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Archive for the ‘Acceptance of Others’ Category

Where I found connection after I left the church

by Jim Gordon
As published at Backyard Church

Photo by Suzanne Emily O’Connor on Unsplash

The word ‘fellowship’ is just another one of those Christian buzzwords that you almost never heard outside of the church. We hear the word fellowship often and we all have our ideas about what it actually means to fellowship with others.

For me, growing up in the church world taught me about the need for fellowship with other believers. Of course, this fellowship was reserved for the weekly gathering inside a building on Sunday. I remember thinking that real Christian fellowship was sitting there each week, listening and watching others perform for God, then shaking hands with someone while on the way out the door.

For many years while within the institutional church, I never thought about fellowship in any other way than what I had been taught. Fellowship was with people who believed just like me. I always felt it may be dangerous to associate with people who believed differently or did not believe at all. After all, they may cause me to fall or backslide in my faith.

Now That We’ve Left The Church, Where Do We Go?

After many years of an uneasy feeling and not being satisfied with our church life, my wife and I decided to leave the organization and live outside the walls of religion. After leaving the church, my wife and I wondered where would we go for friends and ‘fellowship’

I found an answer in an article my friend, Rocky Glenn wrote entitled ‘Fellowship and Community’ in which he talked about fellowship within the church and leaving that church fellowship. He says:

“Two of the most common questions asked when others learn you have made the conscious decision to live the Christian life outside the walls and confines of a traditional church building are “Who do you fellowship with?” or “Where do you find community?”

These questions show how conditioned we have become in the institutional church to speaking our own language and seeing the world through the lenses of our stained-glass windows. The two terms — fellowship and community — are rarely heard outside the context of church. For example, have you ever invited a coworker to dinner or for a drink by asking them if they wanted to fellowship? When you are sitting in the stands at the high school football game, do you often lean over to the guy sitting next to you and explain how happy you are the two of you can experience community together? While each of these examples, by definition, constitutes the term used, we do not speak in such a manner on a normal basis and to do so would actually be quite silly. To fellowship with another is to have a friendly association over shared interests.

Rocky’s statement shows that fellowship can and does happen outside the church walls. It can happen in a restaurant, a bar, a football game, or on a street corner.

Photo by Kevin Curtis on Unsplash

Once my wife and I began to realize that fellowship happens anywhere, it did not take long for God to bring people across our paths in places and at times we never expected.

We were sitting in a local café one morning relaxing and drinking our morning coffee when we noticed two men at the next table. One was a young long-haired hippy-looking guy talking with an older gentleman. We could not help but hear their conversation at times and we kept noticing that they were talking about God and life in Christ.

After some time of listening, we decided to politely ask about their conversation and found that the younger guy was in a Christian heavy metal band. He had left the traditional church a few years ago and was living outside the walls of religion like us. This was an encouragement to us because it showed us that God can provide people for fellowship at any time and in any place. We just need to be alert and ready.

What Is Fellowship?

Fellowship, according to Merriam-Webster is a company of equals or friends; the quality or state of being in a comradery. Over the years of sitting in a church service, I never saw fellowship take place that matched up to this definition.

For the usually meaningless talk that goes on at a Sunday morning church service, there is no way that meaningful fellowship will happen.

Fellowship is more than listening, more than having similar beliefs or doctrinal views. It is getting to know people for who they are, even if it means they see things differently. It is being yourself and having people accept you for you. It is caring and responding in meaningful, respectful ways.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 states, ‘Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing’. As this verse tells us, fellowship is to encourage each other and build one another up. It is not totally agreeing or seeing things the same way. We are to be a positive help to our fellow human beings.

In our world today, people seem to want to stay separated into like-minded groups. We see it in all the various denominations in church, we see it in all the various interest groups and social groups. Everyone wants to fellowship only with people who are like them.

Finding Fellowship In The Wrong Places

Looking back on it now, I can see that I had more fellowship with my non-Christian friends in the backyard or at school than I did sitting in a religious service each week. I passed up many opportunities in the past to meet with people and in places that had nothing to do with church or any religious activity. Due to my religious upbringing and understanding that fellowship took place in church, I felt a little guilty about enjoying fellowship with others outside of church and with people who were not always so like-minded.

Fortunately, I have found that fellowship can happen anywhere and anytime. It does not have to be within the confines of an organized service in a church. In fact, it normally does not happen there. God brings opportunities each day to talk to people and share love and acceptance. What we need to do is erase the concept that fellowship only happens in a church service. We need to be alert to the leading of the Spirit and ready to greet people with the love of God.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

It seems that people just want to be heard and accepted. Even those who are quiet or a little introverted will open up and talk when they find someone who is genuine, caring, and truly listens. Often, one person listening can bring about the most meaningful times of fellowship.

A Religious Man, A Morman and A Truck Driver

(and no, they did not walk into a bar)

Just the other day, my wife and I heard about a young man who was returning to his military base after leave. Unfortunately, he was involved in a serious car accident and died due to his injuries. Our local town was honoring this young soldier by having residents line the streets as his hearse and small motorcade passed by.

While we were standing on the street corner waiting, we met a few people we never thought about running into. First, there was a man who was obviously religious. It was interesting talking to him knowing we had some commonalities in our faith. Yet at times it was obvious he had some beliefs that were very traditional and strictly religious. The good thing was we were outside the walls of a church and were able to talk and express ourselves without getting into a big debate over doctrine or denominational beliefs.

While we were talking with this gentleman, two young men came walking up and stopped to talk a minute. They were both dressed in white shirts with ties and the same style of pants. It was very obvious they were Mormon missionaries. It would have been easy to ignore them or tell them we were not interested and get them to move on.

Fortunately, we did not do that. We were nice and accepting to them and talked about a variety of topics. I think they were a little surprised that someone would actually carry on a conversation with them without debating or arguing over their beliefs. We actually had a very nice talk for about fifteen minutes and learned a little bit about each other apart from our differences in doctrine.

Not long after the missionaries moved on, an older gentleman walked up and asked what was going on with all the people lining the streets. We told him what was happening and he decided to wait and pay his respects also. He started talking a little about himself and told us he used to be a truck driver. Once he noticed that my wife and I were really listening and paying attention, he suddenly opened up about several personal issues and the pain of losing a child when he was younger. We ended up talking another twenty minutes about his family and his history and hopefully made his day a little brighter.

What Does Real Fellowship Look Like?

The purpose of talking about these encounters is to show that God can bring people into our lives for the purpose of fellowship when we least expect it. Who knew when we stood on the street corner to pay respects to a person we did not know, we would have personal encounters with three separate people and enjoy times of real fellowship with each of them?

Fellowship is no more than listening, responding with kindness, caring, and showing the love of God. We all can do it if we take the time to pay attention to the needs of others and show them we are interested in what they have to say.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Fellowship really is not hard to do. Be yourself and allow other people to do the same. Be respectful, kind, and share the love of God in a way that makes people feel they matter.

The Last Word

Fellowship can happen anytime, anywhere, and more often than not, it does not happen within the confines of a religious service. Fellowship is not just a Christian happening; It is for all people.

There are so many people in our world who are hurting or confused and just need someone to listen to them. Be ready, be alert and follow the leading of the Spirit to show love and accept people for just being themselves. Something so simple can mean so much to someone who needs a little fellowship.

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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It May Be Better to be Known for What They are For

by Jim Gordon

It seems that many Christian people are more known for what they are against rather than the good things of God they are for.

I am becoming increasingly aware of the fact that I do not want to be known as someone who is always against something. Whatever that may be, against this sin or that sin, this group or that group, against a particular denomination or Bible version, all the different ideas and subjects we can come up with that end up taking away our main focus, our love for Christ.

Be Known for Love

Jesus told us in the New Covenant that His commands were to love God and love others. We do not have to agree with everyone to love them. We obviously all have our convictions of right and wrong, yet we do not have to focus on those convictions or try to prove our reasoning to others. We are told to love others no matter what. We are not responsible for converting people, that is the Spirit’s job. We are told to love them.

When Jesus walked the earth, He did not spend a lot of time with the religious people. He was out with the sick, despised, neglected, and sinners of the day. Those who the religious people would not want to be around.

Obviously, God calls us to follow Him and that is going to be in different ways for each of us. Yet to spend more time arguing, condemning, trying to prove our interpretations of the Bible, pointing out people’s mistakes and shortcomings, does not help promote showing the love of God to others.

