Skip to content

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. it ain’t just a song…

March 30, 2011

In recent days I have been invited to re-evaluate my stance on a number of hot topics, most of which circle around to religion and politics.  You know, those things that aren’t polite to converse about in mixed company.

I have posted in the past regarding the Pledge of Allegiance, but with a new surge of people posting status updates decrying the audacity of anyone to “take offense” at the words and declaring that if those words are offensive to you, you should just leave the country I thought I might touch upon it again.

Thing is, it isn’t about “offense”…it has nothing to do with being politically correct (anyone who knows me will tell you that is not one of my strong suits).  It is about the promised freedoms that American citizens are entitled to.

Without even getting into the decidedly uncomfortable idea that we require our children to recite a pledge of allegiance at all, with no real understanding of what they are saying, we must realize that the insertion of those two little words into the pledge was done as a litmus test in a time when a government blinded by fear of those “godless communists” engaged in witch hunts against its own people.

Somehow, forcing those two words into the already established pledge was going to protect us from the Reds.  Forget that “godless” does not equal “communist”.  Forget that one man’s god is another man’s demon or another man’s fictitious character.  Forget that our constitution guarantees each and every citizen the right to worship or not worship whichever god in whichever manner he or she believes in or doesn’t believe in.

Now, you believe in God (whichever one) and you want those words in the pledge?  Fine.  Say them.  I won’t stop you. Moreover, I will defend your right to do so.

However, for those of us who believe in a different God, and want to use his or her name or for those who do not believe in any god, we are likewise entitled to omit those words or substitute our own…which then could make the whole pledge thing  a little murky, sort of like singing Happy Birthday to someone who uses different names and everyone sings the name they know the person by.

Taking those words out, restoring the pledge to its original form is not an attack on Christianity or on belief in God.  It is not an attempt to remove God from the school.  Neither is refusing to allow organized prayer or reading from the bible (as anything other than a study of the literature of it…which honestly I would support…I firmly believe in studying the history of sacred texts to put them in context).

In any class room where the religion of any given student is unknown, or where there is a mix of religions, as there will always be in a public school, there must be equality.  This demands that religion is left out of the equation, lest we spend all day just meeting the requirements of every religion.  Just dealing with all the different sects of Christianity could take hours.

Instead, perhaps we should stop seeing offense in asking for the things our constitution guarantees us anyway and start offering respect to those around us.  Respect is a two way street after all.

As I said on twitter yesterday, “Requesting respect for oneself must always come with the pricetag of respecting EVERYONE around you to the same degree.”

All of that said, let me also address the idea that anyone who is offended by a lack of respect for their religion, or lack thereof, is un-American or should leave the country…let us remember that dissent is the definition of our nation.  We were formed by those who disagreed with how their government was running their lives.

The right to dissent, the right to speak our disagreement is a part of our constitution.  It is a part of our country’s DNA.  It defines us.  Just like our right to worship or not worship, to believe or not believe…embrace that and understand what it is to be an American.

A patriot is someone who loves their country, not someone who passes some religious test, or parrots back the party line.  Anyone willing to exclude others based on religion, skin color, ideals, sexual orientation or political leaning can not, in this country, claim patriotism because that exclusion goes against the founding ideals of what our country is meant to be.

I am a Pagan. I am bi-sexual. I am liberal (with moderate leanings). I am white, with Native American blood.  I am a Patriot, I love this country and I will defend the rights I am given as a citizen of this country.  Including your right to say things I don’t agree with.

Respectfully,

Natalie

Advertisements
52 Comments leave one →
  1. Jar O' Marbles permalink
    March 30, 2011 3:58 pm

    Well said!

  2. john permalink
    August 5, 2011 2:45 am

    Hi – read your comments on Belief Blog … Your quote; “If you’re going to be a Christian that stands up for God’s word, could you please take an equal stand on all things?”

    The part you do not understand, and are not alone; Christ came to fulfill the law and prophecy (matthew 5:17)…Christ is the propritiation. He took all sin from then and until now, including yours and mine. He paid the price and His father sent Him. He died for you – no more sacrifices necessary, stoning gone, cutting off the hand for stealing and the eye-for-an-eye thing. We simply have to Love God for it (w/ all our hearts) and next each other like ourselves – period.

    PROPITIATION – an atoning sacrifice that satisfies the wrath of God on our behalf.

    I am praying for you now.

    John

    • August 5, 2011 3:28 am

      Hi John, welcome to my blog. Thank you for stopping by.

      One thing to get out of the way first off is that I understand Christianity. I was, for all intent and purpose, a minister of the faith. All that lacked was my final credentials. I have ministered, knocked on doors, led worship services. I have studied the bible. I still have great, vast portions of it memorized.

      I am not ignorant of what your faith teaches you.

      It was actually my study of the old testament law, and the christian application of whatever that sect of Christianity decided was still applicable and what wasn’t that was a part of what caused me to seek God elsewhere.

      Now, having said that, let me also say that I find the idea that my mere disbelief in something is adequate enough to bring down the wrath of said something to be vile and unsupported in my experience with Divinity.

      I also find the notion of letting someone else pay the price for something I have done (or not done as the case may be) to be vile and disgusting.

      I thank you for your concern, but I made my peace with Jesus and with Christianity a number of years ago.

      I will add you to my prayers as well.
      Natalie

      • John permalink
        August 5, 2011 3:48 am

        Seek God elsewhere? I will have to say you have not experienced God at all, It is only through Jesus – Jesus Christ of Nazareth do we have access to God at all. In that, Jesus’ sacrifice/death released us all from the law (Mosaic Law) so that we were no longer under legalism. Disbelief does not bring wrath, but separation from His love. As for your disgust of Jesus paying the price for sin as vile is God’s way. Would you lay down your life for a friend or family member. What about the guy who dives on a grenade to say 15 others< or tackles a terrorist to crash a plane and save thousands more. This is the stuff of heros. This is not vile, but beautiful. Who do you pray to, if not to the God you have just rejected?

      • August 5, 2011 3:59 am

        For whatever reason I cannot seem to reply directly to your comment, so I hope you see this.

        The examples you give are different. Would I give my life willingly to save others from harm? Generally the answer is yes. But if my brother commits a crime, would I serve his sentence for him? No.

        One is beautiful. One is not.

        There is nothing I have ever done in my life that is worthy of a death sentence. So, there is no need for sacrifice. And, to be painfully, completely open and honest about it, if I die tonight and discover that you’re right and I was wrong? I’d take whatever your God though I deserved, based on how I lived my life, what I did with what I was given, not what random bit of 2000 year old literature I believed or didn’t believe.

        If that means hell? In my opinion, that’s better than spending an eternity with a god who would send me there.

    • August 5, 2011 4:10 am

      I also want to comment on your dismissal of my experience with Divinity. You said, “I will have to say you have not experienced God at all”…but what do you know about me or my experiences? All you know of me are words on a screen.

      Faith is such an intimate, personal thing that it can not be judged by anyone but the person having (or not having) that faith.

      My spiritual convictions run deep, my experiences range over a number of different religions and I do not believe that anyone other than me and the god/gods/God/Gods/Divinity I experience along the way has the right to judge.

