Jesus Would be Mad

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This morning, a Facebook post struck a nerve and honestly made me angry. I will admit, I don’t think the person had any ill intent in the post. I will also admit, given my current struggle with faith and my past, the post hit me in a way it may not have in the past. It was also a reminder of the amount of damage and lack of compassion/ thought the current Conservative Evangelical Church (CEC) has when preaching, teaching and posting.

It seems to me the CEC is more intent on using Scripture as behavior modification, than heart transformation. You can change behavior all you want, but unless there is a change in the heart, you have really accomplished nothing. The CEC seems more intent on how you look and behave, than anything else. I just can’t imagine Christ would give this mentality an “Atta Boy.” Pretty sure the Lord would throw out the verse “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD sees the heart,” I Sam 16:7. Even the Pharisees “acted” correctly, but their hearts were hard. I’d rather be the woman who gave her last 2 Mites to the Lord (Luke 21: 1-4), than be thought of as a Pharisee.

When one says “Nope, I don’t agree,” the decision to write that person off, is deemed appropriate. I had a lady I respected and look up to, unfriend me and stop talking to me because I dared to agree with a post by Beth Moore. I was told “My mental health can’t take what you shared, so I am unfriending you.” When I told this person it hurt me they chose to write me off, instead of attempting to see where I was coming from, they became angry. This person saw zero issues in dismissing me because I chose not to agree with what they believed. I am still upset with this person. I loathe this seems to be acceptable in the church. We seem to have zero margin for disagreement or different views. I am not even talking about the major theological issues, but man made rules.

When I look at who Christ spent His time with and the things He deemed important, I struggle to imagine He would be pleased with CEC as it stands today. Yes, the CEC is great about taking care of the poor and the orphans. On the whole they are good at carrying out The Great Commission, overseas. Stateside, the CEC will mostly reach out to the people who walk in their doors. Beyond that, they want you to be “careful” about the people you choose to hang out with. There is underlying encouragement to stay in the “Holy Huddle.” And, as long and you look like you “Should” and hang out with the “Right” people, you are golden.

If I only hung out with the “right” people, I would have missed out on some pretty amazing friendships. I am an introvert, so my inner circle is small and tight. That being said, outside of that my friends are unique and diverse. I have a large number of friends who would be deemed as “undesirables.” Honestly, my life is more rich because of them. I learn from people who don’t think and look like me. Honestly, I have friends who are non-believers who have shown me more love, support, encouragement and compassion, than those who who profess to be believers. There are those inside the church, I had sadly expected to walk alongside me in this season of life, and they are the very ones who have chosen to ignore me. I do have a couple of ladies who have been there in the thick of it with me, but a couple others I hoped would be there, but haven’t.

I grew up in a CEC. I went to college and earned my master’s degree from from CEC institutions. I guess to be in the place I am now, seems weird. That being said I have walked too much and experienced too much to accept the CEC status quo. The more I read from women like Beth Moore, Dr. Beth Allison Barr, Jen Hatmaker, and the late Rachel Held Evans, plus being the mom of a tween girl, I just can’t seem move forward with same ole, same ole. It doesn’t work for me anymore. I can’t look and act how I am expected. I can’t limit my friend group to only those deemed acceptable. It seems like the CEC is more about limiting than moving people, especially women forward.

For the the LOVE, can we PLEASE STOP using Proverbs 31 as a way to control women. Can we please STOP using it to shame women and girls into acting a certain way? Y’all this passage is about WISDOM!!! It is used in the feminine voice. It is NOT an actual woman. For years I read a Proverb a day. This meant I read Proverbs 31 several times a year. It didn’t always bug me the way it does now. Proverbs 31 is now my least favorite passage of Scripture. Yes, I said it. It’s no longer a passage that steps on my toes. It is one that makes me angry. The anger now comes from how that passage is thrown in the face of women to control them. Again, not sure Christ would approve of the use of this passage.

While I do believe the pulpit is place to be protected, it is not women it needs to be protected from. It is not a place we don’t belong. I don’t feel called to preach or teach, so I know I don’t belong in the pulpit. There are some amazingly gifted women whom the Lord has called. It is past time the CEC allows those women to step up and encourage those gifts. I am sick of the “Good Ole Boy” system that exists within the CEC. I am sick of the patriarchal mentality in the CEC. It seems we are limiting, rather than expanding our reach because there is a “fear” of women who have been gifted and called.

Being the mother of tween girl, who will be an official teen this Spring, I want to be careful and intentional about what I teach her. She is my artsy child and has a great love of music, art and writing. I don’t yet know how the Lord will grow her, or lead her down the road. That being said, I refuse to teach her that she is limited because she is female. To tell her she can only go so far because she is female, is to fail as a parent. I have prayed for her spouse since before she was born. However, should the Lord call her to be single and serve Him in other ways, does not mean I have failed as a mother, or that she has failed either. My job is to support and encourage her. My job is to allow her to be whoever the Lord has called her to be.

I can see where this post seems to be all over the place, but really it isn’t. I am so over the CEC and its limiting mentality. I am over the judgmental mentalities. I am over being told a woman can only do so much because we are female. I am over the church being known more for what it’s against, than what’s its for. I am over being told who I should and shouldn’t hang out with. I want Jesus to be pleased with me. I want Him to be pleased with who I am as a wife, mother and friend. I want to be known for who I love and what I am for, than what I am against.

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