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Thursday, October 28, 2010

I keep crying in my Systematic Theology class...

...and I wonder if my professor is getting concerned. Last week, I sat in the very back of class sniffling over my lack of sanctification. Not really a big deal. Is it normal for people to cry about this in class? No, probably not. But, God has made me a woman who is very comfortable with my emotions, and shedding tears doesn't display weakness in my opinion - or if weakness, so be it.

Today, however, my sniffling turned into big, rolling tears down my face. In the front row. So, Dr. Johnson, if you're concerned over my well being know that I am not going through a difficult time outside of class - I just really hate talking about election. And predestination. And reprobation. And high Calvinism. It is not that I don't affirm that God is wrathful or just, I just can't stand sitting and thinking about all the people in my life who don't know Him, and, might not ever even have the chance. My family, my friends, predestined for hell? My heart breaks. I do not want to talk about the doctrine's truth or untruth, I do not want to discuss it at all. (I do not want Green Eggs and Ham...) Sorry. I couldn't help it.

God has given me a compassionate and sensitive heart. I remember when my mom would raise her voice at me when I was a child, even ever so slightly, I would burst into tears at her reprimanding. Her discipline was always so slight because I cried before the punishment was even given.

Back to predestination. I really would like to talk about it more. The classroom seemed so tense today though. Like I was suffocating. Like if I had said anything in opposition or just something like "But, hey, this makes me sad. Is that okay? Is God mad at me for thinking He is mean? I know in my heart He is not. But. Yeah. I'm thinking that." Maybe I don't want to talk about it. It's not like I've never grappled with these thoughts before, I have since I was 16. I cried then too. Whoever is brave enough to talk to me about it better be ready for some spontaneous tears falling.

It comes down to this: I love people. I don't want them to die. I want them to have a chance at living the way I know you can live: as a real human, restored to our Maker. But not everyone even has that chance. Some are just made to be hardened. My brain says, "Well, Emma, we can't understand everything about God." It's true. We can't. I don't want to, I like the mystery of God. But, my heart says "This hurts. This isn't fair. Why this way?"


5 comments:

Donna Boucher said...

I agree.
I'll think about it tomorrow.

And one more thing... No one knows for sure...
So why put so much stock in this interp.

I'm gonna have to buy you a hankie.

JalapeƱo said...

I completely agree...and I agree with Donna...no one knows for sure...

The bible college that I went to was the exact opposite of Calvinism...no predestination...only free will...it confused me a lot...I came out knowing that either way, I need to love people and share Jesus with them.

Doctrine only matters to the point that Jesus is God's only Son...He died to save us from sin...and He rose again to new life, leaving us with the gift of the Holy Spirit...now we just need to get out there and share that knowledge!

Emma said...

Well, I think doctrine matters. I know it does. I understand where you are coming from though.

I think my biggest problem with this is that at Moody, over-emoting equals post modernism, and the uplifting up feminism. But modernism uplifted man in a negative way too, we need a balance of both. I know this is kind of a different topic, but the way I felt in this class was that God is without emotion yet Jesus is so full of emotion - Jesus is the image of God, and so are we! There needs to be a balance.

Larissa Kay said...

Emma,
I love you dearly. I cry in class too and its really okay.
I, however, utterly disagree with your overgeneralized comment on Moody and emotions (and I think you do too).
The sheer fact that Johnson talks about God's wrath demonstrates God has emotions. The fact that Peterman gets emotional in class when he talks about pre-destination, demonstrates that Moody does not inherently equate emotions with feminism or post-modernity.
I think, because it was a difficult class for you, you're reading it in very negative eyes and being unfair to Moody in general, where I've learned that its okay to be a theology major and have strong opinions, but to also cry about those opinions. I have seen more professors in tears in my theology classes than I have in my women's ministry courses. A strange and sad thought.

Side note: Read "Evolving in Monkey Town," she might not help you grapple with election, but she will make you okay with being angry with God over what we cannot understand. I'll bring it to you someday.

Pro Football Now said...

Understanding Doctrine & Theology is a struggle. It is one of the major contradictions as a person of faith. We are not saved by works, but works are what prove we are saved. We have free will, but God knew who would be in his Kingdom before Adam & Eve were even on this planet. Good thing you are not the cynic that I am. God is Love. That is really all that matters. We all like to make a big deal of how much we know or what verses we can quote or whatever, but God wants us to love people, and make disciples (considering those were his last words on Earth). I should probably stop talking now.

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