      • John permalink
        August 5, 2011 4:50 am

        I am not commenting on your ability to have faith in something or someone. I can comment on your relationship to God if you relate Him to simply spiritual convictions. Being Spiritual is not belief in God. An ever-expanding series of experiences as qualifications for this of as enlightenment proves my point. If you have known God, really known His Son Jesus Christ, nothing else will suffice, all others fall away. his sounds arrogant I know to an unbeliever, but further proves my point – HE, God and His Son and Their Holy Spirit that resides within me and moves me in dialogue and relationship is nearly inexpressible. Please forgive me if i offend. I merely want to share in, with and by His love.

      • John permalink
        August 5, 2011 11:57 am

        ok – should have commented first on what you said first – sorry…
        “For God so loved the world, He gave his only son, that whoever believed, would not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). 1- God loves and wants you… 2- to live in eternal glory aka.heaven. 3- would not perish aka.hell… 4- all you have to do is believe, ask Jesus to come into your life. The moment you turn to Christ is an act of faith. Its a matter of the heart, your special heart, I have come to know through these few exchanges, He formed before time that is you. You are spiritual, you know there is light and darkness, evil and good – ask Jesus into your life and wait expectant for Him to come. ask

        love
        John

      • August 5, 2011 2:36 pm

        Good morning John. Happy Friday. I hope it is a good one for you. I have a little while to share thoughts with you, then I will be gone for most of the weekend, spending time with good friends from out of town.

        You said, I am not commenting on your ability to have faith in something or someone. I can comment on your relationship to God if you relate Him to simply spiritual convictions.”

        You are commenting on an experience that you did not share. It is impossible to judge what is in another person’s heart, what they feel, because you can not feel it the same way, you can not experience it as they do. My relationship to the Divine is complex and intense and my experiences with divinity cross from simple, solitary prayer to full blown spectacle ritual, from denominational Christianity to non-denominational Christianity to Buddhist meditation to Pagan ritual.

        You judge my words based on your own experience, on your own convictions that you are “right” and all else is “wrong”…which is human nature, and understandable. I merely point out that unless you were inside my head when I knelt at that altar and prayed to be “saved”, crying my heart out and asking God into my life? Then you can not judge that experience.

        “Being Spiritual is not belief in God.”

        Nor would I suggest that it is. Being spiritual is what allows us, even compels us to seek…belief is what we find.

        “An ever-expanding series of experiences as qualifications for this of as enlightenment proves my point. If you have known God, really known His Son Jesus Christ, nothing else will suffice, all others fall away.”

        Except that the God put forth in Christianity, the one the bible speaks of? As gods go he’s less believable than some…and the study of the book and its history, as well as the history of the religion is enough to make me question. If He were all that you claim him to be, I would think he would have shown himself to a seeking, desperately wanting it to be true, young woman twenty years ago.

        “This sounds arrogant I know to an unbeliever, but further proves my point – HE, God and His Son and Their Holy Spirit that resides within me and moves me in dialogue and relationship is nearly inexpressible. Please forgive me if i offend. I merely want to share in, with and by His love.”

        There is no offense in honest expression of belief, John. I can sense the passion you have for this and I am genuinely happy for you. When we find this connection, it is an amazing thing.

      • August 5, 2011 2:43 pm

        You said, “ok – should have commented first on what you said first – sorry…
        “For God so loved the world, He gave his only son, that whoever believed, would not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).”

        Yes, I’ve read that. For me, this is a non-starter. If God, as in the Chrisitian representation of the Divine, loves me, he does not need some bloody sacrifice to allow me into his paradise.

        “1- God loves and wants you… 2- to live in eternal glory aka.heaven. 3- would not perish aka.hell… 4- all you have to do is believe, ask Jesus to come into your life. The moment you turn to Christ is an act of faith. Its a matter of the heart, your special heart, ”

        If God loves me and wants me to live in heaven with him, what I beleive or do not believe should not matter.

        Also, as I’ve intimated above, I’ve done that. I’ve knelt at the altar, laid in my bed, paused in my car and prayed that prayer. Over and over in the time I was questioning and trying not to walk away from Christianity, I BEGGED for my faith to be restored. I spent hours in prayer and meditation over scripture.

        What I found was not a renewed faith in what I had believed, but a path that led me away.

  3. john permalink
    August 5, 2011 2:57 am

    to be more correct – Christ took all sin; then, now, and in the future – all sin, upon Himself – God sacrificed His own Son for YOU… and wants you to know it right now from anonymous me.

    please when its quite and you are at your most peaceful, ask God from you most vulnerable exposed internal you, as kHim to come into your life.

    I did in my bed one night at rock bottom – He answered. If you knew from whence i hailed and my background…well, suffice it to say, I know where you are coming from.

    Within a year I laid hands on someone and called on Christ to heal her back. He did. We were both artists in grad school and are both still amazed…

    Peace Brother
    and Love
    John

    • August 5, 2011 3:35 am

      Thanks for your advice, but as the saying goes, “been there, done that” …though at this point I doubt I have the t-shirt anymore.

      Trust me when I tell you that I agonized over leaving Christianity. I prayed and prayed to be able to believe again. However, my eyes were opened and my study and hard work had taught me only that the bible was a book, written by man, fallible and filled with the flawed, epic journey of an ancient people, their folklore and poetry and the complete misunderstanding of one man’s attempt to call his people back to spirit of their faith.

      I too have been healed when hands were laid upon me. Once in a Christian church when my epilepsy was healed. Another in a Pagan healing ritual when I had injured my back and could barely walk. Both are still pretty amazing.

  4. john permalink
    August 5, 2011 3:11 am

    Um, Paragraph 6 (‘whichever one’); I need to correct you. There is only one God (big-G, God) and His name is YHWY – Yahwey. Greeks worshiped a plethora of little-g gods of the natural world to explain their worlds, as did Baal, Egypt, etc. This is a problem – the concept of a monotheistic God, is Hebraic alone. Its even speculated Akhenaten (the only monotheistic Pharoah, summarily murdered) was influenced by Jewish slaves in Egypt. The concept of a monotheistic God is Abrahamic/semetic/hebraic/christian – only.

    • August 5, 2011 3:47 am

      Actually, it isn’t all that. Monotheism isn’t the sole purview of the YHWH/Allah crowd. In fact, you do have to consider the Baha’i Faith, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism, which fit your Abrahamic paradigm, but also the faiths like Hinduism (certain sects of it anyway) that consider all gods as one God. Some scholars would also include those faiths that perceive the Divine to be one with creation as an ostensibly monotheistic faith.

      And for that matter there are several kinds of Paganism that consider all gods to be one God, and at least one branch of Wicca that I know of that considers all goddesses to be one Goddess and all gods one God, and Goddess and God to be one Divinity….

      And then, one could argue that some sects of Christianity so deify Satan that he exists as a separate God in opposition with YHWH, thus creating dualism instead of monotheism. And to complicate it further there is the matter of the trinity, which in the eyes of many negates the entire concept of monotheism at all.

      Personally it doesn’t matter whether there is one God, many Gods that are all one or that are all their own beings. My concept of Divinity is fairly expansive and it changes as I experience more life.

