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Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

but not Necessarily Religious

by Jim Gordon

There actually is a difference between being spiritual and being religious, although many people think of the two as being the same thing.

Being religious is basically following the rules and doctrines of a specific organization or denomination, or what we usually call church.

Being spiritual can bring to mind all kinds of strange thoughts and ideas. Yet, when I say spiritual, I am talking about a daily life following Christ and allowing His love to flow through us, apart from the doctrines and teachings of any specific religious organization.

My wife and I are no longer religious. We left the weekly meeting at a local building and no longer follow any particular doctrine. Yet being outside the walls of religion, we are more aware of the spiritual, day-to-day life of following the example of Jesus.

We realize that God is not a being up in heaven, coming down to visit us only when the conditions are right, or when we are in a certain building, or when we have been extremely good over the past week.

God is spirit and He is with us constantly. As a quote by Michael Beckwith states “God is a presence that’s never in absence. This presence is everywhere, so, you would never pray for God to come here, because the presence of God is infinite.”

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

I am not sure why it is we have always been taught that God is way up there somewhere. Jesus says that we are one with God in John 17:21 ‘that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me’. God is not somewhere off in Heaven waiting on us. He lives within us and will never leave us.

We seem to think that the Kingdom of God is a place we go one of these days when this life on earth is over. I think this is also a big misconception. God says His Kingdom is within us. That means right now, not some future date. That is what Jesus spent so much time teaching about, the Kingdom of God.

If we could only get these truths in our head and in our spirit, I think we could live a life that would really make a difference. Rather than see religious people who fight and argue over their differences in doctrine and interpretation, they could see spiritual people living a life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness, all in the power of the Spirit.

Unfortunately, we have been taught by religion to rely on trying to work hard, follow the rules and just survive until we get to heaven. We go from Sunday to Sunday, living life without the power of the Kingdom of God. We argue amongst ourselves over doctrine and belief, and by doing so, people see we really do not have anything to offer them that is meaningful and different.

Jesus was the perfect example of God living in man. Jesus came to show us what God may really be like.

We can be Jesus to the world today. We can show love, compassion, and acceptance to the world around us each day. We are not God, but we are one with God. The Spirit is within us and he will teach us, guide us and give us power to love all people.

Listen for the voice of the Spirit in every situation. Realize God is within you and allow His love to touch those around you every day.

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

Political life is a pretty big thing, especially here in the United States. There can be a lot of terrible events that happen in the world of politics. So much sometimes, that it makes you wonder if we as Christians should even be involved.

We know the Spirit of God lives within us, and because of that we are spiritually living in the Kingdom of God now. I believe that everything we do is spiritual. Since the Spirit lives within us, we can go out each day sharing the love of God and doing things that are pleasing to God whether we think it is spiritual or just normal daily life.

What we participate in should always be done with the purpose of being ambassadors for Christ. We go about our daily activity doing things in love, fairness, compassion and equality. We do not hate or exclude others, we do not cheat and take advantage of others, we do not discriminate against others.

If we choose to participate in politics, we do so in ways that show the love of God and actions of Jesus. It is hard to find a political party or politician that is truly committed to following the example of Jesus. We often have to choose to support those who are only partially committed and who we feel will come closest to representing what we think is best for our country.

It is hard to support politicians who promote discrimination, exclusion, hatred, unacceptance, and those who seemingly work for their own power and financial gain. And truthfully, it seems harder and harder to find those who are not this way. Yet, there are those out there who really want to do what they feel is good for their country. It is up to each voter to do some homework and find the best candidates available.

We also need to consider the subject of Christian nationalism, which is mixing Christianity and Politics with too much importance. God loves the world, not just the United States or any one particular country. It seems there are some in politics in the United States that have a goal of making this a Christian nation. This should not be. It is against the constitution and against what we are told in the bible, that God loves the world, not just one country or group of people.

We sometimes seem to think that living for God on this earth can only be achieved by politically enforcing Christian values through laws. Many people seem to think we should use this political power to force 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.

Some people want a country or church that lives a biblical life. That problem is there are so many interpretations of the bible, so many opinions and views that it would be hard to set down specific ways of life that people could agree upon.

The bible can easily be made to say about anything a person chooses, so instead of living a biblical life we should strive to live a Christ-like life. Our example should be the life of Jesus and not the words written in a book.

