Post Number: 13743
|Posted on Monday, June 04, 2012 - 4:01 pm: || |
I’ve just received permission to share the following email I received from a friend of mine, a never-been-Adventist, who graduated from Loma Linda University Dental Hygiene program about 10 years ago. She recently read the blog copy about being a Christian after being an Adventist woman (you can read the blog here: http://blog.lifeassuranceministries.org/2012/05/06/adventist-woman-becomes-daughter-of-the-king/#comment-1572) and responded. She had attended Pacific Union College before LLU, and she lived in the dorms.
Reading her responses was amazingly insightful and validating. I had to share this:
I just wanted to let you know that I loved your daughter of the king blog. I totally remember the “power SDA ladies”, in horrible pantsuits…with no make up, trying to look tough, when what they really needed was a cheeseburger to stop them from starving to death. I don’t know why the male/female roles were always so kinda put down/ flirty/ weird. I guess your best hope was to be kinda of “sporty” or athletic or extremely fit, since you couldn’t do your hair, wear earnings or slap on some lipstick. (So many young college girls dreamed of being able to wear nail polish…so sad. So many artist friends wanted to wear make up.)
The irony of course, is that living in Southern California, it’s plastic surgery mega, not to mention the I-10 freeway is full of “gentlemen’s club” billboards. Then, being in hygiene with the pretty girls, it was make-up central, with designer jeans and lots of surgical “improvements”. So funny that there was no middle ground…either skin tight trampy or nothing. SDA young women were not learning how to be both spiritual mature and pretty…you had to be one or the other.
If you wanted to look feminine, then you might as well go all the way and chase after the world, because looking pretty won’t get you far in church or SDA businesses. (Love how you can judge one’s faithfulness by whether or not you have pierced ears.) If you wanted to be taken seriously, you needed a whole closet of plain clothes, and you be rather plain yourself. I’m sure you aren’t surprised by the extreme hidden rebellion of well placed tattoos, piercings, etc. Poor young men, seeing two radical different kinds of womanhood—it leads to distortion for both genders. There is something freeing about being yourself and being accepted by Jesus…no strings attached.
Being an “outsider” made it a lot easier to see the “weird” stuff. My imperfect but Christ-centered Northern California home Sunday church is where I learned where faith, modesty, and genuine beauty come from. Respect, dignity, confidence, and kindness can’t be purchased. Powerful women at church were faithful servants, loving, prayerful, funny, wise woman, who loved their husbands and kids.
They were respected by everyone because they were smart, but never boastful; they were rich in God’s mercy and not critical. Beauty came from their joyful attitude and their smile.
Contentment in simple things, gave way to gratitude. Happiness was not found in “stuff”, but in real relationships. They were pretty, in a classic sense.. .never overly trendy, but timelessly elegant. Did they have their ears pierced, wear make up and color their hair? I think so…but it was a non-issue…no one cared; it didn’t matter. There were bigger things to do than worry about how someone’s nail polish looked. Their prayers moved mountains, and their laughter filled rooms. Mostly they were genuine and transparent. I think that’s what I missed the most, going away…. I missed people just being genuine and transparent… not taking themselves too seriously.
So many SDA women were in competition with other women, with men, paranoid about being seen as weak. Money, position, education, status, your famous SDA last name—all were SO important.
At my Sunday church, character trumped looks. While these woman could enjoy all the “sins” of make up and jewelry, they was never taken to extremes…tastefulness, modesty and moderation were modeled.
While Christ has given us all things to enjoy, I don’t feel the need to gorge myself on everything. Maybe that’s the flaw of legalism: it leads to extremes, of being over the top. When I’m less concerned with rule keeping and managing, of defining every line that should or shouldn’t be crossed, I’ve got more energy to focus on Christ on less on judging myself and others. To be myself when I feel weak, vulnerable, emotional, and insecure is when Christ’s power is on display…even in my weakness. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Cor. 12:9).
In Christ’s church women don’t need to be managed, put down, sidelined, or shoved out of the way. They need to be freed up, to use their unique gifts and talents to follow Christ and inspire, motivate, and bless the local church.
Go be the timeless beauty God has made you to be…without shame!
Post Number: 407
|Posted on Monday, June 04, 2012 - 7:10 pm: || |
She absolutely nailed it Colleen. Wow what insights! I wonder how she managed to actually stay at PUC & LLU ???
After being in real christianity, how did she survive the counterfeit? She knew the difference; and she knew she was free & not part of it. But the pettiness of it, all the silly rules & legalism must have been something to bear.
But it's great to have her viewpoint now. We need to hear it.
Post Number: 1919
|Posted on Monday, June 04, 2012 - 10:53 pm: || |
I don't know this woman, but I LOVE her !!! She is ABSOLUTELY right !
