Tag Archives: bible college

In Which I Define Terms

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, November 16, 2016

fish-ichthus

In Which I Define Terms

I am uncomfortable with the term “Evangelical.”

There. I have said it. There it is, in black and white. (At least, in black and white on the computer screen.)

Looking at my past, I do have some Evangelical street cred. Yes, I was active in a bible study group in high school and into college, which led me to a non-denominational bible church on the northwest side of Chicago. I learned Pietistic practices, which were oddly and wonderfully balanced by the liturgical learning and careful Lutheran catechism of the church where I was baptized and confirmed.

And, to crown all this bible learning, I received a bachelor’s degree from a non-denominational bible college in downtown Chicago, in the mid-1980’s. (In church music. I wasn’t allowed to take biblical Greek or study to become a pastor at the time, since I was a woman. Women weren’t permitted/allowed to serve freely or utilize their God-given gifts. At least, under that particular stream of Evangelicalism. But, I digress.)

Yes. I used to identify as an Evangelical. Over the years, how twisted that term has become. So much rule-keeping, modern-day Pharisaism/legalism, and—most frightening to me, bigotry and xenophobia. Arrogant, condescending, cultural baggage is also hung on that moniker, causing me to shrink from using the term for myself.

What particularly opened my eyes to the smallness and meanness of modern-day Evangelicalism was (in no particular order), seminary training, counseling training and on-the-job work as an addictions counselor, chaplain training, and on-the-job work as a chaplain in an urban setting.

I sometimes take refuge in the historical definition of Evangelical, as in one who freely and gladly shares the Good News of the Gospel. Period. I am more likely to align myself with that simple definition, which is sadly antiquated, nowadays.

And now, post-presidential election, I have absolutely NO idea what an Evangelical is, or isn’t, or stands for or against or anything else. I find myself running to the embrace of a God who is so much bigger than anything this world has for me. My Refuge and Strength, and a very present Help in times of trouble and need.

Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers for our country, for our representatives, for the leadership. Lift up all of the diverse voices, and downtrodden and silenced groups across this land. Draw us together as the unified people we strive to be, and show us all the way to walk together with openness, genuineness, tolerance, and—yes—love. (Even towards Evangelicals. 😉 ) Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Almost-Ten Commandments, Redux?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 24, 2015

Ten Commandments medieval illustration Exodus 20

Almost-Ten Commandments, Redux?

I learned the Ten Commandments as a girl, in both Sunday school and Confirmation class. (Pastor Wold was very thorough, as I remember.) I also remember the Ten Commandments etched into two large tablets made of polished wood, in the Sunday school office. (I never asked at the time, but I suspect the two pieces of wood with etchings were made as a special wood working project by some enterprising young Boy Scout, to fulfill the requirements for a badge or for achieving the next level in scouting.)

Dutifully, I learned the Ten Commandments. And then, after Confirmation, forgot them. More or less. That is, until several courses in bible college. I revisited them, and was very glad I had had thorough teaching in Confirmation class before being confirmed as a Lutheran.

I remember having the sneaking feeling that the Ten Commandments, as written in Exodus, had a definitely negative twist. Except for “honor your father and mother,” all of them had a negative cast. Telling everyone what they were NOT supposed to do! So depressing. So sad-making. So much like someone wagging their finger in my face. (Which gets my back up in the best of times.)

I suppose that is why I much prefer this reiteration in Leviticus (of the spirit) of the Ten Commandments.

Here in Leviticus, the commandments are shaped in a much more positive manner. If I had grown up with these, instead, I wonder how closely I would have followed the commands? And, by extension, would other people get drawn to these positive, nurturing ideas? I guess I will never know. For sure, that is. But—I can dream, can’t I?

Let’s come to God in prayer. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You so much for such an encouraging reading today. And, Lord, help me to show others Your love, just as each one is trying to show God as the next Big Thing. Dear God, I earnestly pray, Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .