Open Hand, Closed Fist
I realize that for Mars Hill Church in Seattle, women in elder/pastoral ministry (or more precisely, not being in elder/pastoral ministry) is in the "closed hand" of issues/doctrines not up for questioning or reconsidering, as opposed to the "open hand" of things over which Mars Hill people can disagree without disengaging. I get that.[via bob.blog]
I also get that the last time we were together, I heard Mark say specifically that when it comes to relationships/fellowship outside of Mars Hill, women in ministry is an "open hand issue."
What I don't get is Mark's tone-deafness when speaking to a huge group of people that he knows are all over the map on this issue, including a number of women pastors and church planters. I realize he has his opinions. Boy, does he.
I also know he's smart... and I really don't want to believe that Mark would intentionally poke a stick into a bee hive every few months just to draw some attention. I really don't.
So we're going to go with option 2- He forgets that in terms of relationship with other churches and the Body of Christ as a whole, he's trying to see this issue as an open hand thing about which good Christian people can disagree. And in forgetting, he speaks with perhaps less grace, less care than he should to people who he knows feel very strongly and very differently than him about the issue. In fact, the more he talks about this issue, the more he pushes and pounds it, the more that open hand feels like a closed fist.