On Being a Good Mom

New (ish) DG article that I forgot to post on being a good mom. Good thing this is such an easy topic! Ha. 😉

One of a mother’s most difficult tasks — nay impossible, apart from God’s help — is weaning her children and transferring their source of life, comfort, and home to Another. In all her loving and comforting and making home, she is simply a pointer to a better one, a lasting one — a home where she already has one foot in the door, a home she testifies to by her own goodness.

But are we good mothers? Does even the question cause some chafing?

Christian mothers are supposed to be good mothers — happy in God, while loving and disciplining our children — because of Jesus. Yet often we’d rather celebrate our failures as a need for more grace than to rehearse, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness” (Psalm 37:3).

That goodness is a fruit of the Spirit seems forgotten among jokes about our mom fails and laments about how impossible it all is (Galatians 5:22). The pursuit of goodness is often quickly rebuffed as works-righteousness. But is it? Not if our goodness is the result of Another’s goodness. This imputed goodness is Christ’s, and through faith he increasingly imparts it to us, where it grows to decontaminate and purify our mothering hearts. His grace makes mothers good.

When God gives us children, he answers a lot of questions in our lives — even ones we may not have thought to ask. Questions like:

  • What should I do with my life?
  • What’s it like to give my body up for someone?
  • How attached am I to privacy?
  • How selfish am I when giving feels forced upon me?
  • Does my faith hold on during the third night or third week or third year of sleep deprivation, or is it a product of my ability to string together rational thoughts?
  • Do I trust my husband as a father?
  • How weird am I about food?
  • What strong opinions do I have about clothing? Sleepovers? Education? Extracurricular activities?

Being a mom brings it all to the surface. It reveals a more truthful version of ourselves, not because we were previously being untruthful, but because we now are shaping a life for someone else, not simply ourselves.

Mothers are making decisions every day that can and often will impact another person’s entire existence. This pressure to make sure we don’t mess up our child’s life is pretty intense. It creates some heat that tends to wear us down to the core of what we really believe about God, ourselves, and the world.

Read the rest.

An Interview with Pilgrim Radio on Every Woman’s Call to Work

Earlier this week Pilgrim Radio aired an interview I did regarding the Desiring God article, Every Woman’s Call to Work. Pilgrim Radio is a station broadcasting to 4 states out west (CA, NV, WY, MT) and live streaming online. Bill Feltner was my kind host on the show, His People. I’ve never done a radio interview, so this was a new experience. Very enjoyable, but also hard as there are always things that could have been said better or more clearly. With that disclaimer, I hope you find this helpful.

 

 

 

Women and Work

DG posted an article on women and work that I’d been working on (get that, working on?) for a while. It’s a tricky topic to talk about because of the pet ponies so many keep in the stall on this one. But how many of us are willing to really work the way God requires? Having totally crucified our selfish ambitions and laid down our lives? How many of us are hoping to be a living sacrifice? I think lots of us are hoping for something a little more affirming, a little easier, a little less exhausting, and a lot more, well, fun.

But there’s a paradox that IS the Christian life: death to life. A million deaths each day doesn’t end in the grave. It ends in JOY. So here’s my attempt at understanding our call to work as women.

The pertinent question for women entering the workforce or motherhood or setting up their home or any sphere of work is this: Am I faithfully obeying God as his child by meeting the genuine needs of others, or am I pursuing self-actualization, self-fulfillment, or selfish ambition apart from him?

Our faithfulness first requires a kind of death — death to self and selfish ambition. Yet death leads to life — life in Christ, through him, and for him. What exactly that death looks like will vary from person to person, but in every case, it will be a gospel act, a spectacle of crucifixion with Christ.

For a single mom who must earn an income, prioritizing Christ and the home may mean doing what it takes to provide for her kids’ needs and spending herself at work, then at home, at great cost to herself — to the glory of God and for the good of her children.

