This is my fourth post as part of the Rachel Held Evans synchroblog event, One in Christ: A Week of Mutuality. You can follow this event on Twitter by entering #mutuality2012 to read all entries by participating bloggers.
You can read the first half of this story HERE.
God has done some amazing things in my life and shown up in situations that seemed hopeless. I have faced many things that most people will, thankfully, never have to go through. In the grand scheme of things, my experience at Mars Hill was nothing...but it has changed EVERYTHING.
This past year has been one of the most challenging times of my life. I say this because God has required me, over and over, to swim upstream. I have always been a good Christian girl, I kept my mouth shut and went with the flow. Telling my story and being a part of exposing patriarchy and spiritual abuse is something I never thought I would do. There were many internal battles as I gave up my former image of who I thought I was.
Am I being divisive?
Is this really what God wants me to do?
If I reject the teachings that I have been told are ultimate truth, will I be considered a heretic?
Will I lose (more) friends if I reveal these different beliefs?
Can't I just keep my change in theology a secret?
I believe God can use any means necessary to lead us to the answers we seek. He has used several people, books and blogs to bring clarity and encouragement as I have struggled. I wanted to introduce you to some of those people. They are some of the closest friends I've never met.
Yesterday, I briefly introduced you to my friend Christine. She is amazing, encouraging and affirming. Here are the posts I shared yesterday that you do not want to miss:
A Message to Discontented Christian Women
Normal Theology and the Council of Whitby (or Why You Believe What You Believe)
Coming Out Feminist or Anything
Being Born Again and Dying to Self
I also told you about The Resignation of Eve: What if the Adam's Rib Was No Longer Willing to Be the Church's Backbone? by Jim Henderson. This book tells the story of women who have resigned to (accepting the limitations placed on women in the church) , resigned from (organized church or faith altogether), and re-signed (committed themselves to changing the system from within). It forced me to evaluate which category I wanted to be in. I knew that I was not resigned to the way things were, and I was terrified of resigning from church and faith. But do I really have what it takes to re-sign? I emailed Jim and he is one of the kindest, most empowering people I have ever met. Seriously, I could write a whole post about Jim and how his willingness to listen to me, affirm my observations and just be my cheerleader in this time has affected me.
Through Jim, I was "introduced" to Kathy Escobar. She is amazing and I swear she understands things I thought no one could understand. Here are a few of her posts that spoke to my internal struggle:
Ex Good Christian Women
On Becoming Less Divided
Well Behaved Women Won't Change The Church
Yep, I Guess I'm a Heretic
The Rebuilding After Deconstructing Series
Through Jim and Kathy, I was then "introduced" to Pam Hogeweide, who is a blogger and the author of
Unladylike: Resisting Injustice & Inequality in the Church. Pam is a former complementarian whose heart was changed when Pastor Rose Swetman said:
“The issue of women and leadership in the church is not an issue of theology. It is an issue of justice.”
Wait...Justice? This is not about theology?
Micah 6:8 says:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
And what of Nehemiah? He was shown the oppression of the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem. He wept and cried out to God. And then he took action. He mobilized people.
Rose and Pam were right. We cannot simply agree to disagree. This is an issue of justice for women.
I am no longer EGALIMENTARIAN. And I will stand shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and sisters as a proud supporter of justice and equality for women in the church, home and world.