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Archive for the ‘Acceptance of Others’ Category

by Jim Gordon

I realize not everyone will agree with all the articles on this site. We all are in a constant state of learning and changing. No matter what your lifestyle, what you choose to believe, how you accept things, none of us will ever completely agree with anyone else.

As believers, we would not expect those who do not follow the christian faith to agree with everything we think and say. Yet, we also know that other christian people will not agree with everything either. We have so many denominations in the christian world, yet none of them will agree completely. But this is all OK, we are all individuals who see things differently.

I think those of us trying to follow Christ should be able to accept one another. Same with believers and non-believers, learn to talk with each other about how we see things and still be respectful and kind. As believers we are to be known by our love, but unfortunately, that just is not the case most of the time.

No matter if we are gay, straight, christian, muslim, jew, hindu, atheist, asexual, baptist, methodist, charismatic or whatever label people put on us, the underlying fact is we are all human beings. We all deserve to be treated with respect and be accepted. Each of us should be able to live our life and make our own choices without being condemned by others. We should be able to discuss our differences respectfully, and none of us should try to force our views and choices on another.

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of name calling and disrespect among different groups of people over time. Christian people saying God hates gays, and atheists are of the devil, people being afraid of muslims, one denomination wants nothing to do with another denomination…this is all wrong and sad.

If we could look past the labels and see each other as people who overall want the same thing, to be happy, to be loved, be healthy, get our bills paid and enjoy life, I think things would be better even with our differences. This is not to say we have to agree with everyone and associate with everyone and be happy together, that just is not going to happen. There are too many different thoughts, ideas, beliefs, lifestyles and personalities for us to agree on everything and be totally comfortable with everyone, yet accepting each other and respecting each other in spite of our differences certainly is a possibility.

When you read about the life of Christ in the gospels, you see someone who loved people. He did not disassociate himself from any particular group, nor did he turn away anyone or think he was better than others. Jesus showed the love of the Father by caring for people, talking with people, eating together, healing people and not condemning them. The only crowd he had a problem with was the religious leaders of the day who thought they were so much better than everyone else because they focused on the rules. Their reasoning was they did not do the ‘wrong’ things and they did the ‘right’ things. They did not associate with the type of people they thought were less religious and unworthy of God’s love. Jesus was always getting on their case for being so religious they were no earthly good to the Kingdom of God.

Speaking of all the different views and lifestyles, I can remember when I was young and growing up in the organized church, how I always stayed with people of similar belief. I do not know for sure if I was actually taught this or it was just a common belief I picked up, but I felt I needed to stay away from people of different views and lifestyles. I still see this in the church today, a separatist mindset.

Sound familiar? So much of the traditional church setting is based on separation from those who think differently. This usually brings a feeling of superiority, being separated from those who need to see God’s love in action, and living a Pharisee-type lifestyle. (Pharisee: strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, one who adheres to laws and traditions, self-righteous or hypocritical person).

Compare that to the life of Jesus we read about in the gospels, a person who loved people, he was not condemning or unkind, hung out with those who the religious crowd did not want anything to do with, spent time eating and drinking with the non-religious crowd, and truly cared for others.

I know we all see things differently. We will not all agree on things and we all have no way of proving our point in regard to spiritual matters. Yet I think it is time the christian ‘religion’ comes to an end and Christ-like people begin to daily show the love and acceptance of God to everyone whether we agree or not.

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 Jim Gordon

As christian people, we have always heard that we are to love our enemies. Do good to those who use you. Turn the other cheek.

The dictionary describes an enemy as a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against; or an adversary or opponent.

An enemy can go from someone who rubs you the wrong way all the way to someone who wants to literally kill you. How is it possible that we can love our enemies when we think about the more extreme sense of the word?

In all honesty, we just cannot do it. In our own human ways, we are incapable of loving people in this way. We have a hard enough time loving people who are similar to us and have some of the same beliefs.

