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What do you believe, and What do those hashtags mean?

I am a Christian, which I define as anyone who professes faith in Jesus as Lord and believes he rose from the dead. This definition comes from John 1:12, John 3:16, Romans 10:9 and Ephesians 2:8-9.

The earliest definition of Christian beliefs comes from the Nicene Creed written in A.D. 325 and it is accepted as authoritative by Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and most Protestant churches. The Apostles Creed is an ancient statement of faith used by Roman Catholic and most Protestant churches. I believe both the Nicene and Apostles Creed and worship in the mainline Protestant tradition. Here are some of the hashtags I use to identify myself.

#ecumenicalChristian I encourage unity among the world's Christian Churches. The Bible encourages unity among those who profess faith in Jesus (John 17:22-23). Seeking unity among Christians is not the same as unity among all religions. Each religion has its own set of beliefs and I respect these differences. Ecumenical Christians encourage cooperation among those in the Christian family, including Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Charismatic, and others. As in any family, there are some disagreements. However, even while differences continue, I enjoy fellowship and worship in many Christian traditions.

#biblicaltruth shows that I believe the Bible was inspired by God and I look to the Bible as my guide for living. I take a high view of Scripture, seeing biblical truth in literal or historical interpretations as well as metaphor and allegory. I accept that we have an incomplete understanding as if seeing in a mirror dimly, since theologians, scribes, translators, and interpreters perceive the Bible through their experiences. Truth is revealed by examining Scripture in the language, culture, and context of the writers, and the constraints and objectives of various translations, keeping in mind God's overarching message of redemption.

I do not subscribe to the literal inerrancy of the English text, since it is a recent phenomenon and linked with placing limitations on women.

"As we have seen, preaching women peppered the landscape of the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century America: they flooded the mission field as evangelists and leaders, and they achieved popular acclaim as preachers... As these women rose in prominence, so too rose inerrancy teachings... transforming a literal reading of Paul's verses about women into immutable truth... The evangelical fight for inerrancy was inextricably linked with gender from the beginning." Beth Allison Barr, The Making of Biblical Womanhood, page 189-190

#egalitarianchristian is defined as meaning the Bible grants men and women equality in worth and function. Gender differences have no impact on the ability or freedom to perform a variety of roles or functions at home, church, or society. These roles are determined by our unique, God-given gifts, personal traits, qualities, abilities, talents, and aptitudes (not gender). No one is restricted by their gender. Interpretations of Scripture must be consistent with Jesus, who taught students and disciples regardless of gender or class, reached out to people of every tribe and race, and equipped and empowered both women and men as apostles. I believe the Bible teaches that we are all equals and no one has a higher status or greater rights, freedoms or privileges than another because of gender or any other distinction. The fruits of the spirit are the same for men and women, and the character traits of a mature Christian are the same regardless of gender. There is no hierarchy or two-tier system in the body of Christ. This philosophy is sometimes called Christian mutualism because men and women are yielding to each other or serving one another reciprocally.

#biblicalequality is the belief that the Bible teaches us that all people are equal before God.

It does not mean we are the same or that our differences are minimized. Identifying yourself as being in Christ does not abolish your other identifiers; you may still be a wife, widow, grandfather, cancer survivor, leftie, or red-head. Believers are different but have equal rights and freedoms and the responsibility to obey our individual calling. A close examination shows God's word does not place any limitations based on race, citizenship, class, gender, or orientation. The Bible mandates equality because God does not show favouritism (See Acts 10:34-35, Galatians 2:6, Gal. 3:28, Colossians 3:11, Ephesians 2:19, 1 Corinthians 11:11-12, 1 Corinthians 12:13, 1 Peter 2:9, Romans 2:11, Romans 3:22, John 3:16-17, John 4:13). Equality is not equality if it doesn't include everyone.

girl with shirt about love
Pexels photo:

#Christianfeminist indicates I advocate for women's rights based on God establishing equality of men and women without favouritism. God made all humans in God's image, gave both women and men dominion over the earth, blessed them both and told them both to be caretakers of the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). God looks at our hearts and our beliefs, and does not discriminate based on outward appearances or biological characteristics (1 Samuel 16:7). Ananias and Sapphira were individually accountable for their actions. God called women of the Bible like Deborah and Huldah, Phoebe, Prisca, and Junia, to speak and lead men and women. Christian feminists advocate that women and men are equally valued and have equal opportunities for various roles.

