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See the Human Being

by Jim Gordon

I think that as followers of Christ, we should be able to accept and love everyone. No matter what we believe, what our faith or doctrine is, no matter our religion, nationality, sexual preference or color, we should see each other as Jesus sees us.

Jesus said to love God, love your enemies, love the brethren, love your neighbor….basically, love others. This is a type of love we cannot do on our own. It is only possible by the love of God within us.

We want to love, accept and care for people, yet it is only natural that we will not always agree with one another. We need to look past those areas of disagreement and love each other in Christ. This seems to be the way that others will come to see the love of God, not through condemning and bashing one another. Not in trying to prove we are right and everyone else is wrong. Love does not mean seeing eye-to-eye, it does not mean we agree or even like some of the things people do. It does mean we look past the differences and love each other as Christ loves us.

No matter if we are gay/straight, religious/atheist, American/foreign, 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 judged and 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 others.

How good it would be if we could look past the labels and see each other as people who overall want the same things: to be happy, to be loved, be healthy, get our bills paid and enjoy life. This is not to say we are going to agree with everyone, always 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, by the power of the Spirit within us, accepting each other and respecting each other in spite of our differences certainly is a possibility.

Let’s look past the labels and see each other as human beings who have feelings, who want love and friendship. Let’s be people who can get to know one another, learn from one another, share thoughts and ideas with each other. Let’s accept the idea that we all have been created in the image 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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Or Is There a Better Way?

by Jim Gordon

white book page
Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

We who are part of the Christian faith have a lot of terminology we use, but often do not think about the real meaning. Rather than continue to use some of these phrases, we should stop and think about what we really mean.

If you have been around church very long, one such phrase you have probably heard is we want to live a ‘biblical life’ or ‘we are a biblical church’. At first this sounds good and spiritual, but after thinking about it a little, these are a couple of the phrases we may want to reconsider.

What Do We Mean by Biblical Living?

The Bible can be very confusing and sometimes mentions ways of life that do not seem very Christ-like. Biblical living can also seem very different from the life of Jesus. By biblical living, I am talking about reading the Bible with the thought that every written word is literal, inerrant and directly from the hand of God, no questions asked. It also means we read the Bible based on modern times and do not take into effect that customs, words and times have changed over the centuries.

Biblical living often means we follow a pastor who we look to as a middle man or woman between God and us. We take the pastor’s interpretations and views without really thinking for ourselves.

Biblical living has led to slavery, murder, the dark ages, witch hunts, the crusades and various forms of hatred, exclusion and discrimination.

Biblical living can vary according to church doctrine and personal interpretation, which has led to thousands of different denominations. This of course leads to division among the brethren.

Organizations such as the KKK came into being, with its hatred and discrimination against people of color partly due to what was read in the Bible. Some information on the KKK and Christianity was listed at gotquestions.org and you can read about it at this link.

Another issue that can be found in the Bible is the acceptance of slavery. Christianity Today ran an article discussing slavery which can be read at this link.

Living a biblical life can easily lead to discrimination against women. Women were considered property in the middle east and had no individual rights. Even in our world today, at one-point women did not have the rights that men had, and still endure many inequalities to this day.

grayscale photo of group of people performing rally on street
Photo by Giacomo Ferroni on Unsplash

Biblical living required that a woman caught in adultery be stoned.

Biblical living required a woman who was not a virgin on her wedding night to be executed.

Biblical living can lead to the killing of children. We read passages about how children should be killed for doing certain things, such as in Leviticus where it is written that if a child is rebellious, he should be stoned.

Biblical living required people abstain from certain foods and fabrics, it restricted what people could do on certain days and a host of other rules and laws.

There are passages that condone having multiple wives, restrict women from teaching in the institutional church and that discriminate against those who are LGBTQ.

Clearly, biblical living can take effort on our part in trying to interpret and follow each Bible verse literally. Of course, the problem is which interpretation or which doctrine do we determine to be the correct one?

Biblical Living Seems So Hateful

So often the religious world seems to be so hateful toward those who are different. Religion says do not associate or accept those that do not agree or measure up; stay away from those who are sinful and unworthy.

We often read that God told the Israelites to completely wipe out and destroy certain groups of people due to the way they acted or believed.

I personally think God is highly misrepresented in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. I think many times when men wrote that God said this or that, it was more of what they wanted to do rather than God actually telling them to do such horrible acts. They would do what they wanted, then say God told them to do it.

Should We Disregard the Bible

By saying all this, does that mean the Bible is not important? Should we ignore it and stop reading it? Of course not. The Bible is inspired and written by men who experienced God and walked with Jesus. The Holy Spirit can enlighten the words written and can lead us to the Living Word of God who is Jesus. The Bible is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness.

The problem is when we elevate the Bible to being equal to God or make it more important than the Spirit who lives within us. Many people seem to think of the trinity as the Father, Son and Holy Bible.

When we think about all the killing, discrimination and injustices that are done based on people’s interpretation of the Bible, we should begin to question why this is. Could it be that biblical living really is not what we want? I believe there is a better way of living our lives for God, and that is Christ-like living.

What is Christ-like Living?

Christ-like living is following the example of Jesus. We can find out how Jesus lived and treated people as we read the gospels in the Bible. Rather than living by man’s doctrine and interpretations, or by exact adherence to biblical verses, we look to the Holy Spirit who lives within us. The Bible can be very helpful in how we live and how we love God and others when the Spirit reveals the truth to us.

love one another chalk written on concrete floor
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

We know that Christ-like living showed mercy and grace to the woman caught in adultery. We also know that Jesus did not ignore or look down upon women. He associated with them and treated them as equals.

We know that Christ-like living did not murder.

We know that Christ-like living provides freedom.

We know that Christ-like living does not judge, condemn, discriminate nor exclude.

In direct opposition to biblical living, Christ-like living puts all the effort on Christ. Jesus said to take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.

We do not hear very much taught about the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus seems to contradict many of the biblical sayings during this teaching. Jesus often said ‘you have heard that it was said this or that, but I tell you this’. Jesus was saying the he had authority over the written word. Of course, we know from John 1:1 and 1:14 that Jesus is the Word of God. The Bible is a written account about God, but does not have the power and authority of Jesus who is the Word of God.

In his article, Why You Should Run from “Bible Believing Churches”, Adam Ericksen states the following:

The Bible contains human testimony about how God works in the world, but it is not God’s inerrant Word. The Bible points beyond itself to God, and in the New Testament, to the God revealed in Jesus. The Bible even claims that Jesus is the Word of God, not the Bible itself.

Jesus warned people about elevating the Bible above himself. “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

In Conclusion

Jesus came into the world for the purpose of showing us what God is really like. The way Jesus lived seems like such a contradiction to some of the ways of biblical living we see in our world. Jesus showed us that God is love by the way he loved and accepted people. The same people that many in the religious world condemned, would not associate with and found completely unworthy to be loved.

Christ-like living is based on love. Jesus said to love God and love one another. Since we have the Spirit of God living within us, we know we can act from love in how we treat one another.

In Christ, we can be free from biblical living to live a Christ-like life because of the grace of God. We do this by following the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

Christ-like living is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is certainly a better way to live and follow Jesus compared to some of the biblical ways we have been taught.

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

It is hard to believe we need to even ask this question. Women deserve equal treatment and equal rights just like any other human being. It is hard to believe that only a few years ago women could not vote, hold certain jobs or do many day-to-day things that men were doing. Women were to have their place in the family, and they were not to step outside that role.

As we look back over history, we see women have always struggled. They were looked upon as property back in biblical days and had no say in anything. Even today in some middle eastern countries, women are treated as property rather than as human beings.

Speaking of biblical times, it seems to me at least Jesus treated women on an equal basis with men. We often read that he spoke with women, respected and cared for women and had many friends that were women. That was unheard of in those times. We read of many women who supported Jesus and were part of his ministry. Yet today it is still common for women to be rejected for ministry such as being pastors or church leaders.

So often, especially in religious circles, women are treated as second class citizens and as being unequal with men. They are supposed to wear certain kinds of clothes, they are supposed to stay in the home and raise kids or only work certain kinds of jobs. Fortunately, things have been changing but there is still a long way to go.

It is sad to hear of women being abused by their husbands. This should not be. Husbands are told to love their wife as they love their own body. Husbands and wives, or any marriage partner, should be treated as equals and with love and respect. For those who are abused, I feel it is best they leave the situation and move on. Even though the bible talks about divorce, I do not believe God intends for women to stay in abusive relationships.

I remember growing up and getting my first job. I was amazed when I learned that I got paid a certain amount for my job, but later found out that a woman doing the same job got less pay. I could not figure out why that was the case.

In the years I worked as a firefighter, I saw more fairness and equal treatment than I did in my first job or within the church. The position of firefighter received a certain pay and it was the same if the position was filled by a man, a woman, someone who was black or white, gay or straight. And as firefighters we gave the same equal service to all human beings no matter who they were.

