Can We Still Be Friends?

2:52 PM


I'm knee-deep in comments and research over the headship issue. (In fact, I've been so consumed with the great discussions we're having, the hard questions you're asking, and the satisfying answers I'm finding that I'm still in my pajamas sitting in an unmade bed. I should break for lunch...an hour ago. Oops.)

Despite any confident facade I may put on, I cringe every time I hit "post" on articles challenging traditional conservative views. I'm well-aware that the majority of my blog readers disagree with me on these things -- and that scares me. Not because my fan base is disagreeing with me, per se, but because of the implications this has on my spiritual life and the helpfulness of this online conversation. 

Many of you may be concerned that I'm going off the deep end. Maybe you feel the need to distance yourself from a blogger who embraces "liberal" ideas such as egalitarian marriage. Maybe you feel that I'm angry against my past and against anyone who holds views opposing my new ones.

But I'm not angry. I'm okay with agreeing to disagree. And for the love of mercy, I don't want you to stop voicing your dissent. 

I'm encountering tough questions and finding tough answers that contradict what I formerly believed. I'm not a fundamentalist anymore by any stretch of the imagination. And it scares me as much as it scares you for me to venture into unknown territory. Trust me -- God's been hearing lots of pitiful prayers along these lines: "God, please don't let me turn into a liberal!" (Whatever "liberal" means. They're just the bad guys, right?)

I don't like change. I don't like disagreeing with the only section of Christianity I've known. I don't like picking through Rachel Held Evan's blog or questioning John Piper. And do you know how confusing it is to run into my old blog posts that flatly contradict these newer posts? Awkward.

I've watched friends and family truly go off the deep end -- bitter against God and their upbringing, unfaithful to Christ, antithetical to everything they once believed. And I'm not going there. I refuse to go there.

You know why people jump off the deep end? Because they separate themselves from other believers who disagree with them. Christianity gets split into such hyper-conservative and hyper-liberal groups because we stopped letting our different perspectives sharpen each other. We stopped searching for truth and started retreating to whatever side made us feel most welcome -- or we forced those who disagreed with us to go somewhere else, as if our beliefs on evolution, marital roles, and skirt length makes or breaks Christianity.

My boyfriend told me, "It's not a slippery slope if you have a solid foothold in Christ."

And that's what I want -- Jesus. I want Him so badly. I want Him so badly that I'm willing to follow His Spirit into unknown territory and consider beliefs and traditions opposite my previous beliefs. Can I promise you that I'll never call myself a feminist or a Catholic? Can I promise you that I'll never again call myself a complementarian or a literal six-day creationist? I can't promise that. I can't promise who I'll become, because I have no idea where I went or where I'm going. I'm literally asking questions as they come up and following answers as God reveals them to me one by one. All I know is that I want truth, and that Jesus is the truth. I can promise you I'll seek truth and will try to settle for nothing less -- I can promise you that. 

We're all walking a slippery slope. And we will all fall once we lose sight of Jesus and the common ground He gives to all Christians. 

That's why I need all of you who disagree with me about headship, evolution, denomination, modesty, women's roles in church, or whatever else. I need you to keep asking me questions and keep searching with me as we keep our Jesus foothold. And you need me and others different than you too.

Can we still be friends? Can we still love Jesus together? I would hate to isolate any of you, and I would hate to be isolated from any of you. You are hereby commanded to continue speaking your mind. :)

Photo Credz: Babiekins Magazine via Pinterest

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30 impressions

  1. This is epic, sharp and powerful. Keep slamming your readers with truth like this and you're going to have some amazing discussions.

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    1. That's what I'm hoping for!! Thanks, anon. :)

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  2. Yes, I will still be your friend :) I always enjoy reading your blog posts, even when I disagree with them.

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    1. This makes me so happy!! By the way, this post was not directed at you. It was the result of other conversations + my general fear of losing my online community. Just so you know!

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  3. I think you are tackling these issues with a lot of bravery and heart, Bailey. As someone who was terrified of losing my faith in college, I can relate to the fear of becoming something that seems antithetical to who we are. And now my beliefs differ radically from most of my family and friends, some of whom I'm afraid to be open with. It is scary. I know all the traditional wisdom about why one should be open with people we care about. But sometimes it seems like it would not do anyone any good to have that discussion. Fortunately I do have some close friends that I've been able to talk with, and who respect my beliefs and decisions even if they don't agree. I hope and think that at least some of your blog readership will act in a similar way :)


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    1. It's great to hear from you, Bethany! I was hoping you'd chime in soon.

