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I don't want to be a Christian anymore.


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Are there any Christian churches which accept and honor gay marraige?

 

yes. The United Church of Christ. The ELCA (it's a little less clear, but they recently voted to allow openly gay pastors; as far as I can tell whether to perform gay marriage/commitment ceremonies is left up to the congregation). Metropolitan Community Church. Check out gayfriendlychurch.com

 

I certainly hear you, Joanne. For me, I refuse to cede the term Christianity to anyone. I guess that's kind of why my bleeding heart liberal self won't leave the South, either ;)

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I think that some people are putting words into your mouth, Joanne. You are not just rejecting a label. You are rejecting many certain teachings that some beleive are very important to this particular religion.

 

I left the religion many years ago and have been SO much happier since! I understand that the concept of true happiness apart from christianity is, quite literally, unbelievable to most, but it is true.

 

No more pretending to put up with stuff I don't believe in, no more wasted time. I absolutely WILL NOT rear my children in this!

 

And Library Lover, THANK YOU! I have been saying that for years. I think it is absolutely DREADFUL and dangerous to tell teenagers to abstain from sex until marraige, but don't masturbate. WHAT A WAY TO SET THEM UP FOR FRUSTRATION AND DISASTER AND YEARS OF GUILT! :001_huh:

 

There's a "wonderful" religious pamphlet for young people that I read once devoted to convincing kids of the sin of masturbation and how to avoid it. One of my favorite recommendations was, when you're masturbating, imagine yourself doing so lying in a bathtub full of worms so that you can try to gross yourself out of it. It can still be found online, and is still frequently used.

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First, can I just say that attending church and living around Christians in the Bible belt is a different experience than other areas of the country? "Christianity" (yes, that is a proper use of quotes here) is a part of the culture here in the South. I just thought I'd throw in that perspective for you've stated before that you live in the South.

 

I've visited my brother's church in Seattle, and the attitude and flavor is so much different. Yes, good doctrine is good doctrine wherever we go, but churches, people, and attitudes vary so much in different regions. Of course, there are bad churches in all parts of the country and fantastic churches in the Bible belt, I'm just trying to say that when you're used to the *culture* of the Bible belt you may be used to getting a warped perspective on Christianity. (I realize you talk to people all over the U.S. and have read books/articles from all over.)

 

One of my favorite pastors is from the Seattle area. His name is Mark Driscoll. Based on some of your posts, he seems like a guy you might connect with. He's funny, blunt, and uptight people consider him irreverent.

 

One of our favorite series is on Ecclesiastes. http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/ecclesiastes

 

I hope I've not said anything offensive here. I enjoy your posts. I don't always agree, but I love the different perspectives this board brings. It's caused me to rethink and sometimes change my positions.

 

 

What a respectful post. Thank you. At this point, though, I have to stop at "good doctine is good doctrine". :grouphug: I don't believe in the Holy Bible as direct, uninfluenced, unaltered, unshaped by human hands.

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I see Joanne's post a little differently. I think she's tired of other people confusing religion with Christianity and the negative impact it has on her.

:iagree:

 

Been there, too. I walked away from it all several years ago. I'm beyond other people telling me what I need to believe and not believe, and do or not do. We're still trying to find the right spiritual "home" for our family, but it is definitely not the church we grew up in. And I am really, truly, 100% okay with that.

 

Joanne, I wish you the best in finding your Truth! You are not alone.

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yes. The United Church of Christ. The ELCA (it's a little less clear, but they recently voted to allow openly gay pastors; as far as I can tell whether to perform gay marriage/commitment ceremonies is left up to the congregation). Metropolitan Community Church.

 

I certainly hear you, Joanne. For me, I refuse to cede the term Christianity to anyone. I guess that's kind of why my bleeding heart liberal self won't leave the South, either ;)

 

 

Yes. Good for you. Someone close to me is Baptist, but has much disagreement wrt legalism with some church- mates. Dp doesn't think Jesus cares if you're gay, plus a bunch of other things, including the fact that they believe males men are sinners simply because they are male ('lustful' thoughts abut women etc). DP agrees to disagree with entire anchoring points of the faith. I don't know how DP does it.

