Q & R: Am I Doing Something Wrong? Why Don’t They Get It?

Here’s the Q:

Dear Brian,

I feel that you have been a voice and presence in my life for a long time- maybe twenty years. I started with your book “A New Kind of Christian” and have an entire section of my library of your books. I attended a workshop many years ago in Goshen Indiana at the college there where I met you, and found you a kind and tender soul. Your work has opened my mind to a way of looking at my faith through different eyes.

… I came to faith at a very young age, with a distinct memory of God touching me and forever changing my life. I grew up in a pretty Calvinist denomination. About 12 years ago I was able to become a “Licensed Pastor” which is a way for a person to be a pastor without a full seminary experience. My focus has been discipleship and small group study. I also preach and teach and do all the pastor type duties part time at my church. Some members do not like the fact because I’m a woman that I’m allowed to do this.
Because of that, I have found a voice outside my church community…. The goal for us as humans I believe, is to be self-differentiated and still connected to our community because of who we are in Christ.
I have been teaching/leading a small group of women who do not want to have anything to do with “church”. They love what they have been learning in our sessions. So here is my question- I have told them that they can do whatever they want with the Scripture reading, but it is the essence of what we teach.
I have a dear friend (well two actually) who don’t have any interest in who Jesus is or how He actually embodies ALL that we are learning. He is the source. They love what they are hearing but don’t want to read any Bible. There is a lot of resistance regarding God as “Father” and they think that Jesus is a really good man, but that’s all.
How do I stay true to my calling and state what I know to be true? They listen to me when I say that all I say and do is through the lens of Christ. They are not wanting to quit, feel loved and accepted by the group, and have seen growth in their lives.
The one friend has listened to all of the podcasts “Learning How to See” and she has read three of your books. I reminded her that you are a Christ follower.
I’m not sure what I’m asking you Brian, but I guess I’m asking for patience and love that they will understand all that God has done and is doing in their lives. I’m asking for prayers in this and any
 encouragement. I love these women, and am excited for what God is doing.
Thanks for listening Brian. I love your books and podcasts. I am always blessed by them and you!
Here’s the R:
Thanks for this note. It reminds me of how I felt in the early years of being a pastor. People were having deep spiritual experiences with God, but they weren’t accepting all the doctrines and understandings I “knew” they had to accept. It was very frustrating, and I was afraid I was doing something wrong. At times I tried to pressure people toward what I “knew” they were supposed to think, but it felt inauthentic and even manipulative. So gradually, I began learning what I think Peter learned in a story in Acts 10 (you might enjoy re-reading it) … that God accepts people and isn’t limited by what we humans think are requirements or prerequisites. For what it’s worth, I think you’re doing everything right already … and if you just keep loving and supporting these women in their lives, they’ll be moving in the right direction whether or not they are ever are as comfortable with some teachings as you are. In my two most recent books, I talk about my “Inner Fundamentalist,” and it sounds like you have one too … as do so many of us! I hope you can send him/her out for a long lunch break … and keep up the good work.