Last night I was overwhelmed with feelings of love for my fellow man. Allow me to explain some… I really have no grounds for this assumption, because I surely can’t feel what anyone else feels, but I’ve always thought of myself as an extraordinarily deep feeler. I have compassion that resounds through every fiber of my being. The caverns of my mind and heart are filled and even overflowing with a depth of love that pours into my conscious every day. It was last night, after several mounting occurrences, that I was able to put some words to it. (Words always seem to fail me. I can seldom communicate exactly what I want, but I sure as heck try.)
this past September, one of my best friends got married. my dream is for my wedding to as beautiful as hers. what an amazing, perfect day. i hope my wedding to andy is as “us” as erin and michael’s was “them.”
All these Christians who think they can be Christians with a modern mindset really blow my mind.
-As a Christian, you believe that the Bible is the either the inspired or literal word of God.
-This means that God approves of EVERYTHING that is in the Bible.
-This means you cannot pick and…
HOW DO I ΕΧΙST?!
These are legitimate observations. It seems like, with all my critique of the Church and how Christians as a whole could be doing so much better, I should just drop Christianity. But I can’t. And it’s not a matter of burying my head in the sand or stubbornly clinging to the faith I grew up with. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. All of the views I hold, I own. (And I frequently revise.) And THAT is one of the major problems in the Church. We fail to revise. We won’t. We think Jesus is always in favor of our own political, economic, and social ideas. ALWAYS. And there’s always some verse that supports it. It’s culturally bound and trendy Christianity. THAT ISN’T CHRISTIANITY. There fits into my philosophy the ability to love, to show grace, to challenge culture, to heal, to liberate the marginalized, to honor every being. The faith I am a part of has these at its core— but is too hung up on too many things to be effective as it should be.
There is such disunity. The Church is broken and needs reformed. I don’t know how I even exist, according to these thoughts. I shouldn’t. But I do. And I’ll keep thinking and keep writing, even just to keep reforming myself.
(And as for the second chunk, I’ve never figured that out and I definitely won’t claim that I have. My faith framework suggests that God loves and values those people unconditionally as well. Maybe those Native American religions we drive away have immeasurable worth, and we’ll be seeing them in eternity, too. I guess I’ll figure that one out when I die.)
If we Christians can’t show more love and willingness to listen, it won’t change one person from gay to straight, but it will turn a lot of people against Christianity.
There are some really interesting thoughts in here. Many of them, I affirm— his 3rd point about treating gay people as representations of a cultural issue rather than human beings is something I’ve thought of VERY often. There are just a few statements in here that I have some dissenting thoughts about, but only one I’d like to address:
Because if two straight people have sex before marriage, Christians might call that sinful, but no one would refer to that as their “premarital sex lifestyle.” We view it as one particular act, not a definition of the entirety of their lives.
Unfortunately I see this very differently in Christian culture. I wish it could be like the writer states. I wish it could be only viewed as sinful and nothing more. In light of the recent conversation on “purity culture” I must disagree with the overall truth of this statement.
Those engaging in heterosexual premarital sex are perceived differently within the church. There are degrees, even. There are those who have had sex and stopped. (“They walked in sin, but repented, thank God. Now their later married sex life will be redeemed! Honey, if they break up, don’t date that girl/boy.”) There are those who have sex. (“They have strayed away from what God wants from them. What a shame. Their marriage bed will suffer. Honey, if they break up, don’t date that boy/girl.”) Too often within the church, worth and value are linked to sexuality. This applies to heterosexuals, homosexuals, ALL the sexuals.
The writer would largely be correct in stating that gay people face harsher judgment and more critical perception within the church than do those who have premarital heterosexual sex (as the writer correctly pointed out, this judgment comes with OR without the act of sex itself). The majority of churchgoers have faced the temptation to have sex outside of marriage. The majority of churchgoers have not faced attraction to a member of their same sex. Can you see how one is easier to understand and forgive than the other? But alas, neither is wiped clean once it’s revealed. In both cases, purity is lost. Innocence is gone. Something perfect has been corrupted and those who tarnished God’s perfect plan will be perceived as less-than.
Tragically, we are defined by our sexuality. Our worth is tied into it, and it absolutely shouldn’t be. Too many Christians walk around daily feeling ashamed, feeling like “damaged goods.” We are inherently valuable and unconditionally loved, regardless of our choices, our “lifestyles,” our histories, or our circumstances. It’s high time the Church stops simply preaching that and starts demonstrating it.
After moving, finding a job, and becoming a Mrs., my next step will be obtaining a master’s degree in social work. Decision made. (Finally.)
somewhere along the way i forgot that my natural tendency is to be scared of everything. i guess it’s about time i get back to that, huh?
