Opinions on faith and life

Taking Stock

2009-12-19

As another year winds to a close, many people try to look back at what has been, and try to improve on what is to come. Some resolve to stop old habits and others to start new ones.

I’m a practical person, and it seems that after blogging for quite a while now, I feel as though I’m going in circles. I’m running out of ways to talk about a repeating theme: the abysmal state of churchianity today, especially its hierarchies and heresies. So while I have no intention of taking this blog down, I’m not sure I’ll be finding much more to talk about in the coming year.

What I see in the more popular blogs is that a lot of people prefer to keep going over the same ground, whether it’s women in the church, legalism, wolves in sheep’s clothing, or a thousand other things. Nothing is ever solved; no progress is ever made. But there are many more who only read or “lurk”, and we have no idea how many minds have actually been changed, or how many lives have been saved.

But that’s what isn’t happening here, on any significant scale, if the stats chart is any indication. I know, right now isn’t the time to base any judgments on, since the time of “peace on earth” is probably the busiest of the year. ;-) But I feel that my time might be better spent trying to interact more on other blogs, to go where the people are meeting (Acts 16:13).

So talk to me; do you think God is calling me elsewhere? I will say that I intend to continue the podcasting site, and use it as a kind of audio summary of my understanding of scripture, in the order I might follow were I teaching a class for new believers to help them grow to maturity.

Also, if I won’t be blogging anymore, do you think I should re-arrange the site so the archives are easier to navigate?

25 Comments

Mabel Yin

You said, “But I feel that my time might be better spent trying to interact more on other blogs, to go where the people are meeting (Acts 16:13).”

I agree. Whenever I read sexist blogs, I wish you and other talented egalitarian bible teachers would give it to them so to speak. However, I also wish that you would continue to make your writings available to readers like me.

It never ceases to amaze me how old and tired arguments keep surfacing, e.g. Jesus picked 12 men to be disciples, and Mary is not a disciple (from the Catholics), etc. etc.. If we stop saying the same things over and over, and the sexist camp does that, what we stand for will lose by default.

Mabel

Paula Fether

Hi Mabel! That was quick!

Do you think I need to keep writing though, or just leave the blog up as I was thinking about doing? Also, if you can, would you list some of the blogs where the egal view is not being fairly represented?

I’m also still working on a free Study New Testament, which is really a lifetime project. It’s taken me several months just to get through the first ten chapters of John, and that doesn’t include any notes or commentary. But someday I hope it will be a handy resource for all believers, but especially egals.

Lin

I agree with Mabel. Articulate egals are needed out there who can make the spiritual and scholarly, not emotional, arguments.

The trick is to remember you are talking TO a brick wall when the blogger is a comp/pat. However, not all readers are brick walls.

I would like to see an archive by topic or even scripture references. But my experience is that if something is not easy to find, folks won’t look too hard.

Paula Fether

Yes, that’s something I’ve been concerned about. The way Wordpress does archives is to give you a few per page and then you have to flip through the pages to find what you want. Also, the search box doesn’t really seem to be specific enough. Sometimes I have to go to the admin area to find where I said something, because you can’t find it in the archive search.

So, something more like a topical library arrangement?

And any thoughts on good brick walls? :-P

truthseeker

Paula, an easy-to-reference topical library would be very nice. I have a hard time finding certain topics, also, at times.

I hope you will continue to write an occasional article, however, as you feel it may be needed (even though, yes, you have addressed many subjects, thankfully!). Or, at least provide a Q and A section, perhaps, for newbies who may not even be sure where to begin searching for issues or for the pertinent terminology and concepts involved? (I was not at all familiar with the concepts of complementarian and egalitarian, for example, when I first began struggling with that whole issue.)

Paula Fether

A Q and A sounds like a great idea, TS. I’ve checked some other non-interactive sites and they handle the Q by a contact form, and then display the A with it as they get to them. My first priority is to get the site running in its present form but converted to my own software, without breaking any links to the articles. But when that’s done I can start to add new features.

I’ll also continue working on the Podcasts, which I hope will be something like a series of Sunday School lessons that I would give if I were trying to take a new believer from basics to advanced. That will remain an interactive blog, mainly because Wordpress will handle the RSS feed.

If I do feel led to write more here, I can still do that, but it just won’t be interactive. But it takes the pressure off, because people want a steady diet of new articles, and I just have too many other things going right now.

And I think your Q and A idea would be a great catalyst for new material too! :-)

Sonnet

Paula, thank you for all you have shared on your website!!! When I first became an egalitarian a few years back, I didn’t realize just how MUCH unlearning I needed to do. When I first heard the good news of egalitarianism, I received it with joy, but I also spent a lot of time "just" lurking and reading at egal sites (along with reading printed books) to re-educate myself. The comp theology had been so ingrained in me and the Bible translations I had been reading were written in such a way that appeared to support the comp view (although with many confusing contradictions) that I really needed to read over and over again from various egal people with their insights in order to undo all of my previous brainwashing.

It has been a process. After very quietly growing in maturity in this area, I have felt prompted to start speaking out and joining my voice to those who are proclaiming this good news. You raise a very good point on how to best spend our time. So much good information is already out there on the internet...including on your site.

I keep thinking of “How will they know, if they haven’t heard?” “How will they hear, if no one goes?”

The way that I first heard about egalitarianism was from a comment on a homeschooling forum. I would read the Sonlight forum a couple of times a month. I was soooo busy homeschooling 3 kids, cooking, cleaning, etc., I had very little free time for myself. I look back now and see that I was a “Martha” to the max.

But one day on this Sonlight forum, someone made a short comment and included a link to an egal article. Reading that article was my second greatest life-changing moment. (The first was when I learned that we are saved by grace and not by works. Ephesians 2:8-9) It was such good news! Inwardly, I had been wrestling with why God appeared to prefer men, and I had felt guilty for thinking that God seemed so unjust to women. I would ask God about this but would end up resigning myself with “God’s ways are higher than our ways.”

So when I read that egal article, I felt like God was answering many of the questions that I had been asking Him. The legalistic chains fell off me. I had been too spiritually blind before to even see them there. They had been placed on me when I was very young in my Christian faith. It wasn’t until after they were unloosed that I could see how they had been holding me back and had been affecting my love and devotion to God.

Now that I am free, I also want to proclaim freedom to the captives. So do we need some to focus their giftings on being the teachers and scholars, others to be the evangelists, others to heal the wounds, others to be administrators for websites? -all working together to help reach, educate, and heal the oppressed.

I see a big need for your free New Study Testament. Too many translations and commentaries have been written from a male-only bias. Writing frequent blogs for this site must cut into the time you have available to work on that. Just my two cents worth.

I’ll be praying that God will show you how/where He wants to use you.

You’ve been such a blessing to me!

Paula Fether

Sonnet, that’s one of the nicest things ever posted here, and a great testimony! Thank you! :-D

In the time since I posted this, I’ve been more and more sure that putting this blog into an archive is the thing to do. I’ve felt like the bits of time here and there I’ve been putting on the Free NT has been like trying to run underwater. I have to take breaks from it, but blogging as a break is like the old joke about a busman’s holiday. And I really can’t think of what more I could say here, that either hasn’t been said more than once or couldn’t be better said in other blogs where the prisoners are still being held, so to speak.

I’m still homeschooling one of my kids too, and podcasting, and will be increasing the number of other blogs I comment in, but I just think that continuing to write in this one is not the best path to stay on anymore.

