Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Left Foot of Fellowship

This should probably be much more well-thought-out and much less rushed. I have been doing all my posting in a hurry these days. I am really busy with school and very happy with my progress. Studying/schoolwork is my top priority, then laundry, then cooking and finally cleaning. Blogging sneaks in between laundry and cooking usually, but it belongs at the end of the line. So, I have little time for composition and less for editing. Sorry.

I saw a documentary last night while I was doing homework.It was called "Born Again" and it was about a young girl raised in a strict fundamentalist home (like my husband's) who was never happy or at peace with herself. As a teen, she finds she is secretly attracted to other girls. She eventually goes to college, and after a long struggle with depression and fear of damnation, eventually gets a girlfriend. Along the way she becomes an atheist as well, and it was no simple process or flippant decision. Her family of origin disowns her, and only calls or writes to tell her they are praying for her and that she is deceived by Satan. She longs to be loved unconditionally, but only finds that kind of love from her girlfriend and the new life they build together. She calls it being born again. I totally get where she is coming from.

The thing is, I have written those kinds of letter to my own relatives. Ouch. I believed my love was unconditional, but it wasn't. My approval hinged on how well my family member fit in with my theology. Not fitting in with my theology meant (in my mind at the time) eternal damnation, and before I could even begin to relate on any other level, that issue had to be settled, for me. My loved one had already made her own mind up, and I wasn't going to be able to change it. Why did changing her mind mean more to me than loving her unconditionally?

I equated love with approval, and approval with love. I couldn't help myself. If I did not approve of your choices, and they were in my mind of theological significance, then I couldn't accept you until you changed your choice. I think it was charismatic T.L. Osborn who got me out of that ditch, probably unintentionally! He once said that if you believe someone is destined for hell, than why would you want anything less than the best for them on this earth- as this reality was as good as it would ever get for them.

Big thought.

Since then I have been reading many verboten books- The Shack, Love Wins, God of the Possible, and most recently, The Inescapable Love of God. I have been reading the Bible with new eyes. Taking off the lens of fundamentalism is harder than I ever imagined. I had no idea how many religious presuppositions I decided before I even began to read a passage, not until I started confronting some of them. Who knows how many more I have to face off with in the future?

I have also been adding up my personal experiences with church and church people. It's a really interesting personal inventory to take. And it's not easy. These are people the Lord loves. His body was broken for them as well as me. His blood was shed for them as well as me. These people, who are so picky about who is allowed to speak and what they are allowed to say, these people are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. And He is my beloved.

So, I guess this is enough rambling for one post. Peace and good will, SS


  1. Some old high school chums found me on facebook, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be unfriended soon; it's already happened once before. I try not to post too many political or religious/political things, but after awhile I will comment on others' posts, if only to offer a different perspective. I try really hard not to be rude, I'm even overly solicious sometimes, but eventually it's not going to make a difference.

    This saddens me to no end; that I am rejected because I do not believe Obama is the antichrist, or people in poverty are evil, or liberalism is of the devil, or the minimization of hell is heretical. I do not reject them because they DO believe these things. And I hate the assumptions made about the rest of my life, character, and morality based on my views of creation, or hell, or politics.

    Sorry -- this is only slightly related to your post, at best. NOW who's rambling, lol. ; )

  2. No, it's pretty relevant. It relates to the idea that, contrary to Jesus commands to love your enemies, do them good, give to him that "asketh of thee", and turn the other cheek, fundagelical Christians actually hate their enemies and want to marginalize them, if not outright destroy them.

    Give to him that asketh of thee? Not on your life! Not if you mean via tax money to fund an entitlement program! Even though Jesus said that if a government official (Roman soldiers were the ones giving these orders) demands you carry his pack one mile, carry it twice as far voluntarily? H-E-double hockey sticks NO!Even thought the Jerusalem believers wrote Paul that the one thing they did ask of Gentile believers was to "remember the poor". Nope, Rush Limbaugh says we don't have to love like that anymore, and he quotes Ronald Reagan as the proof text (out of context, but still, the Gipper!). What higher authority do you need?

    And so if gay people really are the enemy of fundegelicals, they should be doing them good. It would be pretty good for them to be able to be listed as next-of-kin for a dying partner, for example. That would be a good we could do for them. But nope, fundagelicals redefine the word "good". It is good to let them suffer, so that they will get the idea that God hates their kind of love. And so evil is called good, and they get to pat themselves on the back for the way they "love" their enemies.

    So you are right on topic. The American fundagelical faith needs a complete remodel. It is so far from the commands of Christ socially and politically. Very, very scary, really. Because the worst kind of evil is that done to others in the name of saving their souls. Ask anyone burned at the stake by Christians in the past thousand years....

  3. Shadowspring, thank you for taking the time to read THA and leave a comment. We love to hear from our readers. First and foremost, this blog was intended to speak up in defense of all homeschooling, from secular to religious, from unschooling to structured schooling, with everything in between. I am most concerned about preserving the right to homeschool than any other issue.

    I am pleased to have the legal representation of the HSLDA if I ever need it, in the same way that I was pleased to have the liability insurance from a teacher’s union when I taught professionally. I wasn’t a big fan of being in the union, but I could not buy $2 million in liability insurance at a cheaper rate on the open market. I was encouraged to retain such coverage by family members who also taught. I do not pay much attention to the HSLDA’s other activities. I just want their legal assistance.

    I am a follower of Christ. It is a part of my identity. Sometimes, when I write on this blog, I write from a Christian perspective. That usually happens on a slow news day. More often than not, I don’t. If you take the time to read past posts, you will see that Christianity and homeschooling are not presented as the same thing. The 9/13/11 and 9/14/11 posts demonstrate that. Please don’t judge me by just The Ignorable Pale Blue Dot. And trust me, I’ve earned a heap of criticism from Christians concerning my writing. I piss off Christians more than any other group. I'm trying (although not always successully, to live in Grace rather than telling people what how to live.) I’ve long maintained that the average Christian is a big ol’ pain in my behind. But that’s for another dialogue.

    Please continue reading and commenting. I’d love to read a new voice with new ideas that encourage a thoughtful and respectful dialogue.

    Thank you, again, for your comments.

  4. Hey, how about becoming a guest blogger and writing a post for THA explaining your thoughts on separating religion from homeschooling? We'd LOVE to share another hoemschooler's views!

  5. It's a completely different world out there when those glasses come off.. o my gosh!! HUGE difference! Beautiful and courageous post.. hurried or not! LOVE your heart, and thankyou for sharing it in this space! I am bookmarkin' ya, girl! So wonderful to have found you!


  6. Aw, thanks Amy! I'm blushing.

    Arby, you can write me personally at to_shadowspring@yahoo.com. It may take awhile to answer, because of school, but I will respond.

    Here is an blog post from last year about separating religion from home schooling on a personal level

  7. I have written those "letters" (two last year I think). UGH!

    I know what you mean...if we are certain that they are going to an eternity of hell and misery, how can we think of anything else? I guess I have watched way too much Way of the Master.

    I'm also fixin' to start reading some verboten books meself.

  8. Good for you, Ma! Read and enjoy.

    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; take care not to use your freedom to serve merely yourself, but by love, serve one another. =D