I hear complaints about women’s lib, equal rights and feminism from time to time and it makes me mad. Why do so many of us men think women are not as capable as us? I believe women are just as smart, strong, capable and able to do anything they desire. I believe what a person does in life depends on their qualities, training, capabilities and desires and not on whether they are male or female.

I believe all human beings have the same ability to accomplish the desires God put within them. Men and women have differences in that it takes both to create a new life, yet other than that, we are all basically the same and are deserving of equal treatment, equal rights and equal pay.

In Galatians 3:28 it is mentioned that there is neither male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. This is not to take away the importance of men or women, but to say we are all human beings, equally important and loved by God.

I pray that we come to fully accept and appreciate women as equal human beings. It is time discrimination and unfair treatment of women, or any human being comes to an end. It is time we realize that women, as well as all people, are loved and accepted by God and we all are to 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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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 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

This article focuses more on those of us who are, let’s say a little further along in life. Most people have a dream, something they want to do or want to become. Most often, this is in regard to some type of a job or career.

I certainly had a dream, and it started when I was ten years old. I wanted to be a firefighter. A lot of young kids have that dream, but I never lost interest in pursuing that dream.

I can remember the excitement I felt just thinking about one day doing this job. My heart would pound when I saw a fire truck going down the street with its lights flashing and siren blaring.

Over the next many years, I would dream about being a firefighter. I would read about it, watch TV shows about it, think about it, prepare and study. I constantly visited different fire houses and talked with the guys actually doing the job. Once I was old enough to do something about my dream, for various reasons it just never seemed to work out, at least not when I wanted it to become a reality.

When I was eighteen, there was a height and weight requirement for the job, and I was always underweight (wish I still had that problem). I could not do anything to gain enough weight to qualify for the testing process.

I ended up taking a job that I had never thought about or wanted to do, but since I needed to work, I took it. Not long afterward I got married and in time had a couple children. At that point, I could not afford to make a job change even though the height and weight requirements for the job were dropped. Yet after all this, my dream continued and I could not get the desire and the excitement of the job out of my mind.

Fortunately, when changes were made to the hiring process, the age requirement was dropped also. Finally, even though I was into my forties, I finally made the decision to give it a try. I was extremely fortunate to have a wife who knew how bad I wanted this job and who was willing to do whatever it took to help me and to keep the family finances in decent shape.

So, after all the years of dreaming, preparing, studying, taking tests and physicals and waiting, I finally got the job I had dreamed about for so long. Once actually on the department, I absolutely loved it. I am one of the lucky ones who actually got to live their dream job.

Now the issue was that since I started later in life, when I turned sixty-five years old, I knew it was time to retire. I had fulfilled my dream and loved doing it, but now I was ready for the next chapter in my life.

I certainly have not regretted leaving my dream job at all. I was blessed by God to get to fulfill it and I was blessed to have a wife who supported and encouraged me throughout the process and the job. But now I was ready to enjoy life outside of work.

Of course, this left the question of ‘now what’? After all the years of dreaming, preparing, studying, testing, day-dreaming about a job, then doing the job, it was over. So now what do I do after the dream is over?

At first, it can be quite confusing about what to do and how to handle this change. After having a specific identify for many years, then all of a sudden it is gone, it can take some time to adjust back into normal life. Then once you do, you wonder what can you do after you have fulfilled your dream.

The good thing is that it does not take long to start enjoying a life of no schedules, a life of never missing a family event again, a life of spending quantity and quality time with your spouse. Once you get into the groove of daily life outside of work, there are still plenty of things to do to enjoy life and fulfill a sense of purpose.

There are all types of hobbies, volunteer work, there is plenty of time to spend with kids and grandkids, there are plenty of parttime jobs out there, and for us, there is plenty of time to travel and see some places we have always dreamed about seeing.

So maybe the main dream is over in regard to a career, but there are plenty of other dreams out there just waiting to be fulfilled. The thing we need to remember is do not give up. Do not just sit day after day thinking there is nothing more to do. Focus on some of the other things you always would have liked to do if you just had the time.

I truly believe no matter what our age, God has a purpose for us to fulfill. We can do things that will bring us joy and give us purpose, and can also bring joy and be a help and encouragement to others. It is never to late. After the dream is over you can focus on the next dream to look forward to fulfilling.

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

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 in regard to abortion.

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

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

I think the important points of focus should be on 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. If abortion became illegal, taxpayer money being used now for abortion would stop. Rather than use that money for something else, it 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 the truth is they provide many opportunities for education, family planning and healthcare. I think opportunities like this should be increased and many other organizations could step up and provide the same care.

