Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why I Am Reformed

The other day Sherri Edman called me the nicest Calvinist she knows. I smiled at that, because I've known Sherri and Peter long enough by now to hear a little subtext to that description. It's one of those statements that is not entirely a compliment.

It's not unusual. When people talk about "Calvinists" or "the Reformed," there is often a tinge of suspicion. My non-Presbyterian friends direct certain expressions of bafflement my way. It's somewhere between "Gosh, you're smarter than I expected for a Nascar fan" and "I never expected anyone as pleasant as you to torture small animals for sport."

 One of the lovelier consequences of Reformed theology is that you don't have to be concerned with changing people's minds. Very freeing. But since I am trying to get back into the swing of blogging regularly and I am casting about for subjects, it occurred to me that a series of posts about why I 'm Reformed might shed some light on a subject that you've wondered about.

So if everything you know about Reformed theology comes from your high-school reading of The Scarlet Letter and you're wondering how high our congregation's pillory is, or if the word "predestination" sends fatalistic chills up your spine and you can't reconcile that with the way I'm always jabbering on about love, stop on by for the next week or two. I'll try to put a friendly face above that Geneva collar.


  1. Oooh, I'm excited! I often recall a phrase you used in a post ages ago - you referred to Reformed theology as a tradition in which you "participate." I found that term really useful - to participate in a tradition of thinking or practice, one must not necessarily feel unproblematically enthusiastic about every single tenet of it every single moment of the time, and who (participating in ANY tradition) does that anyway? I'm excited to hear more.

  2. Oh yayayay! I have tried to explain my reformed beliefs on my blog a few times, but I have this puzzling thing where if I post about something serious, I hear nothing but crickets in my comment box. (Whereas a post about something like potty training, and people have opinions!)

    I don't experience much flack for being Presbyterian in real life. Most of our non-reformed family/friends either don't care or don't know what that means. There are a few family members who think it is too intellectual and who look askance at Predestination, but they know us well enough to know we aren't meanies.

    The most trouble I have experienced is online. A lot of the blogs that I like to read are borderline ANTI-reformed. Not even borderline, some just plain are. And I get that I may never see eye-to-eye with them theologically. But it will be nice to hear from someone online who doesn't think I worship an evil, nasty, Puppet-Master God.

  3. My Eastern Orthodox ears are open. Thanks to your participation on Sherri's FB feed, I am looking forward to what you have to tell us.

  4. Really excited to read this (as a formerly-Southern-Baptist-turned-Presbyterian-who-is-now-church-hunting-once-again.) :)