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And Everyone Else is Wrong

by Jim Gordon

If you are around a lot of people or are on social media very often, you will see many people are ready to argue in order to prove their way of thinking, especially in regard to spiritual matters.

Some atheists complain about Christians believing in a fairy in the sky, some people get mad over the transgender debate, gays are treated like second-class citizens and some of them are hateful toward Christians. Many Christians fight with other Christians over doctrine and some can be very judgmental and condemning of atheists and the LGBT community. It seems each group is trying to prove why they are right and the other group is wrong and many times they do it in ways that are not so nice.

Why do so many people spend so much time arguing and defending personal views when we cannot prove any of it? Seriously, none of us can prove beyond a doubt our thoughts and views on spiritual things or life after death. We cannot prove God exists and we cannot prove he does not exist. There are so many varying doctrines, interpretations of the bible and denominations among Christianity that it is not surprising we do not know who is right or wrong?

If we really think about it no matter what your religion, what your faith or belief, what your lifestyle, if you are atheist, Christian, gay, agnostic, transgender, if you have a scientific view or creationist view none of us can prove our way of thought in regard to spiritual matters. It is our personal view and it is good to have those views, but we should not be trying to prove our way and push it onto others expecting them to see things our way.

Each group is passionate about the way they see things and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is expecting everyone to agree and go along with our way of thinking.

We are not all going to agree on things, yet we should be able to be accepting of others. Being accepting does not mean we always agree with one another or approve of everything people do, but we should be able to be kind and show respect to everyone even in our differences. Being judgmental, condemning, or poking fun at one another is certainly not being loving and kind.

It all boils down to no matter what route we take in life, what we think about life after death, what we think about God or spiritual life, none of us can prove our way of thinking, at least not until death. Once we die, if there is life after death and I believe there is, we will know for sure at that point. Until that time, we can only follow our way of thinking or believing and we should be respectful of others and the way they think.

Those of us who are followers of Jesus should especially be loving and kind because Christ told us to love God and love one another. He did not say we should only love those who believe like us. He did not say to be judgmental, condemning or to exclude anyone.

When reading about Jesus in the gospels we see a person who loved people and was accepting of everyone. He did not condemn nor judge and I believe he was God in human form showing us that God loves us all.

I believe God provides grace for everyone, but he gives us all freedom to choose what to believe and whether to accept it or not. I believe we should offer the same option to our fellow human beings no matter what label is put on them.

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

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by Jim Gordon

With all the changes happening in Christianity these days, such as Christian Nationalism, exclusion of those who are LGBTQ, seeing the separation of church and state slowly disappear, and those in the church seemingly becoming more hateful toward those who believe differently, my wife and I question whether we should still call ourselves Christian or not. Basically, it all boils down to what we mean by the word Christian.

If being a Christian is being part of a religion that meets in a building on a particular day and follows set doctrines based on what denomination we belong to, then no, we are not Christians.

If being a Christian is being part of a group that is opposed to all other religions and only accepts those who believe like we do, then no, we are not Christians.

If being a Christian has anything to do with excluding those who are LGBTQ, then no, we are not Christians.

If being a Christian has anything to do with treating women unequally, then no, we are not Christians.

If being a Christian has anything to do with discrimination and segregation, then no, we are not Christians.

Actions that do not show the love, acceptance and good works that Jesus showed while on earth are not part of a Christianity we want to be associated with.

In Acts 11:26, the disciples were first called Christians by people in Antioch. They were called Christians because they were acting like Christ. The people there were calling them little Christ’s because of the way they showed the love and power of Christ. Now, if that is what is meant by being a Christian, then we are all in.

There are many ways we can describe ourselves…believers, Christ followers, disciples of Christ, people of faith, Christians. Yet, the name itself does not really matter. What matters is how we live our lives. Is Christ preeminent? Are we living as one with him? Are we allowing the love of Christ to live through us, accepting others, loving others and being little Christ’s to all we meet? If not, being called a Christian means nothing, and may actually be damaging to others.

