PODCAST: Churchianity vs. Christianity and The Year of Being Homeless

by | Dec 17, 2020 | Uncategorized | 32 comments

Churchianity vs. Christianity: Our Year of Feeling Homeless in Church
Merchandise is Here!

Looking back on 2020 is humbling.

It’s been a tough year with COVID and plans crumbling and retreating into small bubbles, but on the other hand I’ve also written two books, created The Orgasm Course, and gotten so much done because I haven’t been speaking!

But on a personal level, we feel as if this has been the Year of Feeling Homeless. As we have analyzed our survey results of 20,000 women, and seen those in power unwilling to admit that what they’re saying about sex hurts people, it’s caused us to feel adrift. So today, on the podcast, I talk first with Rebecca and then with Keith about our own faith journeys this year. A bit of a different podcast–it’s just really personal and doesn’t tackle any particular topic. But it lets you in more on our hearts!

And, of course, you can watch on YouTube too!

 

Timeline of the Podcast

0:36 How we’ve felt ‘homeless’
7:20 How in 2021 we will burn bridges with the truth
15:31 What is important in a ‘safe’ church
27:58 How we want 2021 to look for our ministry
30:16 Keith explains how he feels about speaking up
33:49 Sheila shares a tough personal story of church leadership in her own life
39:00 We believe what we believe about women BECAUSE of the bible
47:36 What you unknowingly communicate with church attendance
52:07 Sheila leaves you with her personal verses and encouragement for the future

Things Mentioned in the Podcast

 

Why Do Faith Communities So Often Go Astray?

On the podcast we were personal, and I’m not going to sum it up today. I just welcome you to listen in.

But I’d like to share a few thoughts I’ve had since about why it is that things often go haywire in faith communities.

When faith becomes institutionalized, then doctrine usually gets stressed over practice

Here’s what tends to happen: A great revival sweeps through, and more people come to know Jesus. They form churches, and denominations. And those grow in size.

Then the challenge becomes: “how can we keep going and keep what we have and grow?” And the answer usually becomes: “we need to show people that they have a reason to belong here and not somewhere else.”

In order to maintain the institution, you need to cultivate an “us vs. them” mentality. People need to feel as if they’re part of the “in” group so that they will keep coming and dedicating resources.

Now, obviously we know that we’re part of the “in” group and that we have a certain identity because we are in Christ. But lots of places claim that. So it has to go deeper than that.

What usually happens is that power structures (like denominations, or big churches, or big organizations) develop elaborate doctrines, and elaborate rules of how one acts to show that one is part of the “in” crowd.

So this group may believe X,Y and Z about the Bible, and may also not watch these movies, and may all vote for this political party, while another group does it differently. But the point is that once something is institutionalized, there is an inevitable pull to maintaining that institution by codifying beliefs and by creating identities that revolve around how we act. You may say, “well, it should, because Jesus told us that we were supposed to act differently than the world!”

Yes, He did. But the actions that He was calling for were those that would transform the world and draw others to Himself. The actions that institutions often call for are not those that are directed at the world, but instead those that we practice in order to distinguish ourselves from others.

I am not against institutionalized religion, by the way.

I actually think it’s important, because otherwise doctrine can go way off base, and we do need accountability. But we also need to be very aware of the pitfalls that come with it to guard against them. And we can see those same pitfalls throughout history.

When Christianity becomes institutionalized, it often focuses more on maintaining identity than on kingdom work.

Again, I’m saying “often”, not “always”, because I do believe that some form of institution and organization is inevitable when you have large groups of people coming together for a common task.

But what we have done is emphasized what you need to believe and how you need to act over fulfilling our mission to transform the world.

This doesn’t mean that doctrine is unimportant, or that there aren’t “must haves”. I believe that the Apostle’s Creed sums up well our must haves, and most relate to the personhood, divinity, and work of Jesus. And as Scripture says, whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13).

