[ I originally wrote this when I started my blog in December 2010. Updates follow.]
In the words of Christian author Philip Yancey, I am a reluctant Christian, buffeted by doubts, and in recovery from disappointing church experiences. I don’t mean for that to sound cynical or pessimistic (only honest), because I DO BELIEVE and I LOVE JESUS more than I ever have! I have been set free in my Christian walk the last few years…set free by a proper understanding of the relationship between faith and doubt, set free by grace, and set free from legalism. (But I’m still a work in progress!)
“Though you have not seen Him (Jesus), you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…” I Peter 1:8.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
“From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:16-17
- A little more about me…I’m Laura. Married to Bob since 1992. A follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. A saint and sinner. Avid reader. Lifelong learner. Currently a seminary student. Formerly a nurse. Companion to beloved cats, rabbit, and a Newfoundland dog. World wide traveler. Host of international students since 1997.
As of May 2013, I am a seminary graduate!
I’ve also written a book (Jan. 2016), and have a teaching/preaching ministry.
(See the other tabs at the top of the blog.)
On February 15, 2019 my beloved newfoundland dog Lizzie left this world – and in March a special cat Gandalf died, and my rabbit died in July! 2019 has been a bad year for animals in our household.
FYI… My seminary degree is a MABS from Dallas Theological Seminary. They update degrees from time to time, so you won’t find it on the website at present. However, my degree required 62 credit hours, half in the classroom and half online. I had a series of classes in Bible exposition (that covered all 66 books of the Bible), a series of systematic theology classes (separate classes covering all the branches of ST), and other random classes in things like church history, teaching, Christian education, world religions, evangelism.
thanks laura, i look forward to reading these posts. i do not study and read as often as i should, and i appreciate the time you spend sharing and your opinions. i also have had some dissappointments in the “church” experience but have not been let down by my Jesus. As i draw close to Him, He draws close to me. thanks you for sharing your growth & knowledge. judy
I too have been set free from legalism, which is the cause of most of the hurts in churches. It was because of this that I started to write a blog. I wanted people to learn the truth and to encourage them to study the Bible for themselves. I am glad I found your blog. It is inspiring.
Thanks for the comment on my post, looks like we have or have had some similar questions/doubts. I enjoyed looking through your blog.
Laura, I stumbled on your pages while I was searching for support groups for people who feel unwelcome in their faith communities. I just want you to know that it’s a comfort to me to see what you’re doing.
Lisa Robinson said:
Thanks for linking to my Parchment and Pen article on a low view of Scripture. I appreciate your thoughtful approach to how we should consider divine communication and your interaction with Deere. I see you are in seminary. Which one? I am a seminary student also (ThM at DTS) and I have been intrigued by this topic, especially since I spent many years in the Charismatic camp. But six years ago went through a paradigm shift because of the very factors you mentioned in your God Speaking series. In fact, I am working on a short book designed to address these very issues especially for those who rely on an experiential methodology.
Hi Lisa! I enjoy your writing, and also linked to another article you wrote called “Why I think women need to study theology” back in a post from Oct 2011 where I relate to your sentiments about women and women’s ministry. I’m actually a DTS student as well (MABS) but at an extension site location. I’d be very interested in your short book on the issue of how we hear from God! Hope it will help others see, among other things, the important role of Scripture. Recently I saw a reference to James Montgomery Boice and how he said that the real battle of our times would not be inerrancy or infallibility of Scripture, but its sufficiency – are we going to rely on the Bible or will we continually long for other revelation?
Michael Snow said:
Didn’t see any contact info. If you would be interested in reviewing Love, Prayer, and Forgiveness: When Basics Become Heresies, I would be glad to send you the pdf [book is about 120 pp.]
I’ll e-mail you.
Cameron E. Brooks said:
That’s a great Philip Yancey quote. He expresses so well the way many of us feel who’ve been hurt or disillusioned by other Christians, yet still want to stick with our faith and hope for better things in the Church’s future. I look forward to reading more of your posts!
By the way, if you have a FB page or Twitter account, I’d love to follow you there. 🙂
Thanks for the comment. I checked out your blog and relate to your self-description: “I’m an evangelical pastor’s kid–turned church critic–turned advocate for thoughtful, intentional, compassionate faith.” Seems we have some past things/struggles in common. I found your page on facebook and “liked” it.
