Elspeth likes to make me laugh by saying, “how can you be so classy and yet not clutch your pearls”. I dunno about classy… but no, I don’t clutch pearls much.
1) I belong to a non-denomination that doesn’t encourage that kind of thing. I’m probably the most over-dressed person at church most Saturday evenings. I *like* to get gussied up for God, but mostly folks wear jeans. That’s fine. Because I look like a lost apple on a stick when I wear pants doesn’t mean YOU shouldn’t wear pants. We have SO much other stuff to worry about. I really don’t care.
2) I got broken. That’s the long and the short of it. I got broken. Long story with lots of chapters. But my decision to follow Jesus is absolute, has been tested, and was the only way forward. Yes, life is good and sunshiny now. It hasn’t always been. The Cloistered Heart speaks my purpose – because I’ve tried the others and have failed, spectacularly. You want me to go against God? Try another address, you’ll not sell those wares here. I *will* obey Him to the best of my ability. Want to convince me I’m doing it wrong? Chapter and verse and I’ll pray over it. Don’t bother with anything else.
3) I’ve already heard it. I don’t live in the most sheltered place in the universe, and I’m the kind of woman you unburden your heart to. My early 20s, when I got my innocence ripped off (insofar as evil in the universe) was highly unpleasant. I’m in my early 40s now. I’ve heard it. Like as not, I’ve heard worse.
So. Yes, I’m acting like the woman I was raised to be, in many ways. But I had a choice – I’ve had lots of choices, actually. I could have paid lip-service to God and done the Sunday Christian thing. I could have … well, there are a lot of choices in life. This? Who you see? I chose this. It is my honor and my privilege to follow Christ, and I will do so until my last breath.
So don’t mind the sweet smile and the big blue eyes. I’m not going to freak out, I’m not going to clutch my pearls… and I guess that answers your question? 🙂
I guess that answers your question? 🙂
My question is: What in the world is “clutching at pearls?”
But I’m hesitant to ask aloud as that probably means I do it and am just unaware…
It means freaking out over something that isn’t quite correct, or something that is more against the conservative church culture than Scripture.
Ah. Thanks for the definition.
I suppose I do fit that description in some ways. But then, sometimes the consequences of being not quite correct can be pretty severe. Not so much with regard to church culture, but certainly with interpretation/application of Scripture.
You do have a relatively easygoing online personality and I also appreciate the way you engage with other commenters. It reminds me of “Let your speech always be seasoned with grace, seasoned with salt…” Speaking truth does not mean that one must forfeit gentleness or be openly combative.
I’ve puzzled over that verse many a time!
Heather, you still have most of your innocence. Treasure it. We *need* people to hold the line, and hold it tightly.
Which reminds me of something that drives me a bit bonkers in church culture. We’ll all happily admit that we’re on a path towards sanctification… but then we don’t see that we’re probably, therefore, on different bits of the path. What matters is that we’re moving towards Christ, towards greater holiness, working on the parts of our hearts that still have darkness in them. *I* need to see you in your purity and innocence, because you make me a better person.
But I know folks who would have had better lives if they were raised by wolves. Should I act horrified if they have a few burrs on them? They too can teach me things… humility. Gratitude. Compassion.
We are all on a path to Christ – there’s a long road past the gate of salvation – and we won’t be perfect until the day we die. The point is to *keep moving!*
“Let your speech always with grace, seasoned with salt”
sorry about the typo
Thank you for the encouragement, Hearthie.
I’ve been considering your words and debating whether to comment again. I tend to talk too much, sometimes 😦
The reference to innocence is a little confusing to me. If this equates to ignorance of ugliness in the world…or in the lives of professing Christians, I definitely can’t wear that label, but will spare you from drowning in the details.
I do agree with you that we must be patient and willing to learn from others who are truly striving to know Christ. I was baptized a Catholic, experienced Pentecostalism as a young child, baptized on request by a non-denom pastor when I was about 8, met my husband while attending a Church of the Nazarene (Arminian), filled in the gaps with various non-denom, Calvinist-leaning groups and currently live in a strongly-Mennonite community. My husband and I don’t fit any of those molds but successfully fellowship with believers from many doctrinal backgrounds…because we’ve come to understand that fellowship is not something Christians do, but is a result of who we are as Spirit-sealed members of Christ’s body. Even if a member is extremely immature, the connection can be recognized.
Likewise, when the talk initially sounds good but the Spirit is absent, this also eventually becomes apparent. I’m definitely not of the “church discipline over every minor infraction” mentality but know that sometimes we must face the difficult choice of continued association vs separation until true repentance is evident. That can be hard for those who don’t want to be viewed as judgmental jerks. But Paul made it clear that we aren’t supposed to act as sin “enablers”, or risk absorbing wrong attitudes or exposing our children…you know what I’m saying?
One thing I struggle with is patience when someone is obviously cutting-and-pasting their way through the Bible in order to support a pet agenda (dramatically clutches pearls). Some truly evil teaching has come from this practice and it can literally destroy the lives of those it influences. I’ve personally come across such and it wreaked havoc in my spiritual life for a couple years as my husband and I sorted through the mess. So, I do believe that Biblical Christians are, at the very least, to discern between doctrinal truth and error and reject any and all teaching which distorts our understanding of who Christ is. It doesn’t mean we need to run around picking quarrels…but certainly should not give the impression that we approve of teaching which unambiguously dishonors the Lord.
Meh. Here I am preaching at you on your own site.
I’m the kind of woman you unburden your heart to
Hopefully, your Sunday is a peaceful time of refreshment.
I don’t think confronting bad doctrine is pearl-clutching. I think that’s standard-operating-procedure. I personally don’t do much confrontation outside of the friendship matrix, and when I do, it’s diagonally. Some folks have the gift of being confrontational and still being heard – I don’t have that gift!
Innocence of the evil of the world… well, there’s innocence and innocence, n’est pas? I knew the dark existed, and then it came in reach and I had to do what I could about healing the damage. There was a time when I was so deep into helping heal that *I* had to go to therapy.
I grew up with good doctrine in a good church (Baptist) with plenty of real learning (AWANA, Dr. McGee on the radio occasionally) and had a real conversion when I was very young, got dunked… and then when I hit the teen years, decided boyz were more important. I remember *very distinctly* the pull of the Holy Spirit to surrender my life (as opposed to straight salvation) and saying “no, I want to put boy chasing first, not God”. He asked a few times, and then gentleman that He is, let me have my way. After that it was Sunday Christian (with heart-tugging and times of prayer in tears… oh yes, I was a proper prodigal wishing to be home… but dang the party was fine) until I’d had my first child, when I started to come back to a real relationship with God.
You do that, and the consequences burn. Eventually I totally surrendered my life to God, but it was after I’d paved Hell’s highway with plenty of my good intentions. So, innocence? No. But I **know** that I can’t do life better. God’s way, no matter how hard it seems in the moment. And the above explains why I worry about being transparent, about being even slightly hypocritical. I was! For a long time! And I worry about those souls I might have damaged along the way.
I was doing my devotions this morning, and speaking of that last phrase and since you like OT nuggets… you know how David was a man after God’s own heart? And it seems like the biggest evidence of that is David’s patience and waiting while God dealt with Saul, how he asked forgiveness for even cutting Saul’s robe? Let’s contrast that with Saul, who (as I was reading this morning) couldn’t even wait a few hours for Samuel to show up to do the sacrifice properly. The world would totally have backed Saul. Samuel was late, Saul was in a war, he’d waited a week, no messengers, he got it done. But God wants us to wait for Him, to show faith. God made David wait for how many years? But David wouldn’t rush God, no matter what. A lesson for me, God values faith so highly. (That was fairly random and OT, but I thought you’d enjoy it).
Oh and go ahead and comment away, I enjoy the conversation. 🙂
I’m not so sure I’d qualify as someone who openly confronts bad doctrine, either. I’ve had to learn to study holistically as a matter of self defense, and it bothers me a lot to come across questionable teaching. Often my responses reflect an internal reaction, and I don’t mind backing my views with Scripture. But ultimately, I think I just get in God’s way when I dive too deep.
It is interesting to be able to hear a bit more about your background. Jesus said of the woman who washed His feet with her tears “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”
I don’t believe He meant that the woman was especially more sinful than the Pharisees who had sneered at her, as He made it clear that all of us are filthy on an internal level. Rather, it appears He is teaching them that only those who are willing to see and admit to our own sinfulness (she couldn’t deny her guilt) can truly appreciate Jesus’ gift of forgiveness. When we remain pridefully oblivious to our own depth of depravity, we will always notice someone who appears to be worse off. As a result, we will eegularly engage in self-righteous evaluation of everyone else’s sin even as we give lip service to the idea that we ourselves are also “sinners”.
At any rate, the more accurate picture we have of our offenses against Jesus, the more we will love Him for what He has done.
A lesson for me, God values faith so highly. (That was fairly random and OT, but I thought you’d enjoy it).
Thank you for sharing your devotional thoughts! The building of faith is an ongoing lesson for all of us, I suppose. The author of Hebrews emphatically stated that “without faith, it is impossible to please God”. And I know there are times when I have failed to trust Him completely.
I do love the OT 🙂 David’s life is a fascinating parallel to Jesus’, and I agree that his heart for the Lord is reflected in his patient trust in God’s plan for David to be given his kingship at the appropriate time.
This is a wonderful preview of Jesus’ contentment to trust His Father instead of consorting with Satan to become “king of the world” while short-circuiting the ordained redemptive process…Also, as David’s example foreshadowed, He didn’t use His position as God incarnate to prematurely insist that everyone worship Him instead of mocking or spitting on Him or whipping Him or driving spikes into His limbs…Like David, He endured the rejection and persecution of the current leadership while placing complete trust in God’s faithfulness.
OT study is awesome!
On my sewing blog reading this morning, I came across this blog/discussion group, and I think you (and a few other friends) might find it good/useful. Check it out and report? I looked at the first blog and it was good.
I was able to visit your link! Although I’ve not read enough to be able to recommend her blog as solid biblical teaching, her focus on Scripture and thankfulness is lovely and could be very encouraging. I do believe the Lord desires for us to learn to be grateful in all circumstances.
There were a couple things I wondered about, but am not yet sure whether they are legitimate concerns or just related to a lack of background info and a misunderstanding of her writing style. I’ll have to read a bit more, I suppose.
Cool. 🙂 Well, that’s the thing – check ’em out and see whether they bless or not.