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J. K. Gayle

Dear John,
I'm very much looking forward to dialog with you! Others should feel free to join in too I think. I started something this morning at my blog but alas ran out of time (had to go to church):

Will come back here sometime soon enough. Perahps after the weekend.


Yesterday, before I read this blog entry, I was sitting in a church and I randomly started to read Exodus 22. I was thinking, "this is reasonably civil until I got to verse 7 Exo 21:7 "When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.
Exo 21:8 If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her. (ESV)

I don't know exactly what events in life led Kurk to become a feminist, but it seems that even though I had the most conservative Christian upbringing, the example of my very conservative "preacher" mother removed much hope for me to be anything but a feminist, even though I never realized that I was one until studying in seminary.

Is the "God inspired" regulations given in the scripture above 1. perfect and infallible, 2. or are these verses the imperfect record of God's infallible revelation(whatever that might mean) to a man and therefore need to be reanalyzed according to the revelation given to others later. (Did Paul try to humanize these verses about patriarchy and slavery or not?) I think that John Hobbins, Kurk Gayle and even I have the Spirit of God too, or did revelation end with Peter, Paul and company.

Joel (Polycarp)

John, I have read this post several times, and have attempted to direct my comments to just a few things.

Sir, I am reminded in the the range of bibliobloggers, I am far more biblically conservative than nearly all. When you make a statement that those of us who hold to such a position as you stated on the bible would not give a certain biblioblogger the time of day, I would declare that you are wrong.

I started biblioblogging with a very different mind set that I have today - to borrow a common phrase, I was a hammer, and everyone else was a nail. Yet, buy interacting with those from a different viewpoint than I, I have come to appreciate the Church Fathers, other Traditions, and even different translation styles, and indeed different political locations - and because of a certain blogger, I have come to appreciate the audience of Scripture as well. While he may 'distort' our instrument, he does so in a way which has called to my attention my own prejudices from Scripture. This provides a mirror, and with no mirror there is no truth.

When a certain blogger interacts with others, in such a way as the recent and ongoing discussion on the prologue of John, the conversation provides a light past the dark clouds of doctrine and dogma, and thoughts that only in our language should we read the bible. Why is this so detrimental? Instead, I have found consolation in the discussion, stretching my membranes, and giving me pause.

I would disagree with you in applying to a certain blogger the 'axe-in-hand' method alone. We all do. You do, according to some; I do, according to many. I would disagree with you, that you would choose number 1, all the time, and perhaps, you would disagree with me if I said that I chose number 1 all the time.

Further, I believe that in many ways, Tradition is indeed a vicious cycle, bent on normalizing, even against Scripture, one viewpoint.

Scripture must be recognized as the final authority, of that I agree; however, we must dig past tradition, whether in practice or in doctrine, to get to Scripture - and with a certain biblioblogger challenging us through Aristotle, through feminism, through his eyes, I find the digging that much easier.

I do not desire to get into a contest over the rightness of political locations, yet, we know that too many times, we stand in our own location and declare it right. I have found that when I am the most challenged, I am the most comfortable. While I may not agree with a certain biblioblogger all the time, his indirect challenges to my own personal beliefs have forced to me to either change location, or build walls around that location, that firm foundation.

I have yet to find the lack of reciprocity that you speak of - even among bibliobloggers, there are divisions based on interests. Perhaps I am not seeing your rejection of the separation imposed by a certain biblioblogger as clearly as you do, but I do see divisions happily attached and honored. Is that that the case? And if so, can we allow divisions as long as they do not interfere with our own political location?

I for one do not fully share in a certain bibliobloggers passionately chosen brand of feminism (although it as mellowed me 'head of the house' speech), yet I have read his posts for over a year, and cannot ignore them. Iron, says someone, some place, sharpens iron.

That is my .0099 denarius worth of thoughts, John. I enjoy reading your posts, and have myself gained from them, but I do think that you are being unfair to a certain biblioblogger.



Thanks very much for your comments. I don't see that I have any serious disagreements with you.

It was not my intention to be unfair to Kurk. It was my intention to take his blogging seriously, and interact with it wholeheartedly.

