A Few Things I Know & Where They Take Me

I’ve always been interested by people who don’t get tied in knots over issues because my second most frequent place of residence is A Quandary. When I’m feeling stuck there, often in a never ending circle of argument with myself, all I can do is think of the things I know for sure and put away the bits that confuse me till they come clear – and they often do.

So here’s what I know. (If you’re not an overthinker, chances are you won’t get to end of this post, but you’re welcome to try.)

  • That all people fall short of God’s glory. Every single one of us. And don’t you dare add the word But to that.
  • That the Bible says what it’s always said but the cultural lenses through which we translate and interpret are always changing – even for those who would describe themselves as “Bible Believing”.
  • That there are many many things in my everyday life that were not forseen during biblical times and yet, people themselves, their temperaments, humours, and gifts, their tendancy to be selfish and seduced by wealth and power, haven’t changed.
  • That social mores are constantly changing – evolving or disolving depending on your perspective – and one generation or another is always going to be part of that change. My grandmother didn’t have the right to vote until she was 28 years old. James Hood, only 17 years older than me, was rejected from attending an American university because he was black.
  • That “Bible believing” evangelicals fought for and against slavery, for and against the right of women to vote and for and against the end of segregation. I can’t help but pray that I would have been on the right side of those issues and I use the word “right” with confidence.
  • That the two hottest topics in the church right now are the acceptance of women in church leadership and the acceptance of same sex couples in church at all.
  • That there are ultimate logical conclusions to our religious beliefs.
  • That there is not so much a slippery slope as a continuum from condemnation to grace and the darkest edge of condemnation is supported by people whose views are considered religiously correct. Just for example: Uganda and India.
  • That I decided a long time ago which direction on that continuum I want to be walking – and am willing to risk being “unbiblical” in the process. I’m going to be face down to the floor when I meet God anyway so I might as well add this to the list of reasons to be eating holy dust.
  • That I will welcome gay people into my life and my fellowship and encourage them in their Christian faith and their relationships.
  • That I will “sit under” the leadership of women who are gifted and called to be leaders.

Discussion of “yes, buts” welcome but a spirit of grace is mandatory.

Slippery Slope Theology

I find it hard to read comments on almost any site because the freedom to disagree quickly and anonymously seems to bring out the worst in people. Canadian newspapers are the worst of the worst followed closely by just about anything Christian.

A notable exception is the Jesus Creed site where Scot McKnight has established an expectation of graciousness even during robust disagreement.  That makes it possible to read without wanting to disassociate oneself from humankind in general and the Community of Saints in particular.

Still – you read some doozies once in a while and this one has been rattling around my head for days.  I really really want it to mean something other than what it seems to say. It’s made by a bible-believing (and I don’t use that in any derogatory sense) commentator who calls himself Watchman and I suspect he uses the term “slippery slope” in a different way that I did in my last post.

You’ll find it here at #20:

My guess is this has been brought on by the liberalization of the church, including the women’s liberation movement, feminism, and women’s suffrage.

This begs the Manuelesque question: ¿Qué

On the other hand, it shows the logical conclusion of inflexible, black and white hierarchical thinking: start at women shouldn’t speak in church and end up at women shouldn’t have the right to vote.

This is my year to figure out how to read the bible without getting tied up in thinking that applies the verses but compromises the message – especially around the issue of women in ministry. Stay tuned.