The Grace of Christ

When we begin to understand the freedom we have in Christ, and start living through grace that Christ provided, we can be free to love and accept all those we come in contact with each day. We can show them the love of Christ by allowing the Spirit to live through us.

We do not need to worry so much about who is right and who is wrong. Remember, do not always be against something. Be for Jesus. Be for love. Be for following Jesus daily by loving God and loving one another. Let Him be the central focus of your life and allow His love to flow out of you and touch those around you.

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

Researchers such as John Marriott and Josh Packard have written on why people are leaving the Christian faith or the institutional church but not always God. Believers must stop claiming people are leaving to justify lifestyle choices. Talk to them! Claiming that those that leave never believed in the first place is suspect as well. There are many more reasons than what I suggest, but perhaps some of the main reasons are true below.  Let’s listen rather than judge!

The Bible may be the biggest reason for wanting nothing to do with God

Christians sometimes argue we should trust “biblical truths” about God. The term is misleading because differing biblical interpretations exist for major moral issues. Certain supposed truths, such as the traditional understanding of Hell, may not be true. Also, the truth is we can’t prove God somehow magically controlled the biblical writers’ thoughts and pens. The writers may not have always understood God perfectly. Uncertainty though isn’t always a bad thing. See here.

Many feel compelled to choose science over God because a literal interpretation of Genesis demands God couldn’t have used evolution in the creative process. A fallible Book may actually lead to knowing God better because surely a Creator influences us through our moral intuitions, consciences. Claims about God, other than evolution can’t be true, can lead to rejecting God.

Certain accusations about God can lead to atheism or leaving God

According to the Bible it has been claimed God approves of putting men over women in leaderships roles at home and in the church. This has encouraged historical dominance by men. People condemn gays, despite their moral intuitions, because God supposedly rejects same gender loving relationships according to a Book. But scholars who accept the Bible as authoritative defend the Bible not showing partiality to men over women and that God doesn’t condemn gays. See here. Since we can’t prove our interpretation is the right one, common, moral sense is not the enemy.

Why doesn’t God intervene more with evil in the world? 

A God who can prevent evil but doesn’t is no different than a parent who stands by and watches their child being physically or sexually abused. Answers like “everything happens for a reason” doesn’t suffice for many of us. God’s nature requires their love to be unselfish and uncontrolling. Controlling love is a contradiction in terms. Freedom to love fully may have to include the freedom to hate fully. There may be plausible moral reasons as to why evils exist and God doesn’t intervene. 

When Christians leaders and laypeople act ungodly 

Another obstacle Christians put in the way of others interested in pursuing God is hypocrisy. If you treat people like dirt, I doubt you are being influenced by God. Most folks though understand no one is perfect. But if Christians fail to admit or confess their faults, I doubt others want to discuss your relationship with God. Parents who don’t do as they say should be quiet. 

How to avoid being a hinderance to those seeking God 

Don’t accuse those who have no inclination to include God in their lives being less moral. If we judge others at all, let’s challenge one another to love others as we want to be loved. What can we say to those wanting to talk about God or spirituality? Suffering and a loving God co-existing often makes no sense. Have an open discussion. Discuss worrisome claims made about God that seem unlikely. Our intuitions aren’t the enemy. Finally, if you want others to consider your God because God has made a big difference in your life, walk the talk. Seek forgiveness when wrong.

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

We hear a lot about Christian Nationalism lately. I had never thought much about it before, but with all the talk about it in the news, it is quickly becoming a popular topic.

I have to say, I love my country. The United States is the only country on earth I would prefer to live in, although it certainly is not perfect. Yet the United States falls way short compared to the Kingdom of God.

The problem seems to be that we hear more and more about some Christian people wanting to get officials elected that will make laws and force supposed Christian values as laws of the land.

It seems many Christians are making more out of the kingdom of the United States than they are the Kingdom of God.

I recently read an article about a new bible called The God Bless the USA Bible, in which the constitution, bill of rights, declaration of independence, pledge of allegiance and the words to the song God Bless the USA are written inside. It also has an American flag on the front cover. No different than having a pastor or celebrity autograph a bible, putting a specific country’s national writings in the bible is no good and completely out of place.

For some reason, many of those involved in the Christian church seem to think that America is a Christian nation. They seem to think that America is God’s chosen nation and they need to force biblical values on everyone.