      • John permalink
        August 5, 2011 4:34 am

        Your idea of divinity is expansive is the problem -you act as if this is enlightened when it actually exposes your lack of faith in anything other than your own opinion. Get this point Abraham was the first monotheist, called by God, (even to sacrifice his only son) which birthed Judaism. The Jews disbelief, opened the opportunity for Gentiles around the world to enter into faith in Christ (‘sects’ bad word-use, denominations are made by distinctive practices, which do not disclude the essentials of faith in Christ; Love God/ love neighbor).

        The minute there is any number of gods other than the One God, we are no longer talking about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) whatever their beliefs, roots or residue. Satan as a separate God is the very reason this angel of God’s was banished, cut off, because he wanted to be like God and led a revolt against Him. This not dualism in any form. There is one God and one Satan, they are not interchangeable, or comparable. Satan was an Archangel, but not God.

        The Trinity is difficult for the non-believer. I heard it prayed this way by a prof: God the Father, Christ His Son (yet fully God on earth), and their Holy Spirit. These are the greatest mysteries.

        As for your healing – i find it difficult to belief you were healed of epilepsy by and from calling on Jesus Christ and you can then doubt His divinity and power. Remember satan portrays himself as an angel of light, known as the deceiver, who will stop at nothing to usurp God, and seeks to destroy all who will not submit. Sound familiar? submit, or die…

        Islam is man-made with Mohammed claiming Ishmael. There is no proof. He claimed it. It is not in the Bible. The story of Hagar is… This is their biggest deception. We do not share the same faith. God can ask us to love and require them to hate. This does not compute. 2/3 of the surahs found in the Koran are death to all others (pagans too) and those who will not submit.

        Lastly – worshipping other gods (paganism – the created, instead of the Creator) has always and will always bring judgement – Much of Israel’s issues then and rejection of Christ today – and now many like you, bring His judgement. As Christ cam to fulfill the law (take its place) He said He did not come to abolish it either, meaning its still His fathers heart. Worship others deities and you step outside His grace. All others are man-made.

        Turn dear – pray into 2Chronicles7:14

        despair and Love
        John

      • August 5, 2011 3:12 pm

        “Your idea of divinity is expansive is the problem -you act as if this is enlightened when it actually exposes your lack of faith in anything other than your own opinion.”
        My own opinion? What else do we have to judge by? Do you not base your belief that the God you cling to is God on your opinion of the text you read? Or the experiences you have within the faith?
        “Get this point Abraham was the first monotheist, called by God, (even to sacrifice his only son) which birthed Judaism.”
        We have the words of one source to tell us the story of Abraham, a story which is likely more morality tale than truth, a story, like much of the old testament, which teaches us the lessons of the people from which the story comes. The area from which Judaism comes had many gods, and people dedicated themselves to one or more based upon their needs, much like other areas at the time. Over the course of time, as the populations grew and mingled, as tribes mixed and mingled the gods tended to become more encompassing…so a god who once was considered to be over say…farming, might also take on aspects of cattle care and wine making. Slowly they continued to merge, until the concept of a single god arose.
        “The Jews disbelief, opened the opportunity for Gentiles around the world to enter into faith in Christ (‘sects’ bad word-use, denominations are made by distinctive practices, which do not disclude the essentials of faith in Christ; Love God/ love neighbor).”
        Jesus himself was a Jew. What he taught was Judaism, provided that I believe he was an actual person at all…I’m not convinced he was. He did not found a new religion. He called his people to return to what he believed was the truest form of their religion, to leave behind the religiousity and law-bound rhetoric and return to the God of his understanding.
        Christianity was born long after the death of Jesus. It was born in dark and desperate times when people needed something to cling to. It still serves that purpose for many.
        “The minute there is any number of gods other than the One God, we are no longer talking about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) whatever their beliefs, roots or residue. Satan as a separate God is the very reason this angel of God’s was banished, cut off, because he wanted to be like God and led a revolt against Him. This not dualism in any form. There is one God and one Satan, they are not interchangeable, or comparable. Satan was an Archangel, but not God.”
        Or perhaps all Gods are one Divinity and this is all semantics. Again I point back to experience. You can not know for certain what Abraham, Isaac or Jacob believed, all you have is someone else’s words written down hundreds of years after they lived and died, telling you the story of their lives as seen through the lens of historic belief in God and his relationship with the Hebrew people.
        “The Trinity is difficult for the non-believer. I heard it prayed this way by a prof: God the Father, Christ His Son (yet fully God on earth), and their Holy Spirit. These are the greatest mysteries.”
        I am not a “non-believer”. This term has always annoyed me. I don’t believe what you do, but I still believe. I understand the concept of the trinity, I was merely making an academic argument regarding the nature of monotheism and the actual lack of anything resembling truly monotheistic belief when the one God is, in fact, several.
        “As for your healing – i find it difficult to belief you were healed of epilepsy by and from calling on Jesus Christ and you can then doubt His divinity and power. ”
        You don’t have to believe it John. I do. In the end, that’s what matters to me. In order to understand it, I would probably have to take you on a very long journey through that period of my life, something I doubt you are actually invested enough to do. I had epilepsy. I had the church I was a part of lay hands on me and pray with me to remove it. I went to the doctor and had them run the tests again. No evidence of epilepsy was found.
        I have never doubted that healing. To this day I have no symptoms of epilepsy. My understanding of the who and how of that healing may have changed some. But I know for certain that the hand of the Divine found me that day. And has several times since.
        “Remember satan portrays himself as an angel of light, known as the deceiver, who will stop at nothing to usurp God, and seeks to destroy all who will not submit. Sound familiar? submit, or die…”
        Actually, it sounds a lot like Christianities message. Believe or die. To be honest, John, I’m not sure I care who takes the credit. I was sick, now I’m not. I was injured, then I was better.
        “Islam is man-made with Mohammed claiming Ishmael. There is no proof. He claimed it. It is not in the Bible. The story of Hagar is… This is their biggest deception. We do not share the same faith. God can ask us to love and require them to hate. This does not compute. 2/3 of the surahs found in the Koran are death to all others (pagans too) and those who will not submit.”
        All religion is man made. There is no proof of any of it beyond our personal experiences. All religions, and in fact, all gods, are reflections of the societies that espouse them.
        “Lastly – worshipping other gods (paganism – the created, instead of the Creator) has always and will always bring judgement – Much of Israel’s issues then and rejection of Christ today – and now many like you, bring His judgement. As Christ cam to fulfill the law (take its place) He said He did not come to abolish it either, meaning its still His fathers heart. Worship others deities and you step outside His grace. All others are man-made.”
        All are man made. All deities, all gods, all religions are created to help us understand the world around us. And worship is a problematic word. I don’t worship anything.
        And, for the record, I didn’t reject Christ. I rejected a man made notion of Divinity that I could not, for the life of me, continue to believe.

  5. john permalink
    August 5, 2011 3:18 am

    First of all – perhaps if we were to allow discussion of all religions, not every ‘sect’ perhaps, but a healthy discourse of every representative religion in a class, what barriers might be reduced, prejudices destroyed, and what might amount to meaningful dialogue ensue as a result?

    Secondly, “As [you] said on twitter yesterday, ‘Requesting respect for oneself must always come with the pricetag of respecting EVERYONE around you to the same degree.'” is the second greatest commandment quoted in the Bible!

