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Archive for the ‘christian living’ Category

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.

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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By Mike Edwards

Some are into God. Others aren’t. Some may not want to be constrained by a good God’s morals. That isn’t most that I encountered that don’t have the same passions about God that I do. I could be accused of needing a crutch, but I am convinced following God can be a good thing even if on the fence.

Psychological benefits 

A 2018 Harvard study involving 5,000 people examined how being raised in a family with religious beliefs affects the mental health of children. Belief in a loving God can provide meaning and purpose in life. The God I believe in is concerned for my well-being and how I treat others. Self-centeredness may lead to short-term benefits but not long-term benefits. Some studies suggest the belief in nothing is a rich fertilizer for anxiety and depression. A belief in a God who loves us can be a valuable source for support and comfort.

God may be the God you hoped for

We can only be as close to God as our mental images of God allow. Certain claims made about God according to one’s understanding of the Bible can hinder pursuing God. A Creator surely loves in ways God’s creations sense they were created to love one another. It isn’t natural to oppose women priests or preachers. See here. It isn’t natural to condemn gays who can no more choose who they are attracted to than straight people can. See here.   Why would God create a place such as Hell to torture our enemies after their death? Maybe God doesn’t. See here.

Belief in the afterlife can be a good thing

When I share that I don’t believe the Bible reveals there is a literal hell, some come back that I can’t then believe in a heaven. It is a fair argument. I am not so sure the Bible speaks of a heaven of harps and angels but a “kingdom of heaven” to teaches how to be joyful here on earth. I have no reason to not believe a heavenly life after death is possible. Such a belief helps to not fear death and to look forward to be reunited with loved ones.

What to tell children if an atheist

What is the harm in telling our children there is a heaven after death when we can’t know for sure? We promise our kids all the time we will keep them safe. When ask if their house will burn down, you say it won’t happen to us. You don’t know that. Such a belief isn’t a false belief. As children are older parents can share more if they question God and an afterlife.

God as an influencer

I am convinced one has nothing to lose by giving God the benefit of the doubt. Besides, that puts the onus on God to reveal themselves to you that they are real. The God I know seeks to influence 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. Such a plan leads to true individual and worldly happiness in the long-run. God through their influence has made me a better man, husband, father, and friend or at least better than if on my own. I have experienced God’s encouragement to continually strive to be better.

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

My wife and I question these days whether we should consider ourselves Christians or not. We think it all boils down to what we mean by Christian.

If being a Christian is being part of a religion that meets in a building on a particular day and follows set doctrines based on what denomination we belong to, then no, we are not Christians. If being a Christian is considered being part of a group that is basically just a different interpretation and belief from Jews, or Muslims, or Baptists, Methodists, Charismatics etc., then no, we are not Christians. If being a Christian is being part of a group that is opposed to all other religions and only accepts those who believe like we do, then no, we are not Christians. If being a Christian has anything to do with religion, then no, we are not Christians.

In Acts 11:26, the disciples were first called Christians by people in Antioch. I always heard that they were called Christians because they were acting like Christ. The people there were calling them little Christ’s because of the way they showed the love and power of Christ. Now, if that is what is meant by being a Christian, then we are all in.

There are many ways we can described ourselves…believers, Christ followers, disciples of Jesus, people of faith or Christians. Yet, the name itself does not really matter. What matters is how we live our lives. Is Christ preeminent? Are we living as one with him? Are we allowing the love of Christ to live through us, accepting others, loving others and being little Christ’s to all we meet? If not, the name itself really makes no difference.

We should not worry so much about the label we use, but by the way we live. When people see us, they should see Christ. He lives within us and we should be known for the love we have for him and for our fellow man. We are to let Christ live through us each and every day with 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

This post is longer than usual. I will be as brief as possible. I hope subtitles depicting my thought progressions will make it easier to read. 

I have written on this topic ad nauseum. See here. We can’t prove God inspired the Bible, so I believe it is best to assume God didn’t inspire all of the Bible for reasons below. It is natural to assume God’s inspiration means God’s approval. (Gregory Boyd adds a twist below). I will address below why many may argue the Bible is God’s inspired Word – concerns we then wouldn’t have an authoritative view of God. I think an inspired Bible has led to condemning others falsely, thus discouraging faith in God. An inspired Bible can also provoke violence.

Gregory Boyd wrote a book about the Bible Inspired Imperfection. Boyd seems to suggest God allowed wrong views about God written to lead to seeing ultimate perfection in the person of Christ at the Cross. There are hundreds of passages in the OT where God supposedly orders Israel to commit atrocities (“Now go, attack the Amalekites… put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” (I Sam. 15:3). Did God really approve/inspire/have anything to do with such accusations about God? Such confusion by God just doesn’t make sense.

An inspired Bible has led to condemning women and gays

It is misleading to claim we can rely on “biblical truths.” Many claim the Bible says that women can’t fulfill the same roles as men in the worship or home setting because of the Apostle Paul’s teaching. Yet it can also be defended that Paul, a main writer of the New Testament, didn’t think roles should be chosen based on gender than gifts. See here. No one can claim their biblical view of God concerning women’s roles is definitive. Similarly, scholars who believe in the inspiration of Scriptures don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible.

Supposed certainty according to the Bible has led to condemning gays, though biblical scholars don’t agree the Bible condemns same-gender loving relationships. See here.  How dangerous can an inspired Book be? Religions defend killing homosexuals because of their assumption that every word in a Book was inspired by their God. Extremists and terrorists hide behind a Book. The biblical truth is we can’t prove our interpretations are correct or even that biblical writers always understood God perfectly.

An inspired Bible has led to condoning violence 

I mentioned that biblical writers claim God ordered certain atrocities in war. Did God really inspire such thoughts? Did God really approve a wife’s hand being cut off when grabbing another man’s genitals (Deut. 25:12)? Not questioning supposed inspired portrayals of God has led to killing infidels in the name of God and justifying wars. Extremists may argue that we should seek to imitate a perfect, loving God. If certain violence is good for God according to one’s interpretation or assumptions about a Book, it must be good now for humans. When you regard the Bible as the revealed Word of God and don’t think critically, this can lead to violence in God’s name.

An authoritative view of God according to the Bible is a myth!

It is suggested if the Bible isn’t inspired, “then you can’t know God.” Were Old Testament folks out of luck since there was no Bible? Are the majority of people born, who didn’t have a Bible, out of luck? We aren’t totally clueless! Universal moral outrage hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. Who doesn’t know a good God hates beheading people because they don’t share your beliefs? Only a supposed infallible Book claiming to speak for God would suggest such a moral atrocity. No reasonable human being doesn’t respect the universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated. We were born to use our moral sense whether reading a Book or not.

Even Bible-believing Christians can’t avoid the importance of common moral sense 

Christians say God’s spirit (aka Holy Spirit) does or can reside within you. Unless the Spirit talks to you audibly or visibly, we can only discern the Spirit’s voice by examining our intuitions how a perfect, loving God may guide us. Such a statement is nonsensical if we are clueless about perfect love. Even the Bible implies we can understand God’s love because perfect human love and God’s love are the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). This is why many claim God is a mystery because their interpretation of Scriptures suggest God appears evil from a human perspective.

Can Jesus be the end-all about what God is really like?

The Bible is said to be inspired because the biblical writers made such a claim. Such logic would not lead those same people to accept the Quran being infallible because it claims to be. Boyd suggests Jesus claimed in the NT that OT Scriptures were imperfect but inspired by God. Scholars do not agree on Boyd’s interpretation of those relevant passages. Interpretation realities don’t allow us to claim certainty about Jesus’ views on other matters.

Many disagree what Jesus taught about divorce which impacts millions of marriages. Turning the other check is interpreted to claim Jesus never advocated violence, but the possible literal translation of Mt. 5:39 is “do not resist by evil means.” Does Jesus agree violence is never desired but may be necessary sometimes? The NT is no different than reading the OT since we could be wrong what Jesus would teach. It can’t be avoided using common moral sense when reading the Bible.   

How can we view the Bible? 

The Bible can be viewed as God’s story beginning with Israel and culminating with the life of Jesus that we don’t possess in any other document. God didn’t necessarily inspire or approve of everything written about God. Reading the Bible encourages questioning and contemplating what a loving God is really like. Imagine if extremist had to admit God possibly didn’t inspire every word in a Book, and we had to use common moral sense to understand what a loving God is like.

How can we make Godly decisions during uncertainty?

Please stop claiming certainty in God’s name. Certain absolutes are obvious to all. Who doesn’t believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? We must stop hiding behind a Book! We can’t declare certain immigration laws in stone. Immigration laws can be discussed as which are the most caring for the greater good. Stop canceling others’ opinions! Begin conversations looking for how you agree. Stop claiming your views are morally or biblically superior. We can’t always be certain how to best love, but we best come to solutions through civil and democratic means.

