7 Reasons Men Should Not Be Pastors

4-14-2016 Jim Wallis

When Sojourners released its most recent video,” we were not prepared for the overwhelming reaction. Three million people have watched the video, which satirizes the misguided reasons people say women shouldn’t lead in the church. We’ve received countless comments from women saying they’ve heard every single one of these used as a reason they shouldn’t be in leadership.
But not everyone was happy. Some have said this video simply presents a “giant straw-man” — that the real reasons for male-only leadership are grounded in scripture. Of course, I disagree — I’m married to one of the first women ordained in the Church of England. My wife, Joy Carroll, is well known in the U.K. as the Real Vicar of Dibley (after the hit television show in which she was the script consultant).
In fact, one of my favorite memories was of Joy celebrating the Eucharist for 25,000 British young people one summer at the Greenbelt Festival — an annual gathering for arts, faith, and justice where we had first met. My son, Luke, who was 4 years old at the time, was sitting in my lap, watching his mom on the stage leading the service. After a while Luke looked up at me and asked, “Dad, can men do that too?”
Women in ministry are changing the narrative in the church, in the society, and in our families. And thank God for that — we need them.
Sojourners created this video — featuring many of our own female leaders on staff — to be satirical, clearly. But there are strong theological reasons women belong in church leadership.
The Bible is full of female leaders. Deborah, for example, exercised complete authority over Israel — the people of God — and carried them through violence into a time of peace. Junia was named by Paul to be “outstanding among the apostles,” and was an example for the early church until a male medieval theologian changed her name to the male “Junias” to reconcile the text with church patriarchy.
And women played a central role in Jesus’ life — as disciples, financial supporters, and the first to see the risen Christ. From Mary and Martha to the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus challenged his culture’s patriarchal assumptions and affirmed and empowered women for ministry. So why are we quick to dismiss the gifts and contributions of women whom Jesus radically valued?
In the midst of a sexist and even misogynist conservatism that calls itself “Christian,” and a secular left that too often discounts the value of faith in the public sphere, we desperately need women faith leaders. We need women who will preach good news to the poor and proclaim liberation to the oppressed. We need female clergy like Traci Blackmon, who courageously went into the streets of Ferguson and has served as a spiritual mentor to many young leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement. Or Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), who has been such a visionary denominational leader in the U.S. and globally. Or Sojourners’ very own Lisa Sharon Harper, who reminds me how the “very good gospel” offers God’s shalom to a broken creation.
The church simply cannot afford to erase its strong female leadership. In a world mired in xenophobia, racism, and gender violence, female clergy are often plotting the way forward. Shepherding houses of God all over the world, these women prove that a relentless and repressive patriarchy will not have the final word in God’s coming kingdom.
So, yes, we like to poke fun at regressive ideas of female gender roles. But our commitment is firm: We need women to lead in our churches, and we will advocate for our sisters in Christ — using biblical truth to guide our way.
Women in ministry are changing the narrative in the church, the society, and in our families. And thank God for that — we need them. Jesus challenged his culture’s patriarchal assumptions and affirmed and empowered women for ministry. Women in ministry are changing the narrative in the church, the society, and in our families. And thank God for that — we need them.

Jim Wallis Jim Wallis is president of Sojourners. His book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, is available now. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.
– See more at: https://sojo.net/articles/why-we-made-video-making-fun-patriarchy#sthash.PUchWpA9.dpuf


Christianity, Women


Homeless mob terrifying city shops, Asian customers

15/4/16; Yahoo New Zealand

City store owners and workers are fed up with a group of Auckland homeless people seeking booze, food and cigarettes are targeting Asians because of their generosity.
The problem boiled over for a Chancery Square cafe in the CBD after a group of rough-sleepers burst into the shop demanding money and smokes from the Asian customers.
Last month five men entered the Esquires on Courthouse Lane demanding cash, while one man attacked a male staff member during the ordeal.
A man was arrested and given a trespass notice, and police are now being deployed to prevent anti-social behaviour.
“A man who had been asked to leave the store had become unruly and members of the public assisted the store manager until police arrived,” a police spokeswoman told NZME.
A cafe manager told NZME she has been left shaken. “We have been targeted so many times… our tip box had been stolen, bottled drinks taken and I even lost my cellphone. “I recognise these people because I see them sleeping rough on Queen St, and I am worried because their numbers are increasing.”
It is not the first time stores have been targeted this year, after Business owner Sam Snead had his liquor store broken into with $10,000 worth of alcohol stolen.
He told NZME many of the rough-sleepers are rude and arrogant. “These guys are just nasty human beings. “They are rude, nasty and so aggressive now, that they just openly walk in, grab an item they want and walk away.”

