I’m over Christianity

It’s Sunday morning and I’m here debating whether or not to shut down this blog. It was originally intended as an online way to journey, to share my life real and honest with others. I did the same with my secular blog except that it was clothed in anonymity and prose. And although people flocked to it, it was mired in pain and sin and God wiped it clean when I came out of the water, when I was free.

As my blog journey has continued, it has taken me so many unexpected places. It has brought people back into my life who I hadn’t spoken to in many years, it has allowed others to reach out to me who have been sexually abused and asked me for prayer. It brought me to the Catholic church and allowed me to free myself from some of the bondage I still suffered from, namely people pleasing. There has been so much refinement and blessing. Honesty will do that- allow God to mold and shape you into who He wants you to be.

But lately as I journey on, I see a sad trend in Christian writers who feel bashing Catholics, posting derogatory articles about Catholics, or making seemingly “harmless” arguments masquerading in “doctrine” about Catholics on the rise. Many of the blogs I used to read, I cannot read anymore. And you might say, well say something! Yes I could do that. But then I would have to quit my job and my family to have the adequate amount of time to lovingly tell people to cease and desist hating Jesus.

The typical arguments I receive are:

“Oh well you’ve only been saved for a little over two years”  (Not sure where Jesus stated a requirement for how long one needs to be saved before talking about Him, help me out here people…)

“You didn’t go to seminary so you don’t know your doctrine” (Ummm, ok well the same bible you’re reading tells me that I actually don’t have to go to seminary to do that. But oh that’s right, Jesus went to your alma mater, forgive me!).

“Look at the sexual abuse that’s occurred in the Catholic Church and you want to go there?” (Oh yeah that’s right, only priests sexually abuse children, duh!)

“Catholics believe in tradition and don’t read the bible like we do.” (Oh yes that’s right. Let’s completely forget the first Christians were Jews who came out of synagogue with ummmm traditions and reading of scripture out loud before the whole congregation. Shhh let’s just flush that and start again our way, the right way!).

There are so many more that if I wrote all of them down this post would become a novel. Suffice it to say I’m over it, way over it. So over it that I am embarrassed for the non-believers out there including militant atheists who read some of this stuff. I am not quite sure in a hurt and dying world why people would feel it is their “job” to proselytize (or their version of it, I call it bashing, but tomato, tomatoe, right?) Catholics. And don’t get me started on about one billion other topics that Christians write about out here which wouldn’t even lead my dog to the Lord.

So as I mull over my decision to leave this blog, I’d say to all of you Christian bloggers who are using your space to hate on Catholics, please in the name of Jesus take that stuff down. Hello, we have work to do out here! And just so you know rather than it “converting” me into another non-Catholic denomination it’s hurting me and making me run the other way, all the way into possibly shutting down this blog. Maybe some other Catholics won’t tell you how they feel, but I will. Because I was one of you before becoming one of them. And what you’re doing is not love, it’s not love at all. And some of you have completely missed what the gospel message is all about.

Honesty is something, huh?

(Thanks my friend for the song. Hard to listen to but, I did, and I needed it. And you know, others do to.)

True Love – What Does It Look Like?

Love is a word that, I believe, has lost something along the way.  I LOVE peanut butter and chocolate.  I LOVE the beach.  I LOVE the sun and I LOVE the rain.  I LOVE that guy because he looks good in jeans or that girl, etc. and so on.  You get the point.  That’s not the kind of love I want.  I want to be loved back.  Peanut butter and chocolate do not love me back.

As a Christian, I know what the bible says love is God is love.  I believe that.  But what does that mean?  To me, it means He is made of love, He is made to love and He is made to be loved.  It’s not a light, on the surface kind of human love.  It’s a love that goes so deep that I cannot see the bottom.  It’s a sacrificial love.  That is because I believe there is no bottom, no end to His love.

I believe that the living God gave the ultimate sacrifice for me, His son, Jesus Christ.  I believe the trinity of God, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit lives  inside  me.  Therefore I should be full of love.  But am I?

There is the beauty of LOVE.  God gave us all a free will.  I can choose.  I chose Him and all He has for me……… but I fail daily.  Heck, hourly, by the second.  I am a frail human being.  I’m not condemned for my failure in this lack of love – although other humans like to condemn me – but God does not.  He still loves me.