Many times, we can make up our mind to look past someone who treats us bad. We can make sure to treat them in a kind way, help them when they have a problem, support them any way we can. We can walk away rather than argue. We can smile and be pleasant rather than give them a dirty look or flip them off. Sometimes it is within our human power to make a choice to treat others as we would like to be treated. There are other times when, in our own strength, it is just impossible to be loving.

Obviously, we look to our role model, Jesus, to see how he lived. He truly loved people. It did not matter if they agreed with him, if they were despised by the general population, if they hated him, or if they put him to death. He loved mankind. He came with the purpose to show the love of the Father to a fallen world.

Without the love of the Father living within us, we will not be able to truly love our enemies. With the power of the Spirit living within us we are more than able to do what we cannot do on our own.

We have to come to an end of ourselves, just as in the case of grace. We were totally unable to keep the commandments and live a perfect life that God commands. The ten commandments are a tutor that leads us to the fact that we are incapable of fulfilling this requirement.

Thankfully the New Covenant took effect after Jesus death and resurrection, and we were reunited in fellowship with God. The free gift of God’s grace cleansed us and made us new creatures in Christ. Now, because of Him, we can love God and love one another, even our enemies. We are now one with God and his spirit loves through us.

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 Jim Gordon

I remember when I was young, I was in a church service just about any time the doors were open. My whole spiritual life depended on whether I was at church or not. If I did not go, I felt guilty and made sure I was there the next time. I was always active and participated in many church activities. I felt it was my duty and responsibility to do all I could for the church. I felt that was the only way I could serve God and do what pleased Him.

After many years of being in the organized church system, my wife and I became disillusioned with the religious organization and became a part of ‘The Dones’. We no longer attend a traditional or organized church, and no longer put any hope or trust in religion.

Does this mean we no longer think it is right to be part of a church? Not at all, that is a personal choice. Yet for us, we no longer are a part of it and we are very satisfied with the decision we made to leave. But that does not mean we expect everyone else to think the same way. We have several friends who feel the same way we do about organized religion, yet they want to continue to attend services.

In our case, after leaving the organized church I have noticed a feeling of separation between church goers and non-church goers. After all the years we spent in the organization and all the friends we made, once we left it has been a struggle to overcome a feeling of us and them. Obviously, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and there should be love and acceptance between us no matter if we attend church or not.

If you still feel drawn to the weekly organized meeting, I do not see anything wrong with it. Although we do not believe the church system is designed as God intended, there were very many good things that came out of our time being involved. If you are going to be a part of a local church, keep in mind some important facts.

When going to church, you are not going to God’s house. God does not live in buildings made by human hands. Christ builds His Church from living stones, which is us.

The pastor is not God’s mouthpiece. He or she is only a brother or sister in Christ, and their message is only their opinion. We have the Holy Spirit within us and He is our teacher and guide. We need no one else. It is good to hear other opinions and ideas, yet it is the Spirit that is to be our teacher and guide.

Bringing the tithe into the storehouse is not giving money to the church, and is no longer a requirement. We give out of love as we determine in our heart to give. If you give at the church you attend, you are not giving to God, but to support the organization and pay the bills.

Sunday is not the “Lord’s day”. Every day is the day the Lord has made, and no one day is more important than another.

The Bible is not to be held in the same regard as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The written word is inspired by God but written by men. All the translating men have done over the years, and men deciding which books are inspired and which are not, make it pretty clear that the bible is going to be flawed.  It is clearly stated that Jesus is the living, inerrant Word of God. The written word is a guide to lead us to Christ, but as Jesus told the Pharisees in John 5:39, You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me. They put the scriptures (written word) above the Living Word (Jesus).

When we are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, it is not talking about an organized church meeting. It is talking about loving and accepting one another, depending on one another and encouraging one another. We do this in many different ways each and every day, not just on one particular day.

When you go to church, do not fall for someone telling you God is going to show up and the Spirit is going to fall on this place. God is everywhere and the Spirit fell upon mankind 2000 years ago. The Spirit of God is within us and with us all the time. He is not sitting on a throne up in the sky waiting for us. He goes with us each and every day, everywhere we go.

