As many of you know, I have been regularly attending a PCUSA church for worship on Sundays. About once per quarter my family has sat under the preaching of one of the female pastors. This has not been particularly easy because of my understanding of 1 Tim 2:12, but quite frankly I have had a tougher time in the past listening to many unqualified and rambling men (1 Tim 3:2)! Lisa Johnson's sermon on 7/1/07 was quite good, and I hope it will be posted online soon.
One of the truths that has made this scenario easier for me to swallow is the eschatology of woman. There is a very real sense in which Eve "finished" incomplete Adam (Gen 2:18). Scripture even goes so far as to say that women are the "glory of the man" (1 Cor 11:7). Women are the finishing touch / crowning jewel of our humanity and should be prized as such. Can it be an accident that the resurrected Christ was first revealed to and testified by women (Luke 24)? Or that Paul's salutations to ministry partners in Romans 16 called out many, many women? Or that the church itself is the very bride of Christ?
Don't get me wrong. It is precisely the eschatology of woman - the concept of being a "bride" that underscores the exclusive role men have in preaching. Men serve the Bride in this way as Christ serves His Bride, the church (Eph 5:25ff). Preaching is a form of guarding and service to the Bride and that is one reason men should be doing it. When women preach, this dynamic is sadly obscured and churches and families are weaker for it. Gender is not arbitrary or meaningless in God's program.
The reality is that I struggle just as much with a form of patriarchy that strictly relegates women's leadership to childcare, hospitality, and mercy ministries. I may not be comfortable with women preaching in corporate worship, but I am increasingly uncomfortable watching women being completely sidelined by men. In my dream world this would all be settled and I wouldn't have to deal with either problem, but here I am. If I've got poison to choose I think I will take this one for now. Believe me, I'll take a well-preached sermon delivered by a woman than an ill-informed / rambling effort by a man any day. And maybe someday generations from now this will all get sorted out and my great-great-great grandchildren won't have to make the choices I am making.
Over the past several months I have been asked the same question several times - "How do Christians reconcile scientific evidence, like carbon dating, with the creation story of the Bible?" Now as you can imagine, this answer could go on for many pages, but I will attempt to cut to the chase...
When it comes to science and the Bible, we need to get something straight upfront. Namely, we need to acknowledge that BOTH "religion" AND "science" involve underlying faith commitments. For example, when it comes to the "science" of origins, we must make "assumptions" about the past. One of the assumptions scientists make to extrapolate data backwards in time are certain rates of physical degradation. Whether or not they assume a constant rate is irrelevant, because the point is that they must assume something. They must posit or believe in something beyond what they can empirically demonstrate in order to make calculations. These assumptions are faith commitments.
When someone says, "You have your faith, and I have my science," they are simply fooling themselves. In an ultimate sense, we both have our faith. If someone wants to reject the Triune God because they have faith that random collisions of impersonal matter resulted in this world, then that is up to them. If someone wants to reject the Triune God because they have faith that matter and a vague god-force resulted in this world, then that is up to them. As for me, I couldn't have such a staggeringly blind faith. No, my faith commitment is corroborated at every point by the intricately personal world we live in.
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is miracle. - Einstein
You heard the man. You gotta have faith, but it shouldn't be stubborn or blind.