Post Number: 128
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - 1:23 pm: || |
I've seen Sunday churches the same way, judging people by outward appearances (epistle of James)
While the author seems to uphold what is important and has the right attitude, there is a flipside, the world really teaches to flaunt the flesh, and to look more pleasing to the eye.
I have a young daughter and never thought at length about this until parenthood came my way. So many of the toys are so vain, warpaint sets and what not. We don't have a moratorium on makeup in our home but I also don't want my daughter growing up thinking she has to impress people, because the kinds of people that will be attracted by a snazzy polished exterior are not really the kind of people I'd want to marry her.
But I do also want to deeply express to her as she's growing up, the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and how the external doesn't really matter.
So to some extent, both extremes (ultra-conservative SDA v/s rampant unchecked worldly hedonism and mating like animals in heat) are trying desperately to outwardly impress others and court a sense of belonging and acceptance in their respective cultures, when what matters is belonging and being accepted in the King's Court.
This world is in darkness, the idea of insulated sub-cultures in Christ is very appealing to me, my wife, as well as some of you here, had to explain all the false Gospel stuff before I was wary of the SDA any more than I am wary of established churches in general. I also have a feeling I regard holiness churches, like certain Pentecostals, much more highly than Former SDA's do. (The Millerites were one of the groups that came out of the holiness movement of the 19th century if I understand the history correctly)
Post Number: 129
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - 1:25 pm: || |
Sorry, one too many commas:
This world is in darkness, the idea of insulated sub-cultures in Christ is very appealing to me. My wife, as well as some of you here, had to explain all the false Gospel stuff re the SDA.
Post Number: 13745
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - 6:32 pm: || |
The author of the piece above really is a remarkable woman. She's now in her early 30's, and she and her husband have one adopted daughter who was an at-risk baby, and one child to whom she gave birth about a year ago. She went from dental hygiene into an intercultural studies masters program with a emphasis in missions from a Christian university, and I've seen few women her age who are so firmly grounded in Jesus, in Scripture, and in reality.
Colossians, yes--the world is always around us and always pulling at our flesh. But what she describes in her piece above is different from "the world" because it claims, concurrently with all the craziness and feminism and competition and seduction, that is is Christian. It claims these polarized dynamics are natural temptations within "the church", and they are not. They are natural temptations that pray on natural man...they are not "normal" within the church.
Of course, these dynamics can occur within Christian congregations, but when they do, they are encroachments of deception and sin instead of the natural fabric of the organization.
What is described above is the NORMAL stuff of Adventism, not the aberrant acting out of selfishness in a group that is trying to be holy. Adventism is not part of the church; it is a cultic group masquerading as the church.
When we come out of Adventism having been steeped in what she describes above, we have to learn "normal". We have to discover what is real for born again Christians. It is shocking to discover that the "natural" dynamics we learned to use are not normal within Christ's body. They were sin.
What we have to realize is that any kind of "holiness" we pursue apart from being born again and submitting ourselves to the Lord Jesus as a living sacrifice for His glory is a work of the flesh and counts for nothing. Both legalism and libertine-ism is of the flesh, not of the Spirit.
Post Number: 525
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - 8:10 pm: || |
AMEN and AMEN !!
Post Number: 132
|Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - 12:39 am: || |
Colleentinker, yes, there's no subtext with me, I started my post saying my concerns weren't about her, just in case you thought I was implying she was upholding 'the world' well I was not, I'm not one to speak between the lines, but for better or worse you've probably already seen as much about me from my activity here this was the real issue I was trying to nail down:
I've been around different holiness churches, Pentecostal and Apostolic mostly, and I agree with their concept of modesty, but I also know it's not about salvation and is taken to extremes in churches. One of the reasons the stark differences of SDA doctrine had to be hammered into me, is because I'm used to all holiness churches being labeled cults.
I don't think you or the OP quotation are saying this, but to many places, like these anti-cult organizations, modest dress, no makeup, women not cutting their hair or wearing pants, are all considered signs of a cult. I'm torn on the issue, I think sacrificing things pleasing to us for God is devotional and good but in no way tied to our salvation, like John the Baptist's humble dress and diet. I think if we begin ostracizing members of a congregation who aren't making those sacrifices then that is obviously evil, and I know for a fact the world just wants people to feel inadequate and sell their flesh for whatever pennies of praise and attention they can get, what with all the emaciated air-brushed illusory sex idols on the cover of the 'fashion' rags at the checkout line.
I understand the dynamic you're describing with being in Adventism and being used to these mechanisms and having to 'get over them' I was not trying to detract from that at all, it's just something I don't have personal experience in and so was instead commenting on my concerns of modesty v/s the world.
People read verses about modest dress, not braiding your hair with gold and all that, and they take on observances. I guess I just want to find a practical middle ground to raise my daughter in. Once upon a time a church leader, a pastor's wife, taught that the girls should not wear panties because they have leg holes like pants(men's garments), true story- and what happens when these observances are taken to extremes. I believe the verse is more victor victoria dressing like a man, cross dressing, there is such a thing as female pants.
