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And Then There Was Silence

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Claire sweet questioning

An Open Letter to Godly Gals

I cannot in remain a part of the forum boards anymore. But I want to provide some explanation and I don't want to do it behind closed doors, sent to just the moderators because there are other people from the boards whom I care about and I want them to know what's going on.

18-24 months ago I was distanced from my church. I was a part of a big church and I found that I felt a bit like a separate entity from my church family because I was an established Christian and I was slipping through the cracks. I started rebelling against my church because of the hurt I was feeling. Some part of me would be "don't do this, you know better" and the other part of me would be "what do you care what they think? They don't care about you, just stick it to them!" I made a lot of bad decisions based on how I felt about the church and that led me into big time sin. Many of you know what I'm talking about because I've shared it. I also blogged a bit about the struggles I have facing at that time as I knew that what I was doing was wrong, but I didn't know how to get out of that sin and there was no support from the church for me.

This is relevant because I'm now starting to feel the same way about Godlygals. There have been a few decisions that I would not have made. The moderators do their best to provide a friendly, loving environment, but on the other hand they either avoid controversy at the wrong time, or are unconsciously being controversial because of the cultural differences; they are stepping on my toes. There is no cross cultural support available for women outside of America and there is no attempt to start a ministry or make allowances to support those women.

To address three of the issues that I feel have been badly handled:
- Modesty: I am on board with being modest. But saying things like "There is NEVER an instance where wearing a bikini is okay (unless you are a married woman and you are in front of your husband and him alone). It is the SAME as running around in your underwear" and "Maybe since most of us live in America, that's what we need to consider" is very unhelpful to the number of women on the boards who aren't from America. I've had enough of this kind of insensitivity and continuing this argument with women who are unwilling to see outside of their social circles.
- Suicide: This topic has serious theological ramifications and it's a topic that needs to be dealt with as people come to terms with the suicides of men and women they know and love. I understand the reasons why the moderators don't want to address it, but it's an issue that I think needs to be dealt with regardless.
- Legalism: Just... no. We need to address this and I believe that we need to come down hard on the side of grace and freedom. If we're going to be talking about which bits of the law to follow, it is very unwise to discuss it in a legalism topic.

This frustration that I'm experiencing in my participation on these boards has led me into sin because I'm confusing the boards with the practice of Christianity. I made a stupid decision this evening and as I made it, my thoughts that justified it were scarily similar to "what do you care what they think? Just stick it to them!"

Although I enjoy debating, I feel that my opinions are being shut down, despite them being from a Biblical perspective, in favour of the safe and easy answers. I do not want to be a part of that ministry any more. I do not want to be a part of a ministry that wants to censor what I write on my Livejournal. I do not want to write inflammatory things, but every now and then I will bring an issue that I'm dealing with - from the boards, real life or elsewhere - and blog about it. I feel this is particularly pertinent from my entries on the 28th of August which were (suspiciously) followed by a new topic posted by one of the moderators on the 1st of September with the following written:
Airing dirty laundry is not very nice and is really hurtful to the people who put in their time here serving you all. They do it because God has placed a burden on their hearts for this place. As it is stated in the rules, posting slanderous comments about the boards in places outside of the boards is still grounds for immediate banning.

If you have a personal issue with this ministry we would be happy to talk it out with you. If you cannot reconcile yourself to our Statement of Faith or our rules, you then need to leave because you are driving a wedge, being a thorn, and not helping this ministry in any way.
If she has such an issue with people posting slanderous comments about the boards in outside places, maybe the best solution would be to bring it up with those women, instead of making generalised threats, treating people as if their problems with the boards aren't worthy of a personalised private message initiated by the moderators. I have had several issues with this ministry and still I am not happy with the conclusions that discussion had brought. So before I am blocked from this ministry, I resign from participating in it.

