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Archive for December, 2021

by Jordan Hathcock

You have heard the idea of: “Unity within Diversity”. I’m all for it, but as a collective church (conservative to progressive), I don’t think we are truly desiring this to be a reality. We have our reasons, right? It can come from all sorts of certain expectations regarding how we all want church to look like. We desire it all to be nicely wrapped in one ideological bow. If we come to a schism in which this bow is being unwarrantedly unwrapped, we are going to have some problems when it comes to unity. Or it can be due to many religious traumas that we experienced regarding a plethora of unhealthy church practices. What are we to do? Well, I think both fears can be faced and conquered by (wait for it) HUMOR (didn’t see that one coming, huh?).

We should be more inclined to have unity within adversity. We all have our mountain of shit when it comes to our personal and corporate issues as a Jesus community. To come to a place of growth, stepping into the space of humor helps us get there. Cause let’s face it: If we don’t allow grace for ourselves and others to experience true freedomthen forget about healing and liberating the world (not to say that is our full responsibility…remember Jesus?).

Now as a church (when I say church I mean anyone who claims to be a participant in the Jesus way–not a particular denomination within Christianity, FYI) we need not to be the world police but instead, a light on the hill (I.e., an example). We are not going to be a perfect little community doing everything right but maybe more of a community showing grace to each other in the bad and good times? How about we let go of the stress of doing church right and become keener to our sense of humor. New physiological studies have found comedy to be the most effective when it comes to any type of stress:

“Two new studies from the Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory demonstrate that, in the face of stressful imagery, comedy is a more effective coping strategy than solemnity – and positive, optimistic humor is more effective than cynicism. ”https://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/august/humor-coping-horror-080111.html

Doesn’t this tie in beautifully with our fears regarding church unity? A big part of becoming a place of unity (I.e., Grace filled) is when we overcome adversity together. Overcoming adversity can be a very challenging and stressful obstacle, no doubt. There really isn’t anything like going through the relationship gauntlet within the community context (especially a religious one…yikes). I think when we step into a space of humor, we are more susceptible to having fun. Look, I know forming a healthy Jesus community is not all skittles and rainbows. It’s tough work to say the least. But by understanding that to play within this community setting is a huge step in doing healthy community.

Pastor and author Peter Hiett spoke about how the judgment of God is actually fun. He puts it like this:

“We battle division with communion; we battle evil by passing the ball; we battle the void with the presence of God; we battle desecration with creation; we battle death with Love and when everyone loves, all is Life, and everyone that’s anyone wins the war.

And so why does Peter Hiett not have more fun?

He thinks it’s his responsibility to win that war.

It turns out that God has already won the war so that Peter Hiett can enjoy playing the game.

If you’re not having fun, don’t just make more rules about passing the ball—that’s religion.

Instead: Let this day, be “that day.” Let God judge you at the tree in the garden.

Watch him pass the ball. Watch him win the war and you will join the game that is a dance and has no end, for it is the end and the beginning; it is the Judgment of God—not death, but Life eternal.

PS You are his trophy. . . and he’s already holding you. So, enjoy the game.” https://relentless-love.org/sermons/the-death-of-fun-religion/

Can we enjoy the church game? Is it possible or even fathomable? What Heitt hits right in the head is this: we can be a people of joy, if we want to believe that the God, we follow is a God of joy. To impossible? It’s back to the whole fear factor of God, isn’t it? Do we believe God is love or fear? We must not take ourselves too seriously if we ever want to be a people of abundant life. As Alan Watts said: “Everyone takes everything to do with religion seriously. And you must understand that I am not a serious person; I may be sincere but not serious, because I don’t think the universe is serious.” Maybe we need more sincerity vs judgmental seriousness? Whatever the case may be, I think it’s time to start having fun and laugh within this faith we call Christianity. The fate of the world might depend on it (or not, just trying to be hyperbolic, ok?).