For a single woman without kids, it may mean considering cross-cultural missions or walking fearlessly into her job, while saving some reserves for the life of the church or investing in her neighborhood or opening her home — whether it’s an apartment or a house or a room — so she can share what she has, especially Christ in her.

For a married, stay-at-home mom of littles, it may mean seemingly endless physical tasks and training, laying down the pre-motherhood feelings of proficiency as she can no longer earn an “A” for her hard work or receive a promotion.

For the mom with a part-time job that helps financially but isn’t essential, it may mean laying that job down and the extra financial cushion so that she can intentionally sow seeds of the gospel in her children. Or it might mean keeping that job and using her gifts to serve others.

For the woman whose husband is facing long-term unemployment or disability, it may mean becoming the breadwinner or caretaker, shouldering a larger portion of responsibility than she had perhaps desired.

For a mom whose children are older and gaining independence, it may mean a shift in the type of work she does, bravely considering the options and doing things she hasn’t done in a long time, or trying something brand new.

Sometimes our circumstances aren’t ideal. Often they are not ideal. This isn’t heaven. And the call to lay down our lives will take different forms. But this is our calling, with its countless manifestations. Not because we’re the one who finally will save our kids or our family or our neighbors or ourselves. We’re not Christ. But we are Christians. We gladly follow the God-man who laid down his own life to meet our truest needs. We gladly echo his great sacrifice in our little deaths-to-self.

We seek to faithfully live the actual life God has given us, not the one we hoped for or wish we had. We take the principles God himself has given us — for work and dominion, the priority of the home, generosity and hospitality, caring for the children (and adults) God has given us (their bodies and souls) — and we apply them to the real life in front of us. Not the ideal. Not the fantasy. But the actual life God has given us.

Our work is not about us. It’s not about making a name for ourselves with a fabulous career or being superior because things went well for us and we’re doing it all “right” or trying to “have it all.” If we ache to make a name for ourselves — in self-glorification — we should remember that we serve the one whose name is above all names. He will not suffer us as competitors. And far better than making a name for ourselves, he’s written our names in his book, not because we have a great job, but because we’re his children.

So work really hard. Do amazingly good work. Excel in every single way that you can, in every single area that you can, with the self-forgetful happiness that can be found only when you’ve laid yourself down and are trusting in the name of a tireless, serving Savior. Trust the author of the Lamb’s book of life to guide you in every circumstance to every good work that he’s prepared for you.

Read the whole thing.

Embodied Women: God’s Call In Our Design

New post at DG. This one is near to my heart as we navigate life with a disabled son. The design of our bodies is telling us something, even in the lack.

“The devastating way our society treats the calling of women’s bodies is to cleverly uncover them and use them for power and money. How many daughters and sisters and mothers and friends believe their bodies to be valuable only as they are objectified or viewed with lust? Or only as they earn capital for them under the false banner of empowerment?

On the other hand, our society has shamelessly rejected modesty and purposeful functionality as practical enslavement. Instead of using a hammer to hammer, we polish and paint it and hang it on the wall to stare at. Instead of making music with a piano, we refuse to have it tuned and super glue the keys in place so they can’t strike a chord — but boy do they look like they could make music, were someone ever to try them out.

How much more is this the case in twenty-first-century America? With plastic surgery and an inordinate emphasis on appearance, our bodies have become something like a mausoleum that we dare not spend or use for any purposes other than the ones we decide will benefit us. So while a woman may be quite happy to test her body’s limits at the gym so that she looks cute and young in a new outfit, she wouldn’t dream of testing its limits in hard labor of any kind for a purpose with no personal benefit, solely for the sake of another.

God gave women wombs so that babies could grow in them. Does every woman’s womb grow a baby? No, and there is no lessening of womanhood in that. But that doesn’t mean we miss God’s calling in his larger design. Wombs to grow humanity — that’s his mindboggling plan. It was God’s idea to give wombs to women, just as he decided to give us arms to lift things.

