Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘acceptance’

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 of making abortion illegal.

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 “killing of unborn babies” 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 Christians, their main goal is to get this decision overturned and make abortion illegal. The thing that many forget 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 choose or 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. The taxpayer money being used now to help with abortion, rather then being discontinued 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 apart from the abortion issue, 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. It ultimately is going to be the choice of the mother what she does, but 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

Read Full Post »

by Jim Gordon

Philippians 2:3-7 – Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

In today’s world, it seems everyone has the ‘I am number one’ attitude. We are all interested in what is best for us, what makes us happy, how to be more comfortable and satisfied in our lives. Seems like we will do anything we can to get ahead in life, and to get all the comforts and ‘things’ that make it easier for us.

These above verses state that as followers of Christ, we should be doing just the opposite. Our thoughts and attitudes should be how we can show the love of God to others. It should be what can we do to encourage and build up those in need, how can we use the money God has blessed us with to help the less fortunate.

God says that as his followers, we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others as ourselves. While the jobs and ‘things’ we have been given and blessed with by God are not wrong, we need to keep in mind that they are not the important part of our lives. We are to be thinking of others and their need for love, acceptance and help. We should focus on how we can encourage and build up someone else, and how can we help meet a need in their life.

There is nothing wrong with taking thought of our wants, needs and interests. The verse states ‘do not merely look out for your own interests’. Unfortunately, many times our own interests are all that concern us. May we daily ask that God helps us to think of others and be ready to care for them in any way possible that will show them the love of God.

Read Full Post »

by Jim Gordon

Kindness is something we do not find much in our world today.

The Bible speaks about kindness many times. Kindness is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22.

The dictionary says kindness is being considerate or helpful. I think the world would be a better place if everyone treated each other with kindness.

It usually does not take a lot to be kind. Sometimes I think we make it to hard, when something so simple and easy as a genuine smile can brighten someone’s day. Being polite and kind to others can sometimes be just what they need to make their day. Holding the door for someone, letting them go ahead of you in line, smiling and saying hello, being respectful, you never know how that may effect them for the better. The little everyday acts of kindness can be a seed planted in their lives that will grow and help them to be encouraged and to pass it on to others.

These days it seems we even have a hard time with Christians treating each other with kindness. We want to fight and argue over our views and interpretations and forget that as Christians, we all have the common ground of faith in Christ.

Let’s see if we can make a point to do one act of kindness each day. You never know where it may lead.

Read Full Post »

by Shannon Glenn, Guest Blogger
https://lifeofaprodigal.wordpress.com/

In the Christian faith much is written about the power of words. In fact, the Bible mentions the power of life and death lies in the power of the tongue:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

Proverbs 18:21

For those who are not keeping up with American politics, we have just come through one of the most divisive and damaging Presidential campaigns in my lifetime, and perhaps in the history of our Country. I have watched, feeling helpless as my friends took sides. Both sides fancy themselves smarter and sure of the ignorance and short-sided vision of the other.  Both sides shout with proud sarcasm statements which uttered at other times would be considered libelous and slanderous. 

In this age of quick tweets shared with little thought before posting, statements intended to prove and disarm opposing arguments are falling on increasingly deaf and uncaring ears. Accusations of liar, thief, traitor, ignorant, and fool are thrown around as casually as comments about the ever-changing Tennessee weather.  These words are wielded like a sword to slice at the integrity and credibility of those in opposition.  While the intended victim may be wrapped in a cloak of self-righteousness and not feel the sting of rebuke, onlookers and bystanders certainly feel the sharp barbs.

Never have I seen people more marginalized and individual humanity being stripped away as people are lumped into groups of “those people.” Trump supporters and Biden supporters alike have wielded their swords of “truth”, not realizing they are for the most part only speaking into the echo chambers of like-minded friends.  Those who think differently are simply not listening as they too are locked in their own echo chambers of those who share their beliefs.

I did not realize how different the type of information we receive daily is until I spoke to a friend recently. During a conversation, I realized the information, rhetoric, and “truth” I had been spoon-fed is not the same information, rhetoric and “truth” in his feeds. It seems based on our past interests, upbringing and grouping of friends, his social media and internet feeds were vastly different. While I had been fed fear and distrust of everyone, his information was not the same. It became obvious he did not understand where my anxiety was coming from. In that moment it became all too clear that I, too, was in an echo chamber . . . one of the past.