The fact is that America is not God’s chosen people. It is not a Christian nation, but made up of people from all faiths and religions. God does not just love the people of the United States, but God so loves the world. He loves all people, all nations, all faiths.

What happened to seek first the Kingdom of God? What happened to the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount on how to live for God and how to treat others?

In Christian Nationalism, America itself seems to be the center of attention and hope for the world rather than Jesus. It seems to me that people are trying to make America into an idol and trying to force Christian precepts as the law of the land. This should not be.

It was extremely hard to watch the events of January 6 where people illegally stormed the Capitol of the United States and caused damage, injuries and even death. Even worse, many of them were carrying Christian flags, Christian slogans and were seen praying and thanking God for such an event. There certainly is no love in any of that, and no caring for others.

It seems many put more emphasis on political power in the United States and making Christian rule the law of the land than they do following the example of Jesus by loving all people and focusing on the Kingdom of God.

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 am not suggesting God-folks become “judge” freaks. I am reacting to the claims of many that the Bible was written so that people must have certain beliefs to avoid Hell and God’s wrath. Many scholars now recognize that the Bible’s main message is expressing God’s desire to have a relationship with each and every individual in this world to face inevitable challenges. See here.

If judgment is necessary, shouldn’t we judge one by their character rather than their color, gender, religion, or beliefs in God? It’s hard to know why some believe in a God and not others. Neither is hardly a personality flaw. I doubt a loving God plays favorites, giving some the feeling to believe and not others. If God is real, they are big enough to make their case with each individual. But it is a universal principle, except for the selfish, that we ought to treat others like we want to be treated.

It is a myth that those who don’t believe in God are rebellious or in denial

It just isn’t true that those who aren’t into God deny reality to justify their immorality. Not my friends! Some Christians’ morality is suspect! Let’s not accuse those who put their faith in God as needing a crutch or accuse those who question the reality of an invisible God as desiring to excuse their actions. If wrong to doubt God exists, Christians sin if they doubt God in tough times.

A good God surely doesn’t judge one according to their religion

God isn’t a God of chance! John Hick wrote: “…in the vast majority of cases, probably 98 or 99 per cent, the religion to which anyone adheres (or against which they rebel) depends upon where they are born. When someone is born into a Christian family, they are very likely to become a Christian, whether practicing or nominal; when into a Muslim family, very likely to become a Muslim; if into a Buddhist family, to become a Buddhist – and so on round the world” (Who Or What Is God, p. 73). Some misunderstand God due to certain claims made by Christians. See here.

God-folks and Christians please…….

Let’s stop judging others who don’t share our same beliefs in God. I was taught as a child there was a Creator. I was also taught many views of God that I now hate. I have no idea why I didn’t rebel against the whole idea of a God. Let’s encourage others to consider what kind of person they want to be deep down or wish their parents or friends were. One’s belief and desire for help is between God and each person. My story is I am a better husband, father, and friend than I normally would be because of the insights, encouragement, and forgiveness that I sense from my Creator.

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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(And We All See Things Differently)

by Jim Gordon

It has always amazed me how some Christians can be so argumentative. They just do not know how to accept one another’s differences in doctrine or interpretation.

Following Jesus is based on loving God and loving others. Yet we have nearly 40,000 different denominations, mainly because we cannot agree and accept one another.

People will argue and defend their doctrines and interpretations, and then get mad when others disagree or have a different viewpoint. Even when they partly agree, they feel the need to point out where each other differs because they think that their way is right and everyone else is a little off.

I understand that people are not going to agree on everything, and that each of us have a little different way of seeing things and understanding things. The problem is that many go too far when they let these differences separate them. They want to keep in their own particular group, which they usually feel is the more correct way to believe, and do not want to associate with others. This should not be. Each of us can have our differences and still not separate ourselves from other brothers and sisters in Christ.

In a sense, we are all people of faith. No one can prove beyond a doubt that their way is right. People have faith there is a God, or faith there is not a God; faith in the after-life and heaven, or faith there is no hell; faith in reincarnation, or faith that there is just an end to our existence. None of us can prove or disprove any of it, yet many are ready to fight and argue amongst themselves trying to defend their viewpoint and interpretations even when they cannot prove anything.

No matter what we believe about God and spiritual life, none of us can prove our beliefs. It is all by faith.

