I’m the one who gets on your nerves, the one you wish would go away, I know. Maybe I embarrass you. Maybe I worry you. Maybe I anger you. Maybe it’s a bit of insecurity? jealousy? fear? Or maybe, just maybe, you’re afraid of people like me.

So.

Go ahead and say that I’m going to hell because I’m a charismatic woman, because I speak in tongues, because I believe in the mysteries of God. Go ahead and call me a heretic and a blasphemer, a wielder of strange fire, if it makes you feel better.

Go ahead and say I don’t love the Bible because I believe women are people, too. Tell me I’m in sin because Jesus is the head of our home and we submit to one another, and we both preach in church now and again.

Go ahead and say that I don’t have a right to write a book because I don’t have the proper letters behind my name, because I didn’t study in the ivory halls with that theologian you like to retweet, because I don’t have a properly footnoted thesis to back up the truth I know and practice in my life. I’m not worthy of being listened to with respect because I am a layperson, sure. Just because I love Jesus and can turn a phrase doesn’t earn me a place at your table.

Go ahead and say that I’m one of those grace people, one of those ones who forgets how to speak the truth, just too accepting. It’s all bit too loosey-goosey for you, it’s time for some authority to be exercised here. You like orderly boxes, ticked off boxes next to a list of position statements, I know. We’re starting to let this freedom stuff go to our heads.

After all.

I’m the happy clappy kind of Christian, oh, yes. I’m the one who speaks in tongues and lays on hands. I’m audacious enough to believe God is still speaking, still moving, still alive, still loving. I’m the one you warn the others about – stay away from that kind of mystic, you say, it’s a slippery slope. I’m the crazy one who worships with her whole body in her whole life – you might find me on my knees on a cold gymnasium floor with all the other renewal-ish people around me, or you might find me in a cathedral during Eucharist with my palms quietly up on my knees, receiving, always receiving, or you might find me in a field ringed with pine trees while I pray and pray and pray. I’m the dreamer of dreams, the speaker of visions, the heart-beating-faster with words of knowledge and unafraid to speak.

I’m the happily married mother of three who calls herself a feminist. I’m the one who grew up completely comfortable with female pastors. I’m the one who was raised to believe, live, and advocate for mutual submission, for full equality. I’m the one who dares to believe that women are people, too.  I’m debunking all your labels and accusations and fear-mongering with my very life. I’m the one who knows the Bible tells the story of wholeness and restoration, the Spirit demonstrates it, the community affirms it. I’m the one who believes that life in the Kingdom of God starts now: I’m setting up my little bonfire, a little outpost on the shore. This is my light and I’m going to let it shine: you are loved, you are free.

I’m the non-academic, yet another somewhat “pop” blogger with a book deal, another sign of the end of everything you hold dear perhaps. Blogging is dangerous because there is no gatekeeper. What will the people do without The Proper Authority to vet and approve the voices unleashed among the community of God? When else in Christendom would a woman like me have a voice or a platform or a book published? But isn’t it time, I say, isn’t it time for the everyday followers of Jesus, the ones who are wrestling, the ones who are living it out in our neighbourhoods and communities, isn’t it time for us to be heard, too, imperfect as we may be? The academics are worth listening to, so are the pastors, so are the older white men and traditional gatekeepers, absolutely: but make no mistake, you need to be listening to the rest of us, too. You need to hear and honour the voices and experiences of the non-academic, of the non-professionals, of the working class, of the middle class, of women, of the elders, of people of colour, of sexual minorities, remember the global voice, too. We are here, we are not voiceless, and we’re not waiting for permission to speak anymore. We got on with it long ago, we’re not waiting for you to notice us anymore.

I’m a big wide and messy orthodoxy. I’m the one who found Jesus in community centres and cathedrals, pubs and living rooms. I love the Presbyterians and the Mennonites, the Baptists and the no-names, the preachers of L.A. and the practitioners of the simple way, the megachurches and the house churches. I am a recovering know-it-all and I’m planted in the house of God, I love the family of God even when they drive me batty.

I’m not worried about boundaries and litmus tests, I’m not afraid of a slippery slope. I’ll lavish grace and invitation and proclaim love love love without fear. I don’t serve a God of Not-Enough, I serve a God of More-Than-Enough, More-Than-You-Can-Ask-Or-Imagine, a prodigal God, a lay-down-your-life God. You can warn me that I’m too generous, my arms are too wide open, too inclusive, as you draw your circles smaller and tighter until at last you’re the only one standing inside, alone. Narrative of scarcity or narrative of Christ’s abundance set before us, we give from what we have.