      "Sometimes it seems like it would not do anyone any good to have that discussion." Agreed. I wrestle with this, because when I speak up, sometimes great conversations happen and nobody's angry. And then sometimes it's like WWIII exploding in my face. God grant us the wisdom to figure out whether speaking up is worth it then too!

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  4. It is hard to move away from previous beliefs especially if you have been outspoken about them. But change is a part of maturing.

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    1. You're so right. Here's to maturity!

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  5. I read your blog every now and again, and I've always enjoyed what I've read. I've commented before, but not a lot. With that being said, I want to thank you for talking about hard, controversial issues within the Christian community in a civil and thought-provoking manner. I read other Christian blogs, and some aren't willing to allow or discuss perspectives that differ from their own even if they are rooted and grounded in scripture, so I truly appreciate what you are doing here. Iron sharpens iron, and we can learn from one another. With that being said, I certainly intend to continue following your blog.

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    1. Thank you, Kim. I appreciate your contributions to this "iron sharpening iron" discussions!

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  6. Bailey,
    I've come from a very similar place as you. The sheer amount of Biblical text provided by the SAHD movement can be overwhelming. I've been coming to the realization that these proof verses are more than often used outside of their historical context. If you're interested in reading some articles from a historical perspective, I'd suggest the following two articles.

    http://theancientbridge.com/2015/07/unravelling-headcoverings-the-historical-context-of-first-century-roman-wives-pt-1/

    http://theancientbridge.com/2015/08/i-do-not-allow-a-woman-the-historical-context-of-first-century-roman-women-pt-2/

    Also, the book Guardian Angel by Skip Moen, covers a Hebraic perspective on women's roles. I know it's pretty hard finding resources that come from a historical and Biblical perspective, especially without a bias. Finding people willing to hash the subject of biblical womanhood and headship that also write with good scholarship. Best of luck!

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    1. Wow, thanks for these resources, Mia! I'll take a look. God bless you as you journey through the ocean of prooftexts. :)

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  7. Oh, Bailey. You make me laugh and you help me grow. I am thankful for a woman who tackles hard topics *and* ensures she does it lovingly. It's a blessing!!

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  8. It IS good to be friends with people who disagree with you! You learn so much from each other and sometimes you change your mind or they change theirs, and sometimes you both grow stronger in the belief you already had.

    I wanted to comment on your post "Do We Even Need Headship", but I wasn't sure what to say exactly. I was more afraid of commenting on something that is more about Truth than my opinion. It's easy to talk about friendships, baby names, etc, because I can just spout off What I Think. I don't have too much trouble with yapping about What I Think. But when it comes to Truth, I want to be more careful. Your first post made me a bit uncomfortable-I sat at the computer desk and thought in a quiet, meek way, "B-but, but Bailey...God created it that way, so that's the way it's supposed to be, right?" Once I read your second post, I felt better and I think I know more what you're getting at. I still don't have a whole lot to say about the whole thing, because I haven't spent too much time thinking about it. But I was very happy to read this:

    "And that's what I want -- Jesus. I want Him so badly. I want Him so badly that I'm willing to follow His Spirit into unknown territory and consider beliefs and traditions opposite my previous beliefs."

    I want Him too, and if we both want Him, we can definitely still be friends! We should be. Actually, we are more like sisters!

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    1. Sisters! Yes, indeed! :D I hate making people uncomfortable like that, which is another reason why transitioning into different beliefs is so scary!

      Maybe this will make you more comfortable: I'm not rejecting complementarianism merely because I don't like it even though the Bible clearly teaches it. I'm questioning it because to me it DOESN'T seem clear from Scripture, and the Scriptural argument for egalitarianism seems more clear and connects more dots for me. That's very different from saying, "Sorry, God. You're wrong." Hopefully that makes more sense. :)

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    2. Yes, that's what it seemed to me that you were saying. I still felt a bit ill at ease, but you can't help your feelings. :)

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    3. I hope in time to show that this issue will not affect my love for Jesus or Scripture --- unless it's to increase it. :)

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  9. Bailey, the thing that I've always loved about your blog, for all the years I've been following it, is how everything you post is so earnest. When you post about a view or a question you have, I always know it's because you have been thinking and reading deeply about this issue; and that, above all, is what I respect about you so much. Whether I agree with you or not is unimportant. You are genuine, you are authentically searching, and you are driven by a real, visible desire to know Christ better and know what He thinks and says. This is why I listen to what you have to say.

