Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Wedding Ring: Is It Worth It? #6




Friends, certainly you understand that when a blogger gets this many comments, time alone will not permit him or her to respond to every comment.

“Biscuit” gives us a kind, thoughtful, rational comment. Thank you, Biscuit. I will respond in red, so all can clearly follow.

biscuitsaid...

I really appreciate the civility you keep, and inspire, and also your willingness to hear both amen's and perhaps disagreements.

I have been "CHM" for almost 62 years, so have seen quite a few changes over the years of what is acceptable, fashionable, etc, in this culture.

I was in one of the stricter groups, but have changed some of my views on what is Biblical and what is not.

I do think I see your main point, "is it worth it"? You are looking at it from a standpoint of is it worth it to cast aside some things.

Let me clarify: My point is a little bit more than that. I am asking, when you have a platform, an influence, when you have convinced people that you are on the same page with them and they have grown to trust and admire you, and you choose to walk away from that and embrace instead your freedom over an issue of the flesh that really doesn’t matter, is it worth it? Do you see the subtle difference? My concern is not that you are casting aside "a tradition of questionable legality" but that you are embracing "a tradition of questionable legality" and casting away what really is valuable.

I look at it from the standpoint of is it worth it to continue retaining certain "standards", if you will, that continually drive the numbers that ANYONE can reach, down the tubes.

Please note, while there’s no virtue in being small, it’s certainly not a principle of Christianity that we should just do things for the numbers.

On the other hand, my friend, people don’t care whether or not I have a wedding ring on. Not wearing one doesn’t hurt my influence. My attitude (based on how I think) about the issue is everything. If I do not think as a legalist, people sense that.

My college years were spent on a university campus.  My fellow students respected me. One lesbian friend even asked me to pray with her. My choice of attire did not affect my influence negatively. To the contrary, it caused people to pause and think and question, “Why? What does she value?” It took them to the questions of eternity, of what matters, of God. I also have many Christian friends from many backgrounds. I have been told numerous times that they appreciate my attitude.

The CHM has touted "Christian education" as the solution for saving our kids, but it seems that many who have been through the system, when hit by adulthood and having to engage with the rest of the world, in fact, don't see much from their past worth holding onto.  (For those who have trouble processing honest observations, this is not an attack on Christian education or a promotion of public schools, it is a concern that we have oversimplified the problems and the solutions.)

I saw my own denomination nosedive over the video issue in the 1980's, and then the Internet issue ever since then.

Was it worth it, to lose membership, attendance, and thus, the "reachable", to keep such legalistic stances on some things that are not Biblical stances (although I agree that the sins one can get involved in by any media are indeed valid issues)?

My posts clearly do not affirm a legalistic mindset. I am not suggesting that there are not major problems in the CHM. My first post stated, “There is much confusion in our midst...”

I fear we all pick and choose things we hold dear.

I think you are a very wonderful person, by your attitude and desire to truly be a child of God, and influence others for good, and God.

But (there is always a "but" :) ), what about "things pertaining to men"? When I was growing up, only men wore bill caps...my Dad wore one all day, and even on the way to and from church...but he left it in the car! Now, women in the CHM wear them outside, to garden, play ball, picnic, etc. I see you are wearing one in your profile picture.

Do I think they pertain to men? No.

Friend, let me tell you my first response, based on a non-legalistic mindset, based on a Christ-like perspective—as best I understand it. When you mentioned the bill cap, my first thought was, “Oh, my, I never dreamed that was an issue. If that offends someone, I don’t have to wear those. Maybe I should change that picture. Bill caps certainly don’t matter in the light of eternity.”

Of course, we could go crazy trying to make sure we don’t offend anyone on every issue, so I have to balance that heart response with logic and a rational understanding of the Bible. Given my place in life, I have to in faith say, “Father, would it be best for me not to wear bill caps?”

As a follower of Christ, as a person who trusts Him and is seeking to walk in His steps, I am willing to question myself about anything. I have died to my right to anything. I die moment by moment to my flesh and its desires.

But do you see the shift?

Not meaning to ignore your question, for I certainly recognize that over the years accepted attire goes through changes. That just isn't my point in these posts.

My concern is that issues are divisive, when scripture is not clear on certain things, rings and jewelry being one issue.

I know, the rightness or wrongness of jewelry is not your point, but "is it worth it"?

I would ask the CHM, of which I am still a part, "Is it worth it, to hold on to certain standards that can only be traced back a few dozen decades, or less, when they become the separating point, removing people from the influence of real salvation and holy living, by setting standards that are very hard to argue, from a Biblical standpoint.

Again, I appreciate your values, sensitivity, and sincerity.

Language is fascinating, is it not?

“Is it worth it” can point in different directions. And so then we have to determine, what is the valid question. I’d like to bring this point up in the future.

Thank you again, Biscuit, for taking the time to share your thoughts kindly.