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Posts Tagged ‘liberal Christianity’

May the Creator

Give you peace and inner strength during any showdown today.

For all that taxes you let humor and absurdity be your medicine.

May your bosses give you and yours raises.  Got to feed the family and have fun.

Turn your anger into fruitfulness with the assist of curiosity.

Do you know, offhand, anyone who knows…………?  Find some folk who know life.  Hang out with them.

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From CN:

Dear Liberal Preacher,
 
I hate church. Despise it. I love the idea of finding a liberal church (like yours) and for once worshipping with people who aren’t afraid to ask the “big” questions. I have been reading a lot of your blog and have been diving into your website, I really love it.  I also have a degree in religion and psychology and currently work in a ministry position, and yet I can’t stand the idea of sitting through church. It is the standing, sitting, singing, and gathering of sweaty bodies that just kind of make my stomach turn. I have come to associate church with cheesiness, fake smiles, and uncomfortable shoes. I wish I wanted to go to church, but mostly I just want to have my Sundays to myself. Is that so bad? How do I get over the “I just graduated college and I hate church” hump?
 
Thanks,
CN

 

CN,

The church needs you.  But the world needs you more, and the world is the point.  And if going to church saps you and is a waste of time, time that you could be using to love the world, well, snub the institutional church.  Or start a cell group yourself.  Do some new form of church.  The Church needs a kick in the pants.  It is impotent and is missing the point/s.

There are no perfect churches and there are no perfect people, but, like you, the cheesiness, the inability to ask big questions, and the fake smiles are just too much.  I mean, have they ever read Job or Ecclesiastes or the lament Psalms?

I’m going to email you the best story I’ve ever read.  It’s about a drunk named Old Ike.  The story is from  Wilfred Pelletier’s No Foreign Land:  The Autobiography of a North American Indian.  Old Ike steals a Gideon Bible and discovers real religion; finds out he is more like Jesus than the priests.  It’s funny, but it’s hard-hitting.

I’m more interested in you following Jesus than being in a church, but if you can, help the Christians in churches.  They need it badly.  Unfortunately, the type of help they want from you (your money, you sitting on the pew, you sitting in a million long and boring meetings listening to people think of a thousand reasons not to do something Jesus said to do) is not the type of help which could make them more faithful, real, and relevant.

 

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From MJ:
 
 
Dear Liberal Preacher,
 
I believe Jesus was a good man and I follow his teachings, but I don’t know or care if he was the son of God.   Again I do follow his teachings because they are the right thing to do; so am I condemned to hell?
 
MJ
 
 
Dear MJ,
 
Like you, I too find much about Jesus that is appealing.  (For the record, there are a few texts in the gospels which reveal a Jesus who either was having a bad day or a Jesus we should not imitate.  Yeah, we’ve got to be honest about those texts too.)
 
And like you, I’m sure I don’t have Jesus’ personhood, Christology, etc. all figured out.  I’m also sure the people who think they are sure shouldn’t be so sure.
 
So no, you aren’t going to hell.  Hell doesn’t exist.
 
As for Jesus being the son of God (or Son of God), well, we really can’t even be 100% sure of what “Son of God” means.   I will not get into all the scholarship on this matter.  What I will do is encourage you to read Bart Ehrman’s Lost Christianities and you will discover just how diverse early Christianity was, including diversity on who Jesus was.  The diversity will astound you.
 
Before closing, I also want to mention a guy by the name of Arius (AD 256 – 336).  The first ecumenical council of the church, the First Council of Nicaea, excommunicated the fellah because they didn’t like his understanding of Jesus.   That’s what the church does with folk who don’t sign  on the dotted line; they excommunicate them.  And, the church sends them to hell.
 
I’m a Baptist.  We are not creedal.  (Some Baptists have not figured this out yet.)  I will not sign on any dotted line, including that of The First Council of Nicea or any other church council.
 
Or put another way, it’s good to have you as my Jesus-sister.
 

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