Tag Archives: legalism

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

Praying with the Gentle and Lowly

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, August 27, 2015

God greater than our problems

Praying with the Gentle and Lowly

Another night of Evening Prayer, another night of reading through these helpful phrases. Some directly biblical, and others not. As I read down the prayers and passages, I came across this, from Matthew 11:

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I think Jesus is so good and loving and giving. Imagine, to be able to say to His audience that He will come alongside, He will pull with you—with me, and help us to bear the load. It doesn’t matter what our burden is, because Jesus is bearing it with us. Alongside of us.

What is a yoke? Since most people in my area don’t work closely with animals any longer, I dare say they are often a little fuzzy on the meaning. A yoke is similar to a large collar, fitted to the necks of the animals pulling the plough, or another piece of farm equipment. Usually quite heavy.

Whether we think of the yoke of the Pharisees—the self-righteous straightjacket of legalism the Pharisees impose—or any other kind of yoke that’s difficult to bear, we can exchange that damaging, discouraging yoke for Jesus’ one. He will give us the strength to continue, one day at a time.

Thank You, God. You are so awesome! Thank You for coming alongside of me and so many others. Help us be aware that You are pulling right there, with us. And sometimes, You even take the role of the stronger animal, the best at pulling the heavy burdens.

@chaplaineliza

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

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

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