 

I also think more Christians need to come out against this sort of thing (espeically using kids):

 

anti-gay-protesters-getti_n_671342.html#s123013

 

 

 

instead of praying over how America needs to be 'taken back' from Gays and people who voted for Obama. Did I hold signs saying GOD hates Bush? I did not. I figured, the American people voted for him (at least the second time) , I accepted it, and we survivied. Dang, in a democracy/republic people get to vote....and that president gets to appoint supreme court justices. Bush did, and the world won't end because Obama did. (Not that some folks aren't totally giddy with thoughts of End Times).

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* Jesus is the ONLY way

* Evangelism ("the great commission") if it means telling people they need to believe in Jesus

* the *authority* of scripture and the absolute "drop like dew from God's mouth" and coming directly from God through human hands perception.

 

 

 

These, along with many of the ones on your original list, are the reasons I've been struggling with whether or not I'm a Christian anymore. I grew up United Methodist - which is very liberal and not very legalistic - which is why it probably took me as long as it did to really question things. I didn't have any bad experiences but as I was exposed to a wider variety of Christianity through homeschool groups and the internet, I became less convinced that I believed anywhere near the same way, or even wanted to be associated with those ideas.

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In fact, I'd go as far as to say I am not one.

 

4) When any young child, ever, is told another person will go to hell if they don't believe... in "X" way....

 

 

9) It's ok to go to foreign nations and tell people that how they understand God is wrong.

 

18) My Christianity is better than your Christianity but we are all better than the Jews, Muslims, New Agers, pagans (who don't deserve a capital letter)

 

19) Don't say "Oh, God".

 

That's not my rule. That one is God's. ;)

 

38) Because of the more generalized hypocrisy in church leadership.

 

 

Don't pray for me on this, really. Truly. I'm fine here, and in the afterlife. I

I'm not at all worried about this belief.

I love God. I hate many, many, many of the things people attribute to him or claim in his name.

 

 

I'm not going to read the other responses because I just really want to respond to you. :) The first thing I would say is I would hate for anyone to judge Christ based on Christians.

 

There are ways that I live because I feel that these ways would please (NOT APPEASE) God. It's not a bargain or a bribe or that I HAVE to live this way. If I HAD to live this way then what did Christ die for? KWIM? I truly believe He is the Way, He is the Truth, and He is the Light. I believe He died for me so that I could be close to Him. I believe He was the sacrifice that will cover the shortcomings of people so that an All Perfect God can have a real relationship with little 'ole me.

 

So, I'll say it again - please don't choose or not choose to follow & believe in Christ based on Christians. I must choose to follow Christ, based on Christ. Because, those of us who claim Christianity aren't God, aren't Christ, and most certainly, assuredly, are NOT perfect. :( Just fallible human beings who make mistakes pretty much on a daily basis. And I think I can hear in your post, accept my apologies if I am wrong, but I think I hear that you have run into a lot of angry, judgemental, self-righteous (different than godly righteous) hypocritical people who claim Christ as their Saviour. And they may well be believers. Or they might just be religious, which is ENTIRELY different.

 

Just as I would hate someone to judge ME based on what someone might rightly or wrongly say about me without meeting and knowing ME, I'd beg you to get to know CHRIST to decide whether or not to believe in HIM.

 

As for the "rules" and the "regulations" and everything else that Christians follow... For one, they do not apply to unbelievers. For two, when I chose to believe I chose to put my faith on Christ and through that LOVE towards HIM, not through the blind adherence to a set of rules, I make a choice to try to follow His teachings as close as possible. I fail daily. Daily. Absolutely fail daily. I think so often we as humans want to feel better about ourselves. So we look at the person next to us, figure life is "graded on a curve" and think of ways they are falling "short" that we aren't and make ourselves feel better. That's not Christianity. That's human unfortunately. And I find MYSELF doing it. And I pray that I don't. It's a shortcoming... I have a lot of those unfortunately. And I can only be used by Christ when I admit those to others. Because what good am I if I tell everyone, "Hey! Look at me! I'm AWESOME!" I'm no good then at all to point to Christ. Better that I say, "Hey! Look at me, I'm *not* great. I'm just me. But by the grace of God sometimes I can show the love I've been shown."

Edited by BlsdMama
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These, along with many of the ones on your original list, are the reasons I've been struggling with whether or not I'm a Christian anymore. I grew up United Methodist - which is very liberal and not very legalistic - which is why it probably took me as long as it did to really question things. I didn't have any bad experiences but as I was exposed to a wider variety of Christianity through homeschool groups and the internet, I became less convinced that I believed anywhere near the same way, or even wanted to be associated with those ideas.

 

:grouphug:I totally understand. I grew up cradle Presbyterian USA, in the northeast. Didn't know what a "conservative Christian" was until I grew up and got online. I read non Christians reactions to Christians and kept thinking "that's not the Christianity I grew up with".

 

As time has gone on, however, I realized that I am further against solo scriptura, non-errant, literalist, exclusive Christianity than even my liberal Christian background would be comfortable with.

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"I love your Christ but I don't love your Christians." Ghandi said that so long ago and it rings true. I walked away from Christianity over 20 years ago. My dad's a pastor and it was so hard for him although now he accepts that I am still his moral, kind daughter. Before I could walk away (age 18), I fought and argued and struggled with Christianity and how it has taken Christ's beautiful words and twisted and turned them to serve individual agendas.

I don't like Christianity. That's my personal opinion. I love the Christians in my life and can respect their devotion and love for their God. It just isn't my cuppa.

I think a lot of pressure is put on people in this country to "belong" and because Christianity is very popular, we are pushed to believe. Then, there are the choices that we make, like homeschooling. Many people can not fathom homeschooling for reasons other than religion. Well, I'm here. And there are others like me.

I hope you find peace, Joanne. I remember my own private struggles with moving away from the religion which was all I knew. I wish you luck as you find your way.

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That's not my rule. That one is God's. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

I'm not going to read the other responses because I just really want to respond to you. :) The first thing I would say is I would hate for anyone to judge Christ based on Christians.

 

There are ways that I live because I feel that these ways would please (NOT APPEASE) God. It's not a bargain or a bribe or that I HAVE to live this way. If I HAD to live this way then what did Christ die for? KWIM? I truly believe He is the Way, He is the Truth, and He is the Light. I believe He died for me so that I could be close to Him. I believe He was the sacrifice that will cover the shortcomings of people so that an All Perfect God can have a real relationship with little 'ole me.

 

So, I'll say it again - please don't choose or not choose to follow & believe in Christ based on Christians. I must choose to follow Christ, based on Christ. Because, those of us who claim Christianity aren't God, aren't Christ, and most certainly, assuredly, are NOT perfect. :( Just fallible human beings who make mistakes pretty much on a daily basis. And I think I can hear in your post, accept my apologies if I am wrong, but I think I hear that you have run into a lot of angry, judgemental, self-righteous (different than godly righteous) hypocritical people who claim Christ as their Saviour. And they may well be believers. Or they might just be religious, which is ENTIRELY different.

 

Just as I would hate someone to judge ME based on what someone might rightly or wrongly say about me without meeting and knowing ME, I'd beg you to get to know CHRIST to decide whether or not to believe in HIM.

 

As for the "rules" and the "regulations" and everything else that Christians follow... For one, they do not apply to unbelievers. For two, when I chose to believe I chose to put my faith on Christ and through that LOVE towards HIM, not through the blind adherence to a set of rules, I make a choice to try to follow His teachings as close as possible. I fail daily. Daily. Absolutely fail daily. I think so often we as humans want to feel better about ourselves. So we look at the person next to us, figure life is "graded on a curve" and think of ways they are falling "short" that we aren't and make ourselves feel better. That's not Christianity. That's human unfortunately. And I find MYSELF doing it. And I pray that I don't. It's a shortcoming... I have a lot of those unfortunately. And I can only be used by Christ when I admit those to others. Because what good am I if I tell everyone, "Hey! Look at me! I'm AWESOME!" I'm no good then at all to point to Christ. Better that I say, "Hey! Look at me, I'm *not* great. I'm just me. But by the grace of God sometimes I can show the love I've been shown."

Beautifully said.

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I've known Christians (inluding my own Jesus-loving mother) who truly believe this is so.

 

Some Christians are obviously defensive, but the ugly that can be Christianity is obvious to the rest of us. One major problem is that too many Christians stand by and say nothing, do nothing. People talk about most mainstream Muslims not speaking out against fundamentalism, but most Christians are just as silent.

 

And leave the gay folks alone, for goodness sake. Take that off the agenda. Jesus is silent on that issue.

 

 

 

:grouphug:

 

And I'll third or forth it - you are not alone.

