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Growing up in church we were all told the story of Noah and the ark. A way that God saved the one family he found to be righteous in a world of sinners and terrible people. Supposedly things were so bad that God wondered why he created mankind and came up with a plan to destroy all his creation other than Noah and his family.

 

I accepted this story without question for many years. Yet when I actually sat and thought about the whole story I had questions and doubts, wondering if it was really a true and if so, why God would choose to do this terrible thing.

 

I have come to find that many stories in the bible are just that, stories. I relate many of the old testament stories to the parables of Jesus in the new testament. Nothing wrong with stories, and just because they are stories in no way negates the truth and importance of the meaning behind the story. Stories and parables are used to make real life truths easier to understand.

 

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I have come to see the story of Noah and the ark as a shadow of things to come. It was a parable about Jesus coming to save the world and restore fellowship with the Creator.

 

 

When we read in the bible that God is love, it is hard to make sense out of a story that the God of love would destroy people that he loves. We also know that our works are not what brings us into fellowship with the Father and whether we produce good works or bad works, our Father still loves us. So, to say God destroyed the earth because of evil works goes against the whole principle of salvation through grace.

 

Many people will point to the story of the flood and use it to discredit God or to say there is no God at all. Others will say the story is in the bible and the bible is inerrant, so it happened just the way it is written. For me, I have come to terms that the written word is not inerrant. It is a collection of writings by human beings over many years, telling how they view God, how they try to live for God and how God deals with his creation.

 

I have come to believe that the only inerrant Word of God is not a book but a person. Jesus is the Word of God and his Spirit lives within us. Rather than have a completely closed mind as to any other interpretation other than what we have been taught by religious institutions, we can let the Spirit of God within us teach us and we can learn to be open to new things under his guidance.

 

Did the flood really happen? Was the earth completely covered with water and all life destroyed? I personally do not think so. God loves us and created us for fellowship with Him. Our works do not earn us anything with God because he loves us and accepts us unconditionally.

 

Yet the flood did have real meaning. The sinful nature we had was washed away with the flood waters of his grace. Our unrighteous deeds were destroyed by the flood of his love. Jesus our ark made a way of escape so that we might live in his Kingdom for the rest of our existence, enjoying his presence and his love within us.

I Still Want to Fly

by Rocky Glenn

My fascination with eagles began when I was around ten years old.  I remember sitting in awe as the guest evangelist at the Pentecostal church we were attending described the power and majesty of an eagle soaring and how that power and majesty described a life spent trusting in God based on the words of the prophet Isaiah.  Although I cannot recall anything specific mentioned in that sermon from over thirty years ago, I do know that from the day forward I was captivated by the words found in Isaiah 40:31:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Since that time,  eagles have been displayed by multiple printed photos, posters, and ceramic figures over the years to the point that to this day I still have a 4″ figurine sitting on my desk in front of my computer monitor which has followed me to my last three jobs.  As I shared in Roller Coaster of Waiting, I proudly wear a daily reminder of Isaiah’s words on my arm.  Recently a friend shared with me a Facebook video about eagles and how they react when a storm is approaching.  The eagle will fly to a high spot and wait for the winds to arrive.  As the winds come, the eagle simply moves it wings allowing the wind to pick it up and lift it above the storm.  Although the video lasted no more than a minute, it caused more of a reaction than simply the moisture in my eyes as it reminded me of something other than the scientific facts about my beloved bird of prey.  I was reminded that I still want to fly.

Though I’ve been unable to determine the original author, I recall the following fable about a baby eagle:

A baby eagle became orphaned when something happened to his parents. He glided down to the ground from his nest but was not yet able to fly. A man picked him up. The man took him to a farmer and said, “This is a special kind of barnyard chicken that will grow up big.” The farmer said, “Don’t look like no barnyard chicken to me.” “Oh yes, it is. You will be glad to own it.” The farmer took the baby eagle and placed it with his chickens.