I can on and on with what I believe, but the point I’m trying to make is – what does it look like to be loved?

I don’t think I need to agree with everything my spouse of forty-one years does.  He doesn’t agree with everything I like or believe.  It would be so boring if we agreed on everything.  Probably wouldn’t have lasted forty-one years!  But we love each other.  Through all kinds of crap and flowery things.  Through sickness and health, through poorness and richness.  Through great loss and great new life.  We choose to love each other.  No matter how mad I get – and I do – I choose to love him

Now, why this post?  I really want to love others.  I want to look at the guy or gal who is full of hate and anger and totally thinks I’m out in left field — I want to look at them and love them.  Love them no matter what.  It is the hardest thing for me to do.  To love someone who doesn’t love me back.  Or even like me.  But I have it within me to be able to do that.

Baby steps.  One step at a time.  Pick myself up, minute by minute, and try again.  To love.  To love as I am loved.

Here’s a fresh pumpkin pie out of the oven – made with honey and love.  Have a piece with me and let’s talk about love.

Honey Pumpkin Pie
Honey Pumpkin Pie

Enjoy!

wingedprisms

The Nature of “Church”

The church of our Lord is so much more significant than an organization made by men, so much more than a building or a name or a procedure manual; it is the very purpose of God in action. Yet, in this world, such an organization might well prove to be expedient; a useful tool: Fine and dandy.

Yet no denomination or brotherhood of believers that I have ever heard of has any legitimate reason to claim to be the only group of Christ-followers. The church is so much more than that.

Of course you are free to disagree, but in my view, we must train ourselves to stop thinking of church as some kind of an institution, for the reality is that church is not an institution at all; it is movement. When our Lord went through the countryside preaching the Kingdom, He spoke Truth to the people; He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk and drove out demons. The word of what was happening spread like wildfire and the crowds became larger and larger. People came from miles around to hear the Truth, to be healed, to gain sight, to walk, and to be spiritually cleansed; it was a movement that even the authorities could not stop. After His resurrection, He passed the mantle to His disciples, and they did the same, even under persecution, and the movement grew, precisely because it was God’s purpose in action to save humanity from sin and death.

We might wonder why we don’t see such a movement today, a movement that changes hearts and minds for Christ, and that is a fair question for us to ask. The answer I propose is this: Movements change hearts and minds, the movement, the Way, that was the church, changed hearts and minds for Christ, until like all other movements, it stagnated and became an institution that must maintain the status quo instead.

This is why we need a whole new way of thinking about church today; we must begin to see that church is not an institution, but a movement, a movement that changes lives for Christ.

Is church a list of programs, or a set of traditions, ceremonies and pageantry? Does it really matter what style of music you have, or whether or not the preacher (by whatever name) wears robes, a suit or jeans? Is it possible to worship without candles or a certain type of décor? Do we choose a church because of its youth group, its seniors’ ministry or its bowling league?

Ah yes, the most powerful force in the modern church: The way we’ve always done it.

Yet  church as a movement changes lives for Christ. The church as an institution maintains the status quo.

Many of the things in this category are matters of personal preference. When I am at home, what I may prefer gets some attention, but in the Body of Christ, we have a much higher calling than “self”. Our traditions are usually good; they are often the great ideas of an earlier time, but the real question we should ask is whether or not they still contribute to the building of God’s Kingdom. If they do, that’s great. If they don’t they are obsolete and out they go.

Programs are all well and good if they help build the Kingdom, but if they don’t, we need to try something else. To put it another way, we may have many excellent ministries that meet the needs of our community and bring healing and hope for many, and this is a very good thing. We also might have ministries that either never connected with the needs of the community, or that no longer reach the needs of the community, and we mustn’t keep them around for old times’ sake, for that is how a movement begins to stagnate and turn into an institution.

No doubt you can think of many other examples of how “the way we’ve always done things” has held our great movement back. I’m reminded of what John wrote:

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.  Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Revelation 2:4-5

The great question is this: How do we get back to the Movement Jesus began how do we set the Church free?