Realize that worship is not singing a few songs, raising your hands when the worship leader tells you to and reading a few scripture verses together. Worship is daily praising God, trusting God and letting Him be Lord of your life. To worship God in spirit and truth involves loving Him with all your heart, soul, strength and mind.

And do not give way to a prideful spirit, thinking you are more spiritual or a “better” Christian because you went to church. Going to a service is a choice, not a requirement and you are no better if you go, and no worse off if you do not go.

Remember, each of us are living stones and equal parts of the body. We are the Church and Jesus is the head of his body. As his Church we are to show God’s love every day to everyone we meet. If you want to attend a local group of believers there is nothing wrong with that. Enjoy meeting with other believers, enjoy the atmosphere but remember you are the Church, you have the mind of Christ and the Spirit of God lives within you. We are to go about our daily lives under the leading of the Spirit, loving God and loving others whether we attend an organized church or not.

So, rather than looking down upon one another: those who attend church thinking we who have left the organization are backsliding from our faith or have walked away from God. Those of us who have left church think those who still attend are stuck in a man-made institution and following doctrines and interpretations of man. Rather, we should realize that we are brothers and sisters in Christ and each of us are loving God and doing what we feel is right and best at this point. We should be loving and accepting of one another and let the world see the love we have for one another, even in our differences. As John 13:35 reads, by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

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

It is often implied Jesus’ mission was to get others to confess certain beliefs to avoid hell and enter heaven. But Jesus’ focus wasn’t on quantity of life after death but a life worth living here on earth. See here.  When Jesus interacted with a woman caught in adultery, He first stopped the crowd’s stoning attempts. Then, Jesus simply told the woman “go now, and leave your life of sin” (John 8). Good advice! Jesus didn’t advise her what to believe in case He never saw her again.    

Jesus stressed loving God and neighbors the most important commandments (Mt 22:37-40).

My children love me best by loving others to the fullest. A perfect, loving God surely desires the same of their creations. Loving God is loving others to the fullest. How do we love others? Who doesn’t respect the golden rule in relationships – treat others as you wish to be treated? Turns out God only desires for us what we deep down desire from ourselves. A loving parent or God openly discusses beliefs to seek what leads to an individual’s own good and the world’s good.

Does God eventually require allegiance?

I don’t see how a God who creates freedom requires obedience. Evil in the world clearly reveals God doesn’t force compliance, or there wouldn’t be so much horrific evil in this world. God obviously understands what we humans know – freedom is necessary for authenticity. Not even God can force true love. Is there a day of reckoning for rejecting God here on earth? It is suspect God stops forgiving before or after death. One’s faith often depends what land or family born into. It is suspect God is a God of chance. Careful! Character developed here on earth may carry over.

Did the main writer of the NT demand certain beliefs?

The Apostle Paul certainly sought to convince others about Jesus. I would too if I had a vision of Jesus after he died (Acts 9), and knew eyewitnesses that had seen Jesus alive after dying on the Cross. Two thousand years later, we may have different discussions. Paul debated his beliefs with others who seemed open, though he didn’t force traditions that may have been important to him (Rm 14). In marriage Paul didn’t advise a believer to impose their beliefs on an unbeliever but let them go (I Cor. 7:15). Believers shouldn’t insist non-believers share their beliefs.     

How do we share with others about God and our relationship?

Those who feel loved, encouraged, and inspired in their relationship with God naturally want others to experience such a relationship. I enjoy discussing what a loving God may truly be like as much as one may want to discuss a great book they read. I am not suggesting such conversations be forced or that conversations have any hidden agenda to convert one to your beliefs. If you believe God desires to influence all for good, you will trust God to make such discussions natural.

One doesn’t have to be perfect to talk about God, but it is reasonable to expect those who talk about God to act godly.  I admit God conversations seldom happen in my life. Often others rightly smell hidden agendas to proselytize because of their past experiences. Such conversations are seldom successful if forced. It is up to God rather than us to inspire others to seek ways to be a more loving, caring person. One has to hope the life we live is enough for others to consider discussions about God when they have such an interest or need.  