 

 

There are so many times I think Jesus would be appalled.

Edited by LibraryLover
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I think you are confusing religion with Christianity. They aren't the same.

 

not only that, you are speaking of church issues. Dh and I will never again step foot in a church. We feared we'd watch everyone drink the purple koolaid and we'd be the only ones left. Seriously.

 

Church has turned ugly, God has not.

 

There are so many things I *could* say but don't want to offend anyone here so I will keep quiet. I will say, though, church will never again be for our family, but we do believe in God. That said, I'm finding it harder to stay grounded in my faith outside of church. I may start a womens bible study.

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What a respectful post. Thank you. At this point, though, I have to stop at "good doctine is good doctrine". :grouphug: I don't believe in the Holy Bible as direct, uninfluenced, unaltered, unshaped by human hands.

 

hi joanne -

 

i'll try to honour your openness with my own...

 

what you describe is where i have been most of my life. i am just recently another mile down that road...

 

when i went to theological college in canada, this is not what they taught about the bible at all. we looked at the bible, learning to notice the telltale signs for which author or group of authors had written which bits. among other things, they used different names for God, and had differing views of God, too. one of my favourites is the creation story in genesis 2, written out of the oldest oral tradition, where God is down in the muck with us, fashioning us out of mud and breathing life in us, very, very different from the God of genesis 1, written by the priests, with God sitting on his thrown, issuing edicts and having them obeyed. and in all the arguing over literalism, it seemed to me that we lost the heart of the story: that God was at the centre of creation. the rest says more about the authors and you and me than it ever did about God. we looked at the gospels, and how one writer using two witnesses for each "miracle", where the others only mention one, because in jewish tradition, two witnesses were required for something to be a miracle...

 

and we talked about the council where the books of the bible were chosen, excluding some great gospels and including some pretty nutty things.... (one of our least favourites is the passage on how to faithfully sell our dear daughters into slavery. sigh...)

 

one of the reasons we are homeschooling is so that our children can learn critical thinking and science.

 

but since i moved to the states, when people ask me if i'm Christian, i hesitate to answer, because i'm pretty sure i'm not what they mean by the question or the term.... even in canada, some were pretty sure i was what they called "post-christian", someone who believes in Jesus Christ and his teachings, but who believe that the church in all its ills has created more lasting damage than is redeemable. i didn't consider myself that, but i could see how they did.

 

after 13 years of fundamentalist christian community here, i'm listening to sam harris a lot these days.... he gave an amazing TED lecture that has us talking and thinking a lot... (however, i will forewarn you that it makes staying silent difficult...)

 

blessings on your journey,

ann

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:grouphug:

 

And I'll third or forth it - you are not alone.

 

 

There are so many times I think Jesus would be appalled.

 

:iagree:Sometimes these reasons...and the mindsets behind some of the responses you gotten here, make me want to leave ministry. Othertimes those same reasons make me want to stay. :) There is so much we don't understand, but we are very quick to judge ;( I wish it wasn't so!

 

I loved the book I just read called "SO, you don't want to go to church anymore. An unexpected journey." It was great!

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I hate a lot of things associated with Christianity, but none of those on that list have to do with Christianity, I don't think. They have to do with cultural attitudes that have come to be associated with Christians..... people who believe in Christ who take on those beliefs and label them as their faith. That is NOT Christianity.

 

I know you know not all Christians believe those things.

 

Are there any Methodist/ Episcopalian/ ELCA type churches around? I know you said that this church was the best for your family, but why are you stuck there? A church that is destroying you spiritually doesn't sound like it's best for you, for sure. And I'd question what it was doing to the rest of the family......

 

A good friend of mine wrote an article about this issue....... It's short. http://www.forministry.com/USILUMETCUUMCU/Commentary.dsp

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Joanne, I am also weary of those type of things you listed, and I could probably add a few more that are specific to my life.

 

I grew up with a religion that, for me, was spiritual abuse. It has taken me years and years to begin to shake those things out of my system. I am so grateful that for some reason God showed me the way out of that and has brought me to a place where I can experience his grace.

 

So whenever I hear legalistic talk, I start to shudder and tic. I know that it is a bottomless pit. A person can become so legalistic and rigid that they don't agree with anyone but themselves.

