beliefs and behavior

my thoughts on religion.

if this is a touchy subject for you, i suggest taking a look at my previous post instead. for those who are interested in my faith and what i believe, please scroll down…
beliefs and behavior

i’m a christian.

i was raised christian. charismatic, to be exact. it is a fundamentalist and often times, a legalistic denomination. although i’m very grateful for the biblical foundation i was given, i don’t identify with it. i also don’t practice that particular belief system.

its sad most christians get such a bad reputation.

i believe we were called to be a light in the darkness. if we didn’t spread the gospel by making a statement, then we wouldn’t be fulfilling our purpose. on the other hand, when we use anti-biblical methods to prove our point, we’ve become “those christians”. the ones who give reason for people to avoid us. the ones who jesus himself, wouldn’t be happy with.

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the ideology of the doctrine can be hypocritical and i understand why.

  • there’s a lot of black and white, and rarely any grey area.
    • this extreme is what i believe causes an imbalance in the religion.
  • judgment and condemnation is often habitual, but rationalized as saving an individual from hell.
    • each person has their struggles. some more than others, of course. if so, they’re probably feeling pretty lousy. the perfect way to turn people away from GOD is make them feel worse.
  • the emphasize and obsession of certain sins, while disregarding the others.
    • (i.e., not applying all the things banned in leviticus)
  • cherry picking scriptures. taking certain things literally and others figuratively.
    • (i.e., the “rod” scriptures in proverbs.)
  • “love the sinner, hate the sin” is a great concept. sadly not many people can apply it correctly.
    • I can just as easily say “i hate your (fundamentalist) beliefs, but i love you”. i treat that person with indifference, then i’m the one labeled “rude, offensive, discriminating.” 
  • members who leave the church (without “valid” reasons), are seen as “back-sliders” on the verge of going off the deep end.
    • while it might be true an individual is no longer seeking christ, that isn’t the case in all situations. the reality could be the problem isn’t the person who’s leaving, rather the people who’ve stayed. 
      • this isn’t far fetched, given the many scandals surrounding religious leaders, those in ministry and members of the congregation. nobody is exempt from making mistakes and i truly believe we should extend our grace in the same matter christ would. even so, the decision to leave is a personal one and the reason could be for good measure.

i’ve  seen how the extremes of christianity have created dysfunction and division in communities and families. attending church doesn’t make you a christian, no more than standing in a garage make you a car. citing scriptures word for word, is impressive but doesn’t make you any better. from my experience, fundamentalist christians are often preaching fire and brimstone. the irony is they can sometimes have a “holier than thou” mentality and don’t practice what they preach.

“do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – matthew 7:1-2

the word “christian” means “believer of jesus christ and his teachings”. as a progressive christian, having a relationship with the divine is more important than being called “religious“. it means doing what jesus would do, despite what a t.v evangelist, minister or so-called bible scholar might think–an interpretation which could oppose the true spoken words of jesus.

“as a christian, i’m sorry for the narrow-minded, judgmental, deceptive, manipulative and harmful actions used in the name of GOD.”

for me, it’s about making a conscious effort to christ-like.

by no means am i claiming to be the perfect, devout christian (i have way too many flaws. too much i could write for days). however, i have an open mind and heart to learn from the teachings of my savior. i make a daily commitment to be more like him in all i do. it’s not easy! jesus was a humble man who loved the outcasts. the ones the world loves to hate. he hung out with the prostitutes, lepers, thieves, tax collectors and gentiles. he was a man of compassion and integrity. he was a revolutionist, because he (even) broke religious laws to share the plan of salvation through his testimony–a message of love and peace.

” i have come that they may have life, and have it to the full ” – john 10:10

blessings to you,

R

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This too shall pass

Yesterday was one of those dreaded raining days.

Chilly, wet and dark. As the drops of water quickly rolled down my window, I had that reoccurring thought. The one I’ve had ever since childhood.

I Imagined God sitting in the heavens weeping and the rain being his tears. All the while, I look outside to a less than perfect day, and inward to a less than perfect self. I start to cry and my tears roll down my cheeks in sync with my creator’s.

In that very creative brain of mine, I imagine the big man upstairs crying with me. Other people may explain the weather literally as condensation. I on the other hand, see an opportunity to daydream. At that very moment, I hope he’s sympathizing with my fears and sadness. That he shares my pain because he cares. The drops outside get heavier and so do my tears. I close my eyes and say a prayer for peace. A request for myself and on behalf of those dear to me.

By the morning, the rain ceased and so did the tears. I believed he heard my sorrow, because there was a time of calmness. Little did I know, It was a the calm before the storm. This late afternoon, I looked outside my window again. There are no wind gusts and not a single drop of rain. The only tears falling are the ones rolling from my eyes. I held and rubbed my heart as if to comfort it. Then I said to myself,

“Are you there God?”

After some meditating, I decided I wasn’t going to lose faith. “This too shall pass”, I said to myself. After all, I can’t see the whole picture (or the entire world from HIS perspective). I was expecting the rain, or (better yet) a neon sign with a huge arrow pointing to the way out out. Then I asked myself, what if someone else is waiting for the complete opposite as sign? I can’t be selfish, a control freak, or narrow-minded to put the highest being in a small box. Maybe I don’t literally see his tears, but I can remember his profound presence in my life. Maybe the place I’m in, is not where I want to be. All I can do is try to continue walking. Walking forward. One foot in front of the other. Step by step. Believing there is a reason for everything. Even if I don’t understand it at this very moment.

According to the Good Book, I have this promise to hold close to my heart:

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” – Rom 8:28

I also found this quote about bitterness, losing and love to be quite inspiring:

Whatever we focus on is bound to expand. Where we see the negative, we call forth more negative. And where we see the positive, we call forth more positive. Having loved and lost, I now love more passionately. Having won and lost, I now win more soberly. Having tasted the bitter, I now savor the sweet. – Marianne Williamson

With deep sentiments,

R