Why, hello there, Friday! I don’t know what the weather is like where you all are, but here it’s rainy and cold. Here’s hoping for some improvement in the conditions so I can enjoy the long weekend.
Lots of stuff going on this week. Here’s a look at a few:
I am incredibly sorry for all the devastating loss this week. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Perhaps the same cannot be said for others, unfortunately. Apparently, I mostly know decent, kindhearted folks, because I hadn’t been aware that anyone had implied that the people of Oklahoma don’t deserve our help. Kristin Rawls writes eloquently about the flaw in such thinking. I’d like to see us move past tired political and religious debates every time there’s a tragedy. That bad things will happen is a given; that people can respond with love and care is apparently not. Let’s change that.
2. John Piper
No one should be surprised that John Piper said something insensitive in the wake of the tornado. Whether or not he was trying to, he hurt people with his unthinking tweets. I’m hesitant to ascribe motive, but I also know that it was flat-out wrong. Rachel Held Evans has a great response to the theology of deserved punishment.
3. The Pope
The Pope made some statements this week that have some people thrilled and others cautious. Did he really suggest something that sounded like universalism? Maybe not. Either way, I think it’s good that he made such statements. I would add, however, that my non-Christian friends hardly need the Pope’s permission (nor mine, for that matter) to continue believing as they do. The debate is really only relevant if one believes in a literal Hell anyway.
The above three things lead me to . . .
Dianna Anderson sums up nicely what’s wrong with using tragedy as a warped wake-up call to repentance and salvation.
I’m familiar with the idea that all our interactions with people must have an agenda. I learned early on in my Christian faith that it was a top priority to tell everyone how to be saved. Saved, of course, had a very narrow definition–that of saying a magic-words-type prayer to “receive” Jesus into our hearts, at which time we were assured of not going to Hell. I’d been a Christian for a year when someone came at me with that prayer, and I was left convinced that since I’d never said it, I wasn’t actually saved at all. Naturally, I didn’t want to go to Hell, so I said it. For many years after that, I felt guilty that I couldn’t produce that same result in my peers. So as a college student, I volunteered to lead middle school kids. Nothing says “Jesus loves you” like taking kids to camp, wearing them down for three days, and slamming them with the doctrine of Hell, right? Yeah.
5. Defense of Piper
You can read it here. Just let it sink in for a moment.
I love this piece by Marika Rose, a PhD student at Durham, about our need to recognize our own oppression and listen to those who point it out to us. Instead of having hurt feelings, we could all try learning about what we’re doing wrong.
All the effort to remove the stigma of non-virginity and stop obsessing over what unmarried people do with their privates is paying off. This article from The Atlantic is a good summary of the dialogue that’s been going on for some time in Christian spheres. It’s time to break this wide open so that we can have a real conversation about sex that doesn’t rely on tired purity narratives and rules-based theology.
Sarah Bessey has the right words to explain what makes me feel awkward every time I’m in a Christian bookstore. For years I lived with the sense that I hadn’t arrived yet at “real” womanhood. And if I wasn’t the right kind of woman, what did that make me? I love this line from the post:
I believe that in the Kingdom of God, true womanhood and true manhood is not so different from true personhood.
I absolutely won’t post my own bloggy drama from this week. If you follow me, you’ve read it, and I don’t care to rehash. What was interesting to me was that I had some private communications with four or five people (who I won’t name, out of respect) in which all of them used some variant on “gaslighting for God.” This morning, I noticed that one of the people I follow on Twitter had referenced this post by Sarah Moon on the very subject of gaslighting. The experience she describes in the post about criticizing a popular Christian leader echoes my own quite nicely, and I appreciate this:
They are good at stepping on your feet and then making you apologize for asking them to move.
10. Boy Scouts
For heaven’s sake, Boy Scouts. Make up your damn minds. Either you’re ok with gay people or you’re not; let’s not have this wishy-washy crapola passing as “progress.” I really ought to write a whole post about this, but let me sum up. Allowing gay youth to be scouts but not gay adults to be leaders:
- reinforces the lie that gay men are pedophiles or dangerous in some other way (by recruiting? not sure)
- tells gay youth that they will not be welcome once they are adults
- implies that being gay is a phase and that if youth sufficiently outgrow it, they’re still welcome
May I also remind everyone that this is not a step of progress. BSA considers this an end point–some kind of compromise. I guess the good news is that they’ve managed to piss off just about everyone with this decision, so perhaps there’s a chance to rethink things. Good grief, it must be the Apocalypse; Tony Perkins and I both agree that something is a bad idea.
You should really check out the posts in The Anonymous Project over at Jennifer Luitwieler’s blog. There’s some really good stuff going on.
This post is actually about the unfortunate choices we make when writing, but I loved the story about Chris Morris’ eight-year-old, and I hope you do too.
I think that about does it. I’m taking Monday off to hang with my family and go to the orthodontist (yay! home stretch on my braces!), so I’ll see you all on Tuesday. Have a great weekend!