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

Growing up in the Christian church, my wife and I were taught that we were saved by grace. Yet, once we were saved by grace we needed to continue to live by the law. This seems to be a fairly common teaching for the modern-day believer.

Once we began questioning some things we were reading in the bible, we came to a new conclusion. The bible mentions that those of us who are saved by grace are now free from the old covenant law. If we still try to live by the commands of the old covenant, we are actually living under a curse. ‘For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ (Galatians 3:10 NIV).

Why is it we cannot accept the free gift of grace that God provided? Why is it we are still living a performance-based life trying to please God? ‘For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ. You have fallen away from God’s grace’. (Galatians 5:4 NLT).

It became clear to us that we now live for God because of love, not out of obligation, not trying to do more and earn our salvation. The works of the law and the ten commandments no longer have a hold on us.

Now, am I saying because we are free of the law that we can just do whatever we want? Eat, drink and be merry? No, not at all. Even though we are free from the law, and even though by keeping our eyes on Christ we have the ability through him not to sin, we are still living in a fallen world. There will be times when we take our eyes off him and commit sins. Although in Christ our sins are already forgiven and there is no longer punishment for them, there are still consequences in this world when we do wrong.

The thing is, by trying to keep the law, we are led into death. ‘The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law’. (I Corinthians 15:56 NASB). The old way of doing things was only a temporary thing. The law showed us that we were completely powerless to live up to God’s standards. It was a tutor for us until Christ came and took our sinful nature to the cross. ‘Therefore, the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus’. (Galatians 3:24-26 NASB).

We had been taught that we needed to do more and more for God. We were taught to try to keep the commandments and strive to be ‘good Christians’. Fortunately, the Spirit has been guiding us into the reality that we cannot keep the commands. We, in ourselves, are powerless to do so, and so are you. Christ came to fulfill the law and provide freedom to all of us. We are now free to live by love for Him and free from trying to live by the law. When Jesus said ‘it is finished’, he was saying the old covenant, the old way of trying to live by the law, was finished. He accomplished what we could not do. When he was resurrected, a new way of life started, a new covenant based on grace.

It is time we realize God, out of His love for us, has provided all we need. He has done away with our old sinful nature. We are forgiven of all our sins by His grace. We can now enter into his rest and rely on what He has done. We no longer have to strive to keep all the rules and constantly try to do more and more to earn a relationship with Him. ‘We have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code’. (Romans 7:6).

Rest in Him, rely on the Spirit to teach you and guide you through love. There are plenty of things to do, but we do them when we are led by the Spirit, and we do them through love. Now that we live by the new covenant, we live in love because He has put His spirit within us to walk with us daily.

When we are in love with God, we do not need rules to tell us what to do. We do what is pleasing to Him because we love Him. The Law is no longer in effect. By grace we now live a life of love for God and for one another. It is by love that we will do what pleases Him.

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

Let’s be honest. More prayers are unanswered than answered. The amount of suffering in the world suggests God doesn’t intervene a lot of the time. If miracles are simply having enough faith and praying to God, why don’t supposed miracle workers go into all the hospitals? I bet hospital folks have as much faith as those healed at their rallies. Many are rightly disheartened about God when claims about prayers don’t match up with reality.

God can’t answer many prayers

We can’t pretend God can wave a magic want and always heal in a free world. It isn’t that we didn’t pray enough with the right words and behaviors so God will answer. There are many different situations. God can’t make one’s partner willing to stop drinking. It isn’t that God had the power to do something about it, but chose not to; it’s that God can’t. Divine love limits divine power. True love is uncontrolling. Ask adults about their parents. God’s love must be supportive.

Healing Prayers 

A lot of prayers asking for healing are obviously not answered. I doubt God is just being stingy. Are miracles really arbitrary? Conditions in our body may not always be right. Various biological and environmental factors are involved such as cells, organs, etc. If God wouldn’t take away your human freedom, it may not be a stretch to say God has to account for natural freedom as well. Miracles can happen when God’s uncontrolling love aligns with countless factors known and not known. God surely intervenes by all means when circumstances will allow.

A truly loving God is doing all they can before asked

Do we really think God is waiting to help others until we ask? Prayer must be more than manipulating God to act. God may wait for our invitation for personal help to be more the person we deep down desire to be, but God is tireless in doing all they can for others and desperately seeks our help to change the world. One can always assume God’s blessing if not violating the rights of others.

