18 June 2008

Gimme Some Love

I just got done reading a post in Terry's blog (click my title to get there!) about the extremes that seem to be happening in "the church" today. I've also noticed the dueling ideas/churches that cater to their own clientele. It's almost as if we can now brand our Christianity, because drinking branded bottled water is oh-so-passe. (Next year it will be something else.) You can either do whatever you want, wear whatever you want, say and go wherever you want in this church or circle of friends... or (I just read this one on another blog) maybe you're a murderer and not a good Christian if you allow doctors to remove a tubal pregnancy before you show signs of about-to-die. From Terry:

I am a woman of strong convictions. Any one who reads this blog knows that. I am frequently alarmed by what I believe is a spirit of heresy being propagated by many Christians in the name of being “led” by the Spirit. The discarding of sound Biblical doctrine and the embracing of cheap grace has produced a generation of Christians with no power, no witness, no salt and dim lights. And all of this spiritual anarchy is excused because our God loves us and we are free in Christ. Free apparently to walk, look, and act like the world, storing up for ourselves treasures on earth rather than in heaven with no concern for making disciples. I see it and it makes me sad.

I am equally concerned by the growing faction of Christians who rightly have rebelled against this new “if it feels good do it "form of Christianity. The problem is that in our effort to distance ourselves from one form of heresy, we must be careful not to produce another. The idea that the only way to be a godly Christian woman is to stay in the house, never work under any circumstances, have 10 kids, wear long dresses, and homeschool said large brood of kids. Anything else is seen as embracing the world and makes you unfit to call yourself a godly woman. As if we can do anything in our own power to make ourselves acceptable to God. Can you see the problem here, too?

**

Well, I don't know if I see a problem or not, so long as I fit the criteria and am able to look down on those who can't hack it. (kidding.) But I do have 6/10 of a full house by that measure, I homeschool half of the school-age ones, wear the long dresses sometimes and stay home all the time. Guess I'm halfway Christian then. I tried, but I didn't quite make heaven! Terry forgot to mention the perfect housekeeping, farming large stock animals, and home baking from scratch. Add that to the mix and I'm a total heathen. I might as well go out and have a good time with my pagan friends if I'm not makin' it anyway...

I've been thinking a lot about this issue of late because as I blogged before, my intestines are literally starting to pop out! This might just be the end of the road in terms of babies. I don't know that I'd want major abdominal surgery and then go have a couple more kids to test out how well I've been put back together. Maybe other people have more "faith" than I do in that department, and maybe it will turn out that the surgeon will tell me tomorrow that I'm faking it and send me home (never know... God could decide to heal me in the waiting room... pleasepleaseplease pleeeeease make me look like a fake, God! I can take it.). But here... let me tell you something else. I can't even go to the park because I literally have to go to the bathroom every five minutes. I have... problems. My children want to play outside and I say... no... I'm too busy with something or other... some other day... Then when I'm finally brave enough to go, I hope no one notices that I have problems. I'm afraid to ask the doctor about it because the answer to everything seems to be one of three things: 1. You're old. 2. You're fat. 3. You have too many kids/need birth control.

Anyway, I said all that to say this: I'm having trouble keeping up with the kids I have. If I were going to have ten, I should have started at age 18 or so. On the other side of it, it drives me NUTS to see dual-income families talking about their quivers being full with two kids. Give me a break. When I call the doctor's office to make an appointment and give my last name, I shouldn't be remembered by the receptionist as "the lady with all the kids." I have only six! It seems to me *everyone else* I link to or on the MOMYs board has more than that, and I have a small family. I'm on the lower end of normal. Right??

But then, that's what happens when we look around and judge ourselves by what others are doing. Maybe those people with the two kids, two incomes and a mansion in the 'burbs are living exactly as God instructed them to live. Judge not and all that. I have some sort of circling thought in my brain on this, though... along the lines of, well, if EVERYONE had two incomes and two kids, and put their kids in daycare and NO ONE homeschooled, then... what would the church be like? What would tomorrow's kids be like as adults? Ok, I get that I can't judge your individual situation, and I can't even make a blanket statement that homeschool is better than public school for all Christians at all times... but... too much tolerance is going to make us a wishy-washy sort of people. I think it's better to offend others with your statements sometimes, put your hedges wayyyy back from "the edge," but then recognize that there are exceptions to the rule you just made up.

But I don't know what they are. I guess it's like pornography and ya know it when ya see it. Then again, if we don't discern God's intentions in our home, where are we? We do need to work out our own salvation in our daily lives, not be judgmental of others (but make sound judgments! good luck!), and have meekness of spirit.

Personally, in my housekeeping with God, I've been working on meekness of spirit. You would probably think I'm a really not-nice person if you knew me in "real life." Most of you readers would dislike me. Not only am I old and ugly, but I also have a disposition that tends toward the ungracious. I take things very personally and will feel your criticism of "the thing I said or did" to be "criticism of me, my parenting, my social class and whatever else I'm sensitive about today."

This is what I'm working on. How 'bout you?

5 comments:

  1. "It's like pornography: you know it when you see it."

    Great point. It sort of sums up my point. With all the judgments and labeling, it's hard for us to see things the way they truly are.

    Lawlessness is certainly unbiblical and not of God. But so is legalistic judgment. Maybe we should all just shut up and pray. Let the wheat and tares grow together and let God do the separating.

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  2. Wow, Terry. We talk about that analogy all the time when we're working on the rock garden in the back yard. You don't know the difference between a beautiful flower and a weed until it gets a little taller than a few inches... just let it go and then we'll see.

    Can you tell I'm an indifferent gardener? I get 'round to it eventually, though. Hardly surprising my spiritual life can be much the same.

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  3. Judgements and labeling is not of God plain and simple. "Judge not lest you be judged"

    I agree with you on pretty much every aspect.

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  4. I don't understand why so many of those issues need to be dividing lines for christian, but they are some major ones.
    I may homeschool and I may almost 6 kids, but I only own 2 dresses and a couple of skirts (mainly for funerals).
    It is sad that we can't agree to disagree and still show God's love to everyone.

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  5. I loooooooove what Terry said. Okay, she put it better than I could.

    Today's brand of Christianity is like a fast food joint. The one who gives the best service, go for it! Don't tell me how to live my life, it's grace, grace and more greasy grace.

    This statement another commentor made.... "Judge not lest you be judged" is a commonly used statement by the religious world. HOWEVER.. they are not taking the scripture in context. The bible was saying, murderers should not be telling other people not to murder. Adulterers should not be telling people they shouldn't commit adultery. Liars, etc. LEST you be judged. So, people are trying to say you have no right to go up to someone and say, "um, you know, I'm your friends and all and I don't think it's good that you are cheating on your husband. You know, the bible says its wrong and it's a sin". Judge not, right? Don't question my Christianity and I won't question yours. Actually, the bible says "You shall know them by their fruits". If I see a guy from church going into a bar and drinking and carousing, um... I'm gonna tend to think maybe he's not a Christian.

    By the way... you are not old and ugly! I don't want to hear that from you again! :D My friend who had seven kids had that "potty problem" and she is always running to the bathroom at church. We don't think anything of it.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)