The Real Crisis of Authority

So you may have noticed the parody that I published yesterday of this article in Christianity Today. Parody and satire are great for blowing off steam, but they don’t quite explain how the steam came to rise in the first place. So I want to talk more about this article by Tish Warren and address where I think the problem is.

To sum up the article, Warren points out that, just like the printing press, the advent of online blogging has created a “crisis of authority.” Namely, if someone is using the Internet to publish their personal take on the Bible, who holds them accountable? Where did they get their knowledge? Who ensures they aren’t damaging the church or leading people astray? Which, granted, are fair questions to ask. (And there are biblical answers. More on that in a minute.)

The first problem I had was the focus on women bloggers in particular. Warren admits that, historically, the institutional church has marginalized women, forcing them to step into the cyber sphere in order to have a voice. She also suggests that the church has done a poor job of giving women theological training with real teeth–choosing instead to entertain us with “funny stories, relatable prose, or charming turns of phrase.” All stuff I heartily agree with. But… Continue reading

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The Scars that Throb

buds2I was getting ready for work the other morning when I was struck by a sudden pang to see my father. Because of some terrible things he did, I cut him out of my life a couple of years ago. He hasn’t called in several months, and I was worried that something might be wrong. What if he’s dying? I thought.

And then I thought, if he were dying, would it change anything for me? I still have little capacity to tolerate any sort of drama. Talking to him wouldn’t close the rift that he created in my heart, wouldn’t bring back the years I lost feeling unsafe with him. And then I felt it: that old, all-too-familiar ache of having been robbed of a nourishing father/daughter relationship. Memories and milestones I should have had, but didn’t. And I had to pause and breathe and just let the wave of grief wash over me.

Overall, I’m happier and healthier these days, but I still have these moments when the scars throb, when I have to face the fact that I was hurt in significant, life-altering ways. I recently shared some of my story with a colleague, and he said, “I hope you continue to heal and are stronger for it.” I responded: “I will certainly be wiser and more compassionate, but never stronger.” I’m learning to walk with an emotional limp.

Continue reading

Thinking About Community

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Image found at nesta.org.uk

In the past few months, I’ve come to a realization about the United States: We’re a culture of obsessive bean counters. For example, consider how most church denominations measure successful ministries. Number of baptisms. People in pews. Amount of tithes and offering. There are now church consultants who will show up to your Sunday meeting place and tell your pastor how he (or she) can get more visitors in the door. They talk about marketing, events, branding, website SEO–terms more commonly heard in the corporate offices of Apple and McDonald’s.

Rarely do we realize how much corporate culture affects our thinking and worldview. But it does. It permeates everything–including how we view ourselves and how we live our lives. Continue reading

Ministering to Pedophiles

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Pastor Douglas Wilson, defending a pedophile

Recently, there have been several scandals involving high-profile pastors who have welcomed convicted pedophiles into their churches. These pastors have argued that all people, no matter how broken or how egregious their sin, should receive God’s grace. The problem is, these pastors are being deceived by men who aren’t really repentant and, therefore, pose a grave danger to others in the church. Today, I want to address the pedophile’s deception and show what true repentance and ministry to them should look like. Continue reading

Why I’m Fed Up with Conservative Evangelicalism

Procrustes will see you now.

Procrustes will see you now.

You might have seen this this article in Christianity Today about making room for intersex people in the church. The writer, Matthew Anderson, reviewed a book on the subject by author Megan DeFranza to see if it would be a good resource for today’s conservative evangelical churches. Anderson’s conclusion? Nope, not really. DeFranza didn’t do enough to affirm the church’s position on gender binaries, traditional marriage, and sexual ethics. It was too much of a slippery slope.

Here’s the part that, for me, induced convulsive facepalming: Continue reading