How God answers a lot of prayers 

Praying can remind us to offer help. God is an omnipresent Spirit. God already knows needs before spoken. It is easier sometimes to pray for someone rather than take cooperative actions with God. This may be the most common way that God answers prayers. Rather than praying your friend’s partner stop drinking, which is harming their family, see if your friend would rather you say something to their partner. When you know two friends are in conflict, speak to the one wrongly denying any wrongdoing. God always seeks our permission to use our lives to help others.

But the Bible says….

The truth is for almost every passage on prayer, there are opposing interpretations and other passages that suggest additional perspectives. Mathew 7:7 is used to support the false prosperity gospel: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Isn’t this passage in context simply saying that if we parents give good gifts despite our imperfections, will not God as our perfect Parent always want to give good gifts? First-century readers didn’t assume this was a blank check for requests. We must balance that the Apostle Paul believed in the power of prayer, but he also expected persecution for beliefs (2 Tim. 3:12).

So, why pray?

Prayer is more than asking for things. We can also talk to God for self-examination, for sharing our concerns so to not feel along in a chaotic world. Seeking God’s influence in our lives can lead to making wiser choices. God is already doing all they can in a free world. Pretending God can simply heal without accounting for freedom makes one’s suffering worse. God is tireless in working through individual lives to change the world.

God is always listening. God has endless mercy and forgiveness so we don’t give up no matter how demoralized we may feel. God is always available in times of loneliness. Friends can’t always be available in the middle of the night, or we may feel that we are overburdening our friends by always going to them. God speaks to us mostly through self-reflection as God only wants us to feel free to make decisions based on our gifts and aspirations. We know God is speaking when we hear: I love you; I forgive you; I won’t abandon you.

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

As Christian people who want to follow the example of Jesus, we know that we are to love our enemies. We are to be kind to those who use us. We are to turn the other cheek. Of course, knowing and doing are two different things.

The dictionary describes an enemy as a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, 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 to love our enemies when we think about the more extreme sense of the word?

In all honesty, we cannot do it. In our own human ways, we are incapable of loving people like God asks us too. We have a hard enough time loving people who are different from us in minor ways such as beliefs, doctrines, political parties, race, gender, sex, nationality, you know, the everyday normal things that so many want to argue over and fight against.

In some cases, we can make up our mind to look past someone who treats us bad. We can choose 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. 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.

Without the love of the Father living within us, and without us denying our natural human tendencies, we will not be able to truly love our enemies. Yet, the power of the Spirit living within us is more than able to do what we cannot do in our own strength.

Obviously, we look to our role model, Jesus, and 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. As John 3:16 reads, for God so loved the world.

We have to come to an end of ourselves, just as in the case of grace. We need to depend on the strength of the Spirit who is within us. We need to remember that humanity was created in the image of God and that we are all loved by God.

It is because of the love of God that lives within us that we can love our enemies. We are one with God and it is his spirit that loves through us, just as Jesus did when he walked the earth.

So, loving our enemies is mostly something we are unable to do apart from the love and strength of the Spirit that lives within us. Yet, with his strength we can fulfill the command of Jesus to love God and love 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 said God blesses the United States or individual situations, suggesting God’s blessings are withheld from others by God. It is important how we portray what God is really like. I am not going to do a Bible study on how God blesses others. Several viewpoints could be defended, depending on one’s interpretation of certain passages. It isn’t presumptuous though to imagine what a loving God is like though our moral intuitions. It seems intuitive a loving Creator loves the way we are created to love. How we lovingly bless others may be how a loving God would bless.

The way God blesses must be loving 

Atheists and believers agree. The only God worth believing in is a perfect, loving God. Can God manipulate others? We would say no because love doesn’t manipulate. We can talk about perfect Godly love by comparing to perfect, human love. The Bible even suggests perfect human love and God’s love are the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).

God’s blessings can’t be arbitrary

True love can’t be arbitrary or bias. Some Christian circles teach that before one is born that God elects or blesses some with eternal life after death while excluding others. Such arbitrary love is immoral. God doesn’t arbitrarily bless some with food in their bellies and not others but pulling strings behind the scenes. There are many human reasons why one might not have enough food to eat. God and humans must somehow partner together to combat starvation.

God’s blessings can’t be controlling 

We know true love can’t be controlling. Ask any adult about their parents! We hate when we see friends try to control others for their own reasons or gain. Employees can smell a controlling employer a mile away. The truth is God can’t wave a magic wand – aka as blessing some and not others – without accounting for freedom. It isn’t that you didn’t beg enough or have the right attitude. A loving God is surely always doing all they can in a free world before, during, and after our prayers. 

