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A friend’s tomatoes are not ripening but instead are turning black on the bottom. They have discovered their soil lacks lime. Before they plant next year, they will need to stabilize their soil.

Our theology is a soil for our actions. In seminary, Dr. Jerry Walls taught that our theology flows from our philosophy. I am not willing to go into the philosophical side of things, but I believe it rings true that our theology affects how we act. And a theology or philosophy which we ascribe to unknowingly affects us greatly. What we believe about God will be lived out in our attitude and our behavior. I found an extreme example of this in a discussion on another blog.
In a discussion on Matthew 7, the topic of accepting Jesus as Savior came up. The blogger wrote back:

“Chuck,
Not a one time have I ‘accepted Jesus into my heart”. I didn’t have to. He came to me, pinning me down on the floor with His foot on the back of my neck, and said, “I have things for you to do and it’s time to get going.” Is this to say I do not love, fear, respect, worship, and follow Him as a son and not merely as a slave? Of course not. I do know what His love feels like.
But I am not of the “I accepted Jeeezus as my Lord and Savior” school. He broke me. He came to me. I wanted nothing at all to do with that ‘thorn-headed bastard carpenter from Nazareth’, bu He had His will and I had my rebellion. Guess who won?”

Now I am not sure where to place his theology. It is definitely not Wesleyan since the blogger did not have any part in his salvation. Wesleyans believe that God is the initiator and provider of salvation. But by God’s grace we participate as we respond to his love and grace by joining in God’s work of redemption and healing in the world. I cannot place the blogger within the bounds of Calvinism either. My Calvinist friends would say God’s grace is irresistible. God did not beat them over the head but wooed them.
This blogger’s view that God pinned him to the floor and stood on his neck is lived out in how he treats others.
For example, on his “about” he states:

“Covenant son.

Empowered by The Spirit.

Fully focused.

Not an evangelist.

Don’t care about your sensitive feelings.”

And then there was my interaction with him:

“Leanne
08/26/2012 at 21:11
As a blogger, you have the right and power to post whatever you want. The fact you have chosen to disregard a person’s request speaks volumes to your theology and the practice of your theology.
To have removed her last name and her comment, would not change your blog message at all. Yet you have chosen to use your power in this manner. So you have increased the traffic on your blog but at what cost?
I was enjoying your dialogue on MPT’s blogs. But I have lost respect for you.
Reply

blogger’s response:
08/26/2012 at 21:22
Leanne,
Please stop lying to me. My Father is listening.
Reply

Leanne
08/27/2012 at 06:47
what? How have I lied to you?
You are the blogger and therefore have the power to moderate your comments and your content. The content of your blog would not be affected by taking out her last name. That is not a lie.
I consider your actions to bear witness to your theology. That is true of everyone’s actions. We live out our theology–the good and the bad parts of our theology. That is not a lie.
I have enjoyed your dialogue on MPT’s blogs. Just because I may not agree with all that you say doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the dialogue. Perhaps you don’t enjoy people disagreeing with you. But you have no grounds stating that this statement is a lie. You are judging me without even knowing me.
And yes, I came and checked out your blog from MPT’s giving you a chance. I checked out your blog before you posted this entry. And I haven’t tried to prove any point until now.
So where have I lied?
The issue is you are the monitor. By not regarding her request–despite the fact we all can access her info, you are not creating a safe place for dialogue. And the fact you have called me a liar in response to a simple call to civility, doesn’t create a safe place.
From what i read by you on MPT’s blog, you seemed more civil than this. You seemed above this type of dialogue. I expected your blog to be fundamentalist in theology but more civil than the fundamentalism that MPT and others talk about. But I guess on your home turf when you have the power you are not above it.
You don’t have to bother to post this. I don’t expect a civil dialogue anymore from you. I will leave you alone.

Blogger’s response:
08/27/2012 at 08:33
Leanne,
I have allowed you and the others to post here with their comments. Allowed. I am showing you and the other dissenters mercy. I could have just as easily kept you all in moderation and eventually deleted your words, or worse yet, edited them to say what I wanted them to say. This is a safe environment, and you are leaping to conclusions based on your own ‘feelings’ and emotionally-driven mindset. Let me guess: you’re probably a pastor for an institutional mainstream church that has a liberal slant.
I could quite honestly care less as to what you thought you could receive here. I am not here to make you feel good about yourself or tell you about puppies and unicorns. My words matter to only those who have ears to hear.
Cheers and have a great week.”

This is an extreme example of a theology being lived out in the person’s actions. And this interaction has caused me to look harder at my theology.
Where am I overlooking people? Where am I judging people? Am I emphasizing truth at the expense of love? If I truly believe that God by his grace and love rescued his creation, am I showing grace and love to draw people to God?
Theology matters. It is the soil from which our actions grow.

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Image
I have been watching this picture circulate on Facebook. While I appreciate holding a door open for a lady has been accepted for generations as respecting ladies, I find the gesture to be lacking.

So gentlemen, thank you. Thank you for holding the door for me. But if you really would like to show me and other women respect, how about:

1. Respecting our voice and not silencing us.
I can’t tell you how many times a guy feels the right to over talk a woman in a conversation. He interrupts because he knows where she is going and has the answer to the issue. 

When you are in a discussion with a woman, don’t simply dismiss her with the remarks about her being “emotional”. We see the world from a different angle. But it is just as valid as the way you see it. Just because we may be freer to share our emotions, doesn’t mean our point is not valid. It also doesn’t mean we are not in control of our emotions. And in my experience, you often throw out the “emotions” card when we are actually making valid points.

2. Don’t assume. I don’t know how often people assume I am a liberal Christian because I am a female pastor. My theology doesn’t fit into your nice labels. Just because I believe God calls women to ministry doesn’t mean I am liberal. Respect me enough to discuss theology.You might be surprised. Your labels seem only to silence my voice. You can dismiss everything else I say because you’ve assumed. But the promise of Joel and Acts 2 is that God will pour out his Spirit on your sons and your daughters. The Apostle Peter states God has fulfilled that promise. Dismissing a woman’s voice is to tell God he cannot use whom he pleases. 

You can open the door for me but first respect me as an intellectual equal. You can open the door for me but first acknowledge God has redeemed me–intellect, emotions, and all. Because without respecting a woman’s voice and acknowledging God’s gifts to her, opening a door is an empty gesture. 

Papa and Gram Doty on Thanksgiving

Papa,

Yesterday it rained. I smiled and then I cried. The rain brought a smile as I remembered sitting on the porch with you watching the rain fall. We would sit in silence. You never spoke a lot. There was  the occasional comment on the storm or the all too familiar question, “can I get you a pop?” But in the silence with you, you spoke volumes. I knew I was loved. I knew I was safe. I knew I was valued.

The rain brought tears because I realized today it is 9 years since I have sat on the porch with you. What I wouldn’t give to sit on that porch on downing street once more. It was not only a window to the weather around us but a window into who I am becoming. You shaped me as we sat in our silence. I have yet to meet someone who I could simply sit in silence and yet learn so much.

Growing up and even as an adult, I could not imagine living without you. 9 years later, I still miss you.

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