And knowing that God gave arms for lifting and wombs for babies impacts our calling. If God designed our bodies to be a home to a tiny person for nine months, then that understanding will help us to make sense of the instructions in Titus 2:4 and 1 Timothy 5:14 to work and manage the home. Why? Because he actually made our bodies a home, and making a home for others is an extension of that.

I’m not saying that we all must be having as many babies as we can, or that our arms should be lifting in perpetuity, or that our legs should never stop walking. I’m simply pointing to God’s design and asking the question, Why did he make us like this?

Are we willing to accept the answer inherent in God’s design and inerrant in his word?

The truth, of course, about God’s clear design doesn’t leave us without complex pains and questions. What about women who have had mastectomies or hysterectomies, or have had a leg amputated, or are blind, or in any way have a body that doesn’t function properly?

We begin by acknowledging that’s all of us at some level. Not all of us are missing parts, but all of us have a level of body dysfunction. That’s what sin does: it corrupts the creation. And that doesn’t make us any less a woman, or our bodies any less relevant, or our calling any less important. A woman who cannot make a home inside her body for children can still make a home for them outside of it. She can make a place of safety and warmth for others, whether they’re her children or not.

Our youngest son is disabled. He has a body and mind that “don’t work the way they’re supposed to” — though we believe his body and mind work precisely the way God intends. So what does it mean for our son to live a full life as an embodied soul, whose body has something to say about his calling? It means that while his calling will remain the same — the call to live as a Christian man, God willing — how it works out will be different because he’ll be in his particular body, not someone else’s.

Likewise, God has given Christian women whose bodies have a womb, but can’t carry a baby, a harmonious outworking of the calling of a Christian woman. As women, we’re all singing the same song, with the same goal, with our varied parts, some on melody, some on harmony and descant, and some sounding the minor note. And while the song is beautiful, it is heartbreakingly so.

The painful ache for those who long to have the part of bearing children is agonizing. It is a grief worth grieving. It does not make you lesser as a woman; you are loved and oh how we need you. Your body is not irrelevant, nor is your womb. It still points to something; it is still valuable and made by God, and it still has a role to play.

Sometimes the glory God gets from our lack far exceeds what he gets from our fullness. Our wombs are God’s design and calling, but empty wombs still point to greater realities — not despite the sorrow that comes with them, but with the sorrow as part of the pointer.

Read the rest.

Special (Needs) Vacations

Upon returning from vacation, I thought I’d write down some thoughts.

First, if you have a special needs child, vacations are different. Sometimes you may wonder if they should be called vacation, since they’re often more work than staying home. But they should be called vacation, even with the added work and disruption to normal life. Even if you’re packing up an IV pole everywhere you go. Even if you have 6 crates of enteral formula in your trunk and tubes and syringes galore. Even if you have a throw up bowl in the car that’s not even for carsickness or a stomach bug. Even if you and your husband have to take turns eating and sleeping. Because what makes them a vacation is not the lack of work, but the intentional time together doing special things that you can’t do in your normal life. What makes it worthwhile is the intensity of time together, the experience of newness and beauty together. The appreciation of all God’s made and done, seen together.

If we’re going to define a vacation by how easy it is or how little work there is or how much we’re able to do exactly what we want every moment, then just forget it. You’ll never have a good vacation, special needs or not, because all people, all relationships, all of everything worthwhile, requires effort. Better to just go be by yourself with nobody around at all, because people everywhere have needs, including us, special ones or not. You can’t escape that on vacation. The “special needs” part is simply a reference to the scope and quantity of the needs. We’re all on the “needs” scale somewhere.

So, my encouragement to special needs parents and all parents really, is to get out there and try it. It’s going to be work. It may be harder than normal life. But get those expectations in line and start seeing things. I think the reason why I’m passionate about this is because I’m a recovering vacation failure. I thought they were supposed to be a break for me. I thought they were about closing my eyes, rather than opening them wider. I mainly just wanted to stay home because I like being home and it keeps things simpler. I like predictability. But if there’s hope for me, there’s hope for you. Let go of cynicism about how much it will cost you. Stop seeing how impossible it will all be before it happens.