The baby eagle learned to imitate the chickens. He could scratch the ground for grubs and worms too. He grew up thinking he was a chicken.

Then one day an eagle flew over the barnyard. The eagle looked up and wondered, “What kind of animal is that? How graceful, powerful, and free it is.” Then he asked another chicken, “What is that?” The chicken replied, “Oh, that is an eagle. But don’t worry yourself about that. You will never be able to fly like that.”

And the eagle went back to scratching the ground. He continued to behave like the chicken he thought he was. Finally he died, never knowing the grand life that could have been his.

When things you’ve believed without question begin to cause more uncertainty, doubt, questions, and even pain, than you are able to settle, it is quite a life changing process.  Questions about who you are, what’s really true, and why you do things are not answered quickly or easily, and sometimes not even at all.  The unraveling of life as a churchboy has been a process of internally traveling through memories, thoughts, and at times accusations mentally sandblasting the very core of who I am.  It’s been a journey of constant questioning of am I saying this or acting this way because of who I truly am or because of what I’ve been taught and conditioned to believed.  This deconstruction has been painful, lonely, and the most unsettling experience I’ve yet to encounter.  There have been times it seems it would have been less painful and more peaceful to simply abandon the process and return to life as I knew it, but returning to that life meant dying as a chicken when I was meant to be an eagle.

Based on the translation listed above and the one embedded in memory, the only thing Isaiah says is required to mount with wings as eagles is to wait on the Lord.  Prior to this journey of the last few years, my favorite picture the word wait painted is of a waiter/waitress which we refer to now more commonly as simply a server.  If you need more water, your cup is refilled.  If you request special food preparations, the server communicates those to the chef.  A server ensures all your needs or requests are satisfied during your dining experience.  As a churchboy I believed, taught, and preached it was our duty act as a server to God.  We had to work and strive to ensure He was completely satisfied and all His desires and requests were met.  Doing so would be the only way we could truly soar as eagles.  I’ve recently been introduced to a new word picture of the word wait which resonated deep within me.  In the fitness world, there is an exercise which has increased in popularity in recent years known as planking.  Planking is a strength exercise that involves maintaining a position for the maximum possible time.  The plank strengthens the abs, back, and shoulders.  Though it looks simple to execute, those who participate attest to the difficulty, fatigue, and even soreness which sets in stretching muscles that often go unused or used very little.  The longer I am on the journey of churchboy recovery, I find myself mentally and spiritually planking simply waiting on what’s to come.

As a musician, there are times you sit in front of your instrument fiddling over with a riff, chord, or melody repeatedly simply knowing a song resides within.  Nearly twenty-five years ago, I sat day after day at a piano repeating a pattern eight notes alternating between chords.  What came forth was a simple song which those closest to me know as a description of who I desire to be.  So much a part of who I am, it was crafted, framed and gifted to me to display:

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Eagles soar above storms and fly with little to no effort.  Though my life looks much different now than it once did, my heart’s main desire hasn’t changed.  I want be an eagle and I still want to fly.

Rocky

by Mike Edwards

It is said that God demands worship and awe which may discourage a close relationship and oppose God’s wishes.  God, like any loving parent, only hopes to persuade through mutual respect that their love is in one’s best interest. We weren’t created to worship God so shut up and give God the glory. God surely created us to share life together.

Doesn’t the Bible command respect for God?

It is easy to read the Old Testament and think that God demanded respect from the Israelites or else! The OT also speaks of Abraham and Moses thinking of God as a Friend. It matters how one reads the Bible. The writers in getting to know God were influenced by their culture where gods were to be feared and revered. But, then Jesus who claimed to be God in flesh didn’t initiate relationships by demanding respect. Jesus got His dander up the most with the religious elite who portrayed God as demanding obedience rather than desiring a relationship.

God’s uncontrolling nature suggests God’s desire for genuine relationships.