I get it.

If you can dismiss people like me, you don’t have to listen to people like me.

If you can dismiss me because I didn’t go to Yale or Fuller, because I’m a non-American woman, because I’m a lady-preacher, because I’m charismatic, because I still love the local church, because you don’t like my tone or my face or my age or my race, because I’m too much into All That Grace Stuff, then I’m not worthy. If you can dismiss us, you don’t have to listen to us regular little ones with small voices standing here along the shoreline.

Maybe you’re afraid because you know that I am one of many. And I am.  We’re the pew fodder, the grassroots rising up, the refugees from your systems and institutions, the subversives who stay, the ones slipping beyond your grasp. I’m one of the many outside who don’t care to sit around your tables anymore, we don’t play by your rules, we don’t need your  justification,  we’re not really longing for your approval, we’re beyond the reach of your tiny boxes and narrow constructs and boundary marker believership.

If you can discredit us or downplay us or disrespect us, you don’t have to listen to us.

And that’s just fine.

You don’t have to listen.

But I will speak the truth, even if my voice shakes. I will sing in the woods. I will stand here in the wilderness, head up, unashamed, following in the footsteps of Jesus as best as I know to do it, loving him into every corner of my existence, because, at last, at least, I am not afraid of you.

 

 

In which I talk a bit about writing
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  • Sharone

    GLORY.

  • Liz Myrick

    Holy cow, I am out of breath after reading that! Amazing! I think I need to read that last paragraph to myself every single day of my life. This is just perfect.

  • I fear that even “eshet chayil” doesn’t quite capture your beautiful, truthy, grace-filled, boldness here. Thank you for writing this…and for hitting “publish.” 🙂

  • i am becoming not afraid either….

  • Woo hoo!! (Sorry. I couldn’t contain myself.)

    Sarah, I am so glad you are speaking. I am listening hard and so grateful to hear your voice.

    Your post reminded me of Edwin Markham’s “Outwitted”:

    He drew a circle that shut me out–
    Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
    But love and I had the wit to win;
    We drew a circle that took him in.

  • Oh, Sarah…all I can say is “I’m sorry.”

    That Strange Fire conference broke my heart, and I did little more than hear about it. I believe truth should be defended, but that doesn’t entail attaching people or groups who still fall within Orthodox beliefs. It especially kills me because I’m one of those “Calvinist Charismatics” who apparently can’t exist because I’m an oxymoron. Well, ok, I’m good with that. A guy being fully man and fully God sounds like an oxymoron too.

    Scripture is full of tension. So, I absolutely believe seminary is important (spending only six months at a Bible college I can attest to the difference it made) but also that the church shouldn’t call the trained but should train the called, and that having a piece of paper isn’t the end game. Having a deeper love for Jesus and His people, and the ability to lead them well is the goal, regardless of whatever “leading” might mean in a given context.

    I’m sure you’ve received harsher criticism than I can imagine for Jesus Feminist, and I pray God gives you strength to continue to deal with that in love and grace. And that the boneheads with PhD’s would actually see your love for God and that this understanding would color their view of your book, even if they feel they can’t agree with you.

    Grace and peace. And hugs.

  • You raise a battle cry like no other, Sarah Bessey.

    Lord, I am unafraid … help me in all the ways I still tremble in my boots.

  • This is when we all join hands and come to understand what it means when angels say, “Be not afraid.” Beautiful, Sarah.

  • Amy

    YES!!!

    Thank you. “Maybe you’re afraid because you know that I am one of many. And I am.” Thank you for your beautiful, encouraging, shaking-yet-fearless words.

  • oh my damn YES.

    • Hahahahahaha! Best response ever!

      • confused

        why do we cheer on swearing? i don’t get it!

  • Beth Anne

    & then Clark Griswold said “Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?”

    You are brave & wonderful.

  • Sharideth

    Fundies better recognize. *snaps*

  • Woooo! This made my day! I might need to print it out and put it on my wall =)

  • AMEN! I’m getting riled up even as I read what you shared – yes, yes, yes! I am going to print out a copy to look at and get riled up again and again! Thank you so much for sharing your heart today!