Today I read a science fiction short story/novella from 1951 called Bettyann. Seriously, I’ve not resonated so strongly with a protagonist in years. It just figures that she’s an alien.
If you’re up for a good read, check it out. Bettyann by Kris Neville.
guys, my writing challenge is going really well. i’m 5 for 5 right now, and have a lot of topics swimming around in my mind to write about still. i wish i could write more each day, but my goal in this is to become more disciplined and to sharpen my ability to put words to my thoughts. i’ve been trying to keep my entries as concise and to-the-point as i can, while still being genuinely reflective. so far, so good.
[I won’t post what I’ve written every day, but since it was the first day of my challenge, I wanted to put it up.]
Justice. Fairness. Society is so wrapped up in these concepts— from the highest tier of legal endeavors to kids on the playground, and everywhere in between. Everyone knows the truth in the statement, “life isn’t fair” when said in reply to a child crying about some perceived disadvantage… but we fail to internalize it. We know it’s true that the world is flawed, broken, and unfair, but we expect it to be that way for Others, not for us. Life should treat US fairly. But it won’t. It can’t. There is no concept of TRUE fairness in the world. Christ brings justice and levels the playing field— but until then, WE must fill in the gaps.
Grace. Selflessness. Love. These are the concepts humanity must latch onto to overcome the inherent injustice in the world. We can fill the gaps. We can graciously accept life’s unfairness, we can selflessly take injustice so others don’t have to. But. We don’t. We want justice at all costs. Let us want grace.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked the idea of “clean streaks”: long periods, or maybe whole lifetimes, of uninterrupted good behavior. The behavior might be an attempt at moral reform (“I haven’t cheated on homework for 3 semesters now”) or more of a preferred lifestyle choice (“I’ve gone…
I love this. It definitely strikes me to my core, as someone who has a propensity toward rule-keeping and legalism. I recently read a blog post that this reminded me of. (Find it here.) While the subject is different, I think some things about it are global, and you’ll see what I mean:
Truth, while absolute, is a weapon to be used on ourselves—not to advance our brand of religion. When we use truth to set forth agendas, bad things happen.
This use of truth has historically warped Christian’s ability to see other humans thru the compassionate eyes of their Creator. It sets the stage for a low theological and practical view of people. Because our truths trump other people’s value.
Others’ value becomes tied to their accepting of our truth. This blinds us to the inherent value God gives them.
Amen to that.
by Mari The title of this post is very provocative and I hope people take the time to read what I have to say rather than simply rejecting me because they believe I’ve turned heathen.Because I haven’t turned heathen.The fact that many Christian people will judge me as a heathen based on the title of this post is one reason I don’t believe in Christianity anymore.Christianity has turned into a political agenda, a social class, a set of rules and regulations that frankly, don’t make much sense to the average Joe who hasn’t been schooled on the issue.My personal understanding of Christianity has evolved throughout my life. My first understanding of Christianity was “God is right and everybody else is wrong.” Then it was, “We are right and everybody else is wrong.” Then it was “The Republican, Pro-Life, Homeschool, ‘Sweet 36, Never Been Kissed’, Pop Out 17 Babies crowd is right and everybody else is wrong.” After that, it was “My church is right and my friends are maybe right, but everybody else is wrong.”
“Because, my experience has shown me that the further you run from religious labels, the closer you get to Jesus.”
good reflections, here. something i’d add to her conclusion is that the church and Christianity will continue to fail and disappoint because both institutions are made up of humans… and humans are flawed. to recognize the faults in these institutions, though, is to be able to work through them, toward Christ, together rather than alone.
In his Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships, James Brownson critiques the idea that the “image of God” in humanity includes sexual difference: Throughou…
interesting thoughts on the necessity of gender complements within the image of God (i.e., is God’s character made up of necessarily “male” and “female” traits, and can we only be full image-bearers of God when we are united in relationship with our counterpart?)
here’s kind of a follow up to my most recent theology and gender roles blog. i discussed the controversial “lost art of servanthood” article and the response article from Elizabeth Esther… Elizabeth and fellow blogger, Kristen Howerton, further detail the content and push-back of that article.
several points in this video are completely in line with my own thoughts:
- The concept of gendered submission- 4:06 (particularly beginning at 4:46!)-5:24
- The concept of gendered skill sets- 6:12-6:30
- The concept of restructured relationships after Jesus (though i don’t know that i would argue this point the same way, i agree with the idea; after we each have been filled with the Spirit, each strive to emulate Christ, and each come to understand how we’ve been equipped to serve God and each other, why shouldn’t relationships look different than they did in the Old Testament? Shouldn’t there be different standards and measures for relating to each other because we are EACH redeemed and EACH able to serve and exercise our gifts?)- 9:11-9:30
just some more thoughts on the matter.