THE Most Preposterous Solution to a Bible Dilemma Ever

I became heavily involved with The Fellowship of Christian Athletes my first year of college.

Since this was over 30 years ago, I could only guess what that group is like now. But at the time, our version of FCA was one of zeal, a group driven toward a life of sold-out Christianity.

Our main focus was how to effectively witness our faith on the campus. At one meeting, the discussion blossomed into the idea of building a makeshift stage in the center of campus so we could preach between classes.

In the process of working out the schedule and organizing the volunteer ‘preachers’, the question came up if the girls should be among them.

pinball-fx-2-classic-collection-speed-machine-ball-closeup-50p.jpgLike a manic ball in a pinball machine, Paul’s words to Timothy banged around the room: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence“. Everyone chimed in on their position.

At the outset of the discussion I knew I was NOT going to stand on a stage and deliver a sermon without hearing directly from god himself. Stage fright and I were close personal buds – I wasn’t about to jeopardize our relationship. But that wasn’t the point. For me, this was an issue of principle alone.

After a solid hour of discussion and tearing through the nearest bible, we finally landed on what I’d consider to be THE most preposterous solution to this biblical dilemma known to the thinking world:

The girls could SHARE the gospel from the stage, just not PREACH it. 

giphy

You’re sitting there asking Jennifer Lawrence, “What’s the difference?” aren’t you?

Well, you’re right. There is no difference. Somehow in the annals of twisted Christian logic, we had concluded that swapping out the verb ‘preach’ for the verb ‘share’ would keep us in line with god’s word.

We reasoned it like this…

Preaching is teaching. But sharing is basically a peer-to-peer discussion. Therefore, a girl could share her personal experience of the gospel without usurping authority or teaching a man.

HolyFacepalm

Are you screaming, Way!!! Why did you stay in Christianity so long?! 

If you are, I don’t blame you. But I walked a spiritual tightrope! Eternal life loomed above me. Eternal death below. Jesus was the only salvation. Was I to bail on my eternity because god hurt my feelings? Because he wasn’t nice? Because he wasn’t fair?

Anyway…

When the stage was built and the day came to launch our campaign, I didn’t preach. I didn’t share. I prayed. 

As the preachers preached and the sharers shared, I milled in and around the crowd praying for god to open the hearts of those who came to hear. As I did, I couldn’t shake this nagging question: How did it make sense that my male college friends were in authority over me?

No wonder arrogance ran rampant among the FCA guys. No wonder I didn’t know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt.

The biblical limitations placed on women poisoned each and every experience I had in ministry for every single one of my 33 years of service. Like a loop, it played in the background darkening the past and clouding the future.

The Apostle Paul’s words were an ever-present gray in my life, laying dull the wondrous and colorful hues of womanhood.

 

 

 

 

Christianity Taught Me To Lie

 

Pushing belief and faith to the limits was part of the full-gospel experience. No miracle was too big for god.

healing-of-the-blind-man.jpgEven though were were still in high school, our spirit-filled youth group loved to attend the local Full-Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship meetings. The praise and worship was exhilarating and the speakers were charismatic.

There was one particular young woman who frequented these meetings as well, although she was in college. She always entered the room led at the elbow by a handsome young man. Not only did she seemingly have a new boy each time, but she was quite pretty and… she was blind. People were drawn to her, men in particular.

I remember the meeting where we gathered around her and prayed for god to restore her sight. The elders gathered around, anointed her head with oil and we all stretched our hands out and prayed the prayer of faith.

She was not healed.

But not to be detoured, we were all encouraged to continue our “positive confessions”, to “name it and claim it” in faith until the miracle was manifested in the flesh. “We’re going to speak it into existence in Jesus name!” one believer exclaimed in accordance with a passage in Romans we all loved to mis-quote.

We left the meeting saying out loud, “She’s healed in the name of Jesus! Praise the Lord!” This we did in spite of hard core evidence to the contrary.

In thinking on this event for this post, I remembered writing about it in an old diary. It took some serious digging this afternoon, but I found it.

Diary

 

“Went to hear the Lord teach through Norvel Hayes. [My boyfriend] liked it I guess … he’s gonna pick me up at 5:30. Jesus healed [the blind girl]!!! She was blind. [My boyfriend] picked me up, we went to church…”

The entry is curious and it makes me wonder … if I were to put that little diary in a time capsule and someone found it 1,000 years later, would the reader claim to have “documented proof” that the god of the bible restored sight to the blind? Would it strike anyone as suspicious that this incredible experience of god’s healing power was somehow buried between the mundane musings of a teen aged girl?

That tiny entry was nothing more than a fabrication woven from the threads of my patchwork faith. I thought I was taking god at his word.

I didn’t intend to lie. But that’s exactly what I did. 

 

 

A Bible Loophole You’ve Never Heard Of

I was a newly de-converted Christian when I met Peggy.

We’d gone out for a business lunch that morphed into a personal conversation. She was newly married and in the process of blending her new family. Recovering from divorce, meeting a new fella, bringing 3 kids together and dealing with his crazy ex-wife made for a long and complicated story.

It was clear to me by her use of fluent Christianese throughout our conversation that she’d assumed I was a Christian. At one point, she planted her hands firmly on the table and confidently stated, “I just go by the bible.” It didn’t cross her mind that I might actually disagree with that statement.

By this time, her presumption had gotten on my nerves a little. And before I even realized that my lips were moving, I heard myself reply with a firm, “No you don’t.”

You can image the look of shock that came over her face. I probably looked shocked, too! I’m so non-confrontational, it’s plain out stupid. Where’d those words come from?? Oddly enough though, she didn’t appear offended at all. In fact, after the shock wore off, the look on her face was that of curiosity.

“Peggy,” I said, softening my tone, “The bible is clear about divorce and re-marriage. How can you claim to go by the bible when in fact, the bible says you’re living in adultery?”

caricature-891434_1280“Oh that!” she said with a look of relief. “I’ve found a loophole around that!”

I cocked my head to the side like a spaniel hearing a train whistle … and with a dismissive wave of her hand she said, “My first husband was a jerk!”

Wish I’d thought to get the scripture reference for when it’s biblically acceptable to divorce your spouse because … well … reasons.