Scott Sholar said:
God bless you, Laura.
Kimberly Wood said:
LLM ~ I’m so glad you found my post and that you commented AND re-blogged it on your blog! Not just because it’s encouraging to know that something I wrote was appreciated and struck a chord, but also because it brought me here to your blog! Your “About Me” section has been very encouraging to me. My husband is “in recovery from some very disappointing church experiences” as well. His experience has been extremely painful and he is now in that tender spot of disallusionment with the church and hesitant to trust and put himself out there again. He/we are attending a new church ~ which we like so far ~ but are very guarded (he more than me, but I’m guarded out of respect to him). As a pastor’s daughter (who was/is very loyal to her father and wants to think the best of the church and who use to consider anyone who left the church as “bad people”), this has been such a stretching and growing experience. Long story short, I have grown more than ever in my relationship with God these past couple of years by going through this painful experience and discovering that God has so much more for me than I ever imagined. My journey of faith has been incredible and life-changing for me. You’ve mentioned Philip Yancey a few times…I have “discovered” him through this experience and resonate with so much of his writing. Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church (which I got FOR my husband, but ended up realizing it was really for ME) was such an encouraging book for me. All of that to say, thanks for reading and re-blogging my post…and I look forward to reading more of your posts on your blog!
Hi Kimberly! Thanks for sharing! I have some similar background. My dad was an itinerant Bible teacher. Years ago I would have been VERY judgmental towards those who left the church or were disillusioned with it. Oh, how time and circumstances can change things. Experiences of the last several years have left me very disillusioned with the church, and I have a whole new sympathy and understanding towards those who have left her. I’d also describe myself as “guarded” in regards to church- when I have taken a few steps forward, it seems I end up taking a few steps back. But Jesus is my anchor. My heart aches for all those hurt by the church. I’ve grown in all this too, and Yancey’s writings have been so helpful. It is great you have been there for your husband. All those hurt by the church need someone to come along side them to offer patient support and encouragement. Churches need to be more aware and sensitive to this…
“…in recovery from deeply disappointing church experiences…” There are too many like that, Laura.
For many years I was very disgruntled with local church life, and with good cause. The odd thing was I saw a problem everywhere and in many believers, but I didn’t see the big problem that was in me. I was off the track altogether.
Beyond that, I eventually took the time to listen to God’s Word and that kicked me into balance. Then I wrote that balance back out from deep within to give it all focus for me personally in Christ. Now I’m very cautiously attending a local church I quite like, though I’m nervous of participation for various reasons!
So, I’m looking forward to having a read around here. Looks good.
Cecil Cheves said:
Anyone who has been a part of a local church, whether as an attender, a preacher’s kid, a teacher, or a financial supporter, has experienced disappointment in the church. People will let down other people. Another person’s actions or beliefs will eventually surface and when measured against the perfect standard of God’s love and Word will fall short and lead other to fall away because of the disappointment. What doesn’t change, though, is the truth of God and the truth of our need for redemption. So we continue to seek God’s face. We find His love and His care for us despite our foibles and frailties to be comforting during our earthly journey. May we all continue to finish strong.
April Yamasaki said:
Thanks for following my blog on spiritual practice, faith, and life – I’m glad to discover your blog too and will follow you as well. Keep on blogging!
I hope and pray that through your walk with The Lord that you will find more clarity and a greater intimacy. God bless you.
~Your neighbor 😊
Woo-hoo on being a grad! In fact, I’ll say conGRADulations! Now that you’re all smartified, I’m expecting this excellent blog to go to even greater heights. No pressure.
Thanks Tim! haha about the pressure! While I have learned a great deal in my several years of studies and in a certain way feel quite knowledgeable, my studies have also paradoxically made me realize how LITTLE I actually know! I have a masters but have I really mastered the Scriptures? No, I think not. It seems impossible to fully mine the depths of them, and all that has been written about them and our great God throughout church history. What I hope more is that the Scriptures will master me. Thanks for following my blog Tim.
Hi Laura, I too can connect with you, having had some disappointing and shocking experiences of church, (in my very short time as Christian) both in so called “Christian” behaviour and lack of love mixed with jealousy and judgementalism, and then the legalism and religiosity. Isn’t church about Jesus? Isn’t about love, acceptance and accountability? I look forward to reading more of your thoughts in due course. Bless you.
Jennifer Guo said:
Thanks for following me! I followed you back – you have a great blog! I’m looking forward to interacting with a fellow bookworm and lover of theology 🙂
Thanks Jennifer. I saw you won the book from Baker Academic (at least I think it was from them). And was interested to see that a female won it, and followed over to your blog. Yes, I always appreciate finding other bookworms and theology lovers! : )
Jennifer Guo said:
Yes, I did just win a book from Baker Academic! I resonate with your experience of being surprised/interested by another female on an academic site, haha. I recently participated in a blog tour for Zondervan Academic, and I was really surprised that out of 24 bloggers chosen there was only one other woman besides me. Have you blogged about this subject? If not, you should 🙂
Ooh! I’m so glad Laura Droege posted about your book today. I have just bought the Kindle version. It sounds like just what I need to move on in my journey of recovery. God is good.
Laura, I understand your feelings and comments about “the church.” After seventy-eight years, brought up through the church, being a member of many of “them” God has shown me through HIs Word and through experience that church is filled with people who are still in their sins, those who think they are Christian, and a “few” who are on the “narrow path.” Now, after many experiences of which others speak, with this wisdom, we attend a church, chosen because it is the nearest to what we consider to be a good church, but understanding that only a few have the same faith that we do. Paul spoke of the problems within the church, even in HIs day. It is our personal relationship to Christ that keeps us from bitterness and oppression, with a sincere love for all people. Christ in us is the true church, wherever we are. Pray for our new book, whenever God wills for us to finish ~ “Thriving Under Oppression.” Blessings as your training in theology speaks to others.
Thanks for sharing this and for your encouragement!
Hi Laura. As a rather elderly R.C. Jesuit priest I’m deeply impressed both by your contributions to discussions about textual changes probably made to New Testament texts re. the role of women in the Apostolic Church, and the scholarly humility with which you treat the extant evidence. I would be grateful for any further contributions about this that you feel able to offer, as I am aware how early cultural influences can badly affect current attitudes and prejudices about the possibility of women being accepted for ordination – also on the original Jewish scritural sources of such prejudices. Bob sj
Thanks so much for your comment, and the encouragement Bob. I was out of town with no internet access for 15 days, and missed some comments. Context is critical, and it is far too easy to misconstrue certain biblical passages. A passage that on the surface seems anti-woman to our modern mind, can actually be pro-woman when properly understood in the original cultural situation.
Rulonda JaBrey said:
Hi Laura. I’m glad you read and liked my “If You Were a REAL Christian…” post. I’m not gonna lie, this journey has been a tough 6 months, leaving everything I thought I knew to be true and trying to figure out what it all means for me. I’m open for discussion whenever. Thanks for visiting my blog and for following! Blessings!
Thanks Rulanda! I wanted to comment on your post last night, but was too tired. I will today. And thanks for checking out my blog.
Rachel Nichols said:
I bought Positively Powerless for my Kindle today. By next week I plan on writing a review for my blog. And a micro-review for Amazon.
Rachel Nichols said:
Sorry it took a while Laura. Been puny. Trying to start freelancing to support myself financially while even basic household chores task me horribly. Can’t leave my apartment some days.
No money for a car or cab rides, so I grocery shop at a couple discount stores six blocks away and lug everything home aching all over. (Chronic illness.)
I read the book and left a 5 star review on Amazon though! 😉
Rachel, thank you so much! I appreciate your encouragement and support – especially in light of your life circumstances. Grace to you in the name of Jesus.
Thank you for the follow Laura, I followed you back. Please feel free to jump in any time with your thoughts or comments, I look forward to getting to know you better. Grace and blessings!
Nice to meet you Laura. I came across your blog while looking through feed spot. So glad I did. Blessings.
Thanks for letting me know! I am encouraged!
I have followed you for quite a while on your blog and I was wondering if you have contact information (email) that you could send me. I believe we live in the same area and I could use some church recommendations…that honor mutuality. I apologize for the randomness of this. I appreciate your help!
I will send you an e-mail to your gmail.
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