Day of Rest 6-20-10

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”

– Billy Graham, Christian Evangelist

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The Image of God and Gender
By Dr. Glenn S. Sunshine
Published Date: June 16, 2010
From the beginning

In the first two articles of this series, we have seen that the image of God refers to humanity’s dominion over the world as God’s stewards, and that it is the basis for the unique dignity of human beings, for equality, and for human rights. In this article, we will look more closely at the issue of gender.
Gender is specifically mentioned in the first passage in Scripture dealing with the image of God:
… God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:28 ESV)
Notice that the text very pointedly identifies the image of God with both male and female. Men and women are thus equally image bearers of God, and this means that they are intrinsically equal in worth, in their rights, and in their call to exercise dominion in God’s name over the earth.
It is impossible to overstate how revolutionary this idea was in the ancient world. We sometimes hear the argument that paganism is far better for women than monotheism, because in paganism there are goddesses along with gods, thus providing women with a claim to status and even authority
in society.
This argument is great in theory. In practice, it’s total nonsense.
Women under paganism
In the real world, paganism almost inevitably placed rigid restrictions on women’s roles. Essentially, they were only permitted to do things that the goddesses did. And generally speaking, this meant that they were responsible for the domestic sphere and often little else.
In Greece, for example, “free” women did not leave the home even to go shopping—that was handled by the men or by slaves. In places like Ephesus or Corinth that were dominated by temples to goddesses, the priestesses had more public roles, but they also doubled as prostitutes. And in general, only a small number of wealthy women, priestesses, and prostitutes had any roles or responsibilities in public life.
Further, women were considered intrinsically inferior to men in almost all ancient cultures. Aristotle, for example, considered women to be essentially the result of birth defects—they were “misbegotten men,” incomplete and inferior physically, morally, and intellectually.
Women also were not valued as highly as men, an attitude that persists in many parts of the world today. In Rome, wives came in a distant third for their husbands, behind parents and sons. As for children, Romans typically kept all healthy boys and their first daughter; the rest were discarded and left to die.
And these problems were not limited to the Greco-Roman world. All major civilizations in the ancient world and the vast majority of minor cultures held women as distinctly inferior to men, with far fewer rights, privileges, or opportunities.
Judaism
Things were quite a bit different in Judaism, largely due to Genesis 1:28. Women were seen as being equal to but different from men because of their common creation in the image of God.
Spiritually, women were seen as setting the tone for the entire family, so much so that it was believed that a pious man who married an evil woman would become evil, and an evil man who married a pious woman would become pious. Women were seen as more intuitive than men, and some scholars argued that the wives of the patriarchs were superior to their husbands as prophets.
Women were also highly respected. In the Ten Commandments, we are told to “Honor your father and your mother” in Ex. 20:12, but to “Honor your mother and your father” in Lev. 19:3. The fact that father comes first in one case, but mother in the other, was taken to mean that we are to honor both parents equally.
Although women’s primary role was as the mother and keeper of the household, they were not limited to the domestic sphere. Women had the right to own, buy and sell property and to engage in business, following the example of Proverbs 31. They also had more rights with respect to marriage than in most other cultures, and under no circumstances could they be beaten or abused by their husbands.
To be sure, the Talmud says some negative things about women, with some rabbis describing them as being lazy, gluttonous, gossips, and prone to witchcraft; of course, they also describe men as being prone to lust and sexual sin. Overall, though, there can be no serious question that Jewish women were far more highly regarded and far better off than their pagan neighbors, stereotypes to the contrary notwithstanding.
Christianity

Christianity carried on this tradition of honoring women. Women played important supporting roles in Jesus’ ministry and were the first witnesses of the Resurrection. Spiritually, the distinction between men and women is erased in Christ (Gal. 3:28). Women converted to Christianity in large numbers, in part because of the respect and freedom it gave them. Some of these even became leaders in the early church, sponsoring churches in their homes (e.g. Col. 4:15) and serving as deacons[1] and prophets (e.g. Acts 21:9).
Moving into the Middle Ages and beyond, women continued to play important roles in the church, including powerful abbesses who ran women’s convents and sometimes double monasteries (that is, two monasteries close together, one for men and one for women), founders of religious orders such as St. Claire, mystics and visionaries such as Hildegard von Bingen and Theresa of Avila, all the way to modern women religious leaders such as Mother Theresa.
Christian ethical standards also raised the status of women. Husbands were commanded to love and take care of their wives as Christ loved and took care of the church (Eph. 5:25), an unheard of idea in the Greco-Roman world. The impact of Christianity on family life is important enough to deserve its own article, so we will return to that topic later in this series. For now, suffice it to say that here again, Christianity markedly improved the marital conditions for women compared to the pagan world.
Christians also joined the Jews in rejecting abortion and infanticide, but went further in rescuing abandoned babies—mostly girls—and raising them in their own households.
At the same time, it must be said that the Church has not always been true to its foundations in its treatment of women. A great deal of the problem here comes from the influence of Greek misogyny on early Christian writers, who imported negative ideas about women from Aristotle, from Neo-Platonists, and from other pagan sources. It certainly does not originate from the Biblical concept of men’s and women’s shared creation in the image of God, nor from Jewish theory or practice.
Despite stereotypes to the contrary, Judaism and Christianity have had a more positive impact on women than any other movement in history. The image of God in both male and female was the foundation for women’s rights and the ultimate source for modern ideas of gender equality. Scripture affirms that though men and women are different, they are equally valuable before God, equally worthy of honor and respect, and spiritually and morally equal in Christ.
For more insight to this topic, get the book, Male and Female, by Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman III, from our online store. Or read the article, “The Father Almighty, Maker of Male and Female,” by Paul C. Vitz.
[1]In addition to Phoebe (Rom. 16:1), the Roman writer Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to the Emperor Trajan asking him how to handle Christians and noting that he had arrested two female slaves who were deaconesses. See http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/pliny.html.

WOD 6-19-10

Warm-up

Row 500 Meters

5 minutes S.H.O.T. Drills

WOD

5 sets of 5 rounds

Squats (80% 1 rep max)

Muscle ups

Finisher

For Time

50 1 arm clean & Jerks (24kg) R/L

memorial_day_2

“Where there is no religion, there is no morality… with the loss of religion… the ultimate foundation of confidence is blown up; and the security of life, liberty and property are buried in ruins.” – Timothy Dwight (1752-1817)

WOD 6-18-10

As many rounds as possible in 12 minutes:

3 Handstand Push Ups

5 Pull Ups

7 Knees to Elbows

Cool Down:

2 minutes Pummeling Drill with partner or Shadow Box

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Mighty Men of Valor

The sons of Reuben and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, {consisting} of valiant men, men who bore shield and sword and shot with bow and {were} skillful in battle, {were} 44,760, who went to war. – 1 Chronicles 5:18

From the Gadites there came over to David in the stronghold in the wilderness, mighty men of valor, men trained for war, who could handle shield and spear, and whose faces were like the faces of lions, and {they were} as swift as the gazelles on the mountains.

These of the sons of Gad were captains of the army; he who was least was equal to a hundred and the greatest to a thousand.

These are the ones who crossed the Jordan in the first month when it was overflowing all its banks and they put to flight all those in the valleys, both to the east and to the west. – I Chronicles 12:8, 14-15

Saint Petersburg Elite Kettlebell Training Camp


WOD 6-17-10

5 Rounds for time:

3 Power Cleans (165#)

3 Front Squats (165#)

1 Push Jerk (165#)

Note: Be very technical on the above lifts.  Scale up or down as necessary.

Finish with 3 Rounds of:

3  Clean Grip High-Pulls (205#)

Note: The CGHPs are for power development, don’t let a weak or taxed grip be the limiting factor on this lift, use straps, if necessary.

Igor Morozov & Jeff in St. Petersburg
Igor Morozov & Jeff in St. Petersburg

On December 15, 1791, The Bill of Rights was finally ratified by the states. This was a declaration of what the federal government could not do, leaving the states free within the controls of their own constitutions.

The Tenth Amendment states:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

WOD 6-16-10

5 rounds for time:

Row 500 meters

3 Skin-the-Cat to L-sit pull-up combinations

3 Zercher Lifts (bar set at knee height) Note: if you can only do 2 then the weights too heavy, 5 then weights too light)

10 Kick-ups to handstand hold (3 seconds) against wall.

On December 15, 1791, The Bill of Rights was finally ratified by the states. This was a declaration of what the federal government could not do, leaving the states free within the controls of their own constitutions.

