It's about CONVICTION

 by Vyckie

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Laura’s got my Happiness! Yesterday I took my 13-year-old daughter, Hazelle (whom I’ve nicknamed Happy Hazelle or Happiness) to the airport ~ she’s spending Spring Break in Seattle with Laura. Fun ;-)

Okay ~ I’m commenting on my own post about STRONG WOMEN because I’ve thought of something else that I wanted to say on this topic.

The strength that I had which kept me going was my conviction. I did it because I was so thoroughly convinced that this is what the bible taught and what pleased the Lord. I’d have done anything to please God.

The minute that I realized that I no longer believe in God ~ that strength left me and I couldn’t do it any more. I lost my motivation. I sometimes think of it as losing the Holy Spirit ~ I could feel it when I became a Christian and I knew that I had the power of God enabling me to live the life He had called me to ~ but all that is gone now.

And the interesting thing about it is that now I feel like I really am living by sheer faith ~ and I realize that it didn’t take a whole lot of faith back when I had chapter and verse for everything I said, did and believed … back when I had that “Blessed Assurance.”

I remember a preacher joking about how he didn’t have enough faith to be an atheist.

It’s not all that funny now that I’m living it.

Actually, I don’t consider myself to be an “atheist” ~ though if you pinned me down and asked me, “Do you believe in God, or not?” I guess at this point, I’d have to say, “I guess not.” C.S. Lewis said, I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. That used to be me ~ when Christianity made sense to me ~ everything made sense. But these days ~ I don’t see it … I just don’t.

Back then, I had a VISION which inspired me ~ now, I don’t really know why I keep going.

I am no longer dealing with my abusive ex-husband all day, every day ~ and that was the biggest drain on my energy, I’m no longer running the newspaper, so there’s a big load of work that I don’t have to do these days, and my kids are all in public school now, plus ~ I’ve recovered my health so that I actually have the energy to get out of bed in the mornings. BUT ~ even considering that my load has been lightened considerably, being a mom still takes an awful lot of strength ~ I wasn’t sure if I could do it without all that conviction which used to keep me going ~ but here I am doing it … not perfectly, but I AM doing it.

I’m just trusting, I guess, that there IS meaning and purpose to it all and just ‘cuz I’m not exactly sure of all the details (heck, I’m not sure of anything) ~ that doesn’t prevent me from doing what I know needs to be done in order to be a good mother to my children. It’s just that now, I’m a lot less likely to totally knock myself out in the process ~ I’ve been taking care of me too because I realize it’s either that or wear myself out to the point that I’m really quite useless for everybody.

These days, when I am starting to feel overwhelmed, rather than praying for strength to carry on ~ I am examining whether I really need to be doing everything that I’m doing. If the answer is “yes” then I do it and get through it ~ if “no” then I give myself a break and take it easy.

The other day when I was talking to Mom, I told her: BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF.

That’s what I’m learning and it’s a real relief to have my biggest critic ~ that person who was constantly driving me ~ the one who was never satisfied and always striving ~ that person (ME) is off my back. Whew!

Not too long ago, I was relating all of this to a friend ~ explaining how I used to feel SO convicted that the QF/patriarchal way of living was God’s perfect will for my life.

“You keep talking about CONVICTION,” she told me. “Isn’t that what they do to prisoners ~ CONVICT them, and then lock them up?”

Exactly.

  • aimai

    Vyckie, great post. Have your read this book?http://www.amazon.com/Native-Tongue-Suzette-Haden-Elgin/dp/1558612467/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239298354&sr=1-2If my linking abilities don't work its called " Native Tongue" and its about a dystopic future world where women are imprisoned by their families and made to work as translators for their husbands and father's businesses with alien races. One of the things the women lose, along with autonomy, is any way to talk about their experiences or to find a language with which to rebel. The book is (partially) about their struggle to construct a dictionary of their own language. The word that I always remember–especially as I'm run off my feet with Passover Prep–is something like "Hildern" which means a "Holiday." A "Holiday" in which all work is done by one or more women until they are completely exhausted. Other people enjoy themselves and rest during this time.Cracks me up. Its a fantastic book and I think it will really resonate with your experiences.I'm a pretty happy atheist but it also seems to me that there could be room in your life for another god, or another inner voice. One that was your best friend and supporter instead of your jailer.aimai

  • aimai

    Vyckie, great post. Have your read this book?http://www.amazon.com/Native-Tongue-Suzette-Haden-Elgin/dp/1558612467/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239298354&sr=1-2If my linking abilities don't work its called " Native Tongue" and its about a dystopic future world where women are imprisoned by their families and made to work as translators for their husbands and father's businesses with alien races. One of the things the women lose, along with autonomy, is any way to talk about their experiences or to find a language with which to rebel. The book is (partially) about their struggle to construct a dictionary of their own language. The word that I always remember–especially as I'm run off my feet with Passover Prep–is something like "Hildern" which means a "Holiday." A "Holiday" in which all work is done by one or more women until they are completely exhausted. Other people enjoy themselves and rest during this time.Cracks me up. Its a fantastic book and I think it will really resonate with your experiences.I'm a pretty happy atheist but it also seems to me that there could be room in your life for another god, or another inner voice. One that was your best friend and supporter instead of your jailer.aimai

  • Becky

    Vyckie,I suppose I’m not the only one who’s curious–What kind of job do you have now? Do you get some income from Warren as in child support?It’s kind of scary sending that first one on a plane by himself/herself, isn’t it? (or is it the first time for you?) I know it was for me. I’m sure she’ll have a blast. Hopefully Seattle won’t be too rainy the whole time. (I lived in the Tacoma area for 8 years of my childhood.)

  • Becky

    Vyckie,I suppose I’m not the only one who’s curious–What kind of job do you have now? Do you get some income from Warren as in child support?It’s kind of scary sending that first one on a plane by himself/herself, isn’t it? (or is it the first time for you?) I know it was for me. I’m sure she’ll have a blast. Hopefully Seattle won’t be too rainy the whole time. (I lived in the Tacoma area for 8 years of my childhood.)

  • Jadehawk

    I’m just trusting, I guess, that there IS meaning and purpose to it allah yes… the purpose/meaning thing is probably the trickiest part of being a non-believer. when you have a religion, you have your goals spelled out for you: to go to heaven, to reincarnate into a better live, to reach nirvana, to serve your god/goddess, etc.when you’re a non-believer, you kind of have to make your own meaning/purpose. most atheists I know (some completely disillusioned nihilists aside) go with the motto: “this is your only life, make it count”. now, what WILL make it count is up to the individual. here’s another (humanist) motto: “live your life in such a way that the world will be a better place for having had you in it”. Again, this can mean many things, but it’s basically about legacy. Use your experience and skills in such a way that others, now and in the future, will have better lives because of it. Most people do this for their families, but many volunteer, or work for certain social causes… or write blogs and books that could help women avoid a destructive lifestyle/get themselves out of a destructive lifestyle ;-) or, as my favorite punk band said: “It’s not your fault the world is the way it is. It’s only your fault if it stays that way.”

  • Jadehawk

    I’m just trusting, I guess, that there IS meaning and purpose to it allah yes… the purpose/meaning thing is probably the trickiest part of being a non-believer. when you have a religion, you have your goals spelled out for you: to go to heaven, to reincarnate into a better live, to reach nirvana, to serve your god/goddess, etc.when you’re a non-believer, you kind of have to make your own meaning/purpose. most atheists I know (some completely disillusioned nihilists aside) go with the motto: “this is your only life, make it count”. now, what WILL make it count is up to the individual. here’s another (humanist) motto: “live your life in such a way that the world will be a better place for having had you in it”. Again, this can mean many things, but it’s basically about legacy. Use your experience and skills in such a way that others, now and in the future, will have better lives because of it. Most people do this for their families, but many volunteer, or work for certain social causes… or write blogs and books that could help women avoid a destructive lifestyle/get themselves out of a destructive lifestyle ;-) or, as my favorite punk band said: “It’s not your fault the world is the way it is. It’s only your fault if it stays that way.”

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie,For years I overextended myself for others believing I was following scripture. But it was destroying me mentally and emotionally. It took Codependents Anonymous to help me begin to break out of the co-dependent Christian lifestyle. I’m currently going to counseling and that helps also. If I had not dealt with my Christian co-dependency I would have lost my faith.I think some scripture feeds into women’s codependency. It doesn’t have to, but our culture encourages women to be submissive and nice all the time. And that, combined with the way scriptures with culturally defined subordinate positions for women are SELECTIVELY MAGNIFIED in the Christian community – causes women to overextend themselves for others.I’m still a Christian but I am re-evaluating the way I understand scripture. So often in the past I selectively put more emphasis on certain parts of scripture than others. Had I not had this selective emphasis I would have seen other scriptures that balanced the ones that caused me to be so co-dependent.I think that quite often the Christian community SELECTIVELY MAGNIFIES those scriptures which some Christian leaders decide should be magnified. In doing so the Christian community gets lopsided in their beliefs, which hurts people.

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie,For years I overextended myself for others believing I was following scripture. But it was destroying me mentally and emotionally. It took Codependents Anonymous to help me begin to break out of the co-dependent Christian lifestyle. I’m currently going to counseling and that helps also. If I had not dealt with my Christian co-dependency I would have lost my faith.I think some scripture feeds into women’s codependency. It doesn’t have to, but our culture encourages women to be submissive and nice all the time. And that, combined with the way scriptures with culturally defined subordinate positions for women are SELECTIVELY MAGNIFIED in the Christian community – causes women to overextend themselves for others.I’m still a Christian but I am re-evaluating the way I understand scripture. So often in the past I selectively put more emphasis on certain parts of scripture than others. Had I not had this selective emphasis I would have seen other scriptures that balanced the ones that caused me to be so co-dependent.I think that quite often the Christian community SELECTIVELY MAGNIFIES those scriptures which some Christian leaders decide should be magnified. In doing so the Christian community gets lopsided in their beliefs, which hurts people.

  • a.b.e.

    Hey everyone, Selective Magnification of scripture is called Selective Literalism. It’s what patriarchalists and some complementarians do on the verses on women. They ignore all verses in which women play an equal role with men or in which they teach or have leadership roles over men or alongside men, and over emphasize the verses that put women in “culturally defined subordinate positions” (as said above). They minimize or change the meaning of any scripture which disagrees with their selective literalism. It a cesspool from which it is hard for a woman to escape because she feels scripturally bound to obey the selective literalism she has been taught.

  • a.b.e.

    Hey everyone, Selective Magnification of scripture is called Selective Literalism. It’s what patriarchalists and some complementarians do on the verses on women. They ignore all verses in which women play an equal role with men or in which they teach or have leadership roles over men or alongside men, and over emphasize the verses that put women in “culturally defined subordinate positions” (as said above). They minimize or change the meaning of any scripture which disagrees with their selective literalism. It a cesspool from which it is hard for a woman to escape because she feels scripturally bound to obey the selective literalism she has been taught.

  • a.b.e.

    Here’s an example of selective literalism. This is a made up story about a man who believes in putting women under the authority of men.The man reads the following verse.Matthew 5:42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.Just then a person comes up to the man and asks him for money, but he turns the person down.The man next reads:Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.He ignores the verse.He next reads the following verse:Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.He takes his Bible over to his wife and tells her she has to submit to him.This is what the comp/patriachal camp do. Of course, this exact same sort of thing is done with several other doctrines. The doctrine determines what verses will be paid attention to rather than all verses being paid attention. This is a big problem all over the Christian community.I hope I’m not irritating you Vyckie.

  • a.b.e.

    Here’s an example of selective literalism. This is a made up story about a man who believes in putting women under the authority of men.The man reads the following verse.Matthew 5:42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.Just then a person comes up to the man and asks him for money, but he turns the person down.The man next reads:Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.He ignores the verse.He next reads the following verse:Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.He takes his Bible over to his wife and tells her she has to submit to him.This is what the comp/patriachal camp do. Of course, this exact same sort of thing is done with several other doctrines. The doctrine determines what verses will be paid attention to rather than all verses being paid attention. This is a big problem all over the Christian community.I hope I’m not irritating you Vyckie.

  • Annie C

    I think Jadehawk nailed it on the head. “live your life in such a way that the world will be a better place for having had you in it”. Or think of it this way. For 2000 years, give or take, those in power have used scripture and the promise of heaven or the threat of hell to keep people from trying to me *this* world and *this* life better for everyone. Think about it, scripture was used to prove that God supported slavery, or the Holocaust, or even now the cruel treatment of women. All in a supposed effort to please God. But if you take God out of the picture, if there is no God, then these people were just using scripture as an excuse for doing what it took to stay in power, or to elevate themselves by destroying others. And people let them do it, they endured their suffering because of the promise of heaven or the threat of hell. Just give your suffering up to god and he will reward you in heaven. But if there is no heaven, and no God to be pleased by your suffering, then fight back. Try to change things. If nothing else, at least you’ll be able to say you tried.If there is no heaven, and no hell, and all that matters is *this* life, how would that change the way you looked at the world? What would you do to help?It could be as simple as keeping this blog going, and trying to reach other women to help them see that they don’t need to be enslaved to this belief system. In doing so, you might help save their children and grandchildren from suffering, and who know what one of them might do. It might be raising your own children to be the best they can be, and sending them out in to the world to make it better. It might be as simple as saving some antique skill or craft, so that bit of wisdom doesn’t get lost to history. How that takes shape is totally up to you, what matters to you, what brings you joy. You’ll know when you’re on the right path.Just something to think about.

  • Annie C

    I think Jadehawk nailed it on the head. “live your life in such a way that the world will be a better place for having had you in it”. Or think of it this way. For 2000 years, give or take, those in power have used scripture and the promise of heaven or the threat of hell to keep people from trying to me *this* world and *this* life better for everyone. Think about it, scripture was used to prove that God supported slavery, or the Holocaust, or even now the cruel treatment of women. All in a supposed effort to please God. But if you take God out of the picture, if there is no God, then these people were just using scripture as an excuse for doing what it took to stay in power, or to elevate themselves by destroying others. And people let them do it, they endured their suffering because of the promise of heaven or the threat of hell. Just give your suffering up to god and he will reward you in heaven. But if there is no heaven, and no God to be pleased by your suffering, then fight back. Try to change things. If nothing else, at least you’ll be able to say you tried.If there is no heaven, and no hell, and all that matters is *this* life, how would that change the way you looked at the world? What would you do to help?It could be as simple as keeping this blog going, and trying to reach other women to help them see that they don’t need to be enslaved to this belief system. In doing so, you might help save their children and grandchildren from suffering, and who know what one of them might do. It might be raising your own children to be the best they can be, and sending them out in to the world to make it better. It might be as simple as saving some antique skill or craft, so that bit of wisdom doesn’t get lost to history. How that takes shape is totally up to you, what matters to you, what brings you joy. You’ll know when you’re on the right path.Just something to think about.

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie and Laura,Last April, I wrote a little article on my blog, dealing with ‘conviction’ vs. preferences. Based on what I read, you did not have a conviction, but a preference. A conviction is unshakable. A convictions stands the test of time. I think you need to rethink your words and realize what you had was a preference, thinking it was a convictions. You thought you were convicted, but in the end, you were not. If you can stomach a read, from a Christian perspective, this is what I wrote: Conviction vs. Preference The definition of conviction, from the dictionary is: an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence. A strong persuasion or belief. Preference: the act of preferring: the state of being preferred. Prefer: to promote or advance to a rank or position, to choose or esteem above another, to give priority, to put or set forward or before someone, to bring forward or lay before one for consideration.A few verses in scripture using the word ‘conviction’. ESV 1 Thess. 1:5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.So how can a conviction be changed to a preference? Does that mean it was never a conviction? When we have a conviction about something, when we mature in our walks with the Lord, that conviction should grow stronger, developing stronger roots. However, I have been witnessing people who *appeared* to have convictions, said they had convictions but in the end, they changed their minds on many things. From what I am witnessing, there appears to be a growing number of Christians who have had preferences, but labeled them as convictions. I think we need to stop and re-evaluate our words and actions, to make sure we are not misleading people in what our stands are on issues. Yes, we can change our mind on stands, but then that’s a preference, not a conviction. I see greater confusion that takes place, when young (in their walk, not in age) Christians witness the flip flop of older, mature Christians. One area I have witnessed a conviction changed to preference, is when parents have children who are sinning, or at the very least, going against the teachings their parents have raised them to understand. What’s a parent to do when a child has chosen to live in a manner not pleasing or in agreement to the parents and especially the Lord? I guess we come up with new definitions and new *convictions* that really aren’t convictions, but preferences. What was once a conviction for the family, has now been changed to make it appear that the grown child is not really sinning, as the parents have now changed their position on certain subjects. How about parents keeping their convictions and simply stating, “my child has chosen to live a different way then what we taught them, we don’t agree with it, but it’s their choices”. Rather than changing the conviction into a preference, how about sticking to our convictions and stating the facts as they are, as ugly and painful as they may be. We are being watched in our walks, and when we flip flop in our so called convictions, which now appear to be preferences, we are confusing the younger Christians, as well as older Christians. Before we take on a conviction, we should make sure we are searching it out in Scripture, so we know it to be based on Biblical principles, rather than on the teachings of an organization, a man or a church. Convictions should grow deeper; the roots should get stronger, not changed into a new tree. Sometimes we think we have a conviction, until it has been tested, especially by those we love dearly. Who or what will we allow to rob our convictions? Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie and Laura,Last April, I wrote a little article on my blog, dealing with ‘conviction’ vs. preferences. Based on what I read, you did not have a conviction, but a preference. A conviction is unshakable. A convictions stands the test of time. I think you need to rethink your words and realize what you had was a preference, thinking it was a convictions. You thought you were convicted, but in the end, you were not. If you can stomach a read, from a Christian perspective, this is what I wrote: Conviction vs. Preference The definition of conviction, from the dictionary is: an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence. A strong persuasion or belief. Preference: the act of preferring: the state of being preferred. Prefer: to promote or advance to a rank or position, to choose or esteem above another, to give priority, to put or set forward or before someone, to bring forward or lay before one for consideration.A few verses in scripture using the word ‘conviction’. ESV 1 Thess. 1:5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.So how can a conviction be changed to a preference? Does that mean it was never a conviction? When we have a conviction about something, when we mature in our walks with the Lord, that conviction should grow stronger, developing stronger roots. However, I have been witnessing people who *appeared* to have convictions, said they had convictions but in the end, they changed their minds on many things. From what I am witnessing, there appears to be a growing number of Christians who have had preferences, but labeled them as convictions. I think we need to stop and re-evaluate our words and actions, to make sure we are not misleading people in what our stands are on issues. Yes, we can change our mind on stands, but then that’s a preference, not a conviction. I see greater confusion that takes place, when young (in their walk, not in age) Christians witness the flip flop of older, mature Christians. One area I have witnessed a conviction changed to preference, is when parents have children who are sinning, or at the very least, going against the teachings their parents have raised them to understand. What’s a parent to do when a child has chosen to live in a manner not pleasing or in agreement to the parents and especially the Lord? I guess we come up with new definitions and new *convictions* that really aren’t convictions, but preferences. What was once a conviction for the family, has now been changed to make it appear that the grown child is not really sinning, as the parents have now changed their position on certain subjects. How about parents keeping their convictions and simply stating, “my child has chosen to live a different way then what we taught them, we don’t agree with it, but it’s their choices”. Rather than changing the conviction into a preference, how about sticking to our convictions and stating the facts as they are, as ugly and painful as they may be. We are being watched in our walks, and when we flip flop in our so called convictions, which now appear to be preferences, we are confusing the younger Christians, as well as older Christians. Before we take on a conviction, we should make sure we are searching it out in Scripture, so we know it to be based on Biblical principles, rather than on the teachings of an organization, a man or a church. Convictions should grow deeper; the roots should get stronger, not changed into a new tree. Sometimes we think we have a conviction, until it has been tested, especially by those we love dearly. Who or what will we allow to rob our convictions? Kelly

  • arietty

    I experienced the same thing Vyckie, as soon as the fundamentalism vanished I lost all that martyrdom drive and my energetic and endless productivity just vanished. LOL.Reading your post I wondered if some christians were reading and nodding along thinking “that’s what happens when you no longer have the holy spirit”. I want to say that this experience of conviction driven energy to the point of martyrdom is not limited to christians. Just ask an ex-hari krishna why they no longer can imagine getting up at 4am and chanting for 2 hours and then working like a dog ’till late into the night. Many people experience this and don’t call it the holy spirit. I think there is something of an adrenaline high to be had from this conviction drive that keeps feeding into itself. People often describe feeling “flat” when they are out of touch with this drive but often I think they just feel normal and not driven. But the high you get from being driven and convicted lures you back to seek that zone again.I think it is telling that many people come to the end of this in their 40′s. Your body is shifting into a new phase of wearing down, peri-menopause etc.. and a lot of things get re-examined. If not re-examined then a natural burning out occurs and some form of breakdown often happens because you just can’t live like that anymore.

  • arietty

    I experienced the same thing Vyckie, as soon as the fundamentalism vanished I lost all that martyrdom drive and my energetic and endless productivity just vanished. LOL.Reading your post I wondered if some christians were reading and nodding along thinking “that’s what happens when you no longer have the holy spirit”. I want to say that this experience of conviction driven energy to the point of martyrdom is not limited to christians. Just ask an ex-hari krishna why they no longer can imagine getting up at 4am and chanting for 2 hours and then working like a dog ’till late into the night. Many people experience this and don’t call it the holy spirit. I think there is something of an adrenaline high to be had from this conviction drive that keeps feeding into itself. People often describe feeling “flat” when they are out of touch with this drive but often I think they just feel normal and not driven. But the high you get from being driven and convicted lures you back to seek that zone again.I think it is telling that many people come to the end of this in their 40′s. Your body is shifting into a new phase of wearing down, peri-menopause etc.. and a lot of things get re-examined. If not re-examined then a natural burning out occurs and some form of breakdown often happens because you just can’t live like that anymore.

  • Vyckie

    Now that I am making no claims to be a Christian ~ and therefore, am under no obligation to love my enemies ~ nevertheless, I’m going to show restraint and not post my immediate reaction to Kelly’s comment above.Instead, I’m going to get away from this computer, go have a beer and chill out. ‹(ô¿ô)›

  • Vyckie

    Now that I am making no claims to be a Christian ~ and therefore, am under no obligation to love my enemies ~ nevertheless, I’m going to show restraint and not post my immediate reaction to Kelly’s comment above.Instead, I’m going to get away from this computer, go have a beer and chill out. ‹(ô¿ô)›

  • Annie C

    Kelly -The definition of conviction, from the dictionary is: an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence. A strong persuasion or belief.Actually that’s not quite what I found in the dictionary.——–From http://www.m-w.com:convictionOne entry found.Main Entry: con·vic·tion Pronunciation: kən-ˈvik-shən Function: noun Date: 15th century1: the act or process of convicting of a crime especially in a court of law2 a: the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth b: the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth3 a: a strong persuasion or belief b: the state of being convincedsynonyms see certainty, opinion——–There is nothing in there about the lack of a need for proof or evidence. That said, what happened when you encounter proof and evidence that your conviction is false? That you have been believing a lie? Would holding on to your convictions then not be a sign of obstinacy? Of willful ignorance? Would you not then be teaching your children that there is no value in learning, in growth, because that would require encountering truths that you must not accept?I find more value being able to change beliefs when presented with undeniable facts, with truth, then in stubborn obstinacy. And in teaching children to embrace all learning, rather than in shutting out what might make you change your mind.Just out of curiosity, are you the same Kelly that was in “Return of the Daughters?”

  • Annie C

    Kelly -The definition of conviction, from the dictionary is: an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence. A strong persuasion or belief.Actually that’s not quite what I found in the dictionary.——–From http://www.m-w.com:convictionOne entry found.Main Entry: con·vic·tion Pronunciation: kən-ˈvik-shən Function: noun Date: 15th century1: the act or process of convicting of a crime especially in a court of law2 a: the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth b: the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth3 a: a strong persuasion or belief b: the state of being convincedsynonyms see certainty, opinion——–There is nothing in there about the lack of a need for proof or evidence. That said, what happened when you encounter proof and evidence that your conviction is false? That you have been believing a lie? Would holding on to your convictions then not be a sign of obstinacy? Of willful ignorance? Would you not then be teaching your children that there is no value in learning, in growth, because that would require encountering truths that you must not accept?I find more value being able to change beliefs when presented with undeniable facts, with truth, then in stubborn obstinacy. And in teaching children to embrace all learning, rather than in shutting out what might make you change your mind.Just out of curiosity, are you the same Kelly that was in “Return of the Daughters?”

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie,I hope that does not mean you consider me an enemy. As I stated, I wrote that back in April of ’08. I wrote that because as a Christian, I have been watching many Christians dumping their ‘convictions’, in large part, due to the fact their grown children are walking away from some of the family ‘preferences’. While it’s sad to watch, it pains me more to see that parents are changing their own convictions, so that their older children no longer have the *appearance* of rebelling, sinning or whatever you want to call it. I would prefer to see parents say, that’s my child’s choice. We don’t agree with it, but we love them anyway. I raise my children with the hope that they will understand the Bible. That they can read for themselves and apply God’s Word and truth to their lives. It would pain me, deeply, to see them reject Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In our family we have preferences, standards and convictions. A conviction is unmovable, period! A preference or standard can be changed. I shared what I did with you as your story made my point, to some extent. When Angel attempted to take her life, for whatever those reasons were, it forced you to re-evaluate what you thought were your convictions, which in the end have turned out to be preference that changed. Having read all your writing on this blog, so far, I can *guess* where your story twisted in the bends of the road of life, for your family, and how you got to where you are today. I have never read your writings, prior to this blog. Abuse is never acceptable. My husband and I have walked the road, side by side, with a woman and her 4 children who were abused by her husband, to the point she was able to turn him in and he served time. She and her children went into hiding and changed their names. While I have never suffered abuse, I am, unfortunately, acquainted with it. Not all men who walk out a quiverfull family style are abusive. Not all hockey coaches molest their players. Some men will abuse, many will not. I think it was Molly who suggested women who have a quiverfull life style, need to reject the books that are coming out. Let me tell you, there are many of us out there rejecting books like were mentioned in that thread, and doing so, whole heartily. I try to let people know, I do not have a perfectly clean home. I have children who are sinners, just like their parents. We are flawed. We are real people and it would be my desire that the notion of perfect house, perfect family, perfect home business, etc. are not promoted. They serve only to be put up on a pedestal, waiting to be knocked down. And, just as important, just because we are *real* in our family, I do not want to go to the extreme to show people we *fit in* with everyone else in the world, because we don’t, really. Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie,I hope that does not mean you consider me an enemy. As I stated, I wrote that back in April of ’08. I wrote that because as a Christian, I have been watching many Christians dumping their ‘convictions’, in large part, due to the fact their grown children are walking away from some of the family ‘preferences’. While it’s sad to watch, it pains me more to see that parents are changing their own convictions, so that their older children no longer have the *appearance* of rebelling, sinning or whatever you want to call it. I would prefer to see parents say, that’s my child’s choice. We don’t agree with it, but we love them anyway. I raise my children with the hope that they will understand the Bible. That they can read for themselves and apply God’s Word and truth to their lives. It would pain me, deeply, to see them reject Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In our family we have preferences, standards and convictions. A conviction is unmovable, period! A preference or standard can be changed. I shared what I did with you as your story made my point, to some extent. When Angel attempted to take her life, for whatever those reasons were, it forced you to re-evaluate what you thought were your convictions, which in the end have turned out to be preference that changed. Having read all your writing on this blog, so far, I can *guess* where your story twisted in the bends of the road of life, for your family, and how you got to where you are today. I have never read your writings, prior to this blog. Abuse is never acceptable. My husband and I have walked the road, side by side, with a woman and her 4 children who were abused by her husband, to the point she was able to turn him in and he served time. She and her children went into hiding and changed their names. While I have never suffered abuse, I am, unfortunately, acquainted with it. Not all men who walk out a quiverfull family style are abusive. Not all hockey coaches molest their players. Some men will abuse, many will not. I think it was Molly who suggested women who have a quiverfull life style, need to reject the books that are coming out. Let me tell you, there are many of us out there rejecting books like were mentioned in that thread, and doing so, whole heartily. I try to let people know, I do not have a perfectly clean home. I have children who are sinners, just like their parents. We are flawed. We are real people and it would be my desire that the notion of perfect house, perfect family, perfect home business, etc. are not promoted. They serve only to be put up on a pedestal, waiting to be knocked down. And, just as important, just because we are *real* in our family, I do not want to go to the extreme to show people we *fit in* with everyone else in the world, because we don’t, really. Kelly

  • arietty

    Kelly it seems to me you are saying that if a person decides their conviction was in error that it wasn’t a conviction in the first place. This is a bit of a set up because you can discredit any one changing their minds by saying they weren’t the real thing to begin with.

  • Linnea

    Kelly, by your definition, “conviction” and “preference” can only be distinguished in hindsight. If it never changes, it’s a conviction. If it changes, it’s a preference. So really, unless you can see into the future, the only way to tell whether someone really had a conviction is to wait and see if they die with it, right?You write:I have been watching many Christians dumping their ‘convictions’, in large part, due to the fact their grown children are walking away from some of the family ‘preferences’. While it’s sad to watch, it pains me more to see that parents are changing their own convictions, so that their older children no longer have the *appearance* of rebelling, sinning or whatever you want to call it. I don’t think it’s as simple as saying “I don’t want to call my chid a sinner, so I’m going to redefine sin.” I think, rather, what’s happening is that parents are re-examining their beliefs in the light of the effect those beliefs have on the children: “If this causes my child so much pain, maybe it’s not something I want to keep doing.”

  • arietty

    Kelly it seems to me you are saying that if a person decides their conviction was in error that it wasn’t a conviction in the first place. This is a bit of a set up because you can discredit any one changing their minds by saying they weren’t the real thing to begin with.

  • Linnea

    Kelly, by your definition, “conviction” and “preference” can only be distinguished in hindsight. If it never changes, it’s a conviction. If it changes, it’s a preference. So really, unless you can see into the future, the only way to tell whether someone really had a conviction is to wait and see if they die with it, right?You write:I have been watching many Christians dumping their ‘convictions’, in large part, due to the fact their grown children are walking away from some of the family ‘preferences’. While it’s sad to watch, it pains me more to see that parents are changing their own convictions, so that their older children no longer have the *appearance* of rebelling, sinning or whatever you want to call it. I don’t think it’s as simple as saying “I don’t want to call my chid a sinner, so I’m going to redefine sin.” I think, rather, what’s happening is that parents are re-examining their beliefs in the light of the effect those beliefs have on the children: “If this causes my child so much pain, maybe it’s not something I want to keep doing.”

  • adventuresinmercy

    Kelly,Thanks for your strong stance against abuse. Here is where I admit that I am confused. You say that you are rejecting the books I mentioned in the earlier thread…yet you yourself seem to promote (regularly) Doug Phillips Vision Forum, where some of those very books are sold…? (I am assuming you are Kelly of generationceder.blogspot.com …? Please correct me if I have that wrong, because then you are obviously not the Kelly who lauds materials like Return of the Daughters, etc). I would also encourage you to consider that maybe some of these parents, now older and wiser and having had the experience of actually walking with teens, are REVISING their convictions, not dumping them. Sometimes younger parents, full of idealism, adopt convictions that aren’t reflective of truly mature thinking, but more a youthful zeal to “do it right” without the circumspect wisdom that accompanies much experience. As their idealism meets reality, perhaps their experience with their teenagers and young adults has helped them correct the parts of their zealous convictions that experience proved to be misguided. Priorities, you know. When our “convictions” cause us to lose the hearts of our children, a righteous response is to re-evaluate the conviction, not assume that the problem lies only in the heart of the child. Warmly,Molly

  • adventuresinmercy

    Kelly,Thanks for your strong stance against abuse. Here is where I admit that I am confused. You say that you are rejecting the books I mentioned in the earlier thread…yet you yourself seem to promote (regularly) Doug Phillips Vision Forum, where some of those very books are sold…? (I am assuming you are Kelly of generationceder.blogspot.com …? Please correct me if I have that wrong, because then you are obviously not the Kelly who lauds materials like Return of the Daughters, etc). I would also encourage you to consider that maybe some of these parents, now older and wiser and having had the experience of actually walking with teens, are REVISING their convictions, not dumping them. Sometimes younger parents, full of idealism, adopt convictions that aren’t reflective of truly mature thinking, but more a youthful zeal to “do it right” without the circumspect wisdom that accompanies much experience. As their idealism meets reality, perhaps their experience with their teenagers and young adults has helped them correct the parts of their zealous convictions that experience proved to be misguided. Priorities, you know. When our “convictions” cause us to lose the hearts of our children, a righteous response is to re-evaluate the conviction, not assume that the problem lies only in the heart of the child. Warmly,Molly

  • Anonymous

    Annie C stated:I find more value being able to change beliefs when presented with undeniable facts, with truth, then in stubborn obstinacy. And in teaching children to embrace all learning, rather than in shutting out what might make you change your mind.I would agree with this statement. Being able to change is important. I was merely trying to show the difference between conviction and preference. We often mistake conviction with preference.Just out of curiosity, are you the same Kelly that was in “Return of the Daughters?”I have seen that movie and no, I am not that Kelly. I am an older mum with 6 children. I am speaking from age and observation of all I have been witnessing over the years, and in particular, the last few years. As a parent, I understand these changes, and as a Christian I understand conviction. Vykie and Laura,I am very concerned for your words you are sharing right now. Why? Because not much time has gone by before you have started sharing your stories, publicly. Not enough time has gone by to get perspective on all that has taken place, that takes a great amount of time. I have been reading and cringing as I read your words. I am glad to see that Laura altered her one story and took out some information. When you have innocent children who are reaping the consequences of the actions of their parents, these children need time to heal. I am embarrassed for the children to have to read this and to have others read it and share it with your children. Because not much time has gone by, you may again, change your mind on your beliefs. Time is your friend, not your enemy. I think it would be more constructive to help the readers to understand, honestly, how the abuse came about and why. I do want to hear about how we can avoid abusive situations. How we can help those whom we think might be in those situations. I worry for my own children and who they may marry, as we are at that stage in life. Since you are planning on a book, please keep in mind the children. Can your stories be told in such a way as to show dignity to the parties involved, so that your children can actually read without being humiliated? How you get your story out will, in time, reflect greatly on your relationship with your children. Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Annie C stated:I find more value being able to change beliefs when presented with undeniable facts, with truth, then in stubborn obstinacy. And in teaching children to embrace all learning, rather than in shutting out what might make you change your mind.I would agree with this statement. Being able to change is important. I was merely trying to show the difference between conviction and preference. We often mistake conviction with preference.Just out of curiosity, are you the same Kelly that was in “Return of the Daughters?”I have seen that movie and no, I am not that Kelly. I am an older mum with 6 children. I am speaking from age and observation of all I have been witnessing over the years, and in particular, the last few years. As a parent, I understand these changes, and as a Christian I understand conviction. Vykie and Laura,I am very concerned for your words you are sharing right now. Why? Because not much time has gone by before you have started sharing your stories, publicly. Not enough time has gone by to get perspective on all that has taken place, that takes a great amount of time. I have been reading and cringing as I read your words. I am glad to see that Laura altered her one story and took out some information. When you have innocent children who are reaping the consequences of the actions of their parents, these children need time to heal. I am embarrassed for the children to have to read this and to have others read it and share it with your children. Because not much time has gone by, you may again, change your mind on your beliefs. Time is your friend, not your enemy. I think it would be more constructive to help the readers to understand, honestly, how the abuse came about and why. I do want to hear about how we can avoid abusive situations. How we can help those whom we think might be in those situations. I worry for my own children and who they may marry, as we are at that stage in life. Since you are planning on a book, please keep in mind the children. Can your stories be told in such a way as to show dignity to the parties involved, so that your children can actually read without being humiliated? How you get your story out will, in time, reflect greatly on your relationship with your children. Kelly

  • ISMist

    I’ve been reading for several days, and finally feel comfortable interjecting myself into the conversation.The starting point for my spiritual blossoming (and in my opinion, true adulthood and true growth as a person) was the realization that in most matters of belief there is no possibility of establishing objective truth. You might be able to prove or disprove some specific claim (the Earth is 4000 years old) but even then, ‘truth’ can be undermined by additional claims that cannot be disproved (God created the Earth so that it looks old, even though it isn’t).Rather than be overwhelmed by the vast unknowability of it all, I felt deeply free but also aware of a great responsibility. *I could believe anything I wanted.* So out of all those possibilities, I set about constructing a set of beliefs that I thought would result in me being the best person I could be, with the most opportunity for growth and happiness.I could talk about this more, but I want to be brief, and just leave you with the idea that you can replace the old, borrowed, ill-fitting vision that QF gave you, with *anything you want*. What do you wish the meaning of life is? If it could mean anything, what would you want it to mean? What would give you joy to wake up to every day, but at the same time give you strength on those days that you don’t wake up joyful? Pick that.And if you find that the vision you choose for your life isn’t leading you to your goals for who you are and want to be, pick something different. There is no right or wrong except as *you define it for yourself*.

  • ISMist

    I’ve been reading for several days, and finally feel comfortable interjecting myself into the conversation.The starting point for my spiritual blossoming (and in my opinion, true adulthood and true growth as a person) was the realization that in most matters of belief there is no possibility of establishing objective truth. You might be able to prove or disprove some specific claim (the Earth is 4000 years old) but even then, ‘truth’ can be undermined by additional claims that cannot be disproved (God created the Earth so that it looks old, even though it isn’t).Rather than be overwhelmed by the vast unknowability of it all, I felt deeply free but also aware of a great responsibility. *I could believe anything I wanted.* So out of all those possibilities, I set about constructing a set of beliefs that I thought would result in me being the best person I could be, with the most opportunity for growth and happiness.I could talk about this more, but I want to be brief, and just leave you with the idea that you can replace the old, borrowed, ill-fitting vision that QF gave you, with *anything you want*. What do you wish the meaning of life is? If it could mean anything, what would you want it to mean? What would give you joy to wake up to every day, but at the same time give you strength on those days that you don’t wake up joyful? Pick that.And if you find that the vision you choose for your life isn’t leading you to your goals for who you are and want to be, pick something different. There is no right or wrong except as *you define it for yourself*.

  • arietty

    Kelly:”Because not much time has gone by, you may again, change your mind on your beliefs. Time is your friend, not your enemy.”And if that happens they may well post about it. Blogging can be a chronicle of one’s life journey. Changing your mind is not a bad or scary thing, it’s just growth.

  • arietty

    Kelly:”Because not much time has gone by, you may again, change your mind on your beliefs. Time is your friend, not your enemy.”And if that happens they may well post about it. Blogging can be a chronicle of one’s life journey. Changing your mind is not a bad or scary thing, it’s just growth.

  • Anonymous

    Molly stated:Here is where I admit that I am confused. You say that you are rejecting the books I mentioned in the earlier thread…yet you yourself seem to promote (regularly) Doug Phillips Vision Forum, where some of those very books are sold…?Sorry, Molly, that’s not me, I don’t know who that is. I do not promote Dough Philips. I do not know the man, and take caution at some of his stands.By the way, Molly. After I read a few of your comments here, I went looking at your blog. My heart aches for you. AK is a beautiful place, by the way.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Molly stated:Here is where I admit that I am confused. You say that you are rejecting the books I mentioned in the earlier thread…yet you yourself seem to promote (regularly) Doug Phillips Vision Forum, where some of those very books are sold…?Sorry, Molly, that’s not me, I don’t know who that is. I do not promote Dough Philips. I do not know the man, and take caution at some of his stands.By the way, Molly. After I read a few of your comments here, I went looking at your blog. My heart aches for you. AK is a beautiful place, by the way.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Linnea stated: I don’t think it’s as simple as saying “I don’t want to call my chid a sinner, so I’m going to redefine sin.” I think, rather, what’s happening is that parents are re-examining their beliefs in the light of the effect those beliefs have on the children: “If this causes my child so much pain, maybe it’s not something I want to keep doing.”In the families we have observed, it is more likely what I stated, as I have openly asked and question the moms. That’s not to say your comments aren’t true, just that in the families we have witnessed, it’s mostly what I have shared, thus why I wrote what I did, last year. And I will take this one step further to state, I think it’s because these families built those ‘convictions’ on an organization or a man, rather than on their own study of Scripture. It’s too easy and takes less time to believe in what someone has already studied, than to do your own study, which is why there are so many problems.I am sure there is a combination of things going on there. Standards should change, if they are being held for the wrong reasons or are being walked out inappropriately. For myself, I believe this is a life long journey. You keep evaluating your convictions and preferences, as you mature in your walk in life.As for Above Rubies, I dumped reading that magazine years ago. I could, unfortunately, see the hypocrisy that was oozing from the pages, which was very sad. Vykie, I too would be interested in hearing your comments on Angel’s stay at the Campbell’s, unless Angel wants to share herself.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Linnea stated: I don’t think it’s as simple as saying “I don’t want to call my chid a sinner, so I’m going to redefine sin.” I think, rather, what’s happening is that parents are re-examining their beliefs in the light of the effect those beliefs have on the children: “If this causes my child so much pain, maybe it’s not something I want to keep doing.”In the families we have observed, it is more likely what I stated, as I have openly asked and question the moms. That’s not to say your comments aren’t true, just that in the families we have witnessed, it’s mostly what I have shared, thus why I wrote what I did, last year. And I will take this one step further to state, I think it’s because these families built those ‘convictions’ on an organization or a man, rather than on their own study of Scripture. It’s too easy and takes less time to believe in what someone has already studied, than to do your own study, which is why there are so many problems.I am sure there is a combination of things going on there. Standards should change, if they are being held for the wrong reasons or are being walked out inappropriately. For myself, I believe this is a life long journey. You keep evaluating your convictions and preferences, as you mature in your walk in life.As for Above Rubies, I dumped reading that magazine years ago. I could, unfortunately, see the hypocrisy that was oozing from the pages, which was very sad. Vykie, I too would be interested in hearing your comments on Angel’s stay at the Campbell’s, unless Angel wants to share herself.Kelly

  • Vyckie

    No, Kelly ~ I don’t actually consider you my enemy. To tell the truth, you remind me of myself not so long ago ~ so I can maybe understand where you are coming from. When I first read your comment, my reaction was to be absolutely pissed off that you would come (seemingly from nowhere) and start right in telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about regarding conviction. I will admit to using some pretty strong language out loud in response to your telling me that I was not really convicted ~ that I merely had “preferences.”I was thinking that you obviously haven’t read my story here ~ because I absolutely DID NOT repeatedly risk my life for a “preference.” I did not “think” I had a conviction until it was tested ~ my conviction WAS tested over and over ~ I nearly died giving birth to my 4th child but that did not stop me from having 3 more because of my STRONG conviction that I would follow God “though He slay me.”No ~ it wasn’t the testing of my convictions which led me to ditch Christianity and all the QF/P baggage which I had picked up along the way. As I have explained here, and I keep repeating ~ it was due to a year-long correspondence with my uncle, during which time I was willing to look honestly and critically at the core assumptions and teachings of Christianity and found that “sure foundation” to be not so solid after all.If the Bible and the Christian faith had held up to my serious and diligent examination ~ and I still believed it, I would have found a way to make it all work. I would have continued on with my marriage ~ I would probably have had more children ~ I would have worked things out with Angel according to biblical principles. I would have stuck to my convictions ~ because if nothing else, I do have never been one to back down from what I believe just because the going got tough.My daughter Angel did not have the “appearance” of rebellion ~ what she experienced was absolute and utter despair because the one whom she should have been able to count on to protect and affirm her humanity was too committed to an ideology to acknowledge that her pain was REAL.Sorry, Kelly ~ but my story DOES NOT make your point.

  • Vyckie

    No, Kelly ~ I don’t actually consider you my enemy. To tell the truth, you remind me of myself not so long ago ~ so I can maybe understand where you are coming from. When I first read your comment, my reaction was to be absolutely pissed off that you would come (seemingly from nowhere) and start right in telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about regarding conviction. I will admit to using some pretty strong language out loud in response to your telling me that I was not really convicted ~ that I merely had “preferences.”I was thinking that you obviously haven’t read my story here ~ because I absolutely DID NOT repeatedly risk my life for a “preference.” I did not “think” I had a conviction until it was tested ~ my conviction WAS tested over and over ~ I nearly died giving birth to my 4th child but that did not stop me from having 3 more because of my STRONG conviction that I would follow God “though He slay me.”No ~ it wasn’t the testing of my convictions which led me to ditch Christianity and all the QF/P baggage which I had picked up along the way. As I have explained here, and I keep repeating ~ it was due to a year-long correspondence with my uncle, during which time I was willing to look honestly and critically at the core assumptions and teachings of Christianity and found that “sure foundation” to be not so solid after all.If the Bible and the Christian faith had held up to my serious and diligent examination ~ and I still believed it, I would have found a way to make it all work. I would have continued on with my marriage ~ I would probably have had more children ~ I would have worked things out with Angel according to biblical principles. I would have stuck to my convictions ~ because if nothing else, I do have never been one to back down from what I believe just because the going got tough.My daughter Angel did not have the “appearance” of rebellion ~ what she experienced was absolute and utter despair because the one whom she should have been able to count on to protect and affirm her humanity was too committed to an ideology to acknowledge that her pain was REAL.Sorry, Kelly ~ but my story DOES NOT make your point.

  • Anonymous

    Vicky,I have read all of your story that you have written on this blog and I read the Salon article and I listened to your interviews. I did comment in one other post, on immunization. ;) As it was positioned in the Salon article, it was your crisis with Angel that brought you to where you started questioning your faith. According to the article and your writings, it was that crisis and the writing to your uncle that brought you to where you are today. If I have misunderstood that, I am sorry. Again, as I stated above, I believe you think they were convictions that you stood on. However, I would argue that they were not convictions as convictions will stand the test of time. You had an ideal that you were holding on to. When that ideal was challenged, it caved. Please also know, Vykie, I was not trying to insinuate that Angel was rebellious, that was not my point at all. Sorry to have provoked you to anger, as that was not my intention, either. Thank you for being willing to take the risk to post my comments and to engage me in dialogue.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Vicky,I have read all of your story that you have written on this blog and I read the Salon article and I listened to your interviews. I did comment in one other post, on immunization. ;) As it was positioned in the Salon article, it was your crisis with Angel that brought you to where you started questioning your faith. According to the article and your writings, it was that crisis and the writing to your uncle that brought you to where you are today. If I have misunderstood that, I am sorry. Again, as I stated above, I believe you think they were convictions that you stood on. However, I would argue that they were not convictions as convictions will stand the test of time. You had an ideal that you were holding on to. When that ideal was challenged, it caved. Please also know, Vykie, I was not trying to insinuate that Angel was rebellious, that was not my point at all. Sorry to have provoked you to anger, as that was not my intention, either. Thank you for being willing to take the risk to post my comments and to engage me in dialogue.Kelly

  • madame

    Convictions, however strongly held, are subject to re-examination too! Convictions can be based on a misinterpretation of Scripture, on passages taken out of context, or on overemphasizing one part of the text above another, ignoring other texts that would clearly temper or even eliminate the conviction, making it a very secondary issue. I think it’s perfectly possible to hold some very strong convictions at one point in life and later repent from them. The pharisees held some very strong convictions that Jesus very strongly opposed…

  • madame

    Convictions, however strongly held, are subject to re-examination too! Convictions can be based on a misinterpretation of Scripture, on passages taken out of context, or on overemphasizing one part of the text above another, ignoring other texts that would clearly temper or even eliminate the conviction, making it a very secondary issue. I think it’s perfectly possible to hold some very strong convictions at one point in life and later repent from them. The pharisees held some very strong convictions that Jesus very strongly opposed…

  • jemand

    Kelly, do YOU have convictions? What if you get Alzheimers and forget them someday? Does that mean you never had them? How could you possibly know that you have convictions? It seems like you don’t want to allow anyone (except maybe yourself) to have convictions *now* and only measure them after the fact. How the heck is that useful?

  • jemand

    Kelly, do YOU have convictions? What if you get Alzheimers and forget them someday? Does that mean you never had them? How could you possibly know that you have convictions? It seems like you don’t want to allow anyone (except maybe yourself) to have convictions *now* and only measure them after the fact. How the heck is that useful?

  • a.b.e.

    Vyckie,I know what its like to hang onto some of the many Biblical idealogies out there in Christianland even when they were hurting me. I did this for many many years. I don’t know why I did this. And they were convictions, not preferences. (I know you mean well Kelly, but they were convictions.)I’m still a Christian, but I haven’t figured out why I hung on to those hurtful matrydom beliefs. I wish I had had a more well balanced set of Christian convictions. This is an area of my life that I don’t understand. I lost a lot hanging onto those silly beliefs. Why did I do that in spite of evidence that they were impractical? I don’t know.Perhaps in time I will understand. If you gain any understanding in this area Vyckie I would appreciate hearing about it. Perhaps it will help me understand myself better.Even though you no longer consider yourself a Christian, you still had have experiences that are partially similar to mine. And what you learn can help me to learn.I think this blog site serves many purposes. Two of those are to help women reconsider male supremacy, and the second is to help Christians and former Christians understand why they believed what they believed. This is good and positive.Like Vyckie and Laura, I had many experiences with the Lord during the time I had my matrydom complex. I don’t know why God didn’t point out the error of my complex as he was giving me other knowledge. Or perhaps Codependents Anonymous was meant to serve that purpose. I’m not sure. But I would have like to have never had the matrydom complex in the first place. I wish God had saved me from that as he/she saved me from many other things.

  • a.b.e.

    Vyckie,I know what its like to hang onto some of the many Biblical idealogies out there in Christianland even when they were hurting me. I did this for many many years. I don’t know why I did this. And they were convictions, not preferences. (I know you mean well Kelly, but they were convictions.)I’m still a Christian, but I haven’t figured out why I hung on to those hurtful matrydom beliefs. I wish I had had a more well balanced set of Christian convictions. This is an area of my life that I don’t understand. I lost a lot hanging onto those silly beliefs. Why did I do that in spite of evidence that they were impractical? I don’t know.Perhaps in time I will understand. If you gain any understanding in this area Vyckie I would appreciate hearing about it. Perhaps it will help me understand myself better.Even though you no longer consider yourself a Christian, you still had have experiences that are partially similar to mine. And what you learn can help me to learn.I think this blog site serves many purposes. Two of those are to help women reconsider male supremacy, and the second is to help Christians and former Christians understand why they believed what they believed. This is good and positive.Like Vyckie and Laura, I had many experiences with the Lord during the time I had my matrydom complex. I don’t know why God didn’t point out the error of my complex as he was giving me other knowledge. Or perhaps Codependents Anonymous was meant to serve that purpose. I’m not sure. But I would have like to have never had the matrydom complex in the first place. I wish God had saved me from that as he/she saved me from many other things.

  • Vyckie

    a.b.e. ~ I think I understand how you feel about this. A big question in my mind has been ~ Why didn’t the Lord come through for me when I was SO devoted, SO sincere? That’s something I’m still sorting out ~ and yes, writing about these things really does help me to think them through. I’m glad to know that what we’re writing here is prompting others to think about their own beliefs and convictions too.This morning I am working on another installment of my story. For everyone who’s been anxious to hear from Laura ~ she will be posting her next installment hopefully later this morning.As soon as I get a chance, I want to write about “Balance” ~ and my thoughts on that as a Christian.

  • Vyckie

    a.b.e. ~ I think I understand how you feel about this. A big question in my mind has been ~ Why didn’t the Lord come through for me when I was SO devoted, SO sincere? That’s something I’m still sorting out ~ and yes, writing about these things really does help me to think them through. I’m glad to know that what we’re writing here is prompting others to think about their own beliefs and convictions too.This morning I am working on another installment of my story. For everyone who’s been anxious to hear from Laura ~ she will be posting her next installment hopefully later this morning.As soon as I get a chance, I want to write about “Balance” ~ and my thoughts on that as a Christian.

  • aimai

    I tend to always look at things from a social point of view, and not from an eternal one, so that makes Kelly’s perspective on “convictions” both very obvious and very hard to argue with logically. Christianity is full of doubt and struggle, and Christians are often called upon to examine everything–what they want to do, what they desire, etc… so its not like Kelly, in her life as a Christian, can’t imagine being wrong and changing her mind. Vyckie’s story about her very high level of self criticism and a brief glance at any QF blog–and Cedar Generation is a good example although I realize that the Kelly posting here is not the Kelly from CG–shows that doubting the self with regard to god is a huge part of that branch of the religion.But at the same time some things are not thought to be susceptible to doubt, or not for long, or not publicly. And the existence of the one god, and the believer’s relationship to that god, and what the believer has come to believe about what that god wants, are not to be doubted–or not publicly–or not finally.So there’s no point arguing with someone like Kelly because its terribly important to their sense of themselves as christians and as saved that they never, ever, doubt themselves or their conclusions in re their religion. They can doubt other people’s status, they can criticize other people. And they can doubt and criticize themselves. But they can’t admit that the same radical doubt can reside in the hands and minds of other people *just like themselves* who were christians but who have changed their minds.We just finished passover–a passover haggadah based on the notion that the original words of god in the Torah are both precious and opaque in meaning. You have to query everything–ask why this and not that?–over and over and over again. You have to play with the meanings to arrive at a meaning that makes sense for you, for this time, for the new things that have happened in the world. Of course Vyckie had to rethink her “convictions” after they nearly got her killed in childbirth. She either had to rethink her conviction, or rethink god, or both. That’s totally within the monotheistic tradition and is called the problem of theodicy or god’s relation to suffering. If he is all powerful and permits suffering he can’t be considered all loving. If he is all loving and would prevent suffering if he could then he can’t be all powerful. Vyckie came to the point in her life when she couldn’t justify for herself the conviction that god both loved her and wanted her to suffer and wanted Angel to suffer.Anyone who contradicts that with a story about how god’s love is really going to be shown some other way, some other time, to some other vyckie is really pushing the limits of logic and of courtesy. And essentially that is what Kelly, and KR (in a sense) and the others who keep insisting that if only vyckie had had “real” convictions that couldn’t be changed by real circumstances; or “true” appreciation of the right kind of Christian lovingkindness, etc… are insisting. That if Vyckie (and angel) could just have waited they would have found out that all would be revealed? Or if they’d just loved the right christian god in the right way they wouldn’t have had those problems?If any of the posters here who are sincerely convinced of what god wants, when, and from who were actually as true believers as they pretend to be they would admit that god’s plan for vyckie is probably beyond their ken and let her get on with living her life as she sees fit. Its all part of god’s plan, after all!aimai

  • aimai

    I tend to always look at things from a social point of view, and not from an eternal one, so that makes Kelly’s perspective on “convictions” both very obvious and very hard to argue with logically. Christianity is full of doubt and struggle, and Christians are often called upon to examine everything–what they want to do, what they desire, etc… so its not like Kelly, in her life as a Christian, can’t imagine being wrong and changing her mind. Vyckie’s story about her very high level of self criticism and a brief glance at any QF blog–and Cedar Generation is a good example although I realize that the Kelly posting here is not the Kelly from CG–shows that doubting the self with regard to god is a huge part of that branch of the religion.But at the same time some things are not thought to be susceptible to doubt, or not for long, or not publicly. And the existence of the one god, and the believer’s relationship to that god, and what the believer has come to believe about what that god wants, are not to be doubted–or not publicly–or not finally.So there’s no point arguing with someone like Kelly because its terribly important to their sense of themselves as christians and as saved that they never, ever, doubt themselves or their conclusions in re their religion. They can doubt other people’s status, they can criticize other people. And they can doubt and criticize themselves. But they can’t admit that the same radical doubt can reside in the hands and minds of other people *just like themselves* who were christians but who have changed their minds.We just finished passover–a passover haggadah based on the notion that the original words of god in the Torah are both precious and opaque in meaning. You have to query everything–ask why this and not that?–over and over and over again. You have to play with the meanings to arrive at a meaning that makes sense for you, for this time, for the new things that have happened in the world. Of course Vyckie had to rethink her “convictions” after they nearly got her killed in childbirth. She either had to rethink her conviction, or rethink god, or both. That’s totally within the monotheistic tradition and is called the problem of theodicy or god’s relation to suffering. If he is all powerful and permits suffering he can’t be considered all loving. If he is all loving and would prevent suffering if he could then he can’t be all powerful. Vyckie came to the point in her life when she couldn’t justify for herself the conviction that god both loved her and wanted her to suffer and wanted Angel to suffer.Anyone who contradicts that with a story about how god’s love is really going to be shown some other way, some other time, to some other vyckie is really pushing the limits of logic and of courtesy. And essentially that is what Kelly, and KR (in a sense) and the others who keep insisting that if only vyckie had had “real” convictions that couldn’t be changed by real circumstances; or “true” appreciation of the right kind of Christian lovingkindness, etc… are insisting. That if Vyckie (and angel) could just have waited they would have found out that all would be revealed? Or if they’d just loved the right christian god in the right way they wouldn’t have had those problems?If any of the posters here who are sincerely convinced of what god wants, when, and from who were actually as true believers as they pretend to be they would admit that god’s plan for vyckie is probably beyond their ken and let her get on with living her life as she sees fit. Its all part of god’s plan, after all!aimai

  • aimai

    On convictions vs. preferences.Kelly’s brief point about convictions vs. preferences strikes me as important. She says that convictions are “real” because they are immutable while preferences are mutable. Her example, that people whose chilren start to “sin” suddenly realize that their relationship to the “sinner” is not what they thought it was and they stop preaching or lecturing or abusing the sinner and try to live with the sinner is a really interesting one. Kelly’s analysis is that they are, in a sense, “insincere” in their previous “convictions” because they change their “convictions” becuase they “prefer” a new, easier, state of affairs.I have two things to say about that. First, of course, “convictions” can be “preferences” in the sense that, as someone pointed out upthread in the post on “magnifying” some parts of the bible over others, *every* can be and probably is a “preference.” No christian holds each part of the (often contradictory) christian scriptures in equal regard. Kelly over at Cedar Generation is totally focused on judging–she despises “judge not lest ye be judged.” Her conviction is that the duty of christians is to judge each other harshly is her personal preference too.So what are we to make of people who change their mind about the meaning of a particular scripture? Well, Kelly would say that changing your mind only happens because you weakly “prefer” a new state of affairs to the old. It was easy for you to be convicted that gayness or abortion were “wrong” when they didn’t impact you through your children. But once you find out your son is gay you prefer a new state of affairs where you don’t have to shun him. So, ergo, you were never sincere and did not correctly “know” what god wanted before.But the only way to prove a conviction in Kelly’s sense is either to die with the same beliefs or to live in agony, with pain, because your belief is emphatically not your preference. That’ll show them! You love your child and discover that his homosexuality doesn’t, actually, make him a worse person. Further you discover that he is *never* going to agree with your interpretation of the bible so that continually witnessing to him and chastising him turns out to have zero effect. You then have a choice to reject and shun him or to decide that god doesn’t want you to shun your child but to continue loving him and hoping that someday he will change his sexual orientation or change his mind about the role of your christianity in his life, or that you can be there for him in this life to the very end. Under Kelly’s view if you decide to focus on one part of your relatinship with your son (his sonship) and stop magnifying his homosexuality you are “preferring” to do it and lacked all real “conviction.” But if you painfully, angrily, sorrowfully reject your child you have true “conviction” because you actually would have “preferred” something else and your very suffering is proof that your conviction comes from some other place, some higher place, and not from your mere personal preferences.I think that leads directly to what a.b.e. called her “martyrdom complex.” Anyone who can read the story of job and decide that the right thing to do is to submit to the whims of an angry god by more submission and more prostration and more love and self abnegation is, in deed, suffering from a martyr complex. At any rate they are going to be martyred. And if you are going to be martyred you’d better be darned sure that its worth the martyrdom because its otherwise just a kind of soul suicide that can take a lot of other people down with it.aimai

  • aimai

    On convictions vs. preferences.Kelly’s brief point about convictions vs. preferences strikes me as important. She says that convictions are “real” because they are immutable while preferences are mutable. Her example, that people whose chilren start to “sin” suddenly realize that their relationship to the “sinner” is not what they thought it was and they stop preaching or lecturing or abusing the sinner and try to live with the sinner is a really interesting one. Kelly’s analysis is that they are, in a sense, “insincere” in their previous “convictions” because they change their “convictions” becuase they “prefer” a new, easier, state of affairs.I have two things to say about that. First, of course, “convictions” can be “preferences” in the sense that, as someone pointed out upthread in the post on “magnifying” some parts of the bible over others, *every* can be and probably is a “preference.” No christian holds each part of the (often contradictory) christian scriptures in equal regard. Kelly over at Cedar Generation is totally focused on judging–she despises “judge not lest ye be judged.” Her conviction is that the duty of christians is to judge each other harshly is her personal preference too.So what are we to make of people who change their mind about the meaning of a particular scripture? Well, Kelly would say that changing your mind only happens because you weakly “prefer” a new state of affairs to the old. It was easy for you to be convicted that gayness or abortion were “wrong” when they didn’t impact you through your children. But once you find out your son is gay you prefer a new state of affairs where you don’t have to shun him. So, ergo, you were never sincere and did not correctly “know” what god wanted before.But the only way to prove a conviction in Kelly’s sense is either to die with the same beliefs or to live in agony, with pain, because your belief is emphatically not your preference. That’ll show them! You love your child and discover that his homosexuality doesn’t, actually, make him a worse person. Further you discover that he is *never* going to agree with your interpretation of the bible so that continually witnessing to him and chastising him turns out to have zero effect. You then have a choice to reject and shun him or to decide that god doesn’t want you to shun your child but to continue loving him and hoping that someday he will change his sexual orientation or change his mind about the role of your christianity in his life, or that you can be there for him in this life to the very end. Under Kelly’s view if you decide to focus on one part of your relatinship with your son (his sonship) and stop magnifying his homosexuality you are “preferring” to do it and lacked all real “conviction.” But if you painfully, angrily, sorrowfully reject your child you have true “conviction” because you actually would have “preferred” something else and your very suffering is proof that your conviction comes from some other place, some higher place, and not from your mere personal preferences.I think that leads directly to what a.b.e. called her “martyrdom complex.” Anyone who can read the story of job and decide that the right thing to do is to submit to the whims of an angry god by more submission and more prostration and more love and self abnegation is, in deed, suffering from a martyr complex. At any rate they are going to be martyred. And if you are going to be martyred you’d better be darned sure that its worth the martyrdom because its otherwise just a kind of soul suicide that can take a lot of other people down with it.aimai

  • a.b.e.

    Thanks Vycke. You are helping me because I’m seeing someone who did things of a somewhat similar nature to what I did.If people knew what I did while I was living out my matrydom complex for Christ – they would think I was totally insane. I haven’t been able to share that with anyone yet. I think it will be awhile before I can because there are so many embarrassing aspects to it.I acted out my matrydom complex apart from the belief in male supremacy. But even so, I still suffered as a result of it.

  • a.b.e.

    Thanks Vycke. You are helping me because I’m seeing someone who did things of a somewhat similar nature to what I did.If people knew what I did while I was living out my matrydom complex for Christ – they would think I was totally insane. I haven’t been able to share that with anyone yet. I think it will be awhile before I can because there are so many embarrassing aspects to it.I acted out my matrydom complex apart from the belief in male supremacy. But even so, I still suffered as a result of it.

  • Kaderin

    Conviction is both religion’s greatest strength and greatest weakness. It empowers people with zeal to follow a cause till the bitter end and yet nothing stops the cause from being destructive, self-destructive or even both (think suicide bombers)As a sidenote, the CS Lewis quote has an atheist and a tad mean version: I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen – because I am 500 years behind on my science education and have no idea how the universe works.For those who didn’t get it: it’s one of the pitfalls of the english language to say the sun rises, because as Galileo observed 500 years ago, it does not. The rotation of the Earth gives it the illusion of rising. Apply to quote and God above ;DSorry for the brief comment, I have so much more to say, but my PC is not letting me post comments – I can’t choose a name *grr* So I’m currently posting from a Mac and don’t have much time *sigh*

  • Kaderin

    Conviction is both religion’s greatest strength and greatest weakness. It empowers people with zeal to follow a cause till the bitter end and yet nothing stops the cause from being destructive, self-destructive or even both (think suicide bombers)As a sidenote, the CS Lewis quote has an atheist and a tad mean version: I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen – because I am 500 years behind on my science education and have no idea how the universe works.For those who didn’t get it: it’s one of the pitfalls of the english language to say the sun rises, because as Galileo observed 500 years ago, it does not. The rotation of the Earth gives it the illusion of rising. Apply to quote and God above ;DSorry for the brief comment, I have so much more to say, but my PC is not letting me post comments – I can’t choose a name *grr* So I’m currently posting from a Mac and don’t have much time *sigh*

  • Anonymous

    aimai,It is exactly your belittling and misrepresenting of other poster’s words that made me not want to share on this blog, at all. The reason I chose to share yesterday, is because I have already examined the word conviction and wanted to present a definition of conviction I had wrote about, last year.So for you to make statements about me not being able to examine whether or not I have been right or wrong on anything is disingenuous. I am a thinker and question a good many things, to the point of driving people crazy. I am in no way saying that people should not re-examine beliefs they hold on to. I am simply stating a conviction stands the test of time. If it does not stand the test of time, it is simply not a conviction. Laura stated her ‘fire insurance’ reasons for holding on to her faith. That’s not a conviction. She was holding on to an ideal, based upon fear. Vyckie walked away from her ideals, believing she had convictions. Convictions are immovable. I don’t doubt that she had experiences. She is free to call them convictions, as we are all free to chose names we want to use for things in this life; however, I am trying to point to definitions on the word and conviction, by definition, is unshakable. Vykie’s belief system came crashing down, that’s simply not a conviction, even though she believed it was. Perhaps through this discussion, she may come to realize conviction wasn’t the right word as she re-examines that part of her life.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    aimai,It is exactly your belittling and misrepresenting of other poster’s words that made me not want to share on this blog, at all. The reason I chose to share yesterday, is because I have already examined the word conviction and wanted to present a definition of conviction I had wrote about, last year.So for you to make statements about me not being able to examine whether or not I have been right or wrong on anything is disingenuous. I am a thinker and question a good many things, to the point of driving people crazy. I am in no way saying that people should not re-examine beliefs they hold on to. I am simply stating a conviction stands the test of time. If it does not stand the test of time, it is simply not a conviction. Laura stated her ‘fire insurance’ reasons for holding on to her faith. That’s not a conviction. She was holding on to an ideal, based upon fear. Vyckie walked away from her ideals, believing she had convictions. Convictions are immovable. I don’t doubt that she had experiences. She is free to call them convictions, as we are all free to chose names we want to use for things in this life; however, I am trying to point to definitions on the word and conviction, by definition, is unshakable. Vykie’s belief system came crashing down, that’s simply not a conviction, even though she believed it was. Perhaps through this discussion, she may come to realize conviction wasn’t the right word as she re-examines that part of her life.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Aimai,If a son turns to homosexuality, but rejects the Bible, you still love them, according to Scripture. If the child wants to claim to be a Christian, and practice homosexuality, then that is where the separation comes in. And yes, that is where conviction vs. preference will come into play, as to what a person really believes. It is my belief, that people take up a ‘martyrdom complex’, all too often, for wrongly held beliefs or prideful reasons.I want those who hold convictions to understand the differences in the words. It becomes confusing to people, who understand the word, ‘conviction’ to see people use the word incorrectly. I understand that words change over time and perhaps, that’s what might be taking place right now. However, conviction, such as in the justice system, is to be unmovable….but we see how that is also changing, thus almost mocking the word ‘conviction’. Convictions are being over-turned a little too often, making a mockery of the justice system. If, however, a conviction of a criminal was in fact wrong, then it should be re-examined and the person set free, wiping the record clean of any conviction and title of criminal.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Aimai,If a son turns to homosexuality, but rejects the Bible, you still love them, according to Scripture. If the child wants to claim to be a Christian, and practice homosexuality, then that is where the separation comes in. And yes, that is where conviction vs. preference will come into play, as to what a person really believes. It is my belief, that people take up a ‘martyrdom complex’, all too often, for wrongly held beliefs or prideful reasons.I want those who hold convictions to understand the differences in the words. It becomes confusing to people, who understand the word, ‘conviction’ to see people use the word incorrectly. I understand that words change over time and perhaps, that’s what might be taking place right now. However, conviction, such as in the justice system, is to be unmovable….but we see how that is also changing, thus almost mocking the word ‘conviction’. Convictions are being over-turned a little too often, making a mockery of the justice system. If, however, a conviction of a criminal was in fact wrong, then it should be re-examined and the person set free, wiping the record clean of any conviction and title of criminal.Kelly

  • jemand

    “It becomes confusing to people, who understand the word, ‘conviction’ to see people use the word incorrectly.”Exactly.”Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” — Princess Bride

  • jemand

    “It becomes confusing to people, who understand the word, ‘conviction’ to see people use the word incorrectly.”Exactly.”Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” — Princess Bride

  • Some Woman

    Disclaimer: I am not Christian. I identify as an agnostic deist. Convictions in this context seem to me to be beliefs that will not be shaken despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Convictions frighten me. Convictions cause people to do things that don’t make any rational sense at all. They don’t allow for shades of grey, for circumstances outside of their narrow definitions. In your case, one situation was a near-death experience during childbirth. I can’t imagine a loving husband would put his wife’s life in danger for more children after that, even though your previous plan was to have as many children as would happen. A reasonable person would take into account their changing environment. If God is so omnipotent, surely he would acknowlege that all of his people are indivuals with unique circumstances. Convictions in this context take away from personal responibility by making everything that happens somebody else’s “fault” (God in this case).

  • Some Woman

    Disclaimer: I am not Christian. I identify as an agnostic deist. Convictions in this context seem to me to be beliefs that will not be shaken despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Convictions frighten me. Convictions cause people to do things that don’t make any rational sense at all. They don’t allow for shades of grey, for circumstances outside of their narrow definitions. In your case, one situation was a near-death experience during childbirth. I can’t imagine a loving husband would put his wife’s life in danger for more children after that, even though your previous plan was to have as many children as would happen. A reasonable person would take into account their changing environment. If God is so omnipotent, surely he would acknowlege that all of his people are indivuals with unique circumstances. Convictions in this context take away from personal responibility by making everything that happens somebody else’s “fault” (God in this case).

  • Linnea

    Kelly, I still have a question for you: how can we tell, in the present moment, that someone’s religious ideas will not change in the future? If that’s what distinguishes a conviction from a preference, no one can be definitively said to have a conviction until they die and there is no longer any possibility that their ideas will change. Therefore, as I see it, the distinction between “conviction” and “preference” has no useful application to actual life.Again, unless you’re clairvoyant, there is no way to distinguish whether a belief I strongly hold at the present is a “conviction” (i.e., a belief I will hold forever) or a “preference” (a belief that I will no longer hold at some future date).In common usage, “conviction” refers to a strongly held belief, regardless of whether that belief may change in the future. “Preference” refers to a less strongly held belief. I don’t think it’s useful to judge that a person’s belief was not strongly held in the past, simply because it has changed in the present.Here’s a thought experiment: suppose Vicky had died in childbirth (perish the thought!). Looking at her life until that point, wouldn’t you say that she was “convicted” in her Christian beliefs? Or are you saying that it’s someone possible to tell that her belief at that point was mere “preference”?

  • Linnea

    Kelly, I still have a question for you: how can we tell, in the present moment, that someone’s religious ideas will not change in the future? If that’s what distinguishes a conviction from a preference, no one can be definitively said to have a conviction until they die and there is no longer any possibility that their ideas will change. Therefore, as I see it, the distinction between “conviction” and “preference” has no useful application to actual life.Again, unless you’re clairvoyant, there is no way to distinguish whether a belief I strongly hold at the present is a “conviction” (i.e., a belief I will hold forever) or a “preference” (a belief that I will no longer hold at some future date).In common usage, “conviction” refers to a strongly held belief, regardless of whether that belief may change in the future. “Preference” refers to a less strongly held belief. I don’t think it’s useful to judge that a person’s belief was not strongly held in the past, simply because it has changed in the present.Here’s a thought experiment: suppose Vicky had died in childbirth (perish the thought!). Looking at her life until that point, wouldn’t you say that she was “convicted” in her Christian beliefs? Or are you saying that it’s someone possible to tell that her belief at that point was mere “preference”?