Here in the United States, it has become a common belief by some that to be a Christian means to be a Republican. That could not be farther from the truth. Our Christianity has nothing to do with a political party, although there are Christians who are Republican, Democrat, Independent, liberal or conservative. Being involved in politics should not mean the political party controls us, but our love of God and love of others should guide us in our political thinking.

I would love to see people stop bringing Christianity down to a political stance. It is not wrong to participate in politics and support the political party you feel is best for the country. The problem is when politics controls the person and the political party is more important than doing what is best for all of the people of the country. We should focus on Christ and loving others no matter which political party they endorse.

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 Chris Kratzer Guest Blogger
www.chriskratzer.com/

That’s right, you don’t need it. At all.

You can live and do everything Jesus commanded and modeled without “church.”

In fact, often better.

With a steeple on nearly every corner, if churches are making such a positive difference in the world for Jesus, why do we see an increasingly far less positive world and why do we see increasingly far less of Jesus?

“Church” doesn’t work, that’s why. Not with a “gospel” of belief-dependent salvation from a torturous god-designed hell. Not to mention, sin-management, conditional love, a codependent god, reaching the so-called “lost,” and converting and colonizing the so-called “world.” That’s a gospel that is no Gospel at all. It makes people worse, not better; more fearful, not at peace; more self-centered, not humanity-serving. In fact, it’s evil. Anti-Christ to the core.

95 percent of Christianity… anti-Christ.

There, I said it.

Church was never the invention of Jesus, you are the invention of Jesus. You are the church. Each one of us, individually. The mind of Christ is within you. Enough Love to change the planet is within you. Everything of the Universe is within you. Yet, so often, “church” blinds, poisons, restricts, distorts, and kills this Light that is within all humanity. A blackhole to all that is good, holy, and right. It exchanges individual, spiritual freedom for communal conformity; divine affirmation for organizational condemnation; and hope and peace for tribal shame, fear, control, and human abuse. More often than not, “church” is the disease, not the cure. And we wonder why the world doesn’t get any better, especially Christians.

You don’t need “church” to find “like-minded” people.

You don’t need “church” to validate or authenticate your faith.

You don’t need “church” for spiritual growth and maturity.

You don’t need “church” to maximize your impact through a “team.”

You don’t need “church” for accountability or support.

You don’t need “church” to find and live your life with joy, significance, and purpose.

If church is a place you go, a service you attend, a creed you follow, or a people you gather with, you’ll never get there, you’ll never find it, and you’ll never have it.

Instead, church is you; you loving neighbor, selflessly serving the world, feeding the hungry, freeing the captive, welcoming the stranger, mending the brokenhearted, defending the least-of-these, and proclaiming the unconditional divine favor, affirmation, equality, and inclusion of all into All.

It’s you taking care of the needs in front of you. It’s you resisting and undoing systems of injustice, violence, greed, and oppression. It’s you being you in ways that honor Love and authenticity. It’s you disconnecting from a self-esteem that’s shackled to personal performance and production. It’s you closing the Bible searching for a perfect thread, answer, defense, meaning, truth, or justification and, instead, opening the Light within you revealing the perfect One, Mind, Spirit, and Universe.

That’s the Church we need.

It’s you. You, and only you.

You are the renewal God is bringing to the earth.

The church we need can’t be contained in a building.

The church we need can’t be confined to a creed.

The church we need can’t be conformed by fear.

The church we need can’t be caged into the Bible.

The church we need can’t be compromised by racism, greed, power, and hate.

The church we need can’t be coerced into judgment, pride, supremacy, and ignorance.

The church we need can’t be controlled by leaders.

The church we need can’t be chaperoned by patriarchy.

The church we need can’t be converted through guilt.

The church we need can’t be calculated in numbers.

The church we need can’t be commissioned by vision.

It needs no defense.

It needs no pastor.

It needs no committee.

It needs no membership covenant.

It needs no budget.

It needs no conferences, books, or celebrity.

It needs no light systems, branding, or worship choruses.

It needs no gathering of the like-minded.

It needs no team-work to make the dream-work.

The church we need is… you.

Everything else is the “church” we don’t need. Everything else is the “church” that isn’t Church at all.

In fact, for far too many, “church” is the crutch and disguise that keeps them from actually following Jesus. It’s the spiritual pacifier of the spiritually restricted and resistant.

