The Things We Know That Aren’t So

Mark Twain said, “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” I’ve seen a lot of things said about gender that just aren’t so and we should discuss a few of them.

Something that needs reframed quickly is that that story of the fall is not a story about marriage. It is relevant whether you’re fifteen, or thirty-two and single, or forty and married ,or seventy and widowed, whether you’re a man or a woman. It’s a story of the three ways we can respond to God. We can trust His definition of good and evil, meaning we obey and follow His guidelines. We can be deceived, like Eve, and sin. Or we can disobey, like Adam, and rebel against God’s commands.

The story is not there to show us that if women would just let their husband’s decide everything then things would work out fine. Adam disobeyed on purpose. Clearly the Bible shows us that men are not more likely to follow God’s commands than women are. This is not a story that teaches us that men shouldn’t listen to their wives. The Bible is full of stories where God speaks to the woman or teaches men through women (Deborah, Huldah, Jochebed, Samson’s mother, Priscilla, and many others). Maybe we could learn not to talk back to animals though.

This story, and the continuing story of the Bible, reveals that we are constantly confronted with these options. Will I let God decide what’s good? Will I be deceived? Will I disobey?

The Joint Mission of the Sexes

I want us to go to the Bible. I want you to be able to handle the Word in explaining what you do and do not believe. If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine; God will not be asking you about that when you stand before Him. But I do want you to look at the questions and the topics from all angles, using all of the Bible. The Bible is supposed to inform how we live, and if we have weird theology we do one of two things. 1. We ignore the theology and live in a way that makes sense. That is clearly a problem. It might be because we know that the theology is wrong but we don’t know how to show that from the Bible. It might be because the theology opposes things that we can see in real life. God is intensely practical. (And no, I do not mean that He always makes sense to us.) 2. We try to live by the theology and then wonder why it’s not working out very well, especially for certain groups of people

I’m going to be doing Instagram stories about this and saving them in a highlight. Some of this is much easier to talk through than write about and I’ll also be addressing questions and things I see on the internet. Follow me there to stay caught up with those.

I’m going to try to blog about this in some sort of order. That would, of course, be easier if I wrote it all out beforehand and rearranged it. I won’t be doing that. I’ll do the best I can with the time I have.

Women and God: why this conversation is even necessary

I want the Bible to be my guideline. Of course, I don’t live that perfectly, but it is my goal to constantly be growing as a student and practitioner of the Word. If you know me in person, I think you know that. If you follow me on Instagram, I think you know that. If you read my blog, I think you know that too. So my questions of how I’m supposed to show up in the world as a woman are shaped by what the Bible says about being a woman.

But the stories I’ve heard about being a woman have always had holes. I’ve had questions that no one has answered; questions it seemed no one else was asking. And, let’s be honest, the questions weren’t welcome either. I’ve spent years sweeping the questions under a mental rug and moving on. But the questions got bigger and bigger and then I added in questions about how I was supposed to raise my boys as men. Avoiding the questions wasn’t a feasible way to do life anymore. So I brought all the questions back out. Truth can handle questions. Truth isn’t intimidated by my questions. I put down all the stuff I was reading that people had to say on the topic (all complementarian, by the way, and raising more questions), and went to God.

I did a lot of reading. Most of it was not about what the Bible says specifically about women. I went right on with my normal Bible reading, but my heart was pulled toward the topic so I saw relevant connections everywhere. I started taking notes. I started comparing passages. I prayed over what I was reading and what was happening in my heart and what was taking place in the world around me. I expected my reading to fill in the gaps that I was finding in the story I was told. But instead I found the holes were there because of the story we were telling.

How Stories Shape the World: why good fiction matters

Remember that movie Runaway Bride? I haven’t seen it in years but I want to watch it again. There’s a scene where Julia Robert’s character realizes she doesn’t know how she likes her eggs because she’s always adopted the preference of her significant other. We should know how we like our eggs. We need to know who God made us to be.

A friend asked me a few weeks ago what my favorite movie genre was. My answer was swift. Action. I love action movies. I elaborated on my answer because that’s what I do. I love stories of danger and heroism. I love epic tales of adventure and daring. This is how I look at life.

I envision life as a battle. I’m not just training my children to help others and not hurt them. I’m teaching them to swing a sword and a tend a wound. I’m not simply protecting their minds and hearts from evil; I’m chasing away monsters that would carry them away in the darkness. I’m not just continuing to serve God in the mundane of life; I’m living glorious adventures. I’m in a epic tale of challenge and love and the triumph of good over evil, or at least that’s what I’m hoping for. Some days it feels like I might not make it. It seems like evil may win. It feels as if I will be taken out by the enemy before I can finish my mission.

Handling the waiting: when God seems late

This is the first year that we’ve had a child in public school and haven’t picked when Christmas break starts. I’m itching to have all my boys home all day. (Yes, I know there will be times they drive me nuts.) I’m looking forward to breakfast in pajamas and decorating Christmas cookies and reading books on the couch. I want to not worry as much about bedtime and not wake the baby up from his nap for pick-up. It is the 17th of December and we have four more days to go. All our neighboring schools are on break now. My friends are posting pictures of Christmas break activities and exclaiming how many days of vacation they have and we’re still setting our alarm and packing snacks. We’re still waiting for Christmas break.

I’ve sat in the NICU watching neighboring families go home. I’ve searched through God’s Word, wondering why answers seemed so hard to find. I’ve spent seasons of my life waiting and I’m sure, even without asking, that you have too.

While those situations vary from person to person, there are some waiting seasons that all of God’s people experience. Waiting is part of the human story. It’s Advent season. We’re anticipating the birth of the Messiah and yet, then, the people had not heard from God for 400 years. He had made all of these promises. He promised to keep those promises in spite of the unfaithfulness of the people. And then- silence.

Here for the least: it makes up our lives

For about a year I’ve been contemplating my spot on the internet. Why am I here? Do I need to be here? I watched amazing people do things I love on the internet and knew that the world didn’t need me to do that thing too.

During that same year, I’ve consistently needed the same message in my life. Do not quit. Keep going. Be faithful in the small things. I also discovered that everyone else seems to need that same message. I have Voxer conversations with my friends about how we spend our time reminding ourselves that all this small work matters. I hear people on podcasts say that quitting is the big temptation that they face. I post on Instagram and people across all categories say they struggle to remember it too: the little things are the big things. We know it, but it’s hard to live it well.

Here’s what I keep telling myself: I can’t quit. Can I be honest? Quitting often sounds really awesome. And while there is a part of me that is tired and wants to quit, there is a little whisper, deep down, that reminds me that it’s imperative that I do not quit. That I do it all again today. That I refocus my attention to these little things, these least things, and how I’m doing them.

Let’s Talk Leviticus: How to Not Stop Reading at those Sacrifices

I finished reading Leviticus last week. If there’s a book in the Bible that Christians want to avoid reading, it’s Leviticus. Or maybe Ezekiel. I actually loved reading Leviticus this year in my chronological reading. (That’s my favorite way to read the Old Testament.) This is not a theological study that I’m offering here. I simply want us to all know that the Bible is for us: the plain, everyday believer. Actually, we are all the same kind of believer; there’s no hierarchy in the faith (2 Peter 1:1).

God has done a lot of work in my heart, teaching me who He is and how His Word connects together. I’ve shown up for that too. I’ve put in a lot of work to get to a place where a few of the layers of Leviticus makes sense to me. It’s taken work to be able to read Leviticus with awe of how God reaches out for humanity.

I want to start there because often we tell a story that reading and understanding the Bible is easy. That you simply show up (which is most of the battle) and it all falls into place and it isn’t ever confusing or hard to process. That has not been my experience. It has been my experience that it is worth the effort and that small work done frequently will pay off in the long run.

Let’s start somewhere besides Leviticus and make a few points that drastically affect what we’re reading.