  • *snaps snaps*

  • “Preach it Bessey,” she yelled with a sparkle in her eye and her hands lifted high. Because this is freedom. Fix your eyes on Jesus, girl. I have to believe he’s smiling at you and all those who stand beside you out here in the woods and the wilderness.

  • Boom. Love this!

  • goosebumps. so many goosebumps. and so much AMEN! and ESHET CHAYIL!! The Holy Spirit of God is so very much alive and well and on the move and I am praising Jesus for this and for you right now! And I echo RHE in saying “thank you for hitting “publish”!!!

  • Julie Gaglione

    be still my heart….love this, all of it…yes.

  • Amber-Lee

    Beautiful. I wonder (and hope) that maybe everyone who reads this is a little uncomfortable somewhere. We all need to look at ourselves from time to time. My BA is in Biblical Studies, and my MA will be in HIstorical Theology. I am the ivory tower dweller. So it hurts sometimes, and I get nervous sometimes, about all the “uneducated” pop blogs. But I also know that Peter was a fisherman and the mystics were always causing problems – holy problems. So preach on, sister!

  • Brian Dolleman

    Beautiful. Got chills and watery eyes reading this. Thank you.

  • KeepCalm/CarryOn?

    “Go ahead and say I don’t love the Bible because I believe women are people.”

    Someone said this?

  • karen huber

    I cried hot tears of frustration today in the kitchen when my husband said, “You not speaking up is you not being you.” So to this I say amen… and thank you.

  • damn. YES. wow. Preach. Snaps. ALL OF IT FOR THIS!

  • Jen P

    You just broke my heart and put it all back together again. So proud of you Sarah.

    Also, when are you going to record yourself reading this in “lady preacher” mode because that needs to happen.

  • Rachel Howe

    YES!!!! Well said. Amen!!!

  • Oh Sarah, thank you for writing. For releasing your words into the universe. And for always doing it with honesty, authenticity, and love. It blesses me so much.

    I read this and tears poured down my face. I seriously cheered. I think I’ll have goosebumps for days. You are a warrior. A loving, graceful, fierce warrior. I stand with you, unafraid.

  • Lovely. Well said and badly needed to be heard by those busy drawing tiny boxes to shut as many people as possible out.

  • YES. Lady you rock it.

  • Allison

    AMEN! I just had to post this to Facebook.

  • Kendall Ashley

    I had to resist the urge to let out a “WOOP!” at my desk here. Thank you for writing this, Sarah. Eshet chayil!!!

  • meganfriedokra

    This has been quite the day for lumpity-throated, proud, chest-bursting tears in my little corner of the world. Loved this so much.

  • Lindsey

    And the friendly Canadian let it get real. Amen and amen.

  • Karen

    There was a diamond add from a few years back that featured a man yelling in the midst of a public square, “I love this woman!” Thought about that today while reading this. I love this woman – this Sarah Bessey! I love her heart, I love her spirit, and I love her writing.

  • Megan

    You give me courage, Sarah. Thank you so much for your words. Keep speaking out!

  • Stomping around in the fields of grace with you, Sarah. Stomping and hollering and holding and weeping. Yes.

  • Angie Burke

    Read this in my rss feed and couldn’t get to your comments quickly enough! Wanted to cheer for our Savior’s work (the ongoing,pouring out, past present and future work), with my family. Knew they’d be here.

  • Rebecca Henrich

    AMEN and SELAH! Keep speaking, singing, standing, following, loving. Thank you, Sarah.

  • “But I will speak the truth, even if my voice shakes.” I have done that. But “they” that don’t listen sometimes have a great deal of power. Power to cut you down and hurt you deeply. Power to cunningly influence others in their opinion of you. Power to take away from you something you hold dear. At the moment I am wondering, is speaking the truth worth it? I know the answer in my head but when my heart is hurting so badly, I doubt. I waver.

    • Toni Newman Maritima

      Susan–please know that you are not alone. They sometimes don’t listen. Sometimes they cause more trouble than the truth-speaking seems worth. They sometimes have the power to change your life when you don’t want it changed. Even in the midst of this–when you doubt, waver, are in deep pain–the comfort of Christ’s love and his ability to heal is never farther than your next lungful of breath.

  • Mar

    Speak.

  • Fantastic. Beautiful. Thank you for this!!