I have no doubt that you or the quoted person would not endorse immodest dress or behavior, but I know there's merit in both sides(adornments/plainness), freedom in Christ Jesus is more important than some arbitrary legal code, but I know that inevitably times will arise when these issues will come up among the peer group, be it at school or where ever, who has ears pierced, who gets to wear makeup. I just don't want her to think she needs any of that, because it's a bottomless pit of expectations society has in store.
I'd say the only thing holiness counts for, is not sinning, it doesn't save us, but it may reduce the options for sinning.
I guess the point I'm at right now is,(of course the central message is a given, Jesus Christ saves us):
freedom in Christ Jesus is far more important
but I wouldn't want my kids to get too cozy with the world
And I do still respect the holiness movement, as long as they're doing it for God and not for man, and as long as they aren't preaching a false Gospel.
I also wasn't trying to change the topic from the original post, it just raised a lot of general issues i've been pondering
Post Number: 224
|Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - 8:25 am: || |
As a father of daughters... I came too late to the game to get a good seat.. but have since seen something much bigger.
May I re-phrase what I think you are saying?
The way to avoid having "...my kids to get too cozy with the world" is to have them get close to Jesus. If that is what we"re getting at, I heartily agree.
My greatest temptation is to say "yes, and..." or "yes, but...".
Post Number: 13750
|Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - 3:01 pm: || |
Colossians, I do understand what you're saying...and Paulcross, you've said it well.
Here's what I'm learning, Colossians. The end of Colossians 2 says this:
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
(Colossians 2:20-23 ESV)
Within Christianity there are two "gutters" into which people fall, and there is active debate between these extreme positions.
Some Christians say that salvation is all by grace through faith, and our works count for nothing. Others say that our salvation is all by grace through faith, and our works show we believe. Whole systems of theology have developed around these two extremes.
Scripture teaches that our salvation is ALL of God; our behaviors/works count for nothing. Scripture also commands born again believers to say to "No" to worldly temptations and to demonstrate works of holiness. Both of these things are true.
Unless we realize what it means to live by the Holy Spirit, none of this will resolve, and it leads us into confusion and frustration, as you have implied above, Colossians. In a nutshell, any time we remove our eyes from the Lord Jesus, we begin to operate in the flesh. Movements that look to the Holy Spirit for more power or gifting are shifting subtly away from the Lord Jesus, and they begin to operate more in the flesh...because it is only by remembering and standing in what Scripture tells us about who we are in Christ that we avoid indulging the flesh.
The very best things...the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Fatherhood of God our Provider—these things become distractions from our identity in the Lord Jesus if we begin to spend our energy focusing on those things instead of submitting ourselves to standing in Christ: justified, sanctified, chosen, spiritually alive...etc.
We are heirs not primarily because God is our Father but because the Lord Jesus has ransomed us. Because He ransomed us, the Father adopted us. We are gifted not primarily because the Holy Spirit gives us Himself but because the Lord Jesus reconciled us to God with His blood, and His blood made it possible for the Holy Spirit to indwell and gift us.
When people forget who they are in Christ, or when they intellectualize those realities without submitting their identities to the Lord Jesus, they have no power over their own flesh. Even if they have believed in the Lord Jesus, if they are not ongoingly surrendering their dreams and desires and temptation to Him, they are still functioning in their flesh. This doesn't mean one is not saved; it means he is immature and vulnerable to deception.
When people are busy searching for holiness instead of submitting to and thanking God for the Lord Jesus and standing firmly in Him, they will fail to be holy. The holiness movements focus on the external evidences of a "Christian life". This focus does not make one morally righteous.
Rules exist for us to help those young in the faith or not yet born again begin to know how to live in the body of Christ. But these rules do not change one's heart or tastes. It is only when we surrender to the Lord Jesus and give Him our rights that we begin to experience the transformation that supercedes rules.
Rules for morality help parents set standards for their kids, for example, but they do nothing to change one's impulses. It's only when we submit to Jesus and trust that we are who He tells us in Scripture we are when we have believed that we begin to experience transformation and are no longer helpless against the flesh.
It's only when we submit our temptations to Him instead of fighting them ourselves that we have choice and victory. As unbelievers, we have no choice: everything we do is motivated by the flesh, with or without rules. As born again believers, we have choice: either we submit our temptations to Him and answer to Him, or we struggle with our flesh and try to manage it by will power.
Only when we stay focussed on Jesus, looking to Him, accepting who He says we are in Him, do we live by the Spirit. It is in submitting to Jesus, not to the Holy Spirit, that we experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul was clear: to me to live is Christ. There are no variations to this theme!
Post Number: 135
|Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - 5:57 pm: || |
Paulcross, Colleen, thanks for your input.
Yes, just faith and doing everything we do to the Lord.
I'll have to work on my tact though, when the questions surface why others are doing something that we do not do.