Video What would you do? Hundreds of people ignore ‘homeless boy’ rummaging through bin in bold social experiment; HEADLINE: Armed man assaults domino’s pizza employee;


New Zealand, Human Rights


Refugee on Nauru convicted of attempted suicide to ‘deter’ others

15/4/16; Helen Davidson @heldavidson

‘We are the forgotten people’: the anguish of Australia’s ‘invisible’ asylum seekers – Self-harm prevention advocates condemn ‘extraordinarily regressive’ moves by Nauruan government in sentencing man; Nauru’s government is facing accusations it left an eight-year-old girl alone while her father was incarcerated for attempted suicide. A single father living as a refugee on Nauru has been charged and convicted for attempting to take his own life, after prosecutors sought to use his case as a deterrent to people holding protests.
Medical and mental health professionals have criticised the move as victim-blaming, retrograde, and a backwards step in international efforts to decriminalise suicide.
The Iranian man, Sam Nemati, and his eight-year-old daughter had been resettled in Nauru on temporary refugee visas after being detained for two years under Australia’s offshore immigration processing regime, the ABC reported on Friday.
In late January Nemati and his daughter moved accommodation to Nibok Lodge, where Nemati said his daughter would have other children to play with, but authorities sought to remove them because he had moved “without approval or authority”.
According to the ABC, Nemati became distressed after officials began removing his belongings and he attempted to take his own life. He was taken for medical treatment, but the following day Nemati was charged with attempted suicide under the country’s criminal code. He was held in custody for two weeks, and pleaded guilty.
Nemati was given a 12 months good behaviour bond, but a statement from the Nauruan government said prosecutors had sought jail time of between one and two months “to deter other would-be offenders who resort to self-harm to avoid lawful actions against them or to get what they want”. “We are concerned that this method of protest is still being used and want to stamp out this practice,” it said.
The statement said prosecutors made no reference to their request being specifically aimed at the refugee community, but asylum seekers on Nauru have held daily rallies for over three weeks now.
Nemati was arrested, charged, and convicted by the Nauruan justice system within weeks, while several cases of alleged assaults and abuse have gone without consequence for months. Despite numerous reports of attacks on refugees and asylum seekers no one has ever been convicted.


