Monday, July 8, 2013

I know I'm unawesome, but because of Jesus, this knowledge is not crippling.

Dear friends. Female friends.

It feels good to have a guy tell you that you are awesome. That you deserve someone who would give up his life for you because you are good and strong and capable and powerful, like the great women of the bible. It feels good to hear this, because mostly, flattery does feel good. But it's not true. The bible teaches that you (and I) are distinctly un-awesome. Even our most heroic thoughts and deeds are tainted with selfishness and sin. We deserve nothing from God. Videos (and women's conferences) that preach this stuff won't help you. Hearing about how awesome you are will lead you to either despair in your obvious unawesomeness or feel a warped pride in your comparative awesomeness. Neither is right. The gospel is this: we are much, much worse than we can ever imagine - but God knows this and loves us anyway. The gospel is not that we are awesome, but that Jesus is awesome. Remember that. And please, please stop sharing videos like this.

Yours,

Simone.

30 comments:

  1. I'm afraid that you're awesome for saying so, Simone.

    I thought it remarkable that so many adjectives could be thrown around, and yet keep missing 'Christian' ones. 'Kind' got a brief look in, but after that...

    A sad case of the wrong cure for the right diagnosis.

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  2. Yeah, I reckon the video's off, but I remember Peter Adam saying to us at college that he never preaches sin without preaching our image-ness first. Because we are simultaneously glorious and depraved. I think you're right about the despair/pride thing but preaching sin without a creation theology probably has dangers too.

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  3. Ah, Simone. That (awesomely) hit the nail on the head.

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  4. Peter Adam said that? Nice. I'm glad.

    Seeing sin preached without a creation theology is a regular frustration of mine.

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  5. No one is awesome really but I don't even think your God is awesome. Seems to me that God has sinned (according to his deeds in his book).

    And it all depends who you're talking to: if a person has been spoilt all their life it's probably best not to tell them they're awesome. But if a person has had psychological and emotional harm all their life, then what you wrote will be the worst think ever.

    I think your God has sinned.

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  6. Nelle, that is a really big claim against God. Which deeds are you talking about?

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  7. I agree re. creation theology. We need to know that we are ALL God's good creation, made in his image and an expression of his loving creativity, in which he delights. To roughly quote CS Lewis, to be sons of Adam/daughters of Eve is pride enough to raise every head and shame enough to bow every knee.

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  8. God commands people to be killed just so his people can have some land. God supposedly predestines so e people to heaven and others to hell. God brings natural disasters on the world and kills masses of people. God ordered nations to invade Israel and rape their women and children. That's just the tip of the ice berg. I have a hard time believing your god even exists and if he does why would he carry on like he supposedly did I. The Old Testament only to sit on his hands these days while the people in his church abusers children, incite social hatred, and judge everybody who doesn't believe what they believe. I seriously think he's either done stuff seriously wrong or he isn't there at all.

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  9. I'm not a troll by the way. I'm a real person who really thinks these things. I've been to your church in cairns and was not impressed. So don't write me off as a troll.

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  10. Hi Nelle. Have I met you? If you're local I'd love to meet up and speak face to face about these things.

    It is inexcusable that people are abused by supposed christians in the church. If that has been your experience personally, please let someone know (the police! - or if it wasn't criminal, I can tell you the people you should speak to in various denominations.) But I hope you are not speaking for yourself here. Regarding your question - they are good questions. I don't have time to respond properly now but will either this afternoon or tomorrow.

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  11. In the meantime, this video might help with some of your questions : http://publicchristianity.org/library/the-old-testament-a-context-for-violence#.UkdFu6VjcnM

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  13. I have looked at videos on Public Christianity before. In fact I even have a nice Sydney Anglican B.Th. But those stock answers don't cut it for me anymore. You see, no matter what excuse you give God, it makes him sound like a terrorist. The modern equivalent is Islamic terrorism. They claim to be fighting for God against a morally depraved society. These days we are trying to protect ourselves from such terrorism and we feel right in doing so. Who was there to protect the elderly, the women, the children, the everyday people of those towns? God didn't did he, just as he doesn't now.

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  14. Thank you Simone. I am a child protection case worker. I've seen enough of what church people have done. As for me personally I was emotionally, spiritually and systemically abused by the church. In fact your church was the main offender for me here but it was before your time there. After leaving that church I have no interest in Christianity or any religion anymore. I'm not a local anymore. I had a transfer in my job and have moved to another town. I look forward to hearing your responses to my questions.

