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Posts Tagged ‘divorce’

by Susan Adams
https://blog.gracepodcast.cafe/surveying-the-carnage/
https://gracepodcast.cafe/about-us/

I’ve been thinking a lot about the carnage that has come out of evangelicalism. More specifically, Reformed theology, Calvinism, the homeschooling movement, the purity culture, and complimentarianism.

Who has suffered the most?  I believe without hesitation, that the children raised in these systems have been and continue to be, its greatest casualties.  We continue to receive emails from parents who have been broken by the system and who have grown children who have walked away from the faith and sometimes into atheism or agnosticism. Some of these children cut their parents off for a season.  Some, permanently. It’s painful, but I think necessary for the child to figure out who they are apart from how they were raised.  Some feel as though they have been brain washed their whole lives.  And maybe so.  Did we present one set of beliefs and hold them hostage to those beliefs, living in fear that they would somehow be corrupted by the world or even worse, another church with different theology?

I’m thinking too of the many who homeschooled like we did.  Many believed they were raising up little warriors for God.  Girls were taught that their value before God hinged on their presenting themselves as virgins to a man.  And if they weren’t virgins on their wedding day, they were damaged goods, considered less than.  They were also taught that their entire identity as women was gauged by their constant submission to a man, regardless of how abusive the relationship might become. They were compelled to follow that man, helping him to achieve all of his hopes and dreams while she stayed home and had babies.  I’m not saying that staying home and having babies is bad, I’m thankful I was able to stay home with my children.  But what if I had a choice to pursue my dreams too?

So not only were they held hostage to our theology, but to our worldview and political agendas as well.  We presented a life and a God that fit neatly in a box. Our children lost their identity, if they had ever known it to begin with.  I see one of the biggest results of being raised like this is anxiety and sometimes depression along with it.  They don’t know who they are.  They don’t know what it’s like to be belong to something, only how to fit in so they can be accepted.

So they leave.  Leave the church and sometimes their families.  And many leave their faith and sometimes stop believing there’s a God.

I came from a broken home.  Deserted by my dad.  Raised by an abusive alcoholic.  I was a shattered human when I met Jesus.  So why was I able to have an adult relationship with my parents and care for them when they died?  What’s the difference?  Why are kids who were raised in homes where divorce didn’t happen, where mom stayed home to cook and clean for them and sometimes homeschooled them, walking away from it all?

So I think for me, even though I was abused as a child, often told I was worthless and would amount to nothing, when I met Jesus  He was presented to me as a Savior, not a judge.  Loving, not critical.  And so I experienced real healing and I understood real forgiveness.  I was not a disappointment to God.  So I had someone to go to after my abuse – Jesus. 

I think the difference is their perception of who God is.  From an early age these kids have had it drilled into their heads that God is a legalistic God who is easily offended, usually angry, disappointed, and vindictive.  And our children are taught to conform.  They are taught to drink the Kool-Aid  and if they don’t they are labeled as the rebellious ones.  The outsiders. The outcasts.  That’s a lot for children to grow up under.  That’s a lot of expectations put on the small shoulders of children.  They aren’t encouraged to find out who they are but instead told to be like those we want them to be like.

And let’s not forget that each child in our families is different,  unique in their temperaments and personalities.  That while some kids seemingly make it through and carry on the traditions, their siblings may have been crushed and broken under the weight of it all.  But when we say our children have walked away I believe you can never leave Jesus.  Nothing separates us from him.  He’s with them.  He’s got them.

When this generation of kids hit rock bottom, who do they run too?  The God they’ve been told about isn’t loving.  He’s disappointed in them. So they leave.  Leave it all.  You may be thinking this isn’t true.  This isn’t what was taught!  Until we’re willing to admit that this was the message caught nothing will change.  At some point we need to examine why this is happening in such large numbers.  I think we need to admit our culpability in this.

So what do we do now? How do we handle what’s happened to our children?  We love them.  We support them.  We give them space when they ask.  We respect their boundaries.  We be there for them when they come back.  We don’t expect this to happen fast. It may takes years but we love.  We pray they can see how kind and sweet Jesus is.  We don’t judge.  We don’t try and fix.  We just be there.  Accepting them as they are.  Just like Jesus did with me back when I first met him.  He continues to accept me just as I am.  No matter where they are, we love, we support and we respect their journey.

I regret ever having raised my children in religion.  I wish I would have looked at each one as the unique person they were created to be and encouraged them to live their lives.  I wish I would have never picked up a Christian parenting book or program where the only goal was to tame and train children to live in a box.  A box created by a religion of morality. 