When people see us, they should see Christ. He lives within us by the Spirit. We really do not need to worry so much about the label we use. We are to be known by our actions that show the love of God and share that love with our fellow man each and every day.

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

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by Jim Gordon

When thinking about all that is going on in the world today, one main issue is about gay and transgender rights and equality. It is obvious that those who are LGBTQ are being seriously discriminated against and not being treated equally as they should. There seems to be a growing amount of discrimination, exclusion and hatred toward them and even within political decisions as well.

It seems that many who are Christian seem to think it is best to come against those who are LGBTQ as a way of showing that they are in favor of Christian values and want to take a stand for God. The main problem for this way of thinking is the many misinterpretations of biblical verses and not understanding meanings and customs at the time the Bible was written. Many Christian people go so far as to think if you are LGBTQ, then you cannot be Christian.

Personally, as a Christian I think this way of thinking and acting is completely wrong and so against what Jesus taught and lived in regard to how to treat other people. He accepted and spent time with all kinds of people, mostly people who the religious crowd would not want to spend time with or get to know.

Why is it many Christian people think that by taking a stand against someone or something they do not agree with is the way to show true Christian love and acceptance? Why is it in a world with so many diverse people and various beliefs that they feel the need to openly defend their way as if it is the only way?

As a Christian I do believe in living for God and showing His love to everyone. After all, Jesus told us to love God and love one another. There is no need to do anything other than love one another. It is not our job to change people, convict people or judge people.

None of us are going to have everything figured out, none of us are always going to be right. That does not mean we should pick and choose who we love and accept. No matter what we choose to believe or how we choose to live, everyone deserves to be treated equally and loved just as they are.

A good friend of mine is a firefighter and he shared a paragraph from an ethics class he recently attended. It reads: Equal Services for All. Always ensure that the services you and your crew are providing are equal for everyone on the scene. Never discriminate because of race, color, religion, age, sex (gender), or disability. If you become aware of another firefighter discriminating against someone, rectify the situation immediately and report it to your chief. Discrimination should never be tolerated.

To me this sounds more like it came from Jesus telling his followers how to treat others.

I believe that standing up for our Christian values should be positive, not negative. It is not showing what we are against, being mean, condemning, unaccepting, judgmental and discriminating. It is showing what we are for in Christ, which is showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It is showing love to our fellow human beings no matter who they are or what they believe.

We certainly are not all going to agree on everything. We are all going to make our choices on what to believe and how to live based on what we feel is right or best for us. Yet in those differences there is no reason we cannot respect, accept and love each other knowing that God loves each and every one of us. As Mike Warnke said many years ago “if you’re good enough for God, then you’re good enough for me”. That might be a simple way of saying it, but God loves us all, and we should love each other and treat others equally.

It is time to set aside our differences, set aside discrimination, set aside prejudices and doctrinal beliefs and show the love of God to everyone we meet. We were all created in the image of God and we are all to love one another.

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

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by Jim Gordon

I 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.

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 those who are LGBTQ for who they really are….people, normal, everyday 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 the way God made them.

Today I 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.

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 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 one another. 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 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 who are LGBTQ and letting them know they are loved just as they are.

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

** 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

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

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

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by Jim Gordon

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

We often want to only include our preferred group. People who think like us and have faith like us. If a person thinks differently, we feel you should stay in your own group with like-minded people, but leave us alone. Fortunately, many of us are changing our mind on such feelings.

We see this so much within Christianity with such a wide variety of denominations and interpretations of the Bible. Yet, I am not necessarily just talking about organized religion or institutional church, but accepting people in general in our daily lives.

When it comes to including people who we see as different from us aside from spiritual matters, it is even worse. African-American/White, LGBTQ/Straight, American/Foreign, Atheist/Muslim/Jew/Hindu and on it goes. We seem to think as believers in God, we need to separate ourselves from those who see things differently and should not associate with them.