The problem is that, because we have become so institutionalized, we view our mission as making sure that others become like us, rather than the mission that Jesus gave us. Yes, we’re to preach the good news. But I think we’ve forgotten WHY it’s good news. It’s not only so that you can get into heaven and have eternal life. Think about what Jesus said when He introduced His ministry:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Luke 4:18-19

When jesus came, He changed things. The blind could see; the captives were freed; the good news was preached to the poor. And the good news was not only salvation. It was that the kingdom of God was at hand, a kingdom that was not about power (Matthew 20:25-28), but was instead about love and justice. 

We have forgotten so much of that because we have focused on orthodoxy (believing right) over orthopraxy (acting right), as Rebecca said in the podcast this week. 

But what did Jesus emphasize? 

 

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:35

And love, to Christ, is active. It’s sharing your tunic with one who has none; it’s sharing your cloak with one who has none. It’s part of bringing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

As you look back over history, the institutionalized church has more often than not gotten important things wrong–while Christians outside were always calling the church to more.

This is a very important distinction. Christians did not get things wrong. Jesus did not get things wrong. The institutionalized church got things wrong.

During the Crusades there were monks calling for the halt of them. During slavery there were SO MANY calling for the abolition of it (including my ancestors). William Wilberforce powerfully called the British government to outlaw slavery, despite the personal cost to himself. In the United States, abolitionists, even in the south, fought against the church that enabled and supported slavery. And many denominations themselves fought against slavery.

It was Christian movements outside of institutionalized religion that fought to end child labour. My great-great grandmother fought in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in London, calling for an end to alcohol sales, largely because alcohol was responsible for so much abuse of women and poverty for children, since men would drink their paycheque away.

Here’s a bad picture of me outside the pub in London where my great-great-grandfather drank before he came to Christ–and a picture of my great-great-grandfather afterwards.

Great great Grandfather
Great great Grandfather

It was Christian women in Manitoba who fought for the right to vote, and who fought for women to be considered “persons” in British law, all the way to the British Supreme Court.

And yet, in all of these efforts, they were fighting AGAINST their churches at the time, who wanted to maintain the status quo.

When you want to see where God is working, throughout the Bible, throughout history, even throughout modern history, it is more often those “calling in the wilderness” than those on podiums and stages.

This actually gives me hope. When I get dismayed that the powers that be aren’t doing anything about something, and aren’t showing Jesus, I remember that it is a cycle: people call the church back to a real relationship with Jesus; that becomes institutionalized and calcified; and prophets once again call the church back.

And each time we call the church back, I think we get closer to listening to King Jesus. We see more of Him. When one big issue is resolved (like slavery), it’s easier to see the next one.

So as we’re talking about in this podcast, we’re feeling homeless right now from the institutionalized church. I do think it’s temporary; we’ve found a new church online that we like, and that after COVID we will likely join. But we know that in the broader Christian world, I am becoming anathema because I am calling us to more than really, really bad and toxic marriage and sex teaching.

But the history of the church is those outside the halls of power calling the church back to Jesus. So we must never mistake the institutions for Jesus. That’s how we get disillusioned. That’s how we get complacent.

This advent, as you’re waiting anew for Jesus, and reflecting on this year that’s past, ask Jesus to show you in a fresh way why He came.

It wasn’t only so that we could all say the sinner’s prayer. It was also for transformation. I pray for more and more of that in my own life, and in the church, in 2021.

2020 Year in Review: Year of Feeling Homeless

What do you think? Have you felt homeless this year? Or have you found  a home? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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32 Comments

  1. Bethany#2

    [Editor’s Note: I don’t allow political comments on this site.]

    Reply
    • Phil

      Wow – Sheila – I am asking you to please remove the above comment as this certainly does not demonstrate anything to do with Jesus but rather someones political opinion. Uh, part of the problem! Thank you.

