Sunday, April 24, 2011

Faith (Happy Easter)

The other day I spent hours writing a long blog, which I may or may not post. For one, I talked about some other people and out of respect I need to get clearance from them before I publish it, and for another I ended up just rambling on and never really reaching a point!

But this was the gist of it, since it is Easter ... I really miss being a Christian. I really wish I could just enfold myself in that fold and find all the answers in between the covers of a single book. I love the faith, and I loved even the intellect of it. But most of all, I loved the love. You can say what you want about Christianity, and I know that there are those who profess to be Christians who like to be judgmental and even carry signs, but I didn't know them. I was surrounded by people who radiated love and tenderness. I went to a church, not a small church, and whatever its faults, it was a deeply loving place.

The reason I left Christianity was that beneath all the love, there was ... well, they truly loved gays for example, but underneath the love was the expectation that they needed to change in order to be acceptable to God. Mind you, they didn't go around preaching to them that they needed to change. They figured God would do that from the inside out. But I knew a lot of gay people, and whatever other great things were there, I never felt comfortable inviting them into an environment that might love them but wouldn't accept them. Worst of all, the message was that if you want God to accept you, you had to give up your love. Because that is what it is, in case you don't know. It's not about sex. It's about love. I think the show Glee said it best ... sexual orientation isn't about who you find attractive; it's about who you fall in love with.

Not to mention all those other people who for whatever reason, cultural or intellectual, or just plain lack of consideration, do not believe in Jesus dying for them ... all those really good, really nice, really loving people are going to experience eternal torment for that failure to accept a historical idea? This just does not make sense. It's not acceptable.  If it is really, actually true, then this represents the worst sort of a god, don't you think? It is such an odd juxtaposition that Christianity inspires such really genuine love in the hearts of its people (and it even did with me), while at the same time proclaiming a message that says most of the people in the world are headed for hell. There are a few other things that bothered me also, but these are the main things.

Perhaps there is another way to interpret some of these things, but if so I haven't found it.  I've read the Bible maybe a hundred times.  I wonder if it would be possible to read it from a different point of view and find something different in it?  I know that there are churches which are welcoming to people with alternative lifestyles and accept them as they are without figuring they need to change, but I haven't explored any and I'm not sure that's where the answer lies anyway. So for now I will bounce around like a pinball, and wish you a Happy Easter anyway!

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this blog post. I respect the honesty of it, and some of your points I find are very valid. Is it safe for me say, that I agree with many of them, but am a faithful, and open Christain. Because the thing is, I'm a Christain (Methodist denomination) and I believe Jesus died on the cross for us all, and I live my life according to the Scriptures of the Bible. But the reason I want to comment on this blog post is because I want to say that as a very faithful Christain, I believe in a very merciful God, and I believe in one that accepts men, women, and children of all faiths and walks of life. I believe heavan is open to all those of humble hearts who live life the best that they can, making a difference where they can. There is nothing that gets under my skin more than someone who judges another and tries to say whether they go to heavan or hell. I know that that is a judgement intended only for God, and those who try to say otherwise need to relook at themsevles. I didn't want to post this comment to babble, but simply say I applaude you on your honesty because ironically we agree. Because I beleive that God is loving, Jesus is loving, but I believe He accepts those into heavan who live thier life out the best they can and He doesn't limit those who enter the gates because they "don't fit the criteria." Saying I believe that would be going aganist everything I stand for and believe in, in the name of God. I just want you to know you have one Christain who believes what you're saying--but I believe in a God and Christs who accepts people, scars and all, into the gates of heavan based on the sacrafical gift given by Jesus Christ in the the form of a cross, not by our deeds. I believe in a God who judges us based on the depths of our heart only He sees, not based on whether we can "check off" the right "deeds." I believe in a merciful God who forgives you, before you even say it. I believe this with all my heart. I guess it depends on your interpreation of the Bible text, but I don't feel it condemds others. I don't believe it was written to point a finger at what we're doing wrong and condem us all, but written as guidelines by a loving God because He wanted us to live the greatest lives for ourselves and Him, free of as little pain that sin causes as possible.

