• Elaine Kelly

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

Updated: Nov 12

I am a Christian, which I define as anyone who professes faith in Jesus and looks to the Bible as their guide for living. This definition comes from John 1:12, John 3:16, Romans 10:9 and Ephesians 2:8-9. The earliest definition of a Christian comes from the Christian Nicene Creed written in A.D. 325 and it is accepted as authoritative by Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and most Protestant churches. I believe in both the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed, which is an ancient statement of faith used by Roman Catholic and most Protestant churches. I worship in the mainline Protestant tradition and have visited and enjoyed church services in many branches of Christianity. 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 believe in respecting these differences. Those in the Christian family include Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Charismatic, Fundamental and others. As in any family, there are some disagreements in what people think. However, even with our continuing differences, Ecumenical Christians encourage cooperation among those who say that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9).

#egalitarianchristian is defined as meaning men and women are equal in worth and equally capable of being called to a variety of roles without any gender restrictions on roles in the church, home or society. The belief is based on the teachings and actions of Jesus which abolish roles specific to gender, race or class. Jesus invited all to be students, disciples, and 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, race, or orientation. There is no hierarchy or two-tier system in the body of Christ. Our roles at home, church, and society are determined by our unique, God-given gifts, personal traits, qualities, abilities, talents, and aptitudes (not our sex). As an egalitarian Christian, I believe the fruits of the spirit are the same for men and women, that both men and women must seek peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness and self-control. In the same way, traits such as being humble, meek, kind, courageous, hospitable, generous and faithful are character traits for Christians of all genders. The philosophy is sometimes called Christian mutualism because men and women are submitting to each other or serving one another reciprocally.

#biblicalequality is the belief that the Bible teaches us that all people are equal before God and have equal responsibility to use their gifts and obey their calling to the glory of God. There is no limitation based on gender. We believe the Bible mandates equality.

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#feministtheology seeks to secure social justice for women, to envision God as both male and female, to show women created in God's image and not s a derivative secondary to man, to acknowledge women are proactive, not only passive; and that women are valued for their mind as well as their body.

#Biblicalfeminist means understanding the Scripture teaches full equality for people of all genders in the home, church, and society at large.

#jesusfeminist is a term from a book by Sarah Bessey called Jesus Feminist and it means that it was from Jesus' revolutionary words and actions that we learn to treat women and men as equals. The idea is to be a feminist in the way that Jesus was; following his example means treating women and men as equals.

#Christianfeminist understands the equality of men and women being that God does not discriminate on the basis of biological characteristics. We follow Jesus, who liberated women. Christian feminists are proactive in society to open up opportunities for women, and change the way women are valued and perceived.

#exvangelical is a name for those who previously were evangelical Christians and now are not. My childhood was in the mainline protestant church, and later I attended evangelical groups and churches for various periods. Each has a community and style of worship that I appreciate. However, I do not feel equal 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 their foundation, truthfulness, usefulness, and impact. I am a person who loves to question deeply and 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). My writing encourages readers to examine tough topics and work out what they believe using a variety of biblical interpretations.

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. Both become bold. It shows Jesus encouraging, educating, empowering, and equipping women as patrons, disciples, speakers and leaders. It embraces biblical themes of love, inclusion and acceptance. Just as the women in my novel overcome brokenness and become bold, you can too. May my writing bring you peace, healing, and hope.

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