Tear Down the Hierarchy

Exactly what I have been saying for a long time …



Gendered Groups

I’m with Nikki on this one — I’ve never cared for gender segregated Bible study groups:

Going South

The expose of the sexual abuses in the Southern Baptist Convention in the Houston Chronicles has generated a lot of buzz on social media, following on the heels of other well-publicized cases: Bill Hybels, and the Catholic priests in Pennsylvannia. In my mind, the common link in all these tragic cases (and countless others) is a faulty leadership model, mindset and motives. Simply put, concentrating power in the hands of a “Senior” or “Lead” pastor, whose mindset is more about ruling than serving as a slave of Christ, and whose motive is driven by unbridled ambition and aspirations for empire building … well, it is to be expected that NPD will eventually result in these acts of abuse.

Redesigning Our Liturgy

Thought for today:

Forgetting What’s Past

Food for thought:

Manufacturing Worship

Quote of the day:

Much Protestant worship consists of a desperate attempt to make it look as if something significant is transpiring. Christians come to services wanting to sense the presence of God and expecting the clergy and musicians whom they employ to produce “worship experiences” that make faith seem alive. Sincere intentions are seldom sufficient to guarantee success, and they leave as they came – hungry and vaguely burdened with guilt.

– A. Daniel Frankforter, Stones for Bread

In “Gender Discrimination Still Exists — Now What?” (MIT Sloan Management Review; Fall 2018) Morela Hernandez discusses the persistence of blind spots to gender bias and sugggests the use of scripts to aid in responding in the moment to an inappropriate comment. By script, she means a “set of words or phrases that would signal to a peer that he has crossed a line, whether knowingly or unknowingly.”

She goes on to say that scripts “act as a pause button of sorts that enable us to reevaluate what was said or done, despite the initial surprise or shock of witnessing the biased behavior. They allow us to plan, in more deliberate ways, on how to push back respectfully and effectively.” In particular, she argues that scripts can help address two cognitive shortcomings that lie behind our blind spots: egocentricity [our difficulty in understanding perspectives other than our own] and confirmation bias.

Beyond the gender issues that this article is focused on, what does this have to do with our church life? It is her closing statement (emphasis mine), Learning how to develop and enact scripts to disengage from the automaticity of our everyday interactions is ultimately a collaborative effort, that made me think of conversations and meetings in Christian circles. Too often, our dialogue is sprinkled with Christianese and religious clichés that have their origin in the automaticity of enculturated lingo and jargon. Consequently, too often we don’t get past the superficialities and instead, hide our true intentions behind pious phrases instead of confronting the issues head on. Maybe we need to develop scripts as well to deal with the common blind spots and biases that are all too common in our churches.

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