Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Day Donna Cried

This post is not theological, other than the fact that we as Christians should examine our prejudices and be considerate to others.  This is the story of a high school experience.  The names of the teacher and student involved have been changed.

I grew up in a small farming town in Washington state.  Most people in town were White or Hispanic.  There was only one student in my class who was Black.  Her name was Donna.

One of my favorite classes was literature.  I enjoyed reading.  It was fun to be exposed to new stories like “Huck Finn”.  Mr Reynolds was a little quirky, but he was a good teacher.

One day in class we were reading a story (I don’t remember what one now).  The person in the story was using poor language (double negatives, etc).  Bad grammar doesn’t go over with lit teachers, and Mr Reynolds was no exception.  Mr Reynolds jokingly said, “That person talks funny!  He sounds like he’s Black, doesn’t he?”  Everyone in class laughed, myself included.

Everyone that is, except Donna.  Donna spoke up loudly and said, “I don’t think Black people talk funny!”  She was angry and shaking a bit.  Then she started to cry.

The class was silent, and everyone felt awful.  Mr Reynolds especially.  I felt terrible because I also had laughed at the joke without even considering how it made Donna feel.

Some time later (on a different day), Mr. Reynolds apologized to Donna.  He said, “I want you to know that I have thought a lot about what I said that day, and if it’s any consolation, I’m truly sorry.”

I have wondered in retrospect if the reason Donna cried was because of the joke or because of the response of everyone in class.  I think it was probably more of the latter.  The joke wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if we hadn’t all laughed at it.

That event happened over 25 years ago, but I still remember it clearly.  I  wonder if anyone else in that class remembers. I bet Donna and Mr Reynolds both do.

To Donna: I want you to know that I have thought a lot about what happened that day, and if it’s any consolation,   I’m truly sorry.

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Filed under General Interest

Words that Arminians and Calvinists Define Differently

Arminians and Calvinists define some theological terms differently. This has a tendency to cause us to talk past each other when discussing theological issues. Here are some of the words that Arminians and Calvinists have different meanings for:

Decree
Arminians – A plan of God to establish parameters for the way something will work. For example, God can decree for humans to have and make decisions.
Calvinists – A plan of God to cause things to happen in a predetermined way.

Election
Arminians – God chooses Christ. Those who follow Christ benefit from his election.
Calvinists – God chooses certain individuals to be saved. The chosen are elected.

Faith
Arminians – Faith means to trust God. Because of God’s drawing grace, it is possible for each person to trust God.
Calvinists – Faith is an ability that God gives to the elect but not to the reprobate. A person cannot trust God unless God causes him to to so.

Foreknowledge
Arminians – God has passive knowledge of our future choices. His knowing is based on our doing.
Calvinists – God foreknows the future because he has rendered it certain. His knowing is based on determining what will happen.

Free Will
Arminians – Free will is the God enabled ability to make choices. A person can do one thing, or he can choose to do something else.
Calvinists – Free will means to follow one’s strongest desires. When a person makes decisions, his strongest desires determine what he does.

God’s Love
Arminians – God loves each person with an infinite amount of love, and desires for each person to be saved and to be in relationship with him.
Calvinists – God has a special kind of love for the elect that he does not have for all people. God may love the reprobate in some sense, but this is not a kind of love that enables them to be saved.

Sovereignty
Arminians – Sovereignty means that God does what he wants to do. God sovereignly created a world where creatures have the ability to make choices.
Calvinists – Sovereignty means that God deterministically causes every thing that happens. If God does not ultimately cause everything, he can’t be sovereign.

The world
Arminians – The world is inclusive of each and every person that has or ever will exist.
Calvinists – The world is all of the elect people from all over the world, not all people.

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Filed under Arminianism, Calvinism

Good Article About the “Concerned Nazarene” Movement

The Holiness Today magazine has a good article by by Kevin Ulmet who expresses some misgivings about the “Concerned Nazarene” movement.  For those outside the Nazarene church, this is a movement inside the denomination to make the church more reformed and baptist in doctrine.  The article can be found here: I Am a Concerned Nazarene.

From the article:

I am concerned that our precious Articles of Faith, those 16 grand biblical statements of doctrine based directly on Scripture, and our Wesleyan-Arminian and Holiness Movement history that have guided us well for over a century are under attack. Not from those outside our Christian faith, but from those inside.

These are people who believe we have been and desire us to be again who we never have been—a church in the Fundamentalist/Reformed tradition or at least the spirit and tactics thereof. John Wesley, Phoebe Palmer, H. Orton Wiley, and William Greathouse would blanch in concern today if they knew the insidious theological and ecclesiastical battle going on through the Internet, driven by categorization, guilt-by-association, and “gotcha” tactics that more represent radical politics than anything remotely biblical, Christian, or certainly holiness.

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Filed under Nazarene