      Reply
    • Ben Tebbens

      Please, please be encouraged. We sure feel your heart and the pain and heavyness. God bless you all to know that your work in the Lord isn’t in vain. It’s not. Your setting the captives free, your setting the captives free.
      Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please don’t give up on Jesus and “his church”, I sure get it. Your helping to build the kingdom of God, tearing down strongholds and that work is destroying satan and we know he’s not happy about that. You are doing God’s work and thank God all churches aren’t propagating the things that are overwhelming you guys. Thank God, thank God. As God told Elijah, he has so many that haven’t bowed the knee to baal. Please keep encouraged. God bless you and keep your hearts and we know he’ll continue to guide you all and use you in ways you have no idea right now. Your not alone and we thank you all so, so much. It all is worth it. Thank you, thank you 😊👍🙏🙏👍

      Reply
    • Lisa Cadora

      (I’m working backward through your podcasts. Already commented on the March 4 2021
      Episode)
      Had two traumatic events in my life in the last six months that have opened my eyes and broken my heart to the point I don’t know if I can stay in my denomination any longer because of the abuse I and other women I love have experienced all of our lives. AND MY HUSBAND IS A MINISTER IN THE DENOMINATION!!! He is NOT abusive, and though oblivious to the ways in which he has internalized this thinking, he is listening and learning and has always desired to shed the ways of the world and draw closer to Christ. (That’s what we’re all supposed to be doing, right? God forbid that we think we know it all and must safeguard what we think we know forever.) In the crumbling away of the old paradigm, however, I’m not sure who or what is safe and what is toxic. I feel unmoored and panicky. Like I might kick an elder in the groin or run screaming around the sanctuary this
      Sunday. Pray for me!! And I will pray for you, dear brave women warriors of the faith.

      Reply
  2. Barbara

    Such a great podcast! Thank you for sharing your recent faith journey with us. I have had similar issues with my church and have struggled with what to do so it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Just pre-ordered your book & plan to donate it to the church library!

    Reply
  3. Peter Gavin

    You guys are one of my favourite sources for promoting a healthier and more Christ-centred view of marriage and sexuality, so thank you for all you do. I just have one issue here, around using a neologism like “Churchianity” and opposing it to Christianity. I feel like this juxtaposition is itself a very specifically evangelical (or at least “low-church”) one, similar to the widespread line that “Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.” By contrast, Catholics, Orthodox, and even some more sacramental/liturgical Protestants generally don’t experience their relation to the Church as something “over-against” their relation to Christ. They too certainly encounter much that is unhealthy and even evil IN the Church, but would understand these evils, e.g., by analogy to the wounds in the side of Christ rather than as something other than Christ. And I worry that such a Christ/Church juxtaposition (even if it’s just rhetorical) can encourage an unmooring from the Church in her broader, deeper tradition — which itself often contains many resources for overcoming the blind acceptance of untested popular theories (like this “Love and Respect” one) and other one-sided extremes to which we can otherwise fall prey.

    Reply
  4. Lindsey

    2020 was an eventful year for me as well. As I’ve mentioned before, I have often experienced much that is bad in the church. All of it having to do with a lust for power and a fear of standing for what is right against the status quo.
    However, after graduating in April with a BS in HR Management, I finally got hired and moved to Alaska in late August (that makes us sort of neighbors, right?!). We have much healthier group of Christians in our new location – and living in a house again (instead of a travel trailer like we did for the last three years) is great! I will be completing my MBA program this weekend(!!), and over all 2020 was a pretty positive year for us.
    I pray that everyone reading this has a blessed holiday season, and a bright new year!
    Ps. Keep preaching freedom to the captives – I’ve been sharing your work and it’s helping. I know it has helped me. I have a stronger, egalitarian marriage for my children to emulate because of you, and I’m still a Christian believer because in my darkest moment your blog helped me to keep believing. Thanks for everything!

    Reply
  5. Chris

    Sheila, in all the time reading this blog I don’t think I have ever read a post where you have mentioned temperance. (Even if it being mentioned here was about a distant relative). Do you advocate for temperance in our current western society? The opinions on this issue within modern Christianity are all over the place.

    Reply
  6. rebecca

    This was my favorite podcast of yours yet. Our family is also currently “homeless” for the same reasons as you. Thank you for writing this, because I was feeling, maybe like a loser or failure because I am not attending church in a building? I realize it’s other Christians making me feel that way and definitely not Jesus! thank you thank you thank you for all of your articles and podcasts. You are definitely speaking the truth and that is what we need to hear!

