Friday, May 24, 2013

The News Part I

 “I have bad news.”

“What’s that?” The guy from down the shore inquired.
“That doctor I’ve been talking to – he’s Calvinist.” I lamented.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” he replied, extending empathy.  “And I know you have history with Calvinists.”   It’s true, I do.  My favorite ex-boyfriend ditched me when his pastoral pursuits didn’t seem to mesh with my less than Calvinist thinking.  He wanted a woman who would stay in line with his 5 point, cessationist, patriarchal, theology.
The guy from down the shore continued on, “Is it ignorant for me to ask if all Calvinists are hardcore set in their beliefs?  Perhaps he’s a laid back one.   Maybe he’s a Calvinist like I’m Methodist.”

I laughed.  Guy from down the shore is a VERY laid back Methodist.  With his questionable comments and rampant cussing one would never know he had ever stepped foot into a church.  He explained to me one time he attended about 3 times a week growing up, so he thinks he’s good on fulfilling his church attendance quota for at least another decade.
“He could be...” I hesitated, “but it’s highly unlikely.  Calvinists tend to be black and white in their thinking,” I explained.  “They don’t leave a lot of room for the grey in life and the mystery of God.”

Last week, after some theological discussion, I explained to the Calvinist doctor the following:

I fear you'll hate the theological undertones of my writing. My landing point for my first book is the mystery of God. For me, the only way I can continue to trust God and his love for me is to embrace his mystery.
Despite my statement, the doctor and I are still chatting.  But this whole Calvinist thing got me thinking – I need a guy who is going to support me in my writing.  He doesn’t have to love my work, but he can’t hate the message I am communicating.  And if I so happen to get invited to speak before a coed audience on a Sunday, I’d want him there cheering me on rather than staying home to read 1 Timothy, chapter 2.

Funny, I remember back when I was 19, asking this guy who had been stringing me along if he had any feelings left for me.  He replied, “Yes and no.  Yes, I’m still attracted to you, but I feel like we are headed two different directions in life.  I want to marry a woman who is going to be there to support me in ministry.”  At the time I intended to pursue a career in broadcast journalism, so I accepted his answer as a sensible response for someone who wanted to be a youth pastor. 
By the time I had graduated from college, I had been brainwashed into believing the role of a woman is not to dream big dreams, but rather to use all of who she is to support a man in his – whatever they may be.  I would love to someday support a man in his dreams, but I would also want him to encourage me in the gifts God has given me.

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