    • August 5, 2011 3:51 am

      While I concur, that such discussion would be beneficial, it is not meant for any level below high school at the very least. Younger minds simply do not have the capacity to engage in the discourse at a level beyond learning to be tolerant and respectful.

      I will hold to the notion that religion does not belong in school, especially not in an age where so much is forced upon our students in a day that they can not learn to think, only forcibly memorize trivial bits of information to pass standardized tests that test nothing of knowledge of the world or ability to process information, but merely how much they can cram into their heads at one time.

      And yes, Respect. It is the only way we will ever find a way out of this messy, political quagmire we find ourselves in.

      Thanks again for your thoughts on the subject.

      • John permalink
        August 5, 2011 4:40 am

        Now here you seek to censor (ie HighSchool). When the question is asked is when the answer should come and disourse and dialogue begin.

      • August 5, 2011 3:14 pm

        When the question is asked, it should be answered, however school is not the place for that discussion to take place.

        Unless we can guarantee that all teachers at all levels are educated in all religions, and can have that discussion with any child of any religious background without inserting their own prejudice.

  6. john permalink
    August 5, 2011 3:20 am

    Sorry Natalie – Peace Sister!

  7. John permalink
    August 5, 2011 4:57 am

    “The LORD bless you and keep you;

    The LORD make His face shine upon you,
    And be gracious to you;

    The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
    And give you peace.”’ … Natalie, (Numbers 6:24-26)

  8. John permalink
    August 6, 2011 2:20 pm

    You say; quote “Do you not base your belief that the God you cling to is God on your opinion of the text you read? Or the experiences you have within the faith?” This is the whole and main point – RELATIONSHIP, ONE TO ONE, through their Holy Spirit. The ‘text’ is HIS word, His thoughts, His heart – written by men through this same relationship. My God, the God of Abraham, who could be yours, is the Creator who can certainly make sure we get Hid thoughts right – even me in my feeble attempts here to convey His love. This is why I feel you have never really known God. He blessed you with healing / delivered you from epilepsy when you called on His name. Yet, you list Him among the amalgam of your spiritual dragnet and myriad beliefs concocted by those who sought and seek to explain their existence and natural events of His Creation through a myriad of little-g gods, spirits and ancestors worship. This is not opinion, this is relevant fact and you confess the proof by your own healing experience. I there fore base my opinion of God the a direct relationship, through His Son and by God’s Holy Spirit.

    2- You write: “We have the words of one source to tell us the story of Abraham, a story which is likely more morality tale than truth, a story, like much of the old testament, which teaches us the lessons of the people from which the story comes.”

    This is cheeky, but true the one source is GOD! and this is not morlaity although there are morals taught (interestingly a new subject being taught at major universities). This is God’s story, about His chosen people. The Old Testament is the Judaic history of this Relationship, Gods heart and purposes.

    3- The area from which Judaism comes had many gods, ….Slowly they continued to merge, until the concept of a single god arose.” The Exodus is the Nation of Israel’s salvation from bondage and life with God alone. They arrived in the central Levant – Palestine where there were many pagan practices ongoing – they did intermingle – to their demise and expulsion, known as diaspora, because they abandoned God and worshipped others – see Elijah, Ahab and Jezebel. This is why to this very day including denying Jesus as the Christ – the Jewish people suffer and we as Americans are about to as we move away from god and embrace and incorporate others little-g gods and practices. This is the Bible, the Old Testament ‘story’ you claim to have studied; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel).

    4 – I do not doubt you were healed by God when people from a church laid hands on you and prayed for you deliverance from epilepsy. This Jesus heart and Gods heart and He used me this way with others. So who is attached to what you describe as the “hand of the Divine” Whats the name of this divinity?

    5 – You quoted; ” “Sound familiar? submit, or die…”
    Actually, it sounds a lot like Christianities message. Believe or die.”:

    Islam, the word itself translates; “submission/obedience”, those who do not Muslim are infidel, who convert, become dhimmi, or die if they do not submit.

    Christ’s message IS love God and love your neighbor like yourself. He was the Propitiation.

    The first Christians were his disciples, including Paul. They knew Jesus. The first church was served by Jesus’ brother James in Jerusalem (≈50ad, remembering Christ died at ≈33) . And Yes, the church can be found in the darkest most oppressive places around the world showing love and shining light into the lives of the forgotten, lost and marginalized.

    6 – You say all religions are man-made. You are right. One essential outsiders can’t grasp and believers know; God made man. Man made gods. Christianity is not a religion. It is belief in Jesus the Christ (aka The Messiah).

    7 – You said; “And, for the record, I didn’t reject Christ. I rejected a man made notion of Divinity that I could not, for the life of me, continue to believe.”: If you don’t accept Him as he expressed you should – the self-procliamed Messiah and Son of God – you reject him.

    Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen something? I have.

    • August 10, 2011 1:04 pm

      Morning John, I hope you had a great weekend.

      You said, “This is the whole and main point – RELATIONSHIP, ONE TO ONE, through their Holy Spirit. The ‘text’ is HIS word, His thoughts, His heart – written by men through this same relationship.”

      I know the rhetoric, I’ve been there. I believed these words to be true. I lived my life believing this. The disparity between that relationship and the words in the book and the way people who claimed to believe this also made me begin to question. That questioning took me to a new path.

      “My God, the God of Abraham, who could be yours, is the Creator who can certainly make sure we get Hid thoughts right – even me in my feeble attempts here to convey His love. This is why I feel you have never really known God. He blessed you with healing / delivered you from epilepsy when you called on His name. Yet, you list Him among the amalgam of your spiritual dragnet and myriad beliefs concocted by those who sought and seek to explain their existence and natural events of His Creation through a myriad of little-g gods, spirits and ancestors worship.”

      The god who is portrayed in the bible, if I take the bible at its word, is not a god I could serve in all good conscience. Regardless of anything he may have done for me.

      You also said, “This is not opinion, this is relevant fact and you confess the proof by your own healing experience. I there fore base my opinion of God the a direct relationship, through His Son and by God’s Holy Spirit.”

      But it is opinion, it is your opinion based on what you know and believe. There is nothing wrong with that. It is how we, as human beings judge the world around us. My opinion differs.

      • John permalink
        August 12, 2011 3:20 am

        Opinion is all you offer. It is clear you have very little understanding of the Bible, and therefore God – you offer cliché remarks regarding God as the one which rose from many; who, as you said, and I quote; “Over the course of time, as the populations grew and mingled, as tribes mixed and mingled the gods tended to become more encompassing…so a god who once was considered to be over say…farming, might also take on aspects of cattle care and wine making. Slowly they continued to merge, until the concept of a single god arose.” This is hog-wash in Biblical terms and in historical evidence and one of many grandiloquent fabrications meant to legitimize: Baal, Paganism and personal prejudice as fact, which in fact, are popular cultural bias and mis-information propagated by an uneducated and perverted populace, who coerce others into believing these outlandish hyperbole, as a legitimate reality.

        You were evidently shown God’s grace by His healing love, which usually leads people to want understand more, but instead dismissed the opportunity to enter into a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ…(The only way to the Father (God) is through His Son – Jesus, the Christ). Please stop wasting time and seek meaning based on understanding this existence.

