There was a huge implosion in the Christian world last week. If you’re not aware of what happened and are interested, I would encourage you to go here and work your way backwards. Being a big fan of theirs, I follow Dan Haseltine and Jars of Clay on twitter and watched it all happen in realtime. It wasn’t (and isn’t) pretty. I won’t rehash everything here, because it’s all out there and you can gather your own thoughts about it.
But I wanted to mention a couple things after witnessing the evangelical Christian response…
1. Being a minister/leader and having questions shouldn’t mean you’re leading people astray.
While reading some comments from Christian Fundamentals, I came across multiple people shaming Dan because as a leader he should not be questioning. That by doing so it is leading people away from faith because “the stance” of the church isn’t bending.
But to not be able to question makes Christianity more of a cult than a faith.
I have had many “leaders” in my life who have everything figured out and have all of the “right” answers and know exactly how my life should look, feel and probably smell. But to live in robotic submission is not life and that is not being human.
The response I got from questioning is what made me walk away from the church in the first place. Leaders who do not question or allow others to question = people who only want to control. To say you have all of the answers to all of life’s questions and never misinterpret and always understand scripture is just scary and delusional. I am incredibly thankful to those who admit to wrestling with ideas that this ever-changing world throws at us. It helps me lean in and listen.
2. Stop using scripture to speak for you.
Scripture is alive and god-breathed and a wonderful guide and comfort, but it is also a weapon used in conversation purely to shut people up. And why? To be the winner? To be the rightest of the right? I don’t get it. Oh my goodness, you should see the amount of scripture posted on the Jars of Clay FB page!
Here is an example that has probably happened:
Person 1: I like to eat boogers.
Person 2: Ezekiel 38:18-19 18“It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD, “that My fury will mount up in My anger. 19“In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.”
When I see this happen, I kind of want to scream. or vomit. (Scromit?) Years ago when Dave and I were going through our emotionally painful experience of infertility (you can feel the grief in your bones, people) I had a personal experience with this on some message boards. An article I had read on infertility had really spoken to me, so I went to thank the author and maybe talk to other women going through a similar journey. What I found was a bunch of holier-than-thou Bible thumpers who I guarantee didn’t have any experience with infertility, but sure had A LOOOOOT of opinions about it. They were reaming the author on stupid, irrelevant points that were in the article. I posted some thoughts and my personal experience with infertility – to try to explain and give a view of a person actually going through one of the hardest, gut-wrenching things a woman can go through. I explained the grieving, the hoping, the praying, etc.
What I got back was if I was truly where God wanted me to be, I would be happy about my infertility, because Isaiah 54:1 clearly states,
“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD.”
Really? REALLY?! When someone is at their lowest, is it really Godly to tell them they should be jumping for joy? The pain of infertility was sin? Freaking screw you. I walked away feeling more alone than ever. And I bet that chick walked away patting herself on the back for using the Bible for correcting because, you know, 2 Timothy 3:16.
Stop hiding behind scripture (as amazing as it is!) and start being HUMAN for goodness sake. God gave human beings a range of emotions to FEEL and amazing brains to THINK. The sooner the Christian world figures that out, the better.
3. Having faith doesn’t mean not having thoughts or questions.
To be alive is to question. To be alive is to have thoughts.
Watch video here.
I know the Christian world is in some sort of transitional stage right now and that gives me hope because it is opening in ways that make me engaged again. But in the meantime the loudest, most aggressive and resistant to change or not change (ie thinking) are that way because they can sense the tide turning and are grasping for man-made control.
Anyway. That’s it. Not sure how to wrap this up…. Just a few thoughts I had to get off my chest.