“You can’t go on “seeing through” things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. To “see through” all things is the same as not to see.” -C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Vacations give us an opportunity to see through TO something, not just looking at something, but seeing it. And even more, seeing together. You may wonder what how that’s supposed to work, since your special child (or your very young child) can’t grasp what they’re seeing. That may be true. But they can have a parent who sees, who knows how important it is to see the beauty all around, who sees through it to the God who made it. Let’s give them that at least. Then let’s put aside our doubts about what they can and can’t see.

And the seeing is of more than creational beauty. See Narnia together in the car, see Middle Earth and Hogsmeade as you fly down the road. Then go outside and really see it. See an earth that is stranger and darker than Mordor and more beautiful and safe than the Shire; a world with more magic than Hogwarts and more children of secret royalty than in the Wingfeather Saga.

And see your kids as well, special needs or not. See what delights them, what they dislike, who they’re drawn to. See what it’s like to be them, what it’s like to sit in the back of the van, how their character is coming along in new settings and with different people. See them and see through them to what drives them, what motivates them, what inspires them. See your people and see if they like being your people and why. Then do what you must to right the ship. That’s what vacations are for. For seeing and loving. For laying down the pettiness and sin, again.

Vacations are for making life special, special needs and all.

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Atypical and the Lord’s

I’ve been writing for Desiring God fairly frequently lately. Hopefully I’ll have time for some more of my normal posts here, but until then, I’ll keep linking up.

I guess I’m not a typical woman. She spoke of her love for sports and lack of emotionality as she made this (ironically typical) confession. Her statement inspired me to freshly ask, How many of us would call ourselves a typical woman?

What do we mean by “typical woman” anyway? And is being typical a good thing or not?

In my conversations with ladies of many ages, I’ve noticed that we have varying understandings of the typical woman, but few of us think of ourselves as one. Start a conversation with a woman in your church, ask her all about herself, find out her life story, and usually you will hit a point where she will tell you that she doesn’t (or didn’t) feel like a typical woman. We may not think of ourselves as special or unique, but many of us have had the experience of feeling — whether for good or for bad — like we didn’t quite fit the mold.

Maybe you didn’t like to play with dolls as a child, or maybe you love wielding power tools. Perhaps you aren’t sure you want children, or you despise shopping or love woodworking. Some have a nagging feeling of incompetence as a mom or nonexistent cooking skills or were considered a tomboy or the only girl math major in college. I know many women whose husbands talk more than they do, or have a hard time connecting with other women — or a hundred other ways women don’t feel like they are quite the typical woman, depending on what their view of typical is.

Some are happy to be different than the perceived norm — and proud — as if the closer they get to what is regarded as masculine, the more powerful or respected they will be. Their view of a woman is narrow and somewhat pathetic, so it makes sense that they’d want to distance themselves from it. Others are sad — and even ashamed — that no one taught them what womanhood was supposed to look like, and now they’re fumbling around in the dark trying to figure it out.

As Christians who have the benefit of God’s own revelation of the truth in the Bible to help us navigate this world, along with the benefit of the creation itself to clue us in on God’s design, we need not fixate on what our society seems to call typical. The goal of a Christian woman isn’t to be typical. Especially if what typical means is an overly made-up, hyper-feminine, wilts-at-the-first-sign-of-hard-work, check-brain-at-door type of woman. Where is that in the Bible? Thankfully fainting couches and Southern belles aren’t mentioned either. Rather, we live our life in Christ and pursue holiness — and that is anything but typical.

As a child, when I watched my mom, a farmer’s daughter, use the chainsaw to take down dead branches and load them into the trailer to haul to the brush pile, I was learning about being a woman. When I saw her prepare our home for countless guests, and food for countless mouths, I was learning about being a woman. When I heard her discuss the Bible with dozens in our living room every Tuesday night, I was learning about being a woman, because she was a woman doing those things. And thankfully for me, she was more — she was a Christian woman.