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, looked and lived differently. He loved and respected all people.

Obviously, loving and accepting people does not mean we always agree nor are we always going to get along in life. Yet I believe it does mean treating others equally, respectfully, with kindness, acceptance and the love of God.

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 and about learning to live together. It makes the world our classroom for learning about our fellow human beings. 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 everyone.

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

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and Everyone Else is Confused

by Jim Gordon

For those of us who attended church for any amount of time, we find that there are often people who are acting and responding in ways that are very judgmental and condemning.

Especially when it comes to the gay community, atheists and those of various religious groups and denominations that differ in doctrine from what we think is right. Many of us Christians have a hard time accepting people who think differently.

We would rather fight and defend our interpretation and doctrine and prove our Christian moral way of living rather than show the love of Christ and accept people the way they were made.

I do not understand why we feel the need to try to prove our point and why we have to make sure everyone knows that the way we follow God is the only right way.

One Another: Accept One Another” Romans 15:5-7 – 8:00 and 11:00 Services –  Hanover First Church of God

A lot of us cannot even accept and associate with other believers from a different denomination. So many people say their version of the bible is the only true version or their type of church is the only true church.

I get so fed up with the pride and arrogance of some (not all) groups of Christians who think they have it all figured out and their way is right. They seem to think that you had better believe like they do or they want nothing to do with you.

Even some Christians in the same church, those who have been good friends for years will turn on you if you leave their church. How many times have you been involved in a church you really enjoy and the people are loving and kind only to find once you leave the group you never hear from any of them again?

Though no longer within the institutional church, I had been in the system for well over 50 years so I know what I am talking about. I am not out to bash the church but it does aggravate me to see people who are supposed to show the love of God to all people, yet act so unloving and judgmental to people who think differently. Fortunately, not every church or Christian group is like this but certainly it is the norm for a lot of them.

Why is it that so many Christian people are so mean and condemning to gay people? Why is it we see atheist as our mortal enemy? Why do we reject the interpretations and beliefs of other Christians who attend a different denomination, or, God forbid, who do not go to church at all? Jesus, who is our example, was not like that yet many people did not grow up in church and did not read the bible. Due to this they do not know what Jesus was like. They only know that we who claim to follow Jesus act in such a mean, unaccepting and unloving way.

We need to remember that behind every label we put on people there is a human being. No matter who we are, what we believe, no matter what our lifestyle or our feelings about God, we all are deserving of love and acceptance. Just like each of us who are now Christians were loved and accepted by God even before we knew anything about Him, we should be loving and accepting to everyone we meet because we may be the only Jesus they see.

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

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By Mike Edwards

Many, because of their understanding of the Bible, will respond with some version of “I love you; I hate your sin.” This is not a phrase found in the Bible. One is hard pressed to find anywhere in the Bible where this is a recommended strategy in relationships whether the Bible clearly condemn a behavior or not. It is impossible to not feel personally attacked when one utters “I love you but I hate your sin.” What is heard is I don’t love you.

Please don’t reject a gay child in God’s name!

Some parents condemn their child because the Bible supposedly does. Not all agree. See here.  When there are any doubts what the Bible might be advising, God-followers must take the most compassionate, less judgmental stance toward others. Many parents know in their hearts to not judge their child but they are torn when hearing others claim the Bible condemns homosexuality. It is impossible to not feel unloved and rejected when told “I love you but I hate your sin.” 

Why do we treat gays differently from other supposed sinners whatever you believe?

Many refer to Paul’s list of sins to call out homosexuality but they fail to call out the greedy and slanderers (I Cor. 6: 9-10). Unless you are homeless chances are you have been greedy more than once this week. How is it not greedy to keep more than you need and make sure those struck by natural disasters or other tragedies have the rest? Remind me to not say when I see you “I love you, but I hate your selfish behaviors.”

