Guys, I love you. But even those of you who are deeply aware of women’s issues in the wider culture (and my friends all are, they have hearts the size of a whole continent), sometimes seem to be unaware of what it’s like to be a woman in a conservative Bible-believing faith community.
Which is as it should be, to some extent, I suppose, since you’re men.
But, my beloved friends, you have a charge to keep. I hope you’ll bear with me, and find some encouragement for your great responsibilities, and hold me accountable without dismissing my thoughts, and listen deeply.
Being the Majority
When I’m the white North American woman at the evangelical publishing conference, I’m oblivious to the challenges being experienced by the male minority. I’m oblivious to the challenges being experienced by the black and Asian female minority. I have only the slightest understanding, as a Canadian, of the challenges being experienced by the attendees from overseas cultures that operate very differently than the American business culture.
My happiness and your obligation are not equivalent.
Subsequent to the garden harvest post (in which I may have referred to Titus 2/Proverbs Woman formulas as “dorky”), we had a brief discussion on social media about some of the weird and crazy notions of “Godly womanhood” out there. Or, as one commenter put it,
Canning is close to godliness. Preserve your soul with Aunt Beulah’s Heavenly Homemade Preserves.
I do some traditional arts sometimes, because it makes me happy and fulfilled. I have also done them out of necessity, for the good of our family. But that doesn’t mean anyone else in the world will enjoy the things that I find interesting, fulfilling and pleasant.
“Love is not completely foreign to me, but it is something I struggle with.”
-Benjamin Collier, fantasy author
And so goes the human journey. Few, though, have both the perception and the honesty to state it as clearly and profoundly as my friend Ben.
I don’t think I love God so much as I see him as something fulfilling the role of God, without which something would be missing. But I highly doubt that recognizing the necessity of a person or thing is the same as love. So I question that I’m really doing this Christian thing the way that I’m supposed to.
Through the lens of Asperger’s, Ben more effectively diagnoses the ills of the Christian walk than many a popular pulpit. Perhaps this diagnosis is not exactly a result of the non-neurotypical state. Perhaps it’s a clearminded observation of the non-Edenic state. And perhaps it presents both problem and cure.
Here’s the problem: We all think this way about God at least some of the time. We call it, “I just feel so far from God,” or “I’m not sure about God’s love for me,” or “I reject that hateful God the previous generation taught me about, my God is about love.”
But the thing is, feelings of distance, uncertainty or defiance–are our feelings, not God’s character, and not the same as our state of understanding. Continue reading
Politics and religion are acknowledged hot-button topics the world over. Which means they can have quite a strong influence in small groups. So, as you can imagine, doing church together in a small town is its own delicate dance.
A Pastoral Setting
The guy who gets up and talks every Sunday at our Christian gathering is a farmer. If I were to say “the pastor of our church,” the mental image would be completely wrong for a lot of modern North American churchgoers. There’s no spire at our gathering. There’s no three-piece suits. No giant Bible on a stand at the front. There’s no show lights or rock band or postmodern barista.
It’s more like an extended family gathering of people who actually like each other. Continue reading
< Parenting in the Name of God, Part 6 | TABLE OF CONTENTS
By this point, having determined that No Greater Joy’s underlying theology is not biblical, though it uses many common expressions recognized by Bible-believers, we must now examine the fruits of the teaching. Is it possible to still find good in the practicalities of NGJ’s parenting method? Is it possible to separate the child-training advice and the positive anecdotes from the misguided theological teachings?
Let us begin by asking Michael Pearl’s opinion of the matter.
The Bible calls it chastisement with a rod. We call it training. The spankings we give our children do not resemble punishment. We are not angry. We don’t lose control. We are not desirous to make children suffer for their misdeeds. Application of the rod is only a small but essential part of our training technique…
It is not just a difference of opinion about what technique is best in rearing children. It is a matter of basic presuppositions. To give up the use of the rod is to give up our views of human nature, God, eternity, judgment, etc.
In Defense of Biblical Chastisement, Part 1, emphasis ours
We have established that NGJ’s view of human nature diverges from the biblical account due to their basic presuppositions on the origin and essence of the moral nature. We have established that NGJ’s view of God is distorted from that of Scripture by the same. If the child-training method cannot at least find some biblical grounds in eternity and judgment, the ministry’s entire reason for existence is in question. Continue reading
…At least, this is what I noticed lately.
I was away from home, so I did my Philippians reading in a handy generic King James Version. And I noticed that the English language has changed.
Duh, I know.
Joy didn’t used to be something we tried to possess, like a new car or a nice house or whatever we think is necessary to our well-being and prosperity. That’s how we think about it and talk about it.
Y’all know what I mean. It’s the only way I’d ever heard it mentioned before, and maybe that’s why joy is confusing these days. Continue reading
Lately, the question of being real rather than religious is very much on my mind. Whether from a sinner’s background or a saint’s, there are trends out there to make you feel wrong about it.
There are two kinds of fake religion: One that says you must never show your sinful side, because the world must see your best appearance or Jesus will be shamed and ashamed. You dirty rotten sinner, you. Continue reading