 

We are in a church that I feel is not perfect, but the general attitude is one of grace and mercy and love. I also am increasingly becoming a person that doesn't place value on what people think of me. God and I have worked it out. I told Him that He is enough, even if I never fit in with the general Christian crowd.

 

On a lighter note, I told my dh that I would love to find a church that was just like the one in "Lars and the Real Girl". They put aside their uncomfortable feelings for the sake of Lars and it made their own lives better too. I would love to find a place where people are willing to do what they did.

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Joanne,

 

I really respect you opening your heart to us. I think it takes a lot of guts to put it all out there like that. I struggle with many of the issues that you pointed out in your list. As I've gotten older, I have been less afraid to question so many things that "Christians" say and do.

 

One thing that really upset/changed me happened at the church we used to attend. It was one of the reasons we left that church. There was a terrible fire at an apartment complex in our town. After calling the church right next door to the complex only to find out they were not interesting in helping any of the victims, I called the apartment manager to see what I could do. I was told that many people/churches had stepped in to "adopt" many of the families, but there was one family that still needed help. It was a young unmarried couple with one little boy. They lost EVERYTHING. So, I went to our pastor and his wife to ask if we could raise some money for this family. The pastor's wife said to me, "Well, since they aren't married, I guess they aren't Christians. I guess we could have a yard sale or something for them." I was :mad::mad::mad: I looked at her and said, "No, we will not have a yard sale. These people need food, diapers, clothing, everything. And they need it NOW. It takes time to put together a yard sale. I want to go before the church and ask for donations." The pastor approved it. I went before the church that day and collected over $1000 for them (very very small congregation, like 50 or 60 people). It was wonderful. But the pastor's wife's attitude was always like that. It made me sick. And in such a small church, she just about ruled everything. She called the shots. I couldn't take it anymore, and I found myself in much the same situation you are in now. I was sick of people thinking they were above these so called "sins", and that people who "sinned" didn't deserve the church's love and assistance.

 

I don't know exactly why I shared this story, except to say that I kinda know how you feel. We are attending a non-denominational church now, and it's soooooo different from anything I have ever been involved in. I have never been in a church that preached so much love. My picture of God is so different now. I see Him as a loving father, not as some grumpy old man in the sky. I am finally beginning to see who Jesus was and is. It is a wonderful thing.

 

So, I just want you to know we are all on a journey. This is between you and God. I hope that you find what you are seeking. Blessings and :grouphug:

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Are there any Christian churches which accept and honor gay marraige?

 

In Canada, many of the United Churches do. The United Church is the 2nd largest church in Canada btw. It also has no restrictions on gender, sexual orientation or marital status for clergy.

 

The Anglican church has been in the process of ripping itself in half over this issue for several years now. Some parishes in the Diocese of New Westminster do blessings of same sex unions.

 

Of course UU does, but I don't think of UU as a Christian church per se.

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I'm pretty darn against those things too. We recently changed churches. I went and "interviewed" a number of pastors. Well, in some ways it was a theological interrogation.

 

There are some churches that are also against those things, too. Which, I know you know. You're in a really, really hard place right now, and I'm sorry. If you'd like to talk about it, you are welcome to message me. It's hard to be so angry at the perversion of faith. I know. :001_smile:

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Jyst wanted to add that I also went through realizing that I was not a Christian. It was painful at first - but liberating afterwards.

I also believe in a God made universe, and in the goodness of God - what else do we need to know, really??:grouphug:

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I agree. I would not call UUism Christian. Most strict Christians wouldn't. (I've known of churches for pray for UUs to see the light). UUism is based on Christianity: the belief that there is a place in heaven for everyone was the basis of Universalism. Some UUs are believers in Jesus, of course. A surprising number of UUs I've met are marraied gay Christians.

 

Mainstream Christian churches do not realize the amazing people they reject with their dogma. You want something done? Ask a gay couple with kids to do it. I'm serious. Stop thinking about sex, and start thinking about the flesh and blood people.

 

In Canada, many of the United Churches do. The United Church is the 2nd largest church in Canada btw. It also has no restrictions on gender, sexual orientation or marital status for clergy.

 

The Anglican church has been in the process of ripping itself in half over this issue for several years now. Some parishes in the Diocese of New Westminster do blessings of same sex unions.

 

Of course UU does, but I don't think of UU as a Christian church per se.