As mentioned in the Bible, we walk by faith not by sight. For me, I choose to put my faith in a God who created me and loves me, a God who has provided freedom from sin and who has come to make a home within me so that I will forever be in His presence.

I also respect the rights of others to feel differently. I do not think it is my responsibility to expect anyone to believe the same as me, or to put their faith in the same things that I do. It is the Holy Spirit who draws others to God. It is the Spirit who teaches us and leads us into truth. My responsibility is to love and accept everyone as they are, and be available for God to show godly love through me.

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

How many of us have passed a church building and saw a sign out front that says ‘Everyone Welcome’?

When I see one, I always wonder if they really mean what they say. I have seen so many congregations over the years get set in their ways and enjoy the people who are “regulars”, but what would happen if everyone did come to their church?

What would the thoughts and feelings be if a gay couple walked in, or a few prostitutes decided to come in for a service. What if a group of homeless people walked in to hear the Sunday morning message? Would everyone be truly welcome? And remember, these are not people who are sinful people, they just wear the wrong label for most church attendees.

We know that Jesus welcomed everyone, literally, and mostly those who the religious folk did not want to have any association. Jesus met with and cared for the people who probably would not go to an organized religious meeting (what we call church), either because they would not be welcome or because they just did not think they would fit in.

Maybe that says something about our organized church of today. Maybe we have become so involved with religion and the proper way of doing things that we have lost our first love. Could we be so caught up in the trends of modern religion that we forget our relationship with the God of the universe? The God who told us to love one another.

Maybe we need to concentrate more on living in fellowship with Christ on a daily basis, loving Him and loving others, and not worry so much about what building we go to on Sunday morning….if we go at all. The true Church is not a building, and it does not matter which day we meet or where we meet. The Church is a community of believers who live for Him each and every day. We should not be focused on a building nor an organization, but on a daily walk with Him.

To love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and to love others as ourselves fulfills the law. We no longer need to worry about obeying the old covenant law or the rules and regulations the denomination has set up. We now live under a new covenant which went into effect at the death and resurrection of Jesus. We now have the Living Word within us through the Holy Spirit. We no longer need any man to teach us the ways of God, because now the Spirit is our guide.

It is time to put our focus back on our first love, Jesus. It is time to live out our relationship with God on a daily basis, not only on one day. Living as a follower of Christ is a daily way of life. We are to love God, love others, and be prepared to give an answer of the hope that is within us to those who ask us. I pray we are all letting the love of God show through us so that others will be drawn to Him and feel welcome in his presence.

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 a follower of Christ, I feel a great importance in treating all people kindly, fairly and with respect. We are told that as his followers we will be known by our love, not only for one another but for all people.

Unfortunately, I do not see a lot of this sentiment in our christian world today. So many of us would rather condemn, argue and stand our ground for our particular doctrine, interpretation or denomination.

When reading about the life of Jesus while on earth, I see a person who loved his Father and loved people. He went about treating all people with love and respect. When people were brought to him doing something questionable, he told them to go and sin no more, but he never condemned or made anyone feel like a person of lower degree. He never said because you have done this or that I want nothing to do with you. He loved them no matter what.

As I mentioned in my last article, my chosen profession was firefighting. As I think about this line of work I see it as more like true Christianity should be.

Firefighterpledge

As firefighters we treat all people the same. It makes no difference whether we are treating male or female, rich or poor, white or black, religious or atheist, gay or straight. We do not differentiate between Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Taoism or Christian. It makes no difference if you are American, European, African, Middle Eastern or Asian. All people are treated the same no matter who they are, what they believe or how they live.

To me this is the way we Christian people should live each day. Treating others with equality, respect, kindness and with the love of God. We will not always agree on things but living this way will have more of an impact on others and will show the love of God in action.

I always wonder how the church world can be so mean, how it can separate itself so much from those who see things differently. How can we, who profess to follow a loving God treat people with such disrespect? Why is it that most of the time, christian people are known more for what they are against rather than for the love they are to show to all people.

I feel it is time that we Christian people take on a firefighter mentality in the way we treat others, showing love and respect to all people. Rather than fight and argue it is time we help lift up, encourage and be respectful to everyone we meet along this journey through life.

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 followers of Christ, we have a hope within us that can be an encouragement to us, and that can uplift us during the events of our daily life. Because of this, we want others to know and share in having that hope for themselves.