For what does most every church and church leader hate and fear the most?

The revelation and reality that you don’t need “church” at all. That you can live and do everything Jesus commanded and modeled without “church.” In fact, often better. And very likely, not until you’ve walked away from all of it.

It’s true. You don’t need “church,” and God doesn’t either.

Your move.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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By Mike Edwards

I posted last week why we can’t seem to have discussions with others about politics if have a difference of opinion. See here. There are differences in the political and religion arena, but politicians and religious folks have many similarities when it comes to disagreeing.

Is the problem about power and control? 

Some just aren’t prepared to defend their viewpoint or hearing disagreements may undermine what they have believed for a long time. They don’t seek to push their beliefs on others but many seek to influence because they assume their truth, or their interpretation of the Bible, is God’s truth. We know control and power are intoxicating and a part of human nature. Quashing dissent allows one to be more in control which happens to enable job security in the institution. 

We can’t claim our truth is God’s truth 

Religious folks hide behind their interpretation of a Book as politicians hide behind their interpretation of science. Opposing views are said to disagree with God or be immoral. But even if you believe the Bible is inspired by God, the Bible requires interpretation. We don’t all agree if the Bible opposes women priests or preachers or condemns gays. Not all scholars who believe in the inspiration of Scriptures agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible.

Not even God imposes beliefs on others

One might think a God powerful enough to create may annihilate immediately those who oppose God by choosing evil. God hasn’t. God’s love in the Bible is frequently compared to that of a human parent. Why would God act any different than a loving parent? Human or spiritual parents bring children into the world hoping their children freely reciprocate their love for authentic relationships. Forced love is an oxymoron. God doesn’t seek to control beliefs through fear.

This doesn’t mean we can’t cooperate with God in intervening to make for a better world. Jesus’ good news wasn’t to believe or eventually be blown up in Hell. See here.  Jesus only sought to encourage people to shun evil and do good for self-interest and the interest of others. Belief in freedom respects challenges. Meaningful, long-lasting change isn’t reached by controlling love.

There are absolute truths of course!  

Certain absolutes are universal and obvious to all rational beings. Who doesn’t believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? No reasonable God or non-God person doesn’t respect that we ought to treat others like we want to be treated. Criminals don’t defend their murders or thefts; instead, they deny committing such crimes. Adultery is only not wrong in the eyes of the betrayer. The Bible doesn’t make such offenses immoral. They are immoral due to our inborn sense of good and evil.

We must have rules for conflict

Continually evaluate the most loving approach is better than claiming certainty and being wrong. We must learn to respond not react over our differences. Look for areas to agree first. Both parties must seek to understand before being understood. Stop demonizing by moralizing. Handle differences with physical and verbal civility. Imagine the impact the religious could have if those who believe in God “walked the walk” when have differing opinions. God-followers must stop claiming their biblical view is morally superior among the religious or non-religious.

Why Can’t We Disagree About God And Religion?

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

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By Mike Edwards

Why can’t we have discussions with others about politics and religion when disagreeing? There are differences in the political and religious arena, but politicians and religious folks have similarities when disagreeing. I will discuss religion disagreements more in my next post.

Could the problem be about power and control? 

There may be an elephant in the room. Not all but many seek to impose their beliefs on others without debate. I can’t read the hearts of individuals. I do know control and power are intoxicating and a part of human nature. These internal forces flourish when others are not allowed to discuss alternative opinions in the public arena. When only one side is presented, control and power grow intentionally or unintentionally. A free, democratic society requires debate.

Recognize your opinion may not be the more moral view 

Politicians and religious folks often hide behind either science or a book such as the Bible. Opposing political views are often said to disagree with science or be immoral. But science is not black and white and demands challenge. Most admit science can change, revealing claims should always be open to debate. Refusing challenges can suggest some underlying fear or dysfunction.

Your view of climate control or immigration, whatever side you stand on, must be open to challenge. You may be right; you may be wrong. Yes, expert opinions exist on both sides of the aisle. Different opinions must be allowed to stand side by side as we attempt to come to an agreement which actions may be the most caring for the greater good. Can you imagine how different our nation would be if all politicians were open to such discussions?

Accept disagreeing about most issues is normal

My wife and I didn’t argue much when dating, which didn’t exactly prepare me for the first years of marriage. Love doesn’t make go away having to share bathrooms, finances, closets, in-laws, etc. Love requires learning to disagree well so to live happily incompatible. Partners begin falling out of love when each assumes their way is right. You don’t have such intense conflicts with others friends because you don’t live with them.

We must stop hiding behind science or a Book. I bet I can get all politicians to agree that murder or sexual abuse is wrong. We make decisions how to punish such offenses, not whether such actions deserve punishment. Science or the Bible don’t make such actions immoral. Murder is immoral due to our inborn sense of good and evil. It is a dictatorship not a democracy when we impose our will on non-moral issues such as health care, taxes, climate change, immigration, etc.

We must have rules for war – I mean conflict 

We must learn to respond not react over our differences. Begin conversations by looking for areas you agree. Both parties must seek to understand before being understood. Stop demonizing by moralizing. Handle differences with physical and verbal civility. It does take two to tango in politics. When the other side doesn’t act cooperatively, one behaving doesn’t always win the other side over in politics. Different actions may be required. Cancelation of different opinions is disastrous and unacceptable in politics or any relationship.

Why Can’t We Disagree About Politics?

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

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by Jim Gordon

As I move through life outside the walls of religion, I have found myself being more comfortable with questions about God. Do you do that too?

Growing up in the church, I remember the feeling of having questions but was afraid to ask. I knew people would question my faith or tell me I was back-sliding so I kept my mouth shut. The issue was that as time went on, the questions kept popping up and I finally began to realize that questioning was not wrong.

As Christians, we have been taught that we need to have the answers. Study to show thyself approved meant you must have an answer for everything people come up with so you can prove your beliefs are right.

I truly believe God accepts us, questions and all. I am hoping that one day I will have more answers, mostly for my own sake and not necessarily to defend my beliefs.

I think the modern-day church and religion in general do not like questions, at least not hard questions. Especially questions that make us wonder about the basic beliefs they teach. They like to have all the answers, and answers that fit into their particular belief and doctrine.

In his book ‘Dying to Religion and Empire: Giving up Our Religious Rites and Legal Rights’, Jeremy Myers makes a statement that is oh so true: “And as is the nature with questions, asking hard questions rarely leads to answers, but only to more questions”

I think God is much bigger than what the church makes of him sometimes. They try to fit everything into a box and do not like people asking questions that require out-of-the-box thinking.

It seems to me the spirit within, the spirit of truth, brings up questions that the religious system taught us and we always just accepted. Now, rather than suppressing these questions, I have allowed them to surface and truly seek God for guidance.

A few years back, Mick Mooney posted an article on Facebook, part of which says: “But who has the faith to ask questions with the intention of seeking the answers to them? Who can let their foundation be not a doctrine or dogma that must be defended, but Christ himself who needs no defense? For it is those who have their foundation solely upon Christ, who can walk in their faith without fear of questions, but rather they walk in their faith knowing that God is lighting their path with questions, and it is these very questions that are paving the path that the Spirit of God is guiding them upon”.

If you have been feeling guilty for having questions, I have found it best to put that feeling aside and keep asking the questions. That is the best way to continue growing and learning in our walk with God. Even when we do not get the answers right away, or if ever, we should continue to be asking and seeking the truth from the Spirit who lives within us. There is nothing too difficult for God; there are no questions or doubts that will turn him away from us or keep him from loving 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

“Lies” is a strong word because I readily admit no one can prove what an invisible, inaudibly God is truly like. I am reacting to those who claim they know the “Truth” and don’t readily admit their interpretations and understandings of the Bible aren’t necessarily infallible. Most agree the only God worth believing in must be loving and perfect. Let’s have open-minded discussions what perfect love looks like. We can disagree but please don’t claim certainty according to a Book subject to interpretation. See link at the bottom of this Post for further elaboration in a brief Book I wrote.

God can’t create a place such as Hell!

God can’t condemn gays for being gay!

God can’t favor men over women for certain roles in church or in marriage!

God can’t only let Christians into heaven!

God can’t be for terrorists who deny freedom of belief!

God can’t control evil and suffering!

God can’t arbitrarily answer your prayer and not others’!

God can’t be a moral hypocrite who says “do as I say not what I do”!

God can’t be mysterious if wanting to be known!

God can’t be an angry, egomaniac!

God can’t be a hidden agenda proselytizer!

