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04/20/2009

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Years ago, as a newlywed 22 year old in Tallahassee, Florida, a neighbor told me that her husband had decided that the family (they had 2 small children) was going to convert to Mormonism. "Why?" I asked. "What's the appeal?"

She seemed a little nervous, and looked over her shoulder before telling me that her husband had "investigated" lots of different religions, and he wanted to become a Mormon because his authority in the family couldn't be questioned; that the man is in charge.

I think many people (aware or not) "shop" for their religions, or, like these new types you describe, create a hybrid that floats their boat.

I think that's a really interesting point. So many come to religion and then form it to their needs rather than conforming to the tenants of what God actually says. Thanks for giving me food for thought.

You know, i think of myself as a live-and-let-live type until I read fundamentalist garbage like that and then I'm enraged and intolerant all over again.

Besides, it's pretty well acknowledged that most of the misogynist crap in the Epistles was written by a Pauline impersonator threatened by the rise of women in the early church, not by the wanderer himself.

Another great post. I love when one Christian will say another so-called Christian isn't a "true" Christian. They get all "Christian-Catty."

Live and let live is right. But I want to go back to the times when women were Goddesses....

Hi there ~ I found your blog through another I follow and am intrigued by the premise. I'm also sad that it sounds like your heart and faith have been deeply hurt by folks calling themselves followers of Christ...I get that. I grew up in the Baptist Church, and our little congregation had some tumultuous times that even I as a kid picked up on - my dad was a deacon and hooo-wee would he come home grumpy after some of those meetings, esp. during the period of one particular preacher who probably should've stayed in the business world. It is amazing that people who profess to follow a way of grace, mercy, love and forgiveness can be so cruel, deceitful and selfish. No wonder people looking for spiritual direction get turned off. The Church (sweeping generalization) can be its own worst enemy.

Anyway, I've been a Christian since I was 7 (43 now) and my walk with the Lord has been a very up and down, in and out, funhouse maze at times journey. I think what finally settled it for me was realizing that the world's gonna do what it's gonna do, and people are going to, as they have done throughout the ages, many attrocious things in the name of God and Jesus. What I'm responsible for is MY interaction with God. Working out my faith, and following as best I can in His strength the commands to Love Him and Love others, and leave the sorting out of the world in His hands. The best way I can make a difference is one person at a time.

It is maddening when people professing Christ say stupid misleading things. And I believe one day, they will be held accountable. But in the meantime, I gotta be responsible for my relationships with God and with others.

I recommend checking out a blog by John Fischer, one of the original "Jesus Movement" folk artists of the 70s. He's got some thought provoking points, some right in line with what you are calling out. http://www.fischtank.com/ft/inthetank.cfm

He posts daily "catches" that are like devotionals, and some are really chewy, and you may like. He's a thinker, that John. His May 8, 2009 post and reader comments are quite thought-provoking. Anyway, I do like your blog :) Looking forward to your next post :)

Amanda-
Thanks for the comment, the link and for visiting the blog.
I'm glad your own faith journey hasn't been derailed like mine. I hope you'll return and comment again...you've given me food for thought.

Hey Melissa --

You know what's kinda funny, one of the writers who's helped me figure things out is CS Lewis. And what amazes me is that it's been through his Narnia series the most. In one of the books, there is a scene between Aslan and Lucy that I had read plenty of times in multiple readings of the series. But for some reason, one particular time, this scene pierced me to the heart, and I stopped, thought about it, considered it, and it was as if that particular scene, those words, had been written to meet me just where I was at that moment...for that moment, the child-like faith we're called to have was in full force, and I got it. What other people do and say is between them and Him, it's not my business.

My faith isn't and can't be dependent upon what man says or does, or it will be useless and constantly let down and crushed. My faith must be in what God says and does and in His relationship with me. At the end of the day, each person must answer for their own choices, and there's really not much I can do about that. Thus, live simply, trust God and leave the consequences to Him has become, I guess, the way I've decided to live, filtering decisions, choices, etc. through that.

I heard it said once that religion is man's way of attempting to reach God; Jesus is God's way of attempting to reach man. Religion, in my opinion, doesn't work. Too many flippin' rules, judgement and hypocracy, as can be easily seen anywhere we look. But God's reaching out to me? With grace and mercy? Now, I can get on board with that...it's been an immensely rewarding and interesting dialogue and relationship to enter in to :) And try as I've tried over the years, I just can't seem to screw it up beyond repair - He's always patiently waiting for me to come on back, hand Him the mess I've made, and work it out with me. Yes, THAT is something I can get on board with...

Sure, the destination is important, but man, the journey -- wow. Keep asking the questions, Melissa...I truly believe God loves it when we do that (I get a mental picture of Him rubbing His hands together and saying YES! NOW we are going to make some progress!) and He is totally up to the challenge ~ you and He will figure it out :)

PS: Great book recommendation: The Grace Awakening: Believing in Grace is One Thing. Living it is Another: Charles R. Swindoll

A good review of the book can be found at: http://www.christianodyssey.com/books/swindoll.htm

Reading this book helped me a great deal in my own faith journey.

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