If God was controlling or demanded obedience or respect, wouldn’t there be a lot less evil in the world? God doesn’t appear to be like the God of extremists who think that controlling or destroying free, moral decisions result in true love. It may that a God who respects freedom can’t always intervene to stop evil. God may know what we humans know – freedom not force likely leads to genuine, lasting transformations.

The Bible isn’t the only place to understand God and relationships.

The Bible doesn’t even claim to be the specific or only guide to Truth. Jesus when leaving this earth said His Spirit, not some Book, would guide us in truth (Jn. 14:16-17; 16:13). Jesus didn’t seem worried that Truth always requires discernment. Those who claim biblical writers always understood God perfectly likely accept that God created us in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). That passage has a sense of God desiring we represent God here on earth. How can we represent an inaudible God who leaves us with a Book subject to interpretation if we don’t share moral and relationship expectations influenced by God’s Spirit?

Who do you have the most genuine, closest relationships?

I know some may consider it heresy to suggest parents should earn not expect respect as their children age. My parents grew up in the generation where children were expected to be seen and not hear. Parents weren’t seeking to earn their child’s respect must less become close friends as they grew older. Parents were always parents and children were always children.

I was convinced that my children were more likely to act on my guidance, which should be in their best interest, when they desired to do so out of respect than commanded to do so. “Do as I say and not what I do” didn’t make sense to me. Our obedience has absolutely nothing to do with God’s love or a parent’s love for us. Employees or parents have genuine followers not by demanding respect but when there is a sense of mutual respect.

God seeks a close relationship through mutual respect.

God never thought fear led to life-changing transformations. Has gloomy uncertainty as to God’s favor conquered your battles against self-centeredness or long-standing habitual sins? Getting to know what God is truly like can inspire us to be the kind of persons we deep down truly want to be. You can’t get enough of a person or God because you have so much respect, not because you are commanded to love. Love out of fear often only leads to brief obligations out of guilt. My prayers alone or with others doesn’t begin: “Dear God, the Holy One, the Feared Creator of the Universe…” Such talk doesn’t invite getting to know one’s Creator. I talk to God as if a close Friend, and I haven’t been struck dead yet!

 

by Mike Edwards

It is suggested Jesus showed a better way through example and words, than the Old Testament, by dealing with enemies and relationships by non-violent means. But, would Jesus condemn a nation who sought peaceful means to resolve terrorist threats but when necessary protected themselves? Would Jesus really condemn an individual citizen who opened fire on one seeking to kill all in site in a school setting? If you would protect your own children, why not consider means to protect children in a foreign land from a dictator who enslaves them for sex and other evil acts?

It matters how we represent God when it comes to violence.

Condemning others in God’s name when we aren’t absolutely sure of God’s disapproval can drive people to unwarranted feelings of guilt with God or cause people to reject God for wrong reasons. One may think: “Why would a God who doesn’t intervene always in evil not allow me to protect myself.”  Obviously, God is opposed to beheading others for their religious beliefs. When we advise God opposes all violence, implying it is wrong to protect ourselves against evil, such words condemn military individuals fighting for freedoms or private citizen forced to protect their family or others in a dangerous situation. Does God really condemn all violence?

The Bible can’t be our only source for guiding us about God. 

The Bible surely wasn’t written to be an answer book as to what God would do in our unique situation. Jesus often didn’t answer questions directly. Jesus sought to change hearts which changes how we solve our problems. Imagine a world where all looked out for the interests of others and not just themselves when dealing with difficulties. Besides, literature requires interpretation and we don’t always agree what the writer meant speaking for God. Even the Bible tells us the Word of God has never been the Bible but flesh in the body of Jesus (Jn. 1:1-14). Jesus’ Spirit now lives in us to guide us in truth (Jn. 14:16-17; 16:13). Reading the Bible with a questioning spirit rather than blind obedience can lead to more accurate understandings of God.

Does Jesus really oppose all violence?  