#jesusfeminist is a term from a book by Sarah Bessey called Jesus Feminist and it means advocating for equal rights for women and men based on Jesus's revolutionary words and actions. Jesus liberated women and following Jesus's example means treating women and men as equals.

#Biblicalfeminist means understanding the Scripture teaches full equality for people of all genders in the home, church, and society. Feminism is the advocacy of women's rights based on the equality of the sexes. Biblical feminism means that the Bible endorses advocacy of equal rights.

#feministtheology seeks to secure social justice for women. It envisions God as Spirit, both male and female, and each person created fully in God's image. Women are not a derivative of men or a partial image of God. God gives women agency to be proactive, not only passive. God values a woman not only for having babies but for her mind and heart, hearing God's word and following it.

#LGBTQally identifies that I am a Christian affirming LGBTQ+. God grants some to be gay and some to be straight and God adopts all into the family of faith. Sexual orientation is neither a choice nor a sin.

Gay and straight are both called to be faithful. Scripture passages that have traditionally condemned homosexuality have been misunderstood. I believe that God shows no favouritism or hierarchy based on gender, class, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

#loveislove God's greatest commandment is to love the Lord God and to love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37-38). The Bible also says that God will separate the worthy from the unworthy based on how they showed love: fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, nurtured the sick, and visited the lonely (Matthew 25:31-46). The Bible commands us to love one another as Christ loved us (John 13:34). Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17, John 12:47). Followers of Jesus are told not to judge others but to love them. John says a person who loves is born of God and knows God, and one who does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8). Peter says to love one another, for love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Paul calls us to show the fruits of the spirit, especially love (Colossians 3:14, Galatians 5:22, 1 Corinthians 13:13). Love does not mean judging or condemning others.

#exvangelical is someone who previously was in an evangelical Christian church or #exfundie is someone who was previously in a fundamental Christian organization. I have attended mainline protestant, evangelical, charismatic, and Catholic churches and each has a community and style of worship that I appreciate. However, I do not feel equally valued in a church that does not accept women speaking, teaching, or leading. Much of what I write aligns with the exvangelical movement.

#Deconstruction is the process of questioning and taking apart an idea, practice, tradition, belief or system into smaller components in order to examine its foundation, truthfulness, usefulness, and impact. I am a person who questions deeply to attempt to understand a variety of viewpoints. I believe this is consistent with the biblical instruction to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) and to "examine the Scripture to test ideas (Acts 17:11). Like the Bereans, I examine the Scriptures to see if what is preached is true (Acts 17:10-12). My writing encourages readers to examine tough topics and look at a variety of biblical interpretations to work out what they believe.

My 2022 release, Forgotten Followers from Broken to Bold, is a #HistoricalFiction set in the first century. Mara is broken by abuse, Joanna by racism. It shows Jesus encouraging, educating, empowering, and equipping women as patrons, disciples, speakers and leaders. It embraces biblical themes of love, inclusion, acceptance, and affirmation. If you or someone you know occasionally feels broken, defeated, doubtful, excluded, or unloved, this novel brings healing and hope.

My 2023 nonfiction The Sword: A Fun Way to Engage in Healthy Debate on What the Bible Says about a Woman’s Role contains 104 flashcards showing various perspectives on difficult passages. It can help with Christian education, mutual understanding, and cooperation with members of the Christian family who hold different interpretations of what the Bible says about gender roles.

My #2024release is Because She Was Called, from Broken to Bold book 2, A Novel of the Early Church is set in the time of Acts 2-11 and affirms women as apostles. Themes include breaking walls of division, choosing between romance and God's call to speak, mutuality in marriage, women in ministry, overcoming grief, publicly testifying about Christ's resurrection, and being forced to choose between your faith and your child.

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