Here are some things that made me think this past week. Inclusion does not equal a full endorsement of everything in each post or at the sites they are linked to. Some parts are in bold because they stood out to me as particularly good points. To read each blog in its entirety click on the link beneath each excerpt.
“I was a good Christian once. I meant well. I was very sincere. I have all the training. I prayed all the prayers…
I am, in short, not the person you would’ve picked to become a heretic. Not the person you would’ve picked to abandon Republicanism and the theological giants of the 1980’s. Not the person you would’ve picked to believe marriage ought not be confined to one man and one woman. Not the person you would’ve picked to deeply doubt a Literal Hell. Not the person you’d think would come to believe others’ salvation doesn’t depend on me at all…
When I watched people suffer and become more disenfranchised than ever because of your interpretation of Scripture and your imposition of that on their lives, so very unlike Jesus’ response to the marginalized, you lost me…
When I brought home my precious baby girl from Vietnam and you said, “At least she’s not black,” you lost me…
When my gender and sexual minority friends found no sanctuary or succor with you — when you insisted you loved them while they committed suicide at alarming rates in even larger numbers inside faith communities and you did nothing other than spout Bible verses, nothing to save their lives, nothing to set aside your cold recitation of culturally-proscribed, modern, fundamentalist theology — you lost me. You lost me, you lost me, you lost me, and, more importantly, you lost them.
When I watched you actually believe you’re as hurt, as victimized, as terribly sad, as those who’ve been perpetually and systematically disenfranchised and abandoned by the Church, you lost me.
You lost me.
Jesus won me. Love owns me. And you lost me. Which is fine.
I live now in a place where I’m called a heretic regularly. Where I’m told I’m leading people astray. Where my convictions are not welcome in the church I chose once upon a time. And it’s a strange gift. Because I’m free. Free to love others fully. No longer restrained by false parameters. And I’ve found, as many who’ve wandered in the wilderness, that nothing — no one — no theology — no church — can separate me from the Love of God. Or stop me from spreading that Unlimited Love-of-God heresy to others.
And so I bid you good night. And send love. And Love. And wave in the dark, always and forever.
How I Became a Heretic (or How the Evangelical, Conservative Church Lost Me by Beth Woolsey
“I lose my cool.
“I don’t think I was clear enough — the tattoo for me was a dealbreaker. I take you at your word that the flag doesn’t mean anything racist to you. But that’s all it means to me,” I text back…
He is offended and shoots back that he can’t “believe [he] is being judged for something he did 20 years ago.”
“Well, then I’m sure it’s my loss,” I respond. I’m not sure he gets that I’m being sarcastic, and that makes me laugh…
After Charlottesville, a friend asks if I believe everyone who marched to protect Confederate statues is racist. I think of my date and his tattoo and his indignation and my coffee. Had he been racist? Do I care?
My friend wonders if maybe it’s possible to bring some of those people to our side if they don’t feel so attacked.
I tell him I can’t bring myself to care about their feelings, and he is surprised by my reaction. He’s an old friend. I used to be cooler when he knew me well.
I believe in grace for people who are imperfect allies and generosity for those interested in learning but haven’t yet. But I no longer believe the comfort of white men is more precious than my own. They brought weapons. They clearly don’t mind if we feel attacked.
It’s not that I think allegiance to a Confederate flag or monument automatically makes someone racist. It’s that I don’t care whether they are or not. It’s a dealbreaker for me. Maybe that makes me cavalier — or cool. Maybe my friend is right, and some of them could be brought to our side if people like me invested energy in making them feel less judged and more welcome. But since I don’t, they stay on their side.
I’m sure it’s my loss.”
This “cool black girl” is gone by Maya Rupert
“I can barely figure out how my microwave works, let alone interpret how a horrific weather event is being wielded by God to teach you or me or gay couples a lesson—and I’d feel like a reckless fraud pretending I know what’s happening. I guess guys like Kirk Cameron and Joel Osteen and Pat Robertson know better, though I’m doubtful…
Maybe we who claim faith should refrain from pretending we understand how this world works when it comes to faith and pain and suffering.
Maybe we should admit the mystery, discomfort, and the tension that spirituality yields in painful, terrifying times.
Maybe when people are being terrorized by nature or by the inhumanity around them, instead of shouting sermons at them—we should shut up and simply try to be a loving, compassionate presence.
Maybe we should stop trying to make God into something as petty, hateful, judgmental, and cruel as we are.
If the God you’re following and preaching to people in their times of pain is an a-hole—it’s probably not God at all.
It’s probably just you.
If Your God is a Jerk – It Might Be You by John Pavlovitz
“As Christians we have to ask what we are really after. Do we want people to look like they are changed by Jesus or do we want people to actually be changed by Jesus? Do we want to encourage people—albeit unintentionally—to have a form of godliness but reject the power of Christ that actually transforms their lives? (2 Timothy 3:5)…
I’m not saying we should promote lawlessness and allow people to rob and murder as they wish with no repercussions. And yes, I recognize there is an inherent moral quality in declaring some things legal and illegal based on their impact on society, even if all people may not agree on where that moral standard comes from. But we need to evaluate whether laws are God’s primary method of producing morality and change in people. They are not.
There’s a problem when our God-given assignment as Christians is to be messengers of reconciliation with God and our methods are pushing people away from Him (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
Christians don’t have the right to live completely separated from people who don’t share the beliefs and practices of their faith.
The Constitution affords rights to all citizens of our nation of free speech, freedom of the press, freedom to practice their respective faiths or not practice any faith at all. These rights don’t only apply to Christians. By the way some Christians react to people doing and saying things that are different than their Christian beliefs, you wouldn’t know it though.
People have a right to live in ways you disagree with.
That right, greater than being afforded by American law even, is afforded by God because He gives all humans free will and calls them to follow Him by choice, not force. No, He doesn’t agree with sin or rebellion against Him. Yes, there are eternal consequences for unrepentant sin against God. Yes, God wants every person to repent of their sin and be saved. Every person, however, has to respond to His call by their own choice (Acts 17:30-31).
Further, nowhere in the Bible does it say that Christians should hide in a bubble and avoid everyone who isn’t like them. It says the opposite, actually (Matthew 5:14-16, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
If Jesus interacted with people who didn’t yet believe in Him and follow His commands, then we as Christians should interact with people who don’t yet share the beliefs and practices our faith—and not just to convert them.
Jesus preached the gospel to people who did not know Him. He called them to leave their sin and follow Him, but He also shared meals and conversation with them...”
The Biblical Case Against ‘Legislating Morality’ by Jasmin Patterson