  • aimai

    Well, I’ve already posted on this too much and my previous posts are being held in moderation. But I can’t resist.OK, Kelly,You say:If a son turns to homosexuality, but rejects the Bible, you still love them, according to Scripture. If the child wants to claim to be a Christian, and practice homosexuality, then that is where the separation comes in.What does “separation” have to mean for it to be in accordance with a true “conviction” and when does the separation that the “convicted” Christian parent choose slide over into an impermissible (to you) mere “preference?” If we go by scripture surely the punishment for homosexuality could be literally anything, from stoning to shunning. But say that there’s a bit of scripture that Kelly approves that indicates the parents should go on “loving” their child. Is there a definitive scriptural admonition that they *have* to follow about how much love is ok? Is it ok if they see their son every day but still chastise him verbally? Is it ok if they see their son on major christian holidays at his new (episcopal) christian church where he is ministered to by Reveren Gene Robinson or is it only ok if they get up out of the pew and shout “get thee behind me satan?”I’m serious–how is a person who is *not Kelly* without Kelly’s personal perspective on scripture, interpretation, and knowledge supposed to know what is the convicted thing to do here? Because I would clearly come to a completely different conviction, and a completely different course of action, than Kelly presumably would. And not only me, but plenty of those Christians that Kelly thinks are falling away from the true path because of personal convenience and preference.My self like the expression “she who lives the longest will see the most.” In other words–we prize maturity, growth, experience in most things why would we suddenly reject it in religious perception? Surely the understanding of a new mother, or an old grandmother, is actually *better* than that of a child? So, to my mind, setting aside the totally spurious and uninteresting distinction between “conviction” and “preference”, I would prefer the mature consideration of an older woman like Vyckie, reflecting on her life to the immature vision of the younger Vyckie who can not imagine just how bad things can get for her children. Because she *knows more* and therefore she can *think harder* about important things like biblical interpretation.aimai

  • aimai

    Well, I’ve already posted on this too much and my previous posts are being held in moderation. But I can’t resist.OK, Kelly,You say:If a son turns to homosexuality, but rejects the Bible, you still love them, according to Scripture. If the child wants to claim to be a Christian, and practice homosexuality, then that is where the separation comes in.What does “separation” have to mean for it to be in accordance with a true “conviction” and when does the separation that the “convicted” Christian parent choose slide over into an impermissible (to you) mere “preference?” If we go by scripture surely the punishment for homosexuality could be literally anything, from stoning to shunning. But say that there’s a bit of scripture that Kelly approves that indicates the parents should go on “loving” their child. Is there a definitive scriptural admonition that they *have* to follow about how much love is ok? Is it ok if they see their son every day but still chastise him verbally? Is it ok if they see their son on major christian holidays at his new (episcopal) christian church where he is ministered to by Reveren Gene Robinson or is it only ok if they get up out of the pew and shout “get thee behind me satan?”I’m serious–how is a person who is *not Kelly* without Kelly’s personal perspective on scripture, interpretation, and knowledge supposed to know what is the convicted thing to do here? Because I would clearly come to a completely different conviction, and a completely different course of action, than Kelly presumably would. And not only me, but plenty of those Christians that Kelly thinks are falling away from the true path because of personal convenience and preference.My self like the expression “she who lives the longest will see the most.” In other words–we prize maturity, growth, experience in most things why would we suddenly reject it in religious perception? Surely the understanding of a new mother, or an old grandmother, is actually *better* than that of a child? So, to my mind, setting aside the totally spurious and uninteresting distinction between “conviction” and “preference”, I would prefer the mature consideration of an older woman like Vyckie, reflecting on her life to the immature vision of the younger Vyckie who can not imagine just how bad things can get for her children. Because she *knows more* and therefore she can *think harder* about important things like biblical interpretation.aimai

  • a.b.e.

    My convictions changed, or should I say they took a new direction. My Christian co-dependence or (shall I say matyrdom) made me almost despair of life itself. The terrible burden it placed on me was enormous, more than I could ever handle. It was killing me. The emotions here are so personal I can’t bring myself to precisely what I want to say. Well, my convictions made a turn through time spent in co-dependents anonymous and therapy. And I am still working on this issue years after becoming aware of it. Somehow the matrydom becomes so ingrained in you that you can’t imagine Christian life without it.My point is that my convictions changed, or shall I matured with CODA, therapy and reading self help books.This blogs and the discussions here are on touching on areas in which I am in process of receiving healing, but need much more.I can never express how much CODA did for me.

  • a.b.e.

    My convictions changed, or should I say they took a new direction. My Christian co-dependence or (shall I say matyrdom) made me almost despair of life itself. The terrible burden it placed on me was enormous, more than I could ever handle. It was killing me. The emotions here are so personal I can’t bring myself to precisely what I want to say. Well, my convictions made a turn through time spent in co-dependents anonymous and therapy. And I am still working on this issue years after becoming aware of it. Somehow the matrydom becomes so ingrained in you that you can’t imagine Christian life without it.My point is that my convictions changed, or shall I matured with CODA, therapy and reading self help books.This blogs and the discussions here are on touching on areas in which I am in process of receiving healing, but need much more.I can never express how much CODA did for me.

  • Vyckie

    aimai ~ have you written something that has not been posted? If so, your comment must have been gobbled by the evil Blogger comment monster ‹(ô¿ô)› ~ because I’ve published all the comments that have come through on this thread. Hopefully you made a copy of your writings and will repost. Sorry!

  • Vyckie

    aimai ~ have you written something that has not been posted? If so, your comment must have been gobbled by the evil Blogger comment monster ‹(ô¿ô)› ~ because I’ve published all the comments that have come through on this thread. Hopefully you made a copy of your writings and will repost. Sorry!

  • Vyckie

    a.b.e. ~ I agree that once that martyr mentality enters your thinking, it’s pretty hard to shake. I’m still dealing with it just about every day. So glad you found help through CODA. It is a process ~ as someone else mentioned here ~ sometimes it seems like one step forward and two steps back. Ugh. I know it’s tough, but hang in there, okay?

  • Vyckie

    a.b.e. ~ I agree that once that martyr mentality enters your thinking, it’s pretty hard to shake. I’m still dealing with it just about every day. So glad you found help through CODA. It is a process ~ as someone else mentioned here ~ sometimes it seems like one step forward and two steps back. Ugh. I know it’s tough, but hang in there, okay?

  • Anonymous

    Linnea and Aimai, I hope to answer your questions, later tonight. Right now, I need to prepare to leave the house for several hours. Just two quick thoughts. I believe many people refer to strongly held ideals/beliefs and call them ‘convictions’ when they are not.Like Vyckie, I too had labor/delivery issues, willing to give of my life to have the beautiful blessings of children. I even had an alternative family picked out to take my last baby, should I not survive. That way if my husband found it was going to be too difficult to have a baby, we knew the baby would go to a very good home. I am not speaking from hypothetical, but from reality, my own. I will expand on this later.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Linnea and Aimai, I hope to answer your questions, later tonight. Right now, I need to prepare to leave the house for several hours. Just two quick thoughts. I believe many people refer to strongly held ideals/beliefs and call them ‘convictions’ when they are not.Like Vyckie, I too had labor/delivery issues, willing to give of my life to have the beautiful blessings of children. I even had an alternative family picked out to take my last baby, should I not survive. That way if my husband found it was going to be too difficult to have a baby, we knew the baby would go to a very good home. I am not speaking from hypothetical, but from reality, my own. I will expand on this later.Kelly

  • Xara

    Until I began reading this blog, I had never heard the word conviction used in the way it is used here. It was not something that was included in the version of Christianity I grew up with. We talked about beliefs, and being convinced of various things, but never convictions. To me the idea of being convicted of something connotates a negative thing that happens TO someone rather than being something one actively deliberately does or believes. As in someone being convicted of a crime. That person can still in fact be innocent, but they have been convicted by the court. I realize that convict and convince probably come from the same root word, but I don’t usually hear conviction used in this manner. This is obviously a hot button word for some. If Vyckie says she was truly convinced and believed with her heart that she was doing the right thing at the time, and then later changed her mind, that doesn’t negate the fact that she believed it at the time. The insistence on whether or not she was truly convicted of these things or not and whether or not her conviction was REAL or not seems counter-productive to me. These beliefs were real to her at the time, and were what she used to steer her life at the time. Someone else saying that because she later changed her mind they were not TRUE CONVICTIONS, seems to be a way of invalidating her experiences and being holier than thou. The fact that she had these beliefs and steered her life by them makes them valid regardless of what someone decides to call them.Words have various meanings and connotations for different people, particularly in different communities. Each community has its own vocabulary that is not always obvious or accessible to those outside that community. For instance I am a science fiction and fantasy fan as well as a gamer. There are a number of words and phrases used commonly in fandom that are not used elsewhere, or that are used differently than by those outside the group. And often when communication with others I need to find different words to express myself than I would when speaking to another gamer or member of fandom. The explanation is often longer but that is because of the lack of shared vocabulary. I am probably getting off topic here, but conviction seems to be one of the QF/P community’s “in words.” I wish you all health and happiness.Xara

  • Xara

    Until I began reading this blog, I had never heard the word conviction used in the way it is used here. It was not something that was included in the version of Christianity I grew up with. We talked about beliefs, and being convinced of various things, but never convictions. To me the idea of being convicted of something connotates a negative thing that happens TO someone rather than being something one actively deliberately does or believes. As in someone being convicted of a crime. That person can still in fact be innocent, but they have been convicted by the court. I realize that convict and convince probably come from the same root word, but I don’t usually hear conviction used in this manner. This is obviously a hot button word for some. If Vyckie says she was truly convinced and believed with her heart that she was doing the right thing at the time, and then later changed her mind, that doesn’t negate the fact that she believed it at the time. The insistence on whether or not she was truly convicted of these things or not and whether or not her conviction was REAL or not seems counter-productive to me. These beliefs were real to her at the time, and were what she used to steer her life at the time. Someone else saying that because she later changed her mind they were not TRUE CONVICTIONS, seems to be a way of invalidating her experiences and being holier than thou. The fact that she had these beliefs and steered her life by them makes them valid regardless of what someone decides to call them.Words have various meanings and connotations for different people, particularly in different communities. Each community has its own vocabulary that is not always obvious or accessible to those outside that community. For instance I am a science fiction and fantasy fan as well as a gamer. There are a number of words and phrases used commonly in fandom that are not used elsewhere, or that are used differently than by those outside the group. And often when communication with others I need to find different words to express myself than I would when speaking to another gamer or member of fandom. The explanation is often longer but that is because of the lack of shared vocabulary. I am probably getting off topic here, but conviction seems to be one of the QF/P community’s “in words.” I wish you all health and happiness.Xara

  • Grandma Lou Ann

    Convictions. Preferences. Circumstances. Can I throw in another idea? Automatic pilot. Like in Angel’s case, being brought up in a home where all you ever knew appeared to be ‘normal’ because you were always surrounded by people whose ‘convictions’ were like everyone else’s. Same with preferences. If you are living with someone who gives you NO choices, how do you ever develop ‘preferences’?I grew up with an alcoholic mother. Looking back, which is all I can do, Mom had very few ‘convictions’. But she had preferences, and hers were to spend time with people who loved to party and drink and dance. That is all I knew also. Laugh it up…many jokes. Seeing Mom drinking, being ‘hung over’, these were ‘normal’ ways of living to me. Being expected to bring her aspirin, barf pans, OJ…that was how I won her approval. I did it so automatically it was like breathing.When I was about ten, we moved next door to a church. My best friend went there with her mom, and they invited me to go with them. Hey, Sunday mornings Mom almost always ‘slept in’, and it was simply a matter of walking out our back door and in the church’s front door. Beat staying home and watching Mom wake up, stagger around moaning and puking a lot.The first time I actually went to someone else’s house and saw another ‘normal’ I was shocked….”You mean….your mom and dad…..don’t ….go out ….and….drink? Party? What do they do for fun? What? Play board games with you and your brothers? Go visit other families? WOW!”So Angel, like me, went through the first bunch of years of her life on ‘automatic pilot’, not knowing what was real, what other people’s ideas, preferences, convictions were…she just did whatever it took to get through another day…until she grew up, moved away from home, and INSTANT CULTURE SHOCK!People who are in controlling relationships quickly become SO on Auto-pilot they can’t recognize the situation they are in for what it is…being controlled. This is why it is quite often absolutely necessary for a third party, unemotionally attached, to intervene…someone who is not so close they are unable to see. Someone who is not afraid to call it what it is, and will not back down or become intimidated, as so many who live there are…just my 2 cents worth…BTDT…not fun.But you know, I’ve often heard it said, and it’s true, we don’t miss what we never knew we had…like the baby elephant tethered its whole life by a tiny string does not know what freedom is. So it doesn’t miss that freedom. It just exists. Period.

  • Grandma Lou Ann

    Convictions. Preferences. Circumstances. Can I throw in another idea? Automatic pilot. Like in Angel’s case, being brought up in a home where all you ever knew appeared to be ‘normal’ because you were always surrounded by people whose ‘convictions’ were like everyone else’s. Same with preferences. If you are living with someone who gives you NO choices, how do you ever develop ‘preferences’?I grew up with an alcoholic mother. Looking back, which is all I can do, Mom had very few ‘convictions’. But she had preferences, and hers were to spend time with people who loved to party and drink and dance. That is all I knew also. Laugh it up…many jokes. Seeing Mom drinking, being ‘hung over’, these were ‘normal’ ways of living to me. Being expected to bring her aspirin, barf pans, OJ…that was how I won her approval. I did it so automatically it was like breathing.When I was about ten, we moved next door to a church. My best friend went there with her mom, and they invited me to go with them. Hey, Sunday mornings Mom almost always ‘slept in’, and it was simply a matter of walking out our back door and in the church’s front door. Beat staying home and watching Mom wake up, stagger around moaning and puking a lot.The first time I actually went to someone else’s house and saw another ‘normal’ I was shocked….”You mean….your mom and dad…..don’t ….go out ….and….drink? Party? What do they do for fun? What? Play board games with you and your brothers? Go visit other families? WOW!”So Angel, like me, went through the first bunch of years of her life on ‘automatic pilot’, not knowing what was real, what other people’s ideas, preferences, convictions were…she just did whatever it took to get through another day…until she grew up, moved away from home, and INSTANT CULTURE SHOCK!People who are in controlling relationships quickly become SO on Auto-pilot they can’t recognize the situation they are in for what it is…being controlled. This is why it is quite often absolutely necessary for a third party, unemotionally attached, to intervene…someone who is not so close they are unable to see. Someone who is not afraid to call it what it is, and will not back down or become intimidated, as so many who live there are…just my 2 cents worth…BTDT…not fun.But you know, I’ve often heard it said, and it’s true, we don’t miss what we never knew we had…like the baby elephant tethered its whole life by a tiny string does not know what freedom is. So it doesn’t miss that freedom. It just exists. Period.

  • Ann S

    Linnea- I just want to say that I really like the logical way you thought this through and I would love to hear Kelly’s answer to your questions.Kelly- I think overall this is a pretty respectful group. What happened is that in downgrading Vyckie’s level of commitment from level 1 to level 2 (the words attached to these levels are irrelevant), you pretty much implied she wasn’t trying hard enough when she literally put her life on the line for her beliefs. This may not be what you intended, but that’s how it came across. That’s probably why people are piling on a bit in the comments.

  • Ann S

    Linnea- I just want to say that I really like the logical way you thought this through and I would love to hear Kelly’s answer to your questions.Kelly- I think overall this is a pretty respectful group. What happened is that in downgrading Vyckie’s level of commitment from level 1 to level 2 (the words attached to these levels are irrelevant), you pretty much implied she wasn’t trying hard enough when she literally put her life on the line for her beliefs. This may not be what you intended, but that’s how it came across. That’s probably why people are piling on a bit in the comments.

  • W. Lotus

    Leaving fundamentalist Christianity was the beginning of me learning how to be kind to myself, so I can relate to your relief at having your biggest critic off your back, Vyckie. :-)

  • W. Lotus

    Leaving fundamentalist Christianity was the beginning of me learning how to be kind to myself, so I can relate to your relief at having your biggest critic off your back, Vyckie. :-)

  • Annie C

    aimai and Some Woman, you both said it far better than I ever could. *g*

  • Annie C

    aimai and Some Woman, you both said it far better than I ever could. *g*

  • Xara

    Grandma Lou Ann – “Convictions. Preferences. Circumstances.Can I throw in another idea? Automatic pilot. Like in Angel’s case, being brought up in a home where all you ever knew appeared to be ‘normal’ because you were always surrounded by people whose ‘convictions’ were like everyone else’s. Same with preferences. If you are living with someone who gives you NO choices, how do you ever develop ‘preferences’?”I can relate to that. I grew up in an abusive environment and my extended family was just MEAN. They didn’t realize the were being mean. In fact they thought they were being loving and looking out for my best interests. But not one of them can give someone a straight compliment. It is always backhanded compliments. If my sister sends my dad the latest pictures of her daughters, his comment is always something like, “Nice rat catchers your sister sent.” It is never, “The girls look really nice in these pictures.” Until I went to college and saw how other families functioned, that was normal to me. I hated it, but I didn’t know anything else. During college, I had a wonderful counselor who helped me to figure out who I wanted to be and to start growing into that person rather then always reacting to what the family wanted. I grew a lot during college and became a lot happier. Afterward, I moved back home for a year and started falling into old patterns because although I had changed, they hadn’t. And no one knows how to push your buttons like family. They installed them. Even today, most of them don’t understand that there is a problem in the way they interact and that it is toxic. For them it is normal.Once I realized that, I moved out of the state. I needed physical distance to quiet their voices so that I could hear my own. So that I could consciously decide who I wanted to be and work on becoming that person without just reacting to what they wanted. My sister has also distanced herself from that part of the family and also realizes that they are toxic. We still talk to them, but we don’t let them have a say in our lives. We want to grow and be healthy and functional. We want the same for them, but each has to decide to do that for themselves. I agree with Grandma Lou Ann though that until you see some alternatives, what you grow up with is what you understand to be “normal.”Xara

  • Xara

    Grandma Lou Ann – “Convictions. Preferences. Circumstances.Can I throw in another idea? Automatic pilot. Like in Angel’s case, being brought up in a home where all you ever knew appeared to be ‘normal’ because you were always surrounded by people whose ‘convictions’ were like everyone else’s. Same with preferences. If you are living with someone who gives you NO choices, how do you ever develop ‘preferences’?”I can relate to that. I grew up in an abusive environment and my extended family was just MEAN. They didn’t realize the were being mean. In fact they thought they were being loving and looking out for my best interests. But not one of them can give someone a straight compliment. It is always backhanded compliments. If my sister sends my dad the latest pictures of her daughters, his comment is always something like, “Nice rat catchers your sister sent.” It is never, “The girls look really nice in these pictures.” Until I went to college and saw how other families functioned, that was normal to me. I hated it, but I didn’t know anything else. During college, I had a wonderful counselor who helped me to figure out who I wanted to be and to start growing into that person rather then always reacting to what the family wanted. I grew a lot during college and became a lot happier. Afterward, I moved back home for a year and started falling into old patterns because although I had changed, they hadn’t. And no one knows how to push your buttons like family. They installed them. Even today, most of them don’t understand that there is a problem in the way they interact and that it is toxic. For them it is normal.Once I realized that, I moved out of the state. I needed physical distance to quiet their voices so that I could hear my own. So that I could consciously decide who I wanted to be and work on becoming that person without just reacting to what they wanted. My sister has also distanced herself from that part of the family and also realizes that they are toxic. We still talk to them, but we don’t let them have a say in our lives. We want to grow and be healthy and functional. We want the same for them, but each has to decide to do that for themselves. I agree with Grandma Lou Ann though that until you see some alternatives, what you grow up with is what you understand to be “normal.”Xara

  • aimai

    I did lose something that I posted from my iphone but perhaps that is all to the good. I wanted to say that Grandma Lou Ann and Xara’s points are really powerful. I particularly like the “on autopilot” part of Grandma Lou Ann’s argument. One of the things I most admire about Vyckie’s struggle is that I see her not as turning her back on her “convictions” or lazily choosing a “new preference” but starting to actively take charge of her life–looking at what works for her family and what doesn’t–rather than trying to conform herself and her family (or contort them) to other people’s ideas of what god wants, or even Vyckie’s own ideas of what god wants. Angel’s situation impelled Vyckie to *stop being on autopilot* and stop doing things that she decided, rationally, were harming her children. Tough though it was, she had to save them from the situation. That’s analagous to an animal gnawing its arm off to get out of a trap. Stay in the trap and die? Or take some pain and suffering but get out. I truly admire that. And I think it is as clear an example of deeply intentional living and the struggle to lead an examined life as I have ever heard or read of.Apologies for all my typos. I re-read my stuff and can’t believe how many words I seem to leave out. Touch typing doesn’t seem to be working for me. I promise to do better.aimai

  • aimai

    I did lose something that I posted from my iphone but perhaps that is all to the good. I wanted to say that Grandma Lou Ann and Xara’s points are really powerful. I particularly like the “on autopilot” part of Grandma Lou Ann’s argument. One of the things I most admire about Vyckie’s struggle is that I see her not as turning her back on her “convictions” or lazily choosing a “new preference” but starting to actively take charge of her life–looking at what works for her family and what doesn’t–rather than trying to conform herself and her family (or contort them) to other people’s ideas of what god wants, or even Vyckie’s own ideas of what god wants. Angel’s situation impelled Vyckie to *stop being on autopilot* and stop doing things that she decided, rationally, were harming her children. Tough though it was, she had to save them from the situation. That’s analagous to an animal gnawing its arm off to get out of a trap. Stay in the trap and die? Or take some pain and suffering but get out. I truly admire that. And I think it is as clear an example of deeply intentional living and the struggle to lead an examined life as I have ever heard or read of.Apologies for all my typos. I re-read my stuff and can’t believe how many words I seem to leave out. Touch typing doesn’t seem to be working for me. I promise to do better.aimai

  • Lou Ann

    Xara said:In fact they thought they were being loving and looking out for my best interests. But not one of them can give someone a straight compliment. It is always backhanded compliments.It’s got to be a ‘man thing’…my husband does this too…so afraid that if he shows tenderness he will come across as a ‘woos/wimp’…we have kitties (obviously) and he quite often when being ‘affectionate’ with one of them calls them “ya bonehead” instead of being sweet. MACHO! That is the word…my daughter in law who is from Honduras tells me that word in Latin American countries is actually not complimentary. She claims women run away as fast as possible from a ‘macho man’, as it means he is abusive, cruel, mean and to be avoided at all costs.Grandma Lou…over and out…

  • Lou Ann

    Xara said:In fact they thought they were being loving and looking out for my best interests. But not one of them can give someone a straight compliment. It is always backhanded compliments.It’s got to be a ‘man thing’…my husband does this too…so afraid that if he shows tenderness he will come across as a ‘woos/wimp’…we have kitties (obviously) and he quite often when being ‘affectionate’ with one of them calls them “ya bonehead” instead of being sweet. MACHO! That is the word…my daughter in law who is from Honduras tells me that word in Latin American countries is actually not complimentary. She claims women run away as fast as possible from a ‘macho man’, as it means he is abusive, cruel, mean and to be avoided at all costs.Grandma Lou…over and out…

  • Jadehawk

    well, this thread certainly explained the peculiar way in which fundie christians use the words “conviction” and “to convict”. evidently “to be become convicted of x” means in christianese “to come to a conclusion/view you ban yourself from ever doubting”.this is not even close to the meaning of the word “conviction” in regular English, (and according to my quick etymology-check, it never was). It’s a word that always meant either “firm belief” or “proof of guilt”, but there’s nothing about it being immutable.however, the fact that convictions are supposed to be immutable by this definition, and are valued higher than non-convicted views, explains the disdain a lot of conserative people steeped in this tradition have for people who are willing to examine even their core beliefs in light of new evidence.where I come from, it’s a sign of maturity to be able and willing to let go of convictions when they turn out to be wrong in light of new evidence. in conservative christian cycles, it seems to be converse, and “staying the course” is more laudable than “flip-flopping” when it turns out that you were actually wrong, because it supposedly shows strength of character.I never understood that. Even when it’s the core of your beliefs, the very base of your entire world view, it should be open to reexamination in light of new evidence. This is not something done out of convenience (that word again), but because it turns out that you were wrong.