Australia, Nauru, Migrants & Refugees


Threatened Australian wildlife at grave risk from habitat loss, study finds

9/7/15; Oliver Milman @olliemilman

Habitat loss is seen as the primary threat to at-risk species but recovery plans avoid addressing it and governments have entrenched the extinction process; An endangered southern cassowary feeds on the fruit of the blue quandong tree. A recovery plan for the bird failed to urge any curb on land clearing to protect its habitat. Photograph: Christian Ziegler/National Geographic Magazine/EPA
Successive Australian governments have failed to protect the habitat of the country’s most endangered creatures, with 90% of the 120 most endangered animals having no safeguards to prevent the loss of their homes, a new study has found.
An analysis by environmental groups of the official recovery plans for Australia’s endangered wildlife has discovered that just 12 of the 120 most endangered animals were covered by plans that placed limits on the future loss of their habitat.
This is despite the fact that habitat loss due to developments such as housing and mining is considered to be the primary threat to nearly 70% of these at-risk species.
The report, compiled by the Australian Conservation Foundation, BirdLife Australia and Environmental Justice Australia, states that recovery plans consistently avoid any measures to limit habitat loss and that successive governments have “entrenched the process of extinction”.
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James Trezise, policy coordinator for the Australian Conservation Foundation, said the findings are “worrisome”.
“Recovery plans can bind future decision making for governments,” he said. “We’ve seen examples where scientific advice has been given to governments on habitat loss, such as the swift parrot in Tasmania, and it has been ignored. We know that land clearing is a key threat and recovery plans need to state unambiguously that the best bits of remaining bush should be left intact.”
The report highlights how habitat loss is discussed in detail in the recovery plan for the endangered southern cassowary, only for the plan to fail to direct any curb on land clearing. Similarly, directions on habitat loss aren’t clearly articulated for the swift parrot or Proserpine rock wallaby.
Meanwhile, the Carnaby’s black cockatoo does have a recovery plan that stresses the danger of habitat loss, but a focus on providing offsets for cleared land has exacerbated its decline, the report finds.
Around half of all of Australia’s forests have either been cut down or severely disturbed since European arrival on the continent, meaning the habitat of a vast array of species has become fragmented or vanished.
Australia contains more than 5% of the world’s plants and animals, with 87% of them endemic, meaning they aren’t found anywhere else on Earth. However, the country has one of the worst extinction records in the world, with 50 species vanishing in the past 200 years, including 27 mammal species.
A total of 1,764 Australian species are listed by the federal government as being threatened to some degree. “Extinction is a choice,” said Samantha Vine, head of conservation at BirdLife Australia. “Where we’ve tried in the past, Australia has been remarkably successful at recovering threatened species. In many cases averting extinction has been straightforward and relatively inexpensive.
“Securing and improving existing habitats for threatened species is one of the most powerful and cost effective conservation tools at our disposal.”
The federal government is holding a threatened species summit in Melbourne next week to look at how to turn around Australia’s worrying loss of fauna and flora. The gathering of government ministers and conservationists is expected to focus on a range of threats, most notably the predation of mammals by feral cats.
Gregory Andrews, the national threatened species commissioner, said the government will also launch an ambitious threatened species strategy that will look at habitat loss and improving recovery plans.
“Given the animals and plants at risk, and losses we have already endured, a strategic response is required,” he said. And by working on the basis of science, focusing on practical action and partnering as broadly as possible, I’m confident that it’s possible.”
Trezise said: “Threatened species protection isn’t just about feral cats. It’s about a diverse range of pressures and the biggest threat is habitat clearance. We have a choice – we either accept that we put developments in less environmentally sensitive areas or we will have species go extinct.”


Australia; Conservation


World’s biggest wealth fund excludes 52 coal-related groups

15/4/16; Agence France-Presse

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund divests from energy companies that derive more than 30% of revenues from coal, on ethical grounds; Companies banned from Norway’s fund include many US and Chinese firms, including China Coal Energy, AES and Peabody Energy. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, has excluded 52 coal-related companies in line with new ethical guidelines barring it from investing in such groups, Norway’s central bank said on Thursday.
The move was seen as a sign of the growing influence investors wield in the fight against climate change. In June 2015, the Scandinavian country’s parliament agreed to pull the fund out of mining or energy groups which derive more than 30% of their sales or activities from the coal business. The new directive went into effect on 1 February.
The fund, fuelled by Norway’s state oil revenues and currently worth around 7.11tn trillion kroner (£610bn, $864bn), has banned 52 companies, most of them US and Chinese, including China Coal Energy, AES, and Peabody Energy, the biggest US coal producer which filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday.
The list also includes several Indian companies, such as Reliance Power and Tata Power, three Japanese groups and several European companies. “Further exclusions will follow in 2016,” the central bank, which manages the fund, said in a statement.
Thursday’s announcement was hailed by environmentalists. “It’s an important first step,” Martin Norman, the head of Greenpeace Norway, told AFP. “The road ahead remains long though,” he added, noting that his organisation had a while ago counted 122 companies the fund needed to bar to be in line with the new directive.
The world’s three biggest coalmakers – Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore – are not affected by the new rules because their other mining activities are so massive that their coal businesses represent less than 30% of their overall revenues.
But Norman said he hoped they would soon be excluded because of another criteria adopted last year, which prohibits the fund from investing in groups that produce “unacceptable levels” of greenhouse gas emissions.
“It’s a good start,” added Marius Holm, the head of the environmental group Zero. “But the fund still holds stakes in coal-related companies, and its exposure to oil and gas also needs to be discussed,” he said.
The fund’s investment policy is run according to strict ethical rules, with a focus on sustainable economic, environmental and social development.
Those rules bar it from investing in companies accused of serious violations of human rights, child labour or serious environmental damage, as well as manufacturers of “particularly inhumane” arms, and also tobacco firms.
The list of 52 companies includes some of those the fund has divested from since 2013 on its own initiative, judging the companies’ environmental impact was damaging to their financial viability. Control-ling 1.3% of the world’s market capitalisation, the fund is intended to finance Norway’s generous welfare state indefinitely.