But some actions are really harmful

It can be argued that hating alcoholic behavior is loving because alcohol abuse is harmful. Hating homosexual sex is only loving if homosexual sex is sinful. But do we tell a drug abuser that we love them but hate their behaviors? You don’t tell anyone coming for help with their addiction that you love them but hate their behavior. You simply say I love you and let’s do this together. They probably already hate their own behaviors. When someone is overweight, which is a lot of us, should we say “I love you but I hate you are fat?”

So, what do we stand for!

When people are involved in uncommitted sexual relationships and I am asked, I don’t say I love you but hate your behaviors. If they want, I have a conversation about whether their actions will end up hurting them or others in the future. I can still believe in the importance of committed, monogamous relationships. That is why adultery is wrong. That is why it is selfish to be involved in more than one sexual relationship especially if the other persons are unaware. I have no problem taking a stand against behaviors that I think are harming others. I do though try to remember I am involved in such behaviors daily. Just love on those seeking your support and avoid cliches.

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

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

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by Jim Gordon

As followers of Christ, I feel we should be able to accept and love everyone. No matter what we believe, what our faith or doctrine is, no matter our religion, nationality, sexual preference or color, we should try to see each other as Jesus sees us. This is a type of love we cannot do on our own. It is only possible by the love of God within us.

We want to love, accept and care for people. It is only natural that we will not always agree, but we want to look past those areas of difference and love each other in Christ. This seems to be the way that others will come to see the love of God; not through condemning and bashing one another nor in trying to prove we are right and everyone else is wrong. Love does not mean seeing eye-to-eye, it does not mean we agree or even like some of the things people do. It does mean we look past the differences and we love and respect each other as Christ loves us.

We all have different opinions, views and interpretations of things. We all come from different backgrounds and beliefs. Yet, no matter if we are LGBTQ/straight, Christian/atheist, Republican/Democrat, American/foreign, white/black, male/female or whatever label people put on us, the fact is we are all human beings. We all deserve to be treated with respect and be accepted. Each of us should be able to live our life and make our own choices without being judged and condemned by others. We should be able to discuss our differences respectfully, and none of us should try to force our views and choices on others.

If we could look past the labels we wear and see each other as people who overall want the same things. We all want to be happy, to find love, be healthy and enjoy life. If we could do that, I think showing godly love to one another would be easier, even in our differences.

We need to look past the labels and see each other as human beings who have feelings, and who want share love and friendship. We want to be people who can get to know one another, learn from one another, share thoughts and ideas and accept each other as being created in the image of God.

We are all different, we all wear different labels, yet we are all the same. We are all human beings created in the image of God. Let us each try to focus on the common goal of loving God and loving one another.

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

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by Mike Edwards

Believing God exists or doesn’t exist requires faith, but it seems intuitive a loving Creator would love the way we were created to love. We can examine what a loving God is like though our moral intuitions, our consciences. Christians may argue we should trust “biblical truths” about God, but differing interpretations exist for many moral issues. See here. Also, we can’t prove if biblical writers always understood God perfectly. We aren’t always certain how to best love, but we know that we or a Creator ought to love others as we want to be loved.

What does the Bible really say about God and gays? 

Leviticus (18:22, 20:13) list unnatural male same sex activities as an abomination. Unnatural in OT times could be sex not for procreation. We can’t be sure what activity the writers had in mind. Are lesbians safe because nothing is said about same sex women activities? The OT also lists as abominations lying lips, arrogance, etc. Are straights screwed? The word “homosexual” doesn’t appear in some English translations before 1946.  In passages such as I Cor.6:9-10 and I Tim. 1:10 the translation often wasn’t homosexuals” but “boy molesters.” Big difference! And the passage says wrongdoers don’t inherit the kingdom of God. I guess we are all screwed! 

