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Archive for the ‘The church’ Category

(What Exactly Does that Mean?)

by Jim Gordon

Over the past short period of time, we have heard of several “high profile christian leaders” say that they have left Christianity.

We have heard such comments from Joshua Harris, Paul Maxwell, Marty Sampson and I am sure several others.

When we hear this, many of us think that they have walked away from their faith and belief in God. Yet to rush into this way of thinking, we need to determine what exactly does the person mean by leaving Christianity.

I know first hand for my wife and I what it means, and it has nothing to do with leaving my faith or love for God.

The way I see it, Christianity is known more as a religion, just as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism or any of the many other religions out there. Christianity is a religion based on Christ but certainly not started by nor endorsed by Jesus.

When reading the gospels we read how the disciples came to know and follow Jesus. At that time they did so apart from any religion, especially Christianity since the word was not even known at that time. In Acts 11:26 people were first called Christians, which was after Jesus had returned to the Father.

Christianity, in my opinion, is generally stereotyped into people who go to church each week, they follow a particular doctrine, regularly read their bible, tithe their money to the church and often think their way is the only way. In the United States they tend to be republican, are against abortion and believe those who are LGBTQ are the worst of sinners.

When I say I have left Christianity, I mean I am walking away from this stereotyped religion. In no way have I left my faith in God or turned from following Jesus, who said to love God and love one another. This can certainly be done apart from Christianity.

So, no longer being Christian, I can honestly say I love God, follow Jesus and love people. I do not attend a church organization, I do not put trust into any particular religious doctrine, I read the bible but I do not believe it is a rule book or an inerrant document. The Spirit lives within us and the Spirit leads and guides us. Apart from the Spirit bringing to life passages written in the bible, the book itself is a document written by men about their belief and experiences with God. I do not tithe but I give to help others. I am an independent voter and fully affirm and support those who are LGBTQ. On the matter of abortion, I certainly understand a woman wanting the freedom to make choices about her body. I also understand for those who believe life begins at conception, they would have a hard time believing abortion is the right choice. I believe rather than fighting about whether abortion is right or wrong, it would be much better to come up with alternatives on how to support women no matter which decision they make ( read more here ).

There are so many views and opinions within Christianity. We will all never completely agree. Yet our commonality is in our love for God, love for Jesus and love for our fellow human beings. As John 13:34-35 reads, ‘a new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’. Nothing here mentions Christianity or any religion. One does not need to follow a religion to love one another.

So, for my wife and I, we have left the religion of Christianity and are enjoying walking outside the box of religion and doctrinally controlled ideas. We are free to love, live and give as the Spirit leads us and for us, it is a much more meaningful way of walking with God.

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

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by Mike Edwards

Jesus-followers in the first century had a radical impact in their world and centuries to come. They were driven by the belief according to eye witnesses that Jesus of Nazareth came back from the dead days after being horrifically crucified on the Cross. Today we must personally decide on such an event based on historical reliability. Other than this belief, it would seem their impact was due to the way they lived out Jesus’ message to love one another as they wished to be loved. I am convinced changes in at least the below beliefs thus actions by all God-followers would make a difference in Christianity’s influence!  

Bible

Even the Bible tells us the Word of God isn’t a Book but flesh in the body of Jesus (Jn. 1:1-14), whose Spirit now lives in us (Jn. 14:16-17). A supposed, inspired Bible or Quran has led to claims that we best can know God according to “biblical truths.” The term “biblical truths” is misleading because differing biblical interpretations exist for many moral issues. Such views of a Book has led to much violence justified in the name of God. See here.

All agree an imperfect unloving God is not worth believing in. It’s intuitive to think a Creator would love us in the same way we wished to be loved by our parents. God’s image is surely a perfect, loving Parent! Universal moral outrage over murder, lying, stealing, etc. hint that moral knowledge isn’t hidden. We must be careful though claiming matters important to us are moral such as immigration, taxes, etc. Uncertainty not certainty about God, unless talking about beheading infidels, protects against imposing beliefs on others in God’s name. Openness encourages evaluating with others what a loving God would truly be like.

Gays 

What would you believe about God and gays if you didn’t have a Bible? It is a fair question. The majority of people born into this world didn’t possess a copy of the Bible or even heard of Jesus. I doubt a Creator would only communicate through such means. Besides, many may not be aware that biblical scholars who respect the Bible believe Scriptures don’t condemn gay monogamous relationships. See here.

Could a loving God possibly condemn gays when they can no more choose who they are attracted to than straights can? If you are a straight man, don’t you naturally have to fight not looking at naked women than men? Ask gays their battle! Who chooses to be gay when one has to hide their sexuality because of bigotry and hostility? Science isn’t conclusive why we have desires for the same or opposite sex, but if you think there is a .0001% possibility that science proves sexual orientation isn’t a choice, would why we judge rather than love? It’s a myth that sexual choices are always the result of some trauma or rebellion in our lives.

Women

I am not sure why any fair-minded person would think women can’t fulfill the same roles as men unless believing a Book about God teaches otherwise. I doubt Paul, a main writer of the New Testament, was a bias against women. See here. Most agree not allowing equal roles because of skin color is immoral. Choosing who should lead the company based on gender is obviously bigotry. The most qualified or gifted should surely lead the company. Why not in church? Men in authority over women whether in public or private life is conducive for domestic abuse and the other atrocities women face at the hands of men. Give me an inch and I am tempted to take a mile!

Religion exclusion

A loving God wouldn’t only let Christians into heaven when the majority of people born into this world died without knowledge of Jesus the Christ. Besides, one’s religion or rebellion against a certain religion is often based on the family born into whether it is Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. Is God a God of chance? No human or spiritual parent brings children into the world requiring that one’s eternal destination is based on circumstances out of one’s control.

Terrorists believe you must be of a certain religion or be killed. If our Creator believed this way, why hasn’t God controlled evil here on earth by dashing to pieces those who don’t accept God’s ways? An infallible Book would not be so dangerous if extremists acknowledged literature is subject to interpretation, thus their interpretation cannot be proclaimed as “certainty” in God’s name.  It is true bad and good religion must be distinguished, but the Bible mustn’t be used to claim all must convert to Christianity to be accepted by God.

Focus on life here on earth rather than after death

Even the Bible records that 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). Loving God is loving others to the fullest. Jesus’ focus wasn’t on quantity of life after death but about a life worth living here on earth. Jesus sought to save us from destructive decisions here on earth. God seeks to encourage us to pursue heavenly than worldly ways. God seeks to empower us to be the unselfish people we deep down desire to be. Jesus sought changes of the heart for the good of the world.

A focus on the present than future makes even more sense when realizing that the traditional understanding of Hell doesn’t exist. A loving God wouldn’t torture anyone forever since such pain serves no lasting purpose. Humans wouldn’t even create such a place for their enemies. Such a place may be only imagined because of a Book. God couldn’t be a hellish/sadistic torturer! See here.

Your image of God matters!

Our understanding of God can determine the depth of our relationship with God and how we might treat others. If God really created Hell, we may think we should emulate God in our attempts to judge and punish. If God condemns gays, we will condemn gays out of devotion to God. If we believe God thinks men have authority over women in some positions, that will filter down to your wives, daughters, and friends and stifle their gifts. Imagine what you believe a perfect God is like in your life and the lives of others you interact with. You may be right.

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

The Word of God is important to us today, just as the Word of God has always been important. The question is what actually is the Word of God?

Growing up in church, I was always taught that the bible was the perfect, inerrant word of God. People would tell me if the bible was not perfect, then how could we believe anything about God? To me, that seems to put a lot of emphasis and importance on the bible rather than on God. Remember, it is not the Father, Son and Holy Bible.

Just because a book written by many men over many, many years is not inerrant does not mean God does not exist or cannot be trusted. God is much bigger and more powerful than to be controlled by a book.

The bible was written by men who were inspired but not controlled by God. It was writings of their views, opinions and experiences learning about God, and trying to relate to and follow God. They were not over powered and used as God’s hands to write the words of the bible.

The bible, even according to the bible itself, is not the word of God. We are told in John 1:1 that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. It later says that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The bible is not the word of God but it leads us to the Word of God (Jesus/God) and to our own experiences with God.

The bible is certainly worth reading, especially since it does say in 2 Timothy that all scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness. Inspired and directly written are two different things. I may be inspired by someone to write an article or a book, but what I write will be from my experiences, opinion and knowledge.

The bible comes to life when the Spirit illuminates what God has for us. Apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit, the bible is only man’s views and experiences with God. It is the Spirit that lives within us that teaches and brings to life the words that were written. It is the Spirit that leads us to a life with God that has purpose and meaning. And it is the Spirit that gives us strength to show the love of God to other people as we live our lives daily for him.

Read the bible, ask the Spirit to speak to you while doing so, but do not elevate the bible to a position it does not even ask for. The Word of God is alive, powerful and inerrant, but the Word of God we are talking about is Jesus, by his Spirit, living in 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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by 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 Jim Gordon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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by Jim Gordon

Often times in the past I have talked about modern day church and the way it is way off base from what it was meant to be.

It is not that I am against church, but it is a matter of being clear on the proper meaning of the word. Not that we have to be politically correct in description, but I feel we need to be clear on the matter in regard to our way of thinking.