  • PREACH, WOMAN OF VALOR!! *waves white handkerchief* Oh Sarah this is too wonderful for words.

  • Lynn

    I believe your soap box is anointed and your voice needs to be heard. Thank you.

  • So beautiful. Thank you Sarah!

  • Lindsay

    I don’t have the right words to capture how this message stirs my soul. I am breathless. Incredible. Thank you for dusting off the soap box for this one.

  • Becky

    ” I am a recovering know-it-all and I’m planted in the house of God, I love the family of God even when they drive me batty.” I love that you said this. Although I am not comfortable with everything you are comfortable with, I do NOT think you are going to Hell, that you don’t love the Bible or that you are a heretic. 😉 I think there is room for disagreements (Romans 14!) and that we Christians need to show each other some freakin’ grace, especially when it comes to our consciences!

  • Jeannette Altes

    Sarah, as is so often the case, you say exactly what I need to hear to bring the focus back. Thank you.

  • Sandy

    That description sounds a lot like Jesus.

    • dsm

      not quite.

  • pastordt

    Well, AMEN, sister. I’m with you, 1000%. Though I will say this, I’m more exhausted than I am angry, more weary than frightened. It’s getting so.damn.old. Enough. That is all. Enough. Thanks for speaking it, Sarah. Thanks.

  • I want to not be afraid.

    As it is, I watch you younger, bolder women and I’m breathless. I’m on my feet cheering.

    From my quiet corner.

  • snaps. I feel like you need to make a video of you doing that as a Spoken Word.

  • Celeste Wyatt Lee

    Amazing… your words so very often resonate with me… these words do so more than usual… I’m so tired of “boxes” and the hurt that comes with them… I was an elder in my church for over 10 years – but due to the “gatekeepers” I no longer even attend church… Your blogs keep me hanging on -thank you so much for them.
    As others have said in their comments – I hope you do read this in “lady preacher” mode! Please!

  • Besides the Canadian part, we may be twins separated at birth. Thank you for this outcry! It’s time “they” realize WE aren’t concerned with receiving THEIR approval or blessing, merits based on the filters of historical man. We are NOT craving their approval or “unleashing,” but rather, with eyes fixed on the One who filled me beside that Well, and commissioned me, I’m looking out at the harvest, praying my hands will be used to bring them to Him, with all His power, in all my messiness. Beautiful, beautiful, Sarah! Thanks, lady!

  • SimplySuzi

    Wow! That was so powerful! AND beautiful. Thank you.

  • Sandy Jones Fox

    Sarah, you make my heart sing.

  • Kirsten

    Thank you for writing this! Thank you for being a soul sister even though we have never met and making me feel not so alone and encouraging me to keep on in the real work of the Kingdom.

  • Woohoo! Love it when you keep bursting the doors open wider and wider Sarah!

  • Leigh

    You go girl! Really. Thank you for putting voice to this.

  • Jim McNeely

    Very awesome post, thanks!

  • Susanna Krizo

    Preach, sister, preach! We need to hear the word of truth! The laity is rising from the dust and the glory that follows will be in direct proportion to our struggles.

  • Hannah

    Thank you!

  • Ken Nichols

    Reading this was very cathartic. I’m not a women, or an author, or a blogger, or a sometimes pastor, so I COULD say I’m NOTHING like you. But in all the ways that matter in this post, I AM you. I felt your struggle for release from the bonds of “organized” religion. I’m there, too. I’ve recently discovered my freedom in Christ, but still occasionally hear those voices that make me doubt whether I’m “doing it right”. Voices like those at this Strange Fire conference. I used to sit under a pastor (whom I loved and still do) who was a prodigy of JMac. I lapped up his teachings like a kitty laps up milk. I admired his deep convictions in a world that seemed to want to tear down every Christian institution. But now, many years later, I beginning to think that maybe they NEED to be “torn down” for the truth of Christ’s love for EVERY MAN to be heard and seen clearly again. The church collective now seems to hide Jesus more than show Him. He is hidden behind walls of exclusion and fear of every type.

    So, thank you for writing this post. It was SO affirming to me that it’s OK to “be free”. To not be concerned with “dealing with my sin” every day because it is gone, once and FOR ALL. To not feel guilty because I no longer attend church (I’m open to it, just haven’t felt the Lord leading me anywhere yet.) regularly. To know that it’s OK to read and interpret scripture solely based on the Spirit of God I feel within my heart, in spite of the fact that I have come up with some seemingly “off the wall” ideas from such study. To embrace change, diversity, fluidity and discovery, a vibrancy to Christianity I never knew existed. Thank you so much. God bless.

