Adj. Pertaining to complementarianism and egalitarianism.

***Working to be a safe place for all sides to share.***


Friday, September 19, 2008

Wow, this blog is something else!

I'm wrung out. I've worked hard this week. I had a sugar slump (hypglycemic) tonight. And I had a number of private email exchanges today with a member of this blog's community about things I was not aware of but needed to become aware of, even things I have said of done with a pure intention but came across hurting others. Those exchanges were draining, but necessary. We really do need to listen to each other. We need to hear where we are hurting. We need to be quick to listen and slow to, hmm, I forget, my brain is so drained, what comes next, slow to anger or slow to answer?

Anyway, I want to affirm each one of you who are trying so hard to help this blog be a place where we can express our differences and still love each other. Well, we hope for the love, anyway. We may not always like each other, but we can choose to love each other. I believe that's a biblical position.

I appreciate John Hobbins' repeated reference to practicing 1 Cor. 13 in a marriage, regardless of whether the marriage is comp or egal. That really is what Christ has called us to, a life of love for each other in the Body of Christ, and especially toward each other in the most intimate relationship, that of marriage.

Sometimes I almost feel despair about this blog, wondering if I have been quixotic in my hopes that it could be a safe place for different sides in the comp vs. egal debates to express their feelings and biblical (and other) support for them. And then I see some comments that give me hope again that our efforts, with all of our mistakes (mine included), may make this a safer, or at least healthier, place than ones where only egals get to post or only comps get to post.

And then there are those who are hurting so deeply. Do they belong here in this blog company? It's a serious question. I would hope that someone they can find a place of refuge and comfort here, the loving shoulder of Jesus and his followers to lean upon. And when they make over-arching statements that we want to question logically, what are we to do? Should we try to logically reason with someone who is in deep pain due to a family crisis, to try to get them to see that an ideological or theological is not to blame for everything. Spouses make choices. They may refer to their ideology to bolster their choices but if their choices are unbiblical, no matter how much they cite their idealogy does not make their abusive behavior righteous. All leaning comp teachers that I know of have, at least more recently, recognized that they need to speak out against abuse. And egal teachers need to speak out about the sins which tend to crop up in egal contexts. (I didn't do a very good job on that one in my post awhile back, even though I tried hard to show the possible problems that can associate with either ideology.)

I think that egals outnumber comps here, altho I am not sure. If we judged only by answers to poll questions in the margin, it would appear that comps are in larger numbers. But I think that comps don't feel very welcome here. (I know so, actually, from a variety of evidence, including public comments and private email I receive.) Egals might--I only say might--not feel much compassion for comps here since there are comp blogs and discussion groups which are very mean to egals. I know. I've tried to enter their discussions and even though I have not argued strongly for either position, any questioning of the comp line can be enough sometimes to be banned from their territory. But that kind of treatment does not justify retaliation in kind. We are not called by Jesus to even the score. Instead, he calls us to love, yes, love our enemies, and sometimes comps and egals do become enemies. Jesus didn't call us to like our enemies, but he did call us to love them. And I'm guess that if spend enough time trying to listen well to our enemies and respond lovingly, we might even find that we can like some of them!

OK, it's a rambling post tonight, but I felt such a need to share these things on my heart.

I am sorry to each of you for not being a perfect blog host. I have tried hard to help this be a safe place to post. We moderate comments now. And that helps. But things still slip through the cracks and will continue to do so. I won't be perfect but I will continue to try to make this blog a place where you can say what you believe. And I can only appeal to each of us to try to be as gracious as possible toward those with whom we disagree.

Let us be slow to try to win a logical argument. Let us be quick to try to hear the heart of the person who is writing. Let us risk speaking more in "I" terms rather than "you" terms. I know it hurts when you are criticized for sharing your story in "I" terms. I know that pain very well. But I believe that a fair number of people will respect "I" stories and not shoot you down, but will empathize even if they disagree with an ideological connection you believe is part of your story.

I admit that sometimes I wonder if it is worth keeping this blog going. But if I were to shut it down, it would be giving in to the belief that Christians can't love other enough to hear each other, and, then, loving state where we disagree but do so with great respect. I still want to hold on to the belief that it is possible for the world to know that we are followers of Jesus because we love each other.

Good night, sisters and brothers. I must get some rest.