The Ninth Amendment states:

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

WOD 6-15-10

Warm-up

500 meter row

Work-out

21-15-9

Power Cleans 135 pounds

Weighted Ring Dips (16 kg)

Cool-Down

2 minutes Pummeling Drill w/partner or Shadow Box

CIMG0166

On December 15, 1791, The Bill of Rights was finally ratified by the states. This was a declaration of what the federal government could not do, leaving the states free within the controls of their own constitutions.

The Eighth Amendment states:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

WOD 6-14-10

Warm-up

50 One Arm swings, switching hands each rep (16 kg)

10 Skin the Cats (on rings)

Tactical Athlete Total

Three attempts each at:

Back Squat

Double KB Military Press (start in the rack position, hand must be below chin, press to lockout)

Deadlift

Weighted Pull-up

CrossFit Colosseum Kettlebell Certification - Toronto, Canada
CrossFit Colosseum Kettlebell Certification - Toronto, Canada

On December 15, 1791, The Bill of Rights was finally ratified by the states. This was a declaration of what the federal government could not do, leaving the states free within the controls of their own constitutions.

The Seventh Amendment states:

“In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.”

Day of Rest 6-13-10

Loiyangalani, Kenya
Loiyangalani, Kenya

The Image of God and Human Dignity

By Dr. Glenn Sunshine|Published Date: May 27, 2010

This is the second article in a series exploring the implications of humanity’s creation in the image of God.

God’s rep

In the first article in this series, we looked at how the term “image of God” was used in the ancient near east, noting that it was a royal term that described humanity as the official representative and regent of God in this world. This leads to the biblical teaching of human dominion over nature, but at the same time limits that dominion to acting as God’s steward in the world and taking care of it appropriately as His possession.[1]

Since in Genesis 1, the description of humanity focuses entirely on the image of God, it follows that this is the most essential element of what it means to be human. But this in turn has implications well beyond dominion and stewardship. In particular, it provides the only real foundation for human dignity and human rights.

Dignified above all else

First of all, the image of God distinguishes us from everything else in creation. Spain may grant “human rights” to great apes[2] and Switzerland may have enshrined plant rights into their constitution,[3] but neither of these alter the fundamental distinction between humans and either animals or plants. In fact, they demonstrate the difference: has any other species given rights to anything else? Has any other species acted to protect other species? Has any other species held itself in check in an effort to prevent another species from extinction?

The very fact that we can talk about rights and that we recognize our responsibilities toward other creatures puts the lie to the claims of animal rights activists that we are just another species on the planet, no different from any other. If that’s the case, why do the animal rights people insist that we must protect and respect other species? If they don’t ask that of termites in a house, which destroy our habitat, or a lion meeting a lone wildebeest, why do they expect it of humans? Or should we put predators in jail?

We do in fact have responsibilities to other creatures, and for that reason the animal and plant rights activists who deny a special place for humans are wrong. It is precisely our creation in the image of God that gives us those responsibilities and that distinguishes us from the rest of Creation.

The claim that this is “speciesism,” a moral failing akin to racism, is self-refuting unless those leveling the charge are also willing to say that all other species have the same responsibilities—not just rights—that we do.

Christians have supported animal rights in one sense for centuries. William Wilberforce, the British evangelical who led the fight in Parliament against the slave trade, also was a founder of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. But equating animal rights to human rights is a different issue altogether, and points to a fundamental deterioration in our culture’s understanding of and commitment to the value of human dignity, and with it, to human life itself.

The image of God and the value of life

In Bblical terms, humanity’s unique dignity flows from our creation in God’s image. Since we are God’s regents on the earth, an attack on any human being is tantamount to an attack on God Himself. Thus God tells Noah after the Flood:

Whoever sheds the blood of man,

by man shall his blood be shed,

for God made man in his own image. (Gen. 9:6 ESV)

The justification in this instance for capital punishment was the fact that human beings were made in God’s image. Murderers forfeited their right because of their attack on one of God’s image bearers. That is how seriously God takes human life.

Taking this one step further, since the value of human life flows from the image of God, so does human dignity. And since the image of God is shared by all people, all of us have an intrinsic dignity that is distinct from anything else about us. The supreme value of the image of God far outweighs any other consideration in determining our worth.

Insulting God?

