Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Coffee Filters

I love coffee. I love it. I drink it strong and black. When I go to Starbucks, I don't get room for cream. However, I rarely go to Starbucks. I order my coffee straight from Costa Rica-- always whole bean-- by the box and I go through about a bag a week. I'm very specific about the coffee I like, not that I won't drink other coffees, but the one that gets me going is Cafe Britt Tres Rios Valdivia.

I used to brew with a french press, a very delicate process of boiling the water, grinding the beans coarsely, pouring the water over the top of the beans and letting it sit for five mintues, before plunging it down. This makes some wonderfully aromatic coffee. The problem I found is that there would be coffee "dust"-- for lack of a better word-- that would not get plunged down, so when I would pour a cup I would get sediment making the coffee gritty toward the end. Later, I switched to a coffee maker that uses a gold filter. This allows for the water to run through the beans into the carafe without going through paper. However, to some degree I still get grit.

I've been talking to a lot of people about my blog-- it seems to have gotten some recognition. To be honest, I'm not even sure how anybody found this site! That's not the issue though. In writing a somewhat emotionally charged blog, I failed to recognize that the language I was using would be offensive. I sinned. In trying to brew a strong pot of rhetoric, I failed to see all the grit that was coming through the filter. My sarcasm got the best of me. I want to publically apologize for my words that offended anyone. And while I had no intention to denegrate by the use of feminine language, I did. So I ask for forgiveness from those I offended overtly or covertly. I do not want my language to cause the same damage to females that I so vehemenately am against (the damage, not the females).

James writes this about the strength of the tongue. "For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!" (3:2-5).

I am happy about the discussion it has garnered and I look forward to sitting down over a strong brew to continue the conversation. And I'll continue to post on the issues related to massive topic that is Women in Ministry.

May You, Father, guard our mouths and our words from doing damage to others. May You make them to cause blessing and not cursing. May You watch over us to help further Your Kingdom and the proclamation of Your Son, Jesus, in whose Name we pray, Amen.


Ingrid said...

Thank you, Mark. I also apologize if anything I said crossed the line from appropriate indignation into destructiveness.

Quality strong black coffee is one thing we agree on! :) Talk to you soon.


Ingrid said...

One more thing regarding "the massive topic that is Women in Ministry" . . .

might I suggested instead the phrasing, "people who are Women in Ministry"?

Mark Grapengater said...

As flawed as my statement may be I take issue with the name "Women in Ministry." I hope to show, in future posts, that I support women in ministry. How that is played out is the rub.

The phrasing is meant to incorporate all that it means to function as the Church. So I phrase it that way because I think this affects much more than just the way we do church. Again, I hope to show that.

Please be patient with me. I'm still trying to get some homework done!

Michael said...

Dude, you just brought it home.

Thanks for teaching me about coffee and how even though it smells good, it tastes like crap. (tell me if you find some type of metaphor in this, but I am serious - coffee is the devil because it smells good, but tastes like pavement).

Ingrid said...


Intended emphasis on the topic that vs. people who. When women are referred to as “an issue,” we are reduced to a collective it, something to be done-something-about by others rather than somebodies. What is one issue among others for you (to be dealt with abstractly at your convenience) is our lives and our vocations for us. Hence the strong feelings and fired-up responses when The Issue comes up.

hg said...

I'm glad you posted this. Glad you are moving toward hearing and being heard.

Faith/christianity, (based on love God love neighbor) for me is about living in a compassion way that changes a person. Therefore dialogues like this are more about sharing stories and compassionate hearing [the coffee]. Debates etc. [the grit] become grit because they aren't rooted in compassionate story telling. People's journey, I statements, identity, where God showed up.

Root women in ministry in your story. It's formational. That's the coffee I'm wondering about. :)

bendeaver said...

I loved this blog entry. I think you were wise in your apology. I like my coffee black as well. Maybe you're aware of that. I also use the french press occasionally.

By the way, your grandparents are awesome. Maris and I attended the KSU/TX upheaval compliments of Fred and Mertyse. It was awesome, the only game I've watched all year and the only game I've attended in the past 3 years. Peace brother...ben

brad said...

Hi Mark - This is really Johnna, but I'm using a friend's computer. So, a while ago I posted a super long comment and it got erased... so now I just wanna say, when's your next post??? Are you too busy studying or something? :) And as for the discussion at hand - as you and I talked on the phone... I find that in my experience, headship/complimentarian relationships often do not function in a way that reflects equality between men and women even though I'm SURE the two in the relationship would say they believe that women and men are equal. (If we're not agreeing on that, the conversation might as well stop right now - it's 2006.) So, more than what people believe, I'd like to hear how it is lived out in practice. Why do marriages in a complimentarian context have a higher rate of physical abuse? How many men in complimentarian relationships would actually sacrifice their job for their wife's job? (not that this should always happen, but if we're talking equality, shouldn't it happen some of the time?) I must admit, I've caught myself making sexist comments at times and I sometimes live in ways that betray my closet-sexism, whether it's in a way that demeans men or women. And yet, if I were not a student of God's freeing word about equality among women and men... if I were not affected by the way Jesus treated all people, perhaps most strikingly women in such a society as he lived in, I would be far more apt to live out my sexist tendencies in even more harmful ways to myself and others. In my experience, having come from a complimentarian background and having moved to an egalitarian position, I feel like I've been given a greater awareness of oppressive actions/words by people taking either position. I still have a long way to go, but I will be watching and emulating those who LIVE in a way that is reflective of life-giving mutual and equal care whether in the context of a dating or married relationship, a church, or any other group of humans. I experienced this mutuality with you on the phone a few days ago as we discussed people ho are women in ministry (me being one of them) and am thankful for it!

brad said...

oops - that word at the end is supposed to be "who" not "ho"

you can email me at if you want... it won't get to me if you click on "Brad"

- Johnna

Mark Grapengater said...

Johnna, (brad)

Thank you for the encouraging remarks in response to our phone conversation. You've always been someone I enjoy interacting with.

Hopefully, I'll be able to answer most of your questions in my post I'm currently working on, especially about how it's worked out practically.

I do want to say, however, that there are actually 3 positions. The complementarian and egalitarian positions we know of, but there is also hierarchialism, which often gets mistaken as complementarianism by liberals. Hierarchialism says that men are of more worth than women and structures off of that principle. It's unbiblical, but I think that there are couples (or just men) that are functioning off of that thinking, plus, I think, to a point, society at large is. This is where abuse stems and I think that there are those who say they are functioning complementary, but really are hierarchialists.

The job sacrifice is a delicate issue, but I would advise situation to situation. I personally feel like it is the man's responsibility to make sure the family is taken care of monetarily, but there is a lot of play in that. Why would they leave one job over another? Who earns more? Are salaries the best way of making a decision? There's a lot of variables in that, and I can't lay down any concrete rules, and don't think anyone should.

Again, hopefully I'll answer most of your questions/concerns this week with my upcoming post.

Thanks for all your patience as I try to balance, well, life.

Grace and Peace,