31 Days: Niche Convictions

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I have an obsession with grace.

I sin all the time, but God still forgives me. Everyday. Because grace. I don’t understand everything about God. But that’s ok. Because grace. I have a bad attitude. I believe some wrong things. I act when I should not. But grace. And the list goes on and on.

Grace is what I always come back to and want to share with others. And, because of the grace I so urgently want to show and receive, I lean towards peacemaking. I believe that, because grace extends to cover our beliefs, we can extend grace to our fellow believers beliefs. Grace and finding the middle ground are simply where I see God’s glory most in this world. It’s my niche.

I think each of us has a niche conviction that God has indelibly marked into our soul for a purpose. So we yell it out to the world, like, “isn’t this amazing?” because it also becomes so important and life-changing for us.

And it is amazing.

But I think sometimes in our enthusiasm we forget that someone else might be irrevocably impacted by some other characteristic of Himself. And though that person’s conviction might fly in the face of yours, God might be using that just as he uses yours.

Often it is hard for me to extend grace to someone who (in my eyes) is being legalistic (and therefore ignoring the gray areas in life I value so highly as a grace-lover and a peacemaker). But then I think about how, as the body of Christ, we are meant to work together in our differences not in our identicalness. God might be leading us through each other. So I am forced to wonder if their legalism might actually just be a balance for my grace obsession. And maybe I’m supposed to set my initial response aside and remind myself of the importance of the other person’s niche. Because “Do we keep on sinning so that grace may abound all the more? By no means!” comes ringing in my head as soon as grace gets out too much the focus.

Discord among Christians is running rampant (and loud) these days. I think we too quickly forget that even in all our differences (and conflicting doctrine, even) we represent one God and we are each a piece of one body. One church. We are not a body of eyes, or ears, or hands.

Our differences are good and God-ordained. Because who can know exactly the right balance for perfect beliefs about God, the church, the world, everyday issues, and everything? Conflicts of opinion in the church might draw us closer to His purpose, point out our own naivety as Christians, and center us on His infiniteness instead of our own small store of knowledge. Might a well-timed nudge from a fellow christian throw our lives – and our theology – into a more productive spin? Alone we might be out of balance but together we have the ability to present a bigger picture of who God is. Because, in spite of us attacking each other and drawing lines when the only lines should be the Cross, God is using our differences to refine our faith.

Each day this month I’m going to choose a person or a group (from history or the present) with a niche conviction and briefly share about them, their niche, and how that might tell a story of a God bigger than our opinions. My definition of what I’ll be doing is loose, as you can tell, but the impetus behind it is the conviction that God is bigger than we think. Looking at the faith of others is a way to find out how small we may have made him out to be and how big he actually is. Our sounding board is the Bible, but beyond that how can we know?

This month is just the beginning of an exploration of an infinite God.

Welcome.
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I’ll post the links to subsequent days here as they are written.

Day 1: is this post!
Day 2: Martin Luther
Day 3: Sor Juana Inès de la Cruz
Day 4: Brother Lawrence
Day 5: Mother Teresa
Day 6: Jonathan Edwards
Day 7: Revangelical, Lance Ford, a book review
Day 8: Elisabeth Elliot
Day 9: Christine Caine
Day 10: Church and Liturgy
Day 11: Eric Liddell and John Piper
Day 12: Larry Osborne and Pharisees
Day 13: Sarah Young: Jesus Calling
Day 14: Rick Warren
Day 15: Watchman Nee
Day 16: Mark Driscoll
Day 17: Phillis Wheatley
Day 18: Larry Crabb on Community
Day 19: Martin Luther King Jr.
Day 20: Mark Driscoll Revisited. Because grace.
Day 21: William Cameron Townsend
Day 22: Sarah Jakes on Colliding with Destiny (book review)
Day 23: missed it!
Day 24: The Bible People
Day 25: Joel Osteen
Day 26: William Wilberforce
Day 27: Ruth Haley Barton
Day 28: Francesca Battistelli
Day 29: Pope Francis
Day 30: What I’m Into (Niche Edition)
Day 31: Martyrs and Almost Martyrs

I am trying to make my list fairly diverse. I’d love to entertain suggestions, if you have someone in mind.

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Also a disclaimer: At this point in my life, I am not a theologian or a historian. So my ideas are more than open for discussion. Though I will do my best to research as well as possible within the scope of the project.

I am excited.

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What’s your niche?

Are you interested in this idea?
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If you’re new here, I’m also on Facebook and Twitter if you want to follow with me there. :)

Thanks for reading. I hope you find these ideas inspiring and challenging!

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P.S — I promise this is the longest post in the series. I’m aiming for brief the rest of the month! :)

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(( Find the rest of the 31 Dayers here: http://write31days.com ))

21 thoughts on “31 Days: Niche Convictions

  1. Cool idea! Stories of other Christians are always encouraging to me. LOVE that you have Wilberforce listed! If you want a couple of other names, I love John Wesley and Beth Moore. Happy writing!

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  2. I’m Mennonite and our niche tends towards non-resistance. I do feel called to be a peacemaker but I also think some people are called to other things. That they don’t all have to think like me. At the same time, I can really struggle if they don’t think like me! I’m looking forward to this topic.

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    1. Oh it is can be so hard to hear other people’s opininons when we think differently. It is inevitable though. I’m hoping this project will help me think more generously when caught in a discussion next. Maybe some sort of habit will form :)

      I might have time to look up a Mennonite for my list…do you have any suggestions?

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Beth! I hope these posts serve your thoughts well. :)

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  3. You are right!! Our 31 Days is somewhat similar… I love how you’re exploring a different person each day, while mine is well, my crazy brain leaking all over the place. :) Very excited for your series!

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    1. I almost just did a crazy brain leak, but then my husband suggested order :) and it has turned out to be (for me) a healthier outlet…since my brainleaks tend to come out in lists of do’s and don’ts and that was definitely not the point in the series! On the flipside, your brainleak seems rather graceful amd organized. Nicely done :D

      Thanks for reading my randomness, Liz!

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      1. Oh, you don’t know what a compliment it is for someone to tell me my “brainleak seems rather graceful and organized.” Seriously.

        Here’s hoping it stays that way for the entire month!

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  4. Enjoying your series!

    I recently learned about Saint Denis and how he was martyred, decapitated and then continued to walk six miles holding his head preaching of repentance. I thought it was beautiful imagery – to be so committed to sharing Jesus that even in death, you continue to do so as long as your body will allow.

    Anyway… not sure if he’s someone you’d be interested in highlighting. I’d certainly love to hear what you think about him!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis

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  5. Really loved reading this post!! I feel like we are on the same page on this, and I don’t meet many people who a) care about the theological details but b) care more about unity and appreciating diversity (as a positive thing – instead of trying to best everyone down with my own beliefs/convictions). Can’t wait to read more of your posts!!

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    1. Yay!! I’m so glad! I love that we are finding like-minded people through this activity!! I’ve been meaning to comment on your site, but you know. I just caught up today and really appreciated your blunt honesty regarding your faith and your marriage. So yes, that said, I will stop through with words for you sometime, but just know I’m reading and nodding quietly along!

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  6. I’m definitely a grace-leaner but think this conversation will drive me to bring my niche into more focus. This is such an exciting topic to because I’m learning some of the same things and finding so much room and freedom moving in and out of the places God has pointed me without absorbing the convictions I know he’s led me away from. That’s a blubbering-nonsensical response but I found you this very day for a reason and it’s just too cool!!!

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