I have been surprised at how many other women aren't happy with this ministry either and I don't want people to think that these boards are the pinnacle of feminine, Christian spirituality. They have many good qualities, but ought to be taken with a grain of salt as myriad Americanism are integrated with Christianity. But then, all things Christian from America ought to be taken with a grain of salt.
There's a reason that Pentecost and the Great Commission are emphatically cross-cultural. If everyone you know who shares your faith also shares your culture then you end up with no way of knowing which is which, no way of knowing where the one stops and the other begins, no way of knowing the ways in which they have or haven't been allowed to influence one another. - slacktivist.typepad.com

And finally to conclude and reiterate. I am leaving this ministry because the frustrations that I am experiencing are not doing me any favours in my continuing maturing in faith and Christ-likeness. I pray that the ministry is fruitful and these issues may be resolved some time in future. But this is not a place for me. The fellowship that I will experience with other women will be from within my church and my extended Christian family in Australia and elsewhere other than these fundamentalist, American Christian boards until I eventually go to Heaven, which at that time, sin and culture will no longer be an issue.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my time at Godly Gals, even the moderators at times who have sent me the occasional nice message. Thank you for the support that I have received and having a place to go to that provides a safe haven of sorts from all the evils that lurk on the internet. But now my time on the boards has passed.


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I understand, I've had some similar thoughts but decided it's worth sticking around...which is why I brought the possibly-controversial "Trinity" topic to my lj instead of there. I don't have a problem with them moderating what they want to...it's their board, I'm just a guest. But I need these sorts of discussions sometimes, and this is just a better way to do it, so I don't annoy the people looking to avoid any kind of conflict.

I don't THINK the legalism topic disappearing and those comments on the board were because of you, at least not ONLY because of you. The topic was put back up and the mods explained why they locked it, and also I think at least some of the bad feelings there lately are because of a complaint I made...that probably should have been made sooner so I would have been less frustrated over it and could have worded it more kindly.

But, I definitely understand needing to leave if the community is hurting you rather than helping. I hope you do find good fellowship where you are. And I'm glad I'll still get to see you on lj!

I know that I was just a guest, but they were providing a ministry and that ministry only applied to other conservative, American Christians. I'd decided to stick with it over and over... the amount of IRL ranting I was doing was crazy and people just kept telling me to leave... so I did!

I'm glad I'll still see people on LJ too! ^.^ I'm glad that I made good friends on the boards that also developed into off the board friendships :)

Tee hee, I think I'm blocked now. I wanted to see if there was any reaction to this open letter and I tried to log in - unsuccessfully. *phew* It's kinda a relief, now that all is said and done.

Fair enough. Either it works for you, or it doesn't. And if it doesn't, better to take off than stick around and be frustrated over it all the time.

Is that Hayden in your icon?

Ohh, I was going to mention and forgot.

Legalism...I'm sorry, you're probably right that I shouldn't have done the Torah or not convo on that topic. I did because the topics are linked in my mind...when I started keeping the whole Torah, my mom and a few others accused me of legalism...so the term's definition gets confused for me.

what? huh? what?

There were other people also mentioning it too. The point was, regardless of what everyone else was saying, I was banging on about freedom and grace and then my last post was deleted and 80% of it was solid Bible passage. The entire thread was just... blah! Seriously, don't worry bout it. :P :)

Yes, Hayden. She's just so cute!

Hah, I know. I didn't think that you were specifically talking about me. But I was doing the thing you mentioned (talking about which part of the Law to follow, my opinion being "all of it") on a topic that wasn't actually probably related to that and wasn't what you were saying.

She is. So is Alyson. :)

yay for Spike. I love Spike!

That wasn't so much the issue. To me, the issue is the way that the moderators censored parts of the topic and came down on one side as opposed to the other. Their focus was on something that I felt was unwise given that Christians are free from the law that brings slavery and death. Rather, they were coming down on the side of feeling a conviction is a good enough reason to follow any old law you want. But I say that the laws had points to them and we don't need (and often time shouldn't) follow many laws.

For example, eating shellfish. Following that law because the Bible happens to mention it, I believe, makes a mockery of the freedom we've been given, particularly because the Israelites weren't meant to eat it as it was unclean, but then in Acts, God tells us not to call unclean, anything that he has made clean and gives us leave to eat whatever we want!

If you are not eating shellfish because of some well thought out, I-don't-want-to-cause-anyone-to-stumble reason that maybe involved a lost tribe of people who think it's terribly wrong to eat shellfish, then by all means! don't eat the damn shellfish!

Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are. - Acts 15:10-11

So... that's my legalism rant. We are free to follow the law, but in a topic ABOUT legalism, it is terribly unwise to start talking about obeying the law when we should be talking about freedom, in order to not cause anyone to think that they have to start following the law.

I'm not blaming anyone who participated in whatever measure in that topic, but I am saying that I disagree with how the moderators handled it and to take it personally, I didn't like that they deleted my last post. :P :)

*gasp* They DID delete just your post! Wow, I'm sorry. I thought you were talking about when they deleted the entire topic. I didn't even notice when they put it back that yours was missing. Harsh.

I see what you mean, then. Thanks for explaining.

No problem, it got the rant of my chest. :D And now there are people in the know about my deleted post. ~.^

I'll be sad not to see you around there, although given the circumstances I can see why you've made this decision.

I understand what you mean about the culture getting blended into attitudes though, and I did occasionally feel a comradeship with you for reasons that hopefully will be obvious.... Delighting in the diversity of the church is a useful tool to remind myself that we don't all have to do things the same way though :-)

Anyway, I shall keep any further thoughts about GG to myself just now, but glad I can still keep up with you on LJ :-)

PS. Do you want me to take you off my GG filter?
As it so happened, up until now, ALL the Christians that I have on LJ came from there, and so I just use that filter if I want to post to only Christians. I don't recall posting about the actual board, but I might do one day. Anyway, I mean, me having both a 'Christians' and a 'GG' filter and only using the latter if I actually mention the boards in a post. Or if that happened do you still want to be left in the loop?


And PS. Thanks for the open letter, it is good to know what's going with you :-)

being left in the loop is fine with me :)
When Pursuer was banned, no one really knew until they gradually noticed the her old posts had BANNED written under her user name. I didn't want to go quietly like that. I actually linked to this open letter in my signature, but I imagine that now I'm banned too, the signature is gone.

Do I have banned under my user name too?

Firstly, I didn't even know Pursuer was banned!!

Secondly, I haven't signed in today but I will check for you.

No it doesn't. Your userpic has disappeared, but I don't know if you took that off yourself or not. Underneath your name it still says "Devoted to the Father".

PS. No signature though.

Firstly, it might help to log in (both the above were from me). Secondly, it might help not to click 'stop' on the browser when I remember I haven't added something. Feel free to edit or delete including this one, if you like :-)

I just checked, you're not banned.
Did Jess tell you what happened with her? I really want to know, but I'm a little afraid to ask her.

She posted a thing on her blog here.

I think that the reasons I left and the reasons she left are two opposite ends of the spectrum, but the entry is so long I end up skimming about half way down and don't really end up getting the main points. :P to me.

Edit: I finally ended up reading it all today and I agree with many of the problems she's had. I don't agree with the issues that had her and the moderators butting heads, but I get how it could happen and see how that's happened to me too.

I never thought of myself as Theologically liberal (and I'm not!) but in comparison to both Jess and the mods, I really am. :P

Edited at 2008-09-07 07:37 am (UTC)

This is sad, Kat. I am sorry it happened. Though I am okay that it happened, it doesn't take away the hurt, and that is truly a sad thing that a Christian ministry is wounding the people it is intending to bless.
I can understand when they asked the bi-sexual girl to leave, because she wasn't stating her opinions based from Scripture, she was merely trying to rile people up and convince other girls it's "okay to be gay."
But to ban people for sharing their hearts' convictions that they have gleaned from Scripture, that's the very opposite of what God has called ministries to.
Sister, I love you!

Thanks Jess. I think I've been more blessed since I've left, in that I'm not frustrated any more. I get frustrated easily and on the boards I felt that everything I said, I was butting heads with the mods. They didn't contact me about any of it, I think because I'd trained myself to not let the frustration show as I'd write a post... but back here in front of the screen, man I'd get angry!

When I told people at my church, they were all like, "finally!" and "good, about time!" So that was also encouraging in my leaving. ^.^

to ask me anything! I am an almost entirely open book. And if a question is something I am unwilling to answer, I certainly won't be angry for it, I will simply tell you I'm not ready to share it. ;)
I looked at your LJ, but I can't tell who you are, from GG, I mean. :) ??? :D

It's Brookie =]

Re: Never be afraid...

Brookie!!! Oh, I am an idiot!! I am sorry I did not recognize you on here hon!

Don't worry about it! My screen name here is different from my GG one =]

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