    I also come to your blog because I want to be challenged. I want to be forced to think and reevaluate and wonder. You see, I am very moderate in my views. When you were younger, sometimes your very conservative views ruffled me a bit; now that you're older, sometimes your more liberal views ruffle me a bit. I like that! When I'm not being ruffled, it means I'm not growing, not questioning. I'm getting too comfortable in my moderateness and not actively refining and sharpening my beliefs.

    Please, don't let any negativity you may receive on these kinds of posts stop you from continuing to raise tough questions and seek tough answers. For all of the people who jump on here and point out where you're wrong, there are many others of us who read through your posts two or three times, stare at the ceiling thoughtfully, and go about the rest of our days feeling more awake and alert than we have for a long time.

    I'm so glad you're my sister in Christ. We need more people like you. Keep up the good work!!!

    Hugs,
    Vicki

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    1. You're making cry! Really, you think that?! Thank you so much, my friend, sister, and fellow thinker! You understand my heart in ways other people have not. Thank you thank you thank you!

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    2. I don't just think it, I know it!! Christ has begun a good and beautiful work in you and He will complete it, just as He promises. He gave you a beautiful mind and a sincere spirit, and He will continue to use those for His glory as long as you are relying on His Word for your truth and practice. I love you, dear sister! :-) :-) :-)

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  10. I don't know what you mean by "fundamentalist."

    I know what a "fundamentalist" is according to its literal definition. A fundamentalist constructs belief structures based on primary concepts established through personal experience to be true. These basic, primary concepts are the core or fundamentals of the fundamentalist.

    The fundamentals of Christianity are the basics of a personal life with Christ. A fundamentalist Christian is a Christian who builds their universal belief structures on their personal walk with Christ.

    I am very interested in understanding your concept of "fundamentalist," because your use of the term puts your personal interpretation at wide variance from mine.

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    1. Good question! I'm using "fundamentalist" in the theological sense. Christian Fundamentalism was a conservative reaction against the modernism and liberalism in the 20th century. It was based on 5 "fundamentals" (hence the name):

      1. The inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture
      2. The deity of Jesus Christ
      3. The virgin birth of Christ
      4. The substitutionary, atoning work of Christ on the cross
      5. The physical resurrection and the personal bodily return of Christ to the earth.

      I still believe in all of these, of course, as do all orthodox Protestants. But fundamentalism was more than just these 5 fundamentals. It relies heavily on a biblical hermeneutic called "dispensationalism" and the dispensational premillenial interpretation of the OT and the end times, both of which I find troubling. Fundamentalism is notorious for its emphasis on a works-based holiness -- don't drink, don't smoke, don't gamble, don't dance, etc. I'm sure a Google of "Christian Fundamentalism" will clarify more of its history and distinctions. :)

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  11. I've been reading your blog for so long, even if not consistently. I've loved watching you mature and grow and explore the faith. I can't keep up with all the comments and respond like I wish I could, but I do love digging into these things. If you want recommended reading, or just want to chat be sure to let me know, i'll send you my email. :) ♥ee

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    1. Please do! You've been a great encouragement to me. :) If you could email me your recommended reading on these issues, that would be absolutely fantastic -- and give me a head start on researching for my thesis this upcoming semester. :)

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  12. What hermeneutic principle do you rely on to interpret the Bible?

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    1. I try to use the historical-contextual method to figure out what the text actually says, and I draw from the whole counsel of the Bible, as well as the church past and present, to apply it to my life properly.

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    2. Do you use the historical contextual method, only for the Bible? or for interpreting the various counsels of the church as well?

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    3. Whenever I'm studying a document, I do use the historical contextual method. And I don't put much weight in church counsels particularly; I've only studied a few of them and accept certain ones depending on how faithfully they pass on the Christian tradition we've received, measured against Scripture.

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  13. Yes, we can still be friends, Bailey. :)
    I admit you scared me there for a while, but since then I've had a wonderful season of growing, learning, and reevaluation, and now find myself much more comfortable with exploring other interpretations and holding them against Scripture.(This all started as I embarked upon my first serious relationship. He's a wonderful man and last week he asked me to help him pick out a ring. :D)

    I look forward to continuing to learn and grow with you in the future!
    <><

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Hit me with your best thought! I'm very interested in your unique perspective. If you'd like to discuss things in private, feel free to email me! :)