Oh, you attend Tim Keller's church. What's that like?She was surprised to learn how popular Keller is with this gathering. She seemed rather blasé about Keller being her pastor. After she left the table, someone speculated that she probably never sees him.
At lunch yesterday, my friend spoke freely about her non-religious upbringing, her conversion to Catholicism in college and then her adoption of Reformed theology. I didn't press her for specifics, even though I was curious. I just let her say what she felt led to say.
I met her at the Reformed church years ago and she recognized my NCPL conference tote. She said she was living with the man who became her husband while she was very active in church ministry, teaching religious education.
And no one said anything to us about it, even though they all knew.I do wonder what she expected. Did she mean to say that she didn't know it was wrong? Would she have respected the recommendation that she withdraw from active ministry? She attends an Arminian church now, for her husband's sake, and she's frustrated by the fact that she can't teach the Bible there. The fact that nobody said anything to her about her sin isn't the reason she left Catholicism - there were many other reasons - but it's something negative that she remembers of her Catholic experience. She asked me whether I'm in the Catholic church for the sake of my husband and I said, no, that I want to be there. She seemed surprised and a little sad. I think she thought I was a prisoner of male headship or something, like herself.
Another lady joined us from New Life Church in Glenside. I was able to share with her that last summer our Bible study relied on the Psalm material on their website. Someone was trying to name the man most associated with Ligionier Ministries and I was able to supply that. Someone expressed concern about the plenary sessions and what's the difference between teaching and preaching. I'd have to agree that the exhortations with which Connie concluded her third plenary bordered on preaching. When about the only thing a pastor does is preach - and not offer a sacrifice like a priest - it's very difficult to distinguish gender roles in ministry and very hard to say "men only." Yes, I was thankful to be affirmed in the Catholic notion of priesthood.
My study guide leader took me aside and inquired so gently, "How did you become a believer?" I told her my story of reading Mere Christianity in college and realizing that I'd never heard a description of Christ's work on my behalf before, despite being in church my whole life. But that, if it's is true, and I think it is, I want to believe it. Then, at church, I had "new ears" and could hear what had been said all along. I'm not sure whether my story convinced her.