When I was at my darkest  and I thought I had lost everything, a very wise friend said to me – “Just because its like this now, doesn’t mean this is what it will be like five years from now or even a year from now.” She was right.  So I encourage you to rest in the One who loves your children far more than you ever will or could.

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In our world today, people are constantly fighting over who is right and who is wrong, or whose rights have been violated. Abortion rights, women’ rights, gay rights, discrimination by race, gender, nationality and on and on it goes. I think we could come up with a different topic each day to fight and argue over.

In the natural world, I do not think this will ever change. Each of us want to have our rights upheld, and we do not want to back down from what we think are our rights.

In Kingdom living, I’m not sure any of us really have any rights. We have turned everything over to God and we let His life flow through us. At least, that is the way it should be. We have been crucified with Christ, we are dead to the old self and it’s no longer about what we want, or how we want it, but letting His love and compassion live in us every day.

God created man (being both men and women) in His image. No one group of humans are better than another. There is no upper, middle and lower class of human beings. We were created in His likeness, and we are equal in His eyes. Needless to say, in our world each of us grow up in different cultures and have different opportunities and lifestyles, so there are upper, middle and lower classes based on economics, but spiritually each of us are created equally in His image.

One area that has been given a lot of light recently is the decision in Indiana of the so-called Religious Freedom Act. Although I don’t understand the law completely, it is certainly not right for anyone to be discriminated against. Truthfully, I do not know why, especially in America, we need a religious freedom act. We already have all the ‘religious’ freedom we need. True, there are certain things we feel are being taken away, but honestly, we are free to love God, talk to God anytime and anywhere, love others, attend church or not attend church, and many other things without the fear of being put in prison or killed.

Acceptance1

In regard to the Religious Freedom Act, I personally believe the gay and lesbian community should be free to live their lives and be loved and accepted like anyone else. It seems we Christians want to demonize gay people and say they are worse than anyone else. I’m not sure why that is, but I certainly do not believe this is the way it should be.

Even those who try to show acceptance have a strange way of doing so at times, such as a recent posting I saw on Facebook stating something like .. Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, yet you can’t make a cake for a gay couple? I understand what they are trying to say, but to me the underlying message is still saying that being gay is a sin.

Truthfully, I don’t think we are to be the judge of such decisions. We are not called to say who is right or what is sinful. We are called to love God, love others and make disciples. The decision of who is right or wrong, what is sinful and what is not is in God’s hands, not ours. The Holy Spirit will convict the worldly of any sinfulness. We are to love everyone we come in contact with, and accept them as they are….just the way God did for us.

We all have different thoughts on what is right and wrong. What we feel is wrong, may not be wrong to someone else. No matter how we feel, do we have the right to point out the issues in someone’s life that we don’t agree with or accept? Many times we want to uphold our right to express our views and point out the differences of others, when we should not say anything, show God’s love and allow God to do what needs to be done.

It seems each of us have certain sins that we consider worse than others. I’m not sure why we are so hard on some things and yet never talk about others. You never hear, gluttons can’t eat at this restaurant…is that a sin or a poor life style? Cussing isn’t allowed around here…is it a sin or a bad choice of words? Smokers aren’t allowed here…is it a sin or an unhealthy choice? No divorced people allowed to participate in our church…is it a sin or a bad choice in your mate? Why do we make so much out of making it our right to point out what we consider sins or flaws in others when we should be showing Jesus and his love to them?

Let’s face it, we all sin at times. There are no levels of sin, none that is better or worse than another. Through Christ, our sinful nature was crucified and buried at the cross. We are now free of the sinful nature, although we obviously still sin when we take our focus off Jesus. Thank God our sins have been forgiven by Christ’s death because God has provided His grace for everyone.

GraceforAll

Just as much as we should love others and accept them for who they are, that doesn’t mean we are always going to agree. Each of us have our way of thinking and each of us have what we feel is right and wrong, and we don’t have to give that up. We do need to realize we are all different, we feel different ways about things, and we consider different things right and wrong. We should not discriminate against anyone for being different, and we should love and accept everyone and just agree to disagree on some things.

I think it is time to stop being negative and focusing on what we think is wrong, stop worrying about our rights and start realizing that God loves each of us. We need to stop putting people into groups we do not want to associate with or those we treat differently, and accept the fact that we are not all the same. We can accept and love one another in Christ by letting Him live through us, and loving those He brings into our lives each and every day.

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