I’ve had quite a week.
I don’t usually write a lot about my not-quite-orthodox views, but a few weeks ago, a friend asked me to.
So after prayer and pondering, I did.
If you’re so inclined, you can read what I wrote (and the responses) at my friend Mike’s blog.
You may or may not agree with me, and that’s OK. I believe that God’s grace is big enough to cover me if I’m wrong and you if you’re wrong.
I can’t lie. The first three comments were hurtful. If you know me at all, you can probably guess why. I pondered over whether to respond. I asked friends to pray. Several friends (thank you!) responded which left some of what I wanted to say unnecessary. My sweet sister emailed just to make sure I was ok, and you know what?
Although I was stunned by the tone of what was written, I was not undone by it. Early into reading it, I realized, “She doesn’t know me. She isn’t even talking about me. She’s talking about someone who doesn’t even exist.” So I was able to read it and not be too terribly hurt by the tone or the words.
I did pen a quick response there, but I want to share my full response here. Not because I feel the need to vindicate myself or to set anyone straight, but to share my heart and hopefully provide some frame of reference for who I am and what is important to me. So here goes.
Jenn, I can tell that you care deeply about this topic too, but can also tell that you and I have very different perspectives. I’d like to tell you a bit more about myself, because you seem to be making some rather large assumptions about me.
1. My faith in and relationship with the Lord is the cornerstone for all that I do. Each day begins and ends with prayer and I seek his guidance throughout my days. I take Bible study seriously and church has been a continual part of my life and of my parenting. I want nothing more than to see people with God’s eyes and to treat them the way God would treat them.
2. I take the scriptural mandate for older women to teach younger women very seriously. We are all older than someone and I’ve been a teacher at church since I was in seventh grade. Currently, I teach and plan curriculum for our women’s class at church. I work in the nursery. I help plan retreats. I also volunteer many hours a week with college women and am blessed to be a part of their lives as they navigate through the beginnings of having their own faith. I also try to be the very best mom that I can be to my own daughters.
3. Although I work full time now, it has never been my first choice. I spent years as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and still miss that life. Financially, we could no longer make that choice. While I was praying through the very difficult choice of what I believed to be “abandoning God’s plan for women,” I was reminded by a wise soul that I was my husband’s wife before I was my children’s mom and if helping provide income was necessary, then I needed to do that. I do not work out of selfish ambition or a desire for riches. I do not own a boat. We only bought our first house six years ago and we have been married for 25 years. My children wear second-hand clothes. We drive out-of-date, barely functional vehicles. I work primarily so they can afford to go to college without having the student loans that have burdened us throughout our adult life.
4. I do not claim to be a Biblical scholar, although I do read and study my Bible regularly and seriously. Because I don’t know the original Biblical languages, I must depend on translations and realize that I could be misinterpreting. Scot McKnight’s book “Blue Parakeet” does a wonderful job addressing how we read the Bible and which parts are cultural and which parts are not. There are many commands in the New Testament, including one that says that slaves should not seek to be free. Does that still apply? If women are to be silent, why are we allowed to sing? Just before the scripture telling women not to teach men, there’s a verse telling women not to wear gold or pearls. Does that still apply? Why are some of these assumed to be cultural and others to be truth-for-all-time? Our answers to these are wrapped in our cultural worldviews.
5. I could be wrong. I realize I could be wrong. It’s OK that I could be wrong. I’m not trying to convince anyone to agree with me – I’m just sharing my heart and what I would love to see happen. Unity is more important to me than anything. I’m a middle child; a peace-maker. I want a safe place to ask questions and I want open dialogue, but I will demand nothing because I believe that unity and cooperation are more important than any one person (or group of people) having their way or having their say.
6. If I am wrong, I believe that God’s grace will cover that. If you disagree with me and that winds up being wrong, then I believe that God’s grace will cover that. When I interact with other people, I will choose grace over law any day of the week. God chose grace over law when he sent Jesus and it was a big gamble. I fail every day and God chooses grace over law when he views my life, so I want to extend the same grace to others.
7. Life is short. My real-life friends know how close we’ve come to burying two of our children due to illness (Caleb’s Type 1 Diabetes) and injury (Emily’s wreck). No day is guaranteed, and I do not choose to spend the limited time that I have trying to find the flaws in other people’s lives. I choose to love people, live by my beliefs, and teach those beliefs through living what I say I believe.
8. There is a reason I named my blog “God is good.” He is. God is good, and I want to reflect that in my words, thoughts, and actions. I want to bring the same calm, non-judgmental, accepting, and encouraging presence into the lives of others that God has brought to mine. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those are my goals. That is my to-do list. And for that, I will not repent.