God can’t know the future while creating freedom!

God can’t be a Jesus killer!

God can’t be a Bible-worshipper!

Lies About God – Don’t Believe Everything You Hear!

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 Mike Edwards

Decades ago, I was taught things about God that I couldn’t imagine would be true of a loving God. See here.  I can imagine some had no reason to doubt what authorities were teaching them, which eventually lead to leaving God or making God less a part of their life. Why follow a God you couldn’t respect. Question if what you hear doesn’t seem to be right what a loving God would truly be like. You may be right! These are the main beliefs that nagged at me that I became convinced couldn’t be true of a loving God:

That God created a place such as Hell for those who didn’t accept God in their life here on earth. We human wouldn’t even create such a place and consequences for our worst enemies.

What Does God Believe About Hell?

That God actually believes women were not as gifted as men leading in at worship setting or at home. What Does God Think About Women?

That God condemns gays for a choice they have no control over – being gay. Gays no more than straights choose control being attracted to the same or opposite gender. What Does God Believe About Gays?

That God only lets into heaven those who believe in and accept Jesus into their hearts. Half the world born never had a Bible or knew of Jesus. What Does God Think Of Non-Christian Religions?

That God controlled the minds and pens of the writers of the Bible. A loving God who created freedom can never act controlling. Don’t believe everything the Bible claims God did. What Does God Think About An Inspired Bible?

That God foreknows the future. If God already knows what choices we make, this denies the reality of freedom. God actually joins with us with all the joys and pain of an unknown future. What Does God Know About The Future?

That God is a mystery sometimes, because the Bible contributes immoral behaviors to God. This makes assumptions about the Bible and implies God can be a moral hypocrite – “do as I say not what I do.” What Does God Think About Being Labeled Mysterious Or Hypocritical?

I am grateful for the relationship I have with my Creator, but the emphasis on we are obligated to constantly tell God how great they are doesn’t seem natural or relational. I am convinced God doesn’t like to appear egotistical. What Does God Think About Being Told How Great They Are?

Most would agree the Bible says to forgive. To one’s surprise the Bible can also be interpreted to suggest forgiveness requires regret. It matters what we tell others, especially victims. What Does God Think About Forgiving The Guilty Who Deny Wrongdoing?

The God That Turned Out To Not Be True!

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 Mike Edwards

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

The Good News isn’t . . .

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

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

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

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

But what about Jesus dying on the Cross for our sins 

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

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

Challenge God to become real in your life

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

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

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

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by Jim Gordon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Matthew 17:26

Frozen in the Fire

Rising up through Grace

Writer Dylan Morrison

Fascinated by the Nazarene but unimpressed by religion!

Follow Your Arrow

Unashamed of who God made us to be, and unapologetic in our pursuit of God and our purpose in His kingdom

Blind Injustice

Injustices we may not be aware of

Sophia's Essays

This is where I post my essays, primarily about LGBTQ+ issues, politics, and Christian theology.

My Journey

Welcome. My blog is a place where readers will find writings of personal experiences, thoughts, and the peace God provides throughout my walk. I intend to bring inspiration and insight, as well as providing a very personal and transparent view into my life, in order to help others see their own lives in a different perspective. I strongly believe that we all need a different view at times, in order for our personal growth to take place.

Hazy Divinity

Welcome To The Party

Candice Czubernat

A leading voice in the LGBTQ and Christian dialogue

Our Journeys Matter! - Posts

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

Ally's Notebook

Thoughts To Share

Life of a Prodigal

Searching for Truth outside the church walls

What God May Really Be Like - Misbeliefs About God

To those done with religion but not God and my kids (Click FOLLOW for future Posts; See ABOUT/USING THIS SITE tab to navigate Site)

Christy Lynne Wood

Looking for the Real God

Confessions of a Recovering Churchboy

What I bought before, I just can't sell

Intermission

Reflections in the midst of life.

She Seeks Nonfiction

A skeptic's quest for books, science, & humanism

The Wild Frontier

The search for infinite Truth and the invincible Love of an incredible God.

A Wilderness Voice

"The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the LORD of hosts." (Hag 2:9)

What does the word God mean to you now?

It's been a long journey - so far!

Entering the Promised Land

by walking in the Spirit

Beyond Church Walls

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

Escape to Reality

Explore the wide spaces of God's amazing grace

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