>Name: Kristina Parks Knutson
>Vocation: PhD Student in Pulp & Paper Science
>Educational Background: BA in Chemistry with Honors, 1979, from Carthage
>College, Kenosha, WI (a Lutheran liberal arts college) Attended
>Vanderbilt University 1979-1983 as PhD student in biochemistry - passed
>qualifiers but became depressed & left without completeing degree After
>God cured my clinical depression in 1996 - returned to graduate school in
>1998 at the Institute of Paper Science & Technology in Atlanta, GA, USA.
>Completed MS degree in 2000; expect PhD in fall 2003
>Vocational Background: after leaving Vanderbilt U, worked as
>technican(biochemist) for 13 years, primarily in academic laboratories
Came to Christ at a Billy Graham movie in high school. Grew up as
a mainline Lutheran (Found mainline Lutheran churches to be "thin" on
theology) Attended an Assembly of God church while in high school (great
experiences & do hold Bible to be the standard but overemphasis on "Gifts"
resulting a great lack of seeking the "Giver".) Since then, I have attended
many different types of churches. As an avid reader I have also exposed
myself to a multitude of beliefs, primarily from Christian devotional
classics of previous centuries. When asked for a denominational
affiliation, my standard answer has been - "and in what city will I be
living this year?" My denominational affiliation changes when I move, but
my beliefs do not.
I was clinically depressed, in therapy & on medication for 10
years. During that time I married a depressed man (who was nominally a
Christian but turned out to not even be a believer). When our marriage fell
apart, I overdosed with my medication. I awoke in the ICU on my 37th
birthday (in 1994) I have not been on medication since. After separation
from my now ex-husband, I found a job in a small town & started attending
an evangelical church - (selected because it had home Bible studies & meet
at 10:30 rather than 9 am). This American Evangelical Free church
deliberately emphasized the power of God to work in the lives of "ordinary"
people, yet did not practice any of the Pentecostal-type gifts in its
services. God healed my depression & took away the compelling repetitive
thought of suicide that had plagued me for more than 10 years.
I have come believe a number of things:
1. God does speak & his power is available to ordinary believers - IF they
are willing to surrender to God & let God act by whatever means He chooses
- even if it does not conform to what they think is good church practice (I
can not recommend "Holy Laughter" services to people because the services
emphasize feel-good experiences over good teaching - yet God used such a
service to heal me of a deep emotional wound from early childhood)
2. There is no one church with the "perfect" theology. God has gifted each
of us with different interests, abilities, levels of emotional expression
& callings. While there are some denominations that preach beliefs contrary
to the Bible, in most cases churches vary by what they emphasize & the
degree of emotional expression, Most people pick churches that make them
comfortable. Since we have different callings, it takes different churches
to appeal to all. For a while, I attended a church that heavily emphasized
evangelism. While I liked the people & the preaching, there was little
place for me, called to encourage burdened Christians.
3. While it is best to avoid listening to preaching with serious errors (I
think "name-it & claim-it" beliefs end up treating the God of the universe
like celestial bell-hop), what matters is our own personal relationship to
God & fulfilling our responsibilities as He has called us to - which may be
different that what our church preaches.
4. As for errors - as Warren Wiersebe said - if we sincerely seek God &
mistakenly believe He is leading us a certain way, would not the God who
created us & who went to great effort to redirect the disobedient prophet
Jonah certainly be able to redirect an obedient but confused servant ?
5. Legalism can be deadly (I know - condemnation from fellow believers that
I was a bad Christian for feeling suicidal led me to think that if I am
such a bad person why not kill myself?)
6. Our God is a God of second chances. God does not give up on us even when
our churches do. And God is willing to forgive - & we need to remember that
when fellow believers condemn us because we don't behave or believe exactly
as they do.
7. God does much more than you would ever dream off when you bring Him your
problem to solve and leave it to God to as how to solve the problem (change
the circumstances? change you? - don't tie His hands. He does know best)
I like what Alexanian said yesterday. There are both physical &
spiritual aspects of reality but how they jibe together is unclear. I like
to think of the spiritual as being another dimension or 'ether" that
interpenetrates with the world we experience through our senses. What
happens is "our" world affects the spiritual realm & vice versa. If God is
outside of time, would He not be able to see the end from the beginning
even while the people acting have free will to make their decisions? Think
of Flatland & how the being of 3 dimensions could comprehend & do things
that the two-dimensional creatures could not.
As for arguing over specifics like creationism or end-time
theology: I think of a line from a George MacDonald story - in reference to
an unlearned man & his well-educated sister: (inexact quote) "It is better
to be faithful to the truth you know than to spend your time learning the
Bible without applying any of it" When I have personally witnessed
arguments over some Biblical beliefs, I usually observe that the verses
about "wisdom from above is gentle & entreatable" do NOT apply to the
protagonists. It is not that I don't hold strong beliefs about such things
(my beliefs on some issues includes "we just don't know" - anathema to
someone with a vehement belief) rather I follow Paul's admonishment to
Timothy "Don't get caught up in vain discussions"
I like the motto from the American Evengelical Free church I
attended as God changed my life. "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials,
liberty. Over all, charity"
WHY I Joined ASA
I found ASA one lazy day while searching through a thick tome
entitled "List Of Associations" I was very glad to find ASA. The
publications of creationism-based organizations usually embarrass me for
their poor science. ASA is different. I also appreciate the existence of a
forum where individuals from different camps can exchange views without
being lambasted - unorthodox IDEAS are discussed, addressed and possibly
refuted - without the PERSON being attacked. Discussing ideas and views is
important. How can we learn to think correctly unless someone points out
the inconsistencies, logical fallicies or neglected facts?
Once I complete my PhD I hope to have time to become more active.
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