Jordan Hathcock began writing as a regular guest blogger and has been a great addition to the site. He also writes at his own site called Hazy Divinity He can be contacted by email at: jrhathcockss@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

We Christians seem to think that we can make everything better by voting in the right politicians and passing the right laws. We seem to think that we can actually legislate morality. We have our pet doctrines and think with the right people into office or the right laws passed, the world would be a better place.

We think if we can get the democrats out and the republicans in, or the other way around, things will improve. If we can just get Roe v Wade overturned, get the ten commandments posted on the courthouse wall, put prayer back in school, or keep ‘In God We Trust’ on our money, things will be better.

The trouble with this way of thinking is, it does not work. We cannot legislate “Christian” values based on what we think is morally right. One, here in the USA we have freedom of religion. This means everyone is free to practice the religion they want to follow, and no one can force their particular religion on others. Second, rules and laws do not change the inner person. Only a life changed by God will make a lasting difference.

There is no political party that is going to make everything OK. It is so aggravating at times to listen to people condemn one political party or the other, when neither party is going to have the answers that makes everything better. If one political party was replaced by another political party, the only thing that would change would be the people who are complaining.

We get so caught up on what ‘man’ can supposedly do, when no human is going to come up with the answer to solve all our problems. Only by trusting God and allowing Him to work in each of us, will anything change in our world. Nothing will change until we come to realize that Christ is within us, and it is by his power that we live and love others. We are not of this world, but of the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is where we as followers of Christ actually live, and we are living in the Kingdom now. It is not something in the future after we die. The Kingdom of God is within us, and it is for the here and now. I think we miss a lot of the Gospel message when we only focus on the salvation part of it and forget the Kingdom of God aspect. We need to forget the allegiance we seem to think we need to political parties and seek first God’s Kingdom.

We should be praying for our leaders, no matter which party they belong too. Although we pray for them and respect their position, we should not be placing our hope in any political party. Political parties are made up of human beings who are imperfect. Truthfully, most often they are only looking out for their political agenda and financial well-being.

Seek first the Kingdom of God. Realize the Spirit of God lives within us and we are actually living in the Kingdom right now. Listen for the voice and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and love others no matter who they are or what they think. We are not going to change people by voting in politicians and making new laws. Only by loving people, accepting them as they are, and showing them the love of God by our actions will we make any real impact on our world.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

The term Gospel is the translation of the Greek word “good news.” It seems only natural to look to the four Gospels in the Bible to see what is proclaimed as the good news or God’s main message. We could also point to our relational experience with God as to what is the main thing.  Many born never had a Bible. What have you heard is the Good News according to the Bible?

The Good News isn’t . . .

Many of us who grew up and attended the institutional church heard that God mainly wanted to save us from hell so we could go to heaven after death here on earth. All we had to do was say a prayer and mean it: “Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me. I receive You as my Lord and Savior. Help me to live for you.”  You may think that is a bible verse. I can find no place in the Bible where Jesus advised followers of such a prayer or declared this the Good News. Jesus didn’t require confessions initially but simply asked people to follow Him.

Also, the Good News couldn’t be about escaping a fiery, torturous God if such a hell isn’t biblical. See here.

What do the Gospels claim the Good News about God is?

Mark 1:14,15 says “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come, he said. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent, and believe the good news.” Repent refers to a changing of your mind, not dropping to your knees and never sinning again, or we are all screwed! The Good News throughout the Gospels refers to a Kingdom here on earth now. The kingdom of God “has come upon you” (Mt 12:28) and “is in your midst” (Lk 17:21).  God’s Spirit is available now, as it was back in the first century, to influence godly living here on earth.

But what about Jesus dying on the Cross for our sins 

It is said that the Apostle Paul claimed the Good News is to “believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rm 10:9) Paul recognized Jesus’ death and resurrection, but Jesus’ sacrifice was to draw attention to the Good News already proclaimed – God’s desire to empower unselfish living. Paul also preached about the Kingdom of God being here (Acts). The disciples were skeptical of any resurrection until witnessing Jesus alive again. The disciples aren’t going to preach as Good News what they didn’t believe in initially.   

