Many of you are familiar with Midday Connection, a long-running live program on Moody radio “designed to build relationships and mentor women.” The gals of Midday (clockwise from left: Lori, Anita, Caryn, Melinda) interviewed me about one of my books a few years ago, and then in 2012, they did a Live Recording of a show in Springfield, Ohio and asked me to be one of two guests.
What they didn’t know was that my life at that exact moment was a complete TRAIN WRECK.
I had to meet with Melinda and Anita (the hosts) the evening before the live recording just to chat about how things would go the next day.
I cried pretty much the entire time.
And they still wanted me on the air. (You can read part of the story here.)
Unfortunately, that show (October 10, 2012) is no longer available online (boo), but basically, I talked about our trip to Cambodia, Gabe’s anxiety, our shattered dreams, and how we had no idea what was going to become of us.
Melinda and Anita made something beautiful of my train wreck and, from that point on, we became good friends–encouraging each other, sharing prayer requests, and being honest about our struggles. They had me on another show the following year about Skipping Christmas–it was a fun one.
Anyway. Enough about me.
As of this coming Friday, Midday Connection has been terminated by Moody Radio and Melinda, Anita, Lori, and Caryn have been let go.
That’s anyone’s guess. And many, many, many people are shocked and want answers.
Was it money? Yeah, I don’t think so. They have a TON of faithful listeners who were passionate about the show. And many many of them are financial supporters.
Was it because they want to appeal to a younger audience? Yeah, young people don’t even listen to the radio.
Hmmm… what could it be?
Carolyn Custis James wrote a blog post yesterday about it (inspiring me to write this one) and said that, in the Vice President’s announcement, he spoke of “a change of seasons” and “the need to address seismic shifts in our culture.”
You know what I say?
Carolyn agrees. She just uses nicer words. “I find that explanation a bit strange,” she writes, “given the fact that Midday has been doing that very thing—thoughtfully, even fearlessly, engaging a wide range of seismic cultural changes and issues that impact their listeners.”
She’s so right. Midday has totally addressed seismic shifts in our culture. This is probably actually the problem. Methinks Moody Radio might mean that they would prefer not to address seismic shifts in our culture.
I’ll give you my explanation for the termination (while we wait for Moody to offer something more plausible than their previous statements).
Here’s the problem as I see it. Historically (like the past many decades), Conservative Christianity has had a very tight script its adherents are expected to follow. There is jargon you must know and use exclusively (and buzzwords you must avoid). Much of this jargon is in the Bible. Some of it is not (rapture, inerrant, pray-this-prayer-and-accept-Jesus-in-your-heart, drinking-alcohol-is-a-sin, vote-Republican-or-you’re-not-a-real-Christian, etc etc etc).
There are key verses used for blessing and encouragement (even if they’re often taken out of context) and others used to convict people of sin (certain sins get way more airtime).
And there are thousands virtually ignored because 1.) they cannot be explained (God is God. That’s all we need to know.) or 2.) they are very hard to obey without cramping our style as comfortable-go-lucky Christians. (Those verses were probably for another time anyway. A time when it was more convenient to care for the poor, visit the prisoner, clothe the homeless, welcome the refugee, and love your enemies.)
(Note: I have a SLEW of dear friends–and many, many family members–that would label themselves conservative Christians. Just because I don’t label myself that anymore doesn’t mean I don’t love and respect them. I still hold most of their values dear to my heart. I just can’t be lumped in with people who cling to a my-way-or-the-highway interpretation of the Bible, when I think they’ve missed the Jesus-boat on so many things. There is a very wide spectrum of Christianity–from super-conservative to uber-liberal–and I can’t tell you exactly where I fall. I would need some sort of survey or bar graph to figure that out. I love Jesus and want to follow his ways & serve him with my life. That about sums it up.)
When I raise questions or doubts about conservative sacred cows, people get squirmy, some get angry, but friends, GOD IS SOOOO BIG ENOUGH TO HANDLE MY CONCERNS.
God is not worried about slippery slopes or whatever it is people are so afraid of. He listens to my questions, he sees my heart, he knows how much I love him and his Word. I think God likes the fact that I want to know what his Word really says, really means, that I want to know the cultural context, instead of reading it through 21st century American eyes.
I don’t think he’s threatened when I ask why it’s okay that we’ve decided slavery is bad (the Bible supports it) but that women still aren’t allowed to speak in church. I don’t think he gets upset when I wonder why long hair on men and short hair on women is now okay, even though it’s not cool in the New Testament. I think he understands (and agrees) when I wonder why we’ve turned “dress modestly” into code for “don’t wear short skirts or show cleavage” when Paul was talking about modesty as in not flaunting your wealth by wearing really expensive clothes and jewelry.
And on and on and on on on.
Bottom line? GOD IS SO BIG ENOUGH TO HANDLE MY WRESTLING.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I think Moody Radio was afraid of the wrestling being done on Midday Connection. These ladies were brave, engaging real issues that real people are facing in today’s world. They were bold, delving into cutting edge topics where the answers aren’t so black and white.
The Midday Connection Team was not afraid to ask questions, to probe into long-held beliefs, to bring the mess of people’s lives out into the light. They didn’t have the sense to stay away from truth that might ruffle feathers. They went places many conservative Christians fear to tread, because it just isn’t safe.
It’s not that they drifted away from faith, from God, from the Bible. They just went off script.
And that is a dangerous thing to do.
And do you know what else is dangerous?
They always have been, always will be.
The strong, brave women of Midday Connection love Jesus, love his Word, love his world, love people. And people love them back (oh, you should read the outpouring of love & praise–and the stories of lives touched–on Facebook).
Yes, their jobs, their careers, their livelihood, has been taken from them, but God will not leave them.
This is not the end for them.
They will not be silenced.
(Follow their fb page to see what God has planned for this new season in their lives. It’s going to be exciting!)