  • Jadehawk

    well, this thread certainly explained the peculiar way in which fundie christians use the words “conviction” and “to convict”. evidently “to be become convicted of x” means in christianese “to come to a conclusion/view you ban yourself from ever doubting”.this is not even close to the meaning of the word “conviction” in regular English, (and according to my quick etymology-check, it never was). It’s a word that always meant either “firm belief” or “proof of guilt”, but there’s nothing about it being immutable.however, the fact that convictions are supposed to be immutable by this definition, and are valued higher than non-convicted views, explains the disdain a lot of conserative people steeped in this tradition have for people who are willing to examine even their core beliefs in light of new evidence.where I come from, it’s a sign of maturity to be able and willing to let go of convictions when they turn out to be wrong in light of new evidence. in conservative christian cycles, it seems to be converse, and “staying the course” is more laudable than “flip-flopping” when it turns out that you were actually wrong, because it supposedly shows strength of character.I never understood that. Even when it’s the core of your beliefs, the very base of your entire world view, it should be open to reexamination in light of new evidence. This is not something done out of convenience (that word again), but because it turns out that you were wrong.

  • Vyckie

    Jadehawk ~ thanks for your comment. You really nailed this one right on the head.

  • Vyckie

    Jadehawk ~ thanks for your comment. You really nailed this one right on the head.

  • a.b.e.

    There is a problem with convictions in the Christian community. So often the Christian community takes on the values of the culture surrounding it and then finds scripture to back it up. For example, we are coming out of a patriarchal culture. The Christian community in the past took on the cultural values of patriarchy and made them its own. It valued every scripture that appeared to support patriarcy, and ignored or down played every scripture that did the reverse. It made patriarchy into a conviction even though it was based on culture rather than on scripture. The Christian community has done that with many other things also. It valued matrydom so it promoted scripture that supported it and ignored balancing scriptures that would have modified it. The Christian community has incorporated so many beliefs and ideas from the culture around it and then Christianized it using select scriptures while ignoring other scriptures that would have provided more balance.The result is that young Christians are taught all sorts of ideas that are supposed to be scriptural, and are protrayed as needing to be followed at all costs. So these Christians follow these convictions at all costs, only to find out that following these convictions doesn’t work.I’m not saying there aren’t things in the Bible that are not worth following at all costs, I believe there are. It’s just there are many convictions that we were taught that actually had their origin in culture and are of no real value. Following these convictions has screwed up parts of my life, and of those of others as well.

  • a.b.e.

    There is a problem with convictions in the Christian community. So often the Christian community takes on the values of the culture surrounding it and then finds scripture to back it up. For example, we are coming out of a patriarchal culture. The Christian community in the past took on the cultural values of patriarchy and made them its own. It valued every scripture that appeared to support patriarcy, and ignored or down played every scripture that did the reverse. It made patriarchy into a conviction even though it was based on culture rather than on scripture. The Christian community has done that with many other things also. It valued matrydom so it promoted scripture that supported it and ignored balancing scriptures that would have modified it. The Christian community has incorporated so many beliefs and ideas from the culture around it and then Christianized it using select scriptures while ignoring other scriptures that would have provided more balance.The result is that young Christians are taught all sorts of ideas that are supposed to be scriptural, and are protrayed as needing to be followed at all costs. So these Christians follow these convictions at all costs, only to find out that following these convictions doesn’t work.I’m not saying there aren’t things in the Bible that are not worth following at all costs, I believe there are. It’s just there are many convictions that we were taught that actually had their origin in culture and are of no real value. Following these convictions has screwed up parts of my life, and of those of others as well.

  • Jadehawk

    a.b.e., conversely, there’s many issues that were absorbed by Christians from the culture that were positive. the concept of egalitarianism for example is an outgrowth of the Englightment (“Liberté, égalité, fraternité” etc.), and with time, the Christian cultrure absorbed those, downplaying all the passages in the bible that dealt with accepting the status one was born into (most of the time when the bible speaks of equality, it seems to talk about the state of being in heaven, not the state of being on earth);it seems then that Christianity per-se seems value free, and is merely a filter for the Zeitgeist of any given culture it finds itself in. as such, there really wouldn’t be any “christian convictions”, only cultural convictions reinforced by a particular biblical interpretation.

  • Jadehawk

    a.b.e., conversely, there’s many issues that were absorbed by Christians from the culture that were positive. the concept of egalitarianism for example is an outgrowth of the Englightment (“Liberté, égalité, fraternité” etc.), and with time, the Christian cultrure absorbed those, downplaying all the passages in the bible that dealt with accepting the status one was born into (most of the time when the bible speaks of equality, it seems to talk about the state of being in heaven, not the state of being on earth);it seems then that Christianity per-se seems value free, and is merely a filter for the Zeitgeist of any given culture it finds itself in. as such, there really wouldn’t be any “christian convictions”, only cultural convictions reinforced by a particular biblical interpretation.

  • Anonymous

    Aimai stated: What does “separation” have to mean for it to be in accordance with a true “conviction” and when does the separation that the “convicted” Christian parent choose slide over into an impermissible (to you) mere “preference?” Aimai, when I first read this question, I thought I understood it. Now, I’m not so sure I understand it. I am attempting to answer the way I first read it, if I am incorrect, please restate it for me…sorry about that. I would say the separation happens when the Christian who holds to the conviction of Scripture, regarding those who call themselves ‘brothers’ yet continue to live in sin, takes place at the time the knowledge of that son rejects Biblical truth and continues to live as they have chosen. If you are asking, when does it slide from conviction to preference, for the Christian, I would say that it’s not a slide over to ‘preference’ in this matter, but actually going against Biblical teaching. When the convicted Christian no longer holds to their belief, they have chosen to compromise Biblical teaching, if they still consider them self to be a Christian. Some how, I think I am reading this question wrong…so sorry.If we go by scripture surely the punishment for homosexuality could be literally anything, from stoning to shunning.If you hold to and live under OT law, then perhaps you could say stoning. However, with the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that is no longer the law to which we live under, thus stoning is not acceptable.Aimai, the Scripture used for the ‘shunning’ aspect says to not even have a meal with them. Why? Because when you break bread, have coffee, etc. with someone who calls them self a Christian, yet chooses to live in opposition to Scripture, sharing that time together gives the impression, both to the person you are eating/drinking with and those outside who witness this, the belief you are in agreement with their choice of sin. It’s no different than having a neighbor who is a convicted child molester, now on parole, who invites you over to his house for coffee. If you have a strong conviction to not have contact with such a person, then you would not want to have the coffee at his house. However, if you only had a preference, then you would not care and might just take him up on that coffee, not caring what he might be thinking or the neighbors. Let me also add, most Christians do not fully understand or walk that out correctly. It is done with the intent to punish, not to restore relationships. If the Christian is truly humble, it will grieve them to have to walk that way. Instead, you find too many self righteous Christians, full of pride, wanting to punish, rather than humbly try to restore the relationship.Aimai, my beef with my fellow Christians is that we, lack honesty and integrity, because of trying to portray something that is not real. Too many Christians want to put on the perfect happy face, everything is in order and not a thing out of place. They try to hide the fact that they have children who are struggling, perhaps themselves are struggling, such as in abusive situations. The solution? They put on the false face. It grieves me to see this. It leads people down the wrong path. When I hear a Christian parent sharing truth about their struggles with a child, I say AMEN! Let us be genuine, honest, loving. If it’s a conviction, it’s unshakeable. If it’s a preference, that’s fine. Convictions have the ability to separate, both in good and bad ways. All too often, Christians abuse it, they do not walk in love when it comes to their convictions. If a conviction crosses over into sin areas of our lives, that’s where we have to be very, very careful. If, however, that conviction is not a sin issue, but rather one of faith, as in having more children, then I would say the children do not have to embrace that same conviction, if they do not have the faith to accept that. That should not separate a family. If the parents have that conviction, but the children don’t that should not separate a family. My belief is there are too many Christians mixing up conviction and preferences. Conviction of faith issues and conviction of sin issues. We can embrace convictions AS WELL AS preferences. My concern for my fellow Christians are that they need to take careful evaluation if something is a conviction or a preference. Don’t be so quick to call something a conviction that is only a preference, as you might change your mind on it, then you have to defend why you changed your mind, which then brings your credibility into question. I see this all the time. :( Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Aimai stated: What does “separation” have to mean for it to be in accordance with a true “conviction” and when does the separation that the “convicted” Christian parent choose slide over into an impermissible (to you) mere “preference?” Aimai, when I first read this question, I thought I understood it. Now, I’m not so sure I understand it. I am attempting to answer the way I first read it, if I am incorrect, please restate it for me…sorry about that. I would say the separation happens when the Christian who holds to the conviction of Scripture, regarding those who call themselves ‘brothers’ yet continue to live in sin, takes place at the time the knowledge of that son rejects Biblical truth and continues to live as they have chosen. If you are asking, when does it slide from conviction to preference, for the Christian, I would say that it’s not a slide over to ‘preference’ in this matter, but actually going against Biblical teaching. When the convicted Christian no longer holds to their belief, they have chosen to compromise Biblical teaching, if they still consider them self to be a Christian. Some how, I think I am reading this question wrong…so sorry.If we go by scripture surely the punishment for homosexuality could be literally anything, from stoning to shunning.If you hold to and live under OT law, then perhaps you could say stoning. However, with the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that is no longer the law to which we live under, thus stoning is not acceptable.Aimai, the Scripture used for the ‘shunning’ aspect says to not even have a meal with them. Why? Because when you break bread, have coffee, etc. with someone who calls them self a Christian, yet chooses to live in opposition to Scripture, sharing that time together gives the impression, both to the person you are eating/drinking with and those outside who witness this, the belief you are in agreement with their choice of sin. It’s no different than having a neighbor who is a convicted child molester, now on parole, who invites you over to his house for coffee. If you have a strong conviction to not have contact with such a person, then you would not want to have the coffee at his house. However, if you only had a preference, then you would not care and might just take him up on that coffee, not caring what he might be thinking or the neighbors. Let me also add, most Christians do not fully understand or walk that out correctly. It is done with the intent to punish, not to restore relationships. If the Christian is truly humble, it will grieve them to have to walk that way. Instead, you find too many self righteous Christians, full of pride, wanting to punish, rather than humbly try to restore the relationship.Aimai, my beef with my fellow Christians is that we, lack honesty and integrity, because of trying to portray something that is not real. Too many Christians want to put on the perfect happy face, everything is in order and not a thing out of place. They try to hide the fact that they have children who are struggling, perhaps themselves are struggling, such as in abusive situations. The solution? They put on the false face. It grieves me to see this. It leads people down the wrong path. When I hear a Christian parent sharing truth about their struggles with a child, I say AMEN! Let us be genuine, honest, loving. If it’s a conviction, it’s unshakeable. If it’s a preference, that’s fine. Convictions have the ability to separate, both in good and bad ways. All too often, Christians abuse it, they do not walk in love when it comes to their convictions. If a conviction crosses over into sin areas of our lives, that’s where we have to be very, very careful. If, however, that conviction is not a sin issue, but rather one of faith, as in having more children, then I would say the children do not have to embrace that same conviction, if they do not have the faith to accept that. That should not separate a family. If the parents have that conviction, but the children don’t that should not separate a family. My belief is there are too many Christians mixing up conviction and preferences. Conviction of faith issues and conviction of sin issues. We can embrace convictions AS WELL AS preferences. My concern for my fellow Christians are that they need to take careful evaluation if something is a conviction or a preference. Don’t be so quick to call something a conviction that is only a preference, as you might change your mind on it, then you have to defend why you changed your mind, which then brings your credibility into question. I see this all the time. :( Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Linnea stated: Kelly, I still have a question for you: how can we tell, in the present moment, that someone’s religious ideas will not change in the future? If that’s what distinguishes a conviction from a preference, no one can be definitively said to have a conviction until they die and there is no longer any possibility that their ideas will change. Therefore, as I see it, the distinction between “conviction” and “preference” has no useful application to actual life.As I stated before, a conviction stands the test of time. If I understand Vyckie’s writings, these so called ‘convictions’ were actually evolving, not set in stone convictions. Remember, in her story she shared that they had a vasectomy and reversal, then had more children. That came as a result of her evolving understanding of beliefs. We can ‘start to be convicted’ on many topics or issues. However, that conviction becomes cemented as a conviction as time marches on and you walk it out. In common usage, “conviction” refers to a strongly held belief, regardless of whether that belief may change in the future. “Preference” refers to a less strongly held belief. I don’t think it’s useful to judge that a person’s belief was not strongly held in the past, simply because it has changed in the presentI agree, I believe Vyckie held strong beliefs in the past, but that’s all they were, beliefs. They had the appearance of conviction, but time reveled that’s not the case. I am not trying to dismiss Vyckie’s experience, I am trying to put it into proper perspective. Here’s a thought experiment: suppose Vicky had died in childbirth (perish the thought!). Looking at her life until that point, wouldn’t you say that she was “convicted” in her Christian beliefs? Or are you saying that it’s someone possible to tell that her belief at that point was mere “preference”?Linnea, if Vicky had died in childbirth, I would have said she had a conviction, although one can never really know. From the outward appearances, I would have said it was a conviction. Again, I do not know Vyckie, so I have no idea the ‘real life’ stuff that was happening. In other words, she may have been giving off signs that she had ‘trouble’ which would have made me question the conviction, but since I have never met her, I can only say from the example you gave, that it was a conviction. If I knew her, personally, I might have thought otherwise. this is not even close to the meaning of the word “conviction” in regular English, (and according to my quick etymology-check, it never was). It’s a word that always meant either “firm belief” or “proof of guilt”, but there’s nothing about it being immutable.In my study, the word ‘conviction’ started out as a verb, convict. later changing to include the noun. So if you stop to really think about it, conviction is from the legal definition of the word. When a person has been convicted of a crime, that’s it, unless a conviction is overturned. As I mentioned before, even in the justice system, the word conviction is being mocked by all the overturning of convictions. Again, test of time will bear out whether or not that conviction stands. We can be convicted by our conscience, the Holy Spirit, a writing or something else, but we don’t overturn those convictions, since they are unshakable. Notice I say, unshakable, not unquestioned or re-examined. To have a conviction, you must be convicted. The question then comes down to, who or what did the convicting?Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Linnea stated: Kelly, I still have a question for you: how can we tell, in the present moment, that someone’s religious ideas will not change in the future? If that’s what distinguishes a conviction from a preference, no one can be definitively said to have a conviction until they die and there is no longer any possibility that their ideas will change. Therefore, as I see it, the distinction between “conviction” and “preference” has no useful application to actual life.As I stated before, a conviction stands the test of time. If I understand Vyckie’s writings, these so called ‘convictions’ were actually evolving, not set in stone convictions. Remember, in her story she shared that they had a vasectomy and reversal, then had more children. That came as a result of her evolving understanding of beliefs. We can ‘start to be convicted’ on many topics or issues. However, that conviction becomes cemented as a conviction as time marches on and you walk it out. In common usage, “conviction” refers to a strongly held belief, regardless of whether that belief may change in the future. “Preference” refers to a less strongly held belief. I don’t think it’s useful to judge that a person’s belief was not strongly held in the past, simply because it has changed in the presentI agree, I believe Vyckie held strong beliefs in the past, but that’s all they were, beliefs. They had the appearance of conviction, but time reveled that’s not the case. I am not trying to dismiss Vyckie’s experience, I am trying to put it into proper perspective. Here’s a thought experiment: suppose Vicky had died in childbirth (perish the thought!). Looking at her life until that point, wouldn’t you say that she was “convicted” in her Christian beliefs? Or are you saying that it’s someone possible to tell that her belief at that point was mere “preference”?Linnea, if Vicky had died in childbirth, I would have said she had a conviction, although one can never really know. From the outward appearances, I would have said it was a conviction. Again, I do not know Vyckie, so I have no idea the ‘real life’ stuff that was happening. In other words, she may have been giving off signs that she had ‘trouble’ which would have made me question the conviction, but since I have never met her, I can only say from the example you gave, that it was a conviction. If I knew her, personally, I might have thought otherwise. this is not even close to the meaning of the word “conviction” in regular English, (and according to my quick etymology-check, it never was). It’s a word that always meant either “firm belief” or “proof of guilt”, but there’s nothing about it being immutable.In my study, the word ‘conviction’ started out as a verb, convict. later changing to include the noun. So if you stop to really think about it, conviction is from the legal definition of the word. When a person has been convicted of a crime, that’s it, unless a conviction is overturned. As I mentioned before, even in the justice system, the word conviction is being mocked by all the overturning of convictions. Again, test of time will bear out whether or not that conviction stands. We can be convicted by our conscience, the Holy Spirit, a writing or something else, but we don’t overturn those convictions, since they are unshakable. Notice I say, unshakable, not unquestioned or re-examined. To have a conviction, you must be convicted. The question then comes down to, who or what did the convicting?Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Jadehawk stated: where I come from, it’s a sign of maturity to be able and willing to let go of convictions when they turn out to be wrong in light of new evidence. in conservative christian cycles, it seems to be converse, and “staying the course” is more laudable than “flip-flopping” when it turns out that you were actually wrong, because it supposedly shows strength of character.Not at all. My point I am making is to call convictions, convictions and preferences, preferences. If you called it a conviction, when in fact you have changed your mind and it’s not a conviction, state it as such, don’t pretend it to be something it is not.I would hope EVERYONE, from time to time, asks them self life changing questions. I would say, we would be pretty dishonest to say that we don’t. As we mature in life, we always have times in difficulty, joy and everyday chores that we contemplate our reason for our living. Those are not bad things. To deny ourselves that questioning is foolishness. To deny doing it, would be untruthful.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Jadehawk stated: where I come from, it’s a sign of maturity to be able and willing to let go of convictions when they turn out to be wrong in light of new evidence. in conservative christian cycles, it seems to be converse, and “staying the course” is more laudable than “flip-flopping” when it turns out that you were actually wrong, because it supposedly shows strength of character.Not at all. My point I am making is to call convictions, convictions and preferences, preferences. If you called it a conviction, when in fact you have changed your mind and it’s not a conviction, state it as such, don’t pretend it to be something it is not.I would hope EVERYONE, from time to time, asks them self life changing questions. I would say, we would be pretty dishonest to say that we don’t. As we mature in life, we always have times in difficulty, joy and everyday chores that we contemplate our reason for our living. Those are not bad things. To deny ourselves that questioning is foolishness. To deny doing it, would be untruthful.Kelly

  • Vyckie

    Kelly ~ After leaving Christianity, I realized that a big part of why I had always felt like I needed to portray myself and my family has “having it all together” is that Christians tend to be highly opinionated and judgmental ~ I didn’t ever really feel “safe” in allowing those people (who were supposed to be my friends) to see the struggles we were dealing with because I sensed that I would then be fair game to be picked apart and analyzed and criticized and told that I just wasn’t a true Christian or that I wasn’t doing it right.Q.D., I never considered myself to be judgmental ~ I’d have argued pretty vehemently with you if you’d have told me I was. NOW I see it obviously ~ and the reason I can see it is because once I got outside of my little circle of Christian friends ~ I met many people who actually are not judgmental and it’s been so refreshing. I don’t mind admitting to these people that I am not perfect ~ because they don’t expect perfection in the first place.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Also, Kelly ~ After my third c-section, I “believed” that my body was not cut out for childbearing and that we couldn’t handle any more children ~ but I never would have called it a conviction since we regretted the vasectomy as soon as we walked out of the doctor’s office. It was only after I was convicted that I had a very strong conviction to let the Lord be in charge of our family planning ~ and NOTHING was going to change my thinking on that ~ not even after I nearly died with my fourth and my mother stood at the end of my hospital bed in tears, begging me to have Warren get another vasectomy. THAT’S conviction.And it’s not easy to let go of ~ because I know that even today, if I were in a relationship in which there were the possibility that I might get pregnant again ~ using birth control would still be a big issue for me ~ I don’t know how I would do actually do it. Not that I’m afraid of going against God’s will ~ it’s just that there were a lot of considerations which went into my decision not to use b.c. in the first place ~ and some of those ideas are still with me.Again Kelly ~ my conviction was REAL and it was SOLID. And to answer your question about who (Who) did the convicting: I believed (still believe) that it was the Holy Spirit who convicted me to trust my womb and my reproductive system to Him ~ and I did it wholeheartedly. It was only after I lost the Holy Spirit that I lost the sense of obligation to follow His directives for my life ~ and as I said, I’m still not sure that I could use b.c. ~ just grateful to be in a situation where I don’t have to worry about it anymore.

  • Vyckie

    Kelly ~ After leaving Christianity, I realized that a big part of why I had always felt like I needed to portray myself and my family has “having it all together” is that Christians tend to be highly opinionated and judgmental ~ I didn’t ever really feel “safe” in allowing those people (who were supposed to be my friends) to see the struggles we were dealing with because I sensed that I would then be fair game to be picked apart and analyzed and criticized and told that I just wasn’t a true Christian or that I wasn’t doing it right.Q.D., I never considered myself to be judgmental ~ I’d have argued pretty vehemently with you if you’d have told me I was. NOW I see it obviously ~ and the reason I can see it is because once I got outside of my little circle of Christian friends ~ I met many people who actually are not judgmental and it’s been so refreshing. I don’t mind admitting to these people that I am not perfect ~ because they don’t expect perfection in the first place.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Also, Kelly ~ After my third c-section, I “believed” that my body was not cut out for childbearing and that we couldn’t handle any more children ~ but I never would have called it a conviction since we regretted the vasectomy as soon as we walked out of the doctor’s office. It was only after I was convicted that I had a very strong conviction to let the Lord be in charge of our family planning ~ and NOTHING was going to change my thinking on that ~ not even after I nearly died with my fourth and my mother stood at the end of my hospital bed in tears, begging me to have Warren get another vasectomy. THAT’S conviction.And it’s not easy to let go of ~ because I know that even today, if I were in a relationship in which there were the possibility that I might get pregnant again ~ using birth control would still be a big issue for me ~ I don’t know how I would do actually do it. Not that I’m afraid of going against God’s will ~ it’s just that there were a lot of considerations which went into my decision not to use b.c. in the first place ~ and some of those ideas are still with me.Again Kelly ~ my conviction was REAL and it was SOLID. And to answer your question about who (Who) did the convicting: I believed (still believe) that it was the Holy Spirit who convicted me to trust my womb and my reproductive system to Him ~ and I did it wholeheartedly. It was only after I lost the Holy Spirit that I lost the sense of obligation to follow His directives for my life ~ and as I said, I’m still not sure that I could use b.c. ~ just grateful to be in a situation where I don’t have to worry about it anymore.

  • Anonymous

    Christian egalitarianism for women did not come out of the Enlightment. The egalitarianism that came out of the Enlightment was only for men, women were excluded.Christian egalitarianism for women had its start in the 1970′s.

  • Anonymous

    Christian egalitarianism for women did not come out of the Enlightment. The egalitarianism that came out of the Enlightment was only for men, women were excluded.Christian egalitarianism for women had its start in the 1970′s.