        Return to your knees, open heart and mind; in all sincerity, having renounced all else/others; ask, plead with Jesus into your life. Find a believer – a real believer, and ask him/her to pray with you to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

        Until you are willing to do this – you are merely smoke, eventual dust and mere opinion (def: ‘a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty’).

        in tough love
        John

      • August 12, 2011 3:45 am

        “Opinion is all you offer.”

        Opinion, with regard to anything of faith, is all that there is. I offer mine, based on 40 plus years of seeking, searching and traveling through life. I spent a good chunk of those years as a Christian, having been raised a Presbyterian, “born again” at an Assembly of God tent revival, then nearly ten years of evangelical ministry with a missionary church. I am fully cognizant that my opinion is based on what I know and what I have experienced and that it is not shared by all.

        “It is clear you have very little understanding of the Bible, and therefore God – you offer cliché remarks regarding God as the one which rose from many;”

        I paraphrased archeological and historical information based on research of the cultures and surviving information of the area. I could take the time to dig out my references, but I get the distinct impression that unless they were biblical references you wouldn’t care.

        “This is hog-wash in Biblical terms and in historical evidence and one of many grandiloquent fabrications meant to legitimize: Baal, Paganism and personal prejudice as fact, which in fact, are popular cultural bias and mis-information propagated by an uneducated and perverted populace, who coerce others into believing these outlandish hyperbole, as a legitimate reality.”

        Lots of stuff is hog-wash in biblical terms, and yet, none-the-less turn out to be true. The bible isn’t meant to be fact. It’s a story of faith. There is a difference. As to education, well, I guess that’s relative, isn’t it? I have a BA in Business Administration, with a specialty in Project Management, a life long study of religion and culture, art and music, and the psychology of human behavior. In my family, that’s pretty darn educated. Is it a Masters of Divinity or a PhD in comparative religion? No, but I get by just fine.

        And there are those that would point out that the bible contains some pretty outlandish hyperbole of its own.

        “You were evidently shown God’s grace by His healing love, which usually leads people to want understand more, but instead dismissed the opportunity to enter into a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ…(The only way to the Father (God) is through His Son – Jesus, the Christ). Please stop wasting time and seek meaning based on understanding this existence.”

        To begin with, I was already IN a relationship with Jesus Christ at the time of the healing. I had been a born again Christian for better than 6 years. I remained one for several more years. Gifts of the Spirit and the whole 9 yards. As I said, you can not judge that experience, nothing you say will change what I know about that, about my body and my faith. You can not fathom the journey until you’ve taken it yourself.

      • August 12, 2011 3:51 am

        “Return to your knees, open heart and mind; in all sincerity, having renounced all else/others; ask, plead with Jesus into your life. Find a believer – a real believer, and ask him/her to pray with you to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”

        What makes you think I haven’t done this? Do you think I just up and walked away, no consideration, no prayer, no thought? Do you think I didn’t seek out those who should be able to help me through the doubt, through the inconsistencies I was finding between what I was taught and what I was reading in the bible and what I knew in my heart to be right?

        I fought to hold on to my faith. I fought for two years. I prayed. I begged. I spent HOURS reading and meditating on scripture.

        It was terrifying. I was faced with the choice of staying where I knew I was only going through the motions, where my every word professing faith was a lie, or walking away. In the end, the lies were too much and the “help” I got from others was less helpful and more hateful.

        To this day, it was one of the hardest decisions of my life, and the best one I ever made.

        “Until you are willing to do this – you are merely smoke, eventual dust and mere opinion (def: ‘a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty’).”

        I find that I’m really okay with that. After all, that’s all any of us are.

    • August 10, 2011 1:27 pm

      “This is cheeky, but true the one source is GOD! and this is not morlaity although there are morals taught (interestingly a new subject being taught at major universities). This is God’s story, about His chosen people. The Old Testament is the Judaic history of this Relationship, Gods heart and purposes.”

      The bible is an anthology of stories, written over centuries, documenting the journey of one ethnic group of people. It can not be taken as literal history. It must be read with an understanding of the culture which birthed it.

      “The Exodus is the Nation of Israel’s salvation from bondage and life with God alone. They arrived in the central Levant – Palestine where there were many pagan practices ongoing – they did intermingle – to their demise and expulsion, known as diaspora, because they abandoned God and worshiped others – see Elijah, Ahab and Jezebel.”

      The exodus is myth with no serious archeological evidence to support it. If it did indeed happen, it was likely on a much, much smaller scale than the biblical story would have us believe.

      “This is why to this very day including denying Jesus as the Christ – the Jewish people suffer and we as Americans are about to as we move away from god and embrace and incorporate others little-g gods and practices. This is the Bible, the Old Testament ‘story’ you claim to have studied; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel).”

      I’m familiar with the stories. I have also studied the archeological record, as much as one can who is not an archeologist, and as well as the culture in which the stories were written. Put into perspective, they are not as impressive, in my opinion.

      “I do not doubt you were healed by God when people from a church laid hands on you and prayed for you deliverance from epilepsy. This Jesus heart and Gods heart and He used me this way with others. So who is attached to what you describe as the “hand of the Divine” Whats the name of this divinity?”

      My concept of the Divine , Divinity and deity is…expansive to say the least. The Divine is that which is, that which is reflected in each deity we create, that lives through the persona, that imbues that deity with Divinity, which reaches through our man made ideas, and ultimately unites us. That is, of course, a very simplified definition of the concept.

      “Christ’s message IS love God and love your neighbor like yourself.”

      And yet, so few of those who claim to follow him understand this or live this. Of course, with so many churches teaching that human beings are inherently evil and unworthy without blood sacrifice, it isn’t really surprising. If the command is to love your neighbor as yourself, and you hate yourself….well, that just leads to hating everyone arlound you, doesn’t it?

      “The first Christians were his disciples, including Paul. They knew Jesus. The first church was served by Jesus’ brother James in Jerusalem (≈50ad, remembering Christ died at ≈33) . And Yes, the church can be found in the darkest most oppressive places around the world showing love and shining light into the lives of the forgotten, lost and marginalized.”

      The disciples were Jews. Paul created what is known as Christianity.

      And, that is your interpretation, to many the church is butting it’s nose into places it doesn’t belong, bringing guilt and fear and an oppressive religion where it is unwanted and unneeded.

      • John permalink
        August 12, 2011 4:27 am

        You;”The bible is an anthology of stories…It can not be taken as literal history”

        My question: What is the Meshe Stele?

        Is this example ‘impressive’ enough or ‘archeological’ enough for you?

        2) You: “The Divine is that which is, that which is reflected in each deity we create, that lives through the persona, that imbues that deity with Divinity, which reaches through our man made ideas, and ultimately unites us. That is, of course, a very simplified definition of the concept”.

        Me: This means you are god creating that which you need to explain existence so long as we accept your creation.

        3)My Last: “Christ’s message IS love God and love your neighbor like yourself.”
        You commented: “And yet, so few of those who claim to follow him understand this or live this”

        Me: So few…understand, or live this? How many? This statement is offensive on so many levels. You are bigot (def.:a person who is intolerantly devoted to his or her own prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group [in this case religious group]) with intolerance. This is a gross prejudicial generalization.

        4) You: “The disciples were Jews. Paul created what is known as Christianity.