But knowing that some have been helped is what makes whatever path God puts me on worth the effort, even when I can’t see much going on. Thanks again, to you and all who have visited my little corner of the wwworld. :-)

Mabel Yin

Sonnet,

Thanks for your comment. I identify with a lot of what you said. My own “conversion” started with a book written in Chinese by 3 egal sisters given to me by my sis-in-law. Since then I have read blogs, books, attended conferences, supported egal ministries, etc. I now know that I have been misled by the comp teachings that had been so ingrained in so many Christians’ mindset. It takes a lot of reading, thinking, and of course the holy spirit to undo the damage. Unfortunately, most people want to keep the status quo, and are uncomfortable with a new perspective that rattles their comfort zone, esp. those with "titles". I agree that we all need to work together. Thank you again, Sonnet, for your sharing and fellowship. Mabel

truthseeker

Sonnet and Mabel, I echo your thoughts, and thank you both as well. Paula has been very instrumental in my own growing understanding of the whys of egal thought. I had been raised an egal but without the foundational thinking. I just ’was’ because ’that’s the way I was raised’. However, that left me unequipped to articulate my beliefs, which began to take a back burner until recent events forced me to take a stand on the issue, and to know why I believed as I did. Many, many thanks to you, too, Paula! Yes, the torch needs to continue to be passed so more can see the ’light’.

Paula Fether

Tanx TS! :-) I keep praying your situation will experience a great miracle so you can walk without that “ball and chain”.

TL

My opinion for what it’s worth, is that you keep writing, and that you also show up on others blogs. Our voices are important to be heard. More than ever more, now people are speaking up. And the more the better.

hugs, Merry Christmas!!

Paula Fether

True, I could just write less often.

What say you all about that?

And a Merry Christmas 2U2!

Mabel Yin

I heartily second what TL said, but am also keenly aware that time is at a premium with everything else that Paula is doing. I know that her labor in the Lord is never in vain. Merry Christmas to all!

Dee

Yes Paula,you should get out more often.Visit and post comments on other blogs,i mean. Especially those blogs/sites that will link to yours by a click on your name,moniker,picture etc.Let ALL readers hear first hand why women like yourself belong in the ministry,even in the pulpit. Do it for the new believers and those who are being drawn by God.

Do it especially for those who are already saved,but have learned and so,teach others whom they wish to lead to Christ,that they/we were born with a sin nature and are spiritually dead-separated from God.Therefore many of them,reject God and salvation,OUT RIGHT.Believing that He,not human free-will,not the devil/serpent,not Adam,or death passed on to humanity,but that God himself,is the cause of sin.

So no,do not give up this blog.Build it! Now go and spread the wealth.it ain’t right that so few of us be blessed!

Paula Fether

Yes ma’am!! :-)

Greg Anderson

Heya Paula,

I would just keep on doing as you have always done, applying reason and rigor to the Bible, and helping to free one human being at a time from the tyranny of black & white religion.

Follow your heart! Yep! that’s what I said! Jeremiah 17:9 is one of the most misused and abused scriptures of all time.

When viewed in context, the passage is about Israel’s smugness in her wealth and claim to unqualified divine protection, NOT about the goodness that Jesus will implant into every human heart that will allow HIM to.

Merry Christmas to you and all of yours!

Paula Fether

Tanx Greg!

And you know what I keep saying about the heart: it goes really well with the mind. ;-)

A merry Christmas, happy New Year, and all sorts of other happy thoughts to you and all the rest out there in the “People’s Republic”. :-P

Lin

Paula, thanks for the link. That is a good reference for your blog!

Paula Fether

Tanx Lin!

And sometime I’ll see what I can do with a Q and A. Everyone, please feel free to start emailing those Qs!

Hillary

Perhaps if you wrote a new post once a month or so, and from time to time update and re-post from the archives. I know that sometimes when I come across “ghost-town blogs” even though the info may amazing, I always wonder if there is something more up-to-date somewhere else. Kind of like reading a book published in the 80’s versus more recently. I’m not saying this is right or good ~ just happens to be my personal experience. But I totally understand the going in circles/running out of things to say dilemma. I hope you figure out what will work best for you! Merry Christmas!

Paula Fether

Thanks Hillary! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2u2!

Good idea too; I’ll do some more pondering after the first.

Kay

Paula, I hope you continue writing here - even if it must be less often - and comment elsewhere online as often as possible. I think it is so important to have as many egal voices in as many places as possible. In short, keep up the good work!

Paula Fether

Tanx Kay! :-)