As you might suspect since the Bible must be interpreted, there is disagreement about the passage most often used to advice Jesus speaks to a new way in dealing with our enemies: “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also…You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Mt. 5: 39, 43-44). I just don’t know anyone in their right mind that would advise a wife being beat by their husband to turn the other cheek or not protect themselves. It is possible the literal translation of Mt. 5:39 is “do not resist by evil means” which is more in line with Rm. 12:17: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil.”  

I am opposed to pulling verses from the Bible to prove a point, but there are passages which can suggest God is not opposed to protective violence. In Acts 23 the Apostle Paul, who wrote much of the NT, defended himself quite strongly and then requested military protection from being killed by religious leaders. Jesus didn’t exactly turn the other cheek when struck while defending His innocence (Jn. 18:22-23). Parables are not meant to be taken strictly literally, but one might think if Jesus was opposed to all violence His teaching would have less violent metaphors (i.e. Mt. 13, 18, 25; Mk. 12; Luke 20). Evil is real and may require a violent response.

What we can know for certain about God and violence.   

The majority may agree that God would oppose violence if more peaceful means were available to individuals or nations. More often than not violence begets violence. If we are always looking to meet violence with violence and never consider peaceful means, there will never be room for changes of heart and forgiveness. But, if you think niceness always begets niceness and a soft answer always turns away wrath, you may be leaving a slew of victims behind. In fact, some may only change when forcefully confronted with the pain they are causing. Though we may not know exactly what God would do in each situation, human shortcomings suggest violence should be our last option. If you are anything like me, I am quick to defend myself and confront others without consideration of other possibilities.

Lack of certainty what God or Jesus would do doesn’t have to lead to chaos.

Supposed certainty in the name of God has led to justifying genocide, sexism, homophobia, racism, and other atrocities. Being unable to declare the certainty of our opinions about God forces us to listen, think carefully, and come to an agreement. I don’t always know what God would do in personal or national situations. I do think the Bible as a whole encourages not seeking revenge and praying for ways to change hearts. I can’t say God would never advise a nation or individual to meet evil with force.  Future lives may be saved. I do think the Bible as a whole encourages exhausting all peaceful ways possible. God surely desires a world where all look out for the interests of others and not just themselves when dealing with difficulties.

Kayfabe Christianity

by Rocky Glenn

Though I cannot remember the exact year, ever since I heard the opening bass riff of Queen’s “Another Bites the Dust” and saw Sylvester Ritter walk down the aisle with a chain attached to the dog collar around his neck as The Junkyard Dog barking at his opponents, I have been a fan of professional wrestling.  From rushing through homework to catch the regional broadcasts on ESPN daily after school, I despised the defiant rule breaking of Jim Cornette’s Midnight Express as they fought Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton.  On Sundays after church, I would stand right in front of the nine inch black and white television in my bedroom trying to get the antenna in just the right position to catch the local broadcasts of “Bullet” Bob Armstrong and The Tennessee Stud facing off against The Dirty White Boy and Tom Prichard.  I hated Shawn Michaels after he kicked Marty Jannetty through Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake’s barbershop window, yet five years later when that same Heartbreak Kid had to forfeit his championship belt because he had “lost his smile” I was heartbroken.  I remember the parade down the streets of Disney World as Hulk Hogan made his triumphant arrival in WCW, and, of course, was just as shocked as the rest of the world when wrestling’s greatest hero made wrestling’s greatest heel turn with the creation of the nWo. I have feared The Undertaker, smelled what The Rock is cooking, yelled “Wooo!” with The Nature Boy, had two words for D-X and given Stone Cold a “Heck Yeah!” (Remember, I was a church boy.  I couldn’t dare say “Hell Yeah!”)  Minus a period of just a few years, wrestling has been and continues to be a part of my entertainment consumption whenever it is broadcast and has now become an activity we share as a family.

