Saturday, May 14, 2016

what kind of sword is Love

In 2012, I divided a longer post into a series I titled, What Kind of Sword Is Love. Part Two of that series is the only one that was finally published.

Recently, Part Two was published to a larger audience at Logos Post, a website created by Kyle Patterson, who has heard a call to a new type of Christian missionary. Patterson writes,
"At Logos Post, we believe the kingdom of God must permeate every aspect of our cities, nations and cultures. We believe God wants to position his people as leaders in media, government, business, education, arts and more. So we're calling forth a new breed of full time missionary: those called to media that want to serve the Lord with their gifts in writing, video and media. We call them media-naries."

Many years ago, while my children were being educated at home, we belonged to a home educators group at First Baptist Atlanta, where Dr. Charles Stanley's worldwide ministry, In Touch, is housed. At the time, the campus for the church was still in downtown Atlanta. Our group met on Wednesday evenings, so the children were able to be part of the midweek program FBA administered.

I was an Episcopalian, and my children had been raised in the Episcopal version of the faith, as had I. My grandfather, however, was a Baptist minister. I had diverged into the Baptist faith a couple of times before. I liked to say that I had been raised with a foot in both camps: it gave me a wider understanding of the faith, and it was an understanding I valued highly, and still do.

I wanted that for my children.

Uneasy, however, at where the Episcopal faith was diverting, we began to worship on Sundays at Dr. Stanley's church, and would eventually join the church. I would briefly serve there, as I had in other churches in both denominations, in Christian education. 

It was at Dr. Stanley's church that I heard a strange call to the mission fields.

Or so I interpreted it. Without going over details from a story I have told elsewhere, a call to the mission fields was so impossible that 'fantastical' is the only word that will describe it. I was a stay-at-home wife married to a man who repudiated the Christian faith, had two kids I was home-educating, and didn't really even want to drop all, and go out into the world as a missionary. 

I worked at a variety of part-time jobs, while I was raising my children, but even those few hours interfered, as I believed, with my 'mission' to raise my children.

But there it was. Clearly, I was being led somewhere.

I do not doubt that, even these years—and changes—later. We would eventually return to the Episcopal fold, and, as the children left home, my marriage would end. My life wobbled, then found a footing.

But I had drifted away from the church, and as of now, have not been able to succeed in returning.

Yet I have never been far from this idea that I am charged, as many are, with a particular message for the faith (several of them, in fact) and that I must get that message out...

And that I linger at Tarshish, and do not do.

Those who might still know Passeres, begun in 2007 (perhaps twelve years after that strange and fantastical calling—which I must state was neither the first, nor the only sense of God calling, although certain features make it one of the more dramatic), or my other blogs, or have corresponded with me over the years, may be aware of how I have struggled with the issues that are the 'message(s)' with which I have been charged.

I do not mean for an instance that I have wavered from what I know is true. 

Or that I did not know, from the get-go, that, when God gives a call, He often sends the servant into a quiet place that may well last for years, before He uses the individual called. 

I knew, too, the links between 'brokenness' and service.

How God uses what is weak in us, rather than what is strong, in His kingdom work (2 Cor. 12:10). 

While Passeres was an 'all-purpose' blog, it more than concerned itself with the issues that remain my calling, although they were, for the most part, relegated to how those issues were dividing the Episcopal church.

It is easy, however, to see how Kyle Patterson's call to those of us who use the media for our mission fields might have caught my eye, or why I see now that, even in the midst of looking for wider audiences for the work I have already written, I must return to my blogging.

In the years since I began to ask the questions that I do, however, the platform for 'telling' has narrowed. The recent action of the Supreme Court to legalize gay weddings in this nation—and now, the recent action from the administration of Mr. Obama 'directing' schools to allow bathroom privileges to transgender students—these narrow the field even further. A polarizing of belief structure regarding homosexuality and the faith—whether it is 'truly' the belief of a majority in the country (or the world) or the work of disinformation agents—likewise narrows.

And while the issue of gay rights as it is received by the faithful is a large portion of my own Nineveh, it is not the only item therein. 

But I am not going to plainly set out my Tarshish, here, anymore than my Nineveh. Each has been covered, and will be covered again, in other places. For now, I am setting in some sense of history, for newer readers, and yes, purpose, for this blog, which has been sitting here largely untended since I left it, in 2013. I would urge readers to join with me in an understanding that the material covered here should not be regarded as 'yesterday's news,' but rather, a resource—more, a handing on of the blueprint He left us, until His coming again...

And recommend that they bookmark the blog, and use the sidebar to the right of the page to read further, and often.

I will commit to a post a week here, as I have committed with the other blog that I recently (and quite 'accidentally') found myself engaging. I find several items about blogging as a medium more pleasant than more formal writing; as I return to blogging, however, I want to be careful that I do not fall to some of its larger pitfalls.

Blogging has 'grown up' a bit since I first worked with it, and while some of that is good and some of it less so, this is not the place to examine such.

I want to close with the original portion of What Kind of Sword Is Love

It remains as the journal entry in which it began, and was either written in 2012, or merely 'found' then. Journal entries are often of note because they show unformed thought, which might present the background to later, more formal thought.

If it is possible to work the other two drafts of the series into a cohesiveness that will communicate anything needed, I will do so before any further work here.

The original (and opening) portion to What Kind of Sword Is Love follows:

[adapted from the journal
What I know God sees: who I am. 
What I know God knows: Love, and loving me. 
Yes, indeed, the battle is fought at a different level there, for if I know that God sees all that I am, and, in knowing me, loves me, then I know He sees others in the same way. 
Yet because of the present day, and the 'inclusive' lies about the Love of God, Christ's railing against the Pharisees—the liars—the ones who used "the system" of righteousness to replace relationship and 'present/in the moment being' with God who Loves... 
Has to be kept in focus.
Yet, too.
That place where Christ railed against did not stop there.
The Cross. 
And the Son who says, Father, forgive them for they do not see ["know"] as You see.
They do not know what they are doing... 
How then, do we wield the sword of our necessity in this day wherein it is not just a system of righteousness that is being held up as the approved Way of God... 
But a very lawlessness is being held out as that Way. 
How can Love be a sword? Truth, certainly, is the sword. The very Spirit of our God is, as Scripture says, a sword. But how we DO battle, when Love is the necessity. 
Is Love sword, shield or the very Way upon which our feet must travel.

[Editor's notes. I highly recommend Dr. Henry Blackaby's training course, Experiencing God (the workbook, not the textbook) for people who are aware of a call, but unable to understand the process of how God often works.

That He does not always follow a template, however, remains a given. The Spirit is like the wind...)