When Jesus was asked by a religious expert how to have eternal life, He simply said to love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37). Jesus’ focus wasn’t on quantity of life after death but about a life worth living here on earth. God seeks to empower such a life. Myers says it best: “When Scripture teaches about being saved from sin, it is not referring to escaping hell and going to heaven when we die, but to the deliverance from the devastating and destructive consequences of sin in this life.”  See here. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as in heaven.” (Mt 6:10) 

Challenge God to become real in your life

God seeks to encourage us to pursue heavenly than worldly ways here on earth. God seeks to empower us to be the unselfish people we deep down desire to be. This was the good news Jesus was willing to die for, rather than save Himself, to inspire us to seek God’s help in loving others. Jesus sought changes of the heart, with God’s help, for the good of the world. If I am right, then God should be able to make God real to you.

*See Podcast: Second Cup with Keith. November 15, 2021

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Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

When we think about Jesus, we automatically think of Christianity. Although the two are completely different. Christianity mostly means a religion that is based on the Bible and God. Yet it is more of things we do rather than who we are in Christ.

Jesus did not come to start Christianity. Jesus was not a Christian. We are missing the whole point when we focus on religion rather than the real reason Jesus came to live among us. He came to show us what God is really like, and the love God has for each and every one of us.

According to Wikipedia it is stated that there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jewish, Christianity and every other religion, and in a sense, they are all actually related. They are all human based ways of trying to please the God (or gods) they believe in and serve.

In regard to just Christian denominations, World Christian Encyclopedia says that Christianity as a whole consists of 6 major ecclesiastical-cultural blocs, divided into 300 major ecclesiastical traditions, composed of over 33,000 distinct denominations in 238 countries. It certainly cannot be stated that people are not interested in some type of higher power.

The sad part is that we want to argue over which religion is right or wrong. We constantly argue over whose interpretations are right, and most often we do not even want to associate with those who feel differently.

Needless to say, we all have our interpretations, thoughts and ideas, but those just make us unique individuals. They were not intended to cause separations and divisions among us. We should be able to be ourselves and yet love and accept those who see things differently.

If we could get past the religious part of our beliefs and live in the freedom God provided, things would go much better. Rather than defend our denominational interpretations and our personal ideas, if we would love and accept others with the love of Christ, people would be more open to hear about our God.

Often, rather than love and accept one another, we are normally busy pointing out the mistakes of others and condemning those who we consider sinners. When we do so, the love Jesus told us to show everyone seems to get missed. I personally do not think it is our job to convict people of their sins. The Holy Spirit will convict those who need it, and will draw them to God. We are just told to love God and love others.

When we focus on the gospels and the life of Jesus and realize that he did not condemn people for their sins, we can see a distinct difference from the way we act today. He only had an issue with the religious leaders who thought they were better than everyone because of their works.

When it comes to saying I am a Christian, I am hesitant anymore because of the meaning it often has to many people. If being a Christian means being part of a religious organization, trying to live by following the law and being discriminatory, exclusive and condemning others, I am done with that. In that sense, Christianity is not the answer, nor is any other man-made religion. If being a Christian means a follower of Christ, someone who wants to be like Christ and show the love of God to everyone, then I am all in.

Jesus is not into religion. Jesus came to show the love of God to every human being no matter who they are or what they believe. Jesus crosses the barriers of religion and loves everyone. In the world today, we are the Jesus that people see. We should be ready to show the love and acceptance that God showed us to everyone we meet.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

A recent statement by Dr. Anthony Fauci reminded me of my experience with organized religion. Dr. Fauci said “to criticize him is to criticize science because I represent science.” Science is the study of the natural world. This is no different than a theologian saying to disagree with them is to disagree with theology – the study of God. Both are implying difference of opinions make one either a non-scientist or heretic. It is heretical to claim to be “The Truth.”

Of course there are absolute truths! 

Certain absolutes are universal and obvious to all rational beings. Who doesn’t believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? No reasonable God or non-God person doesn’t respect the golden rule in relationships. We know we ought to treat others like we want to be treated. Criminals don’t defend their murders or thefts; instead, they deny committing such crimes. Adultery only isn’t wrong in the eyes of the betrayer. We don’t debate many laws, only the decisions what is a just punishment.    

“Truth” is not synonymous with the Bible 

The Bible can’t be the authoritative guide about God because we disagree. Many who have a deep respect for Scriptures don’t agree what the Bible says about many moral issues. I don’t believe God is opposed to women priests or preachers. I don’t believe God condemns gays. Some biblical scholars agree, some don’t. See here. See hereIt may surprise many that scholars who believe in the inspiration of Scriptures don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible. 

Truth and human perfection are synonymous 

Universal moral outrage hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. All reasonable beings respect the universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated. It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. Even the Bible implies perfect human love and God’s love are one and the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). “Follow God’s example…” (Eph. 5:1). We aren’t always certain how to best love, but beliefs that don’t seemingly lead to loving your neighbor more may be amiss. Problems begin when we stray from common moral sense and insist on understandings from an inspired Book. 

Bible-believing Christians even suggest trusting your moral intuitions 

Christians speak of the Holy Spirit guiding them. Unless the Spirit talks to us audibly or visibly, we can only discern the Spirit’s voice by examining our intuitions. We can’t avoid judging interpretations of the Bible according to loving intuitions. Even those who claim God is a mystery judge God according to moral human intuitions. God is claimed to be a mystery because their interpretation of Scriptures suggest God appears evil from a human perspective. (I think it’s crazy talk to say God can do bad but then call it good). Our moral intuitions are not the enemy.

How do we get to the Truth with so my uncertainty? 

Stop hiding behind a Book! Stop canceling others’ opinions! Stop demonizing one another. Begin conversations looking for how you agree. Seek to understand before being understood. Stop claiming your views are morally or biblically superior. We can’t declare certain immigration laws in stone. Immigration laws can be discussed as which are the most caring for the greater good. We aren’t always certain how to best love, but can reach solutions by civil and democratic means.

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

It is sad that Christianity is divided into so many different groups. We all have a little different interpretation of the bible and a little different understanding of doctrine. Obviously, we are not going to agree on everything, but we certainly should be able to love one another and accept each other even when we differ on these things.

It is hard to understand why this is, when God tells us we are to be one as Jesus and the Father are one. Yet, we understand that we are human and it is easy to lose sight of our first love. If we could only stay focused on Christ, listening for his voice and the guidance of the Spirit, loving God and loving others as God intended. If we did, I think it would be much easier to look past our differences.

The problem seems to be that we are unwilling to see any other viewpoint other than our own. There are those such as my wife and I that do not attend an organized church. There are those who attend a church every time the doors are open. Some attend a house church, some meet with fellow believers at cafe’s, parks, restaurants and others meet in their homes over dinner. We should accept these differences and love one another rather than argue over who is right and who is wrong.

There really is not a right or wrong way to assemble together and we need to stop expecting everyone to do things exactly the same way. We should respect others viewpoints and focus on loving them rather than expecting them to see things our way.

Things will not change until we start focusing on what is common in our lives rather than the differences. The common focus should be on Christ, the head of the body. After that, we should focus on loving others rather than arguing about our differences.

We also need to keep in mind that we are all constantly changing as God brings new truth to us. We are all learning and changing as we are ready to accept new truths. The interpretations I had five years ago are completely different from some of the interpretations I have now. I am sure in another five years they will change again as God leads me into more truth.

