Black and White, Right and Wrong

There were many sermons as I grew up on absolute truths, including that women were not called to be preachers and divorce was wrong. I remember when that comfortable, certain theology started to break down for me. It was when I heard stories of abuse. Stories of women whose husbands forced them to have sex with them. They had to do it because they had to do what their husband commanded them to do. Even though these women were doing what the church had taught them to do, I knew something was wrong about that.

I knew that the black and white, right and wrong theology I grew up didn’t always make sense when a minister counseled a woman who was being continually abused and raped by her husband to “make her marriage work.” The wrong thing in her situation is not to get a divorce. Divorce is the right thing.

I know what I’m supposed to say: there can be no gray areas; there is only right and wrong, black and white. But I couldn’t help hearing, the voice calling me to preach. That voice was right and divine and good even though it was calling to a woman. I knew it wasn’t my voice because my voice isn’t that brave. My voice isn’t willing to question the theology of black and white, right and wrong. My voice is uncertain, hesitant, and safe.

When we become so certain of what we believe that we aren’t searching and we aren’t studying to make sure what we say is right and wrong is actually in the Bible and isn’t just “biblical” teaching that we’ve heard, we are running the risk of creating a gospel that is wrong. Just because the words and teachings come from a church or from a minister, does not mean that those words are divine. Just because the words we hear from the pulpit or from a minister fit into our theological framework does not mean those words are from God.

It’s easier to believe in a theology of black and white, right and wrong, but following after God isn’t easy.

Search. Study. Pray.

Then, talk or preach or type.