Edited by LibraryLover
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Guest janainaz

This is where I'm at also. I have found peace in knowing that I do belong to God, even if my thinking and "beliefs" don't align with others. I'm still trying to work past the inner anger I feel towards people who feel they need to pray for me because somehow I've become lost. I'm working on it.

 

My dh announced a while ago he was no longer a Christian and that statement led people to believe he no longer believed in Christ. I find that sad since Jesus didn't come to start a religion, but rather show us the way, through love.

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What you listed is not about Christ...it's about opinions and interpretations of people trying (and sometimes failing) to follow Christ. Two very different animals.

 

I hear that you are frustrated but, honestly, your list is as judgmental as the people you are calling out.

:iagree:

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I will share a little story...a couple weeks ago I was standing out in a pasture with a teenage girl who is having some troubles at home. All of a sudden she said, "You are one of those REAL Christians." I actually grew very uncomfortable an sorta stammered..."I don't know about that...most people think I'm to liberal, damaged goods, or bitter..." She responded with, "that's not what I meant! You love people, you feel for them, and you don't judge where they're at, but point them to where they could be."

 

She brought tears to my eyes!

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I will share a little story...a couple weeks ago I was standing out in a pasture with a teenage girl who is having some troubles at home. All of a sudden she said, "You are one of those REAL Christians." I actually grew very uncomfortable an sorta stammered..."I don't know about that...most people think I'm to liberal, damaged goods, or bitter..." She responded with, "that's not what I meant! You love people, you feel for them, and you don't judge where they're at, but point them to where they could be."

 

She brought tears to my eyes!

 

That is awesome!!!

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Guest Cindie2dds
Are there any Christian churches which accept and honor gay marraige?

 

One of our local Episcopalian Churches does, they also have wine and cheese parties at church. :)

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The one thing that matters the most to me is knowing this: A'wen'de Ya Ho! (I am of the Great Spirit, it is so!) "You are mine" is something I heard when I was a child. It is something I cling to till this day. If all the buildings fell, half the population disappeared, and society in chaos...THIS is what would carry me through in my knowledge of God. Yes, I believe in Christ, both his deity and his humanity. Yes, I believe in EVERY THING he has done. Yes, I believe in the Trinity. But it all comes down to this.

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Guest janainaz

:iagree:

You can't wave reality away with a smilie. What Joanne is doing is breaking the silence. Many Christians are getting sick of people hijacking Jesus, and what that love could really be.
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I believe that God created this earth and it's science. I believe Jesus was conceived in the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, that he was born, had about a 3 year active ministry, was crucified, dead and burried (not so sure about the descended into hell thing) and resurrected and ascended into heaven. The trinty? Not sure. I believe God is God and in the presence of the Holy Spririt (in many forms).

 

I love God. I hate many, many, many of the things people attribute to him or claim in his name.

 

 

 

You sound like a Christian to me. :) :grouphug:

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Guest Cindie2dds
You can't wave reality away with a smilie. What Joanne is doing is breaking the silence. Many Christians are getting sick of people hijacking Jesus, and what that love could really be.

 

Yes, this.

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Oh Joanne. My heart goes out to you. While I'm sure our journeys have been different, I 'think' I understand where you are now. Although I could have written your list, those are not the reasons I can no longer call myself a Christians. Those reasons go much, much deeper. However, it is those reasons that I believe lead to so much discord among Christians and ultimately to your list.

 

It's a hard thing to say out loud, and I respect you greatly. There are still many people I will probably never tell, largely because of the way I've been treated by those who know. That can range from being told I'm in Satan's grasp and need to repent (repent for being honest with myself), or that I need to keep on choosing to believe in spite of my doubt (did that for 10 years and now I believe it could make one suicidal), or to simply have my very closest friend quietly disappear from my life.

 

I won't pray for you for this particular reason because I do believe you are okay with God, but I wish you well as you continue on with your life's journey.

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:grouphug:

 

And I'll third or forth it - you are not alone.

 

 

There are so many times I think Jesus would be appalled.

 

Amen!!

 

This is where I'm at also. I have found peace in knowing that I do belong to God, even if my thinking and "beliefs" don't align with others. I'm still trying to work past the inner anger I feel towards people who feel they need to pray for me because somehow I've become lost. I'm working on it.

 

 

 

:iagree:

 

You can't wave reality away with a smilie. What Joanne is doing is breaking the silence. Many Christians are getting sick of people hijacking Jesus, and what that love could really be.

