" to be held May 18-22, 2011. The theme, which can be read here http://exclusionconference.ecclesiological.net/theme.htm, sound as if it could interest readers of this thread.

Excerpt from the theme:
Some ecclesiologists are taken aback by what appear to be efforts to secure traditional identities to the neglect of engagement with others. Other ecclesiologists are troubled by what appear to them to be tendencies toward relativism and toward a watering down of core beliefs and standards.

At what point do concerns for unity of faith and practice become exclusionary? At what point do radical attempts at inclusion become relativistic?


Peace,
Michael

Sounds interesting.

How far is Dayton from Columbus?  I know that football season should be long over by then, but I'm still wary of OSU fanatics.

Mike

Dayton's about an hour or so due west of Columbus.  Safe to say the city is crawling with Buckeye fanatics.  Take your shots ahead of time, and you should be fine.   ;)

Karl Hess

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #419 on: December 01, 2010, 03:12:35 PM »
I'm going to push a little bit here, but it's really a sincere question, because I'm wondering just how far this goes.  Please note that despite my uh...current vocation...I am not the first person you should look to for a strident defense of women's ordination.  So, I'm totally open to what you have to say, but I also have to wonder...

Being as women are not allowed to teach, or really even speak, in worship, may they participate in the choir?  May they serve as the choir director?  The organist?  And if they are the organist, if some sort of hymn or tune or liturgical piece gets a little messed up, do they have the authority to stop playing, chuckle a little, and say loudly, "Ok, let's start that one over!"

If announcements are done at the beginning of the service (not arguing whether they should or shouldn't, just if they are) is the leader of the Ladies' Aid allowed to stand up say, "Our meeting on Tuesday has been moved from Sue's house to Nancy's house." ?

I can totally respect the idea that God calls men and women to different sorts of vocations, and I'm definitely okay with the fact that some churches feel that ordination and even some other types of "up-front" leadership ought to be reserved for men.  I (mostly) get the Scriptural argument, or at least see how it's possible to get there.  It's not quite where I'm at, but I'm not hostile to those who are.  Nonetheless, it seems that when we start having (what appears to be) a serious conversation about "whether women should be allowed to sing hymns, because you know, that's teaching" that we have moved from appropriate discussion of gender roles into full-on legalism or (I really hesitate to say it, but) nigh-unto-oppression of women.

I know that Jesus called only male disciples, and that may welll be a good argument in favor of ordaining only men.  But throughout the rest of the gospels, and really indeed the whole of the New (and Old) Testament, I see different roles for women, but not this sort of "putting them in the penalty box" kind of thinking.  Was it not Miriam who led the singing on the banks of the Red Sea?  Was it not Mary who first brought Our Lord to John the Baptist?  Were there no men present in the temple when Anna spoke "about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem."?

I don't know...I'm the last person to ever claim the title "feminist", but I have to admit, I'm having a hard time with some of this...

I agree with you.  It gets lame when we start making a checklist of what women can do and what they can't do.  

I think it's totally absurd to talk about whether or not women can sing hymns.  As members of the hoy church, women have the keys and are called to proclaim the Gospel.  The issue in 1 Cor 14 and ! tim 2 has to do with vocation.  There I think the issue is that women, who were created as a helpmeet, nto the head, are not to exercise authority over men, but are to be in submission.  That means not exercising public leadership, whether as lector, pastor, or liturgist.  

But that has nothing to do with their full equality in regard to possessing the keys, and thus their right and privilege to proclaim the Gospelwithin their vocations as mother, duaghter, sister, wife, etc.  Being under authority does not mean that you don't have the right to proclaim the Gospe.

Whenever you look at the virtues the NT praises in women, it lists quietness and submissiveness.  These sound like dirty words to us, but that is because wedon't realize what a beautiful thing it is to be quiet and submissive--at least in God's sight.  Jesus was quiet and submissive to those in authority over Him and He is the fairest among the sons of men.  I think that's what Paul's getting at when He says women  shouldn't speak--i.e. they shouldn't lead, not that they shouldn't join in the praises of God.