Still thinking about those hats…….

Just a few more thoughts that grew out of the post about big hats,  below.

It’s a fine thing to offend the unsaved with the gospel of Christ.
But, knowing that Christ loves this church that He bought with his blood…and that it is precious to Him,  sometimes I feel fearful of saying what is on my heart to believers, as I don’t want to offend those who have slightly different understandings  than I do.  I  understand that there are other ideas than mine, held by sincere believers who love Christ as I do.
Not one of us grasps the entirety of scripture perfectly, as far as I can tell.  And sometimes it seems like too many people in the Reformed church think that in  order to be really Reformed, we all have to act like Martin Luther on steroids.   Reform is certainly needed in the church today, but it’s reform of our hearts first.   And so, humility and caution are most appropriate….  before we begin hacking at one another.

Speaking about faith and then doctrinal  belief on the internet, whether on Facebook or on a blog, brings more opportunity for mischief and misunderstanding than speaking face to face.  I find that there are so many ways to hide the elements of my faith that might REALLY rub someone wrong, or to just blab out what I’m thinking without considering how it may cause harm.    And I am not the only one struggling with this.  Sometimes I read “Christian Blogs” and am amazed at the lack of love, at the arrogance and at the failure to remember that we are to correct one another in love.
And I believe that where Hebrews 12:13 says “Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed”  speaks to our tendency to trip up the one we believe is in error, rather  than gently help him along to a better understanding .
We are told not to be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings, and we are also told to keep on loving each other as brothers.  (Hebrews 13)

So when I encounter people who claim Christ, but who hold to doctrines that I do not find in the Bible,  or who teach one doctrine while practicing something different.   Or who elevate one teaching above another,learning how to respond rightly  requires prayer, and scripture and patience and a fair bit of disciplined silence.  It is essential to know where my authority lies, and to be in the habit of obedience.  And I must love them first.  Whether I’m in the room with them, or reading their ideas on a screen.

It is really the  lovely sandpaper of the Holy Spirit on my soul for me to bow to scripture and receive instruction on how to step forward.   Because my own proud heart always wants to do the wrong thing.

So, first, I must examine myself. (2 Cor. 13)  I must look at my own motivations.  If I can say what’s on my mind with love, and if what I really am after is to help, not to criticize or to elevate myself.  Then perhaps I can speak.

A blog named “Fred”

I really love writing here, the same way I love sleeping late and walking alone in the woods.  But it’s hard to find the time.

I wonder how many people have a whole pile of things they love to do, which are kept on the shelf where they gather dust, because more important things and people have to come first.

Two years ago, I started writing a blog in a moment of desperation.  My mother had been visiting us for a month, and her needs were fairly time consuming.  And they were important, and it was a privilege to be able to serve her.  But with those responsibilities on top of the regular needs of the seven people I live with and love, I began to feel like I was drowning.  I knew that we would all do better if I could find a way to lift my sights a little, something to breath some cool oxygen into our lives so that I could move through each day in a less wooden way.

Skipping a few steps then, the blog and the challenge of 100 books and a marathon in a year all fell into my lap in one crazy weekend.  And, having taken on a blog, I had to NAME the blog.
So, that weekend, Audrey and I were in the car on the way to Garden Basket for groceries, with the windows down and the music up high, thinking about the enormous potential for me to neglect my family as I buried myself in books and marathon training.

We laughed loudly at the great humor of naming the blog “Get Your Own Lunch, I’m Reading”……picturing me hunched over a book in the living room with hungry children whimpering at me for a sandwich as I snarled back at them to feed themselves.

I did not in fact ever tell any of my kids to make their own meal so that I could pursue my hobbies.  But I did find that as long as I was serving my family well, the books and the running could never take the front seat position necessary for me to succeed.  And that’s OK.  It was a good year anyway and I learned so much.  And it did breathe some cool oxygen into our lives.

I am giving the blog a face-lift, and thinking of how to make it more my own, and less of a strange and awkward project which doesn’t fit into our lives.  So that I can just write here about what’s interesting to us.  Because , it turns out that that is really enough.

But , since one of the many many things I have learned from my little bump-up with blogging is that it’s really beautiful to serve where I am supposed to be serving rather than to show off where I should NOT……maybe it’s time for a new name.

I asked Jon  what he thought would be a good name, and he said “You could name it Fred.”
Then he looked at me over his bifocals with that “Doctor face” of his, and said   “You know, ‘fred’ means ‘peace’ in Norwegian.”
So maybe I will have a blog named “Fred”………

Unless a better idea comes along.