        Me: NO! They are all Jews. and Paul did not create Christianity, but is one of Christ’s greatest champions. Christianity means “follower of Christ”

        5) You: And, that is your interpretation, to many the church is butting it’s nose into places it doesn’t belong, bringing guilt and fear and an oppressive religion where it is unwanted and unneeded.

        Me: ‘My interpretation’ as you put is historical fact as the Disciples and Paul are the first ‘followers of Christ’, which has nothing to with whether the church is butting in or not. This IS illegitimate opinion – yours

        as far as ‘bringing guilt and fear’ are concerned, what you confront here is the guilt of sin we all carry as fallible humans. Fear is also intuited, firstly, as being alone without God and secondly, and rightly so, condemned; apart from redemption through His Son being confronted with the evidence in creation and miracles which is found all round as proof and truth.

        This is my last

        Seek Jesus if you have the courage

      • August 12, 2011 5:11 am

        “My question: What is the Meshe Stele?

        Is this example ‘impressive’ enough or ‘archeological’ enough for you?”

        Archeological? Yes. Does it prove that the bible is historical fact? No.

        It proves Israel existed. It proves that maybe a few of the stories have some basis in historical events.

        “Me: This means you are god creating that which you need to explain existence so long as we accept your creation.”

        You asked me what I believe. I obliged you. I don’t need anyone else to believe it. I am not asking you to accept anything. I have no driving need to prove myself right, or convert anyone.

        “Me: So few…understand, or live this? How many? ”

        I know a few, I am happy to count some of them as friends.

        “This statement is offensive on so many levels. ”

        How so? It is merely an observation, based on interaction with many who claim to follow Christ, yet when it comes right down to it, can not, will not or do not follow through on this command, which, if memory serves, he called the most important command, upon which hang all of the law and prophets.

        “You are bigot (def.:a person who is intolerantly devoted to his or her own prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group [in this case religious group]) with intolerance. This is a gross prejudicial generalization.”

        No, not really. As I said, it is a simple observation. For me to be a bigot I would have to be intolerant of all Christians, I would have to think none of them lived up to the commands of the god that they claimed. As it stands, I love people of all faiths, some of my closest friends are Christian. I have continued this conversation seeing that you are speaking to me out of the truest conviction of your heart without a shred of deceit or mockery on my part. I am always happy to engage in conversation with someone who believes differently than I do. I never know when I might learn something new.

        “Me: NO! They are all Jews. and Paul did not create Christianity, but is one of Christ’s greatest champions. Christianity means “follower of Christ””

        I know what the word means. I am saying that the religion known today as Christianity was established by Paul.

        “Me: ‘My interpretation’ as you put is historical fact as the Disciples and Paul are the first ‘followers of Christ’, which has nothing to with whether the church is butting in or not. This IS illegitimate opinion – yours”

        Obviously, you and I have different definitions of the words “historical” and “fact”…my comment with regard to butting in, was referring to missionaries.

        “as far as ‘bringing guilt and fear’ are concerned, what you confront here is the guilt of sin we all carry as fallible humans. Fear is also intuited, firstly, as being alone without God and secondly, and rightly so, condemned; apart from redemption through His Son being confronted with the evidence in creation and miracles which is found all round as proof and truth.”

        And yet that fear and guilt does not exist until the religion is brought in. I have no guilt or fear in my life since I left Christianity, at least not where my soul and eternity are concerned. I might suggest that if fear and guilt are still a part of your life, you might look to the cause.

        Peace to you on the journey, brother.

  9. John permalink
    August 6, 2011 2:59 pm

    You said; “If God, as in the Chrisitian representation of the Divine, loves me, he does not need some bloody sacrifice to allow me into his paradise…If God loves me and wants me to live in heaven with him, what I beleive or do not believe should not matter….What I found was not a renewed faith in what I had believed, but a path that led me away.”

    Yes, I know how you feel – i used to want to scream out in church; “Do you robots even know what you are spouting as you regurgitate what is said in response!” I did not find Jesus in Church – only later amongst believers first who prayed for me. I moved away and later after much pride and suffering, i asked Him to heal me one night in bed.

    I am at a loss why He doesn’t just save everyone, why some suffer and others do not, including Christians, but what i do know its His will truly. His plan. The more I walk in this paradox the more i understand and see and yes intuit/feel my way through His love. Its the strangest most wonderful thing I have ever known. I admire your honesty and heart.

    God made it that we must believe in His Son. The sacrifice was for your and all sin for all time – God’s way. What you and i believe, do not matter. What matters, whether we would design this way or not, is what matters to God.

    I want to suggest, in fear of offending, is what you believed was not what God intended.

    Please find Nicky Gumble

    • August 10, 2011 1:36 pm

      “Yes, I know how you feel – i used to want to scream out in church; “Do you robots even know what you are spouting as you regurgitate what is said in response!” I did not find Jesus in Church – only later amongst believers first who prayed for me. I moved away and later after much pride and suffering, i asked Him to heal me one night in bed.”

      I know many people who find faith and comfort within one of the many forms of Christianity. I am happy for them that they have found what they need. Faith is such an intimate, personal thing that I would not presume to tell them what they should believe or how they should express that belief. Everyone must walk that walk on their own.

      “God made it that we must believe in His Son. The sacrifice was for your and all sin for all time – God’s way. What you and i believe, do not matter. What matters, whether we would design this way or not, is what matters to God.”

      And that is simply something I can not believe to be true…that any truly Divine being would 1) create flawed creatures capable of such sin as to be worthy of eternal damnation, 2) that would require blood sacrifice to cleanse the sin, 3) or then allow another to take the place of the one who sinned. If, in the end, I am wrong, and you god is the decider of my fate, I will stand by the life I have lived. And if in the end, my lack of belief in his “plan” outweighs the good I have done, the life I have lived? So be it.

      “I want to suggest, in fear of offending, is what you believed was not what God intended.”

      What I believed was what the book told me. Until I realized that it was, after all, just a book.

  10. John permalink
    August 6, 2011 3:12 pm

    My last for now – and have a great weekend. I am praying for you…

    You said;” You judge my words based on your own experience, on your own convictions that you are “right” and all else is “wrong”…which is human nature, and understandable. I merely point out that unless you were inside my head when I knelt at that altar and prayed to be “saved”, crying my heart out and asking God into my life? Then you can not judge that experience.

    The last, first – perhaps your prayers have not been answered yet.

    I am not judging you, I am comparing your words expressed as convictions and as you reveal your beliefs to – yes, by my experience, but more so by what God is, by His Spirit and His His words of Scripture.

    Love
    John

  11. John permalink
    August 12, 2011 2:23 pm

    Please read this article:
    which will expand the importance of the Meshe Stele and hopefully inspire you.

    seek, ask, knock

    assumption begats ignorance

    OH! and Jesus was the first missionary

    Love, John

    • August 12, 2011 3:05 pm

      You keep assuming that I haven’t already read about things, that I haven’t studied the same things, simply because I came to different conclusions than you did.

      You keep assuming that I haven’t sought, asked, prayed, etc.

      So, perhaps you should heed your own words with regard to “assumption”.