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  • christine

    Who in the bible did have all the proper paper work and letters behind their names? I haven’t read your book yet, but plan on doing so soon. Thanks

  • You go girl! (I might have high-fived the air just there)

  • Sarah Silvester

    In the words of Nichole nordeman… You make me wanna be brave. Can’t even express how much I admire you.

  • Karan

    And all the “people” (that includes ALL) SAID (spoke in unison together, refusing to be silenced) AMEN!!!

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  • Abby Norman

    GET IT GIRL!!!

  • Amy

    “But I will speak the truth, even if my voice shakes.”

    thank you.

  • Is it inappropriate to say fuck yeah Sarah Bessey!(?) Because that’s what I’m saying as I cheer you on. Keep being that fabukous no-box mystic lady, because she is pure God-breathed awesome.

  • Russell Jacobson

    Thanks for these words! Amen!

  • Gerald Ford

    Wonderfully said…

  • Sp4 Jack L Walker US Army ret

    I must be as dense as lead. But I think you said it was Ok if I didn’t listen, because I didn’t.

  • Greg Hahn

    Overwhelming. God is in that.

  • Nathan

    This is incredibly rhetorically emotive! I wonder though, is attacking the caricature and the straw man really best for readers? The complementarians I have engaged in conversation are not represented at all here. I hope you’re not rallying against an enemy that actually only exists in the minority of the theological opposition to egalitarians. Few who stand against you on an intellectual level for being charismatic or egalitarian would say things like “women aren’t people” or “you’re going to hell.” And the ones who do are not rooting their protest in Scriptural substance.

    It’s one thing to stand up for the truth for which you are convinced. It’s completely different to prepare, practice, and game-plan for a completely different team than the one you end up playing.

    • questioning with respect

      Yes, I was thinking the same things. This post seems exaggerated a bit.

    • Jeannette Altes

      Hmm…from my own experience growing up Pentecostal, this post is not exaggerated at all. I grew up hearing my Baptist classmates tell me my religious pratice was “of the devil.” This attitude is far more prevalent and painful than it should be. I have been told I was “going to hell”, that I was a “freak”, and yes, that women are not as important as men in God’s church. And although the ones who are foolish enough to say these things publicly to be heard by all may not be a large quantity, there are many who say it privately to be heard only by the one they are targeting.

      So I am very glad Sarah posted this. It is healing to my wounds.

  • Chan NamChen

    Wow – really well written

  • Winona Ditto LaBarr

    I would perhaps say things a little differently than Sarah, but God has told me He doesn’t like my ‘box’, and that I am NOT the Holy Spirit! The Spirit of God can use this woman, this woman who is unafraid, who is moving, not planted in the ground with roots so deep it will take dynamite to loosen, much less move her! Keep after the heart of God Sarah! You will leap over walls and lead many to run after the heart of God with you!!

  • Ashley

    When I posted your blog I was told how I obviously had some “heavy stuff to walk through” and the person felt sorry for me. Here’s my response to that:

    http://usemyvoice.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/stuff-to-walk-through/

  • Laura_in_PA

    Ok Sarah, I can’t lurk anymore! You are the best (so much so that this post has brought me out of being a “silent” reader of your posts), and be encouraged – without your non-cynical, feminist, happy clappy (my favorite) Christian voice, I don’t know what I would do. Seriously. You are so important to me – keep it up and don’t get discouraged.

  • Sarah, you’re just a complete legend. You have spoken out so much of my own frustrations here, in a way which is not judgemental, but full of grace, love and some justified righteous anger. The inspires and encourages me to not be afraid to be me, not to be afraid to share my own honest reflections boldly, and to follow the real way of Jesus, above all, not what I’m told is the ‘official’ way of Jesus. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Keep going, we want and need your voice. Don’t be afraid, persevere. I know you will.

  • Susan

    YES!

  • Aaron

    Can I call you a “Wielder of Strange Fire”, but in a good way? That should be the title of your next book.

  • Hallelujah – breathless delight!