  • aimai

    Kelly,Thanks for taking the time to respond to so many different posters and their comments. I have to confess that I have no clear idea, at this point, what point you are trying to make. You seem like a really nice person, if quite judgmental and determined to find other Christians not as truly Christian as you want. (Something Vyckie gently points out in the post up above). Also, you are very determined to substitute what I’d call an idolatrous love of the dictionary and its definitions and your research on a few words for an equally idolatrous love of the literal scripture. I love the way you casually dismiss the OT as “superseded” by the NT. The whole point of modern american christianity is that there is no controlling authority (and its certainy not jesus) who is able to say which passages should/must be rejected and which must be observed. Without a Pope and a strong tradition of hermeneutics modern day protestantism is all over the place with regard to how to understand both the OT and the NT. I, personally, qua jew wish that Christians would stop playing around with the OT at all. Its like watching children tear out the pages of a book and try to cook smores on it. But even when it comes to the NT and its ancillary writings there is no agreement as to which rule, or how to read them. Ultimately, what one thinks of a word, like “convict” or its antonyms or synonyms etc… is really not dispostive of anything much. One person’s conviction is another person’s belief, one person’s preference is another person’s horror show. What matters, as you say eventually, is how we treat each other.To go back to my example of the serious christian parents of a gay child I really feel nothing but pity for any person who is so in the thrall of an angry god that they would cease to break bread with their own child, or do so only in the context of demonstrating dissapproval, because they think this is what god wants of them. Or they think this is the right christian thing to do.God forbid that any person should ever have to choose between a child’s life and a religious community, or even between a child’s life and god’s understanding. Perhaps you don’t know that gay children are much more likely to kill themselves than other children–the rejection they get from their families as well as their society is so crushing that children as young as ten and eleven (just two days ago it was an eleven year old boy) have been known to kill themselves. A parent who did not know that would be gravely at fault just as we would think a parent who put an infant in the back of a car without a car seat was at fault in the event of a crash.A parent who knew it but thought that pain and suffering would teach the child to reject its sexual core in order to more perfectly fit the christian model would be equally at fault. The best case scenario is that shunning and rejecting a child (even with love! even if more in sorrow than in anger!) brings the child back to jesus in the approved way. But if it doesn’t? The worst case scenario is that the child flees the home, or even kills itself.On balance I would never choose the first result even if I believed in eternal life, which I don’t. But if I believed in eternal life and I thought my gay child would burn in hell–yet I would do nothing to force that child into despair, into believing that a parents love is conditional on good performance, or that god’s love is conditional on perfect behavior. Because the risk of suicide is just too great. And only where there is life is there hope.I don’t have a gay child. I know tons of happy, out, gay people. Some are even committed Christians! Others have left the church because of the outright cruelty of their co-parishoners or family members. So this is my thing, not yours. But this is a big thing, to me.PS: I wanted to add that Jadehawk’s comment up above about maturity and changing one’s mind and the role of stubborn insistence in the modern conservative movement perfectly captured something I’ve thought and tried to write. Truly great comment, Jadehawk.aimai

  • aimai

    Kelly,Thanks for taking the time to respond to so many different posters and their comments. I have to confess that I have no clear idea, at this point, what point you are trying to make. You seem like a really nice person, if quite judgmental and determined to find other Christians not as truly Christian as you want. (Something Vyckie gently points out in the post up above). Also, you are very determined to substitute what I’d call an idolatrous love of the dictionary and its definitions and your research on a few words for an equally idolatrous love of the literal scripture. I love the way you casually dismiss the OT as “superseded” by the NT. The whole point of modern american christianity is that there is no controlling authority (and its certainy not jesus) who is able to say which passages should/must be rejected and which must be observed. Without a Pope and a strong tradition of hermeneutics modern day protestantism is all over the place with regard to how to understand both the OT and the NT. I, personally, qua jew wish that Christians would stop playing around with the OT at all. Its like watching children tear out the pages of a book and try to cook smores on it. But even when it comes to the NT and its ancillary writings there is no agreement as to which rule, or how to read them. Ultimately, what one thinks of a word, like “convict” or its antonyms or synonyms etc… is really not dispostive of anything much. One person’s conviction is another person’s belief, one person’s preference is another person’s horror show. What matters, as you say eventually, is how we treat each other.To go back to my example of the serious christian parents of a gay child I really feel nothing but pity for any person who is so in the thrall of an angry god that they would cease to break bread with their own child, or do so only in the context of demonstrating dissapproval, because they think this is what god wants of them. Or they think this is the right christian thing to do.God forbid that any person should ever have to choose between a child’s life and a religious community, or even between a child’s life and god’s understanding. Perhaps you don’t know that gay children are much more likely to kill themselves than other children–the rejection they get from their families as well as their society is so crushing that children as young as ten and eleven (just two days ago it was an eleven year old boy) have been known to kill themselves. A parent who did not know that would be gravely at fault just as we would think a parent who put an infant in the back of a car without a car seat was at fault in the event of a crash.A parent who knew it but thought that pain and suffering would teach the child to reject its sexual core in order to more perfectly fit the christian model would be equally at fault. The best case scenario is that shunning and rejecting a child (even with love! even if more in sorrow than in anger!) brings the child back to jesus in the approved way. But if it doesn’t? The worst case scenario is that the child flees the home, or even kills itself.On balance I would never choose the first result even if I believed in eternal life, which I don’t. But if I believed in eternal life and I thought my gay child would burn in hell–yet I would do nothing to force that child into despair, into believing that a parents love is conditional on good performance, or that god’s love is conditional on perfect behavior. Because the risk of suicide is just too great. And only where there is life is there hope.I don’t have a gay child. I know tons of happy, out, gay people. Some are even committed Christians! Others have left the church because of the outright cruelty of their co-parishoners or family members. So this is my thing, not yours. But this is a big thing, to me.PS: I wanted to add that Jadehawk’s comment up above about maturity and changing one’s mind and the role of stubborn insistence in the modern conservative movement perfectly captured something I’ve thought and tried to write. Truly great comment, Jadehawk.aimai

  • a.b.e.

    Vyckie,Unfortunately in the Christian community our convictions have made many us of more critical than we would have been. Thankfully over the years I’ve grown I’ve grown less critical. But as a young Christian I was quite critical. Jesus said not to judge, less you be judged. I would like to see the Christian community grow in that direction. And there are some Christians that don’t judge, but as whole we are quite judgemental as a result of out convictions.I think as more and more Chtistians get therapy and spend time in 12 step groups, they will learn to be less critical.Christians need in depth therapy and support groups as much as anyone else. And they are a good way to grow up out of rigid belief systems.

  • a.b.e.

    Vyckie,Unfortunately in the Christian community our convictions have made many us of more critical than we would have been. Thankfully over the years I’ve grown I’ve grown less critical. But as a young Christian I was quite critical. Jesus said not to judge, less you be judged. I would like to see the Christian community grow in that direction. And there are some Christians that don’t judge, but as whole we are quite judgemental as a result of out convictions.I think as more and more Chtistians get therapy and spend time in 12 step groups, they will learn to be less critical.Christians need in depth therapy and support groups as much as anyone else. And they are a good way to grow up out of rigid belief systems.

  • Anonymous

    Kelly,Who was it that said: Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.Oh yeah, that was Jesus, eh?JEB

  • Anonymous

    Kelly,Who was it that said: Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.Oh yeah, that was Jesus, eh?JEB

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie,Once again, I appreciate the dialogue, thank you for taking the time.Like you, I had difficult deliveries and not so great pregnancies, mix in there mostly large babies and I was not your picture perfect QF minded mama. I was not able to have home births, though I often dreamt of it. Since the midwives attended the birth of my 4th child, in the hospital, when I was expecting baby 5, I was rejected by the midwives…but ever so politely. ;) They remembered the problems of my delivery and didn’t want to take any risks. Baby 5 and 6 were c-sections, the others were not. As you are aware, c-sections pose their own problems with consecutive pregnancies as well as recoveries. Here’s me being transparent……I too have been convicted of allowing the Lord control of the fertility of my life. After my 6th child, which had to be a repeat c-section (which meant I failed at a v-bac…not good in the home birth camp mindset), they discovered my scaring issues. Telling me, if I had more children, they would all need to be c-section, because if an emergency arose, they could not guarantee saving the baby. Besides that, they ran into problems while trying to get my child out, because of the scar tissue, meaning baby’s life was somewhat compromised. Oh, and I had to go under for anesthetic after 4 failed attempts to give me a local..failure yet again. ;) Because of the longer time needed to be under and the crisis of trying to get baby out of the web of scar tissue, they forgot to give me pain medication for when I woke up….not fun! Still holding to my convictions after a horrific experience, my prayer was, “Lord, if you do not want me to have more children, please take me to the next season of life”. Why? Because I did and still do love having my children. I view them as such gifts and blessings. When ever I was pregnant, I was so blessed to be a partner, with God, in creating new life. My prayer was answered. At a young age, the Lord closed my womb by putting me into menopause, early. From the outside, it looks like my conviction has withstood the test of time. However, I will confess, I started to wonder if I had the faith to walk out that conviction, even though it was strong. Maybe I would have, but perhaps maybe not. Time will not allow me to know, as my prayer was answered. So sitting on this side of the line, I could try to portray that I was successful at my conviction, but the truth is, I was wrestling with my conviction and trying to come to a sense of where does ‘faith’ to walk out a conviction play in all this. Where was my conviction coming from? It was coming from my reading of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. I do not see that conviction as a salvation issue, I see it as an obedience issues. I should mention, I do not, nor have I ever lived in an environment that it appears you have. Perhaps I have the luxury of being able to examine my convictions, with my balanced husband, who gives me great freedom.Now I struggle with making sure people understand that yes, I have that conviction, BUT I also struggled whether or not I was going to be able to faithfully walk out that conviction. If I had failed to walk out that conviction, based on the medical issues, I would then say my conviction was really not a conviction, rather a preference. My conviction, by all appearances, stood the test of time. However, honesty compels me to confess, my conviction was wavering…..and that’s OK!Vyckie, I find this statement most interesting: It was only after I lost the Holy Spirit that I lost the sense of obligation to follow His directives for my life I ask in all honestly, and sincerity, how do you lose the Holy Spirit? Do you misplace Him? Does God take Him away from you? Do you walk away from Him, then really not losing Him, but rejecting Him? How do you know this was not just a system of beliefs that you built up over time and walked, giving you the strength to walk out those believed convictions? Ideas, whether right or wrong, can be all we need to propel us into motion on any subject matter.Again, I do not deny or belittle your experiences. You had very real experiences. I question whether or not they were convictions, as they have not stood the test of time. I find it remarkable that you would still find yourself questioning the use of b.c. at this stage of your life, knowing how you are walking now. So while it had been a believed conviction, based on, as you said, the Holy Spirit, are you saying the Holy Spirit would still be convicting you on the subject? What would compel you to keep a conviction, if you no longer have the Holy Spirit convicting you?Thanks again,Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie,Once again, I appreciate the dialogue, thank you for taking the time.Like you, I had difficult deliveries and not so great pregnancies, mix in there mostly large babies and I was not your picture perfect QF minded mama. I was not able to have home births, though I often dreamt of it. Since the midwives attended the birth of my 4th child, in the hospital, when I was expecting baby 5, I was rejected by the midwives…but ever so politely. ;) They remembered the problems of my delivery and didn’t want to take any risks. Baby 5 and 6 were c-sections, the others were not. As you are aware, c-sections pose their own problems with consecutive pregnancies as well as recoveries. Here’s me being transparent……I too have been convicted of allowing the Lord control of the fertility of my life. After my 6th child, which had to be a repeat c-section (which meant I failed at a v-bac…not good in the home birth camp mindset), they discovered my scaring issues. Telling me, if I had more children, they would all need to be c-section, because if an emergency arose, they could not guarantee saving the baby. Besides that, they ran into problems while trying to get my child out, because of the scar tissue, meaning baby’s life was somewhat compromised. Oh, and I had to go under for anesthetic after 4 failed attempts to give me a local..failure yet again. ;) Because of the longer time needed to be under and the crisis of trying to get baby out of the web of scar tissue, they forgot to give me pain medication for when I woke up….not fun! Still holding to my convictions after a horrific experience, my prayer was, “Lord, if you do not want me to have more children, please take me to the next season of life”. Why? Because I did and still do love having my children. I view them as such gifts and blessings. When ever I was pregnant, I was so blessed to be a partner, with God, in creating new life. My prayer was answered. At a young age, the Lord closed my womb by putting me into menopause, early. From the outside, it looks like my conviction has withstood the test of time. However, I will confess, I started to wonder if I had the faith to walk out that conviction, even though it was strong. Maybe I would have, but perhaps maybe not. Time will not allow me to know, as my prayer was answered. So sitting on this side of the line, I could try to portray that I was successful at my conviction, but the truth is, I was wrestling with my conviction and trying to come to a sense of where does ‘faith’ to walk out a conviction play in all this. Where was my conviction coming from? It was coming from my reading of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. I do not see that conviction as a salvation issue, I see it as an obedience issues. I should mention, I do not, nor have I ever lived in an environment that it appears you have. Perhaps I have the luxury of being able to examine my convictions, with my balanced husband, who gives me great freedom.Now I struggle with making sure people understand that yes, I have that conviction, BUT I also struggled whether or not I was going to be able to faithfully walk out that conviction. If I had failed to walk out that conviction, based on the medical issues, I would then say my conviction was really not a conviction, rather a preference. My conviction, by all appearances, stood the test of time. However, honesty compels me to confess, my conviction was wavering…..and that’s OK!Vyckie, I find this statement most interesting: It was only after I lost the Holy Spirit that I lost the sense of obligation to follow His directives for my life I ask in all honestly, and sincerity, how do you lose the Holy Spirit? Do you misplace Him? Does God take Him away from you? Do you walk away from Him, then really not losing Him, but rejecting Him? How do you know this was not just a system of beliefs that you built up over time and walked, giving you the strength to walk out those believed convictions? Ideas, whether right or wrong, can be all we need to propel us into motion on any subject matter.Again, I do not deny or belittle your experiences. You had very real experiences. I question whether or not they were convictions, as they have not stood the test of time. I find it remarkable that you would still find yourself questioning the use of b.c. at this stage of your life, knowing how you are walking now. So while it had been a believed conviction, based on, as you said, the Holy Spirit, are you saying the Holy Spirit would still be convicting you on the subject? What would compel you to keep a conviction, if you no longer have the Holy Spirit convicting you?Thanks again,Kelly

  • Anonymous

    aimai stated: I love the way you casually dismiss the OT as “superseded” by the NT.Aimain, I don’t have a lot more time to write, so I will just focus in on this comment. I’m sorry you saw that as a casual dismissal of the OT as that is not where I stand. Time restraints do not allow me to go further into details. I am a full believer in the whole of the Bible, but I also know that the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, fulfilling those laws, changes how Christians should walk. In the OT they were believers, but obviously not Christians, as Christ was not yet born. The smorgasbord of picking and choosing which passages to apply and which to leave out is one of my pet peeves, just so we are clear. ;) After reading much of your writing in these posts, I have to believe you have studied and come to the conclusions you have. I apologize for not being able to dig into this more.Aimai, I appreciate your kind comments on me, but you also chose to insult me, yet again. I’m not sure why you feel you need to insult people who do not hold to your particular beliefs. It truly makes it hard to want to read your writings with such insults being thrown out. Honestly, it makes it hard for me to take you seriously, and yet I would like to hear what you have to say as I am sure you have valuable information.Must run,Kelly

  • Anonymous

    aimai stated: I love the way you casually dismiss the OT as “superseded” by the NT.Aimain, I don’t have a lot more time to write, so I will just focus in on this comment. I’m sorry you saw that as a casual dismissal of the OT as that is not where I stand. Time restraints do not allow me to go further into details. I am a full believer in the whole of the Bible, but I also know that the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, fulfilling those laws, changes how Christians should walk. In the OT they were believers, but obviously not Christians, as Christ was not yet born. The smorgasbord of picking and choosing which passages to apply and which to leave out is one of my pet peeves, just so we are clear. ;) After reading much of your writing in these posts, I have to believe you have studied and come to the conclusions you have. I apologize for not being able to dig into this more.Aimai, I appreciate your kind comments on me, but you also chose to insult me, yet again. I’m not sure why you feel you need to insult people who do not hold to your particular beliefs. It truly makes it hard to want to read your writings with such insults being thrown out. Honestly, it makes it hard for me to take you seriously, and yet I would like to hear what you have to say as I am sure you have valuable information.Must run,Kelly

  • Anonymous

    According to Kelly’s definition, I don’t think I believe in having “convictions.” According to that definition, God alone should have “convictions.” We humans, being finite and fallible, should avoid them, and should try to be humbly willing to change whenever it turns out we’re wrong. KR Wordgazer

  • Anonymous

    According to Kelly’s definition, I don’t think I believe in having “convictions.” According to that definition, God alone should have “convictions.” We humans, being finite and fallible, should avoid them, and should try to be humbly willing to change whenever it turns out we’re wrong. KR Wordgazer

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie said:The strength that I had which kept me going was my conviction. I did it because I was so thoroughly convinced that this is what the bible taught and what pleased the Lord. I’d have done anything to please God.This is Vyckie’s definition of conviction, and I think it is a pretty good one. She was thoroughly convinced. Depending on what the conviction is based, such as misinterpreted scripture, conviction (being convinced about something or a belief), can be wrong, This Q/F lifestyle was what she believed the Bible taught. There are many of us Christians out here who heartily disagree based upon the same Bible. And yes, there is much judging going on in certain Christian circles. I have to wonder if some of the Q/F families’ convictions are based wholly on their own personal reading and investigation of the scriptures or what the leadership of their particular group believes.I recently read a terrific book by Scot McKnight (PhD, Nottingham) Professor of Religious Studies at North Park University called “the Blue Parakeet” which rethinks how one reads the Bible and how to live out that belief in this day. Part 4 is all about the Bible and Women. I think Vyckie and Laura would find it very interesting and anyone else for that matter.Elizabeth C.

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie said:The strength that I had which kept me going was my conviction. I did it because I was so thoroughly convinced that this is what the bible taught and what pleased the Lord. I’d have done anything to please God.This is Vyckie’s definition of conviction, and I think it is a pretty good one. She was thoroughly convinced. Depending on what the conviction is based, such as misinterpreted scripture, conviction (being convinced about something or a belief), can be wrong, This Q/F lifestyle was what she believed the Bible taught. There are many of us Christians out here who heartily disagree based upon the same Bible. And yes, there is much judging going on in certain Christian circles. I have to wonder if some of the Q/F families’ convictions are based wholly on their own personal reading and investigation of the scriptures or what the leadership of their particular group believes.I recently read a terrific book by Scot McKnight (PhD, Nottingham) Professor of Religious Studies at North Park University called “the Blue Parakeet” which rethinks how one reads the Bible and how to live out that belief in this day. Part 4 is all about the Bible and Women. I think Vyckie and Laura would find it very interesting and anyone else for that matter.Elizabeth C.

  • Grandma Lou Ann

    ACK! Right on, JEB! Exactly! Thank you, thank you, thank you…made my day!Hey, I love Jesus, always will…He has changed my life, but WE are the church! THIS body (mine, yours, ALL believers) are the temple of the HS…walking into a church does not make us a Christian…our HEARTS do. How is YOUR heart? How can anybody say they are a Christ follower, and then put down their neighbor, or their neighbor’s thoughts, convictions, actions, preferences, etc.I am part American Indian…there is a saying”Never judge a person (man or woman) until you have walked a mile in his or her mocassins.”On the surface, we may be grinning like a possum eating sh– and BLEEDING on the inside!When I was a casino worker in Nevada, people used to call me “Laughing Lulu”…some said of me that it was heard to be depressed around “Lulu”…but one day a woman I barely knew walked up to me, where I was working, and with MORE INSIGHT than many Christians I know, said…”You are laughing on the outside…but you are crying on the inside!” OMG!!! That was like revelation to me, because she descried to me in one sentence, my whole life! It had been a joke! Ironically, her name was HOPE! And without hope, we all have just about next to NOTHING!That is the feeling I have gotten from so many churches I’ve walked into over the years…we are to BEAR one another’s burdens??? How? Certainly not from ‘sharing’ with phoney, smile- until- your- face -falls -off self-righteous so called Christians…who have every hair in place and have almost never had more than a bad case of gas…GUT LEVEL blogs can get the job done, thank you very much…and you can call this a conviction, a preference, or what ever…HEART is what it’s all about!Grandma again…over and out.

  • Grandma Lou Ann

    ACK! Right on, JEB! Exactly! Thank you, thank you, thank you…made my day!Hey, I love Jesus, always will…He has changed my life, but WE are the church! THIS body (mine, yours, ALL believers) are the temple of the HS…walking into a church does not make us a Christian…our HEARTS do. How is YOUR heart? How can anybody say they are a Christ follower, and then put down their neighbor, or their neighbor’s thoughts, convictions, actions, preferences, etc.I am part American Indian…there is a saying”Never judge a person (man or woman) until you have walked a mile in his or her mocassins.”On the surface, we may be grinning like a possum eating sh– and BLEEDING on the inside!When I was a casino worker in Nevada, people used to call me “Laughing Lulu”…some said of me that it was heard to be depressed around “Lulu”…but one day a woman I barely knew walked up to me, where I was working, and with MORE INSIGHT than many Christians I know, said…”You are laughing on the outside…but you are crying on the inside!” OMG!!! That was like revelation to me, because she descried to me in one sentence, my whole life! It had been a joke! Ironically, her name was HOPE! And without hope, we all have just about next to NOTHING!That is the feeling I have gotten from so many churches I’ve walked into over the years…we are to BEAR one another’s burdens??? How? Certainly not from ‘sharing’ with phoney, smile- until- your- face -falls -off self-righteous so called Christians…who have every hair in place and have almost never had more than a bad case of gas…GUT LEVEL blogs can get the job done, thank you very much…and you can call this a conviction, a preference, or what ever…HEART is what it’s all about!Grandma again…over and out.

  • adventuresinmercy

    Kelly, I’m trying to figure out why it matters or not whether Vyckie’s convictions fit your definition of convictions or not. Kelly, what is to be gained by this? What purpose does this serve? To all,Speaking of this conversation (re. critical, etc), did any of you see this?Why We Must Embrace Our Brokeness and Never Be Good Christians?

  • adventuresinmercy

    Kelly, I’m trying to figure out why it matters or not whether Vyckie’s convictions fit your definition of convictions or not. Kelly, what is to be gained by this? What purpose does this serve? To all,Speaking of this conversation (re. critical, etc), did any of you see this?Why We Must Embrace Our Brokeness and Never Be Good Christians?

  • Cindy

    Christian egalitarianism for women had its start in the 1970′s.Someone had better inform the Assemblies of God (where I was trained), since they are labelled Christian egalitarians (whatever that really means), and they have been what I understand to be defined by CBMW as “egalitarian” since their inception in 1901 or 1906 or something. And the woman who founded the denomination in the town where I grew up did so in the 30s. She held the church in her home, and then had to hire a pastor. That woman’s daughter was my first piano teacher, almost every AG minister in the area who is now collecting social security studied under her (professor emeritus in the AoG college system), and there is a hall named for her family at Valley Forge Christian College.The truth is that those who want to redefine things to say that egalitarian feminism as the frame it out was around long before the 1970s. But George Knight III wrote his book in 1978, introducing this topic and framing out the whole gender as connected to the Godhead business. And Knight’s concept threads right back to the pro-slavery Presbyterian Confederates.So I don’t quite know how people can say this is a concept that invaded the church in 1970. According to the history of my own town and those who trained me, what they defame as evil was around at least 70 years before. In fact, I think it was around for about 1970 years before the decade of record so often quoted.I mean, it is America. You can come up with any fool crazy doctrine that you want. But at least come up with one that makes sense and matches history.

  • Cindy

    Christian egalitarianism for women had its start in the 1970′s.Someone had better inform the Assemblies of God (where I was trained), since they are labelled Christian egalitarians (whatever that really means), and they have been what I understand to be defined by CBMW as “egalitarian” since their inception in 1901 or 1906 or something. And the woman who founded the denomination in the town where I grew up did so in the 30s. She held the church in her home, and then had to hire a pastor. That woman’s daughter was my first piano teacher, almost every AG minister in the area who is now collecting social security studied under her (professor emeritus in the AoG college system), and there is a hall named for her family at Valley Forge Christian College.The truth is that those who want to redefine things to say that egalitarian feminism as the frame it out was around long before the 1970s. But George Knight III wrote his book in 1978, introducing this topic and framing out the whole gender as connected to the Godhead business. And Knight’s concept threads right back to the pro-slavery Presbyterian Confederates.So I don’t quite know how people can say this is a concept that invaded the church in 1970. According to the history of my own town and those who trained me, what they defame as evil was around at least 70 years before. In fact, I think it was around for about 1970 years before the decade of record so often quoted.I mean, it is America. You can come up with any fool crazy doctrine that you want. But at least come up with one that makes sense and matches history.

