With the start of another week comes another selection of letters to the editor. This was a lively week for letters and the ones I publish below represent a cross-section of the feedback from readers like you.
Comments on An Intimidating Opportunity
As a Grade 10 Christian male who is currently taking the Civics and Careers course, I thought that you approached the topic perfectly. I relate to your son in the sense of having no other Christian males in my grade, and it can be very discouraging when you see everyone around you is lost. But to me, it shows that we are to be light and salt of the earth, and I don’t think there could be a better oppurtunity. Thanks for sharing the article!
–Alex G, Cambridge, ON
Tim, I really appreciated (and thank God for) the opportunity you took to address your son’s civics class about pastoral ministry. As a pastor, I often get myself swamped in “Christianese” descriptions of my faith and calling, and I benefitted from reading how you articulated your vocation in simple yet faithful terms. As to whether or not you should have “preached the gospel”: Okay, you’re right–you didn’t mention the atonement or justification by faith. (I trust and pray that your son will have ample follow-up opportunities). But very few people in the West ever think about their desperate human need to be shepherded anymore. As Christians, we know that Jesus meets that need perfectly. Presenting pastoral ministry to those young men and women as something Jesus is using in the “real world” to accomplish this moved them one step closer to following Him into His fold.
–Jeremy K, Guymon, OK
With all due respect intended in tone and text…. “How could I explain pastoring to people who have never been inside a church, who have never read a word of the Bible, and who know Jesus as only a swear word?” Am I a jerk for thinking, “How can a pastor send his 15 year old into this godless environment for 8 hours a day and plan to send his other two children there too?” (idontwanttobeajerk)
–Chris, Sacramento, CA
Tim: I received many, many responses to this one. It was very encouraging to me! As for the final question, I may be overdue with another article on why my family (still) public schools our children.
Comments on Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife
I read your review of “Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife” with interest. I was raised in denomination which came borderline being in many instances approving of an abusive household under the flag of complementarianism. As a young (24) pastor with a wife and 2 children I have had to decide what is the best role of women not only in my own home but also in the church. I couldn’t abide with the borderline abuse of those who espoused compelmentarianism but nor could I find biblical support for eglatarianism. For me this was summed up in the phrase “Equal in Value, Unequal in authority” in order to succinctly explain the biblical stance. To my dismay I recently underwent public training to be an court advocate for children. During this training we had to learn the warning signs of an abusive household. One such and prominent warning sign was if the household embraced “traditional” roles of men and women. I have said much of this to say that it is sad that the abusive, narcissistic husbands who hide behind their interpretation of complementarianism have taken a beautiful and breathtakingly theological teaching in the Bible and ruined it in the eyes of the world. We are to be pictures of the marriage between Christ and the church not of the tyrannical rule of sin over the sinner. May our churches grow ever more closer to upholding the living picture/parable of Christ and His Bride! Thank you for your review of the book. I look forward to reading in order to better understand the struggles and choices abused women face who attend our church and live in our community.
—Steve S, Purcell, OK
Thank you for your candid and honest review of this book. I intend to read it, and I am in total agreement with all you have written in this review. I was married to an abusive man for 23 years. He manipulated from the pulpit as easily as he did from the home. I know this is not as rare a circumstance as we would like to believe. In your review, you give an excellent and concise description of this twisted sort of union. Thank you so much. Women in this situation need to hear repeatedly that they have biblical grounds to seek safety. Afterwards, an important part of healing is reaching an understanding regarding the difference between the union they experienced and the biblical marriage model. When a person has endured such trauma, it is easy to interpret Scripture through the lens of emotional pain. I appreciate your caution to avoid doing so. Scripture should always be interpreted in context of all Scripture, not in context of personal experience. Thank you for bringing this book to our attention.
–Jenny J, Rogers, AR
I read your review of the book Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife; I’m not writing because I disagree. But you mention the book’s usefulness in creating understanding and empathy for women in such situations. I’d like your thoughts on defining and determining emotional or mental abuse and how the church can help in recognizing this type of abuse. And, what should a spouse do when they find themselves in such a relationship? How does a wife maintain respect for her husband, for instance, but expose the sin in order to get outside help? I’ve been very wary of people who claim such abuse, the term seems to get thrown out at the slightest infraction, and it all seems so subjective most of the time.
–Melody N, Brownwood, TX
Tim: That is more than I can take on in letters to the editor, but I may write more about this in the future. The questions you ask are very, very important.
Comments on Letters to the Editor
I am going to stop visiting your site on Sunday. Everybody has an opinion on every subject, controversial or not, and while I appreciate the time you spend sifting through them they are just not worth the time. I prefer to read your articles and form my own opinion. You are a blessing the other 6 days!
–Jim R, Hudson, MA