I see wrestling as a type of theater.  The wrestlers are nothing more than highly trained, highly athletic actors who have spent years crafting and perfecting their skills that allow them to take the hits, falls, and bumps in a manner to protect not only themselves but their opponents.  When they yell, scream, and shout at each other on the mic, it’s only after they’ve spent time in class learning how to cut a successful promo that not only spurs the ire, agitation, and opposition of those they are speaking to or about, but also controls the emotion of the crowd and furthers the story line of the current angle they are working.  Every single aspect of a wrestling event from the lights, pyrotechnics, and music to the commentators, ring announcers, and referees are for one purpose and one purpose only . . . to get the audience to believe and buy in hook, line, and sinker!  All of these things are determined by the promotion’s booker.  The booker is the man responsible for deciding which wrestlers will be liked or hated, how long matches will last, and even the outcome of the matches.  If a wrestler is playing a heel, his job is to make you hate him.  The more you boo him, the better job he’s doing.  The opposite is true of a babyface.  He’s supposed to be the crowd favorite and make you love him.  Your applause and cheers are what he is after.

So, what’s the point of all this?  Am I feeling so guilty for not writing in a while that I just feel the urge to confess my guilty pleasure?  Is this just a walk down memory lane?  Actually, it’s neither of those things, although I enjoy reminiscing about all the events above and also truly enjoy the reaction received when people find out about our family entertainment.  As we began rediscovering and introducing the kids to sports entertainment a couple of years ago, the similarities between this sweet science that I have watched, loved, and shared with grandparents, my dad, and now my own family and the traditional church life I was feeling myself drawn away were too many to ignore.

As church attendees, we have perfected our performance.  Come in, flash a smile, shake a few hands, maybe give a hug or two, take me seat, play my part, and pretend I have no problems for an hour.  I will stand when you say stand, sing when you say sing, remain silent when I’m supposed to listen, and most definitely pay my admission when the offering plate is passed.  I will do my part to ensure the program goes as planned and give my money to be certain the program will go as scheduled again next week.

As a musician, not only have I received instruction in how to be sensitive to the response of the congregation, I’ve taken pride in my ability to read and respond to the emotion of the moment.  Although it was important to follow the printed color-coded order of service that was prepared to ensure every minute was accounted for, I knew to keep a watchful eye on the front row to receive the nod to continue or signal to play it again or wrap it up from the pastor.  I’ve received requests, and complied, on numerous occasions to play or sing a certain song with the intention of soliciting a desired response or altar call.  It was only after years of playing and, dare I say, performing that I was afforded this kind of trust and power.  I had to prove trustworthy to those in charge before I had the opportunity to lead the service.

When it comes to professional wresting, the most common reaction we receive is someone looking at us and saying, “You know it’s fake, right?”  The question is not a matter of wrestling being fake.  Ask anyone who has ever climbed into the squared circle, fallen on the mat, or bounced off the ropes if the pain and bruises they experience is fake.  For the most part, wrestling is planned, choreographed, and scripted.  Those in the business use the term “kayfabe” to refer keeping the secrets of the wrestling business. Exposing the inner workings or secrets of the wrestling business is said to be breaking kayfabe.

It is time we as Christians break kayfabe.  It is time to admit, as a good friend put it just days ago, that we’ve taught tradition as the commands of God for too long.  It’s time to question why we do certain things.  Are we performing to protect a tradition, an institution, something we’ve done our entire life just because we’ve been told to it?  Are we seeking to keep others out because they are not experienced or have not yet proven trustworthy?  When we read Jesus says, “Come to me all . . .”  do we really believe that means all . . . regardless of gender, race, intelligence, sexual preference, economic status?  In breaking kayfabe, we must admit we don’t have it all together.  We must admit that for too long we’ve played a part.  We must be real.

Wrestlers are performers . . . Christians shouldn’t be.

Rocky

(This post originally written September 4, 2017.)

 

 

 

By Jim Gordon

Those of us who are outside the walls of religion and institutional church have found a freedom we sometimes cannot explain. At least we cannot explain it in a way that people who still attend a church building will understand.