  • christine

    Another off the wall thought here, when I hear someone claiming they have this degree or went to that fine school…who receives all the credit for their mighty insightful education and thoughts on the holy word of God?? Surely not the Holy Spirit.Isn’t it totally cool how you can give all glory to God for this? I think we as “American” Christians need to be careful in thinking we are all that because of our , “Holy” educational back grounds. Shouldn’t the Father, Son and Holy Spirit receive all credit and glory for teaching and leading us? I am not knocking higher education but I am knocking a less humble spirit for thinking we have it more figured out then someone else. I wonder how educated the very Apostles were? Were they not doing what we are all called out to do, take one and walk this walk along side of with them teaching them the things of God? Blessings all over you sweet one! Keep on the path, humbled and on knees, while the winds blow right over your sweet back. God is so God and I love how He uses those of us who are unqualified yet willing to be used for His mighty kingdom.

  • Pretty much my heart on a page.

    I long for the day when labels cease and Jesus alone remains. Until that day, I’ll join you and so many others in shouting our anthem cry of freedom and Truth.

  • Amen, sister!

  • God.

    Sarah, I’m happy to be in your company.

  • Terri

    Oh lady, you inspire me so.

  • Beth Werner Lee

    Fuller and Yale? Did I miss something? You’d fit right in! My husband went to both; at Fuller I sat in (for free) on classes and when people asked why I didn’t study too, I merely replied, “But I don’t have a call.” Besides, I didn’t want to read all the books and write all the papers; I just wanted to listen to the profs. I’m auditory, largely.

    Yeah, and now I’ve preached 3 times at our little baby start-up church, and that’s a stretch from the home folks who are dead and dying but deeply loved, you know? So. My husband is equality minded and one of those PhD (in Theology, from Yale) types you knock and shouldn’t. He’ll probably cheer you on. But no matter; I just popped over from Diana Trautwein’s blog.

    Good to meet you.

  • Alan Molineaux

    Thank you thank you thank you

  • Meggie Honeycutt

    This is so beautifully written. Powerful and poignant. When the criticism seems deafening, I believe it means you are most definitely on the right path; fulfilling God’s plan and purposes for your life. Continue on sister!

  • Bethany Olsen

    Oh Sarah… you made me cry tonight with your words. Thank you so much for writing them.

  • Oh, Sarah! The empath in me feels your pain. I hurt for you. I endlessly pray laments for you. The mystic in me knows … knows … knows … that you speak for Truth. And we know that Truth is a person, not a book. We know that Truth is the One who is our Lord and Savior. May the Spirit fall upon your critics and cause them to speak mysteriously in tongues in public. Oh, the irony! How sweet that would be!

  • I love you Sarah. Just, yes.

  • Kristina Skepton

    You rock!

  • Trish

    I (might) be the only voice of dissent here. I don’t understand this movement among women who profess to know Christ. I see anger and ugliness and pride rearing its ugly head in what you have written. I know I’ll be lambasted by a lot of people here for saying this, but it needs to be said. I’ll stick to the narrow gate that leads to life…

    • Alissa

      Trish,
      If you “don’t understand” this movement, I suggest you work TO understand it: Ask questions. Keep your ears open to the answers. Read with both your heart and mind engaged. Ask more questions if needed. Writing that you will “stick to the narrow gate that leads to life…” implies that Sarah (and presumably all others in this “movement,” whatever you mean by that) are going through wide gate leading to death. Wow. That’s quite an opinion to share.

      Is suggesting that Sarah is going to hell truly what you meant to insinuate in your comment? If not, would you like to elaborate on *why* you dissent, in the interest of making this a place of communication and learning?

      (Note, I am asking WHY you disagree or what you don’t understand, and inviting you to tell part of your story. I am not asking you to play God and offer your opinion on who’s going to heaven versus hell.)

      • Trish

        “I’m the one who grew up completely comfortable with female pastors,” is one of her statements that raises alarm. There are no female pastors. Women cannot be pastors, only men can (1 Tim. 3:1-7).

        I know you’ve all hashed this around, along with homosexuality in the church, feminism, submission…all the things that I have learned from the Bible that are indisputable truths.

        The narrow way is hard. It’s hard to hear that homosexuals who practice their homosexuality are indeed sinning and therefore bound for an eternity in hell. It’s hard to hear (at times) that I must submit to my husband (most times it’s easy), and for some it’s hard to hear that women cannot be pastors or teachers of men.