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

There has been a lot of talk about abortion over the years since 1973 when Roe v Wade was approved. It is a very controversial subject and there are many proponents on both sides of the issue.

Now that there is a conservative leaning Supreme Court, there is talk about this decision being overturned. Not sure if or when, but I personally believe many of us are missing an important part of making abortion illegal.

We will not go into a debate on abortion and women’s right to choose. That is beyond the point I want to make. The issue as I see it, if this decision from 1973 is overturned and abortion becomes illegal, there will be several things people should be ready to do to help provide choices and financial assistance to those who are making decisions on what is best for them to do.

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

For Christians, their main goal is to get this decision overturned and make abortion illegal. The thing that many forget 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 choose or 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 education, family planning, healthcare, medical expenses and adoption.

In regard to education, it would be good to have classes with men and women in regard to sex education and 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 the consequences of their choices, 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, along with the medical care after the birth. Many people choose to go the route of an abortion often times due to these reasons. The taxpayer money being used now to help with abortion, rather then being discontinued could be used for the care and support for those who have their baby.

I know many Christian people think badly of Planned Parenthood, but apart from the abortion issue, 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. 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’s part of course would be to help back 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 who are going through this situation and all the decisions involved. We need to realize that abortion will not end just because a law is changed. The points of focus I mentioned earlier should be for everyone. Women need to know they have choices other than abortion. It ultimately is going to be the choice of the mother what she does, but 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 Jim Gordon

1 Corinthians 3:16,17 – Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

The old covenant days of the temple are over. According to the new covenant, we are God’s house and his Spirit lives within us. Many people say the traditional church building is where God lives, but this verse tells us that God is more personal than that. God can no longer be contained within a building. We are his dwelling place.

Each one of us who are saved by grace are now the temple of God. It is difficult to get away from the thought that God is up there somewhere, or that we have to go to church and wait for God to show up. This kind of thinking is now obsolete.

These verses point out that the temple of God is holy, and that is what we are. We are his temple and that makes us holy. Not by any works we have done or can do, but by the work that Christ has done. It can be hard for us to accept the fact that in Christ, we are holy and righteous. We are kings and priests. We were sinners, but the old sin nature was crucified with Christ. It is now dead and we are new creatures in him.

We need to stop being so negative and depressed because we feel like we have let God down and unable to live a holy life. Actually, we cannot live a holy life, but God, through the grace of Christ makes us holy. We are the righteousness of God. It is him, Jesus our all in all, who lives within us.

Our spirit is now holy and righteous in God’s sight. Our mind is still being transformed and our body is still a work in progress, but thanks be to God our spirit has been made perfect in Christ.

Start focusing on the fact that God is right here within us through his Spirit. We do not have to go to a building looking for Him, we do not have to wait for Him to show up at a special service. Right now we are in his presence. He is the vine, we are the branches. Just rest in him and allow him to live through you to touch those around you each day.

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by Jim Gordon

Philippians 2:3-7 – Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

In today’s world, it seems everyone has the ‘I am number one’ attitude. We are all interested in what is best for us, what makes us happy, how to be more comfortable and satisfied in our lives. Seems like we will do anything we can to get ahead in life, and to get all the comforts and ‘things’ that make it easier for us.

These above verses state that as followers of Christ, we should be doing just the opposite. Our thoughts and attitudes should be how we can show the love of God to others. It should be what can we do to encourage and build up those in need, how can we use the money God has blessed us with to help the less fortunate.

God says that as his followers, we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others as ourselves. While the jobs and ‘things’ we have been given and blessed with by God are not wrong, we need to keep in mind that they are not the important part of our lives. We are to be thinking of others and their need for love, acceptance and help. We should focus on how we can encourage and build up someone else, and how can we help meet a need in their life.