Adoption is another big help for those who would choose to have their baby but are not ready or prepared to keep and raise their child. There are so many loving people in our country that would love to have a baby but they cannot. 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, but it is ultimately is going to be the choice of the mother what she does. Every opportunity should be available to make it easier for the mother to choose what is best for her and her child.

For Christian people, if Roe v Wade is overturned, they need to be ready to show love and support to the many women who need help and who are trying to make a decision on what to do. They need to be ready to assist with their money and/or time to provide the help and support needed for those who choose to bring a new life into this world.

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

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by Jordan Hathcock

Without order nothing can exist-without chaos nothing can evolve. Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. – Oscar Wilde

It is a hard thing to grasp when one comes to the threshold of an unknown road. Do we panic? Do we push back? What do we grab on to when experiencing this unfamiliar and turbulent route? I don’t know for sure, but it does seem like the more we experience the chaos, the more we scramble for answers. Maybe instead of demanding answers, we start asking questions that are more relevant with the path in front of us? Specifically, within the American Christian landscape, we cannot deny that we are at a critical crossroad. Are we going to listen to the petitions that are being proposed or are we just going to seek the more familiar and accessible remedies?

The “answers” might seem finite and foundational–but in the end–the order we want will end up being of no value. This “abyss” seems unpleasant (maybe unbearable at times), but what if we can learn to abide through it, to better heal and liberate as a community? What are the questions and answers I am referring to? Well, if I had all the prevalent questions with the damaging responses in this blog, it would be a million-page novel. But I did come up with four main ideas which seem to shed some light regarding the current church vs the world problem we are experiencing. Look, the “church” is supposed to be leading in example on how healthy community is done. Unfortunately, it seems to be doing the opposite. I believe these ideas play a huge role in why this is the case.

1. Culture Irrelevance

Wait, hold the phones?! As Jesus-followers, aren’t we supposed to be the called-out ones that are “not of this world”? How can I say culture irrelevance is part of the problem of the current state of American Christianity? Easy. Throughout the Abrahamic faiths and Jesus tradition, all the players who had a role in bringing this movement into fruition, worked and lived within their own cultural context. You cannot have the prophetically justice stance of Moses without having a dictator like the slave-driving Pharaoh. Or the “rags-to-riches” story in the journey of Ruth through the perils of a patriarchal society. Its relative for all these characters when they engaged in the culture of their day. From politics, earth-care, education, traditions, and entertainment, all these cultural aspects play a role when shaping and forming one’s Jesus community. To place the church “outside” of the culture of the day, is to put it in a stale and unproductive state. This does nothing in bringing about the earth as it is in heaven admonition from Jesus. It only brings about an escapism which never produces good fruit.  

2. Consumer-Oriented Platforms

We want it all, we want it with ease, and we want it NOW! This is the modern era of consumer Christianity. The bigger, stronger, and faster consumer minded motif we find ourselves in is becoming more of a game than a gift. Our easy access to goods is bringing about those lovely seven deadly sins we all enjoy so much (tongue and cheek, hehe).  Instant gratification is so nice, isn’t it though? I love having access to so many goods from just the tip of my fingertips and the scroll of my smart phone. Our technology driven society is helping the insta (haha get it?)cause for sure (plug in and stay tuned). Yes, technology has done some great things for human civilization. But we cannot deny the negative side of it as well. I get that we all enjoy some type of “retreat” from the woes of this world so we can encounter God. This is all well and good. You want rock stages, fog machines, Starbucks coffee and strobe lights, knock yourself out. I am not trying to say to stop doing these types of practices. The problem I am seeing is, instead of getting disciples, we might be getting fans. Hey, but fans are the ones that keep this consumer machine rolling…we need fans, right? Economies based on exchange will need some admirers if we are going to keep this merry-go-round operational. Entertainment can be intoxicating along with being detrimental when it comes to participating in the Jesus Way. Look, we all are going to be within the non-dualistic tension of being consumers and lovers (1 Cor 13:4-8). Its what we do with this tension that matters.

