The Pelican Project

Both in my embodied life and my online life, I have been struck by the disconnect between love and truth in many arenas. Paul teaches in Ephesians 4:15 that the church grows by “speaking the truth with love.” In my youth, fundamentalist pastors preached truth dogmatically, but they did so in angry, demeaning ways. “Just preaching the truth IS loving,” many would say. The problem with that line of reasoning is that the Bible explicitly says it is not. The Bible explicitly says that growth in the church relies on the addition of love to the speaking of truth. Furthermore, the Bible goes on to describe in detail exactly what it means when it uses that word love.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I Cor. 13 CSB

Speak the truth with patience, the Bible tells us. Speak the truth with kindness. Do not speak the truth arrogantly. Do not speak the truth rudely. Do not speak the truth irritably. Speak the truth while bearing with and hoping for those to whom you speak. Speak the truth with love.

I have found in adulthood that the flip side of the problem exists as well, among those who speak “lovingly” disconnected from solid truth. Truth becomes relative as long as you are personally affirming. But there is no kindness in downplaying the importance of God’s instructions. God’s truth is good. His laws in Scripture, particularly around covenant faithfulness and sexual restraint, protect us.

Over the years, I’ve noticed and, by the kind providence of God, become friends with a number of women who have similar convictions about both the truth of God and the love of God. We grieve together both when truth is diminished and when love is tossed aside in the defending of that truth. We are also convicted that we are not the final deciders of what is and is not Christian truth, but that we can lean into the teachings from the early church as they worked through the creeds and confessions that have guided the church in the centuries since Christ’s ascension to heaven.

We have been talking for a few years now, and we finally launched our initiative this week at thepelicanproject.com. We aren’t planning big conferences. We aren’t building each others platforms. We are simply existing. We are being. But we are doing so in cohort with one another, because it helps to find others who share similar values so that you do not feel alone in your own corner of the world. We are more committed to our real-life embodied relationships than to our online ones. Our ministries are in person more than over social media. But we also have found encouragement toward and resources for embodied discipleship within our cohort, and we hope to help others find it as well.

There are 19 founding members, and we expect to add more down the road. But anyone who can sign off on our Mission and Commitments can right now join our Facebook discussion group called The Clutch. Check out our website, read through our Mission and Commitments, and hit the link at Join the Conversation (which leads to a google form to fill out) if you think you’d benefit from such encouragement as well.

13 Responses to The Pelican Project

  1. Helen Louise Herndon November 10, 2018 at 9:49 am #

    I read the article about this project first thing this morning in Christianity Today. I was so impressed, I sent the article to many women with this introduction and comment:

    “As a woman, and thanks to my rigorous Christian college biblical education, I have always felt that doctrine and theological truth were as important to women as to men because what we believe is the foundation for what we practice. Sound doctrine and theology excites our awe and reverence for our triune God Who out of amazing love touched our lives and called us to be His. What a joy and privilege!

    I agree with the women forming this guild that too often Christian women have been given fluff rather than the rich substance upon which our Christian faith is based. So many of the devotionals we’ve been fed are based on emotion or experience rather than truth or fact. Both emotion and experience enrich our lives, but they better serve us by playing a supportive role rather than the priority role in life. Women in the Bible were as equipped to handle deep and rich truths as were men. Today, there are women who are apologists for the faith, and the Church is in need of apologists.

    Lastly, the fact that this group encompasses women from different faith bases, opposing political persuasions, and diverse cultures and race in order to promote common orthodox faith is, to me, most exciting. I hope it will be to you too! Smiling face with halo

    Helen Louise”

    • Wendy November 11, 2018 at 12:42 pm #

      Thank you for your encouragement, Helen!

  2. scottie November 11, 2018 at 3:25 am #

    I sent a few tweets to @thepelicanproj. Questions:

    From CT article — Warren: “Some of us who are more conservative, theologically and politically, and some not so much. Some vote Republican and some have never voted Republican.” Why can’t you say “democrat”? there are millions of christian women who are democrats. why alienate them?

    • Wendy November 11, 2018 at 12:45 pm #

      I identify as a pro-life Democrat personally. But for those of us who want to vote Democrat (or have in the past), the last decade of the DNC actively forcing out pro-life Democrats has created a conundrum. Nevertheless, I don’t know why that wording would cause a democrat voting women to feel alienated if she otherwise agrees with the Mission and Commitments of The Pelican Project.

  3. scottie November 11, 2018 at 3:30 am #

    Another question:

    Doctrine is big feature. Recent agenda-driven complementarianism touts itself as doctrine. The word doctrine has become a rather meaningless word. i can’t help but be dubious w/your self-promotion w/”doctrine”.

    I’ve been tricked by christian powerbrokers to believe this and other new ideas are doctrine. adhere to them or your name will be nixed from the Lamb’s Book of Life.

    To what degree will you toe the various party lines & proffer new invented ideas as “ancient orthodoxy” when they are not?

    • Wendy November 11, 2018 at 12:46 pm #

      Scottie, I don’t know how to address this exactly except to encourage you to read our Mission and Commitments as well as the links and books we recommend. Perhaps it will serve and encourage you. Perhaps it will not. But the best place to get an idea is our website.

  4. scottie November 11, 2018 at 3:42 am #

    Final question:

    The christian industrial complex is the christian maffia. To whom are you (The Pelican Project) beholden? Who controls what you say and don’t say? To what degree are you bound by contracts with publishing houses and other institutions? How much money is involved in what you do?

    It is hard for me to trust any christian writer / speaker because of the degree to which money is involved. I observe them championing moral and spiritual causes, then they clam up when it is inconvenient. When what is true, the hard truth of a matter, happens to threaten their sources of revenue. They become hypocrites in action.

    The credibility of The Pelican Project will stand on the degree to which you all can demonstrate that there are no financial interests in what you are doing.

    • Wendy November 11, 2018 at 12:50 pm #

      The publishing industry certainly has its faults. But the authors, agents, and publishing house I work with are people of character with a genuine love of God and desire to serve Christ’s Body. I can’t say that for all agents, all authors, and all Christian publishers. And I certainly recognize the Christian industrial complex that has actively contributed to evangelical problems. I hope The Pelican Project can serve through a different paradigm altogether.

  5. scottie November 11, 2018 at 3:01 pm #

    Thank you for taking the time to respond honestly, Wendy. I appreciate it. I recognize the good ideas and motives behind The Pelican Project.

    I’m cautious and skeptical.

    Thank you, though.

  6. Curious Thinker November 11, 2018 at 9:01 pm #

    Just saw the website, I will consider joining the Facebook group soon. Thanks and God Bless.

  7. Scotty Mac November 16, 2018 at 12:33 pm #

    Hi Wendy,

    I just wanted to say that I am so excited that you, and others of like mind, heart, and faith, have launched this project! Like you spoke to above, I do not think we need more “truth” divorced from love, nor “love” detached from truth (as if these things could really and truly exist apart from one another), but we need more “truth in love” in the church today.

    I will be praying for the impact of this ministry on the hearts and lives of women throughout the church!

    • Wendy November 16, 2018 at 1:02 pm #

      Thanks, Scotty!!!

  8. Iva December 1, 2018 at 10:02 pm #

    Hi Wendy, I think your website would be much more easy friendly if the different themes were at the beginning of the page. I love your articles but got a little confused trying to find something I wanted to read about from my phone. I also wanted to share but wasn’t able to share a specific article. Just a constructive opinion! I hope it helps! Blessings!!!