Lost in translation?
This is something I wrote on July 14, 2008.
I’m remembering this largely due to my participation in a conversation over on Patheos regarding pacifism/gun ownership.
I was taught to read the Bible literally. Very literally. As in, “Always interpret literally, unless it simply doesn’t make sense to do so.” And being raised as a fundamentalist and a biblicist, there were very few passages that were considered okay to interpret another way. And thus I have a very hard time understanding the Bible in any other way than how I was taught.
Due to my upbringing, about the time I started college (a little before, really) I started becoming more and more legalistic, more and more fundamentalist. Most of the damage was focused inward, on myself, castigating myself for being unable to live up to God’s standard of perfection. I struggled so deeply with so many issues. And rereading this post that I wrote just over four years ago hammers home to me just how much I’ve changed, while also reminding me how much confusion there still is in my head, in my heart.
So here it is: another piece of my life that is both long gone and yet suddenly so near. I am so different. I am so much the same.
I don’t know if I can put into words what my thoughts are right now. Sometimes I think something gets drastically lost in the translation from thoughts to words…but I’ll try.
“Set your mind on things above, not on things below. Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”
How will this manifest itself in real life? in my life?
I have a very simple view of life. Explaining that view in a way others understand is where things start to get complex :-), but it all boils down to following Christ. Please understand that I am in no way saying that I am an example of one who follows Christ perfectly. I’m so far from that, it shames me. It takes me a long time to make a firm decision about things, because once that decision is made there is no turning back. I do not do things in halves.
Having a career is not important to me. I love my job, but it is temporary. Using the talents the Lord has given me along with the training I have received, my desire is to be a help to those of the Lord’s people who cannot afford to pay standard graphic design fees. As insignificant as it might seem to some, it really burdens me when I see publications and websites that are full of good, godly material…and designed so poorly. Do I blame the brothers or sisters in charge of them? No, I don’t – because having worked both in Christian organizations and now in the graphic design industry, I understand very well how expensive quality design is and how little most Christian organizations can afford. Am I saying that the mere presentation of the gospel isn’t enough – that we have to make it look good? That’s a bit of a touchy subject. The gospel is certainly enough, and God forbid that I ever think I can improve on it. My desire is not to change one letter of the message, but rather to use basic principles of art and design to convey the creativity and beauty of our creative God while visually making the message clear. Does that make sense? Is it vain, or a waste of time? Over the past year, the Lord has made it clear to me that it is not.
In the same manner as above, rights are not important to me. Rather, I believe they should not be important. I struggle with this constantly as a woman, wanting to protect and avenge female friends who have been victims of harassment or assault, and having been assaulted myself (however in a minor way). I struggle with forgiveness, “turning the other cheek,” and “loving your enemies,” and whether doing those things must result in allowing evil to happen to others because of my silence. In my particular situation, I wasn’t silent…and I’m haunted by that. Yet I don’t think I could bear the thought of someone else going through that when I could have stopped it. I suppose this is one area in which I come before the Lord in fear and trembling, asking for discernment and peace of mind.
As a citizen of a city made without hands, a citizen of the United States, a student, an employee, a woman, and a daughter, submission must play a huge role in my life. HUGE. This does not come easily to me. But Christ submitted to the Father – He left His rightful place at the right hand of God to wrap eternity, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence in a singular, weak, finite human body. What right have I, then, to elevate myself above what I ought? It is not too much for me to obey my parents. It will not be too much for me to obey the rules at Bob Jones University. Placing myself under authority is a privilege.
Love covers a multitude of sins. I like to think that I love people. But do I love them as Christ loved them? Do I reach out, reach into their lives, get to know them? Do I know their needs and petition the Lord for them? Do I help them bear their burdens? Or do I see them as a general annoyance, or something worse? Oh, Lord! Give me eyes to see souls as You see them, and give me a heart to love them as You love them!
There is so much more…but words cannot express. And it is late, and work comes early.
There are places that aren’t here. But while we’re here, may we allow the Lord to shape us into His image and prepare us to go wherever He may lead us.