I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. – Martin Luther (1483-1546)
I truly believe that our spirituality – no matter how you describe it – is of paramount importance to our healing… whatever ails us!
I consider myself a Christian – because there is no better label for one who believes in both the Man and the Mission – and I love and respect God, the Creator … and believe Spirit is with, among and inside each of us.
However, I DO NOT like or appreciate what has become … uhm … a very dogmatic … depressing … and divided … church. <<< And by that I mean “church body” not the building.
I used to pray – so fervently – and remember that back in the 1980s I had the coolest prayer journal. I tried to find it online, so I could show it to you… but alas, could not.
It was a binder, half-size so it was easy to carry. On one side you listed your prayers. On the other, the answers. It was light blue with silver writing on the cover. I know it sounds simplistic and it was… but it was also thoughtfully designed using three rings, which meant it laid flat, which is super-helpful when writing. Also, I loved how you could keep adding pages, which I did for a couple of years.
As usual, I did a purge at some point and it went bye-bye.
Let me tell you though, as I went online to find a link, I also found some… yucky-ness. Evidently, Martin’s successor (Hank Hanegraaff) had some troubles. Here is the headline:
“That picture of Hank kneeling before a Greek Orthodox priest – that was hard for many evangelicals to see.”
Oh. Gasp. Where’s the rolly-eye emoticon when I need it?
Now see, this is the kind of stuff that pisses me right off. For crying out loud, people, do you even know what Greek Orthodoxy believes? It’s Christianity, not Satanism.
I’m going to share something that will give you an idea of the kind of person I was back then. I love and respect the woman I was at that time – I will not mock her – but I was NOT the woman I am today.
That said, here we go…
I once wrote a letter to Jerry Falwell that ended up in The Fundamentalist Journal in 1986. I was no lightweight Christian, folks:
So, when I say I understand the fundamentalist Christian mindset… believe me! I DO.
And a little PS: This was years before my little family got blindsided by the Baptist Church (that was in the early-1990s. I was the church secretary and parishioner extraordinaire who was in the pew whenever the church doors opened – three times a week, at least. Click the link for a quick description of what happened there).
My point (so far) is to say I come by my current beliefs after a lifetime of deep-diving into the muck and mire of religion, the Bible, Christianity and what I call (and despise) “Church-ianity”.
To get where I’m going today, I also need to let you know that I follow two men on Facebook who have become disenchanted … or perhaps the better word is “disgusted” with (not Christ, but) Christianity.
They are two very different men but much of their messaging is the same:
- Love God
- Love your neighbor
- Feed the poor
- Heal the sick
^^^^ Sounds familiar? ^^^^
The book of Matthew says some… uh… similar (actually, exactly the same) things:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. … And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22).
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (Matthew 25)
FB posts of theirs espousing these ideas have turned into hotbeds of debate. How does that happen? Oh, well, lemme tell ya…
A simple statement is made and the brigade comes in to refute it:
- Love God – but not if …
- Love your neighbor – but not if …
- Feed the poor – but only if …
- Heal the sick – but only if …
You get the idea without my spelling it out, I’m sure. Also, I could add other more volatile beliefs but none of us wants that… and that’s certainly not what this space is about.
So… what do ALL of these things have in common?
SOMEONE IS OFFENDED. <<< Royally!
They’re (we’re) offended because…
***A million trillion reasons – big and small***
The great challenge of our world is to live a life of contentment, regardless of what other people do, say, think or believe. […] Though it may take a lifetime of practice, it is truly one of the best kept secrets for living a happy life. – Dr. Jodi Prinzivalli (Entire article “The Art of Not Being Offended“)
What if… my friends… instead of fighting over what it means to “Love Thy Neighbor”… we just… DID IT?
What if we just let people just be who they are? Quit trying to change them.
I know it’s simplistic. I know not everyone is a Christian or even spiritual. That’s okay. I just so happen to believe that “We are spiritual beings on an earthy journey“. (John Bradshaw said it first.)
I’m going to work really hard at not being offended! Will you try with me?
PS: In the 1970s, it was “a thing” to say: “No offence, but…” and then go ahead and offend someone. My parents made a rule that we weren’t allow to say it. For real. It stuck so hard I’m telling you about it now, 50-ish years later. Good parenting: Gotta love it!
PSS: I chose the featured photo because it reminded me of God crying over all that we’ve become. If life is a gift – and I believe it is – and we are only here for a little while – which I believe we are, now more than ever – then why are we wasting it arguing over everything?