girl growing

and a space for her to play in

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"i declare..."

"i'm disappointed."

that seems to be a phrase we're hearing around here a lot lately. funny thing is, i can't quite figure out why. apparently this little church thing we're doing is more controversial than i had ever thought.

today i listened as my pastor receive a phone call from a woman that attended the old church he pastored. she informed him that there were several of the remaining church members "talking" about ken's "situation".

last week he also got a call from another man...a deacon...that told ken he was disappointed in him. it's hard for me to nail down exactly where the disappointment comes from. ken said that maybe it's because he's no longer in the "box". he said that while be pastored that very southern baptist church he was within their conservative box. he was in their system. he did what was asked of him to remain in that system. he looked, sounded, and acted just like them. he fit. now he's out of that box and people at the church seem to see things that aren't within their system as wrong or even evil.

that blows my mind. ken put it nicely..."so even if your views change a little you can't try to listen? even can't be my friend? and so what if i'm wrong...but more, what if i'm right? what if what we're doing here is actually more in line with what jesus wanted? what then?" when did thinking slightly against the norm become evil? it's not like we're claiming the world is actually flat or something. or that jesus isn't who he says he is. when did thinking differently cause people to be so darn...disappointed?

ken said that while we're inside the box we can still have those feelings that are against the grain, but by being in the system we're declaring that we agree with it. once we're out...we're declaring that we're not. maybe that sends the message that we think we're more right than they are and in turn that signifies to them that they're wrong. why so angry though? why so mean and hurtful? it's frustrating and it makes me want to punch somebody.

my friends karen, ryan, rodney and i discussed the idea of grace for people like this. i was one of them...i thought i had all angles of the box figured out and i've painfully begun to figure out that i don't. i was critical of others that were inside the box and i was completely resistant to communication with anyone that thought differently than me. i had the system down and everything added up. i wish so badly now that i hadn't done that. that i hadn't excluded people that deserved to be listened to...and deserved the decency to at least have their ideas and views acknowledged. yay for retrospect.

even as i type this i'm feeling the weight of it. ken just walked in to the office where rodney, ryan and i are hanging out and began to read an article about this very topic. daniel wallace is or was a professor at dallas theological seminary and has recently written an article about his "take on inerrancy". there are several good quotes, but here are a few:

"after all, one of the things that makes an evangelical different from a fundamentalist is that an evangelical is supposed to be willing to wrestle with the evidence. one of the hallmark differences between a fundamentalist and an evangelical is willingness to dialog over the issues. a fundamentalist condemns; an evangelical thinks. a college professor of mine used to say, 'the christian army is the only army in the world that shoots its wounded.'"

"i believe it is disrespectful to my lord to not ask the bible the tough questions that every thinking non-christian ias already asking it."

"now, for the accusations against me. three specific charges come to mind:

1. i argued in one DTS paper that the words of jesus may need to be colored in pink instead of read at times; (the gospel writers may have written the gist of what jesus said instead of his very words)

2. i stated that paul's doctrine of justification by faith alone might not have been shared by james, peter, or jude;

3. i said that inerrancy and verbal inspiration are peripheral doctrines."

"nevertheless, it grieves me that some are so quick to condemn without understanding., that not one person reading (or writing) on the blogsite contacted me directly for clarification, and that most formed their judgments without reading what i had written in context."

"in conclusion, people obviously have the right to disagree with me. i'm glad that they do! but it strikes me as a gross caricature to insinuate that i am a heretic, a wolf in evangelical clothing, because the way i construct my theological convictions is different from theirs."

now....i'm not sure where i stand on the line between full-blown evangelicalism and the ultra-conservatism of dallas theological sem., but i think i might be getting beyond both. ken thinks we're pretty post-evangelical-so what does that make me? who knows...doesn't matter, but i sure wish we didn't come across as heretics either. it feels almost as if our place on the line is more dangerous than either side. finally, the conservatives and fundys may have a finally they can stop focusing on each other for awhile and begin to look for a new wolf. lucky us.

i want to give grace. i want to understand. i want to stop getting my feelings hurt and i want to be patient. i want to love and christ asks me to...and as humanity asks me to. i want to give others something that perhaps i haven't been given myself...and perhaps no one else is willing to try. i want to speak all church languages without condemnation or judgment. and most importantly...i want to be me. i want to hold on to all my convictions while still practicing differentiation and the discipline of mental models that ken's coaching me through. i want to hold my convictions out in my hand loosely without emotional attachment and truly evaluate all these beliefs i have. in the end...i don't know anything and it wierds me out when people are so completely confident-especially in their doctrinal beliefs. who knows...i'm just a little girl after all.


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