    Reply
  7. Catherine

    Thank you so much to you all for this important work that you are doing! So thankful for your voices which are having such an impact on many people’s lives and marriages!

    Reply
  8. Angie Murphy

    I am so happy to have found your blog and podcasts in the past month or so. Yes, I am “homeless” this year! Our church was just new to us for one year after we made a big move, and now it is meeting with no social distancing or masks, so we have chosen to love others by watching from home. But everything this year has awakened me to the power and abuse and lack of love within the evangelical church. You have added that women equality piece which my eyes are finally opened to. I have endured some suffering in my 17 years of marriage, which is finally beginning to improve due to me standing up for my own right to be respected and the discovery and ending of my husband’s porn use (which was how my googling led me to your site), and I have experienced narcissistic abuse and shunning from my “born-again Christian” family of origin. I see the evil side of the church now, but have been so asking God to show me love! True Jesus love, and true Jesus followers. I am delighted to hear your insights. And I encourage you to speak out for the oppressed, despite the consequences. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, thanks for letting me in on your story, Angie! I always love hearing how people end up here. I know changes are tough, but it sounds like you’re going in the right direction!

      Reply
  9. Jarred

    You guys are trailblazers. Thank you for doing what you are doing, Sheila. Thank you for your courage.

    Reply
  10. Dani

    This podcast has actually left me feeling really sad for a number of reasons. One is that I’m with you. Our church holds many of these unhealthy views of marriage but I’m also yet to come across any institutionalised church that doesn’t adhere to husband=boss and wife=submit. Individual Christians, sure, but no church as a whole. So what then? I believe being committed to a local body of believers is so very important and whilst I agree that loving God and people is paramount, I also believe doctrine matters. For example, I don’t want to take my children to a church that has healthy teachings about marriage but teaches them that God wants them to be healthy and wealthy in this life and if they just have enough faith they will be healed and rich.
    It feels pretty hopeless really, which leads me to wonder if withdrawing is actually the answer. If I left my church and started another would I get something else wrong? Probably. Could that thing be serious and lead people away from God? It could. People are broken and the world is broken. We will not find a body of believers that isn’t hurting anyone and is always reflecting Jesus. It’s not possible.
    I don’t know what the answer is but I’m trying to influence my family, peers and the youth I lead into more healthy ways of looking at relationships but it is a pretty hard slog and feels like I am getting no where much of the time…
    I would love to hear you speak sometime, when all these things resume, come back to Australia!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’d love to come back to Australia!
      But I do think a lot of churches don’t adhere to the husband-boss thing. What about the Anglican church? Presbyterian? Wesleyan? I’m not sure what denominations you have, but many do. I hope you can find one!

      Reply
      • Dani

        In my experience most of those denominations still see men as the ‘head’ of the family… not that I have any experience with Wesleyan. I don’t think there are any near me

        Reply
  11. Dar

    Its interesting that you said that if our pastors don’t have any problems with Love and Respect that its a red flag. What do you think of pastors that suggest this book for couples to just talk about it, not as a marriage help book?
    He doesn’t suggest is as fix all your problems but does suggest it for engaged couples. His intension from what I was told by a second person is to create conflict and conversation before the couple is married. For example if while reading this book during their counseling time the man gets an ego boost because he feels like respect is now due to him because he is a man, the hope is that the woman will see that as a red flag.
    I was also told that he only recommends it to mature couples, and the hope is that they’d be able to discard the bad and apply the good. That is how my pastor himself and his wife applied this book and were able to help their marriage.
    I’m kind of conflicted here. I don’t agree with him that you shouldn’t throw out a book since it might help if it has the potential to hurt more than help.
    Also supper thankful for all you do.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Dar, great question! I still think it’s a very, very bad idea. Why recommend people read a book you disagree with deliberately so that they will cause conflict? You could accomplish the same thing by just having the couple discuss some issues. IF the book is bad, it’s bad, and it shouldn’t be read. If the pastor doesn’t have discernment to realize that, even when he admits the book can harm, then I don’t know how you could trust anything he recommends. In fact, this is even worse, because some pastors recommend the book out of ignorance, not realizing it harms (many pastors haven’t even actually read the book). For him to recommend people read it when he knows it can harm really throws his judgment into question.