  • madame

    Kelly,Regarding shunning a child who has homosexual tendencies or who is living in homosexual relationships, I’d like to add my two cents worth…- Jesus raised more than one eyebrow, I recall he got himself in trouble and people doubted the claims He made of himself for eating and drinking with sinners. Let’s see, he asked a woman who had had 4 husbands and lived with a man who wasn’t her husband for some water. He ate with a tax collector. He associated with prostitutes… Should we not show His love to sinners in the same way?- I think it’s different to tell a person “I don’t believe you are a Christian. You are rejecting God’s Word”, and shunning them, refusing to eat with them. Especially our children need to know us as unconditionally loving. – Why is it that some Christians place homosexuality at the top of the list of the worst sins? What about looking at pornography? Do you know what percentage of men (who call themselves Christian, even leaders of the church!)have a problem with looking at other women and coveting them? Jesus calls that adultery. Pornography is a huge issue in our churches. Should we shun all men just in case? And maybe all women too..- In my very humble understanding, I believe that people who choose to live in sin, especially people who are mature enough to know for sure that it’s sin, and are not willing to make any changes but self-righteously defend their sin, are a completely different kettle of fish. We ALL struggle with some sin or another. A huge percentage of Christians are overweight because they eat too much (it’s called gluttony). A huge percentage of Christians struggle with unforgiveness (or even hatred, which Jesus equals to murder)Huge percentages of Christians struggle with wandering eyes, lustful thoughts, etc… – Finally, parents have to be very, very careful with the way they judge their children. Our perception of God is usually the one we have of our parents. If we felt we were only accepted and loved if we performed, if they cast us out when we didn’t live up to their standards, then we are very likely to fear God (in an unhealthy way) and resent Him for being such a slave driver and unpleasable. Shun a child for living a lifestyle you don’t understand, and you may lose him forever.

  • madame

    Kelly,Regarding shunning a child who has homosexual tendencies or who is living in homosexual relationships, I’d like to add my two cents worth…- Jesus raised more than one eyebrow, I recall he got himself in trouble and people doubted the claims He made of himself for eating and drinking with sinners. Let’s see, he asked a woman who had had 4 husbands and lived with a man who wasn’t her husband for some water. He ate with a tax collector. He associated with prostitutes… Should we not show His love to sinners in the same way?- I think it’s different to tell a person “I don’t believe you are a Christian. You are rejecting God’s Word”, and shunning them, refusing to eat with them. Especially our children need to know us as unconditionally loving. – Why is it that some Christians place homosexuality at the top of the list of the worst sins? What about looking at pornography? Do you know what percentage of men (who call themselves Christian, even leaders of the church!)have a problem with looking at other women and coveting them? Jesus calls that adultery. Pornography is a huge issue in our churches. Should we shun all men just in case? And maybe all women too..- In my very humble understanding, I believe that people who choose to live in sin, especially people who are mature enough to know for sure that it’s sin, and are not willing to make any changes but self-righteously defend their sin, are a completely different kettle of fish. We ALL struggle with some sin or another. A huge percentage of Christians are overweight because they eat too much (it’s called gluttony). A huge percentage of Christians struggle with unforgiveness (or even hatred, which Jesus equals to murder)Huge percentages of Christians struggle with wandering eyes, lustful thoughts, etc… – Finally, parents have to be very, very careful with the way they judge their children. Our perception of God is usually the one we have of our parents. If we felt we were only accepted and loved if we performed, if they cast us out when we didn’t live up to their standards, then we are very likely to fear God (in an unhealthy way) and resent Him for being such a slave driver and unpleasable. Shun a child for living a lifestyle you don’t understand, and you may lose him forever.

  • an atheist in the bible belt

    I think that others have already responded very well to the theoretical points of conviction vs. preference, but I’d like to add in a personal comment. It was because I was afraid that my parents would react like Kelly seems to be advocating (shunning, not even having a meal with me) that I considered killing myself rather than coming out with my deconversion. It was not an option for me by that time to fake belief, as I had tried to do to my extreme emotional detriment for several years previous. Suicide wouldn’t have been a rational choice- if my parents decided to shun me now, I would be sad, but prepared to live with that- but I was in great pain and fear. Shunning or even an attempt to take every opportunity to preach at me would not “bring me back to god”, it would only bring a permanent separation between us. Perhaps some Christians think that this would be appropriate. However, it is only because they have not reacted in this way that I am willing to respectfully continue to listen to what they have to say about their beliefs and religion. I don’t see how shunning could possibly bring a child who truly didn’t believe or had different beliefs back to Christianity, unless they were willing to live a life of deception- both to themselves and their families. Belief isn’t something that you can coerce in another person by threats or by withholding love. When I first started reading Kelly’s comments, I was annoyed, but now I only feel pity.

  • an atheist in the bible belt

    I think that others have already responded very well to the theoretical points of conviction vs. preference, but I’d like to add in a personal comment. It was because I was afraid that my parents would react like Kelly seems to be advocating (shunning, not even having a meal with me) that I considered killing myself rather than coming out with my deconversion. It was not an option for me by that time to fake belief, as I had tried to do to my extreme emotional detriment for several years previous. Suicide wouldn’t have been a rational choice- if my parents decided to shun me now, I would be sad, but prepared to live with that- but I was in great pain and fear. Shunning or even an attempt to take every opportunity to preach at me would not “bring me back to god”, it would only bring a permanent separation between us. Perhaps some Christians think that this would be appropriate. However, it is only because they have not reacted in this way that I am willing to respectfully continue to listen to what they have to say about their beliefs and religion. I don’t see how shunning could possibly bring a child who truly didn’t believe or had different beliefs back to Christianity, unless they were willing to live a life of deception- both to themselves and their families. Belief isn’t something that you can coerce in another person by threats or by withholding love. When I first started reading Kelly’s comments, I was annoyed, but now I only feel pity.

  • an atheist in the bible belt

    I forgot to mention that I would also like to see the specific verses where shunning is commanded or advocated.

  • an atheist in the bible belt

    I forgot to mention that I would also like to see the specific verses where shunning is commanded or advocated.

  • madame

    Atheist in the Bible beltYou asked:I would also like to see the specific verses where shunning is commanded or advocated.This is 1 Corinthians 5.11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”[b]

  • madame

    Atheist in the Bible beltYou asked:I would also like to see the specific verses where shunning is commanded or advocated.This is 1 Corinthians 5.11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”[b]

  • Jadehawk

    Christian egalitarianism for women did not come out of the Enlightment. The egalitarianism that came out of the Enlightment was only for men, women were excluded.I wasn’t talking about egalitarianism for women per-se, I was talking about the “all men are equal” part on which every modern democracy is founded. this did not come from Christianity, even though the earliest churches lived in communes. Both the NT and OT make it clear that one should live in the class in which one was born into, be obedient to ones masters, and be good to ones servants. The Monarchies of Europe were based on one interpretation of Christianity, and after the Enlightenment set the stage for the American and the French revolutions, equality of man became another interpretation of the bible. The same for slavery, which was also thought for the longest time to be biblical (and at no point in the bible does it state explicitly that it isn’t). It wasn’t until after the abolition movement was well on its way to success that Christianity re-defined itself once again in the mirror of the current zeitgeist. The same goes for the women’s equality movements which started shortly after the Civil War, and were rejected by the mainstream, christian society all the way until the 1970′s (with the exceptions of a few denominations which caught on sooner).And exactly the same thing is happening with homosexuality. christianity has always been against it, but the zeitgeist is shifting once more, and christianity is slowly beginning to accept homosexuality as well. And as with pretty much everything else, christianity will be the last bastion of stubborn convictions(!) of yesteryear.

  • Jadehawk

    Christian egalitarianism for women did not come out of the Enlightment. The egalitarianism that came out of the Enlightment was only for men, women were excluded.I wasn’t talking about egalitarianism for women per-se, I was talking about the “all men are equal” part on which every modern democracy is founded. this did not come from Christianity, even though the earliest churches lived in communes. Both the NT and OT make it clear that one should live in the class in which one was born into, be obedient to ones masters, and be good to ones servants. The Monarchies of Europe were based on one interpretation of Christianity, and after the Enlightenment set the stage for the American and the French revolutions, equality of man became another interpretation of the bible. The same for slavery, which was also thought for the longest time to be biblical (and at no point in the bible does it state explicitly that it isn’t). It wasn’t until after the abolition movement was well on its way to success that Christianity re-defined itself once again in the mirror of the current zeitgeist. The same goes for the women’s equality movements which started shortly after the Civil War, and were rejected by the mainstream, christian society all the way until the 1970′s (with the exceptions of a few denominations which caught on sooner).And exactly the same thing is happening with homosexuality. christianity has always been against it, but the zeitgeist is shifting once more, and christianity is slowly beginning to accept homosexuality as well. And as with pretty much everything else, christianity will be the last bastion of stubborn convictions(!) of yesteryear.

  • Jadehawk

    Kelly, When a person has been convicted of a crime, that’s it, unless a conviction is overturned.*sigh* yes, that’s the point. an overturned conviction was still a conviction before the overturn, it was merely a FALSE conviction. the same about beliefs: a conviction about something can be changed, and doesn’t stop being a conviction because of that, it becomes a FALSE conviction you’ve discarded. you’re redefining the word in such a way that it becomes meaningless in human terms.Not at all. My point I am making is to call convictions, convictions and preferences, preferences. If you called it a conviction, when in fact you have changed your mind and it’s not a conviction, state it as such, don’t pretend it to be something it is not.another thing: you’re committing a fallacy called “False Dichotomy”, i.e. you’re saying that either people have convictions which can never be changed, or they have mere preferences, to be changed at whim. this is completely and utterly incorrect. the reality is that there’s a sliding scale, which starts at having preferences (for example: i have a preference for shrimp, meaning in a restaurant I’m more likely to order a dish with shrimp than without), goes through various degrees of likes/dislikes and beliefs, and ends with convictions. however, in the real world, even convictions are (and should be) subject to reevaluation.the only “convictions” that remain unchanged are generally those acquired though some ideology and never re-evalued in terms of the real world exactly BECAUSE they might conflict with the world one has constructed for oneself. this kind of “convictions” are extremely dangerous. this is what starts wars, denies people their rights in the name of tradition, and prevents individuals from extricating themselves from a toxic environment. if this is what “convictions” really were, we should all have to abandon having convictions, instead of putting them on a pedestal, since they’re nothing more than stubbornness, narrow mindedness and blinkers elevated to the status of virtue.

  • Jadehawk

    Kelly, When a person has been convicted of a crime, that’s it, unless a conviction is overturned.*sigh* yes, that’s the point. an overturned conviction was still a conviction before the overturn, it was merely a FALSE conviction. the same about beliefs: a conviction about something can be changed, and doesn’t stop being a conviction because of that, it becomes a FALSE conviction you’ve discarded. you’re redefining the word in such a way that it becomes meaningless in human terms.Not at all. My point I am making is to call convictions, convictions and preferences, preferences. If you called it a conviction, when in fact you have changed your mind and it’s not a conviction, state it as such, don’t pretend it to be something it is not.another thing: you’re committing a fallacy called “False Dichotomy”, i.e. you’re saying that either people have convictions which can never be changed, or they have mere preferences, to be changed at whim. this is completely and utterly incorrect. the reality is that there’s a sliding scale, which starts at having preferences (for example: i have a preference for shrimp, meaning in a restaurant I’m more likely to order a dish with shrimp than without), goes through various degrees of likes/dislikes and beliefs, and ends with convictions. however, in the real world, even convictions are (and should be) subject to reevaluation.the only “convictions” that remain unchanged are generally those acquired though some ideology and never re-evalued in terms of the real world exactly BECAUSE they might conflict with the world one has constructed for oneself. this kind of “convictions” are extremely dangerous. this is what starts wars, denies people their rights in the name of tradition, and prevents individuals from extricating themselves from a toxic environment. if this is what “convictions” really were, we should all have to abandon having convictions, instead of putting them on a pedestal, since they’re nothing more than stubbornness, narrow mindedness and blinkers elevated to the status of virtue.

  • an atheist in the bible belt

    So as an atheist- one outside the church- it is ok for my parents to associate with me? But if I were to want to rejoin the church while still living with my boyfriend outside of marriage, they would have to disassociate themselves from me?

  • an atheist in the bible belt

    So as an atheist- one outside the church- it is ok for my parents to associate with me? But if I were to want to rejoin the church while still living with my boyfriend outside of marriage, they would have to disassociate themselves from me?

  • Linnea

    KR Wordgazer writes: According to Kelly’s definition, I don’t think I believe in having “convictions.” According to that definition, God alone should have “convictions.” We humans, being finite and fallible, should avoid them, and should try to be humbly willing to change whenever it turns out we’re wrong. Thank you! That’s kind of where I wanted to go with my reasoning, but as an atheist I didn’t feel like I should be the one to say it. And I very much appreciate you sticking around this blog even though you’re sometimes holding a minority view.Kelly, your story about your pregnancies and deliveries was very moving. Thanks for posting it, and thanks for being willing to admit that you too struggle with your convictions.

  • Linnea

    KR Wordgazer writes: According to Kelly’s definition, I don’t think I believe in having “convictions.” According to that definition, God alone should have “convictions.” We humans, being finite and fallible, should avoid them, and should try to be humbly willing to change whenever it turns out we’re wrong. Thank you! That’s kind of where I wanted to go with my reasoning, but as an atheist I didn’t feel like I should be the one to say it. And I very much appreciate you sticking around this blog even though you’re sometimes holding a minority view.Kelly, your story about your pregnancies and deliveries was very moving. Thanks for posting it, and thanks for being willing to admit that you too struggle with your convictions.

  • Anonymous

    KR Wordgazer says,I want to say how much I appreciated AdventuresInMercy posting that link to iMonk’s blog about how imperfect we Christians are and how hard it is to admit it. So when Aimai says:If any of the posters here who are sincerely convinced of what god wants, when, and from who were actually as true believers as they pretend to be they would admit that god’s plan for vyckie is probably beyond their ken and let her get on with living her life as she sees fit. Its all part of god’s plan, after all!– she is absolutely right. I’m not as true a believer as I pretend to be. None of us are. We are all imperfect and struggling.I get upset and angry; I say things I regret. I certainly have not intended to imply what Aimai says I did– that if Vyckie and Laura just had the “right” Christianity everything would have been fine– but if that is really what I have been implying, I am so sorry.The honest truth is this: Vyckie’s story, as told so far, is confusing and disturbing to me as a Christian– and, I dare say, to most of the rest of the Christians who are posting here. The questions we ask are largely just attempts to have it make some kind of sense to the way we’re used to thinking about our faith. I myself get defensive because it’s hard not to be– because atheists are naturally feeling their views validated by the story, and Christians naturally are feeling their views are threatened. “Just what I would have expected” is the natural atheist response, and to Christians that tends to read like “I told you so.” And it’s hard not to react negatively to that.The response of us Christians tends to be, “there has to be some explanation of this that will make sense to us according to our worldview.” So we conjecture, without having enough information yet with which to conjecture– and we end up sounding insulting. What we ought to be doing is simply relaxing and trusting God. But we’re human.The fact is, we’re all just human– atheists and theists alike. Let’s be kind to one another.And about “convictions” — I’ve been still thinking about it, and I really don’t see where the New Testament tells Christians to have “convictions.” It tell us to have “faith.” And humility. To me those are both much harder than having “convictions.”PS. As far as atheist-in-the-bible-belt’s question is concerned, I don’t think there’s anything in the New Testament that tells parents to forsake their children. Ever. The part about disfellowshipping or excommunicating is talking about a church, not a family. At least, that’s my take on it. KR Wordgazer

  • Anonymous

    KR Wordgazer says,I want to say how much I appreciated AdventuresInMercy posting that link to iMonk’s blog about how imperfect we Christians are and how hard it is to admit it. So when Aimai says:If any of the posters here who are sincerely convinced of what god wants, when, and from who were actually as true believers as they pretend to be they would admit that god’s plan for vyckie is probably beyond their ken and let her get on with living her life as she sees fit. Its all part of god’s plan, after all!– she is absolutely right. I’m not as true a believer as I pretend to be. None of us are. We are all imperfect and struggling.I get upset and angry; I say things I regret. I certainly have not intended to imply what Aimai says I did– that if Vyckie and Laura just had the “right” Christianity everything would have been fine– but if that is really what I have been implying, I am so sorry.The honest truth is this: Vyckie’s story, as told so far, is confusing and disturbing to me as a Christian– and, I dare say, to most of the rest of the Christians who are posting here. The questions we ask are largely just attempts to have it make some kind of sense to the way we’re used to thinking about our faith. I myself get defensive because it’s hard not to be– because atheists are naturally feeling their views validated by the story, and Christians naturally are feeling their views are threatened. “Just what I would have expected” is the natural atheist response, and to Christians that tends to read like “I told you so.” And it’s hard not to react negatively to that.The response of us Christians tends to be, “there has to be some explanation of this that will make sense to us according to our worldview.” So we conjecture, without having enough information yet with which to conjecture– and we end up sounding insulting. What we ought to be doing is simply relaxing and trusting God. But we’re human.The fact is, we’re all just human– atheists and theists alike. Let’s be kind to one another.And about “convictions” — I’ve been still thinking about it, and I really don’t see where the New Testament tells Christians to have “convictions.” It tell us to have “faith.” And humility. To me those are both much harder than having “convictions.”PS. As far as atheist-in-the-bible-belt’s question is concerned, I don’t think there’s anything in the New Testament that tells parents to forsake their children. Ever. The part about disfellowshipping or excommunicating is talking about a church, not a family. At least, that’s my take on it. KR Wordgazer

  • Anonymous

    Well, If we are not to eat with those who are in the church but are immoral,greedy, idoloter, or slander, etc. I guess non of us can eat with one another. The church as a whole is full of sinners like this. To be quite honest I found Kelly’s first post quite slanderous. I dont care how you try to nicely spell things out on here as diplomatically as possible, the damage was done. Look, personally I dont think any of us have it perfectly right, christian or not. All of us screw up. Even this post right now is just and opinion and not the truth persay.Just let these ladies say what they wanna say, it is their lives and we are the people who are priveleged enough to be able to read about it. Let this whole commentary on conviction/vs/preference rest. It is redundant.Melissa

  • Anonymous

    Well, If we are not to eat with those who are in the church but are immoral,greedy, idoloter, or slander, etc. I guess non of us can eat with one another. The church as a whole is full of sinners like this. To be quite honest I found Kelly’s first post quite slanderous. I dont care how you try to nicely spell things out on here as diplomatically as possible, the damage was done. Look, personally I dont think any of us have it perfectly right, christian or not. All of us screw up. Even this post right now is just and opinion and not the truth persay.Just let these ladies say what they wanna say, it is their lives and we are the people who are priveleged enough to be able to read about it. Let this whole commentary on conviction/vs/preference rest. It is redundant.Melissa

  • Anonymous

    Agreed, Melissa. There are far more injunctions in the New Testament towards love and mercy than there are about not eating with certain people. I feel we who are Christians should be very, very careful about how we apply verses like that, remembering who Jesus ate with and how he disliked it when the religious people of the time criticized him for it. KR Wordgazer

  • Anonymous

    Agreed, Melissa. There are far more injunctions in the New Testament towards love and mercy than there are about not eating with certain people. I feel we who are Christians should be very, very careful about how we apply verses like that, remembering who Jesus ate with and how he disliked it when the religious people of the time criticized him for it. KR Wordgazer

  • Anonymous

    (Madame posting from hubby’s computer)WordgazerAnd about “convictions” — I’ve been still thinking about it, and I really don’t see where the New Testament tells Christians to have “convictions.” It tell us to have “faith.” And humility. To me those are both much harder than having “convictions.”I so agree….PS. As far as atheist-in-the-bible-belt’s question is concerned, I don’t think there’s anything in the New Testament that tells parents to forsake their children. Ever. The part about disfellowshipping or excommunicating is talking about a church, not a family.That’s an interesting point. I wonder whether that passage is talking about not having Christian fellowship (worshipping together, praying, communion…) with people who call themselves Christians but live in overt sin, despite being told that their lifestyle of choice is wrong, and shown from the Bible why.I could see how a parent of a teenager who chooses to live in sin would tell the teenager that he-she has to make a decision because God calls his people to resist the devil, put away sin, and so on. But shouldn’t the church welcome all sinners?

  • Anonymous

    (Madame posting from hubby’s computer)WordgazerAnd about “convictions” — I’ve been still thinking about it, and I really don’t see where the New Testament tells Christians to have “convictions.” It tell us to have “faith.” And humility. To me those are both much harder than having “convictions.”I so agree….PS. As far as atheist-in-the-bible-belt’s question is concerned, I don’t think there’s anything in the New Testament that tells parents to forsake their children. Ever. The part about disfellowshipping or excommunicating is talking about a church, not a family.That’s an interesting point. I wonder whether that passage is talking about not having Christian fellowship (worshipping together, praying, communion…) with people who call themselves Christians but live in overt sin, despite being told that their lifestyle of choice is wrong, and shown from the Bible why.I could see how a parent of a teenager who chooses to live in sin would tell the teenager that he-she has to make a decision because God calls his people to resist the devil, put away sin, and so on. But shouldn’t the church welcome all sinners?

  • Gem

    KR Wordgazer said I don’t think there’s anything in the New Testament that tells parents to forsake their children. Ever. ENDQUOTEI haven’t followed all the comments, but I do recall Laura saying how her husband would often quote- in a very hurtful manner- Jesus admonition “If anyone does not hate his… wife… childrren”Sometimes I have wondered myself what it means? I accept by faith that God’s character is good and loving, and the problem is not GOD but ME if my understanding and application of it is coming out “unloving”.

  • Gem

    KR Wordgazer said I don’t think there’s anything in the New Testament that tells parents to forsake their children. Ever. ENDQUOTEI haven’t followed all the comments, but I do recall Laura saying how her husband would often quote- in a very hurtful manner- Jesus admonition “If anyone does not hate his… wife… childrren”Sometimes I have wondered myself what it means? I accept by faith that God’s character is good and loving, and the problem is not GOD but ME if my understanding and application of it is coming out “unloving”.

