One of the reasons I keep showing up at this intersection between life and God is you, your comments, your questions, and even in some cases, your downright infuriating remarks (which also keep me writing).
The other day Jan thanked me for my post on John Piper’s call for a “masculine Christianity.” That post sparked some thoughts from Jan on the subject at her own wonderful blog here. Jan thanks me for being “an inspired voice of compassion and inclusiveness for women and men together.” (Thank you, Jan. Your encouragement means a lot.)
Jan was not alone in leaving a comment to this post. Tyler Loge has a very different take than Jan, and I’ll let his comment speak for itself. The caps and misspellings are his, not mine:
YE ARE SO LOST AS OT IS SO VERY VERY CLEAR THAT WOMEN ARE NOT CALLED TO BE PASTORS NOR PRIEST ! WE ARE FAILING OUR CHILDREN BY WOMEN THAT DO THIS! BE A NUN ID YE WANT TO! MY MAMA WAS EVER BIT THE SWEET GENTAL LOVING CHRISTIAN MOTHER THAT COULD MINISTER ALL “FODS ” TEAVHINGS WITHOUT TRYING TO MEDDLE INTO JESUS CHRIST PLANS FOR ONLY MEN TO FULFILL! WHT ARE YE WOMEN SO AGAINST ALMIGHTY “GODS” LAW! NE A REAL MOTHER AN STAY HOME INSTEAD OF ALLOWING YE CHILD TO BE A ORPKEN IN ANOTHERS HOME WHILE YE TRY BEING A MAN ! BE A “LADY ! AN DO NOT WHAT MAN ON EARTH SAID < BUT AS JESUS CHRIST “FOD” ALMIGHTY SAID! LEAVE THE MEN BE MEN FOR THE HEAD OF THINGS ! AMEN & AMEN ! ++++++ <3 ++++++ YOULL COME TO SEE THIS FROM ALMIGHTY “GOD” IN THE END! AN SAY ALL YE PLEASE AN GET THE GEATHERS UP BUT IT WONT FAZE ME AS I GET MY IMFORMATION FROM ALMIGHTY “GOD” AN THE BLESSED BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST! AMEN & AMEN !!!!!
And then, regarding Jan and me, who Tyler describes as a “liberal women,” Tyler writes:
BUT SHE COMPLEYELY WENT BY HER MADE LAWS AN EULES AN LEFT OUT “GODS” SO YE SEE I LOVE HAYS MORE THEN HER AS I MONISTER TO THEM NOT TO PRACTISE THAT EVIL SO THEY AS “GOD” SAID CAN GO TO HEAVEN ! THIS LIBERAL WOMEN SHOULD LOVE THERE SOULS TO AS WE DO ! AMEN AN AMEN ++++++ <3 ++++++
A more gratifying and enlightening exchange came from Michael in South Africa who writes:
I have just read your “About” page on beliefnet.com. I see that you have a similar missionary and evangelical family background to myself.
If this is too personal a question, or if you have already written about it, then please forgive me – I haven’t read any of your articles.
I’m just wondering if you still hold to, or if you ever held to, the orthodox evangelical core beliefs about the Bible, Jesus, the Trinity, Heaven and Hell, etc?
I see that you say that you write for those who are seeking more. “More meaning and purpose. More truthfulness. More real and abundant life.” Would you say that these are found primarily in the Jesus of the Bible?
I am not looking for a debate or anything, just a quick answer will be fine. Or no answer. I will make a point to start reading some of your articles. Any that you can recommend?
Thanks. Take care.
In response, I write the following:
Thanks so much for visiting Fellowship of Saints and Sinners and for sharing your question. I’m curious, incidentally, where you grew up as an MK? [It turns out Michael's wife was the MK, having grown up in Zambia and Zimbabwe.]
Re: your question, I believe I essentially answer it in my book, Grace Sticks, which touches on my beliefs about the Bible, Jesus, heaven and hell, etc. (You can get it at a rock-bottom price right now on my publisher’s website, I believe, and all author proceeds will go to the Malala Fund.)
I think a fair way to describe my evolution is that I’ve gone from having a theological system that is quite closed to one that is quite open. Does that mean that my current theology is less evangelical? It depends on how you’re using the term “evangelical” and what you mean by that. I’d like to think that I’ve kept the very best of my evangelical background, in terms of the centrality of Christ, but have shelved the elements that were not spiritually life-giving. If anything, maybe I’ve become more “catholic” in my appreciation for the long, broad precedent of church tradition, which thankfully extends far beyond the small hiccup of certain narrow-minded expressions of American evangelicalism that I have been privy to. Such expressions, for example, take my ordination as a woman to be “unbiblical,” equate being a Christian with being a gun-wielding, capitalist Republican, etc…
Michael’s query has prompted both of us to ask what the term “evangelical” means, and I’m guessing there are multiple interpretations. In fact, I’m inclined to do a series asking the question, “What is Evangelicalism?,” with a view to inviting readers to share some guest posts in response…is this something you’d be up for? I’ve love to hear from you.