      With Respect,
      Natalie

      • John permalink
        August 12, 2011 4:01 pm

        When your response to one of the greatest archeological finds in history is:

        “Archeological? Yes. Does it prove that the bible is historical fact? No.”

        …you have not read about it, or considered the Biblical historical significance and still haven’t. This is evidence of historical figures and events found in the Bible and other sources which are undeniable… multiple sources witnessing to the same events found in the oldest parts of Scripture.. the parts usually assigned as quaint narratives, or as you said above earlier; “not what random bit of 2000 year old literature I believed or didn’t believe.” And its earliest date, its more like 3500+ years old as Old and New Testimonies are the fulfillment of the other – this does not scratch the surface of evidence: i.e. nearly all cultures have some sort of a flood narrative…

        see Screwtape Letters – the audio version is great.

      • August 12, 2011 4:16 pm

        And again, you don’t take into account anything I say beyond disagreement with you.

        Names, places, etc…appearing in this or other archeological finds validate specific things that are contained in the bible. That in and of itself does not validate conversations or actual stories. The existence of this one thing does not make the story of creation, Adam and Eve, etc fact. It validates very specific things. I have never denied that at least parts of the bible are based on actual events. I deny that that means the entire thing is true.

        It is an intriguing archeological find. I’ll give you that. But they’ve found monuments and art from ancient Greece and Rome that depict their gods and their myths and speak of the historical existence of their heroes and legends…are you going to accept that those finds validate their entire religion too?

  12. John permalink
    August 16, 2011 3:28 am

    This should help; What is the truth of your relationship to these questions:

    9 -15 – 2011
    You must be born again —John 3:7

    The answer to Nicodemus’ question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” is: Only when he is willing to die to everything in his life, including his rights, his virtues, and his religion, and becomes willing to receive into himself a new life that he has never before experienced (John 3:4). This new life exhibits itself in our conscious repentance and through our unconscious holiness.

    “But as many as received Him. . .” (John 1:12). Is my knowledge of Jesus the result of my own internal spiritual perception, or is it only what I have learned through listening to others? Is there something in my life that unites me with the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior? My spiritual history must have as its underlying foundation a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. To be born again means that I see Jesus.

    “. . . unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God ” (John 3:3). Am I seeking only for the evidence of God’s kingdom, or am I actually recognizing His absolute sovereign control? The new birth gives me a new power of vision by which I begin to discern God’s control. His sovereignty was there all the time, but with God being true to His nature, I could not see it until I received His very nature myself.

    “Whoever has been born of God does not sin. . .” (1 John 3:9). Am I seeking to stop sinning or have I actually stopped? To be born of God means that I have His supernatural power to stop sinning. The Bible never asks, “Should a Christian sin?” The Bible emphatically states that a Christian must not sin. The work of the new birth is being effective in us when we do not commit sin. It is not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have actually stopped sinning. Yet 1 John 3:9 does not mean that we cannot sin— it simply means that if we will obey the life of God in us, that we do not have to sin.

    Oswald Chambers – My Utmost for His Highest

    • August 16, 2011 1:00 pm

      I thought you had given up and walked away. Welcome back.

      Again, though, my response to your words is largely “been there, done that, moved on”…because I have been through the experience of being born again, I have had the relationship, I have lived that life.

      I know you don’t believe that. I know you think my entire experience was some elaborate lie, that I couldn’t have truly been born again and lived for more than ten years as a follower in Christ and then walk away.

      However, there is no argument that can invalidate my experience.

      As to the rest of your argument here….to quote a popular singer, “We are given to a god to put our faith therein. But to be forgiven, we must first believe in sin.”

      If sin is that which removes us from the favor of the Divine, it is not something I believe in. I do not believe that most human beings commit such heinous acts as to be worthy of being thrown away. Certainly not by a creator who ostensibly loves them.

  13. John permalink
    August 16, 2011 10:50 am

    I’ll ask again – because here is the fundamental question:
    When you pray – whom do you address, or direct your prayers?
    Dare I say what?

    • August 16, 2011 1:04 pm

      It will depend on what the prayer is for, largely.

      It will also depend on who the prayer is for.

      Though sometimes I have been known to skip the middle man, so to speak, and appeal to Divinity directly.

      • John permalink
        August 16, 2011 3:41 pm

        So your prayers are context driven/what its for?

        So prayers differ for different people, Christians as opposed to wiccans, etc.?

        Who is the middle man? so to speak – to tell.

        What makes up the Divinity? when you “appeal to Divinity directly?”

    • August 16, 2011 9:45 pm

      “So your prayers are context driven/what its for?”

      Partially, yes. The deity constructs that humanity uses to interact with the Divine are in many instances oriented to specific needs. Thus prayers for healing are focused on those deities that specialize in healing, prayers for peace in the home or resolution to conflict are focused on those deities which deal with those things.

      “So prayers differ for different people, Christians as opposed to wiccans, etc.?”

      To a degree, I suppose. I am more likely to appeal to a fellow Pagan’s chosen pantheon when praying for them, or the Divine in general when praying for a Christian or Muslim or someone I feel would be offended at my calling upon whichever deity. But then again, it all ends up in the same place, with the Divine. The focus of the prayer is for the one praying, not for the one receiving, in my opinion.

      “Who is the middle man? so to speak – to tell.”

      Whatever deity construct is the conduit to the Divine. Those we call Gods. Including the Christian God.

      “What makes up the Divinity? when you “appeal to Divinity directly?””

      As I have said, the Divine is that which is, that from which we have come, that to which we will return. It is the great unknown, life, death, creation, destruction. It is a part of us and we a part of it. The culmination of existence.

      I know that this is not what you believe and that this will just give you further cause to dismiss me and what I believe. I know that you think I am deluded, that I am lost. I’m okay with that. I know my own journey, I know why I believe the way that I do.

  14. John permalink
    August 19, 2011 5:14 pm

    What was the worst thing you ever you did as child? Re-live it right now for a second…how bad did you felt/feel? I have a few of my own.

    First, did your parents stop loving you, or throw you away as a result of your offense? Second, why did you feel bad, convicted of offense in the matter? Its “any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse,” which is taken from the definition of sin. This same conviction you fully recognize through this childhood offense is the same thing which convicts you of the sin of murder, or stealing.

    No, I don’t think you have concocted an elaborate lie. Your experience is real and undeniable. I think you have been lied to. You are not alone. 80% of all who confess Christ as their savior/ have made a decision for Christ, fall away. The reason is as you said above you extricate yourself of responsibility by saying there is no sin…quoting you above: we must first believe in sin.”

    You didn’t answer my question about lying, because we all know, we all have. The next question is a continuation of the first – Do your parents love you despite a lifetime of offenses? Its your not understanding this relationship experience as relates to God and His heart for reconciliation and redemption, to draw near to His creation; you, and love; YOU.

    This is what keeps you from the fullness now by not recognizing your actions then, and now, as sin, in your case by the example of your beliefs in other gods and your own devices that is sin against God,

    Its the captive, the broken, the contrite, who are convinced of darkness, who feel damned in their condition, that reach humbly intensely for and receive Christ. Have you repented? Have you ask Jesus to show you your sin?

    Do you have the courage to ask, to go to these personal places without resorting to quick quips, trite cliché and personal boundaries to avoid this?

