God on the sidelines


This is pretty much exactly the same things I have been sorting through, and I’ve come to much the same conclusions. It’s not a perfect metaphor, but it definitely works.

Originally posted on Defeating the Dragons:


I’ve been wrestling with a few significant theological issues over the past few months, and while I’m getting closer to making up my mind on some, a lot of these ideas are the biggies– sin, Atonement, the problem of evil, the role of prayer, of Scripture … but the question I’ve been struggling the most with has been what does God do?

I’m honestly not even sure how to fully articulate this question it’s so big. I’m trying to figure out what God’s role in history has been, and what actions has he taken, does he take, will he take? Am I actually a deist? Do I believe that God has a strict non-interference policy/Prime Directive? Or is he much more active than that– determining who gets into accidents, who is cured of cancer, who finds their missing socks? Is it something more moderated than either of those? Has…

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journey into a larger world: theistic evolution

From a letter to my father:

More on this later, but a couple of quick things here. (okay, ended up being both more and later, not so quick and not just a couple 8D) You asked what was the evidence that I considered in coming to accept evolution as part of the creation process. This is kind of a basic overview of how I got there; I don’t remember the specific places I read different things.

I had a vague, conscious cognitive dissonance for quite a long time, wherein I believed what I’d always been told about YEC (young earth creationism), but had a secondary nebulous belief in an ancient earth and the idea of evolution – dinosaurs and cavemen and so on. In the beginning I think it was just because I liked the idea, I thought it was cool; also, what I learned even from creationists about the geologic record seemed to make more sense that way. To me, a Flood, even a global one, couldn’t account for everything. I thought that these two beliefs were incompatible, and this troubled me faintly, but not enough to bother doing something about it.

The thing that first started me looking into it was when I had gotten to the point of questioning everything, which allowed ideas to occur to me which I might otherwise have resisted, and I was studying historical linguistics and language families, proto-Indo-European and other superfamilies, how different languages are related to one another, how they’ve grown and evolved over time. It was triggered by an old book I found called The History of the English Language, and the first few chapters were a detailed examination of PIE and Germanic descent therefrom. I was fascinated; it was like Tolkien’s languages, only moreso and real. This was when I began doing a really in depth examination of the work that’s been done in comparative linguistics, really heavy technical stuff so I won’t go into detail.

I realised that suddenly, I knew for certain that the Tower of Babel, if it happened, hadn’t happened the way it was written. Couldn’t have, it was not possible. It was a myth, a legend that had been exaggerated, or an allegory of some kind, but it wasn’t literal. There was no way, and there was proof in the linguistic record. These languages were organically evolved out of just a handful or even one common ancestor, every language in the history of the world if you go back far enough.

They were not artificially confused; even if God was some kind of divine conlanger, the languages themselves and the historical record of them contradicts it. That just, simply, is not what happened. This is my particular passion or obsession in the study of languages, tracing back their lineage – it’s fascinating, and obvious if you know what you’re doing. Historical and comparative linguistics is where I would like to specialise my field of study if I ever manage to get my degree.

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living antitheticality

So Matthew Vines has written a book, now, expanding on the ideas in his video The Gay Debate, which is good, because damn did it need some expanding. As it was, I didn’t feel confident that anyone I linked it to would find enough evidence in it to have his words actually be considered instead of dismissed with the kind of condescension we usually get from people who call themselves ‘Bible believing Christians’, as if there were any other kind. You know who I mean – the inerrantists, the literalists, which I have ranted about here before so moving on. Samantha’s post here makes a lot of great points, and I’m happy to see her footnote at the end because I do think it’s very important for that to be addressed; this is not a binary any more than it is a zero sum game, and bisexuals exist too.

The idea that being gay is antithetical to being Christian is something that needs to be confronted head on, like any institutionalised lie, and while like Samantha, I found Matthew’s video talk to be somewhat lacking in that department, because there is so much more that could be and should be said, it sounds like the book rounds it out some. So anyone who believes that the Bible does not leave room for any acceptance of us in any frame of reference…read it.