When we read the narratives of godly women in Scripture, the same thing happens — we have the advantage of observation, of watching particular women face particular situations. We watch the Hebrew midwives fear God more than Pharaoh, and in so doing, save the Hebrew sons (Exodus 1:15–21). We see Rahab earnestly bind herself to Yahweh, putting her life on the line for his people (Joshua 2:1–21) and Sarah believe that God would provide a son against all odds (Hebrews 11:11) and teenage Mary magnify the Lord in the strangest of circumstances (Luke 1:26–38) and Prisca risk her neck for Paul (Romans 16:3–4). In all these, we learn about being women — not as a cookbook of what we must do with our lives, but as varied examples of God-fearing women through the ages. And we learn that far from being typical, we must be faithful women in the life and circumstances God has given us.

Read the rest.

Single, Married, and in Need of One Another

“Not long after my husband and I started having children, Joyce invited me and a number of other young moms into her home. As I entered, I noticed how lovely and orderly everything was, how wonderfully the food smelled, how the table was set. As Joyce introduced herself and everyone settled in to a little chatter, my first impression was that this was clearly a woman I could learn from. She was kind, warm, and comfortable with people.

Later in our visit, I found myself telling Joyce about a challenge I was facing in parenting. She responded by saying, “I’ve never had children, so I don’t know if this will be helpful, but here’s what I’ve observed with my nieces and nephews.” This surprised me — even more surprising, that she had never been married. I hadn’t considered the possibility that the woman eager to take some green moms under her wing would be single. I am thankful she did.

Emily is ten years younger than I am. I first got to know her when I started cold-calling families from our church directory desperate to find babysitters for the mass of children in our small group. She was in high school at the time, and she, along with her younger sisters, agreed to help. They faithfully served our small group for the next six years.

After Emily started college, I was in over my head with children, schooling, and everyday life. I asked her if she’d be interested in coming weekly to help me out. She agreed, and her commitment to the job was refreshingly reliable. She showed up and worked hard. She shared the knowledge, tips, and habits she’d learned from her mom — made all the more poignant when her mom passed away from cancer during her freshman year at college.

I learned a lot from Emily, including a better way to match socks. And that organizing can be simple. But most importantly, I learned about faithfulness — faithfulness to your commitments and faithfulness to God in the darkest of times.

My Aunt Julie has always been an integral part of my life. Her lifelong singleness has been a gift to us. I don’t say that to minimize the difficulty of it. Her singleness, coupled with her willingness to love us, warts and all, and take us under her wing, has been a type of auntly mothering that is as precious as it is unique.

When I watch my two-year-old son’s face light up at the sight of her, or see the older kids sprint to invade the privacy of her room, I’m thankful.

And time would fail me to tell of Char, whose devotion to God and his people and the unreached around the world was a force that could topple kings and nations.

Or Great Aunt Ola, who at one hundred years old still would pray before a meal in Swedish, and never met a child who didn’t qualify as one of her “peanuts.”

Or Sue, a single mom who taught me how to pray and love others when I was a pesky teenager.

Or Lindsey, who loves our youngest son with special needs enough to expect more of him than I know to, and who uses her skills as a physical therapist to do good for others.

The faithful witness and example of these single women is beautiful. I have a lot to learn from sisters like these.”

Read the rest.

Whole Bible Women

When I was seventeen years old, I read a book on the Proverbs 31 woman. I’ve no criticism to offer of the book. I think it was written by a godly woman who was pouring herself out in honoring God. I was electrified to discover a part of the Bible that seemed directly written for me, a female. It was the kind of discovery that felt like I was being given a template for life: no more mystery, no more puzzlement as I clumsily plowed through stuff I didn’t understand — the step-by-step handbook had arrived.

