Revision

I think there’s nothing more important than revision. When God matures us and leads us to a new vision or better understanding, we must revise our way of thinking even if it’s a complete embarrassment to ourselves. Looking back on my life, I can see so many times when I was sure of a thing and then it turned out differently. I don’t have regrets about following Him down those paths because of the lessons I learned as a result of them, but it’s funny how wrong I was, even in my passionate conviction.

For example, having an egalitarian view for marriage and the church is completely different than what I had taught and been so convinced about for so long. Only a few years ago, you would find me teaching that men should lead and women should follow. I taught it quite passionately — but even so, what always bothered me was that it always required so much defending. I saw the difficulty in the position when it came to couples who didn’t fit the mold. What about couples where the wife is the more naturally gifted leader and the husband, the follower? “Well,” it was explained to me, “the wife needs to hold back and give the husband a chance to lead.” That sounded all right to me theoretically (after all, the wife has the opportunity to ‘deny herself’), but in practical terms, I saw that it just meant that the wife would continue to come up with the ideas and visions and then have to prod and persuade her husband toward those ideas. It becomes a subtle game of manipulation as she convinces him that something was his idea, because if she were to remain silent (in order to not lead), then they would not go anywhere. But as I have seen it, the wife rarely stays silent in this situation. The reality is that most couples end up having a more egalitarian marriage than they would profess. It just wouldn’t work if pure hierarchy was the modus operandi. God really gave women brains, gifts and visions — and without her voicing them, a couple could really miss out on God’s will.

I can see though how despite encountering these real-life obstructions to the complementarian mindset, revision might not take place. When I think of a Christian community which I was involved with for many years, I just think of how its culture is built on the hierarchical way of life, and if things were to change, it could cause the whole structure to crumble.

To revise when God gives you new revelation requires true humility and courage. It means you have to admit you were wrong somewhere — and it means you need courage to step forward in a whole new direction.

But not all revisions have to be the radical opposite of what you believe. It could just be something different.

Like foster parenting. In this past year, God has made aware to my husband and me His call to us to care for those orphans which He speaks so frequently about in the Scriptures – specifically, through becoming foster parents. This, however, is nothing at all what I had ever pictured for myself when I was growing up. Similar to everyone else, I had imagined getting married and having biological children in due course. Being called to take this divergent track has thrown me for a loop. Major revisions have been made as I have had to realize that we will have a baby for a long while whom we may not be able to ‘keep’ for life (because our foster child may be reunified with his/her biological parents). Not only so, but while we we will have this incredible new life enter our lives, some of the most important people in our lives will not really be accepting of it. We will be experiencing something major and exciting, in a radical and breathtaking sort of way — alone. Everyone naturally rallies around a pregnant woman, offering gifts and services, but only a very small handful have chosen to come alongside us to cheer us on in this. This reality has helped me understand another important aspect of new visions: when revision has to take place, it has to take place not only within ourselves but in the community around us as well. But what do you do when others don’t revise? I think you just have to move forward in obedience to the Lord and wait patiently for them.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mike Lo on May 14, 2008 at 7:31 am

    I find myself at a similar crossroads for ‘reformation’ and ‘revision’. It deals with what the church was supposed to be, and what it’s meant to live like together. Thanks for this post- I absolutely agree- any kind of revision requires much courage.

    Reply

  2. Hey Mike, I know EXACTLY how you feel about the church thing. I totally feel a similar angst about that… it makes me SIGH heavily. I’ve wrestled with that question so many years that I’ve sort of fallen into despair and given up for the present. I think I’m just going to seminary for now and then afterwards, I’ll try to figure it out… Let me know if you come to some good conclusions about it.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Corrie on May 21, 2008 at 1:22 am

    I just read your post, and the above comments. Your point is brilliantly stated…and it is a difficult question. I know a lot of other people (myself included) who wrestle with what the church is, and what it was meant to be. Thankfully I recently stumbled upon a church that has renewed my hope! Wish you could be here to experience it with me.

    Also on the topic of community, I feel like it’s been a slow and painful refinement, as I learn how to discern the people who I can really trust and grow with. In the process, I am learning how to be a better and truer friend.

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who runs into these questions. And I’m your biggest cheering section when it comes to foster parenting. What you are doing is so inspiring!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Natasha on May 22, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Hi,

    I’m new to your blog and am busy reading through your archived posts. Great stuff! 🙂

    I just saw your comment on this post about fostering and I wanted to add my own encouragement. I come from a family who fostered (my parents fostered children while we lived at home) and it was a wonderful experience for all of us. Thanks for stepping up for the children who don’t have a stable home! I know you will be blessed by this experience just as we were (even in the hard frustrating bits- which will definitely crop up).

    May God bless you and keep you,

    Natasha

    Reply

    • Hi Natasha, Thanks so much for reading and for commenting. My husband & I fostered for a short while. We had to relinquish our foster baby, and that was certainly hard (among other hard things), but it certainly was a meaningful experience for us. We were blessed with the reward of following God’s heart. We are discussing fostering again at some future time. How old were you when your parents fostered? How did they help you through the relinquishment process? Thanks again for reading!

      Reply

  5. Posted by Natasha on June 16, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Hi again,

    My parents fostered when I was between the ages of 8 and 15. We had several children (sometimes multiple siblings, sometimes a single child) stay with us. Often it was on a “respite care” basis which meant that we’d have the child for one or two weeks out of the month (to give the birth parent a “respite” from parenting stresses). So we didn’t always have the same children staying with us for long periods of time. This probably made it easier when they’d leave because it was expected and not a surprise/shock.
    We did form pretty close relationships with some of the families, though, and it was difficult at times to let the children return to their home situations (which were sometimes known to be abusive, although the BC foster system denied it). Mostly we got through that difficulty by praying for the children and their families. We also looked into adopting some of the foster children we cared for but the birth parent denied permission. Overall though, we just tried to provide the children with a real loving home situation (with boundaries!) while they were with us.

    I’d be glad to chat more about the fostering experience so if you can, please let me know when that conversation comes up! 🙂

    God bless!
    Natasha

    Reply

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