Account and Countenance

Trigger Warning for intimate partner violence/verbal abuse and spiritual abuse

I’m on a guest-posting streak apparently, because today I’m over at Dianna Anderson’s blog talking  about images of God for her Account and Countenance series.

I look around me, years later, and I see a Church that is terrified to look its theology in the face. I see a Church that is somehow okay with having two drastically different definitions of love—one for humans and one for God. I see a Church that holds God to a different standard than they hold human beings.

I see a Church that thinks it can do this and still speak out against abuse and to me, it will never make sense. I can no longer listen to a pastor call abusers evil and then turn around and sing a hymn to the wrathful, jealous God who can save even a helpless, hopeless, worthless wretch like me.

These dueling definitions of love have to end. God doesn’t get God’s own definition. God doesn’t get to do whatever God wants and call it love.

Read the rest here! 

  • pastordt

    I read this at Dianna’s place this morning and was deeply stirred by it. But I will admit to being more than a little bit skeered to comment very much over there. She gets trounced so hard sometimes! You are brave to put this there and I thank you for it. Even when we sing hymns that I like, except for an errant word or two, I will change those words. The Gettys’ “In Christ Alone,” for example. . . ‘the wrath of God’ becomes the ‘plan’ of God, or better, the ‘love’ of God. Language matters. And yes, you can argue a strict penal substitutionary interpretation of the atonement from scripture – but my goodness, there are so many metaphors at work there – why must we focus on just this one? Thank you for pushing us to think more carefully about what we say, what we believe, even what we sing. And I am more sorry than I can say that what your were taught about God became so conflated with one man’s terribly abusive behavior. And from your description, this was terrible abuse, Sarah. I am so, so sorry for that. May you be blessed in your studies and in whatever future direction those studies take you.


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