If you care about intellectual honesty and whether or not you might possibly be wrong about your interpretation of what the Bible says about us gay people, that is. If you don’t know any gay people that you care about, or you don’t care about finding out why many Christians, even people who have ‘a high view of Scripture’ (gag me, please) and a traditional evangelical background can find room for saying, being gay is not a sin, being gay and in a relationship is not a sin, and these are the verses why, then go on about your gay-hating business and keep your fingers in your ears singing lalala.

But make no mistake: it is hate that you are entertaining when you insist to us that our very existence is a sin, contrary to our own lived experience. It is harmful. It is causing pain and suffering when you try to suppress and oppress us within your own subculture, and even outside of it, just because you believe that being gay is a sin, whether you admit that we don’t have a choice in it or not. We know the tears of blood and agony that we have shed over this, the grief and fear and desperation, whether or not we’ve managed to hold on to some kind of faith or left it all together. The legions of us that you have driven out or driven away, the legions of us who have survived with scars and depression, the legions of us who have not survived but rather committed suicide due to brokenheartedness, discrimination and bullying will testify to the fact that your belief, however sincerely you believe it, is harmful, it is actively causing harm, and therefore should not remain unexamined.

And if you examine it, honestly and carefully, in the light of truth, in light of the fact that the verses you cling to in order to justify your position are manifestly mistranslated and/or misinterpreted – and I am a linguist, I know whereof I speak, I am not taking anyone’s word for this, it is fact - then you must judge for yourself whether or not you are letting your own ‘tree of theology’ or belief bear bad fruit. Whether or not you are in violation of the second Greatest Commandment. Are you loving your neighbour as yourself? Are you letting your pride of conviction, your pride in being ‘right’, stand in the way of love and truth? Are you living the message of grace and mercy that Jesus himself extended to those who were looked down on, marginalised and outcast in his own time? I think not.

He has shown you, o man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you; but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. 


reblog: femininity and figure skating

From this post by Dianna E Anderson, she covered all the egalitarian and femininity aspects quite thoroughly and you should read it all, but I wanted to poke specifically at this:

What Ensor reads as complementarianism is actually strict gendered roles that frequently confine and box in female athletes who take to this sport – it is not necessarily an example of complementing strengths in the vein of theological gender roles. Rather, pairs figure skating acts as an example of the tired preservation the double burden that women face – the need to be unbelievably feminine while also having enough strength to perform at the same level as men. Ensor’s shallow reading fails to contextualize what we are actually seeing, and therefore missing larger points about the ways in which gender is performed and how these pairs work in mutuality, not complementarity. He is imposing his worldview onto an idea that resists such a reading at every turn, a practice indicative of a larger desire to simplify the stories that surround us every day.

Unfortunately, when all you see is the literal surface, simple is all you’ll get.


oh the ways in which this allegory or whatever of Ensor’s exemplifies the way that complementarians view everything through a skewed lens that imposes what they want to see at a surface level onto what is actually there, and then take it at that shallow, flat face value and insist that it is all there is. skating is bad enough, but they do this to literally everything they touch or look at.

the fact that they do this to the bible makes me want to weep and scream and explode with rage purely as a linguist before we even get to the insult to faith part. there are so many layers, so much rich depth and so many angles to look at things from, so much history and tradition encompassed and implied, and the prism of languages that we read it through is only one of the things that texturizes and colours it. it’s an amazing text, purely as an ancient text, whether you believe it or not. that only adds more layers, if you will.

but they smash it all ruthlessly, mercilessly flat and blithely ignore everything about it that makes it unique and instructive for a christian life. empty and shallow and ultimately, lifeless and dead. a thinly sliced shadow of it’s true light and possibility.

and yet ANOTHER internet controversy!: going to church



so much word. aside from also having the health problems, the sliver of faith that I currently maintain is so very dependent on staying out of church and other ‘religious’ activities as much as possible.

Originally posted on Defeating the Dragons:

by Wolfgang Hohlbein

Honestly, when all of this hubub showed up on my facebook feed on Monday, I was quite honestly just … bored. I read Donald Miller’s original article, “I Don’t Worship God by Singing, I Worship Him Elsewhere,” and my only thoughts were, “oh, that’s neat.” And then I read a dozen buzzfeed articles on cats. I really like Donald Miller, and Blue Like Jazz has been on my wishlist for ages, but this article didn’t say anything radical– at least not to me. Another person has discovered that– spoilerGod doesn’t just exist in church. Yay for everybody.

But then I saw so many conversations spring up– on facebook, on twitter, in comment sections– and it took me by surprise. Why are people talking about this? Some dude doesn’t regularly attend his church and this is worth talking about? Ok, then, world, you’re…

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The Blogging Community Takes on the Destructive Subculture of the Homeschool Movement


My main thought upon reading this article was ‘so that’s where the fear comes from.’ I knew that I grew up in an atmosphere that was permeated and surrounded by fear, and I even vaguely identified homeschooling and fundamentalism as the likely causes, with legalism being a separate problem that had the same causes. But I never really linked it that way before, that legalism IS fear, that is its only and inevitable result. Both the homeschooling and our church were steeped in legalism of various kinds, but if it had only been the church, it would have been far mitigated by a lot. Not nearly as entrenched and destructive as it became. Especially after we went the Gothard route and got into ATI, it was pure hell. We fortunately only followed that program for about two years, but the damage was lasting and intensive. I can’t imagine what it would be like for kids who were raised in it all the way. It kills your soul, not just ATI but all of it, the entire subculture in general is soaking in extra-Biblical legalism and patriarchy. You are stifled until you feel claustrophobic and you can’t breathe, no matter where you are or how open it is. God help you if you are born a woman.

Originally posted on Spiritual Sounding Board:

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Bloggers are taking on the destructive subculture of the Homeschool Movement and calling homeschool leaders out for their extra-Biblical practices and abusive patriarchy.

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reblog: Homeschooling Blindspots

I am going to quote this article in it’s entirety, because it is so spot on with so many of the problems I had with homeschooling growing up, and how they affected me as an adult. Read this, anyone who has ever homeschooled or been homeschooled, especially my own parents. This is so many of the things I have been trying to say, things that hurt me deeply, I cried several times while reading it. Know that I do not resent it or you, I understand you just wanted the best, but the ways in which it was gone about were deeply counterproductive and very harmful to me, and to others that I know, probably even some of my siblings. The degree of control and legalism involved ended up amounting to spiritual and emotional abuse, even if it was never intended, that is sadly still the ultimate effect. Being forced into tiny little boxes that don’t fit you because you are ‘different’ than the ‘expected’ rigid norms will do that. Thanks to my sister Rachel for passing on the link. ♥


I read the following article by Reb Bradley in the Virginia Home Educator Magazineand was challenged by it. I appreciate Mr. Bradley’s humility in admitting mistakes he’s made as a dad. I see some of these tendencies in my own life and many of the observations he makes line-up with things that God has been teaching our church recently. Whether or not you homeschool, I’d encourage you to read this article prayerfully and ask the Holy Spirit to help you examine your motives in your parenting.

Exposing Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers by Reb Bradley

In the last couple of years, I have heard from multitudes of troubled homeschool parents around the country, a good many of whom were leaders. These parents have graduated their first batch of kids, only to discover that their children didn’t turn out the way they thought they would. Many of these children were model homeschoolers while growing up, but sometime after their 18th birthday they began to reveal that they didn’t hold to their parents’ values.

Some of these young people grew up and left home in defiance of their parents. Others got married against their parents’ wishes, and still others got involved with drugs, alcohol, and immorality. I have even heard of several exemplary young men who no longer even believe in God. My own adult children have gone through struggles I never guessed they would face.

Most of these parents remain stunned by their children’s choices, because they were fully confident their approach to parenting was going to prevent any such rebellion.

After several years of examining what went wrong in our own home and in the homes of so many conscientious parents, God has opened our eyes to a number of critical blind spots common to homeschoolers and other family-minded people.

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