Our sermon series on ‘Being the Church’, going through the letter of Paul to the Ephesians, is coming up to a difficult topic in two weeks (September 10th) when we reach Ephesians 5:21-6:9, the part where Paul describes how Christians should live in their household relationships. This is a very confronting passage for us, because Paul is speaking into a world of strong hierarchy, where slavery was a common part of life and all positions of authority were taken by men. How then can what he says speak to us in our own day, when he seems to endorse relationships of ‘submission’ that we find difficult to accept?

This is an area where there has been a lot of disagreement between Christians, particularly in the past couple of decades. There are very strong opinions on very different ways of interpreting these kinds of passages and how they should be applied. There has also been a lot of attention paid to these questions in wider Australian society recently, with conversations in the media about the place that particular interpretations of the Bible might have in perpetuating family violence.

As we approach this issue at St. Mark’s, I would be interested in hearing what questions members of our church have in this area, so that I can shape my teaching towards what would be helpful for us. I would also like to have a special time of ‘Q & A’ about this during the service on that day.

If you have a question you would like me to attempt to answer, it would be great to hear. If you are comfortable, you could post on the Facebook thread for this post. Or you can email me at andrew.bowles@stmarksemerald.org.au. We will also put out some sheets on Sunday where you can submit anonymous questions and will perhaps have a roving microphone on the day. I’m looking forward to engaging on this topic with our members.