Europe, Conservation


To be kind is to be cruel, to be cruel is to be kind: Spengler

14/4/16 Home› At Top Writers› David P. Goldman To be kind is to be cruel, to be cruel is to be kind: Spengler
Just after the September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, I warned that radical Islam would horrify the West into submission. In Europe, it has taken a giant step towards success. Europe’s horror at the prospect of human suffering has made it supine. Sadly, the more the Europeans indulge in their humanitarian impulses, the more Muslims will suffer. To be kind is to be cruel.
The Daily Mail recently described an incident off the coast of Italy:
The 240ft Monica had been spotted in international waters during the night.
When Italian coastguard boats drew alongside, the crews were shocked to see men and women on board begin dangling the infants over the side.
The refugees – mostly Kurds and many said to be heading for Britain – calmed down only when they were assured they would not be turned away from Italy.
What kind of people threaten to murder their own babies?
The normal response would be to arrest them and put them in prison for endangering children. Instead, the British newspaper reported, “The Archbishop of Catania, Luigi Bommarito, was at the dockside to greet the Monica in what he called ‘a gesture of solidarity’. He said: ‘I’m here to appeal to people not to close their hearts and doors to people trying to survive. We mustn’t forget that in the last century many immigrants also left Italy.’”
The Monica incident is multiplied ten thousand-fold at the diplomatic level. Turkey’s President and de facto dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan last October threatened European officials with 10,000 to 15,000 drowned migrants, according to minutes leaked to a Greek news site and widely reported by European mainstream media–with no official denial. Erdogan demanded 6 billion Euros up front and 3 billion Euros a year to stop the refugee flow, telling European officials, “We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on uses.
. What will you do with the refugees if you don’t get a deal?
-Kill the refugees? the EU will be confronted with more than a dead boy on the shores of Turkey. There will be 10,000 or 15,000.
-How will you deal with that?”
The leader of a prominent Muslim country who claims to speak for the Muslim world threatened the Europeans with 10,000 or 15,000 Muslim deaths.
-When in world history has one side in negotiations threaten to kill its own people in order to gain leverage?
Some Europeans suspect that Turkey deliberately encouraged the mass migration that hit Europe in the summer of 2015 by allowing criminal gangs free passage through its territory and across its borders. That is difficult to prove, although it is hard to understand how tens of thousands of Afghans, Iraqis and Pakistanis made their way through Turkey to Europe without some degree of Turkish collusion.
Future investigators will have to settle that issue; what seems clear from the leaked transcripts is that Turkey has turned the migrant crisis into weaponized horror.
The same grisly farce has played out for years in Gaza, where Hamas fires rockets at Israeli population centers from civilian locations, including schools and hospitals, and then complains of human rights violations when the Israelis respond and on occasion kill civilians. Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and an expert on the conduct of war on Israel’s borders, observes that the Gaza civilians are not human shields, for their purpose is not to shield anything. Rather, they are human sacrifices, intentionally set to die.
This is the first time in the entire history of warfare that a combatant intentionally set out to maximize civilian casualties on its own side, the better to gain diplomatic leverage. Hamas has read the West well: the reflex response of the Secretary General of the United Nations, the European Commission, Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and the rest of enlightened world opinion is to recoil in horror at hundreds of civilian casualties, and denounce Israel for excessive use of force. Hamas knows what will come out of the mouth of Ban Ki-Moon or Sen. Sanders as surely as I know that a gumball will come out of the machine when I crank in a quarter.
In an Oct. 15, 2015 essay, Times of Israel analyst Haviv Rettig Gur noted that Palestinian strategists expect to outflank Israel by rallying world opinion against the collateral damage that they staged precisely in order to elicit such a response. He quoted the Palestinian journalist Mohammed Daraghmeh:
Palestine is an international issue. [The issue] won’t be decided in a flurry of knives or acts of martyrdom [suicide attacks], or in protests or demonstrations. It will end only when the world understands it has a duty to intervene and to draw borders and lines, as it did in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Kosovo…
One might ask:
-How long?
And I say: The day will come. … One might ask:
-Did the peaceful struggle bring about the end of the occupation?
And I say:
-Did the military and armed struggle do so? ….
Only the world can bring the solution
The West has not imposed a “solution” on Israel only because Americans respond to weaponized horror differently than the UN bureauracy, the Vatican, or the government of Sweden. Fully half of Americans support a ban on all Muslim immigration to the US. Elsewhere in the Anglo-Saxon world, the tide of Muslim migrants might tip the balance in the upcoming June referendum on British membership in the European Union.
Perversely, the United States created a monster when the Clinton administration went to war with Serbia in 1998 in order to rescue the Kosovo Liberation Army–a dodgy band of Albanian hoodlums engaged in drug and human trafficking–from the harsh response of the Serbs to their provocations. Muslims like Mohammed Daraghmeh learned that at least some in the West would take their side in order to stop humanitarian disasters, even if the Muslims themselves set those disasters in motion. The Pope, the U.N. Secretary General and Sen. Sanders encourage the creation of such disasters by responding according to script.
I argued in October 2001 that the mass sacrifice of Muslim lives lay at the heart of battle plan of radical Islam:
Al-Qaeda wants no territory, no conversions, no loot, no slaves. It wishes to destroy the West and happily will sacrifice millions of Muslim lives in order to do so. Indeed, the mass sacrifice of Muslim lives may lie at the heart of its battle plan. It has more in common with the Dostoyevsky of The Possessed or the Wagner of Die Goetterdaemmerung than with the Muslim conquerors of the Middle Ages.
Evil for its own sake becomes imaginable only when the Christian civilization of the West abandons Christianity and stares into the abyss of its own destruction….The grand vulnerability of the Western mind is horror. The Nazis understood this and pursued a policy “des Schreckens” (to cause horror) and “Entsetzens” (terror, literally: dislodgement). Horror was not merely an instrument of war in the traditional sense, but a form of Wagnerian theater, or psychological warfare on the grand scale. Hitler’s tactical advantage lay in his capacity to be more horrible than his opponents could imagine.
The more the West indulges its humanitarian sentiments–that is, its squeamishness in the face of absolute evil–the more calamities will befall Muslim civilians, because Muslim leaders from Raqqa to Ankara have learned to weaponize horror. Staging humanitarian catastrophes in order to blackmail the West has succeeded for the most part. What would be required to persuade the likes of President Erdogan that the West will not accede to blackmail?
Sadly, the West would have to watch with indifference as horrors unfolded on its borders. The Pakistani who threatened to hang himself earlier this month at a refugee camp in Lesbos will not go back to his miserable life in Pakistan unless the alternative at a European refugee camp is even nastier. To be kind is to be cruel: it encourages horrific outcomes staged to manipulate the Western conscience. Paradoxically, to be cruel is to be kind.
German attitudes towards the refugee crisis are sadly understandable, given the lingering trauma of the Second World War, as I wrote in this space recently. Nonetheless, Germany should round up most of its migrants and send them back to their own countries. That would be a difficult and nasty business. Germans object that they do not want to be concentration camp guards. But that is no excuse; they could hire Ukrainians, just like last time.
Another perverse outcome is the re-emergence of Russia as a Middle Eastern power. President Vladimir Putin is not a new Stalin, but rather the last European leader in the mold of 19th-century nationalism. His relative success in Syria stemmed in part from his indifference to collateral damage and his willingness to use Russia’s Cold War inventory of dumb bombs. It would be a tragedy for the West if the initiative in crisis response passed to Russia (and perhaps China), simply because those powers lack the constraints of conscience that inhibit the West.

The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Asia Times.


Global, Human Rights