The problem is those who still attend the traditional church do not accept the fact that everyone is different and sees things in various ways. They usually want to stay away from us or talk about how we have backslidden and fallen away from God because we do not do what we have traditionally been taught was godly.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. We are worshipping and loving God just as much as before only in a different way. We have not left the Church (ekklesia) but we have left the building (church). Jesus is building His Church out of ‘living stones’ not brick and mortar.

My wife and I left the church because we felt the system was not the way God intended, yet we never left the true Church which is made up of all of those who are believers.

Each of us has an equally important part to play in the body yet no one is the head or over anyone else. Each of us are kings, priests and functioning parts of the body and we are all needed and important. Of course, only Jesus is the head of his Church not a pastor.

Those of us who have left the traditional church service are often told we need to attend because we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Yet this verse does not mean we have to be in an organized, pre-planned service led by a pastor and a worship leader. It is saying we need our brothers and sisters in Christ. Whether we meet on a Monday at a café, Tuesday in a home, Thursday at a bar or Friday in a park makes no difference. Jesus said for where two or three gather together in my name there I am in their midst.

For us true and meaningful fellowship happens each and every day when God brings us together with a brother or sister, or when we meet up with another couple for dinner. It also may be a time of one-on-one fellowship online with a brother hundreds of miles away yet bonded closely through the Spirit.

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We are so conditioned to think of the church building and its events and happenings as the main way of fellowship and learning. Although we are told in the bible that when we come together each of us should have a word, or a song, or a praise. How often does that happen within the institutional church? Yet being outside the walls my wife and I have found this to be the norm. We all talk, we encourage one another, learn about each other, pray for one another and we support and care for each other. Fellowship is everyone having a part to play and everyone being open and talking about what God is to them. Sitting quietly in a church service does not fulfill what God intended fellowship to be among his children.

We should remember that rather than having a feeling of ‘us vs them’ mentality those of us who used to be part of the institutional church should also keep in mind that those who attend church are doing so because they love God and think they are doing the right thing. We are all children of God, whether we are in the institutional church or out of it. We are all parts of the Church that Jesus is building.

For those still attending, most do not think about how the system is wrong and is not what God intended for His people. After all, this is all we have known all our lives. We have been taught all along that this is God’s plan for us, to assemble together in a building, pay our tithes and look to the pastor as God’s spokesperson. I know I believed this for many years while within the system.

As people of God we are to love God and love others. We cannot do that in our own strength it is by the power of the Spirit within us. The sad thing is we should not have a problem loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet sometimes it seems we have more trouble loving those who are part of a tradition that we no longer feel is right, but are still followers of the same God we love.

I pray that all of us can keep in mind that we are children of God, saved by grace and living in His kingdom now. Whether we are ‘in church’ or outside the walls, let us focus on our love of the Father and for one another. The world needs to see the love of God in action among His children. They do not need to see arguing, fighting and disrespect that is so familiar among Christians today.

by Mike Edwards

Do you hear things about God that lead to not wanting to even bother with God? Are you a person of faith but some teachings about God create questions or difficulties in talking about God to others should the subject naturally come up? I heard teachings about God in the church that just didn’t seem true of a good or loving God. It is only human nature to have a close relationship with those you respect. Why wouldn’t that be true of our relationship with God? Maybe we shouldn’t believe everything we hear about God!

What can we know about God?

Even scholars can look at the same passages in Scripture and come up with different interpretations. Jesus spoke in hyperboles and metaphors which can lead to vastly different interpretations. Besides, the Bible can’t be the only way to know what God is like since over half the people born in this world never had a Bible to read. We all seem to have an inborn desire to treat others like we want to be treated – there are “oughts” in our relationships. God surely has given us a moral, intuitive sense what a loving God must be like.   

God can’t possibly be a homophobe.

It makes no sense to me why God would condemn gays when they can no more choose who they love than straights can. Just ask heterosexuals or homosexuals. Some only condemn gays because they are convinced the Bible does. I have written here to please reconsider that the Bible doesn’t condemn gays. We know the psychological harm done when one must hide their sexuality because of bigotry and hostility. So, shouldn’t we be guided by love – how should I treat others if I had the same non-choices?