    Christ said himself, he did not come to abolish the law; God’s 10 Commandments, which include lying, stealing, adultery, etc. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.” He came to fulfill them both. To take all sin and prove the Prophets right. This is where the OT Law comes into play. Christ came to fulfill the Law and Prophecy – The law remains for those who do not believe. God is a righteous God. Therefore, to be righteous/just, he must judge sin. The law remains to convict us of sin and to point us to salvation through Jesus.

    Your saying “thrown away [by God]” is talking about judgment. Did you parents judge you? In order to be fair, just,..therefore righteous, they, like God must judge when you or I sin. Otherwise God would not be righteous. God must be true to himself and therefore to all in order to be righteous. This is also a point of free will – the God-given ability to choose. Deny Him, and he will deny you.

    Paul said the wages of sin is death. This I believe means death now in life separate from God and later the same, but as in hell. YOU make this decision; not God, just like deciding there is no sin. There is sin and this means hell.

    Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    John 3:16
    “For God so loved the world, He gave his only son, that whoever believed, would not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). 1- God loves and wants you… 2- to live in eternal glory aka.heaven. 3- ‘would not perish’ aka.hell… 4- ‘everlasting life’ aka. eternity [in love].

    John 14:6
    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through ME. (emphasis added)

    It is belief in Christ through the knowledge of Him – not head knowledge, heart understanding, experiential belief in His existence that makes a believer and not a follower and why i think you have been near, but not part of the body of Christ. I am not talking about a church, or a group of people when I say Body.

    Blessings
    Love

    • August 19, 2011 5:54 pm

      I was a pretty good kid, all told. Ate my veggies, did my homework, came home when I was supposed to. Never was much of a liar, the occasional fib to spare someone’s feelings and the like, but flat out lies? No, not so much. I understood from a pretty young age that actions have consequences and that rules are there for a reason, and if I asked for the reason, it was explained to me. I honestly can not remember any action as a child that made me feel guilty. I can count on one finger the number of spankings I received, though I can tell you now that I have no memory of why I was spanked, only that I was, which proves that it was not an effective form of punishment. And I can recall getting a mouthful of soap one day because my father was drunk and I asked what the word “asshole” meant. Again, nothing to feel guilty about.

      I stand by the statement that there is nothing I have done in this life that is worthy of punishment, especially not the permanent, eternal kind of punishment.

      My parents love has never been contingent upon some behavior code or belief in them, or adherence to some arbitrary list of rules from some book from the Middle East that is more than 2000 years old. Nor is there anything I could do to end that love, aside from maybe killing my brother or something equally huge.

      You keep asking me if I have the “courage” to do something I’ve already done. More than once. You also keep quoting the bible at me, as though repetition will make it more true or make me believe it more. Your last paragraph is more of the same dismissiveness. As I have said, unless you were here, inside me, at the time, you can only judge my experience based upon yours. I stand by my experience. I was a believer, I experienced Divinity at the altar, I am not talking about being a part of any church or group of people either.

      I have to run, I’m driving to LA today. Perhaps I will have more when I return.

  15. John permalink
    August 21, 2011 4:43 am

    you can actually say there is nothing in your life you feel any guilt for?
    I say your spanking left the proverbial “lasting impression” – and this surely was the result of something your parents did not approve of… I’ll bet they still love you. I never meant to imply your parents love was ci-ontigent upon anything. I meant: Your parents love stems from their love of gift that is you.

    You said; “I stand by the statement that there is nothing I have done in this life that is worthy of punishment, especially not the permanent, eternal kind of punishment.”

    Read Hebrews 4 (Amplified) – for clarity
    “2For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with [c]the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it;…11Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].”

    “3 ‘Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.’ 4But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (Romans11:3-4). …but you have bowed a knee to Baal. (Baal is one of the seven princes of hell and a Canaanite god of rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture).

    “7 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. 8Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel” (Judges3:6-8). …these pagan gods and idols and their introduction into Jewish lives are what have brought God’s wrath from which the nation of Israel still suffers. God will not suffer this kind of disobedience – like your parents would not when they spanked you.

    Your statement: “I stand by the statement that there is nothing I have done in this life that is worthy of punishment, especially not the permanent, eternal kind of punishment.”

    You have, if you worship, engage in , or try to manipulate the spirit world in any way.
    Ahab (a Jewish king of Israel) and Jezebel (a Sidonian princess and Baalite)
    “Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. … he took as wife Jezebel …and he went and served Baal and worshiped him….[and] set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria” (1Kings16:30-32).

    Repent comes from the French word ‘repense’ which means ‘to turn’, or to change ones mind. Please do this and pray for ‘the gift of tears’ from Yahweh and Yeshua. Please do. Ask them to save you (once more)

    Love,
    John

    • John permalink
      August 22, 2011 1:26 pm

      Only God

    • August 26, 2011 6:37 pm

      “you can actually say there is nothing in your life you feel any guilt for?”

      Actually no. I do still feel guilty over the way I treated people who were not Christian during my days when I was Christian. I work very hard now to recognize when prejudice creeps into my relationships and dig out the cause so that I can treat others with love and respect…and I work hard to repay that debt to those I hurt, particularly those of other religions and homosexuals.

      And before you jump in and tell me that Christ’s sacrifice absolves me, remember that I do not believe another can take my place and find it offensive to think that someone would attempt to pay my debt.

      “I say your spanking left the proverbial “lasting impression” – and this surely was the result of something your parents did not approve of…”

      If it made any lasting impression, it had nothing to do with what I did “wrong” since I can’t remember what it was. The chances are pretty good that it was over something in which I disagreed with the parent dishing out the punishment and not any real “wrong”.

      “These pagan gods and idols and their introduction into Jewish lives are what have brought God’s wrath from which the nation of Israel still suffers. God will not suffer this kind of disobedience – like your parents would not when they spanked you.”

      As I said, the issue with the spanking was more likely to do with me expressing disagreement with a rule or situation vocally because I felt I had outgrown the reasons for the rule than with any actual disobedience. And, to carry your analogy forward, my mother never punished me for calling my friend’s mother “Mom”…I had several “Mom”s growing up. She was happy to have the assist.

      “Your statement: “I stand by the statement that there is nothing I have done in this life that is worthy of punishment, especially not the permanent, eternal kind of punishment.”

      You have, if you worship, engage in , or try to manipulate the spirit world in any way.”

      Again, it comes down to quoting a book to me that means little. I have studied the book and it’s origins, I know what it says, but unless I buy into the notion that it’s more than words on a page, endless quoting of it is not convincing.

      “Repent comes from the French word ‘repense’ which means ‘to turn’, or to change ones mind. Please do this and pray for ‘the gift of tears’ from Yahweh and Yeshua. Please do. Ask them to save you (once more)”

      As I keep saying, I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I lived that life. I served YHWH and Christ. I worshiped, witnessed, prayed, studied. I was dedicated and devoted for 12 years. I questioned and prayed for another 5. Honestly, I’m not going to waste more of my life pursuing a god who apparently wants nothing to do with me.

      I’ve lived a better, more honest, more giving, more loving life since I walked away. I have no desire to return to hating the person in my mirror.

Trackbacks

  1. …walk a mile in my shoes…but bring them back when you’re done…I have a few more miles to go… « My Weight in Words

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: