Critiquing my Critiques

This year, I have written a few articles that are critical of certain people, organizations, or trends in the evangelical Christian community. While these comments have not necessarily been out of character for me, they have proved to be more significant than some of my previous blog posts, for I now have more people paying attention to what I write. My recent tendency to stir the pot has done nothing to help my mother’s digestion, and quite frankly, I myself have questioned my actions at times.

This has led me to meditate on what it means to criticize in a Christian context. Scripture lays out principles for how we should evaluate one another. I must ask myself, have I been abiding by these principles? Reconciliation within the church is very important to me. Am I really helping to bring about reconciliation when I criticize? Is it ever appropriate for me to call into question the words or actions of someone I have never met? Continue reading

My Good, Bad, Ugly Year

Friends,

I wanted to take a moment to update you on what has been going on in my life this year and to explain why you may not see so much of my writing in the near future. Beginning last September, I was frequently hit with various infections, none of which seemed particularly serious. This made life frustrating, but it would always pass. Then around the beginning of March, I woke up one night in terrible pain. It seemed to be an intestinal virus of some sort. Unfortunately, I have never fully recovered.

As the months have worn on, my symptoms have become more and less severe depending on the day or week. The one thing that has been nearly constant is aches and pains. Other symptoms presented themselves as well. Early on, I was tested for a wide variety of typical viruses, all of which came back negative. I have now had examinations or consultations with eight different doctors: my primary care physician, two osteopathic doctors, two immunologists/allergists, two rheumatologists, and one neurologist. I am currently being referred to yet another neurologist.

My condition has severely limited my functioning at times. I was forced to cancel three planned trips last spring. I have backed out of all my volunteer duties at church. I have only occasionally been able to make it to Bible studies. I attend Sunday services whenever it seems physically possible. I normally spend much of the summer outside gardening, but not this year. I normally take a lengthy walk every day, but not this year.

I am thankful to God that I have often been able to continue writing through all of this, but I have only done so with great difficulty. Anything you have read by me this year was most likely written when I was feeling unwell. Even as I long to study theology more deeply, I am often prevented from doing so because it is just so hard to maintain the necessary energy and concentration. Continue reading

Luther and Erasmus

While I continue my vacation in Canada, you might enjoy checking out an article I wrote for A Place for Truth, one of the websites of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. In it, I discuss the complicated relationship between Martin Luther and Erasmus of Rotterdam as part of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. You will also find many other posts on the life and work of Martin Luther and an excellent series of essays by Simonetta Carr on great Christians throughout history. Stay tuned for another article on Luther by yours truly in the coming weeks…

Anne Bradstreet, America’s First Poet and First Published Female

Readers of this site may be interested to head on over to the “Meet the Puritans” page from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, where they are posting a series of articles written by yours truly on the American Puritan poet, Anne Bradstreet. Her works have much to teach us not only about life in 17th century Massachusetts, but also about how the people of that time viewed God. You can find the first three articles here, here, and here. There should be one more coming in the next few weeks. I would also commend to you the anthology of Anne Bradstreet’s poetry and prose put out as part of the John Harvard Library collection. Her poetry is not that hard to understand or appreciate, and it might even make you a little bit proud to be American.

A Sickness Not Unto Death (I Hope)

Friends,

I regret that I have recently slowed down with my writing due to illness. I am very hopeful that I will be feeling better soon, but until that time, if you are looking for something to read, try one or more of the essays under the “Reconciliation” tab above. Your prayers for my recovery would be much appreciated, as this has been a long-running ordeal.

Blessings,

Amy

We’re Rebranding

Friends,

In the interest of simplification and in order to reflect my shift in interest away from political topics and toward religious ones, I have dropped the “Church & State” label for this site and rebranded it simply as “Amy Mantravadi”. Think of it as the blog equivalent of a self-titled album. No, I did not do this in order to see my name in a really big font. If you have any complaints about the changes being made to this website, please mail all disgruntled letters to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC or Tweet them to @realDonaldTrump. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Amy Mantravadi

The End for Real

Dear Readers,

As you probably sensed, I have been trying for some time to keep up this blogging endeavor without much success. A few weeks ago, I asked for suggestions in the hope of restarting, but I now realize that this is not the correct path for me to take. The truth is that my attention has been captured by the project I alluded to last spring, when I announced what I did intend at that time to be a temporary hiatus. I wanted to be able to do that project and this one at the same time, but I have decided that this is simply not possible. If I am really going to take this other project seriously, I need to give it my full attention. Therefore, I will no longer be posting new material at Church & State, at least not for the forseeable future. I am sorry to those of you who are disappointed, but I think it is really for the best.

As for my new project, I am doing a lot of historical research aimed at completing a book. I was hesitant to reveal this for some time, as I have no expectation of success and I honestly fear disappointing people. I also fear the completely understandable question, “When is it going to be done?” The fact is that books take a long time, even for people who receive the funding to do this sort of thing full-time with their own research assistant and no other job to get in the way. More to the point, this type of writing is completely different from anything I have attempted before, and the subject matter is outside of what I studied in my educational career. However, I can assure you that I am having the most fun working on it and I am growing as both a researcher and writer. For now, that will have to be enough.

I will attempt to reply to any questions or comments you may have. If you wish to make a complaint, please direct your message to Sen. Ted Cruz, 185 Dirksen, Washington, D.C. 20510.

Thank you once again,

Amy Mantravadi

 

Seeking a Cure for Writer’s Block

Lately, I’ve found it difficult to settle on a topic to which I can devote the energy necessary to create a really good blog post. There is just very little to inspire me at the present time, and nothing so interesting as some of the other things I am working on away from this blog. A few of you have probably been disappointed by the lack of content, and for that I apologize.

I am willing to make a deal with you. If you like my writing enough to miss it, then I am asking you to make a minimal contribution to keep it going. Please reply to this post with your comments regarding what topic you would like to see me address. I’d like to think I’m versatile enough to come up with something halfway decent in response to whatever you might suggest. What I am really lacking is motivation, so if you can demonstrate your interest to me, perhaps that will help to get me going.

On the other hand, if no one replies, then I will assume that there is no reason for me to be worried about not posting since it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. So come one and give me your ideas! I retain my right to veto, but I have enough faith in my readers to believe that I won’t need to use it. Here’s hoping this works out!

The End Is Here

Yep, that’s right: the end of my hiatus is upon us! Very soon, new content will be gracing the pages of Church & State. Good things come to those who wait. Well, actually I cannot promise that they will be good, so I guess I will just say that things come to those who wait. Thank you all for your patience with me!

Hiatus

To my loyal readers,

I want to thank you for visiting my site and all the encouragement you have given me in continuing my writing. After much consideration, I have decided to take a hiatus from Church & State in order to work on another project. Now that I am essentially working full-time once again, it has been difficult for me to keep up with everything that I had been doing during the time I was not employed. I was beginning to suspect that if I did not do something to clear out space in my schedule, I would never have the time needed to try my hand at something else. I am not saying farewell forever by any means. I do expect to come back to Church & State at some point, but until I have a better idea of when that will be, I am not going to make a promise that I may not be able to keep. Thank you for your understanding, and I hope that when this site gets restarted, you will come back and forgive me for my previous absence.

Sincerely,

Amy Mantravadi