God can’t possibly be a sexist by favoring men in leadership positions.

God surely knew what many of us sense – appointing men as authority over women can encourage dominance on the man’s part and dependence on the woman’s part, which can be conducive for domestic abuse and the other atrocities women face at the hands of men. Women don’t need male leadership in marriage; women need men who have the heart of a servant (Eph. 5:28-29). When the Bible says: “Women should remain silent in the churches” (I Cor. 14:34), maybe the writer would encourage men to be silent in certain situations for the sake of peace. The same writer had just assumed women, without condemning, could prophesize during worship (I Cor. 14:34). See here for rethinking if God is a sexist!

Hell!

The Bible says nothing about the traditional understanding of the word Hell. Hell seems to be an invention over the centuries to scare people into submission and obedience. Our traditional understanding of Hell is no more a translation of the Greek word Gehenna (the name of a real valley near Jerusalem) in the New Testament than Atlanta is for Chicago. Why would a loving God torture anyone forever since such pain serves no lasting purpose? Humans wouldn’t even create such a place for their worst enemies!

Can God be dogmatic about which religion you choose.

The majority of people born in this world have never heard of Jesus in the Bible. Suggesting a loving God insists one can only come to God through Jesus is to ignore the realities of our world. The vast majority of people born choose or rebel against the religion where they are born, whether be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. Those who have heard of Jesus often have a distorted view of God. When the Bible speaks of being saved, it isn’t about escaping hell and going to heaven but allowing God to help avoid self-destructive ways for our own best interests. Do you believe that? 

God doesn’t encourage hidden agendas in relationships.

People often avoid God-folks because they can smell a hidden agenda a mile away. It simply is wrong to engage in friendships with others for the purpose of converting them to believe as you do without advising them upfront of your agenda. God-folks struggle to talk about God, for how do you explain a good God is supposedly a homophone, sexist, or sadistic torturer. It turns out God wants for our relationship what we want – not a means to an end (conversion) but an opportunity to share life and love one another.

God can’t be a religious extremist.

Extremists wish to force you to believe what they think is true of God according to some Book. What is not acknowledged is literature requires interpretation so their understanding may be wrong. A truly, loving God would never force one to love but give the freedom to love or reject Them. Forced love is an oxymoron. You can’t get enough of a person or God because you have so much respect, not because you are commanded to love. Love by force only leads to brief obligations out of guilt.

God is not cruel by being invisible and inaudible.

If God cared why doesn’t God make their Presence obvious? God’s awing or overpowering presence may only lead to fearful obligations to obey. When parent push their agendas, even if in their children best interests, they may rebel against coercion and never turn back. If God communicates in less demonstrative ways, this may more allow moral development for lasting convictions. A Creator may not reveal themselves for reasons we haven’t thought of and would accept in time. The road traveled of learning, reflecting, and freely choosing personal convictions may better lead to heart-felt lasting choices that turn out to be in our best interests.

Imagine God really is good news!

Listen to your moral inner voice. You may be right about God! If God claims to be Love and encourages us to be perfect like God (Mt. 5: 48), how can we follow in God footsteps unless God has empowered us somehow to know. And what loving Parent, earthly or heavenly,  doesn’t seek to help you be the best you can be for your best interests and the interests of others!

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Grain of Wheat

Jesus said, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it produces much grain."

Matthew Winters (Comeback Pastor)

The life, ministry, & thoughts of a Christ-follower, husband, dad, & minister

Red Letter Publications

Trade in your religion, for a relationship.

What God May Really Be Like - Misbeliefs About God

To non-religious spiritual pursuers and my kids (Click FOLLOW for future Posts; See ABOUT/USING THIS SITE tab to navigate Site)

WILDERNESS CRY by Hilary L Hunt MD

The Science and Philosophy of God & the Universe

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