  • aimai

    KR,I want to apologize again to you if my sharp words took you the wrong way. I think your recent post here hits the nail on the head for the ways in which we are all hearing and reading some stuff that hits very close to home for all of us, atheists, agnostics, christians etc…I’m reminded of passages in my favorite book “How to talk so children will listen/how to listen so children will talk” which (as I dimly recall it) points out that the things our mothers say to us are not the things we hear because we have years of other conversations blocking our ears. So when you are thirty and your mother says “its cold outside” you find yourself turning around and snarling “I know, ok? I already dried my hair and I”m going to wear a hat!” even though she doesn’t mean you to take that observation as a command.In the same way, as you say, lots of people are reading these stories and saying “ha! just like I thought!” either because they themselves came out of the fundamentalist christian tradition and they recognize issues that they saw in the pews or because as outsiders to the tradition they were expecting nothing better, or as believing christians of a new sort they don’t want to see their (rightly) beloved tradition tarred by these practices which seem so hurtful to some families.I confess that certain words that KR wordgazer used just flipped a switch for me, mentally. Because as a non christian I’m so used to being witnessed to and told that my understanding of the world, of faith, or religion, and of my place in it is flawed. In fact, it almost goes without saying in some interactions with fundamentalist christians or, until recently, with my own government and leading political figures that as a woman and a jew and an atheist I don’t have much of a place in the discussion. Some of that sense of rage spilled over into my posts here and I apologize. But I think its important to say that the same divisiveness, appeal to sectarianism, splittism, accusations of imperfection, offers to “pray for you,” desire to convert you, threats of hell, etc… are made all the time to men and women outside the faith, or outside the believers own sect. That’s not merely typical of fundamentalist christianity, of course–I have been approached to orthodox jewish groups, muslim groups, scientologists, hare krishna’s and moonies too. But its painful. And enraging. Because its so constant.Every day I drive by two churches, I think I’ve mentioned that have what I call “punch in the eye christianity” up on their signposts. I sympathize with them because if I really thought every person who was driving by was going to hell if they didn’t come in and get saved I suppose I’d be obligated to do the same thing. But its incredibly painful and enraging at the same time. Because its so hugely disrespectful of all the people who for good reason are not, in fact, Christians and are not going to slap their forehead and say “wow, I could have been saved! just by paying attention to what pastor X said on his signboard!”Still, I apologize for my harsh words. I truly feel I’ve been learning so much from everyone’s very generous posts about their own experiences and journeys.aimai

  • aimai

    KR,I want to apologize again to you if my sharp words took you the wrong way. I think your recent post here hits the nail on the head for the ways in which we are all hearing and reading some stuff that hits very close to home for all of us, atheists, agnostics, christians etc…I’m reminded of passages in my favorite book “How to talk so children will listen/how to listen so children will talk” which (as I dimly recall it) points out that the things our mothers say to us are not the things we hear because we have years of other conversations blocking our ears. So when you are thirty and your mother says “its cold outside” you find yourself turning around and snarling “I know, ok? I already dried my hair and I”m going to wear a hat!” even though she doesn’t mean you to take that observation as a command.In the same way, as you say, lots of people are reading these stories and saying “ha! just like I thought!” either because they themselves came out of the fundamentalist christian tradition and they recognize issues that they saw in the pews or because as outsiders to the tradition they were expecting nothing better, or as believing christians of a new sort they don’t want to see their (rightly) beloved tradition tarred by these practices which seem so hurtful to some families.I confess that certain words that KR wordgazer used just flipped a switch for me, mentally. Because as a non christian I’m so used to being witnessed to and told that my understanding of the world, of faith, or religion, and of my place in it is flawed. In fact, it almost goes without saying in some interactions with fundamentalist christians or, until recently, with my own government and leading political figures that as a woman and a jew and an atheist I don’t have much of a place in the discussion. Some of that sense of rage spilled over into my posts here and I apologize. But I think its important to say that the same divisiveness, appeal to sectarianism, splittism, accusations of imperfection, offers to “pray for you,” desire to convert you, threats of hell, etc… are made all the time to men and women outside the faith, or outside the believers own sect. That’s not merely typical of fundamentalist christianity, of course–I have been approached to orthodox jewish groups, muslim groups, scientologists, hare krishna’s and moonies too. But its painful. And enraging. Because its so constant.Every day I drive by two churches, I think I’ve mentioned that have what I call “punch in the eye christianity” up on their signposts. I sympathize with them because if I really thought every person who was driving by was going to hell if they didn’t come in and get saved I suppose I’d be obligated to do the same thing. But its incredibly painful and enraging at the same time. Because its so hugely disrespectful of all the people who for good reason are not, in fact, Christians and are not going to slap their forehead and say “wow, I could have been saved! just by paying attention to what pastor X said on his signboard!”Still, I apologize for my harsh words. I truly feel I’ve been learning so much from everyone’s very generous posts about their own experiences and journeys.aimai

  • Anonymous

    US Supreme Court and Conviction vs. PreferenceMolly asked: I’m trying to figure out why it matters or not whether Vyckie’s convictions fit your definition of convictions or not. Kelly, what is to be gained by this? What purpose does this serve?When I first commented in this posting, it was with the purpose to cause Vyckie and others to stop and think of the words they are using and what they really mean, and how ‘conviction’ as it is appearing in many Christian circles, is not accurate. As well, I was trying to show how the test of having older children walk away from some of the ‘convictions’ the so called families had, are indeed not convictions but preferences.Molly stated: Why does this matter?Because the words are not being used correctly, cheapening the word. What I didn’t realize, at the time I wrote that initially, is that there is even a great legal definition to that word.Through the progression of this posting, questions were being asked of me and Vyckie commented on things as well, which caused me to have further questions on how the word is being used.Being a homeschooling family, my husband often times will ask the children to look up certain word, to make sure they know the meaning of the word they are using, thus expanding their vocabulary. Being that he works with legal contracts and such, ‘conviction’ was one of those words that was getting to me, in how many Christians were using the term.The research I did at the time I wrote my post last year, was dictionary and related sources. I had no idea that others have written on this very topic. Usually I would Google that, but for some reason, I didn’t. This morning, in preparation for my answer to Molly’s question, I just Googled the two words and came up with a bunch of information. Ironically, the legal definition takes this word even further. When using the word ‘conviction’ in regards to Biblical matters and civil law, there are distinctions that have been made and the law speaks clearly about the two words.When talking about Biblical matters, ‘conviction’ essentially means sin. For you to not do something you are convicted of, is sin. That would mean you believe anyone else, who is a Christian, not doing those particular things, is also sinning. There is no ‘tolerance’ for ‘this is sin for me, but not for you’, that would ‘legally’ put it into the definition of preference. When we use words incorrectly, they have the ability to cheapen a meaning. The way Vyckie was using this word, was showing that either the word did not mean what she said, or she flip flopped and changed her mind, bringing a different definition, which would line up with preference.For Vyckie, since she has been re-examining her belief system, I didn’t think this was that difficult or hard of an issue to bring up. Why would it be considered incorrect for Vyckie, to now examine the real meaning of the word, to explain how she was feeling and what she went through? Do we think it will cheapen her story? For me, it will put a correct perspective on her story. While in her belief system, she was using a word incorrectly, like all the other people in her circle apparently must have been, and now out of the system, she is still using it incorrectly. Since Vyckie is adjusting her beliefs and trying to figure out the meaning of life for her, I don’t think it’s wrong to suggest that perhaps she should look at re-examining her use of that word.Here’s one of the passages I found today regarding law and the word, the shortened version: Conviction versus PreferenceDifference between a conviction and a preference, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. A preference is a very strong belief, held with great strength. You can give your entire life in a full-time way to the service of the preference, and can also give your entire material wealth in the name of the belief. You can also energetically proselytize others to your preference. You can also want to teach this belief to your children, and the Supreme court may still rule that it is a preference. A preference is a strong belief, but a belief that you will change under the right circumstances. Circumstances such as: 1) peer pressure; if your beliefs are such that other people stand with you before you will stand, your beliefs are preferences, not convictions, 2) family pressure, 3) lawsuits, 4) jail, 5) threat of death; would you die for your beliefs? A conviction is a belief that you will not change. Why? A man believes that his God requires it of him. Preferences aren’t protected by the constitution. Convictions are. A conviction is not something that you discover, it is something that you purpose in your heart (cf. Daniel 1, 2-3). Convictions on the inside will always show up on the outside, in a person’s lifestyle. To violate a conviction would be a sin. David C. Gibbs, Jr. Christian Law Association, P.O. Box 30290, Cleveland, Ohio 44130The full writing of this appeared at another site, which, by the way, was great reading. You can find that here: http://freedomlaw.com/con_pref.html Having our terms and definitions defined, clearly, is important. Otherwise, what you think you may be saying, may be misinterpreted, giving a completely different meaning to your words. OR, you may be cheapening the definition of words, which is not wise. We need strong words in our vocabulary, so that we can speak with boldness, expressing with strength, and accuracy the depth of our feelings.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    US Supreme Court and Conviction vs. PreferenceMolly asked: I’m trying to figure out why it matters or not whether Vyckie’s convictions fit your definition of convictions or not. Kelly, what is to be gained by this? What purpose does this serve?When I first commented in this posting, it was with the purpose to cause Vyckie and others to stop and think of the words they are using and what they really mean, and how ‘conviction’ as it is appearing in many Christian circles, is not accurate. As well, I was trying to show how the test of having older children walk away from some of the ‘convictions’ the so called families had, are indeed not convictions but preferences.Molly stated: Why does this matter?Because the words are not being used correctly, cheapening the word. What I didn’t realize, at the time I wrote that initially, is that there is even a great legal definition to that word.Through the progression of this posting, questions were being asked of me and Vyckie commented on things as well, which caused me to have further questions on how the word is being used.Being a homeschooling family, my husband often times will ask the children to look up certain word, to make sure they know the meaning of the word they are using, thus expanding their vocabulary. Being that he works with legal contracts and such, ‘conviction’ was one of those words that was getting to me, in how many Christians were using the term.The research I did at the time I wrote my post last year, was dictionary and related sources. I had no idea that others have written on this very topic. Usually I would Google that, but for some reason, I didn’t. This morning, in preparation for my answer to Molly’s question, I just Googled the two words and came up with a bunch of information. Ironically, the legal definition takes this word even further. When using the word ‘conviction’ in regards to Biblical matters and civil law, there are distinctions that have been made and the law speaks clearly about the two words.When talking about Biblical matters, ‘conviction’ essentially means sin. For you to not do something you are convicted of, is sin. That would mean you believe anyone else, who is a Christian, not doing those particular things, is also sinning. There is no ‘tolerance’ for ‘this is sin for me, but not for you’, that would ‘legally’ put it into the definition of preference. When we use words incorrectly, they have the ability to cheapen a meaning. The way Vyckie was using this word, was showing that either the word did not mean what she said, or she flip flopped and changed her mind, bringing a different definition, which would line up with preference.For Vyckie, since she has been re-examining her belief system, I didn’t think this was that difficult or hard of an issue to bring up. Why would it be considered incorrect for Vyckie, to now examine the real meaning of the word, to explain how she was feeling and what she went through? Do we think it will cheapen her story? For me, it will put a correct perspective on her story. While in her belief system, she was using a word incorrectly, like all the other people in her circle apparently must have been, and now out of the system, she is still using it incorrectly. Since Vyckie is adjusting her beliefs and trying to figure out the meaning of life for her, I don’t think it’s wrong to suggest that perhaps she should look at re-examining her use of that word.Here’s one of the passages I found today regarding law and the word, the shortened version: Conviction versus PreferenceDifference between a conviction and a preference, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. A preference is a very strong belief, held with great strength. You can give your entire life in a full-time way to the service of the preference, and can also give your entire material wealth in the name of the belief. You can also energetically proselytize others to your preference. You can also want to teach this belief to your children, and the Supreme court may still rule that it is a preference. A preference is a strong belief, but a belief that you will change under the right circumstances. Circumstances such as: 1) peer pressure; if your beliefs are such that other people stand with you before you will stand, your beliefs are preferences, not convictions, 2) family pressure, 3) lawsuits, 4) jail, 5) threat of death; would you die for your beliefs? A conviction is a belief that you will not change. Why? A man believes that his God requires it of him. Preferences aren’t protected by the constitution. Convictions are. A conviction is not something that you discover, it is something that you purpose in your heart (cf. Daniel 1, 2-3). Convictions on the inside will always show up on the outside, in a person’s lifestyle. To violate a conviction would be a sin. David C. Gibbs, Jr. Christian Law Association, P.O. Box 30290, Cleveland, Ohio 44130The full writing of this appeared at another site, which, by the way, was great reading. You can find that here: http://freedomlaw.com/con_pref.html Having our terms and definitions defined, clearly, is important. Otherwise, what you think you may be saying, may be misinterpreted, giving a completely different meaning to your words. OR, you may be cheapening the definition of words, which is not wise. We need strong words in our vocabulary, so that we can speak with boldness, expressing with strength, and accuracy the depth of our feelings.Kelly

  • Vyckie

    Just a note to say that discussion on the topics in this comment section is being continued here: OOTP: Finding meaning/purpose apart from God, "42," John Shelby Spong, Christians & self-help, Why do we care what skeptics believe?, etc.If you are commenting about “conviction vs. preference” ~ that discussion can stay here. Thanks.

  • Vyckie

    Just a note to say that discussion on the topics in this comment section is being continued here: OOTP: Finding meaning/purpose apart from God, "42," John Shelby Spong, Christians & self-help, Why do we care what skeptics believe?, etc.If you are commenting about “conviction vs. preference” ~ that discussion can stay here. Thanks.

  • Coleslaw

    The US Supreme Court did indeed make a distinction between a religious conviction and a social preference in Wisconsin Vs. Yoder, but I don’t think it is the same distinction that either Kelly or David C. Gibbs make. I am fairly certain that Vyckie’s beliefs back in her QF days would have met the Supreme court test. Here is a link to the decision so others can read and decide for themselves:http://supreme.justia.com/us/406/205/case.html

  • Coleslaw

    The US Supreme Court did indeed make a distinction between a religious conviction and a social preference in Wisconsin Vs. Yoder, but I don’t think it is the same distinction that either Kelly or David C. Gibbs make. I am fairly certain that Vyckie’s beliefs back in her QF days would have met the Supreme court test. Here is a link to the decision so others can read and decide for themselves:http://supreme.justia.com/us/406/205/case.html

  • Jadehawk

    what coleslaw said: words have different definitions in different settings (most well known example: the word “theory” as used in common speech, as opposed to the way it’s used in science).So there’s a Christian definition of “conviction”, and there’s a legal definition, and there’s a common speech definition.and Vyckie’s convictions would have met the legal definition of “conviction” at the time she was still quivering. why? because courts can’t predict the future.

  • Jadehawk

    what coleslaw said: words have different definitions in different settings (most well known example: the word “theory” as used in common speech, as opposed to the way it’s used in science).So there’s a Christian definition of “conviction”, and there’s a legal definition, and there’s a common speech definition.and Vyckie’s convictions would have met the legal definition of “conviction” at the time she was still quivering. why? because courts can’t predict the future.

  • Anonymous

    Same Supreme Court Case.Actually, Coleslaw, if you looked at the link I gave, to the full article, it was that case that Mr.Gibbs was quoting as the example of what took place, legally.Kellyps I will try to later look at the two side by side.

  • Anonymous

    Same Supreme Court Case.Actually, Coleslaw, if you looked at the link I gave, to the full article, it was that case that Mr.Gibbs was quoting as the example of what took place, legally.Kellyps I will try to later look at the two side by side.

  • Anonymous

    Jadehawk,Not according to how Mr. Gibbs interpreted the legal case. That case was back in 1972, I have not had time to see if there is a more current Supreme Court ruling, but it would be interesting to find out.Words change meaning, but ‘conviction’ is part of the legal system, so there would have to be some major changes to change the word, ‘convicted’, ‘convict’ or ‘convictions’.If we go further up thread, you can read where people thought conviction meant nothing like what Vyckie mentions, they thought of it in terms of legal/criminal. I don’t think we can say ‘common usage’ with this word, at this point in time. You *might* be able to say that the common usage, in Vyckie’s circle might use the word that way, but with the examples of the Scriptures that were abused in that circle, would tell me that perhaps this word was just another word, use wrongly, to motivate them to various deeds.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Jadehawk,Not according to how Mr. Gibbs interpreted the legal case. That case was back in 1972, I have not had time to see if there is a more current Supreme Court ruling, but it would be interesting to find out.Words change meaning, but ‘conviction’ is part of the legal system, so there would have to be some major changes to change the word, ‘convicted’, ‘convict’ or ‘convictions’.If we go further up thread, you can read where people thought conviction meant nothing like what Vyckie mentions, they thought of it in terms of legal/criminal. I don’t think we can say ‘common usage’ with this word, at this point in time. You *might* be able to say that the common usage, in Vyckie’s circle might use the word that way, but with the examples of the Scriptures that were abused in that circle, would tell me that perhaps this word was just another word, use wrongly, to motivate them to various deeds.Kelly

  • aimai

    Kelly,Really, give it up. What you, or mr. gibbs, or the supreme court in a single case, want to call “convictions” or “preferences” is simply neither here nor there. Words are arbitrary symbols placed on concepts. The question for Vyckie, and for her posters, is whether it is useful to think of a given concept–like a “conviction” as an absolute. To you, perhaps, it is–since you are convinced of an absolute god who absolutely rules your world and despite your own desires, or with reference to them, struck you with menopause rather than urging you or allowing you to use any kind of free will in choosing how many children to have. All well and good, for Kelly. To my mind a perverted and infantile relationship with both self and creator so, not good, to me.Your insistence of bragging on about the article you wrote–without googling (!) and with an eventual cherry picked quote from a legal decision–is just the last word in solipsism and self worship. Vyckie’s life and story were for her to experience, and for her to ponder–not for you to try to shoehorn into your pathetically narrow understanding of the divine. Sorry for the harsh words but really, give it a rest sweetheart. If we need a dictionary definition of something we can all look it up in the OED. aimai

  • aimai

    Kelly,Really, give it up. What you, or mr. gibbs, or the supreme court in a single case, want to call “convictions” or “preferences” is simply neither here nor there. Words are arbitrary symbols placed on concepts. The question for Vyckie, and for her posters, is whether it is useful to think of a given concept–like a “conviction” as an absolute. To you, perhaps, it is–since you are convinced of an absolute god who absolutely rules your world and despite your own desires, or with reference to them, struck you with menopause rather than urging you or allowing you to use any kind of free will in choosing how many children to have. All well and good, for Kelly. To my mind a perverted and infantile relationship with both self and creator so, not good, to me.Your insistence of bragging on about the article you wrote–without googling (!) and with an eventual cherry picked quote from a legal decision–is just the last word in solipsism and self worship. Vyckie’s life and story were for her to experience, and for her to ponder–not for you to try to shoehorn into your pathetically narrow understanding of the divine. Sorry for the harsh words but really, give it a rest sweetheart. If we need a dictionary definition of something we can all look it up in the OED. aimai

  • Jadehawk

    Kelly, the distinction made by the court in that case was that of personal convictions and traditional convictions within a group. they used the words “preference” and “conviction” to distinguish them, but legal terms are not necessarily how words are defined outside the court system. keep in mind that the legal definition of “murder” is also much narrower than the common usage definition (legally speaking, a man who killed his wife when he caught her in bed with another man did not murder her.)words do not have meanings that are set in stone, one definition per word. context is extremely important, and I cannot agree that we should accept the legal usage as the common usage for most words.also, except in the most egregious cases, I’m fairly certain that Vyckie’s QF lifestyle would have passed the communitty vs personal conviction test. this is another thing, for example: the mormons aren’t allowed to practice polygamy despite that being their traditional way of life because it’s a MASSIVE infringement on the laws of the U.S., whereas the case cited was a more minor infringement. even in the court of law, the definition is malleable, in the sense that lesser infractions require lesser proof of being a traditional conviction.I will agree with you that even the legal definition has been softened lately (i.e. religious people only need to sign a paper to allow their kids to not be vaccinated), and that the Christian communities abuse the word “conviction” as defined both legally and through common usage (i.e. everything they convince themselves of becomes a “conviction”, which I already mentioned in my first answer to your posts); but legal terms do not define common usage of words. legal definitions only matter in legal context

  • Jadehawk

    Kelly, the distinction made by the court in that case was that of personal convictions and traditional convictions within a group. they used the words “preference” and “conviction” to distinguish them, but legal terms are not necessarily how words are defined outside the court system. keep in mind that the legal definition of “murder” is also much narrower than the common usage definition (legally speaking, a man who killed his wife when he caught her in bed with another man did not murder her.)words do not have meanings that are set in stone, one definition per word. context is extremely important, and I cannot agree that we should accept the legal usage as the common usage for most words.also, except in the most egregious cases, I’m fairly certain that Vyckie’s QF lifestyle would have passed the communitty vs personal conviction test. this is another thing, for example: the mormons aren’t allowed to practice polygamy despite that being their traditional way of life because it’s a MASSIVE infringement on the laws of the U.S., whereas the case cited was a more minor infringement. even in the court of law, the definition is malleable, in the sense that lesser infractions require lesser proof of being a traditional conviction.I will agree with you that even the legal definition has been softened lately (i.e. religious people only need to sign a paper to allow their kids to not be vaccinated), and that the Christian communities abuse the word “conviction” as defined both legally and through common usage (i.e. everything they convince themselves of becomes a “conviction”, which I already mentioned in my first answer to your posts); but legal terms do not define common usage of words. legal definitions only matter in legal context

  • Anonymous

    aimai stated: Your insistence of bragging on about the article you wrote–without googling (!) and with an eventual cherry picked quote from a legal decision–is just the last word in solipsism and self worship.This just goes to show you how you completely misinterpreted my reasons for stating what I did. I was showing how ‘foolish’ I was for not doing a better job at my research, and in the process came to learn more about the legal aspect of the words. I should have spent even more time researching, which I failed to do.Like Vyckie, I question many things, and I don’t go by what a particular man, group or church states to drive my faith. In going through this posting, Vyckie shared information that I hope she is now re-thinking, because logically, they no longer make sense, as I read them and she defines them. Since Vyckie is in questioning mode, perhaps she may see that too. Biblically and logically what she is stating, regarding convictions and the Holy Spirit, do not make sense. Perhaps if you took a moment to really wade through it all, you may see that as well….or maybe you do and you don’t care, and that’s OK, too.Kelly

  • Anonymous

    aimai stated: Your insistence of bragging on about the article you wrote–without googling (!) and with an eventual cherry picked quote from a legal decision–is just the last word in solipsism and self worship.This just goes to show you how you completely misinterpreted my reasons for stating what I did. I was showing how ‘foolish’ I was for not doing a better job at my research, and in the process came to learn more about the legal aspect of the words. I should have spent even more time researching, which I failed to do.Like Vyckie, I question many things, and I don’t go by what a particular man, group or church states to drive my faith. In going through this posting, Vyckie shared information that I hope she is now re-thinking, because logically, they no longer make sense, as I read them and she defines them. Since Vyckie is in questioning mode, perhaps she may see that too. Biblically and logically what she is stating, regarding convictions and the Holy Spirit, do not make sense. Perhaps if you took a moment to really wade through it all, you may see that as well….or maybe you do and you don’t care, and that’s OK, too.Kelly

  • Coleslaw

    Same Supreme Court Case.Actually, Coleslaw, if you looked at the link I gave, to the full article, it was that case that Mr.Gibbs was quoting as the example of what took place, legally.I know that was the case to which Mr. Gibbs was referring, although I wouldn’t say that he quoted it, seeing that he never quoted any of the language directly, nor did his article state that the case was Yoder vs. Wisconsin. I linked to the case itself because I don’t think Mr Gibbs’ interpretation of what the court meant by “conviction” vs. “preference” is to be relied on, and that it would be better for people to see the actual language for themselves. As I said before, I think it’s clear to anyone reading the decision that Vyckie’s beliefs during her QF days would have met the court’s standard of religious conviction,.

  • Coleslaw

    Same Supreme Court Case.Actually, Coleslaw, if you looked at the link I gave, to the full article, it was that case that Mr.Gibbs was quoting as the example of what took place, legally.I know that was the case to which Mr. Gibbs was referring, although I wouldn’t say that he quoted it, seeing that he never quoted any of the language directly, nor did his article state that the case was Yoder vs. Wisconsin. I linked to the case itself because I don’t think Mr Gibbs’ interpretation of what the court meant by “conviction” vs. “preference” is to be relied on, and that it would be better for people to see the actual language for themselves. As I said before, I think it’s clear to anyone reading the decision that Vyckie’s beliefs during her QF days would have met the court’s standard of religious conviction,.

  • Linnea

    When I looked up “conviction” in the dictionary, it said it was the noun form of two different verbs: to convict(=to find guilty of a crime) and to convince(=to persuade that an idea is correct). Certain Christian communities apparently use the verb “convict” to mean a strong form of “convince” – something like “to convince permanently, for all time”. I’m not begrudging them their right to do so – hey, language changes over time – but it’s not common usage, and that’s the source of some (but not all) of the talking-at-cross-purposes that’s going on here.

  • Linnea

    When I looked up “conviction” in the dictionary, it said it was the noun form of two different verbs: to convict(=to find guilty of a crime) and to convince(=to persuade that an idea is correct). Certain Christian communities apparently use the verb “convict” to mean a strong form of “convince” – something like “to convince permanently, for all time”. I’m not begrudging them their right to do so – hey, language changes over time – but it’s not common usage, and that’s the source of some (but not all) of the talking-at-cross-purposes that’s going on here.

  • Linnea

    Aargh, I just lost a big long post that quoted from both the Supreme Court decision and Mr. Gibbs’ ramblings. In a nutshell: he attributes a lot of things to the Supreme Court that they didn’t actually say, including the idea that permanence is part of the definition of a religious conviction.

  • Linnea

    Aargh, I just lost a big long post that quoted from both the Supreme Court decision and Mr. Gibbs’ ramblings. In a nutshell: he attributes a lot of things to the Supreme Court that they didn’t actually say, including the idea that permanence is part of the definition of a religious conviction.

  • Anonymous

    Kelly: I’m ignoring the “concern” that speaking up is bad for the children, although it’s… I’ll be kind and say “amazing” how many people are trying to use that as a silencing tool. Instead, I’m just focusing on the idea that homosexuality is no longer punishable by death in the NT. No. Paul says gay people are worthy of death; he just doesn’t say who’s supposed to carry it out. Also, you don’t understand homosexuality at all. To be gay is to be geared to emotionally and physically love someone of the same sex, not the opposite. An actual relationship is, Biblically speaking, moot, given Jesus’ talk about looking at a woman lustfully being the same as having sex with her. Tabby

  • Anonymous

    Kelly: I’m ignoring the “concern” that speaking up is bad for the children, although it’s… I’ll be kind and say “amazing” how many people are trying to use that as a silencing tool. Instead, I’m just focusing on the idea that homosexuality is no longer punishable by death in the NT. No. Paul says gay people are worthy of death; he just doesn’t say who’s supposed to carry it out. Also, you don’t understand homosexuality at all. To be gay is to be geared to emotionally and physically love someone of the same sex, not the opposite. An actual relationship is, Biblically speaking, moot, given Jesus’ talk about looking at a woman lustfully being the same as having sex with her. Tabby