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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Why does the word inclusion make so many of us christian people cringe?

inclusion

We often want 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 the same way, but have thankfully changed my mind.

I am not necessarily just talking about organized religion or institutional church, but accepting people in general in our daily lives.

We see this so much within christianity, such a wide variety of denominations and interpretations of the bible. This is only mentioning fellow believers who believe that God is with us and loves us.

When it comes to including people who we see as completely different from us, it is even worse. African-American, White, LGBT, Atheist, Muslim, Jew and on it goes. We seem to think as believers in God we need to separate ourselves from those who see things differently. We think we should not associate with them or people will think we agree with them and are a part of their way of living.

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.

inclusionbyjesus

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.

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. Inclusion makes the world our classroom for a full life. Inclusion treasures diversity and builds community. Inclusion 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.

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Many people today think of Jesus as being the founder of Christianity, especially here in the USA. Most people think of Christianity as a religion, one of many different religions in our world. In bible times people started calling those who followed Jesus Christians because they were following the example of Jesus, or acting like Christ. Today it seems Christianity is thought more of as a religion than it is a lifestyle of following Jesus. Jesus did not come to start a religion.

jesusisnotchristian

Jesus does not belong to any particular religion. He loves and accepts people no matter what they believe or where they are from. He came to show the love of the Father to the human race, not to start a new religion for people to obey and follow.

If we mean Christian as being a follower of Jesus or living a life following his example, then there is nothing wrong with using this word to describe our fellowship with Him. If we use Christian as a sense of belonging to a particular church, following a particular doctrine and set of rules, then I would rather not be called by that term.

Jesus is the Son of God, and He loves all people. He does not see Muslims, Jews, Christians or any religion. He loves people. He sees people who need the love and acceptance of God. The only way people are going to come to true fellowship with God is through Christ…not Christianity. Just as Adam sinned and sin entered into the world, Christ came into the world and through his actions grace entered into the world.

It is time we stop looking to the organized world of religion as our way of becoming acceptable and pleasing to God. There is nothing we can do to earn our way to God, it is only by the work and grace of God. We are to look to Christ and allow Him to live through us and let Him love all those we meet each day. Stop demanding that people come to follow your doctrine, your rules, your beliefs and accept people as they are. Show the love of Christ to them and let God work in them the way He sees fit.

We are never going to completely agree with each other on doctrine and religion. Only through Christ and the love He gives will we be able to love and accept others. Let us be known by the true sense of the meaning of Christian, someone who is following the example of Jesus and letting his love touch all people no matter if we agree on things or not.

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When we speak of Christianity with all its different denominations, interpretations, doctrines and various versions of the Bible it seems there are always times when we run into conflict with other believers.

Each of us as brothers or sisters in Christ seem to want it our way. Our church, our interpretation, our version of the Bible. We each feel that we are right and sometimes feel the need to distance ourselves from those who feel differently.

notarguing

Have you noticed how religion seems to set the rules to described what it takes to be a ‘good’ Christian? Do this, don’t do that, stay away from this and make sure you participate in that. Attend every service and be active with this group or that group. If you are not reading a particular version of the Bible you are just wasting your time. If you are not part of a church you must be backslidden, at least that is the way some fellow Christians make you feel. Rules, rules, rules.

Maybe it is time we stop arguing over versions, interpretations, doctrines, church attendance and such and start focusing on Christ who is to be our first love. If we can focus on Him and loving others, we should be able to agree to disagree on other topics and accept one another even in our differences.

When we find common ground in our faith in Christ, when we love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, we should be able to look past the differences we have in our various denominations, Bible versions and interpretations.

loveall

Let’s stop fighting against each other and begin to love one another as Christ loves us. Do not let the various differences come between the love we can have for one another and the things we can share and learn through fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Those outside of Christianity should be seeing the love we have for God and for one another. There is enough hate and disagreement in our world today. What makes a difference is seeing brotherly love for one another and sharing God’s love with everyone we meet.

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I am not much into politics and I certainly do not much hope or trust in politicians. I very seldom make political statements since I feel politics is a personal thing. Who you vote for or if you vote at all is up to each individual. So this will be one of very few statements I will make on politics and it will not be an endorsement for any candidate.

I also realize that not everyone who reads my articles are from the USA or is of the christian faith. So bear with me since this will be from an American and christian perspective.

First off, whether you vote party lines, independent or third-party is entirely a personal choice. Whether you vote at all is a personal choice. I understand the concept that as christians we live in the Kingdom of God and we trust God as our head and pledge no allegiance to man. Yet living in this world many believe in the political process and they vote for those they feel is best to lead the country. I believe in praying for our leaders and trying to get the best people into office for the good of the country.

voting

Either way we look at this, the one thing that really bothers me is seeing christian people and especially those in leadership positions such as pastors, evangelists, elders and such making comments such as “if you are a christian why are you supporting this person”, or, “if you were a real christian you would not be voting for that candidate”.

I understand pastors and leaders giving their personal opinions about who they like as a candidate, we all do that, but that should be done on a more personal and private basis. I think to tell people you are or are not a christian based on who you vote for is just not right.

I think most people are smart enough to listen, read and decide for themselves who they want to support. Most people want the best for our country and they really believe they are voting for the person who will do the best job.

