Go On, Ask Me Anything…

Over the last almost year, you guys have asked me lots of questions, whether it be in the comments, or via email. I have tried to answer them all as honestly as I can.

Sometimes I fear my answers have been inadequate. Sometimes I feel out of my league.

Yet, you all have given me grace and love, friendship and encouragement–and I am thankful. So, I’d like to declare today “Ask Me Anything Day”, a chance for you to ask me any question.

Want to ask about my thoughts on sex, marriage, dating? Go for it. Want to know where I stand on a particular theological doctrine? Ask me. Dying to find out how I blog 5x a week while juggling two kids, a home, and a bun in the oven? Hit me up. I am totally game. And I know you guys will no doubt have some awesome questions.

So don’t leave me hanging. Ask me and I promise to answer each of you. Who knows, your stirring and thought-provoking question could turn into my next post. (I’ll give you full credit of course).

image props

42 thoughts on “Go On, Ask Me Anything…”

  1. what happens to good people who never hear about Jesus. Both C.S. Lewis and Mother Tereasa said that “good” people of other religions will go to heaven. This is confusing I thought Jesus was the only way. And they are people who are so revered in the Christian Community I don’t understand if I should agree with them or not. What if someone would have accepted Jesus but no one ever told them about Him….? I have more questions I am sure, but I thought I would start here.

    1. Kristin,

      Lewis did not say such drivel.

      “…you are free to think that all those religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. … But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong.
      As in arithmetic – there is only one right answer to the sum, and all other answers are wrong; but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.”
      -Mere Christianity, from chapter- “The Rival Conceptions of God”

    2. Kristin,

      I think some people confuse this quote from Lewis, as him saying “good” people will go to heaven:

      “We do know that no [one] can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him.”

      People have taken this quote and twisted it to mean that Christ is perhaps not the only way, which is not what Lewis is saying clearly.

      I’m not sure about your other question…are you asking if someone can accept Christ without being explicitly told about Him by another?

      1. Nicole, the quotes I was referring to are …”There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. We believe our work should be our example to people. We have among us 475 souls – 30 families are Catholics and the rest are all Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs—all different religions. But they all come to our prayers.”

        “There are so many religions and each one has its different ways of following God. I follow Christ:
        Jesus is my God,
        Jesus is my Spouse,
        Jesus is my Life,
        Jesus is my only Love,
        Jesus is my All in All;
        Jesus is my Everything.”

        -Mother Tereasa

        “There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it … For example a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position” C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity , Book Beyond personality, Chapter 10.

        These quotes have always confused me also in the last battle the conversation between Aslan and the Calormenein Chapter 15. I am unsure how to explain these things to non-believers.

        I asked my question because I have a friend who is not a believer who has been asking me a lot of Questions about God (in a very positive way) and the one I struggled with answering the most was her concern for “good” people in other parts of the world who have never heard of Christ and what happens to them in eternity. I was hoping that by asking you this question I would gain something from your response, you are far more eloquent than I am and would have loved to hear what you would say! I will refrain from asking any further questions as I do not wish to hear from Donald… Thanks NICOLE!

        1. Kristin,
          Thanks for supplying those quotes. The first quote, I think I would need the full context. It doesn’t sound like it is from Mere Christianity. If you know the source could you share that with me?

          The quote from Mother Teresa I think is pretty straight forward. She acknowledged that many people and religions believe in a “God.” That is rather obvious, right? Jews believe in God the Father. Muslims in Allah. Buddhists in Buddha. She makes the distinction, however, that the God she believes in in Christ–the One true God. She is not condemning others for following their “gods” but she is proclaiming her God-Jesus Christ.

          The second Lewis quote, I think ca be a bit confusing because of the specific language used. My understanding of this quote, however, is Lewis is attempting to highlight areas within other religions that actually exemplify Christ–such as mercy. He is not stating that the people “belong” to Christ because they practice such actions, but rather that those actions belong to Christ. Mercy is His. Righteousness is His. Grace is His, etc. That may sound like a simple explanation, but that is my understanding of the text.

          I think in responding to your friend, it is a difficult answer to give. Many Christians struggle with these questions. Who will ultimately be saved? WIll the people in some indigenous forest who never heard Jesus name end up in hell? I don’t have the perfect answer for you. I rest my hope in knowing though that I serve a perfect God, who is fully Holy and Righteous. He loves justice. I once heard a pastor say that no one will ever stand before God in judgment and question the sentence He hands them. When each person stands face-to-face with a Holy God, they will know without a doubt what they “deserve.”

          I trust my God with these details. I know He longs to reach each and every one of us. I believe He died for all, not just some. I rest on that fact. I trust that He will act justly and in His perfect Holiness when it comes time to judge those who have not heard His name. I think if you can focus on the character of God with your friend, you may find an in-road. It is His kindness that leads to repentance.

          1. Thanks Nicole. The First quote is actually a Mother Tereasa Quote. It is Not C.S. Lewis. I am aware that she was not condemning other religions, that is the struggle with non-believers why should they be christians? why not hindus or muslims. The Confusions with C.S. Lewis is that he seemed to be saying that it was pozzible to belong to Christ without knowing it. The conversation in The Last Battle between Aslan and the Colormene seem to be saying that. I of course am not enitrely sure , which is probably why I got confused! Thanks for the response I appreciate it!

          2. I still need to look up that Mother Teresa quote. I think as far as Lewis is concerned, just like the bible, we have to look at the whole context and even the body of work. We can pluck almost anything out from any text and make it say whatever we want, the Bible included. Lewis’ writings overall did not and do not echo the sentiment that you can belong to Christ and not know it.

            No worries about the spelling. I totally understand. You don’t even want to know what my post look like before spell check and my husband’s editing.

        2. Kristin,

          Here are a few passages that might help you talk to your friend about people who might not hear about Christ:

          Acts 8:26-40
          Acts 10-11:18

          Both of these passages are about believers who were sent to talk to specific people who were seeking to know the truth about God. I think it’s clear from these passages that God is aware of things we aren’t and he has a plan to save people by the name of Jesus. One thing you might emphasize with your friend is that the Bible, not Lewis or Mother Theresa is the authority in Christianity. Also, if she feels burdened by the idea of people not knowing the truth, maybe you can encourage her to not let that stand in the way of her believing it. It could be that God is already preparing her for the gift evangelism and/or a calling to missions.

          I hope that helps! That’s so awesome that God’s working in your friend’s heart and giving her those questions! (And that you’re there to help her through it!)

    3. Just a passing thought as I read through here. The question, “what happens to good people who never hear about Jesus?” makes me ask how we know they are good? If I were to ask, what happens to bad people who never hear about Jesus? how would my response change.

  2. Nicole,

    Three questions, then.

    1. Theological:
    Is Biblical prophecy once and for all, or is it cyclical? Example: The prophecies in Revelation with all their symbolism. Are these to be one-time events, or have we seen these things time and time again throughout the course of our limited existence, and simply didn’t realize it?

    2. Personal:
    When have you ever experienced honest racism? “Honest” here meaning blatant, outright, totally noticeable. (Or haven’t you at all?)

    3. Just for fun:
    Why DID that chicken actually cross the road?

    1. Donald,

      1. Such a great question. I dont have a scripturally sound answer meaning I’m just guessing here based on what I believe.

      It seems to me that Biblical prophecies are once and for all. I think they tell of events to come. Isaiah prophecies to the birth of Christ hundreds of years before hand.

      However, that’s not to say that prophecies can’t or don’t echo or foreshadow current (or yet to be fulfilled events). I think of 2Timothy 3:1-9, where Paul describes godlessness in the last days. The world certainly resembles the list currently, but I wouldn’t say that the whole of that prophecy has been fulfilled.

      2. Another good question. The first bit of racism I remember was in grade school when a little boy called my dad a nigger. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew it had something to do with his skin being darker.

      People have generally just said stupid things to me like “oh well you don’t look black. Your dad must be light skinned.” This just bugs me because people assume that they know what every mixed race person looks like. Plus, my dad is not “light skinned.” It just irks me.

      Most of the actual racism I’ve experienced has been committed by black people. They judge me. I have been ostracized for being too fair skinned–for looking too white. I dated a few black men over the years, as well and was often criticized by black women for “stealing their men.”

      3. Can I just say, I have no idea. I wish I had some clever, funny response, but I got nothin’.

      1. Nicole,

        Here’s one for ya:
        Isaiah 7: 14, the famous “Immanuel” Scripture. I see it being fulfilled in Isaiah 8, (regarding Assyria), but I also see it being fulfilled in our New Testament, (regarding the birth of Jesus).

        Now, I ain’t no Bible scholar, but I have been around the block a few times. If Isaiah 7:14 was fulfilled in Isaiah 8, and also in The New Testament, then perhaps prophecies are cyclical and have more to them than meets the eye?

        Just a thought. I am on the fence myself. I’m not 100% sure about this.

        1. That’s a great example. I mean, I know that God works on multiple levels always. I don’t see why this should be any different. I’ll have to look for some other scriptural examples too. Very interesting to think about. Thanks for the thought provoking question.

        2. Donald,

          you are right on about God recycling prophecy. When I read your earlier post, the first thing I thought of was Isaiah 7! This was a prophecy given to a king as a sign of the power of YHWH, which was fulfilled in his time. This prophecy also was fulfilled in even a greater way through the virgin birth of Jesus Christ centuries later.

          Many people have been taken astray by the teaching of amillenialism, which says that Jesus is not going to return to this earth, but that all the prophecies which we see as future happenings already happened in history. But this is just another case of God bringing multiple fulfillments in different times and in different ways, the later fulfillment being the greater one. Jesus is indeed going to return to rule on this earth!

          On a far less important note, please tell me, did you actually ever see the chicken cross the road? Hmmmm?

          1. rd,

            No, I would be a liar if I said I actually saw that chicken cross the road. His story has been passed onto me through the years and has always been a burning question in my heart of hearts.

            I mean, what was so dang important that that chicken wold risk life and wing to cross a road? What if he would have been killed, or worse, kidnapped by Colonel Sanders and served up as a tasty basket for some family’s Sunday dinner? Apparently the chicken had ‘self-destructive’ and ‘self-loathing’ issues that needed professional counseling.

            Silly silly chicken.

          2. Do you have any other examples from scripture of a two-parter, for lack of a better term? I think it’s so interesting…

            Thanks dad, for commenting on this one.

    1. Oh, a little research Ben?

      I love the Phoenix Childrens Museum. Also, there are some great kids museums in Mesa, a natural history and childrens museum, but they are far from me.

      McCormick Railroad park is awesome. I also like Cactus park. Really anywhere with sand, shade, bathrooms, and a decent playground.

    1. Jason,
      Great question and I’d have to say “No way!”

      I think churches are really good at compartmentalizing God, in general. Churches are usually either Word churches, Spirit churches, or Jesus churches, choosing to focus more on a given area.

      More than that, I think we take the easiest parts of Christ, the love and hugs, and focus on those aspects. We skip, often times His call to holiness and purity for instance.

      We pick and choose our Jesus, in easy to digest bites. I understand why it happens, but it still pains my heart…and I know it pains His.

      What do you think? How would you answer your own question?

  3. Okay, wow, so I just read your bio and found that you just started some house churches, which is pretty sweet because I’ve been leading a house church for three years now. So I guess I’ll ask you about that. What led you to house church, and what do you find to be some advantages and challenges of house churching.

    1. Matt,
      So cool. I didn’t realize you had a house church.

      My hubster and I knew we were “called” to start a church. I think we both assumed it would be a traditional Sunday model. Slowly, however, God started planting different ideas in our mind. We began praying about a different model–which led us to a house church.

      We desire to maintain the corporate setting, as well, so we essentially have that when all the house churches in the network come together. Wolfgang Simson and Frank Viola have been huge influences, as well.

      I think there are many advantages. We do not have a formal leader in any house church, which allows each member to exercise his/her gifting more fully. The shepherds can pastor, the teachers can teach, the prophets can proclaim God’s Word.

      I think HC’s are also viral and have the ability to overtake neighborhoods and communities. They are excellent entry points for the un-churched, as well and prove to be much less intimidating than a traditional church service.

      I could go on and on. I wrote a post a while back on the topic too. It is on my old Tumblr archives, but if you are at all interested, I can shoot it your way. No pressure.

      I’d LOVE to hear about your house church. How is it structured? What led you yo house church? How have you seen God use the model for His glory?

      1. My curiosity is piqued, indeed. I firmly believe House Churches are the wave of the future for The Bride. It’s just a “feeling” I have.

        I have oft wondered if our Dad would have me reach out in such a way.

        1. Donald, if you’re interested, email me {at} jonathancottrell {dot} com and I’d love to share a bit about what Nicole and I are doing, even if only to satisfy your piqued interest.

      2. Our church’s history is unusual. God pushed us into house churching. My family started a church years ago, and endured one crisis after another, until finally an ethical conflict with the denomination left the church split and limping along. (I documented the death of our church posthumously on my blog.) The last day we held church at the building, when we had nothing left to lose, we invited everyone to church next week – at one of our houses. Some people decided to move on, a few showed up the next week, and we’ve been doing it ever since.

        It’s been very therapeutic, and instrumental in re-shaping my view of what church should be. I may be able to go back to an institutional church someday, but my requirements for it will be very different. I think where I’m at is kind of the final frontier of house churches. Most people have never heard of them, so our challenge is just to plant the seed in peoples’ minds and convince them we aren’t a cult. :) House churches are very low key and approachable, but in many ways as well, they catch people so off guard in the unconventionality, that many people aren’t ready to get that personal with a faith community.

        1. Matt,
          What a beautiful and organic begining.

          I so understand your point, that to many, house church can see flat out weird (and cult-ish).

          I also have had people confess to me that the intimacy available within a house church is off-putting and scary.

          People very much like the anonymity of a Sunday morning service, so when they are invited into real accountability and relationship is can be jarring.

          Still, I think house churches are going to spring up all over America and I am excited to be a small part.

  4. Actually, I am very curious to know how you manage to post five thought-provoking posts a week. So fess up. :)

    Also, favorite dessert?

    If you could have any super power, what would it be?

    Funniest/most awkward blogging moment?

    1. Josh,
      I often wonder myself to be honest. And actually, since I became pregnant (5 months ago) I post more like 3-4 times a week.

      I basically write down every idea I ever have. I brainstorm with my husband. I read other blogs and news stories for inspiration. I pray that God will continue to give me fresh and new ideas. Then, I treat it like a job.

      Dessert! Ummm…any. I have a huge sweet tooth. I would vote tiramisu up there though.

      Super power. great question. I would choose tele-portation. Paris? Oui.

      Blogging…hmmm….actually it is probably when I very first started. I have been wanting to write a post about this actually. I accidentally flagged my first Twitter follower. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was so embarrassed.

      Thanks for playing Josh. Care to answer the same questions for me?

      1. Well, I don’t keep up on my blog nearly as much as I should. Wah wahhh. But I’m going to be interning at the church I’m going to for the next year, so I’m looking at making more concerted efforts towards blogging.

        Dessert. A tie between root beer floats and dark chocolate.

        Telekinesis. I still try every once in a while to move things with my mind. (Tries again…) Still nothin’.

        The most awkward moments I have in blogging are when I look back on posts from a few years ago and realize how different of a mindset I had then vs. now. Same with journals. I was an angsty teen.

        Such a good post idea.

    1. I love the randomness. And no, I don’t particularly like chicken nuggets. They make me think of my high school cafeteria, filled with inedible food–one of which was these vile, rubbery, artificial chicken nuggets.

  5. (no questions to add to the fray – but love feeling as though i know you a bit more after reading through all your answers to the Qs in the comments. you are one smart — and tough — cookie.)

    1. Ooh, I like this question. Thanks for asking David.

      Some of my favorites:

      Rachel Held Evans. Rachel is a progressive Christian and as such, I disagree with her and her readers quite often. However, I also find her to be an articulate, thoughtful, and thought-provoking writer.

      Grit and Glory by Alece Ronzio. Alece is one of the most honest, transparent, and humble people in blogging. She inspires me to be the same.

      Jamie the Very Worst Missionary. Jamie is as ballsy as I wish I was. Plus, her writing and voice is so unique and original.

      Friendly Atheist. I admit that sometimes it is hard for me to read this blog without getting in a tizzy. It helps me strengthen my own faith to read those who believe so differently from myself.

      Lately too I have really been enjoying some virtual “friends” blogs including, Beta Christian and Project Mathetes. The first is fun and refreshing. The second is challenging, controversial, and a needed voice in the Christian blogosphere.

      I also read political blogs and decor blogs.

      What about you David? What are some of your favorite blogs?

  6. Oct. 22, 2012WHAT: Chicken for Children fundraiser for the Dr. Bill Lewis Center for Children feuanritg Nelson’s barbecued chicken dinnerWHEN: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Oct. 31WHERE: Free delivery in Fort Wayne or pick up at Plymouth Congregational Church, 501 W.Berry St.TO ORDER: Call (260)750-8032 or email Rebecca Nix at . Orders will be taken until 500 dinners are sold. Dinners sell out fast so ORDER NOW!COST: $9/meal includes: bd Nelson’s chicken & Pit-Tatoes,™ green beans, bread/butter and a treat. **Great time-saver for Halloween night or enjoy for lunch at your place of work or home! All proceeds benefit the Dr. Bill Lewis Center for Children which provides forensic interviews of child victims of alleged sexual abuse.

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