 

:iagree: and Amen!!

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I did not read any responses yet - first :grouphug: and welcome to MY crowd ;)

 

many of the issues on your list - well they are some of my biggest issues with organized religions as well. I have a strong faith in God and a wonderful relationship in MY own personal way. I don't feel the need to follow any church or religious dogma - I have great issues with Dogma that was established and is ruled over by Man, not any God.

 

Recently my son started asking to go to church - I was honestly surprised by his request. I did some research and found the UU church - WOW! This place is AWESOME. We both love it there.

It openly welcomes EVERYONE - Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, Wiccans, Agnostics - everyone is welcome. It focuses on each person's individal life journey and their relationship with the Divine, and supporting one another in this journey. There is no one "right" way - but instead acknowledges the validity of every way. The kids program is called Religious Eplorations, and it is just that - they explore different religions, the shared themes, the symbolism, etc. DS loves it. I love it too.

The UU church is very active too in human rights here and abroad - not spreading the message of Christ abroad, but maiking sure people have basic human rights, food, medical care, etc. I like that they are active locally too, not just abroad. They are vocal supporters of human rights issues here too - like homosexual marriage. They are also really involved in ecological issues too. Really believe and practice being stewards of the planet.

Their "sermon" topics are always really interesting too. Thought provoking. And before the service, there is also a "discussion group" that is awesome - usually topics that relate to the service topic and range from spiritual teamwork, to domestic violence, to global topics. Really stimulating for the mind and the soul. And thought provoking vs being spoon fed someone else's views and beliefs.

 

www.uua.org

 

On their website they state

Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion with Jewish-Christian roots. It has no creed. It affirms the worth of human beings, advocates freedom of belief and the search for advancing truth, and tries to provide a warm, open, supportive community for people who believe that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion.

 

 

There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:

 

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Unitarian Universalism (UU) draws from many sources:

 

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
  • Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
  • Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

These principles and sources of faith are the backbone of our religious community.

 

If you are looking to have that communal worship experience or just some support of like minded, open minded people - I would seriously recommend checking them out.

 

 

ETA - I don't think you *need* a church group to be close to God, until my son wanted to go to church, I had been church free for 13 or 14 years...just wanted to share one that I found that is very open minded and dogma free. :)

Edited by naturegirl7
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Lutherans look at this quite differently.

Lutherans believe that there are three uses of the moral law:

1. As a mirror to show us our sinfulness and need of a Savior

2. As a curb that to a coarse extent prevents some criminal actions and so supports the preservation of order in a fallen world

3. As a rule that guides us in the love, trust, and faith in God so that we may willingly do His commandments

 

But the motivation for doing those things is not to be righteous or to avoid punishment. Instead it's gratitude. God freely gives us His undeserved love, His grace, and looks at us as though we are perfect, as though we are Christ Himself, for Jesus' sake. Then in grateful response we try our best to serve Him, knowing that He will love us (His choice) whether we truly serve Him or not.

 

Also, Lutherans avoid making pronouncements about adiophora (matters of Scriptural lack of clarity, or indifference). That is why although there are lot of Lutheran homeschoolers, they are not prescriptive about it at all, nor about childraising (except the nurture and admonition of the Lord) nor about whether or not to send your children to a Lutheran school (although Lutheran grade schools tend to be excellent and also very good at faith formation.) Lutherans are afraid to go further than God is clear about, because it is so disrespectful to Him, and so although they apply the teachings and principles of God's Word to everything in life, they don't kid themselves that those applications are necessarily God's perfect will for everyone.

 

I'm not saying that everyone should be Lutheran, but I am saying that much of what is on Joanne's list would never be taught as God's absolute will in a Lutheran church, even a conservative one like mine; and those items that would be taught as God's will would be backed up with significant Scriptural support, and taught with compassionate fear and trembling, not with self-righteous smirking and better-than-thou judgement.

 

I think that this really makes a difference. Mixing the Law and the Gospel wrongly is extremely discouraging, at best.

 

Again, the law kills, but the spirit gives life. One of the main purposes of the law is to show us our need for a Savior. We can't follow it entirely ourselves. Joanne, you sound somewhat like Martin Luther before he learned about grace. He was to the point where he saw God as a hateful judge, only. God be with you on your journey.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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