Sometimes we are afraid to accept viewpoints of others because we feel if we do not hold to our way of thinking, we are compromising and not standing up for what we believe. We do not have to give up how we interpret the bible, but neither should we think everyone else is wrong. We can all learn from one another.

We should also remember that we are not responsible for convicting people of sin, or leading them into truth, or even saving them. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. We are told to love God and love others.

When we realize we are each equally important functioning parts of the body, and Christ is the head, we can start to change how we feel about those who do not see things exactly the way we do. We can begin to accept our brothers and sisters in Christ as they are, as we realize we are walking as one with God together.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

I cringe when well-meaning people passionate about God say things like “it’s all part of God’s plan” or “everything happens for a reason.” It implies evil is some grand scheme by God. How is a God who supposedly can prevent evil any different than a parent who stands by and watches their child being physically or sexually abused? We must consider if God can’t interfere because to do so would deny freedom. 

A loving God can’t be controlling

Atheists and believers agree. The only God worth believing in and following is a perfect God. Such a statement is nonsensical if we are clueless what perfection is. Can God manipulate others? We would say no because perfect love doesn’t manipulate. Also, we hate when we see friends try to control others for their own reasons or gains. Love does not insist on its own way (I Cor 13:5). Obviously, God’s love must be uncontrolling. God can’t control evil because God’s very nature is love and true love is uncontrolling. Not everything that happens is part of God’s plan! 

What bother to pray then?

See here.

God’s uncontrolling love can be good news

Can there be true freedom if the future is determined or known? Even God can’t know a unknowable future. God isn’t hiding a “known” future for important decisions. God joins us in an open future. God wants us to feel free to pursue our own dreams without strings attached, unlike some earthly parents. God only desires to influence us to do all the good we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can. The future is open to God as well. God joins us in a true friendship by sharing our joys and sorrows in our journey. God certainly deters any suffering when not inferring with freedom. 

Please stop rationalizations 

Are you dissatisfied with answers to your questions such as: “God wants to make you stronger;” “God’s ways are not our ways;” “You didn’t have enough faith.” If evil is some grand scheme God can control, why then does the Bible says God hates evil so much? Does God hate God sometimes? See Thomas Oord’s book GOD CAN’T for further insight about God, evil, and suffering.

Imagine the perfect friend – that is God! 

God loves like how you wished you loved others. God hates when prayers can’t be answered. God feels the same pain you are experiencing. God shares the dreams you have for your future.  Conventional thinkers don’t like to suggest God has feelings of vulnerability, but they don’t mind talking about God’s wrath. If a God can be angry, a God can be sad. God hates when we are suffering. If God truly loves, God like a friend hurts when you hurt. We may wish God would just intervene but there may be legitimate reasons why God can’t. But God is with you each step of the way as we reach out to others for help as well.

Can We Stop Saying “Everything Happens For A Reason”!

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Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

This article from earlier this year has been updated and republished due to the current events going on in regard to abortion rights.

There has been a lot of talk about abortion over the years since 1973 when Roe v Wade was approved. Even more now that states are changing laws and the Supreme Court is involved. It is a very controversial subject and there are many proponents on both sides of the issue.

We cannot be sure if or when Roe v Wade will be overturned, but I personally believe many of us are missing an important part in regard to abortion and a woman’s right to choose.

There is obviously a big debate on this issue, and whether it is right or wrong is beyond the point I want to make. I will say it is aggravating listening to so many people say my body, my choice in regard to wearing masks and getting vaccinated, yet many of the same people think it is wrong for a woman to say my body, my choice in regard to abortion.

An important issue as I see it is if Roe v Wade is overturned and abortion becomes illegal, what happens to the women who feel abortion was a good choice for them? There will be several actions people should be ready to take to help provide choices and financial assistance to those who are making important decisions on what is best for them.

Many Christian people have fought and argued for years, praying that abortion will come to an end. No matter what you believe about when a fetus becomes a human life, the problem will be what happens to the mother and to the child that may no longer be aborted?

