NO Alligators Allowed in the Pool!

I’m kind of done with the election rhetoric. Of my party. Of the other party. Of the parties of the second part and the third part. Of parties, talking heads, editorials, commercials, PACs and committees. Enough.

It’s easy enough to say that “you don’t have to go there.” But that assumes that everyone can read the sign.

It’s really NOT that obvious.

Sometimes when the “hot button” issues are being tossed about in an election cycle, it’s hard not to want to dive into the arguments. So much muck, so little time.

Then, when the elections are over, we’re back to the same tired arguments of theology. It’s not easy, but you can thoughtfully and graciously articulate your position, while remaining considerate of the opinions of others. I appreciated that in a couple of blogs that I read this afternoon.

First, Kurt offers a guest post by his friend Alan Molineaux, who discusses the conundrums of “discussing” anything related to complementarianism and egalitarianism. (Note: if this isn’t something that interests you, please feel free to move along and watch an NFL game or something.) 🙂

From there, I found Caroyln’s blog where she shared an excerpt from Dr. Roy Ciampa, Professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, on his recent article “Ideological Changes for Bible Translators”. The full text of his discussion is here.

After some of the recent comments by Dr. Dobson and others, I am encouraged. I am encouraged when I read the thoughts of well-read, thoughtful people. I am encouraged when there can be dialogue and we don’t automatically assume that one of us is “not a Christian” because we have different hermeneutics.

I am encouraged because it does not depend on me, but on the work of the Spirit to bring the same edges of the conversation together for a cohesive whole.

re-educating

There has been a lot of discussion lately because of an article in the July 2010 Sojourners magazine by Anne Eggebroten. She reported on the  persistence of patriarchy in the evangelical church.

Hackles were raised. The usual spew of articles from Southern Baptists and others. They entrenched their position on their views of marriage, ordination, and so on. It was most interesting, though, that the major rebuttal was not sent to Sojourners for publication, but instead was published in blogs and magazines which are more traditionalist-friendly.

Fine. Turn the page. Move on. I disagree with their theology and sarcastic mode of communication.

Except…

In my present place of ministry, where I am a CPE intern, I have come up against this tiresome argument as well. Not among my fellow interns, the staff of the Pastoral Care department, or even with patients.

No, the sole expression of disagreement was from another woman, a working professional, master’s level nurse, married, homeschooling mother of 3. She informed me that while she thought it was “sweet” that I prayed with and for patients, that it was “unbiblical” and believed that I shouldn’t be a pastor.

I was taken aback.

I know her family and her situation well. I care about them dearly. Her husband wanted to go to seminary but couldn’t. He is physically disabled. She worked her way through a masters in nursing program and is the family breadwinner. She homeschools their kids. I have only had the greatest respect for her, and thought we had a good working relationship, which is why her words surprised me so.

Granted, I knew our values in education and worship were different. They still attend the ultra-traditional church we fled some years ago. We have parented our kids through public school (and it has not been easy!) They have chosen to cut off external sources like the internet and TV. We don’t censor (but we do advise) on the kinds of media they should watch and listen and read.

I hardly knew how to respond at first. Did she really say that to me, in the midst of praying for her patient (and others)?? Yes. She did.

Finally, I said that I respected her opinion, but that I answer to a higher authority. And I would continue to serve God as I’m led.

It does sadden me a little. But this argument is not mine to make, or try to win. I’m only required to live out what God asks me to do. I AM a pastor, a shepherd, an intercessor, a servant. Deal with it. I am called to teach, pray, preach, counsel and care. To care and forgive much. And to move on.

The funny thing is, though she might not think she could “receive” my ministry —  in the ER, or the ICU, or wherever there is a grave need, I will be there — praying, listening and being God’s servant. I’ll care for her, her family, any family… anyone else who crosses my path.

Because that’s how I roll…