If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times. All the worry about the slippery slope. Give an inch, they'll take a mile and then more. An easing up of rigidity and before you know it we are all going to hell in a handbasket of warm, mushy, good-for-nothing feel-goodisms and have failed at our role as hardened warriors for God.
This is what I've seen when it comes to some of the issues within the more conservative church these days. The one that primarily comes to mind is the role of women. I've read and watched more debates than are good for my stress level.
Here's the problem. You have the complementarians on one side and the egalitarians on the other. And somewhere you have a lot of women, over half the church, best I can tell. And you have entire denominations of men saying that women cannot preach, and cannot teach a man, and then they say they cannot be an elder or rule over a man in any way, and then they say they cannot be on committees, and then they say they cannot be deacons, and then they say they cannot lead worship, and some even say they cannot speak in church at all.
I've watched one denomination debate the role of women. I've watched them want to have women as part of the conversation and seen men blow their stacks at even having women as part of the conversation. Why? Because of the slippery slope.
The reasoning goes like this. If you open up the conversation about what women can do, like perform deacon-type work, maybe even be called deacons (gasp), you are on the slippery slope to liberalism and before you know you you are no better than the wretched mainline denominations that have no place for the Word of God.
Excuse me, but I fail to see how talking about issues, really talking about them, talking about the millions of women in churches who may not be fully used to their potential because they are not allowed to do anything but hold babies, teach Sunday School, or cook casseroles, I don't see how talking about these issues is in any way a laundry chute straight to hell. To me it seems to be seeking greater stewardship of gifts and better allocation of the gifts at our disposal (not to mention the ringing of the Liberty Bell for those of us who like neither kids nor cooking).
But the slippery slope, you say.
I'll tell you this. The slippery slope slides both ways. One way to liberalism. But the other to oppression. And I know plenty of women who are feeling terribly oppressed right now. We can be looked past. Looked through. Talked over. Talked around. Ignored. Set aside. Patted on the head. But often not allowed to use the gifts we have to serve the people who need us. In effect, kept in our place. That, to me, is oppression. Or a set up for oppression.
I'm concerned that we only see the one side. We conservative types are so darn wigged out about the possibility of becoming liberal that we kill our freedom and suck the joy our of life in the mean time. There has to be a better way.