© Grace Enough Podcast2023
210: Wendy Alsup | Clinging to God When Your Church Falls Apart
Wendy Alsup | Clinging to God When Your Church Falls Apart
Wendy Alsup is an author, teacher, and blogger. She began her public ministry as deacon of women’s theology and teaching at her church in Seattle, but she now lives on an old family farm in South Carolina, where she teaches math at a local community college and is a mother to her two boys.
Her books include Companions in Suffering: Comfort for Times of Loss and Loneliness and I Forgive You: Finding Peace and Moving Forward When Life Really Hurts.
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Wendy Alsup and Amber discuss her time as deacon of women’s theology at Mars Hill Church, how and why she was able to continue clinging to Jesus in the midst of suffering, and what a good Jesus hermeneutic has to do with it.
Questions Discussed During Clinging to God When Your Church Falls Apart:
- You served as a Deacon in charge of Women’s Theology and Training at Mars Hill in Seattle. Share your experience of stepping into that role and the ways you were able to serve women during that season
- With the success of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast, many now have a more robust view of power struggles and abuse in the church. Were you able to continue teaching and serving women practical theology on a weekly basis, while behind the scenes the staff was “blowing up”? Expound on that a bit.
- You eventually left. What was that process like for you both emotionally and spiritually?
- What I love about your story is you didn’t walk away from God or the Bible despite being deeply wounded by God’s people. At one point you said, “A lot of people had problems with Mark Driscoll and just wrote off the Bible: ‘Well, if that’s what the Bible teacher says, obviously, there’s something wrong with the Bible.’ But I believed in the Bible a long time before I ever got to know Mark Driscoll, and I’m going to believe in it now. So I don’t think the problem’s with the Bible.” Talk to us about what you think made a difference in your clinging to God and His Word vs. friends, colleagues, strangers who walk away.
- I think having written books like, Practical Theology for Women and The Gospel-Centered Woman helped to ground you in truth of God’s character and what He says about His people, but not everyone has the foundation. Speak directly to the wounded soul, particularly the one who’s been wounded by those in a position of spiritual authority.
- In “I Forgive You,” you weave some of your own personal journey of forgiveness in with the story of Joseph and how we witness him forgive. What hope do we find in Joseph’s story?
- How can we apply some of those same principles to the people we need to forgive?
Clinging to God When Your Church Falls Apart Quotes to Remember:
“I didn’t have to be convinced of my sin. I had to be convinced of God’s forgiveness, because I was very guilt oriented.”
“They really did give me a lot of freedom to teach theology….So even as things, at many levels, were horrible. There were also some things that were really cool.”
“I’m always burdened and concerned for those that did throw a lot of teaching away, because they could not see how to disengage it or detach it from the abuse or misuse of Scripture.”
“Scripture instead, was this precious thing to me. Because when I have this dissonance with this other guy [pastor], Scripture helped me to say, ‘It’s okay, that you’re not feeling right about that, because look what Jesus says’. And so that foundation has been crucial for me over many, many years.”
“We don’t need a theology degree to have the confidence. The Scripture can be taken at face value, if we know just some nuggets of how to read and interpreted it. A basic, simple hermeneutic.”
“It [youth group] gave me a frame of reference for a culture that cares about obeying God. And what was really profound to me was that I had more fun at youth activities than I did in the secular world ones. And that gave me some social safety.”
With the success of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast…
“Mark was so rough, and so gifted, but because I had seen him at times be confronted and repent, I had hope…”
“People have a lot of issues with Mark. My issue always in the end was he was a jerk.”
“It wasn’t always the view, but it was the delivery. The disrespect, the jokes at women’s expense…”
“I finally wept when I listened to that one particular episode… episode 7…It was the first time I could mourn it, because I had always been striving to get others to believe it.”
“I’ve never been disappointed if I go to Scripture myself, and study it. God has never not blessed me by that, never not encouraged me by that, always what I come out with is more precious.”
“Forgiveness means leaving vengeance to God. You let go of your right to vengeance, and you give that over to God. So he [Josephy] didn’t throw them into a pit and sell them into slavery. He didn’t have revenge on his brothers, he forgave them that way. But he also was drawing a line in the sand that he wasn’t going to allow them to continue their harm to his little brother or to his father. But reconciliation…it requires forgiveness on the part of those who have been harmed. But reconciliation is impossible without repentance and repair by the one who has done the wrong.”
- Book: I Forgive You: Finding Peace and Moving Forward When Life Really Hurts by Wendy Alsup
- Rise and Fall of Mars Hill Podcast
- Book: Companions in Suffering: Comfort for Times of Loss and Loneliness by Wendy Alsup and Trillia Newbell
- Book: Practical Theology for Women by Wendy Alsup
- ALL of Wendy’s books
- The Gospel Coalition: Why I’m Going Back to Church After My Divorce by Wendy Alsup
- Theology for Women Etsy Shop
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21 Days of Gratitude: As a Universal Language, Day 18November 15, 2023/