When I combined what I’d read from Proverbs 31 with the other parts of the Bible giving instructions to women, I almost wasn’t sure why I needed to read the rest of the Bible. Maybe my job was to camp out here. Certainly there was enough here to keep me busy for the rest of my life. I knew instinctively that I didn’t measure up to the standard of godliness that I was reading.

I’ve met a lot of churched women over the years, with varying views on these biblical passages for women. Some have developed a flinch and twitch when they hear parts of the Bible directed at women (often because those parts have been weaponized like a 195’s law-bomb against them). In contrast there are those who never talk about the Bible except to quote Titus 2 or 1 Peter 3, content to live there. And then there are some with a chip on their shoulder who just flat out refuse to allow the Bible to say what it says to women, doing feats of flexibility that twist the Bible up to the point that all blood flow has been cut off to certain parts. They just fall off as irrelevant, deemed wrong.

In the English department in college, there was the occasional lopping off parts of literature deemed harmful to women via critical gender studies. Who were these dead white guys to be telling us what good literature is, to be writing female characters for us? Why should enlightened women read such dregs, except to refute them? And for some, this has extended to God’s Word. If dead white guys can be cast off, why not dead Middle Eastern guys too?

But the Bible isn’t a trifle. It isn’t Gulliver’s Travels or Great Expectations. Its author is divine, not dead; perfect, not sinful. To read it is to be changed or judged, in some measure. We either come under it in full-stop submission, or we cast it aside as boring or harmful or stupid or nice. In unmitigated pride, we may even exploit it as its editor. And it isn’t indifferent toward us; it masters us willingly now or unwillingly later.

The God of the Bible won’t be suppressed to a few select passages directed toward women. He also won’t allow his daughters to cut off blood supply to the parts we don’t like very much. He demands all of himself for all of ourselves.

Read the rest.

Our Identity: Layered or Whole?

“Our culture is fascinated with identity — emphasis on the I. The church can be as well. We all want to know, “Who am I?” Or for some, “What’s unique about me?”

The process of discovery often looks like an attempt to climb inside our belly buttons and peer through any cracks to the innards. Maybe then we’ll know who we are and why we’re special. We think of ourselves like an onion with oh-so-many layers, and as we peel them back, we are as beguiled as Mr. Tumnus in C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle: “Yes, like an onion: except that as you continue to go in and in, each circle is larger than the last.” But rather than being in The Real Narnia beholding better glory after better glory, we’re utterly captivated by the navel-lint idol of self.

Even those of us who don’t like ourselves are often still captive to the fixation of self.”

Read the rest.

The Trinity, the Local Church, the Para-Church and Women

I don’t know how many readers are following the online “conversation” regarding the doctrine of the Trinity and whether understanding the Son as eternally submitting to the Father has implications for the way women are treated in the church (and if it’s heresy!), but I want to make two small observations.

I’ll start by simply affirming what I believe, from my church’s affirmation of faith: “We believe in one living, sovereign, and all-glorious God, eternally existing in three infinitely excellent and admirable Persons: God the Father, fountain of all being; God the Son, eternally begotten, not made, without beginning, being of one essence with the Father; and God the Holy Spirit, proceeding in the full, divine essence, as a Person, eternally from the Father and the Son. Thus each Person in the Godhead is fully and completely God.”

I’m not a theologian or even a super sharp gal. I am a sleep-deprived Christian; I’ve been a Christian for most of my life. I’ve served and loved and been served by God’s people for that long and longer through gut-wrenchingly hard times. I know the church is full of amazing people, smart people, compassionate people, dedicated people, hard people, messy people, foolish people and more. I’m numbered among those ordinary folks and I have a lot of confidence in God’s work in us.

