Chapter 3: Tangled-Up Roots
Back to the beginning, the author’s roots. Raised by parents who discovered Christianity as adults. The entire time I was reading this chapter all I could think was how lucky she was to find the church environment she did find. What if instead of that she had found the cult I was semi-raised in, would she feel the same way?
She writes how there was no sense of hierarchy. Where every church I have ever been in there has always been a sense of hierarchy. Women were only good enough to teach Children’s Sunday School not the adult class, unless it was a Woman’s group and that depended as well (usually was the lead woman’s husband). Otherwise Spiritual leadership has always been directed by a man.
I wish my first experience with speaking in tongues had not been so terrifying and that someone had taken the time to explain it to me. Instead of telling me it was evil and banning me from those friends.
The miracle she mentions, is very interesting. I believe her father was stressed out and high anxiety. I don’t believe it was a miracle or a faith conversion healing. I believe her father found an outlet for his stress and that removed his issues. Running makes me feel awesome has the same results for me. I love though that her parents stuck to the religion and after 40 years of marriage were still shinning examples to her. Most Christians who start this way don’t last.
Halfways through the chapter, Sarah is exposed to reality where women are not in leadership positions in churches. She goes to Texas of all places (Texas is one of the last places I would want to go).
I feel like Sarah and I would get along. We believe similarly. The big difference is she pulls from the bible what she needs, while I pull from culture. She blames culture for inequality, homosexuals, etc. While I blame religion.
“Cultural mores were passing as biblical mandates.”
An interesting chapter. Taking the book in a direction unexpected. I feel like my Search for Understanding Project, of crying out my questions and reliving through all that I was taught, is similar to her idea of “lean into the pain”.
Eschatology - is the study of 'end things', whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, the end of the world and the nature of the Kingdom of God.
Quotudian - of or occurring every day; daily.
Cognitive Dissonance - is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.
Rhetoric - the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.
I totally grew up on Bullfrogs and Butterflies: God Is My Friend! The songs are so catchy!
Discussion Questions and My Answers:
How did your parents’ stories or family history impact your understanding of God and your place in the kingdom? I actually don’t know about my Dad’s path to Christian or his parents. Pretty sure they all grew up in the church and followed that path without questioning anything. If Dad every questioned anything he never shared. Mom is a different story. She is the only Christian in her family. There is a lot of drama behind that story. It makes sense Mom went the direction she did. I have never really thought about how that affected me. It definitely showed me conflict between one growing up thinking this way and another having no idea which path to go. It showed me different options and that there was a different path for every person. It also created a lack of security, because there was no together attitude about religion. It was everyone for themselves.
Can you think of a woman in your childhood who stood out as “using her gifting” maybe even in spite of the laws or traditions of the church? Two women stick out in my mind. But not because they resisted or pushed the boundaries set by the church. One because she was a teacher and spoke harshly, but my memory of her is faint and distant. Her husband was soft and gentle and she was the complete opposite. But together they are a very powerful ‘spiritual’ force. I wonder how they would stand up now to my childhood memory. The other was because she did everything in her power to stay in the church perfect role and she excelled at it. She was the perfect one everyone looked up to. Always dressed the perfect look, always had her head covering, had a dozen children, homeschooled them all and had them all perfecting well-behaved. Now her oldest child's writes a blog that is horrendous, he promotes a cult and she defends him. It’s crazy and scary and I am so glad I got out.
Think about how gender differences were framed for you as a child or as a new believer. What stands out to you looking back? What do you understand as truth today? I think my description of women #2 in the above question states pretty well how I feel. What I understand as truth is that religion is subjective to a man or woman’s perspective and they will use it however they want to get what they want. It’s wrong.
Have you ever had big questions you didn’t feel your church wanted to hear or help you answer? How have you wrestled with those questions? Tons and that is the biggest purpose of my two main projects - The Feminist Journey and Search for Understanding.
I would love to know your thoughts on everything I have written here today! Please leave a comment, however please behave with honesty, integrity, and allow for other people’s opinions. Thanks for reading!!
I'm a lifestyle blogger, covering deep subjects including body images, battles with food, and overcoming how I was raised. I try to be as authentic as possible and I don’t sugar coat how I see things.