For Christian people, their main goal seems to be to get this decision overturned and make abortion illegal. The thing that many do not think about is, what will many Christian people do if this happens? For many, they will be so elated that they have finally won this enormous battle they will forget the most important people involved, those who would have chosen to have an abortion due to many personal reasons.

My thought is, rather than rejoice in gaining a victory over something one group of people believe is wrong, why not start focusing on counter measures right now that could be a big help to all involved.

I think the important points of focus should be on sex education, family planning, healthcare, medical expense coverage for the mother and adoption options for the child.

In regard to sex education, it would be good to have classes for men and women on ways to avoid getting pregnant in the first place. Of course, abstinence is the best choice, but we have to face it, in our world today that is not going to be the first choice of many people. There are other alternatives and educating people on them could be a big help.

Family planning goes right along with this by helping people think about what they will need and all the responsibilities they will face once a child has come into their lives. So often people do not think about all the choices and financial decisions that need to be made, but talking about what all is involved in raising a child may be a help to some.

Healthcare is very important due to the many expenses involved. Pre-natal healthcare is so necessary and important. Along with this can be included the medical expenses during the pre-birth, hospital stay and birth of the child, plus the medical care after the birth. Many people choose to go the route of an abortion often times due to these reasons. If abortion became illegal, any money being used now could then be transferred to such things as covering medical expenses, and providing care and support for those who have their baby.

I know many Christian people think badly of Planned Parenthood, but the truth is they provide many opportunities for education, family planning and healthcare. I think opportunities like this should be increased and many other organizations could step up and provide the same care.

Adoption is another big help for those who would choose to have their baby but are not ready or prepared to keep and raise their child. There are so many loving people in our country that would love to have a baby but they cannot for various reasons. Making the adoption process easier and quicker could provide a good alternative to the mother and provide the baby a loving home in which to grow up. Obviously there has to be some safeguards in the process. People who have a long history of abuse, drug use or a continual criminal record would need to be weeded out, but that still leaves many loving people who would provide a great home for a new child.

The Christian church should be active with backing and paying for these opportunities. Rather than just sit back and be proud of themselves for getting this law overturned, they need to get involved. These opportunities need to be funded financially, our government needs to be pushed to provide additional funding and to work on adoption rules. Counseling services are needed for the health and emotional support for the mother of the baby.

Christians and churches can and should get involved in any way possible to help support the women and families who are going through this situation and all the decisions involved. In his book ‘Christians Against Christianity’ Obery M. Hendricks Jr. states the following: The hard reality is that if right-wing evangelicals were as concerned for the well-being of women seeking abortions as they are for their unborn fetuses, they would be willing to use some of the considerable energy and the billions of dollars they commit to lobbying activities against abortion and homosexuality to instead support and fund social structures, organizations, and agencies to remove a primary reason women elect to have abortions; the prospect of their being consigned to lives of poverty and unremitting struggle as the result of bearing a child for whom they cannot adequately provide. They could use their considerable clout to support governmental policies that could help mitigate the economic circumstances and lack of infrastructural support that compel so many women to seek abortions.

We need to realize that abortion will not end just because a law is changed. It will be harder and more dangerous, but abortions will continue either way. The points of focus I mentioned earlier should be for everyone. Women need to know they have choices other than abortion, but it is ultimately going to be the choice of the mother what she does. Every opportunity should be available to make it easier for the mother to choose what is best for her and her child. For Christian people, if Roe v Wade is overturned, they need to be ready to show love and support to the many women who need help and who are trying to make a decision on what to do. They need to be ready to assist with their money and/or time to provide the help and support needed for those who choose to bring a new life into this world.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

Many, because of their understanding of the Bible, will respond with some version of “I love you; I hate your sin.” This is not a phrase found in the Bible. One is hard pressed to find anywhere in the Bible where this is a recommended strategy in relationships whether the Bible clearly condemn a behavior or not. It is impossible to not feel personally attacked when one utters “I love you but I hate your sin.” What is heard is I don’t love you.