        These truths are all in the Bible. They are the irrefutable truths of Scripture. I don’t want to understand this movement, because it goes against almost everything I’ve been taught since the Lord saved me thirteen years ago. It’s taking people in the wrong direction…away from the Truth.

        • I have always found it deeply fascinating that those verses that hold women back, in letters written by men who were not Christ, are held up with more sacredness than Jesus himself, who not only spoke freely with women but essentially had female disciples in Mary Magdalene and the Mary int eh Mary and Martha story (the context to that story is that Mary sitting to learn at Jesus’s feet was a very ‘male’ thing to do; it was a disciple thing to do, and Jesus tells her to stay, tells Martha she could do what Mary is doing now and learn the same way). The first people Jesus sent to tell of his return from death were women; they were essentially sent to preach the first Easter sermon in history, the first to say “He is RIsen!”

          But because Paul did not particularly like women talking in his church, that becomes a Pronouncement From God. Despite the many other things in Paul’s letters that we do NOT consider Absolute Pronouncements From God, these two lines about women are considered as written in stone as the Ten Commandments. Which I think falls very prey to caring more about what a man had to say (albeit a pretty awesome man) than about the way Christ himself treated women, which was… just about the opposite.

          I think I’d rather try Jesus’s way, to be honest.

          • Trish

            If Sarah Bessey and everyone else here believes the Bible consists of “letter written by men who were not Christ” and not “letters written by men moved by the Holy Spirit…words breathed by God”, then all of this makes perfect sense.

            God’s Word…ALL OF IT…was written by Him through men. You cannot toss what you don’t like and hold fast to that which fits your agenda.

            Again, the gate is narrow, it’s a hard walk to walk! We must die to ourselves, our wants and our desires and He has shown us how in the pages of Scripture!

          • Woah woah woah. Do not mistake my opinion for Sarah Bessey’s. I like what she writes, but we’re not a hive-mind or anything. She doesn’t necessarily believe the same things I believe. We probably disagree on more than one thing; that’s half the fun.

            Frankly, there is a surprising amount of evidence ot suggest that not all fo the “Pauline” letters were written by the man himself; 1 Timothy itself being a good example of a letter written to look like Paul wrote it, with evidence that he did not. Man is fallible.

            I just have a hard time believing that I should care more about what men who were NOT the Son of God said than the words, behavior, and actions of the Son of God Himself.

    • You may see anger and ugliness and pride but many of us see hope and grace and freedom and courage and love, most of all. What I see as pride? Assuming that we’re not walking through the same narrow gate as you.

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  • Bev Murrill

    Awesome post and I love it and love that you are such a voice for so many people who are sick of being confined or excluded. I love that we can sing in the woods and stand in the wilderness with our heads up, following Jesus Christ. Great post.

  • Megan Westra

    is it appropriate to just say “DAAAAAAMN” here?

    that is truly the most fitting thing i can think of. that, and an “amen” that is so heavy and hearty that my vocal chords can lift it but to a whisper.

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  • I LOVE your heart, your words are precious comfort to many hurt souls !

  • Thanks for the “we” in the title. So much of this resonates.

  • Kimberly_Eve

    Thank you for existing and speaking in your own voice. Your voice and your blog is a big part of bringing me personally back to where I am supposed to be with God. I cannot wait to get my hands on your book!

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  • Kristi Scott

    Love it and couldn’t agree more.

  • You put your foot in it, Sarah. Bravo!

  • Oh my goodness AMEN.

  • Sarah… I read your post several days ago and felt such compassion for you. I’m very sorry for the ways you’ve been hurt, dismissed, misunderstood, and judged. As a writer, I know the time will come when I’ll hear the voice of my critics as well, and I pray now for the grace to respond with strength and love. I thought of you today when I listened to a podcast, “God’s Kingdom is Not a Democracy,” by Ransomed Heart Ministries (John Eldredge) It’s the first podcast in a series on leadership… really refreshing and encouraging thoughts on what makes a good leader. I thought you may enjoy it as well. Blessings on you, your family, and all that you offer as a woman to the kingdom of God. Carry on!

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  • Leslie Gustafson

    I wish I knew more of the story behind this blog. It sounds like you have been hurt and have been harshly criticized or raged against and are firing back. I am sorry if that is the case. How sad and unnecessary. Of course, all our voices matter, every last one of us! I appreciate your fire and passion and clearly big heart for the Lord.:-)