Observation 1) This Trinity “conversation” (code word for feather-ruffling oft-heated exchanges, punctuated with occasional smugness) is nothing that the local church can’t handle. The local church is equipped to think this through, give wise counsel to its members, and continue un-kerfuffled by it all. Not every reformed church will end up in the same place. Not every church will think it’s as big of a deal as other churches. Not every church will need to have read every article and book about it in order to come to terms with it. Not every church will care whether or not all its members agree on it. Isn’t that good? Aren’t we thankful to be Protestants and not have these edicts come down from on high? Aren’t we thankful for our local church, our actual people, our flesh and blood leaders who will account for our souls? Isn’t agreement with them more important than duking it out with virtual folks? I know that plenty of virtual contributors have met in real life, so they’re not faceless, but how many attend the same local body?

And if your local church is not equipped to walk wisely through this, but is a place of unkind or unhelpful “dialogue” or bullying without godly leadership, then praise God that we are free to find a church that more closely aligns with our beliefs.

Observation 2) From what I’ve seen, the women speaking into this seem to have strong feelings against those who hold to the eternal submission of the Son to the Father. I cannot say why the negative reaction is there, if there is a personal element of hurt, or if there is a more general sense of discerning what could be or has been harmful to women in their view. But if you are a woman who feels strongly that teaching the eternal submission of the Son is harmful because it leads to a devaluing or dehumanizing of women in the church and their ontological worth; if you think it leads to viewing them as their role rather than as a person, and that they aren’t meant to have submission be such a core identity, then live that out. You need not submit to or be ruffled by men who are not in leadership at your church or who are not your husband.

There seems to be on the one hand, a clear delineation on whom we must and must not submit to, but then a disappointment or even a calling on the carpet that men (of the inter webs–not from our church or our husband) aren’t standing in the gap. From my limited perspective, it seems there is a desire to have para-church organizations change their collective minds and come to agree with the women who’ve started the ripple. But why should women need this? Our influence is much greater than the internet. Our orbit of influence always pulls strongest right where we live, for good or ill. We have an ear with our men, teaching our women and children at church and home and school about the Trinity and a woman’s worth which is of more value than any online argument.

Even if books have been published, even if conferences have been spoken at, every person’s actual lasting influence is strongest closest to home. That holds true no matter your view on the Trinity.

CBMW and MoS don’t have to agree with each other. Would it be good if they agreed? Yes, if it is genuine and founded on the Word. But when we disagree with them or they with us it is of tertiary importance, because we don’t submit to them, nor they to us. If they are your employer, then this doesn’t apply, but assuming they aren’t, then we have the privilege of living our actual lives in our actual churches with our actual husbands, friends, pastors and parishioners. As someone who gives my opinion “quite decidedly” in the words of Lady Catherine de Burgh, I’m still averse to airing it out on the nets of the inter where there can be no tone of voice, no back and forth, no quick apology or clarification or drilling down until you can state another’s view in a way they recognize.

I realize there is a large influence that comes out of the parachurch organizations like DG, TGC and CBMW that may impact the teaching at your church, and if you have a significant point of disagreement with one that likely feels hard, but the place to sort that out is in your local church. We can’t force a para-church organization to align with a particular view. We have the duty of bringing our concerns to our local churches and affecting far greater impact than a blog post could, no matter how many hits or shares or likes or high fives from other women and men across the country it may garner. Real life churches with real life people are always where the real action will be.

I’m thankful that the Lord inspired the apostles to write to churches at Rome, Ephesus, Colossae, and Galatia. I’m thankful he knows us all by name, intimately; he knows our frame and knows what word is apt for us in every season because he actually knows us. Oh that we would know the people in the church he has placed us in like that and put more priority on common understanding and reasoning together under the infallible Word with our own people than with those we barely know online.

P.S. I love para-church organizations like DG. God works through them in wonderful global ways for the Gospel. They are made up of people: brothers and sisters in Christ. This isn’t meant to belittle that or the ministry of the men of God who started them like Pastor John (to whom I owe more than can be calculated in terms of my spiritual growth and understanding of the Scriptures), but simply to point to the primacy of the local church and that the para-church is meant to serve the church, not the other way around.