Please don’t reject a gay child in God’s name!

Some parents condemn their child because the Bible supposedly does. Not all agree. See here.  When there are any doubts what the Bible might be advising, God-followers must take the most compassionate, less judgmental stance toward others. Many parents know in their hearts to not judge their child but they are torn when hearing others claim the Bible condemns homosexuality. It is impossible to not feel unloved and rejected when told “I love you but I hate your sin.” 

Why do we treat gays differently from other supposed sinners whatever you believe?

Many refer to Paul’s list of sins to call out homosexuality but they fail to call out the greedy and slanderers (I Cor. 6: 9-10). Unless you are homeless chances are you have been greedy more than once this week. How is it not greedy to keep more than you need and make sure those struck by natural disasters or other tragedies have the rest? Remind me to not say when I see you “I love you, but I hate your selfish behaviors.”

But some actions are really harmful

It can be argued that hating alcoholic behavior is loving because alcohol abuse is harmful. Hating homosexual sex is only loving if homosexual sex is sinful. But do we tell a drug abuser that we love them but hate their behaviors? You don’t tell anyone coming for help with their addiction that you love them but hate their behavior. You simply say I love you and let’s do this together. They probably already hate their own behaviors. When someone is overweight, which is a lot of us, should we say “I love you but I hate you are fat?”

So, what do we stand for!

When people are involved in uncommitted sexual relationships and I am asked, I don’t say I love you but hate your behaviors. If they want, I have a conversation about whether their actions will end up hurting them or others in the future. I can still believe in the importance of committed, monogamous relationships. That is why adultery is wrong. That is why it is selfish to be involved in more than one sexual relationship especially if the other persons are unaware. I have no problem taking a stand against behaviors that I think are harming others. I do though try to remember I am involved in such behaviors daily. Just love on those seeking your support and avoid cliches.

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

Most of us have heard or read the bible verse found in Hebrews 10:25, which reads, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching. This verse gets quoted a lot when it comes to church attendance.

Once someone hears that my wife and I stopped attending an organized service each week, the first thing we usually hear is this verse quoted.

Truth of the matter is, I do not think this verse is even talking about what we call church.

As I have stated before, church is not a building or a place. Church is the people of God, those of us born into His kingdom by grace. Church is not an organization; it is an organism. Church is not a one-day event, it is a daily lifestyle of people loving God and loving others.

When reading the verses preceding Hebrews 10:25, you find it is talking about grace and how we are now granted permission to enter into the Holy place, not a building, but the very presence of God. This happened when Jesus died and the veil was torn from top to bottom.

To me, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together is saying that we need our brothers and sisters in Christ for encouragement and to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. It has nothing to do with an organized religious service in a building. It has everything to do with loving, communicating and encouraging other Christians as a daily norm.

Photo courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez
on unspash.com

When you think of countries where Christianity is against the law and churches are closed down, do we think the Christian people are wrong for not attending an organized service every week? They get together in small groups in houses or where-ever they feel they can meet safely. It may not be more than two or three people.

Jesus said where two or three gather together in my name, there I am in their midst. We do not need buildings or large groups of people to fulfill this verse about assembling. We do need each other, no matter if it is meeting at home, meeting for dinner at a restaurant, or getting together in a park. The important thing is to love God and love one another and be available to our brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage and build them up.

Let me make clear, I am not against church or those who attend. My wife and I were part of the weekly service for years, but over the past few years, we have found that for us, it makes more sense to be outside the walls of religion and seek meaningful fellowship each day with our brothers and sisters in Christ rather than to continue sitting in a pew listening to a select few participate. We believe in the priesthood of all believers, and that it is a daily lifestyle, not a weekly event. Every one of us are equally important parts of the body and we are to be ready each day to support, encourage and love our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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