Weekly Ponderings

Here are some  articles that got me thinking and/or taught me something new over the past few weeks. Inclusion does equal a full endorsement of everything in each article. To read the article in its entirety click on the link beneath each excerpt. Anything in bold is an emphasis made by me.

“This excellent and very true point is expressed via a supposed contrast with theology — as though theology was a subject that might somehow be studied or understood without addressing questions like “What else was going on?” or “What changed and what caused that change?”

…A context-less, “ahistorical” approach to theology makes no more sense than an ahistorical approach to history…
Many Christians have gotten the idea into their heads that their eternal salvation — whether they are destined for Heaven or Hell — is dependent on their having the proper ideas about theology. If one believes the wrong doctrine, one may be damned forever. And thus it is unthinkable and terrifying that one’s understanding of theology might be, in any way, contingent on context, or culture, or any other such accident of personal or national history…

We want our theological pronouncements to be the last word — authoritative pronouncements that can be made with utter certainty and clarity. We don’t want anyone to be able to challenge or question our spiritual and moral authority when we speak our One True and Correct Doctrine, thereby establishing ourselves as the ultimate and final authority.

That authority doesn’t sound quite so authoritative if we allow for the way that our theological ideas, whatever they may be, are shaped by history, by culture, by “what else is going on.”

Theology, history, and context by Fred Clark

“If you do decide to make the break, you have to be spiritually ready. You have to know what’s going to happen. You have to count the cost before saying anything. You have to understand that those who stand with scorned and marginalized people will be scorned and marginalized.

You have to realize that whatever abuse you are taking from evangelical authorities is nothing compared to the abuse that LGBTQ people have taken from pastors, teachers, parents, and “Christian friends” every day of their lives.

“…don’t worry about me, or about the rough week Eugene Peterson had. Do worry about those LGBTQ Christian kids who continue to experience stigma, rejection, and even contempt in their own Christian homes, churches and schools. Worry about what the events of last week taught them.

When the evangelical establishment comes after you by David Gushee

While people bring many unique experiences to this season, Shifting typically includes:

  • beginning to question systems to which we once happily ascribed
  • feeling unsettled about particular beliefs and doctrinal tenets
  • longing to feel more known and loved by God and others
  • experiencing a deep restlessness that something might be missing in our spiritual lives
  • wanting to use our passions and gifts but feeling unempowered
  • worrying about losing our security and stability if we lean into these scary and unfamiliar feelings
  • fearing that we are doing something wrong spiritually

Shifting: When Things Get Rumbly by Kathy Escobar

I was raised as a devout, conservative Christian with strong Republican values in the South. It’s a place where being different can not only be unforgiving, but unsafe. I was, and am, an active member of our local church. I used to lead a small ministry teaching Bible study, and I didn’t support or condone those living the LGBTQ lifestyle. That was just part of the Christian makeup I’d been brought up to believe. I knew I’d instill those same principles in my children.

But all of my beliefs and convictions were brought into question when, at 18 months old, Kai began exhibiting very strong female characteristics. From the moment my child was born, everything about Kai was geared toward femininity…

As a Christian mother raising a Christian family, it was a very difficult time for me. I wasn’t ready to give in and allow Kai to transition socially — especially at such a young age. My internal struggle beat me up daily. I felt like I couldn’t go against everything I’d been taught to believe, and yet I also couldn’t let Kai live in such obvious agony. I wasn’t ready to face the fact that my one-and-a-half-year-old child was a girl. That battle lasted for a couple years…

Family members were flat-out asking me if this kid was gay. It made me nervous, and I was constantly worried about what people would think of me, of us and of my parenting...

Everything was: “I’m a princess” and “I’m a girl.” Every time she’d say something like that, I’d get down on her level and firmly say, “No, you’re a boy.” It never worked…

While my biggest personal struggle was the choice to let Kai, now 6, transition, my greatest trial as a woman of faith has been the persecution I’ve received from other Christians. Family members, friends and church members have judged our family and ostracized us to the point that we’ve considered moving. I’m so disappointed in the hatred they call “love the sinner, hate the sin.” You cannot have fresh water and salt water from the same spring. But despite the ignorance and hurtful words of others, I choose to arm myself with knowledge. My child is at the highest risk of suicide and/or being murdered in a hate crime…

There’s never been a moment of doubt or regret after making the choice to let Kai transition. I’ve learned too much about identity and faith in loving my beautiful daughter exactly the way she is.”

I Had 4 Boys — Until One of Them Told Me She Was Really a Girl by Kimberly Shappley, as told to Breanne Randall

Most murders of American women involve domestic violence, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.

The CDC analyzed data from 18 states, finding 10,018 female homicides between 2003 and 2014. Over half ― 55 percent ― of cases where circumstances were known involved domestic violence. In 93 percent of those cases, victims were killed by current or former intimate partners: boyfriends, husbands, and lovers. The other 7 percent of victims were female friends, family members, first responders and bystanders who were killed during a domestic incident.

While the facts seem shocking at face value, they’re not surprising or new.

It is already well-established that women in the U.S. are far more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than by any other group of people. As HuffPost previously reported: It’s not strangers, friends or acquaintances who pose the biggest threat to women’s lives. It’s the men they date and marry…”

Who Is Killing American Women? Their Husbands And Boyfriends, CDC Confirms. By Melissa Jeltsen

“Suicide isn’t cowardly.
It’s not weakness.
It isn’t selfish.
It’s born of a hopelessness that can imagine no other way out.
It is a thick, pitch black haze created by powerful personal demons that prevents you from seeing light.

People like to say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and they’re right—but those standing in the darkest places can’t see that from there.

When someone takes their own life, we can view it as a tragedy for their loved ones, as a reason to mourn their leaving, as a squandering of what that life may have one day become, we can even be really angry at the senselessness of the loss.

But we should never use the moment to insult the dead by trying to shame them after they’re gone…

There but for the grace of God go the critics.

May you always be such strangers to the dark.”

Please Stop Calling Suicide Victims “Selfish” or “Weak” by John Pavlovitz

“Do you see how these lies, sometimes borne out of a desire to protect marriage, actually bring about a low view of marriage? By granting, supporting, and even facilitating a biblical divorce, we take a stand to say that we can forgive without being forced to live with people who have shattered us. This protects marriage by allowing the innocent party to leave a relationship that has been broken. By backing biblical divorce, we protect women whom God loves, showing Christ’s love when spouses have not. This protects marriage by refusing to allow sinners to abuse the institution with impunity. By publicly stating that sexual sin and abuse, not wounded spouses, ends marriages, we hold the marriage bed in honor. This protects marriage by creating a holy fear of violating it. By offering biblical divorce, the church affirms that pornography is depravity, and will not be countenanced by Christ’s church. Naming and disciplining sexual sin as the evil it is and offering divorce to the innocent party makes the value of marriage clear as we refuse to see it damaged, abused, or treated lightly.

Developing and maintaining a high view of marriage does a lot. It protects women and children, often the people most hurt by sexual sin. It keeps us from falling into sin ourselves: the higher our view of marriage, the less likely we will be to dabble in something so devastating. And a high view of marriage honors the One who created it for our good and His glory—the One who promises to judge the adulterer and the sexually immoral.”

A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce by Rebecca VanDoodewaard

 

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