Normally when the word church is mentioned, we think of a building we go to on Saturday or Sunday to learn about God. We also think in terms of how much we go to church as being a guide to how spiritual we are, or how close we are to God. We think of the doctrines, rules and regulations placed on us by the church as ways to make us better Christians.

We need to reset our thinking. The Church is not a building. The Church is the bride of Christ, all of us who are saved by grace. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The building is just a place where we can meet and conduct spiritual meetings and social events. Doctrine, rules and regulations are the old way of living, it was part of the law which Jesus fulfilled and brought to an end. We now live by love because of his grace.

Our thinking in regard to the word of God is also flawed. When we think of the Bible we think of a book and call it the word of God. The Bible never calls itself the actual word of God. The true living Word of God is Jesus. In the gospel of John it is stated that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God; and the word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus is the Word of God. There is certainly nothing wrong with reading the Bible because it teaches us about God and leads us to Jesus, the Living, Inerrant Word of God. Our focus is to be on the fact that the Word of God is alive and living within each of us and is not just words printed on a page.

Although sometimes it may seem unimportant how we think of church and the Bible, it is very important that we understand what is really meant. The old mindset of a building and a book need to be replaced with the fact that the Church are those of us who are redeemed through the blood of Christ and the Word of God is Christ Himself, alive and living within us by his Spirit.

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by Jordan Hathcock

I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am. – John Newton

Here we are folks! We made it through the insane, sorrowful, confusing, defeating—and whatever other negative shit you can think of—year of 2020! Look, it has been a historic year and it’ll go down in history, no doubt. A lot of loss from all social aspects. Some experts are saying we might not see the end of the tunnel until 2024 (please god, I hope not). Alas, if you are alive and kicking, it’s something positive to take into the new year of 2021. Let’s breathe for f-sakes! I like to share with you my own “spiritual roll call” for this upcoming year. I think it’s healthy to step into a state of mindfulness when it comes to our wellbeing. So, let’s bring the awareness, baby!

Here is my “list” of where I am at with my spiritual (everything is spiritual, right Rob Bell?) life. Just going to lay out some “big” concepts with my inerrant (haha j/k) two cents. I hope it’s of substance and a possible help to whomever is reading this “blog”. Contemplation can definitely bring us into a more calming presence which hopefully brings about a more peaceful way of life (fingers cross for 2021). Enjoy my Spiritual Roll Call!

God

*Who* (or what?) is God really? Father? Mother? Being? Universe? Alien? Trump (seems to be for some but I regress hehe)? The who and the what don’t really tickle my fancy as much as the how? I definitely have come to a place where I see the Divine as more of an experience than a exact substance. How is God moving and breaking through my life seems more relative than the ontological details. At the same time, I love swimming in the Jesus tradition. The story of Jesus still captures my imagination. Yes, that stems from a lot of culture and family upbringing–we are all products of our environment. Yet, there is something still so new and relevant with the Jesus story that resonates with me more now than ever. The Spirit of Abba seems to be forever guiding me—with her wings of love, grace, mercy, peace and justice…oh my! 2021 needs some of that…

Church

Being raised in a pretty dogmatic tradition, it‘s pretty amusing to see myself back participating in a brick and mortar church. I don’t think it’ll never not find this to be hilarious (in a good way). As a person who is pretty anti-authority, it’s ironic to see myself being part of a Christian church. I am even part of the members board?! Elder Hathcock anyone?? Being raised L.D.S., the title of elder is pretty cringing (no offense). But that’s the paradox of it all! I get that some people are just not going to step foot in a church ever again (for good reasons). Those who find themselves in the physical church have their reasons too (don’t ask me what those are hehe). It’s easy to point fingers and bring our judgments to the nones, dones and the active. All I trust in is that community matters. We are all connected and I think it’s super healthy to help each other out. And I guess I like how the Jesus commonwealth feels best (shoot me).

Scripture

Can we really trust in ancient stories? Can we experience them in a way to better enrich our lives and those around us? Well, I don’t know for sure—but it seems like in the Christian tradition—we see more harm being done with the Bible than good. But this can be done with anything really, right? I mean look at the smart phones we use everyday? Technology is an amazing gift (especially through this pandemic). But we see the other side as well. Social media is just one click a way to a world of division and hostility. But it also can be used for just the opposite. Kind of what the Bible does, right? We can either take this book and use it to seek and destroy each other or we can let it help us point to divine healing and liberation. I will take the later. Quote me on this: I will never use scripture to judge or condemn anyone…woooweee!

***

There you have it. Some of my perspectives that will hopefully bring about some healthy change in my little bubble and beyond. It’s good to name and claim it once in awhile when you are looking to be transparent, I think? Maybe your spiritual roll call will lead you into a presence which will produce new heights for this 2021 year. Let’s do this!

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by Jim Gordon

For those of us who had anything to do with church, we always knew exactly what it meant when we heard someone say it is the Lords’ day. We knew that was the day we considered the sabbath and the day we went to church.

We would think of Sunday as a special holy day, a new beginning for the week. It was the day we worshipped and fellowshipped with our brothers and sisters in Christ. It was a day to relax, do nothing and prepare for the week ahead.

Referring to the Lord’s day as Sunday, or whichever day you believe is the sabbath, is an old covenant way of thinking. The old covenant is now complete. Jesus fulfilled the old covenant, brought it to an end and began a new and better covenant. It is a covenant of grace and love without the rules and religious laws.

Actually, Sunday is the Lord’s day, as is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day is the day that the Lord has made and we can rejoice and be glad in each day.

As we approach the beginning of a new year, we can see that the Lord’s day(s) are similar to New Year’s Day in one sense. We always look to the new year as a time for new beginnings. A time to make changes to better ourselves in one way or another.

When we realize that the Lord’s day is every day, we can also see that each and every day of the year is a new beginning.

As we are ready to celebrate a new year, let us remember that we do not have to wait a whole year to start fresh. Every morning of each day can be a new beginning. Let us seek the guidance of the Spirit who lives within us, show the love of God to everyone and enjoy each day the Lord has made.

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Updated
by Jim Gordon

I grew up in the institutional church and was always of the persuasion that being gay was a sin. I felt that since I was pretty open by saying I hated the sin but loved the sinner, I was doing better than most. Yet, either way I was saying being gay was a sin.

I never treated those who were gay in a bad way. I never treated any of my friends or relatives who were gay any different than I treated anyone else. I saw them as normal everyday people, except for a great sin in their life, or so I supposed at one time.

Things changed on this subject, and amazingly it was after leaving the institutional church. I started to see that God loves people, all people. There was no ‘I love you but’ when it came to God. I started to read some on the subject (something I never dreamed of doing before). I read Justin Lee and Matthew Vines. I really thought about a God of love and how could that God condemn people for the way he made them.

I finally began to see the LGBTQ community for who they really are….people. Take away the labels and you have human beings like everyone else. Just because they were born with different sexual views does not make them second class citizens and does not make them deserving of the awful ways they are treated, especially by the christian world. They are doing nothing more than being themselves just as God made them.

Today I seem to have a special sense of wanting to show those who are LGBTQ that all straight people who call themselves christian are not the same. I want to help promote information and acceptance between straight christian people and those who are LGBTQ, whether christian or not. I can no longer say I believe being gay is a sin. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding and misinterpretation by the church and evangelical christians. Rather than continuing to accept what a religion or pastor tells us, we should take time to check further for ourselves. Below are listed several good books on the subject.

I do admit I do not understand the attraction of two men or two women. Of course, that is because I am straight. I bet those who are gay or lesbian do not understand me and my attraction to the opposite sex (well, just one person of the opposite sex, my wife).

I recently read a book by Amber Cantorna called Refocusing My Family. It is such an interesting read, telling of her questions, struggles and hardships in her walk with God and her family. Her traditional christian upbringing and her dad being an employee of Focus on the Family made it extremely hard on her when she came out as gay. What terrible struggles and treatment she received. It is so hard for me to understand how parents can disown their children, yet I know it happens all the time.

I also believe that the christians who still believe being gay is wrong are handling it all wrong. Whether you agree or disagree, our instructions from Jesus are to love God, love our neighbor and love our enemies. We are to love, not judge and condemn. I have read so many articles about the abuse the gay community takes: beatings, exclusion, disowned by their family, suicides, it is terrible. No matter what stand we take on the issue we are not to judge and condemn. As followers of Christ we are to be known for our love and for treating everyone equally.

I personally am tired of the way the christian church has treated those who are LGBTQ. Whether they agree or disagree they should be treating everyone with love. For me, I have concluded that being gay is not a sin and I fully love and accept all people just as they are. I hope I can show that love and acceptance to others in some way.

I do not completely understand it but for some reason this topic has taken on a new meaning for me. I am tired of seeing the abuse, the exclusion and the discrimination against those who are LGBTQ. I pray that I can be a help by showing love and acceptance to those I meet each day, and especially to those who are LGBTQ.

Following are a few good books I have read on the subject with links to Amazon:

** UnClobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality by Colby Martin

** Is God a Gay Basher by Jan Liebegott

** God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines

** Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate by Justin Lee

** Unashamed: A Coming Out Guide for LGBTQ Christians by Amber Cantorna

** The Children are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships by Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley

** Clobber the Passages: Seven Deadly Verses by Mel White

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