Many growing up in church only condemn gays out of devotion to the God of the Bible. Let’s assume it could be proven God controlled pens and minds of the writers so every word in the Bible came from God. The truth is literature requires interpretation, even if ever word written, edited, or translated was inspired by God. We mustn’t claim our interpretations are infallible when being wrong has tremendous consequences. Scholars, who accept Scriptures as authoritative, don’t agree the Bible condemns same-gender loving relationships. See here.

Why would anyone choose to be gay? 

How could a loving God possibly condemn gays when they can no more choose who they are attracted to than straights can? If you are a straight man, don’t you naturally have to fight not looking at naked women than men? Ask gays their battle! Who chooses to be gay when one has to hide their sexuality because of bigotry and hostility? The mental health damage is tremendous!

Parents often only condemn their gay children because of a supposed correct interpretation of a Book. It is impossible to feel loved and accepted when someone says “I love you but I hate your sin.” But we tell alcoholics we hate their sin! Hating homosexual sex is only loving if homosexual sex is sinful. Hating alcoholic behavior is loving because alcohol abuse really is harmful. A parent need not reject a gay child according to the Bible.

What do our moral intuitions, consciences tell us about God and gays?

My moral intuitions tell me that God is not bias against females, people of color, or gays. Shouldn’t we choose the least harmful view? We don’t know why one has feelings for the same sex or opposite sex. If you think there is a .0001% possibility that science proves sexual orientation isn’t a choice, why would we judge? It’s a myth that sexual choices are always the result of some trauma or rebellion in our lives. I am convinced the Bible is silent on monogamous same sex relationships, while supporting relationships that show love and concern for one another.

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

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

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by Mike Edwards

I don’t write to push God on others. I am convinced God is big enough to make their own case with those seeking more of a connection with their Creator. I just know God has made me a better husband, father, and friend by their influence. I enjoy discussing my journey with those so inclined. Even if it turns out God doesn’t exist, what have I lost by living a life with fewer regrets.

One might argue the biggest obstacle Christians put in the way of others interested in pursuing God is hypocrisy. If you treat people like dirt, I doubt you are being influenced by the God I know. Most folks though understand no one is perfect. But if Christians fail to admit or confess their faults, good luck discussing your relationship with God with others.

Claims I consider false, made by Christians about God, may be the greatest problem. It is said:

  • Evolution can’t be true and God couldn’t have used evolution in the creative process
  • Women can’t be pastors or priests and wives should be more submissive to husbands than husbands should be to their wives
  • God condemns gays who are naturally attracted to those of their same sex and God forbid they get married
  • God is going to burn in hell forever those who deny God here on earth Most humans wouldn’t even justify such torture for their worst enemies. To Hell with those who grew up in a family of another religion that believed in the golden rule
  • God before creation elected some to be God’s children and the rest can freely go to Hell
  • God can control evil, despite creating freedom, thus in reality God controls how much each suffers
  • God can magically answer your prayers and if God doesn’t, you must have some hidden sin or not praying the right words
  • God can tell you to love your enemies but supposedly God can command the killing of women and children as in the Old Testament. Maybe the writers didn’t understand God fully at the time
  • If you are an atheist or not all-in about God, you are simply being rebellious to justify living selfishly
  • You don’t really love God if you don’t attend the institutional church on a regular basis

It is claimed the Bible is all about avoiding Hell rather than God desiring to have a relationship with you here on earth to face challenges inevitable in an imperfect world.

Do you doubt any of the above claims? Most if not all of the above beliefs come from one’s understanding of a Book. It is seldom admitted Christians disagree in good conscience about the above claims in the Bible about God.

Besides, many act as if it can be proven that God controlled or approved all that is claimed about God in the Bible, that God somehow magically download their thoughts and words into the writer’s brain.

Do you wish you could get more into God but certain claims are a problem? Don’t believe everything you hear. God surely gave us a brain and moral conscience to decide evil from good. If God is evil in any way, that is a God not worth believing in!

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

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

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