• Beth Jones

grace alone. one thought on how we keep learning it day by day, year by year. And relearning it.

I recently had a bit of epiphany about my bondage to works righteousness. At this moment in my spiritual life, I feel relatively free from that legal bondage which would lie to me & have me trying to earn God’s pleasure.

But, I hadn’t realized how bound I still am to trying to earn the pleasure of humans.

For almost 20 years, I’ve worked in institutional evangelicalism. What I hadn’t realized was how deeply I thought I could earn my salvation (reputation, approval, accolades…) from that evangelical complex.

I thought I could earn my salvation with my availability to students, my productivity, my service on committees, but most of all, with my impeccable orthodoxy.

This wasn’t conscious. Not at all.

But one can never achieve the approval of institutional evangelicalism. (Or, if one does, it is always, always conditional -- feel free to read whatever theological baggage you like into that word).

It will may pour out praise, but it’s not based on merit (again, a word with theological baggage).

My orthodoxy is real. But institutional suspicion of it is never going to go away. (This is, at least in some ways, gendered.)

So, I’m learning that it’s time to lean harder into God’s freedom, not just in my relationship with God, but also in my relationship with the world, with institutions, with publishing, with approval.

My freedom in Christ is vis a vis the Father through the Spirit. But it is also vis a vis all that other stuff.

And this, I pray, opens up new avenues for joy & for fai

"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (Ps 46:10 NASB)

"That's enough! Now know that I am God! I am exalted among all nations; I am exalted throughout the world!” (Ps 46:10 CEB)

"Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything." (Ps 46:10 The Message)

"Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth!" (Ps 46:10 RSV)

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