When the Gospel Goes Overseas

Image from harvesthillsbaptist.org

For nearly two years now, I have been writing to expose heretical doctrines and practices within the modern American church. Some may wonder why I bother. After all, what difference does it make if someone believes in Complementarianism, or American Exceptionalism, or the Prosperity Doctrine? Aren’t we all loved and accepted by Jesus in spite of our theological shortcomings?

Well, yes. But with a population that’s 78 percent Christian, over a quarter of whom are evangelical, the U.S. happens to be a major exporter of Christian thought and practice. In this case, accurate scriptural instruction becomes absolutely critical, especially when you consider that other cultures don’t view or respond to Church doctrines – or even the gospel itself – in the same way Americans do.

It would surprise many Western Christians to learn exactly how our brand of Christianity is viewed overseas and just how destructive extra-biblical teachings have been to these cultures. Having spent the past 14 months working for an international church-growth organization and reading many perspectives from indigenous believers, I’ve come to see my own faith and religious upbringing in a new light. It’s time to get real and peek past the curtain and finally admit that, yes, what we teach and observe in our own churches does, in fact, matter. A whole heaping lot. Continue reading

When God says, “Wait”

Image from almgreen.blogspot.com

I’m about through month 9 of my dark night of the soul, and I have to say it’s getting interesting. I still can’t pray very often. I try to get up, and my broken legs put me back facedown into the dirt. One thing God keeps making very clear to me is that I’m exhausted through-and-through and really need to enter His rest.

This is really not the time I would have picked for rest. My son is a month away from starting preschool. I’m transitioning to a new position at work while trying to keep up with all of the responsibilities of my old position. My husband is applying to start college this semester while still working full-time. For the past couple of weeks, for these and other reasons, I’ve meandered through my days feeling like a dish rag.

Not a good time to be a dish rag. Continue reading

Pointing Out Sin

“You know what I dislike about church these days?” a reader of mine recently asked. “Preachers just don’t talk about sin anymore. I mean, when was the last time you heard a sermon where a preacher said, ‘This is a sin. That’s a sin.’ I bet it’s been a while.”

Well, he’s right. It has been a while. On the one hand, I’m grateful. On the other, I’m concerned.  I’ll explain what I mean. Continue reading

Responding to Trauma

Image from traumahealingpa.com

In my last post, I talked about what it means to be a trauma survivor and how difficult trauma can be to heal. Today, I’m going to enumerate the ways in which the Church can respond to trauma survivors to help them find healing.

Before I delve in, let me be clear: This is a common problem. Most pastors would be absolutely gobsmacked to know how many trauma survivors fill their churches every Sunday. Current estimates put the incidence of child molestation at 1 in 3 for girls and 1 in 10 for boys. That means in a congregation of 100 people, 5 men and 17 women are likely child sex abuse survivors. And that figure doesn’t begin to include survivors of other types of trauma, such as rape, assault, mental and emotional abuse, neglect, war, abandonment and accident.

If the Church wants to get serious about helping survivors, this is what is needed: Continue reading

Understanding Trauma

Image from The Low Down Blog

Because of a sexual predator’s recent article in Christianity Today‘s Leadership Journal (which has since been removed, hallelujah!), an important conversation has been taking place online about trauma survivors and the Church’s poor response to them. Some bloggers have suggested that church leaders should be educated on what survivors experience and compassionate ways in which they can reach out to help them. To this end, being a survivor myself, I’m going to share what I’ve learned. Because it’s really important. Continue reading