Doesn’t God seek to bless through influence?

God seeks 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. Such a plan leads to true individual and worldly happiness in the long-run. Imagine all the regrets we save in life by being slow to anger. Imagine all the pain we spare spouses and children if we control where our eyes wander. Imagine all the friendships not destroyed by talking behind one’s back. God’s blessings can flow when we allow God’s influence in our lives to help ourselves and others. I doubt God minds sharing the credit.

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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How can you say such a thing?

by Jim Gordon

So often, when we think of Jesus we think of Christianity. Many seem to think that Jesus actually started Christianity. The fact is, Jesus did not start Christianity and he does not belong to any particular religion. He loves and accepts people no matter what they believe. He came to show the love of God to the human race, not start a new religion for people to fall in line and follow.

The word Christian actually was used to describe those who were spreading the good news of Jesus. People in the city of Antioch started calling those who followed Jesus, Christians because they were doing the works of Jesus and sharing the love of Jesus so much, they thought of them as little Christs.

When we use the term Christian and mean it as described above, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Being Christ-like, loving God and loving others. Doing the works of Jesus is the true meaning of the word. Yet, if we use Christian in a sense of belonging to a particular church, following a particular doctrine or specific pastor, then it becomes just a religion and for me, I would rather not define myself by this term.

Jesus is the Son of God, and He loves all people. He does not see Muslims, Jews, Christians or any religion. He sees and loves people. He sees people who need the love and acceptance of God. The only way people are going to come to true fellowship with God is through Christ…not Christianity.

It is time we stop looking to the organized world of religion as our way of becoming acceptable and pleasing to God. We need to look to Christ and allow Him to live through us and love those we meet each day. Stop demanding that people follow your doctrine, your rules, your beliefs. Accept people as they are, the way Jesus accepted them. Show the love of Christ to them and let God work in them the way He sees fit.

We are never going to completely agree with each other on doctrine and religion. Only through Christ and the love of God will we be able to share that love with others. Let us be known by the true sense of the meaning of Christian, being someone who is doing the works of Jesus and who loves God and 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

I am writing about this topic out of frustration. Talking about God is as natural to me as talking about a great book or movie. The latter is such an easy conversation most enjoy engaging in. When the topic of God comes up, the conversation hardly flows or seems natural to many. I recently wrote here what God thinks about trying to convert others.

Myth that people are just rebellious

Let’s debunk the theory that those who avoid spiritual discussions is because they are self-centered. The Bible is used to suggest all people who don’t believe in God are simply suppressing what they know to be true (Rm. 1:18-32). Actually, this passage refers to those who didn’t deny Israel’s God existed but turned to other gods to justify harmful behaviors. This isn’t most of my friends. It is wrong to assume those who aren’t pursing God do so for evil reasons. Just call anyone’s behaviors that violate the rights of others for what they are – immoral and destructive.

What may be the main reason people avoid discussions about God? 

I am convinced one main reason many avoid spiritual discussions is because they can smell a hidden agenda a mile away. It’s wrong to engage in friendships with others for the purpose of converting them to believe as you do, without advising upfront your agenda. It is another matter if one chooses to attend a church meeting, for they are inviting such a discussion. Many God-followers engage in aggressive tactics, because we have been taught certain beliefs are required to go to heaven and avoid hell. A literal Hell is a myth according to the Bible so such motives aren’t God’s wishes. See here.

But I have something amazing to share! 

I can’t prove God exist or doesn’t exist, but personally I am convinced one has nothing to lose having faith that God does exist. God through their influence has made me a better man, husband, father, and friend or at least better than if on my own. But I respect those who aren’t convinced or have doubts a Creator really exists. That doesn’t make me more moral. Conversations should be natural and mutual. We don’t have to convert people. We don’t have to feel guilty because we aren’t convincing others about God and their love for them.  God can take care of themself!

We talk about God when we are ready

My grown kids aren’t running to catch honey from my lips. We are close. I am a counselor by profession so geez – I have a few relational skills. Heck, I announced when teenagers my role was changing to being more of a mentor than authority figure. What teenager doesn’t dig that? Then again, I am not knocking down doors for advice from others. We may all need to travel the journey toward wisdom or God at our own pace without any pressure.  The road traveled of learning and reflecting may best lead to lasting convictions. People inspire others because of who they are. God believers – Relax!

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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