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  2. Rebecca, thanks for writing. It's a very complicated thing. Honestly, none of the people I knew in church would have condemned anybody to hell, but it was an underlying teaching. Well, I don't think they would have anyway. My dad was an unbeliever, and I just didn't bother to think about what happened to him after he died, you know? But one day I had a very, very vivid dream about him, and the next morning I went to church and one of the pastors was talking about the death of his dad, who had been an unbeliever, and the assurance he had received that his dad had been saved. Can't remember the whole story, but you know it was just the synchronicity of dreaming about my dad for probably the first time in twenty years, so vividly that his face was in my mind when I went to church, and then hearing this. It was as though it was a message telling me that my dad was saved somehow.

    And then, that experience in itself begs the question of synchronicity. I don't believe it is all just crazy coincidence. I think these things have meaning. So what is the source of this meaning? Why would I be given a message about the salvation of my dad if there was no salvation?

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  3. To be honest my basic belief of heavan and faith is this: God loves all his children, what ever form of religion works for them because we all are created uniquely, so we all uniquely worship. I believe Jesus came and died on the cross for us to signify God's love. I believe in divine mercey and honestly question sometimes if there even is a hell ,but if there is, that God gives everyone a second chance and many people's lives are forever changed when they actually get to heavan, but God gives them a second chance with this divine intervention. I believe everyone should respect someone else's belief and should try to live a decent life for the good of humainty, whether you're religious or not. I know you know too Mrs. Sharon I respect you so much for your strength and wisdom and faith despite all you've been through. I pray for Micheala daily.

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  4. I think if anyone has a right to question their faith, its you! I'm sure there have been countless hours or praying for the return of your daughter. I know it rattled me as a new dad, seeeing it unfold on TV, and I have NEVER forgotten it.
    I believe in the end everyone knows deep down what is right and what is wrong.....and as a Mormon....I see alot of the ugliness towards some groups by MY Church and I dont believe in it.
    What was great about Jesus, is he didnt have a problem hanging with people that were on the edge of morality, by societies standards, he led by example and loved everyone.

    But even though I'm a Christian, I would like to see a few Lightning bolts hit Some of these People who think they are holier than everyone else. LOL

    Take care
    Rod

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  5. Hi Sharon. You have captured in this post things I have felt for years. I yearn for the warmth of church at Christmas, so each year I try a different denomination. My 13 yr old son doesn't believe in God at all and that makes me sad because God has gotten me thru a lot. I also lived in Hayward when Michaela disappeared and my daughter was 1 yr old. When she was almost 7, my husband was critically injured in a fire at our home off Tennyson. He lived 27 days. He struggled with alcoholism and tried to kill himself several times. I remember his sister telling me "thank goodness he didn't die from suicide or he'd be in hell." I had never heard that before, that people committing suicide were going to hell. It made me wonder about all the other people "going to hell", including me, because I didn't accept that God would only allow a chosen few into heaven or only Christians were allowed in. I believe my husband is in heaven, I was with him when he died and I know in my heart, after asking God to gather all my husband's deceased relatives together, that he was embraced by them and welcomed into heaven, even though he did not "meet the criteria". Sharon, if you ever find a place for people like us to worship, let me know! I'm not in Calif anymore, but there must be someplace for me as well. Thanks for letting me share.

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  6. Kari, I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. But I believe you are right. Since today is Father's Day, I had doubts about my father when he died, since he adamantly refused to believe in anything. But I received a reassurance that he is okay.

    I don't think I will ever find a place to worship like the one I left ... but I think that is because that's what they were truly doing. I remember I would be moved to tears by the songs during worship because they expressed this tremendous love that God had for us, enough to send his son to die for us. Now we know that's a lot of love. I think this is at least a large part of what made it what it was. When God becomes some foggy idea of living a good life and doing good, it's hard to find that passionate worship probably. But if anybody knows where, let me know!

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