I personally think that christians, especially those such as pastors and leaders who make these type statements should keep their views to themselves. We all should have the right to vote for the person we feel is best, and to do so without someone trying to put a guilt trip on us for having a different view, especially when it comes to our christianity.

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Don’t jump on me to fast, read the rest of the post.

This really is a terrible question but I find that coming from a Christian viewpoint it seems many Christian people in the United States feel that if you are a Christian you have to be a republican. Personally the way I feel about politics I would come closer to asking are you a Christian or a politician? Now I am only joking. I know there are many politicians who are of the Christian faith, yet I know many use Christianity just to get more votes.

flag-and-cross

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

We also seem to think we can use political power to force our Christian values on everyone. I for one do not believe we should or can legislate Christian values and morality on anyone. Only by the power of the Spirit within us can righteous living and loving others be possible.

I would love to see people stop bringing Christianity down to a political stance. Focus on Christ and loving others no matter which political party they endorse, if any.

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It is sad but I am seeing more and more how a lot of us have an Us versus Them mentality….and that is just among Christians.

For those of us who are followers of Christ we are to love and accept others in the name of Christ. Yet many of us cannot even accept other believers.

We get upset when someone has a different interpretation, a different doctrine, or they go to a different church or no church at all.

UsvsThem

Why is it when we are to be known for our love for one another that we can be so condemning and mean to each other?

I feel being a Christian is being in community with others, not necessarily with others with the same doctrine or interpretation, but someone to communicate with, fellowship with, have discussions and be ourselves without judgment and condemnation.

For those who do not see eye to eye on church attendance, there is no reason why we have to argue with each other. So many people who still attend an organized religious organization are quick to say those of us who have left the organization are wrong or disobeying the bible by not assembling together.

Yet those who are outside the walls of religion can easily argue with those who still attend, saying they are wrong and disobeying God by staying within the man-run organization.

Acceptance

We should be able to understand that we all have different ways of seeing things, different ways of worship and different paths in our walk with Christ. Whether we are in or out of the organization we are seeking to serve and follow the same Father.

Rather than fight and argue amongst ourselves, we should realize we are all seeking the same purpose in living for God and showing others that He loves them. Those in the organized church love God and want to serve Him just as much as those outside the walls of religion and traditional church.

When we realize we are the Church no matter if we attend an organized service or if we never walk into a church building we will do much better at showing the love of God to a hurting world. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and he lives within us. We are all equally functioning parts of the body of Christ, who is the head of the body.

They will know we are Christians (followers of Christ) by the love we have for one another. We need to stop fighting and arguing over our doctrinal differences and various interpretations and love God and one another. Our goal is to be loving and kind and have a servant spirit to all we meet along the way.

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Thinking about the tragedy in Orlando and several of the other terrorist tragedies around the world got me to thinking about all the blaming and finger-pointing going on. My personal opinion is more about extremists, which is a group we really do not hear a lot about. We hear a lot about Muslim extremists but extremists in general are much more than Muslim or any particular group of people.

PrayforOrlando

Extremists are a group made up of many groups. We have religious extremists, political extremists, LGBT extremists, racial extremists,  Christian extremists (another group we hear little about), Muslim extremists and a host of others groups that go to the extreme with trying to force their belief on others.

Extremism according to the dictionary is: going to the utmost or very great lengths in action, habit, or opinion; exceeding the bounds of moderation.

Today this seems to be associated with those who are dangerous and who will go to any lengths to promote their way or life and get others to accept their beliefs, even to torture and killing.

In a world where extremism takes over there is no peace. No one is safe from verbal and physical abuse and harm.

This is not to say that every person should be lumped into the extremist basket. Each and every group have many people who want to have a happy life, accept others and enjoy living in a way that they are happy and comfortable. Each group mentioned above have people who get along with others, love people, go to work, pay their bills, enjoy their family and are satisfied with life as they know it.

Unfortunately it is the extremists who get all the attention. It is the extremists who do all the damage and cause the hatred and un-acceptance of others who are different from them.

To me it is really disturbing to read some of the Christian extremists comments, a group who should be known for love and acceptance but are showing their true colors of hatred and unacceptance. These are not true Christians and it is a tragedy in itself that people will use the guise of Christianity to promote and spread their hatred and un-Christ-like ways.

StopExtremism

Rather than blame as a whole the LGBT community, Christian, Muslim and other religious people, the various races or the gun rights advocates for all the trouble, hatred, condemnation and judgment we should be looking at the extremists of each group. They are the ones who keep things stirred up and causing mistrust, unacceptance and hatred.

It is said that Jesus was an extremists in his time. I tend to agree with that statement. Yet Jesus was an extremists of the opposite kind. He was extreme in his love for others and those the religious crowd did not want to be around. He was extreme in bucking the religious system of rules and working your way to favor with God. The extremists today use hate, fear and murder to promote their way of life. Jesus used love, acceptance and doing good to others. We need more extremists like Jesus in our world today.

If we could change or control the extremists of today and get past all the labels we put on one another, maybe we could begin to see each other as human beings who want a good, happy and satisfying life. It will be then that we could learn to accept one another and live in a more peaceful atmosphere.

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