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 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.
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.
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.