      Reply
  12. Meghan

    Hey Sheila and Rebecca! I finally got a chance to listen to your podcast today, and HOLY GUACAMOLE I totally feel the same way! My husband and I have felt like we don’t belong in our current church for about a year and a half now, and we would have left a long time ago had it not been for COVID and our high risk status.
    It started when I noticed how deeply touched and moved I was when one of my small group members reached out to ask what dairy substitutions I recommended to make the weekly breakfast spread safe for me to eat. No one had ever thought to include me before. And I started to wonder why that was such a big deal, when everything I’d encountered with my daughter’s daycare experience was the exact opposite. Daycare shouldn’t feel more inclusive than church!
    Then we studied The Art of Parenting, and it was heavily implied that if you don’t spank your children then you don’t love them and you’re not following God’s commands. There’s an entire discipline section that focuses entirely too much on how and when to spank and has very little, if any, gentle parenting advice. And that doesn’t even get into their non-answers to several parenting concerns and all the assertions vs arguments. Ay ay ay. And it was just me and one other mom as the lone dissenters.
    THEN we studied 1 & 2 Peter, and OH BOY. I ruffled some feathers with a story I told about how my husband, deep in the throes of anxiety and depression (although I didn’t share that part with the group, it’s relevant here given the previous comments I’ve made about him), almost made a terrible decision that would have damaged our family financially for a long time. But, thank goodness, he consulted me first. We argued for quite a while, but he eventually came to my side and did not do the thing. This apparently was not the correct thing for me to do. (what the what?) Another quick story from that same discussion: A husband dreamed of housing his two sons in the same room just like he shared a room with his brother growing up. It was a bonding experience for him, and he deeply wanted it for his sons. All well and good. But his wife, who stays home with the children, knew it was doomed to fail as they were still extremely young and not ready yet. She did the whole dissent once then remain quiet thing, and the boys shared a room for an entire awful sleepless week. He shared, to his credit, that he should have listened to his wise wife’s counsel, BUT his wife was also praised as doing the right thing because she quickly submitted to her husband’s will. And all the while, their 18 month old and 4 year old boys suffered.
    Add on to that their lackadaisical disregard for COVID precautions even though they have a sister and brother in their number (that’s us) who would die if we caught it and are therefore excluded from any event they put on, and it’s just a recipe for awful. I can’t any more, TLHV crew. I just can’t.
    I don’t know where we will end up, but I know we don’t belong here any more.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Meghan, that’s such a lonely place to be! But when you know something, you just know it, and it sounds like you know that God is leading you out. You don’t want your kids to grow up there. I’ll pray for you, and for the many others who are experiencing the same thing! I’d just say don’t be afraid to talk to others about it who used to go to the church but don’t anymore. They may be great ones to get together with! Or don’t be afraid to try a new denomination.

      Reply
  13. Ylva

    I loved your honesty in this podcast! I agree that it’s hard to find an Evangelical church that has great theology and healthy messages about purity and relationships. Or teaches healthy relationships and criticism of authorities.
    You can only tolerate so much when people get hurt and you can’t trust the counselors and leaders. Main thing I am afraid of is moving again and having to find a new church again.

    Reply
    • Alan

      That’s why I gave up on the church but not Jesus.

      Reply
  14. Candace

    This podcast perfectly describes everything I have been feeling this year. I think these things have been on a low simmer for the past few years, but 2020 made the pot bubble over! I, too, feel out of place with most Christians. Thanks for all y’all (I’m from the deep South) do to encourage healthy relationships.
    I am actually starting graduate school in January for Clinical Mental Health Counseling and I long to help clergy/Christian leadership become trauma informed.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s awesome, Candace! So glad you’re going the licensed route, too. Many blessings to you!

      Reply
  15. Matt

    I really enjoyed your podcast, and wish you well in seeking out a church home. It has become harder and harder to find places that don’t create new legalisms to control their flock. We are actually in a pretty good one (part of our church’s mission statement is “No Weird Stuff”, and they are successful in that).
    These poor doctrines about sex really serve to enslave women into horrible situations, and invalidate their worth.
    Having grown up in a Lutheran, church, I really, really got hammered home the concept of grace, and how our salvation is not based on any works that we do. All denominations will generally claim that, and yet easily fall into creating new legal structures that their adherents are (ahem) “encouraged” to follow. Reading about problems at Hillsong seems to really illustrate this.
    It isn’t just an artifact of modern life either. In Acts, there is the story about how Paul had to admonish Peter for falling in with the new legalists as well.
    My theory is that this is really endemic to mankind; we all have a potential streak for controlling others, especially when we think it’s for their own good. I blame too much SimCity, it convinces us that we have the capacity to make decisions on behalf of others (joking of course….my preferred game is Age of Empires 2, which is all goodness and light).
    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” ~ C. S. Lewis
    Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Absolutely, Matt! And that C.S. Lewis quote is one of my favourites!

      Reply
  16. Von de Leigh

    While I am currently single, I discovered your work when a good friend was getting married. As she came from a very sheltered, conservative Christian home, I wanted to give her something that would address topics I knew were not being addressed concerning her impending marriage. We are both Pentecostal, but our families addressed sex very differently. My family was always straightforward and concise. Hers was tightlipped.
    I found your books, and I’ve been following your blog and podcast ever since. Thank you for your hard work! Thanks to you, I feel like I know what discussions I definitely want to have with my future spouse before getting married. I’ve since had other brides thank me for recommending your books.
    Concerning the topic on women in ministry, I recently read a wonderful book by a male Pentecostal minister. He was in graduate school and wanted to prove that women were not to be used in ministry, so he chose “women in ministry” as his thesis topic. In the end, he discovered, through study, that his preconceived ideas were not biblically based, and he has since published : He Called Her.
    Here is the link, if you would like to check it out!: https://www.amazon.com/He-Called-Her-Pentecostal-Ministry-ebook/dp/B01KYDPEG2

    Reply
  17. Alan

    My wife is a devout Churchian; Women’s Bible Study, Ladies Auxiliary, volunteering for EVERY activity that goes on there, etc. etc. She has made “the Church” her IDOL.

    Reply
  18. Kyle

    This podcast, and the above comments, have really struck a chord in me. I couldn’t believe that there are churches out there who do these things. But it reminded me of a verse in Amos 8:12
    “And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.”
    While this verse can sound depressing I also remember Acts 3: 20-21
    “20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
    21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
    I believe that you Sheila are part of this restitution of all things required before Jesus comes again. I am also very grateful for my church. Which reinforces so many of the things you teach Sheila. I pray that you all can find a church which helps bring each of you closer to Christ, as that is what church should be all about.

    Reply
  19. Walking in God's Grace

    This podcast resonates with me on so many levels!
    When we make correct interpretation of scripture our highest priority, we create a culture of “us vs. them”, ie. “we” have the correct interpretation and everyone else has it wrong. Please, a little humility!
    Personally, I struggled for years in self-flagellation at the foot of the cross. I was not able to receive the gift of freedom through the resurrection because of the way I perceived what seems to be an unhealthy obsession with sin within the church. We focus on God’s anger and wrath far more than his love. I didn’t realize until recently that I have been listening to the voice of the Accuser, who speaks through shame and contempt, not the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our guilt with kindness and transforms us to be more like Christ as we repent.
    Much of my above struggle came from trying to believe things “correctly” – women in leadership, submission to others and those in authority, etc. The ironic thing is that my church was not the source of these teachings – as you said, it was mostly in literature I read and through the ideas of more conservative friends. I am learning to judge a tree by its fruit. A good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree can only bear bad fruit.
    Thank you so much for all you are doing to point us to Jesus and healthy relationships – you matter!

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