There is nothing wrong with taking thought of our wants, needs and interests. The verse states ‘do not merely look out for your own interests’. Unfortunately, many times our own interests are all that concern us. May we daily ask that God helps us to think of others and be ready to care for them in any way possible that will show them the love of God.

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by Jim Gordon

Kindness is something we do not find much in our world today.

The Bible speaks about kindness many times. Kindness is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22.

The dictionary says kindness is being considerate or helpful. I think the world would be a better place if everyone treated each other with kindness.

It usually does not take a lot to be kind. Sometimes I think we make it to hard, when something so simple and easy as a genuine smile can brighten someone’s day. Being polite and kind to others can sometimes be just what they need to make their day. Holding the door for someone, letting them go ahead of you in line, smiling and saying hello, being respectful, you never know how that may effect them for the better. The little everyday acts of kindness can be a seed planted in their lives that will grow and help them to be encouraged and to pass it on to others.

These days it seems we even have a hard time with Christians treating each other with kindness. We want to fight and argue over our views and interpretations and forget that as Christians, we all have the common ground of faith in Christ.

Let’s see if we can make a point to do one act of kindness each day. You never know where it may lead.

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by Shannon Glenn, Guest Blogger
https://lifeofaprodigal.wordpress.com/

In the Christian faith much is written about the power of words. In fact, the Bible mentions the power of life and death lies in the power of the tongue:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

Proverbs 18:21

For those who are not keeping up with American politics, we have just come through one of the most divisive and damaging Presidential campaigns in my lifetime, and perhaps in the history of our Country. I have watched, feeling helpless as my friends took sides. Both sides fancy themselves smarter and sure of the ignorance and short-sided vision of the other.  Both sides shout with proud sarcasm statements which uttered at other times would be considered libelous and slanderous. 

In this age of quick tweets shared with little thought before posting, statements intended to prove and disarm opposing arguments are falling on increasingly deaf and uncaring ears. Accusations of liar, thief, traitor, ignorant, and fool are thrown around as casually as comments about the ever-changing Tennessee weather.  These words are wielded like a sword to slice at the integrity and credibility of those in opposition.  While the intended victim may be wrapped in a cloak of self-righteousness and not feel the sting of rebuke, onlookers and bystanders certainly feel the sharp barbs.

Never have I seen people more marginalized and individual humanity being stripped away as people are lumped into groups of “those people.” Trump supporters and Biden supporters alike have wielded their swords of “truth”, not realizing they are for the most part only speaking into the echo chambers of like-minded friends.  Those who think differently are simply not listening as they too are locked in their own echo chambers of those who share their beliefs.

I did not realize how different the type of information we receive daily is until I spoke to a friend recently. During a conversation, I realized the information, rhetoric, and “truth” I had been spoon-fed is not the same information, rhetoric and “truth” in his feeds. It seems based on our past interests, upbringing and grouping of friends, his social media and internet feeds were vastly different. While I had been fed fear and distrust of everyone, his information was not the same. It became obvious he did not understand where my anxiety was coming from. In that moment it became all too clear that I, too, was in an echo chamber . . . one of the past.

Even though I try to find balanced reporting, and to stay away from the damaging half-truths and fear wielding statements, I may still be trapped in misinformation. It is clear my social media and internet feeds have been shaped around current and past interests. They are not varied enough to reach the whole story. It was an alarming and upsetting moment. I can only hypothesize the predictive algorithms are trying to decide for me exactly what I would like to see. However, these algorithms cannot predict the changes of the human heart and enlightenment as we learn and grow.  (While much has been and could be said about the dangers of social media, that is not the purpose of this discourse.) I am increasingly alarmed at how I have been unable to find the truth even as I search for it.

 We have all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword. I had always heard the second part of the quote, but in searching for a reference, I found the full quote:

“Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword.”

– Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Although I appreciate the sentiment behind the words, I do not believe it is necessarily true, as the pen is also mighty when under the rule of men not entirely great. This is not a political commentary; I am not educated enough to speak with authority on that score. However, I can speak from my heart, which I know very well. I live in Tennessee, a state known for our Volunteer spirit. However more recently Tennessee is known for something else, a Christmas Morning bombing.  As “facts” come out about the accused bomber, it is clear the current climate of hate and fear fed his paranoia and contributed to his need to act. I am heartbroken to realize that his trigger for making a bomb, possibly taking his life, and causing damage to both people and the communications infrastructure of our state was fear of technology, and the current toxic climate and likely an echo chamber of his own making.

Careless words thrown around by those who have their own agendas, which we do not fully know, cause real damage to those who hear them. Whether fueled by the anger of being so sure the other person is wrong, convinced with pride their leader is speaking “truth,” or tormented by fear stemming from this uncertain climate in our country, each word takes a toll. In this case it took at least one life and greatly affected so many.

While people are cocooned in their smug assurance of their righteous agendas, others are trembling and heartbroken in the state of our country and the potential for further violence. This man with great technical knowledge who is so overcome by his emotions and closely held beliefs felt he had to act. While he provided a warning to clear the area in an assumed effort to save lives, the next person compelled to act may not take such a precaution. I wholeheartedly believe the careless words of others are partially responsible for causing reactions in people that cannot be easily controlled. We know based on history how much blood can be shed in the name of faith or truth. We see evidence of this in the comment section of almost any news story on the internet.

I do not know how all this will play out, but I do know words have the power to heal or hurt and once spoken they cannot be taken back. Remember what you say affects not only your own life, but also the lives of those you hold dear, and, unfortunately in this time, of those you despise.

Have a care before you say it, type it or share it.

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by Jim Gordon

Christmas

For most of us here in the United States, Christmas is being celebrated on December 25. For Christians, it is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus into our world. For others, it is a time of family celebration and the enjoyment of exchanging gifts with one another.

Yet, just because we live in the United States we need to remember that there are several other holiday celebrations going on here in the states and around the world. Following are a few of the more known holiday celebrations going on during this time of year:

Hanukkah

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that’s celebrated for eight days and nights, beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. The Jewish calendar is based on the lunar cycle, so Hanukkah can fall anywhere from November 28th to December 26th. “This holiday commemorates the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.” People celebrate Hanukkah by lighting their menorahs, spinning dreidels and eating delicious foods!

Kwanzaa

In the United States, roughly five million people celebrate Kwanzaa each year! Kwanzaa is a seven day holiday that celebrates African culture. It begins on December 26th and ends on January 1st. On the sixth day of Kwanzaa, there’s a Kwanzaa Karamu, which is a big feast. Gifts of Kuumba (creativity) are given to loved ones. Kwanzaa’s also celebrated through lighting the Kinara, performing and listening to traditional music and discussing African principles and history.

Winter Solstice

For Pagans, December means the holiday of Yule is coming! It falls on December 21st, which marks the winter solstice; which is the shortest day and longest night of the year. The winter solstice celebrates the rebirth of the sun, because days get longer from then on out.

Las Posadas

From December 16th through December 24th, Las Posadas is celebrated by some Hispanic families in the United States. It’s a nine-day celebration before Christmas, beginning with a procession with candles, songs and sometimes even people playing the parts of Mary and Joseph who lead the parade. Every night of Las Posadas is celebrated with gifts, piñatas, song, parties, tamales and prayer.

Diwali

While this holiday falls a little bit before the rest, Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is a five-day long Hindu holiday celebrating life and the victory of good over evil. Taking place in October or November, each day of Diwali has a different legend it celebrates, but the holiday is filled with fireworks, feasts and family. The date of Diwali is determined based on the Hindu lunisolar calendar.

Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days, beginning on the first day of the lunar new year. The 15th day of the new year is the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with a parade. The Chinese New Year marks the end of winter and the beginning of Spring and is a time to be spent with family and loved ones, eating and enjoying time together. So this holiday season, think outside of the Christmas box and appreciate all of the great holidays celebrated during the most wonderful time of the year! Happy Holidays, collegiettes!

So to each of you, we here at Done with Religion say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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Writer Dylan Morrison

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