Religion like in the good old days

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HEADLINE: “In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace”

OPENING CONTENT: “The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade.”

Who thinks Christians are a Resource …?

The samples from these political polls are not as large as the Landscape Studies (even when all of the political polls conducted in a year are combined), but together, 88 surveys from 2009 to 2019 included interviews with 168,890 Americans.

So let’s slice and dice …

Religious “nones” are growing faster among Democrats than Republicans, though their ranks are swelling in both partisan coalitions … Furthermore, the data shows a wide gap between older Americans (Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation) and Millennials in their levels of religious affiliation and attendance …  The data suggests that Christians are declining not just as a share of the U.S. adult population, but also in absolute numbers …  Catholics no longer constitute a majority of the U.S. Hispanic population …  There is still a gender gap in American religion …  Religious “nones” now make up fully one-third of Democrats …  The religious profile of white Democrats is very different from the religious profile of racial and ethnic minorities within the Democratic Party …  The share of U.S. adults who are white born-again or evangelical Protestants now stands at 16%, down from 19% a decade ago … 

 

In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace

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Is this what it’s all about?
The labels and percentages.  The numbers and the affiliations.
Keeps them from seeing Love.
Keeps you from being Love

You think you are persecuted?
You are a Resource.

 

 

Just like the good old days.

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Putting off the “love bit”

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“It’s never going to work”, Nan’s Notebook

“I am not a believer.

I left Christianity nearly 20 years ago and have not regretted my decision for one single moment.”

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More and more I wonder why we have made “believer” synonymous with “faith and/or religion” – which means “believing” is now “believing” in a proscribed and defined deity.  And is the cause of much verbal warfare (and far worse) … of many institutions and the ongoing “warfare” over their legitimacy/supremacy assumed AND legitimacy/supremacy challenged.

(all of which “gets in the way” a tad)

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I was a believer of many things before I became a “believer”.

I still am.

I believed in love – and still do.  I believed in hard work and getting up again – and still do.  I believed in kindness – and still do.  I believed I shouldn’t be rude – and …  I believed my mum and dad knew everything – and …  I believed my big brother was awesome – and still do.  Just not in the idolising/hate way I used to.

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In short, my living is founded on beliefs of all kinds.  And those beliefs changed and still change.  My “believer” belief no different.

“I am not a believer.” Is like saying I am dead.  Unable to believe anything anymore.  Beyond belief.  Literally.

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I am.

A believer and always will be.

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But what I believe … Now that changes constantly.

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I see Jesus being a believer.

Of love. Of kindness.  Of meeting each where each is in that moment.  Of not labelling or categorising or compartmentalising.   Of allowing and empowering.  Of enabling and liberating.  Of changing for me as I change for me.

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As for the “factual” and “literal” healing and miracles and superpowers and dying and resurrecting and the “evidence” of the bible …

Which must include all that sacrifice and slavery and original sin not eating bacon sandwiches and genocide (repeatedly) of the Old God … 

I don’t need that to be true as I don’t need the New God and the cross to be true.

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For if I need that to be true to be a “believer” … what else do I “need”?

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So, when Nan comes along and blows great big holes in my “believing” (she has written a superb book challenging the “believers” beliefs) … then where do I go and what do I “believe”?

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And all that Old God “badboy stuff” … ?

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My reading is that loads of that (going back to the Garden and forwards) was a crafted and superstitious and controlling bigging-up of “my God is bigger than your God” rhetoric.  Because there is no point in being “Chosen” if your God ain’t the Biggest Baddest Top Table God.

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But – If I read the bible right … I don’t think Jesus needs anything.

Which is the power of love without any conditions at all.

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Maybe that’s why we struggle with love.

We need it to be conditional.

So we argue about “the conditions” …

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which (conveniently) puts off the “love” bit.

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Organised Religion

What is organised religion?  How does one know when one meets organised religion?  Does organised religion come with a sign that says “Organised Religion: enter here”?

I have a confession. This real community of real people connected by WordPress and the internet … I get more “God” here than I have found elsewhere.

In this community I do not know what job you do … what clothes you wear … how big or small your house … how big or small your ego … how high or low on the pecking order.  I know nothing about you – yet I Know You.

I know you because you know me.  And we know each other because we both come with our “spiritual button” exposed.  And because of that I can only connect with your spiritual button – and you can only connect with mine.  And once we have connected in a spiritual place – the rest does not matter.  And if we do not connect in that spiritual place – the rest does not matter (for a different reason).

Imagine a church where that was true.

Where all were all blind to clothes, colour, income, titles, pecking orders, length of service, cliques and clans.  Imagine that place where (because each connected spiritually) the rest did not matter.

Have you been in such a place.  Did it stay that way?  Did you stay that way?

Yet in this internet community I have “met” and connected spiritually with many.  And there are many I would trust with my life.  Who I would trust with my wallet.  Whose eccentricities and foibles – whose humanity and selflessness – I would accept and embrace.

And you might not be “that” really – or not all the time – or not with everyone. But once we each connect our spiritual buttons – the rest does not matter. And I think “that” is what organised religion is not.  And I think that having experienced what organised religion is – I miss what organised religion is not.

I have found in this internet community a church that is “a church”.

Where all walks of life, all lifestyles of living, all loving of lovers – where the anger of dislikes, the passion of anoraks, the tradition of religion, the trendy of non-religion – where the ones disinterested, the ones empowered, the ones disenfranchised, the ones franchised – where all ARE welcome.

I find that this community is “church”.

Where we meet as we are.  Where we are each met as we are.  Where I can change because of you and because of you allowing me.  Where I can be safe because having connected spiritually – the rest simply does not matter.  Where I can be safe because others will see that I am.  I have yet to find another place where that is true (other than family).

Yet this community is ever-changing.  Some come every day, others come and go, others come and then leave.

And the doors are always open – and someone is always here.

If this is not church, then I do not know church at all.

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