Well I think I hit a nerve.
Yesterday I wrote some honest thoughts that I have about a recent conference that was held for men. I wrote these thoughts to share a side of a story that I think rarely gets attention. Let me tell you first why I didn’t write that post.
I didn’t write to speak against the opportunity that people have to meet Jesus, which I fully admit can happen at a conference like this one.
- I didn’t write to discuss the theology of Harvest Bible Chapel, and how their leadership chooses to govern themselves.
- I didn’t write because I had the 411 on what went on at the conference and wanted to debrief.
- I didn’t write to discuss marriage, homosexuality, or the role of women in the church.
- And I didn’t even write to slam Mark Driscoll, although I did admit I wasn’t a fan.
So allow me to set the record straight and tell you why I did write that blog.
- I wrote it because not everyone thinks the same and not everyone is moved by the way some people choose to communicate their ideas. Can we not make room in our evangelical christianity for differing opinions? For different expressions?
- I wrote because there has to be a place where people can talk about things openly and honestly. Without fear of being yelled at or belittled, and without the fear of some man or woman going on a theological power trip.
- I wrote because I think coming against opposition in terms of what we believe sometimes helps to form our thoughts about life, about faith and about people. It’s actually healthy.
- And I wrote because for as many people who are really impacted by these leaders, there are a lot of people who are just not ok with some of the messages that are being sent and some of the ways they choose to send them. I recognize this works both ways.
So let the record be set straight…
It’s awesome that people came to know Jesus! It’s fantastic if there were some guys that left wanting to love their families more! It’s wonderful if men felt empowered to rise up and take responsibility for their lives.
Why would I be against any of these things?
The point that I wanted to make was two-fold:
- We have to make room for people who don’t fit the mould, who don’t find themselves empowered by this type of language, and for people who feel like they don’t fit into this picture of what it means to be a “real man”.
- Christ is the goal, not a culturally, man-made definition of what it means to be a”man”, even if this is what the conference tried to get at, and whether it succeeded or failed, Christ should always be the goal. We can be united in Jesus.
It’s clear that many of us land on opposite sides of the spectrum. I think this is ok. More than that, I think having healthy discussion around these issues actually helps us to grow in our faith and understanding of one another, like I mentioned above. What’s not ok is when you take an opportunity for discussion and turn it into an opportunity to bully, to belittle and to shame each other.
We are all in progress and we are all just working our faith out, and even better, we get to work this stuff out in community.
So let’s keep that in mind and remember to have grace towards one another and for one another, wherever we may find ourselves on the spectrum.