The Bravery of Glennon Doyle Melton–Part One

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I mentioned in our podcast yesterday the tragic downfall of Glennon Doyle Melton. I would like to point out a few obvious home truths. Incidentally, of course it would be nice to think nuanced and fascinating thoughts, to grasp at difficult insights that have not been articulated by others, to, in short, be Novel. But this point in Christian history doesn’t seem to be calling for that sort of thinking. We seem to be needing to go back to the most basic point, the expression of the most essential truths. And the most essential of all of them is…

What is love?

This foundation of Christian doctrine has been so muddled and twisted, squandered really, by the modern Westerner, that we have to keep going back to the very beginning point of Christian Faith in order to answer this tragic confusion.

So Glennon, like so many, got married, had some children, and found herself in the usual way of coping with a too difficult life, a broken relationship with herself, and a cheating husband. In the midst of this, she turned out to be a top notch writer and so wrote her way through her difficulties and troubles. Here she has my complete sympathy. I am sitting here at this very minute in desperate pursuit of mental health through writing. Writing is my life line. If I don’t write every day, I become unhinged. And gosh, isn’t it nice if people read your writing? Everyone has been reading Glennon. That I haven’t is my own fault. I need to get out more and read more. I’ve read a few of her blog posts, though, and they are breezy, brilliant. The writing is what you Want when you click on the Internet.

But good writing does not a theologian nor a Christian make. Any one of us can put ourselves out there but the church–the people who know and love God and his Son Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit of whatever denomination and background–have a duty, an obligation, to articulate the gospel clearly and repudiate those who call themselves Christian but do not adhere to basic Christian doctrine. For the sake of Glennon herself, because she has claimed the name of Christ, I find I must say no to her new way of life.

Let’s just quickly look at what she says about love, both for herself, and more troublingly, for her children. She writes, “I want you to grow so comfortable in your own being, your own skin, your own knowing – that you become more interested in your own joy and freedom and integrity than in what others think about you. That you remember that you only live once, that this is not a dress rehearsal and so you must BE who you are. I want you to refuse to betray yourself. Not just for you. For ALL OF US. Because what the world needs — in order to grow, in order to relax, in order to find peace, in order to become brave — is to watch one woman at a time live her truth without asking for permission or offering explanation.”

And about her children, “They have the love and support of their dad, me, their grandparents, their aunts and uncles, their church, their teachers, their friends’ families –all of whom have fallen as hard for Abby as they have. They’re lucky kids, to be surrounded by so much love. We have family dinners together – all six of us — and Abby cooks. (She is an AMAZING chef because Jesus loves me). We go to the kids’ school parties together. We are a modern, beautiful family. Our children are loved. So loved. And because of all of that love, they are brave.”

You can find the longer post on her Facebook page.

Let me begin by saying that throwing over your broken marriage to join with another woman isn’t actually brave any more. It’s one of the easiest choices on the table. It may not feel easy in the moment, but what you are doing is embracing a copy of yourself, and you are doing it with the culture’s complete approbation. Bravery is when you do something difficult that ought to be done but you don’t want to do it, but you do it against your desires, for the sake of another. The choice of Glennon to be with a woman is the choice to go with self expression and the love of the self over the love of another and of God.

And that’s the confusion, isn’t it? It’s everywhere. In Christianity you are called to die to yourself, to die to the very essential nature of who you are which has been so corrupted and marred by sin that it is irrevocably bound to eternal death. This is the state of the human person. Not a single human person escapes the sentence of death that came when we chose to love ourselves rather than the Other, that is God. And however painful it is to face, no one gets a pass on this sentence. We all go down the grave one by one, dust to dust, because we idolatrously chose to love ourselves rather than our Creator.

No amount of embracing the self will cure the ills of the soul. No Amount. There is nothing you can do to love yourself enough to rescue your soul from death. You can’t. There is no human solution to the death dealing cavern that separates us from God.

That is why God himself had to cross over that cavern by himself. He had to come and absorb our sin and our rejection of him in himself. That is the cross. He took our catastrophic and poisonous self love onto himself and died the death we should have died.

When we cling to him, the death we endure, though it feels very great, is actually very small. Still, it is not easy to say no to the self, to put to death that essential poisoned self. It can’t happen without God himself carrying you through to eternity.

And I really hate to say it, but this is going to have to be part one, because I have somewhere to be. But I will pick up right here tomorrow, and will probably have another part after that. I hope you who know and love Jesus will pray for Glennon and her children and her husband and her new person and plead with God to enlighten the eyes of her heart that she might finally see him for who he is. See you tomorrow!

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