I don't think Kurk is giving the ancient texts a fair shake. That was my first point.

I also don't think he gives those who don't share his version of feminism a fair shake. That was my second point.

I find a tremendous range of approaches to the Bible helpful. But some are unhelpful. Some lack sufficient respect for the text, the people behind the text, and the people who treat the text now as light, mirror, and compass. That's what I sense in Kurk's blogging. I could be wrong about that.

Without meaning to be disrespectful by pointing it out, there I stand.



I really appreciate your comments. However, the divisions are deep and strong.


Oddly, my comment has stood this time. Let me say that what I have experienced has saddened me extraordinarily and I still cannot fathom why it happened.

Joel (Polycarp)

Suzanna, I am not sure what you experienced, but if prayer is needed, then you have it.

John, there are indeed divisions, even among biblical literalists, biblical conservatives, and the wide range of those that hold to the bible in one way or the other - yet, I believe, perhaps I am alone, that we can learn from each other, regardless of what divides us.

I believe that I have made it clear my stance on Scripture, and I have yet to feel any backlash from our common friend.



I'm fine with that.

But I have felt backlash from our common friend. That's probably because I know where his red lines are, and I deliberately cross them in the hope that he will make his territory of the free and the brave more inclusive.

I'm a bridge builder, he's a bridge burner. At least, that's the way I see it. That won't stop me from laying down a bridge in his direction from time to time. Even if I know he is not interested in crossing it.

J. K. Gayle

Dear John,

I just saw your comments here (now nearly a week after you wrote it.) I tried to reply a few times in the past few hours, but apparently you've blocked me or it's thjust nowat fluky thing that happens sometimes to those of us here in Texas.

I'd already written a couple of posts at my two blogs before I saw just now these comments of your from a few days back. I'm hanging up blogging. Maybe you're glad about that. I have no idea what you mean by "red lines" and your deliberate crossing of them and my territory. I have just a little sense of the irony, probably unintended, in your very next line: "I'm a bridge builder, he's a bridge burner." The whole warfare rhetorical construct here, I just don't get it. Maybe you and I should email. This public stuff (where you're feeling backlash) is going nowhere, especially when you "know" - you say - so much about me and my interests. I really can't figure out why this is so personal for you. There are many things I appreciate about you. Hope you've read some of that from me over the years. Just now let me say how fun it is to see your list of five books you've learned from (and that we share an appreciation for one of Lewis's) and that another blogger actually lists your blog in her five pointing among other things to your being a good father and that you have a good son to be proud of. Also, I think we do share much in views about translation (whether you'll admit that or not). Moreover, you've heard me say I like your gestures toward "common ground" (even if that suggests some sort of territorial struggle, which I think we both should rethink entirely). At any rate, more than any of this overthought difference between us, I've appreciated the interactions and wiish you and yours very well. Favor and peace.

Joel, Thank you for your words. You inspire me in your blogging. And your candor here makes me deeply grateful to you. Not many of us can or do what Matthew's Jesus called meta-noia. But you've inspired me with your listening and your interactions and your change. (I saw you used the f-word for yourself the other day. :) fundamentalism, wasn't it? I've also enjoyed even your family vacation posts.) Blessings to you.

Sue, Your comment means much!

Kurk (aka J.K.Gayle)



No, I didn't block you. You are one of three people I know that typepad lets through on a hit-and-miss basis only. I have no idea why. The other two have learned to email me directly when typepad is persnickety. I then post their comments.

First of all, peace to you, bro. We were destined to clash on some things, because, speaking for myself, at a certain point I make no distinction between the political and the personal. I am a child of the 60s. The one movie my father took me to see as a teenager was Woodstock. I am having this daydream right now that my family and your family are watching that movie together, everyone is rolling their eyes except you and me, because we understand that movie, the others, not necessarily. Their points of reference are probably very different.

We have a lot in common, Kurk, though we do have different red lines. I know you don't like such language. I really am only trying to be descriptive. I wish you all the best in your journey through life, and will think of you whenever I read something by C. S. Lewis. You are, furthermore, welcome to comment here, as you know.

J. K. Gayle

Grazie, amico mio. ciao

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