Yet, we often go a little overboard on when and how to let others know about that hope. Have you ever felt guilty because you did not say something to someone about Christ? Do you feel obligated to speak your mind about a particular sin? Do you feel it is your duty as a Christian to force every opportunity into a chance to tell someone about salvation?

Quite frankly, I disagree with all of those thoughts. I agree that some people have the gift of evangelism and should be using that gift to the fullest. I also feel that not all of us need to be forcing the issue with those we come in contact each day.

We all have probably at one time or another taken (or forced) an opportunity to tell someone about the love of God. It seems even to the point of wanting to make converts more than wanting to make friends. I have experienced a few times when people I just met in a store or restaurant were extra nice and doing their best to talk with me. I thought they were just being nice, or maybe this will be a new friend only to find out they were just trying to make a new convert to their church.

As Christians, we are told to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and to love others as ourselves. When we live our lives each day under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love of God, the way we act will be a witness to God’s love, and usually no words are necessary.

Anyone can speak words…words of needing salvation, words of how we should live for God, words against particular sins, but words themselves have no strength. It is the daily life we live allowing the love of God to show through that makes a difference. When we consistently live what we believe, it has more impact than thousands of words.

We need to remember that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts and draws people to God. It is not our job to try to convert people. It is not our job to condemn or judge anyone. We are only to love God and love the people that we meet each day.

1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12 tells us that we should live a quiet life, working with our hands and be ready to give an account of the hope that is within us.

Notice we are told to be ready to speak up when asked. Go about your daily routine minding your business and living a peaceful life, but be ready to give an answer about God’s love when someone asks. Of course, this should be done in love and with no ulterior motive attached. Always follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, knowing that our words on their own will not make an impact on anyone.

By living this way and not forcing our views on others, the words we do say will have more meaning to those who are wondering what the hope is that we have within 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 Mike Edwards

It’s hard to know why some believe in a God and not others. Neither is a personality flaw. I doubt a loving God plays favorites, giving special insights to some and not others.  I do know certain beliefs that lead to many leaving the institutional church. See here.  It is understandable why some interpret the God portraited by writers of the Old Testament among other things of being a misogynist and homophobe. Who blames anyone for not believing in such a God?

Let’s though debunk the myth that those who don’t believe in God are simply rebellious.

The first chapter of Romans in the Bible is used to suggest all who don’t believe in God are suppressing what they know to be true. Actually, the writer refers to those who don’t doubt but ignore God and morality to justify their evil ways. Let’s not accuse those who believe in a God as needing a crutch or accuse those who question the reality of an invisible God as being wicked and ignorant of their feelings. If wrong to doubt God exists, Christians sin if doubt God in tough times.

Is God really a God of chance?

John Hick acknowledges: “…in the vast majority of cases, probably 98 or 99 per cent, the religion to which anyone adheres (or against which they rebel) depends upon where they are born. When someone is born into a Christian family they are very likely to become a Christian, whether practicing or nominal; when into a Muslim family, very likely to become a Muslim; if into a Buddhist family, to become a Buddhist – and so on round the world” (Who Or What Is God, p. 73). Also, some misunderstand God because of certain claims. Is God a God of chance?  

We may not seek God because God doesn’t seem to really care. 

It isn’t easy to understand why some miracles happen and not others. Lack of healing obviously isn’t always related to lack of faith. One can speculate that prayers can only be answered if freedom isn’t thwarted in major ways. I do know our language can be harmful when claiming God’s grace saved a life in an accident. What about other lives? Such language understandably leads to unbelief. It is understandable that many question why God doesn’t prevent more evil. The argument that all evil, such as sexual abuse or murder, always leads to good isn’t true. 

What about you?

Let’s stop judging others not into God as if because of moral inferiority. We wish some God-people had less to do with God. I was taught early on there was a Creator. I was also taught many views of God that I questioned. I have no idea why I questioned rather than rebelled against the whole idea of a God.  Many care to become more the person they want to be deep down without God. You don’t have to attend church, synagogue, mosque, or even be into God to embark upon being the kind of person you wish your parents were. I can tell you I am a better husband, father, and friend than I normally would be because of the insights, encouragement, and forgiveness that I sense from my Creator. God may be exactly what you thought a perfect God is like.

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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