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  16. Nelle - as you can see, I've taken down that last comment. I'm good with you expressing anger towards our church, but this is not the forum in which you should complain about particular individuals. Please message Andrew with particulars and he will make sure that complaints are properly heard. andrew.richardson73@gmail.com

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  17. Oh well. I purposefully did not name names or disclose particulars for that reason. Anyway it figures, perpetrators always are protected by the church. I'll leave it had that. I have no faith whatsoever in the complaints process in that church. By the way, don't you think you're coming across a little patronizing now?

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    1. Sorry if I did. It wasn't my intention.

      You didn't name names but you described the positions of the people in such a way as it would take most of my readers under 30 seconds to work out exactly who you are talking about.

      I certainly don't want to protect any perpetrator. If you've got a complaint it's important that you make it - for your own sake and for the sake of others. Write to Andrew or to Presbytery or to the assembly. Or all three.

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  18. You know what I've done all of that (except Andrew because he wasn't there at the time) and guess what, the power is with the people of those positions and it was a waste if my emotional energy. Even presbytery acknowledged the wrings but folded their hands. Given my professional occupation I see their behaviour as gross negligence and I've exhausted myself on the complaints process. Anyway, due to my job I have had to move west anyhow and am building a new life outside the church and enjoying the freedom to be allowed to think for myself and question the theology that weighed heavy on me for far too long. The gospel and the bible don't make any sense when I think deeply about it and I can spot Sydney Anglican / John chapman/ John Dickson answers a mile away. I read and once enjoyed their books. But they fall short of adding up to compelling solutions to the problems I see in the whole doctrine of Christianity. Bad experiences in the church are just the last straw on a camels back if doubt, and a big heavy straw that last one was. I appreciate your offer of writing to Andrew but I am sorry I don't trust the church anymore to be able to follow another comaints process that I know will achieve nothing. It's too late now. I've moved on. God is not awesome to me anymore. In fact god and religion gave no relevance now. The horse has bolted. The church missed their opportunity long ago to assist me.

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  20. I actually enjoyed watching this video and have shown it to my daughter. We live in a world where young women are constantly told that they aren’t good enough. My teenage daughters worry that they are too fat, that their hair is too greasy, that their clothes are wrong, that they can’t leave the house if they have a pimple on their nose, etc. etc. The guy on this video tells women that it doesn’t matter what they look like, or what they do or who they are. He tells them that God loves them. Personally, I think there’s enough non-Christians out there telling our young women they are worthless. We don’t need Christians telling them the same thing. God loved us enough to die for us, so I guess he thinks we were worth it!

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  21. I agree Narelle. At the end of the day I don't care what people believe but if they start telling me or my children (or any children) that they're worthless then they've crossed the line. It's actually abusive to tell someone they're worthless and, it is grounds for having someone charged with child abuse. Incidentally I have never heard a non Christian call me or anyone useless. That's only something religious people say to get them to believe in a god who'd smitw defenseless people to hell for having a bit I'd self dignity

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  23. Nelle - I've been thinking about your situation. Do you think it would have made a difference if your husband hadn't been employed by our church?

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  25. what are you talking about? you can email me at nelletargh@gmail.com

    I think you have the wrong line of thought there.

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  26. How can I email you personal simone? I am quite concerned about your last message because I think you have your wires crossed and we need to clarify. This is the stuff that annoys me about church people. You think you know all about a situation and a person and make assumptions but you're entirely wrong. It would be better if you clarified this because I'm obviously not whoever it you think I am.

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  27. Perhaps not. But that gmail account didn't exist before 24 hours ago.

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  28. And? What, because I have read your blog off and on for a few months (at someone's recommendation) and created an account so I could comment, you think I am someone else? That's sad really. But, I guess you're just like the rest them huh? Oh well, I think you have the wrong idea and youre not willing to clarify that. That's a shame really.

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  29. I'm shutting this down now. Just so that anyone who happens to read this knows.... Nelle is the wife of a previous church worker. The appointment didn't work out for various reasons.

    There's only been one case of a situation like Nelle has described mentioned in presbytery. The information that she has given about her employment and Sydney BTh (rare in Cairns) match this person. There is no doubt that it is her.

    I'm sure that much avoidable hurt was caused by the way that the appointment was finished by the church. I'm sorry about that but it was well before my time and really has nothing to do with me.

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