3. Exclusionary Campaigning

Factionalism has been the new trend within the American church today. Looks like we are joining the American polarized political divide. Yes, we are supposed to act within our current cultural issues, but what is to be our tactics? It cannot be one that causes divisions and strife (Gal. 5:20) but one that produces LOVE, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That is what we are called to participate in. This is what produces the fruit that Jesus spoke of. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a crazy time to be alive in the USA. Tensions are high (so much so people are throwing out possible civil war). We are going through extreme social unrest from pandemics, racial injustices, economic disparity, and political strife. The divide is obvious and deep at the moment. But no matter what, the church is to be the example of love above all else (i.e., Shalom). This love may look like a “dividing sword” (Mat. 10:34) to “others” who might just not have a vision of a justice (love in public) rolling down like a river through our American streets. Regardless, we are here to love our enemies (which means we have no enemies) and be a people of inclusion, hospitality, and generosity.

4. Doctrine Certitudes

Jesus was about the Gospel, not doctrine. The Gospel should always be seen as a way to bridge the gap between the outcast and the conformed, the poor and rich, the black and white, the gay and straight, the man and woman, the transsexual and the heterosexual, the child and adult (Gal. 3:28-get the picture?). We cannot be bamboozled by this notion that the Gospel is just one tight net idea that once examined and believed, no other type of suggestions or behaviors can stem from it. The Gospel is a plethora of creative and innovative ways of being in the time and place we are given.It is not just a set of beliefs (atonement theories) to believe in, nor is it one certain type of action within one’s culture (social justice). The Gospel involves those ideas and actions, for sure! But it’s really just simply good news, which everyone needs nowadays.

* * *

Well, what do you think? Again, if we are looking to bring about the cross-like, forgiving love that Jesus brought, what do we do in the chaos and orderWE ABIDE (uh oh, I just gave you an answer haha)! We breathe. We seek. And maybe, just fucking maybe, we will find…

Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you. Abide in My love! 

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by Jim Gordon

Many of us go through life with a very low opinion of ourselves. Often it is due to what we hear others say about us. What actually is our identity in this world? Many of us as christians are told that we are just poor sinners saved by grace and that we are no more than a worm deserving of hell.

Yet Jesus has something very different to say. It is time to ignore what people tell us we are based on beliefs, or a label we wear or for whatever reason people come up with and listen to what is written in the bible. Stop listening to others and focus on what Jesus tells us we are. Following are some verses that tell us what we are in Christ:

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12)

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. (John 15:15)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (Romans 5:17)

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin (Romans 6:6)

Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  (1 Corinthians 6:19)

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us [a]diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20)

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20)

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (Galatians 3:13)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28)

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir (Galatians 4:7)

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.  (Ephesians 1:4)

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7)

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son (Colossians 1:13)

He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him (Colossians 1:22)

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:10)

We have been set apart as holy because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do by sacrificing his body once and for all (Hebrews 10:10)

You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)

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by Jim Gordon

Many people wonder if Christianity and politics can actually exist together. It seems that Jesus really had no real interest in the political system of his day, yet he also did not condemn it. He said to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

In our day and age politics can be a powerful thing and many people find it extremely important. No matter what country you live in it is controlled by a political party in one way or another. Many countries, like the United States participate in free elections and others are under more of a dictatorship. Either way, we humans are all under some type of political influence and control.

I find that coming from a Christian viewpoint it seems many Christian people in the United States feel that if you are a Christian you have to be a republican. Personally, the way I feel about politics I really do not care which political party a person belongs too. Unfortunately, I really do not see much of the ways of Jesus in either of our main political parties. It seems politicians are more concerned on political power and financial gain rather than on serving the people and making things better for all.

When I vote, I try to vote for the person I feel will do that best job for the most people and I do not worry which political party they belong too. I know there are many politicians who are of the Christian faith, yet there are also many who only use Christianity to get more votes.

Truthfully, being a Christian has nothing to do with a political party. Those of us who are followers of Christ live every day by our faith which involves every aspect of living. Our faith in God is not a Sunday only thing or a political thing. Many people seem to think they have a spiritual life on Sunday and a secular and political life the rest of the week. Yet the truth is we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we walk with the Spirit of God each and every day. Everything we do can be considered spiritual because God is within us all the time.

Many people seem to think we can use political power to force our Christian values on everyone. I for one do not believe we should or can legislate Christian values and morality on anyone. God does not force his love and ways on us, so why should we try to force our values and beliefs on others. Only by the power of the Spirit living within us can righteous living and loving others be accomplished.

Jesus was obviously more interested in speaking of and teaching about the kingdom he was a part of, the Kingdom of Heaven. He was not nearly as worried or concerned about worldly kingdoms or political powers.

I would love to see people stop bringing Christianity down to a political purpose. Focus on Christ and loving others no matter which political party they endorse, if any. Politics is not the answer and is not worth all the fighting and arguing over. Loving God and loving one another is a much more important and meaningful way of life.

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