To put it simply, any time you value something more than the image of God in how you think about yourself or others—whether race, sex, class, appearance, age, mental capacity, ability or disability, anything—you are quite literally insulting God to His face.

This includes valuing people on the basis of their religious beliefs. Christians who think they are better than others because of their faith have forgotten the very first element of the Good News: we are all sinners who can bring nothing good to God that would make us worthy of salvation. But what we could not provide for ourselves, God provided for us. Christians thus have no claim to being better than anyone else, and we must insist that all human beings are equally valuable regardless of faith, lifestyle, vices, criminal background, or anything else, because we all share the image of God.

There is therefore never any excuse for any form of bigotry, whether racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, or any of the other “-isms” in our culture. As a result, Christians should be (and historically have been) on the forefront of fights for civil rights.

The image of God and human equality

Let us start by looking at human equality. The apostle Paul tells us that in Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female.” (Gal. 3:28 ESV) All are morally and spiritually equal before God, all equally need salvation, and all share in the same means of salvation. Race, class and gender thus are irrelevant before God.

This emphasis on moral and spiritual equality led Christians to be the first people anywhere in the world to pass laws against slavery, as documented by Rodney Stark.[4] Slavery was condemned as a sin in Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, and when the Europeans tapped into the African slave trade, no fewer than four different popes condemned it.[5] And of course, the British abolition campaign in the late 1700s was led by evangelical Christians, among them William Wilberforce.

Martin Luther King’s leadership in the Civil Rights movement was based on a profound understanding of Christian natural law theory going back at least as far as Thomas Aquinas in the early thirteenth century. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail is based on just these arguments, anchored in the Christian tradition that recognized both our equality and intrinsic dignity and the importance of an objective moral foundation for law.

Early Christians promoted the rights of children and the unborn as well. In an era in which infanticide was mandated by law for the handicapped and allowed under any circumstances, Christians worked to save babies from death, bringing them into their own households, and petitioned the government to end this legalized murder. Similarly, following the lead of the Jews, they also opposed abortion as murder since it was the taking of a human life made in the image of God.

Christians pioneered rights for women as well. Christianity resulted in a tremendous increase in prestige, opportunity, and freedom for women in ancient Rome, well beyond what had been available to them in the pagan world.[6] We will return to this topic in a later article.

Ultimately, the logic of our creation in the image of God led to the development of the idea of universal human rights. This is a uniquely western concept, built on theories of inalienable rights developed by Medieval Christian theologians from their studies of the Bible. And all of it is founded on the spiritual and moral equality of people in Christ, going back ultimately to our creation in the image of God.

No other culture, religion, or civilization has advanced a comparable idea, because none of them have the worldview foundation for it. Even Jurgen Habermas, the leading public intellectual in Europe and an atheist, points out that modern secular ideas of human rights have their origins in the Judeo-Christian tradition:

Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct heir of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk.[7]

All of this obviously just scratches the surface of this issue. But in an era of easy abortion coupled with ultrasounds and genetic testing to determine if the child is worth keeping alive, of designer babies, of calls for legalized euthanasia, and a host of other challenges to human life and worth in our culture, we as Christians need to rediscover and recommit to the centrality of the image of God for determining human value.

For additional insight to this and related topics, order Glenn’s book, Why You Think the Way You Do, from our online store. Or read the article, “Just a Naked Ape?” by Regis Nicoll.

WOD 6-12-10

Warm-up

50 KB Snatches R/L (16 kg)

10 Knees to Elbows

WOD

7,6,5,4,3,2,1

Inverted hang/Skin the cat/burpee combo (on rings)

Handstand Push ups

Box Jumps

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On December 15, 1791, The Bill of Rights was finally ratified by the states. This was a declaration of what the federal government could not do, leaving the states free within the controls of their own constitutions.

The Six Amendment states:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining Witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel fro his defense.”

WOD 6-11-10

Warm up:

5 minutes of SHOT Dills

5 minutes of H2H Drills (light KB)

Complete 10 rounds:

Sprint 50 yards

*Rest 30 secs between rounds

Coaches Rudenev & Rachinsky
Coaches Rudenev & Rachinsky

On December 15, 1791, The Bill of Rights was finally ratified by the states. This was a declaration of what the federal government could not do, leaving the states free within the controls of their own constitutions.

The Fifth Amendment states:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”