Even though I try to find balanced reporting, and to stay away from the damaging half-truths and fear wielding statements, I may still be trapped in misinformation. It is clear my social media and internet feeds have been shaped around current and past interests. They are not varied enough to reach the whole story. It was an alarming and upsetting moment. I can only hypothesize the predictive algorithms are trying to decide for me exactly what I would like to see. However, these algorithms cannot predict the changes of the human heart and enlightenment as we learn and grow.  (While much has been and could be said about the dangers of social media, that is not the purpose of this discourse.) I am increasingly alarmed at how I have been unable to find the truth even as I search for it.

 We have all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword. I had always heard the second part of the quote, but in searching for a reference, I found the full quote:

“Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword.”

– Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Although I appreciate the sentiment behind the words, I do not believe it is necessarily true, as the pen is also mighty when under the rule of men not entirely great. This is not a political commentary; I am not educated enough to speak with authority on that score. However, I can speak from my heart, which I know very well. I live in Tennessee, a state known for our Volunteer spirit. However more recently Tennessee is known for something else, a Christmas Morning bombing.  As “facts” come out about the accused bomber, it is clear the current climate of hate and fear fed his paranoia and contributed to his need to act. I am heartbroken to realize that his trigger for making a bomb, possibly taking his life, and causing damage to both people and the communications infrastructure of our state was fear of technology, and the current toxic climate and likely an echo chamber of his own making.

Careless words thrown around by those who have their own agendas, which we do not fully know, cause real damage to those who hear them. Whether fueled by the anger of being so sure the other person is wrong, convinced with pride their leader is speaking “truth,” or tormented by fear stemming from this uncertain climate in our country, each word takes a toll. In this case it took at least one life and greatly affected so many.

While people are cocooned in their smug assurance of their righteous agendas, others are trembling and heartbroken in the state of our country and the potential for further violence. This man with great technical knowledge who is so overcome by his emotions and closely held beliefs felt he had to act. While he provided a warning to clear the area in an assumed effort to save lives, the next person compelled to act may not take such a precaution. I wholeheartedly believe the careless words of others are partially responsible for causing reactions in people that cannot be easily controlled. We know based on history how much blood can be shed in the name of faith or truth. We see evidence of this in the comment section of almost any news story on the internet.

I do not know how all this will play out, but I do know words have the power to heal or hurt and once spoken they cannot be taken back. Remember what you say affects not only your own life, but also the lives of those you hold dear, and, unfortunately in this time, of those you despise.

Have a care before you say it, type it or share it.

Read Full Post »

by Mike Edwards

It is said the good news about God is that Jesus came to earth to save us from going to hell. Without the Bible I doubt few would think a loving God would create such a place as hell. It is claimed all you have to do is confess certain beliefs to get a pass to heaven. Jesus’ agenda in the Bible actually appears not to push certain beliefs but convey that God loves you and seeks to help you be a more loving person. What is God saving us from?  See here.

The bad news about God may not be true.

God is claimed to be a hellish sadist, but the traditional understanding of Hell doesn’t exist in the Bible. God is claimed to be a homophobe, but a loving God couldn’t possibly condemn gays when they can no more choose who they are attracted to than straights can? God is claimed to be a sexist, but God wouldn’t put men in leadership position over women which has encouraged dominance on the man’s part leading to atrocities women face at the hands of men. For additional possible lies about God see here.  

But don’t you believe the Bible?

Biblical scholars who respect the authority of the Bible actually don’t agree on their interpretations. Some defend the above positions; others defend to the contrary. For example see  here. We are forced to choose between plausible interpretations. Which interpretation is best to choose? Choose understandings of God with the fewest negative human consequences. Err on the side that doesn’t contradict your intuitive sense of a loving God. You are free to choose the most loving way.

The good news is God surely loves in ways God’s creations sense they ought to love others.    

Only a perfectly good or loving God is worth believing in. Such a statement is nonsensical if we are clueless about perfect love. The Bible implies we can understand God’s love because perfect human love and God’s love are the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). Do you wish to be shown mercy, be given second chances, to be forgiven for your regrets no matter how many times you fail, to be encouraged to be the person you deep down desire to be? Do you think you should show the same behaviors to others? Good news – God is a better lover than we are!

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

by Jim Gordon

As Christian people, it seems our most emphasized event is attending church each week. I know my mom and dad took me to church the first time it was safe to take me out after being born.

I continued with regular church attendance for the next 55 years or so, all the time feeling I was doing what was the most important part of being a Christian. I looked to the pastor as my main teacher and guide, and attended all the events at the church that I could.

Even when I talked with others about God, it was more in tune with asking them to come to church. My whole Christian life seemed to be more about church life rather than living the follower of Jesus life.

It started bothering me over the last 15 – 20 years about going to church each week, year after year, sitting there listening to a chosen few participate and the rest of us just sitting, looking at the back of one another’s heads. Where was the fellowship in that?

Today when we talk about church, what we are really talking about is a religious organization that meets in a building, follows particular interpretations and doctrines and is guided by a select few people. It seems to me the biggest part of this system is getting enough people involved to make enough money to pay the bills.

In the organized church today it seems we strive to pay the mortgage, pay the utilities, pay for insurance, salaries and all the items we feel we need to put on a good performance each Sunday. If there is enough left over after all that is paid, we may put in a little to help the homeless or some good cause the leadership feels is worth it.

In more recent time, many churches have become known for participating in political activism. Some churches I have been in had a reserved section for local politicians where they could sit together and be seen. Some even provide time for politicians to speak and many endorse and back certain political parties and candidates.

I personally feel this is wrong, but although they cannot make their members vote in any particular way, many who belong to a specific church take what they hear from their pastor as gospel truth. Due to this, I believe the churches today should be taxed and pay their fair share like any other business.

I remember reading in the bible that when you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. I read that Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to live within us and that we are now the temple of God. I also read that the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands, and that we have the Spirit within us and we no longer need anyone to teach us because the Spirit is now our leader and guide. It certainly raised questions about church attendance as I knew it.

Yet when I read forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, I often wondered if we were being told to participate in an organized religious service. What I determined was that the assembling together does not necessarily mean in an organized service on a set day under the guidance of other human beings. It means that we need one another. We need fellowship, encouragement and being able to express our thoughts and feelings with others. That does not need to be in a building, or in an organized service, or under the control of a specific leader. I have found it actually works better outside the walls of church. It comes about as the Spirit leads us to one another throughout our normal day to day lives.

Is it wrong to gather? No, there are plenty of good Christian clubs and organizations where people can get together. The organized church is just another one of those organizations meant to provide support and encouragement for one another.

The church as a religious organization, based on its particular beliefs and doctrines, is not what Jesus was talking about when he said he would build his Church. I believe he was talking about building his followers into a living organism that would spread his love and good works to other people they met along the journey of life. And doing so would mean living life out in the open, day by day where we are in contact with others. I do not believe we are meant to be shut up within four walls of a building expecting people to come to us.

So for my wife and I, we left doing the day to day business of the church…attending the organized meetings, paying to keep the building and system running along with following the pastor, the doctrines and the rules of the church. Yet we did not leave our love for God and for people. We left the organization, we left man led religion, but we still follow Jesus. We, like many others, are doing the day to day business of the ‘Church’ that Jesus is building. Those who are his followers are the Church whether they meet in a building or never walk through the doors of what we know as church today.

Read Full Post »

by Jim Gordon

Have you noticed how so many of us christian people seem to only include our preferred group. People who think like us and have faith like us. If you think differently, we feel you should stay in your own group with like-minded people, but leave us alone. Sorry to say I used to feel that way, but have thankfully changed my mind.

We seem to find this attitude in every walk of life, but within organized religion or institutional church seems even worse. We all should be accepting of people in general in our daily lives. Yet, we see this so often within Christianity with the wide variety of denominations and interpretations of the bible.

When it comes to including people who we see as completely different from us, African-American, White, LGBT, Atheist, Muslim, Jew and so on, we tend to want to keep each group separate. We think as believers in God we need to separate ourselves and not associate with those who see things differently. Why is it the word inclusion seems to make so many christian people cringe?

Really, behind all the labels we put on people we are all basically the same, so why not associate and get to know people who we feel are different from us? We can learn from one another and get to know one another and find that we really are not all that different.

We see Jesus do this all the time when reading the gospels in the bible. He did not differentiate people based on their religion, belief, lifestyle or nationality. He did not separate himself from those who thought, believed and lived differently. He loved and accepted all people and showed them the love of God.

Obviously loving and accepting people does not mean agreement nor are we going to always get along in life and live happily ever after together. Yet I believe it does mean treating others the same, with respect, kindness, acceptance and with the love of God through the power of the Spirit within.

Inclusion is not a bad word. It is not a bad or unholy way to live. Inclusion is about ALL of us. Inclusion is about living full lives – about learning to live together. It makes the world our classroom for a full life. Inclusion treasures diversity and builds community. It is about our abilities – our gifts and how to share them. Inclusion is the way of God and the way of showing the love of God to all we meet.

Read Full Post »

by Jordan Hathcock

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

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

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

1. Culture Irrelevance

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

2. Consumer-Oriented Platforms

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

3. Exclusionary Campaigning

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

4. Doctrine Certitudes

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

* * *

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

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

Read Full Post »

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

There are thousands of reasons people believe or not believe in God. One may believe just because their parents do. One may not believe because of God’s lack of intervention in such an evil world. Research is available online why Christians become atheists (deconvert) or why Christians leave the institutional church but not God (disaffiliate). What can Christians control to not deter those who may want more of a relationship with God but don’t pursue because of unnecessary obstacles?

Lies About God!

I am convinced many may not pursue a relationship with a Creator because they believe lies others claim about God. I know “lies” is a strong word, but no one can claim with certainty their view of an invisible, inaudibly God is TRUTH! Most would agree a God who isn’t perfect isn’t worth believing in. We can only compare God’s love to perfect human love. My moral intuitions tell me a loving God couldn’t condemn gays for choices they can no more control than straights; God couldn’t discriminate again women by denying them equal roles with men which has encouraged centuries of domestic abuse and other atrocities women face; God couldn’t create a place such as Hell to torture unbelievers forever. See here.

Christians with a hidden agenda or mission is a turn-off.   

It is wrong to engage in friendships for the purpose of converting them to your beliefs without advising upfront this is your agenda. We must stop being so damn certain and do more listening. We can’t prove God exist. If God truly exists, wouldn’t God be capable of convincing individuals on Their own. Engage in relationships both to love and be loved. Discussions about God best come up naturally. The sinner’s prayer to avoid Hell isn’t in the Bible. Jesus seemed on a difference mission according to the Bible.  See here.

 Christians have a problem – it’s how the Bible is viewed.  

It is believed or implied biblical writers somehow magically got their words and thoughts directly from God. Such an unprovable process implies God approved everything written about God in the Bible. Many don’t accept the God of the Bible for good reason:

  • God supposedly would send wild animals to kill the children of the disobedient (Lev. 26:22)
  • God supposedly orders the murder of women, children, infants, and animals in war (I Sam. 15:3)
  • God supposedly ordered killing boys and non-virgin women but sparing virgins for the warriors (Num. 31:18)
  • God supposedly approved rebellious children put to death (Lev. .20:9)
  • God supposedly approves a wife’s hand being cut off when grabbing another man’s genitals (Deut. 25:12)

The Bible can be viewed as recorded experiences of beginnings with God and Israel culminating with the life of Jesus that we don’t possess in any other documents. God didn’t necessarily have in mind that recordings wouldn’t be questioned or that writers had perfect views of God. We have every right to question interpretations suggesting a Creator doesn’t love how we were created to love others. We must use our moral, loving sense. You can see my railings about the Bible HERE.

Evil and God just don’t mix sometimes.   

God’s inactiveness with so much evil in the world is one reason many are atheists. Why doesn’t a supposedly all-powerful God intervene more? How is God allowing evil any different than a parent who stands by and watches this child being sexually abused? Let’s stop rationalizing by saying God’s evil is sometimes good. Maybe God can’t control or violate freedom and love perfectly. Divine love limits divine power. Maybe God can only stop evil with the help of others freely helping. See God Can’t by Thomas Oord.

Similarly, promises Christians make about prayer turns many away. The truth is miracles are rare.  Maybe God is already doing all they can in a free world, by working through individual lives to change the world. Maybe prayer is more about a relationship with God as we attempt to change the world together. It seems God creating freedom necessitates one being able to do as much harm as they can do good. Authenticity, the highest good in relationships, is impossible without freedom. God, like parents, had a choice – to not create or create knowing suffering was a possibility in the pursuit of intimacy.

I’m not so sure hypocrisy is a big stumbling block. 

It doesn’t help that Christians don’t get along, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of denominations, all claiming their beliefs are the right ones. The truth is that we all are hypocrites. What human being lives up to the standards they know in their heart are honorable? But it is reasonable to expect those who talk about God to act godly. As mentioned possible hypocritical beliefs, supposedly according to the Bible, present a challenge. Christians must avoid claiming certainty, especially when such views seem to go against our moral intuitions.

Other challenges to not get in God’s way with individuals exist in the research. The church seems so focused on certain beliefs, such as sexual purity, rather than focusing on helping those less fortunate. Why can’t we focus less on sexual behaviors and more on the homeless? Abuse by leadership representing God surely turns others away from God. Sexual abuse is too often sweep under the rug. Most Christians believe God’s spirit works in the lives of people. If Christians want others inclined to consider their God, control what you can to not interfere with God’s work.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

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

The Grace Cafe Journal

Exploring Grace Apart From Religion

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 that the Lord 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 own 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 Science, Wonder, & Books

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 do People Understand by the Word God?

with an 85 year old Questioner

Entering the Promised Land

by walking in the Spirit

Beyond Church Walls

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

Escape to Reality

Exploring the wide open spaces of God's amazing grace

%d bloggers like this: