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  • Writer's pictureElaine Kelly

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

Updated: May 7

I am a Christian, which I define as anyone who professes faith in Jesus as Lord, believe he rose from the dead 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. The Apostles Creed is an ancient statement of faith used by Roman Catholic and most Protestant churches. I worship in the mainline Protestant tradition and believe both the Nicene and Apostles Creeds. 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 are those who profess Jesus as Lord. This includes Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Charismatic, Fundamental and others. As in any family, there are some disagreements in what people think. However, I have enjoyed church services in many branches of Christianity, and 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).

#biblicaltruth shows that I believe the Bible was inspired by God and I look to the Bible as my guide for living.

#egalitarianchristian is defined as meaning the Bible grants men and women equality in worth and function. Gender has no impact on being capable of being called to a variety of 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 or any other distinction. 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.

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#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; the Bible mandates equality.

#feministtheology seeks to secure social justice for women. It envisions God as Spirit, both male and female, endorses all people created in God's image and women not as a derivative secondary to man. It acknowledges God gives women agency to be proactive, not only passive. It asserts that women be valued for their minds as well as their bodies.

#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 follow Jesus's example of treating women and men as equals.

#Christianfeminist understands the equality of men and women based on God showing no favouritism. God does not discriminate on the basis of biological characteristics. We follow Jesus, who liberated women. Christian feminists are proactive 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 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). 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. It shows Jesus encouraging, educating, empowering, and equipping women as patrons, disciples, speakers and leaders. It embraces biblical themes of love, inclusion and acceptance. If you or someone you know sometimes feels broken, defeated, doubtful or unloved, you will find hope and healing in my novel.

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 looking at difficult passages from various opposing perspectives.

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