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Divorcing The Church

I am now almost 50 years-old, but around 26 I got a divorce.  I know, not the most shocking statement to start the blog with right?  Well tell that to the Baptist churches I sent my resume to when I was in the early stages of becoming a pastor.  Around the age of 32 I was in seminary and looking to become a “man of the cloth.”  So being raised Baptist I knew I had to let every church I applied with know that I had been divorced.  Some were nice about it while others treated me as if I had been a serial killer.  Well actually, one church said I couldn’t serve on their staff, but I could be a volunteer or intern.  I then asked, “So because I have been divorced I can’t serve on your staff, BUT if I had murdered someone and asked God for forgiveness I could possibly serve on your staff, but because I’ve been divorced I can’t?”  The pastor paused and realized how ridiculous he was going to sound when he answered with a “yes’.  It was clear to him that the Bible said a divorce disqualified me from ever becoming a pastor.  Why that didn’t seem to be a red flag that I was simply moving in the wrong direction in life is beyond me!

So now here I am 15 years later still married to the same amazing woman, but I have divorced the church.  According to the Bible a man or woman has the right to get divorced if their spouse is abusive or unfaithful so I figure that gives me the right to a divorce them.

 

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Why Those Who Believe The Bible is The Inspired Word of God are So Pissed! #atheist #christian #progressivechristianity

god_of_thunder_by_zzjimzzI was raised by wonderful parents, but we attended a church that taught us the world is black and white.  Meaning we believed there is a definite right and wrong, all of the Bible is either true or false, and we are all either going to heaven or hell.  And it is now my belief that those three points alone are why people have left the church in droves over the years.  Many of us believed that if we questioned the truth of any part of the Bible then we might as well throw out the entire book and God, and so many left. I realize now that many folks worship the Bible more so than they worship God.  The Bible is how many believe that God speaks to them. In their mind it’s God’s word despite the fact it was placed together by men thousands of years after Jesus died.

My point is that many of us believed that we alone held the truth and anyone who disagreed must be wrong.  In other words, we were the earthly authorities when it came to God and scripture.  And so if you believe the scripture is the inspired words of God then you believe that he sent fire, storms, and angels from heaven to kill thousands.  And that included the always cherished women and children!  So if you believe that then it definitely keeps you on the ‘edge’ and you will do your best to walk the straight and narrow.  And we were taught the road to heaven was just that…very narrow because few would choose THE way, which apparently was OUR way.  I now realize the road to heaven isn’t narrow, but we did indeed have very narrow minds.

I know some of my dear friends, and especially my former seminary professors would pour out their anger and frustrations on me for believing this way, and I’m okay with that because I understand where they are coming from.  Again, they believe they came from, they were created by, a very pissed off God who would send down fire, storms, and angles of death to get people’s attention and set them straight (literally straight if they were Gay).  So if God would do all of that then it must be okay for them to be pissed at others who disagree with them as well.  Yet they would also say God sent Jesus so He didn’t have to be pissed off anymore.  What they believe without apology is that in order for there to be justice in the world, and forgiveness for those on “the broad road”, God sent His son from heaven to literally have hell beat out of Him.  And that leads to my question of, “God showed me His love through extreme violence?”

I’m honestly not clear on what I do and don’t believe when it comes to the Bible, God, and Jesus.  And while that can be frustrating at times it is also very liberating, and allows me to simply continue the journey of faith.  The ironic part of my story is that when I began realizing that while the Bible is full of amazing stories, but not necessarily the inspired word of God…I became more like, well, Jesus.  It makes me less judgmental, more tolerant, and much more at peace with myself and others.  And I can say without apology that I believe God is the energy all around us that is responsible for all that is good.  As for all the bad things that happen here on earth?  Shit happens!


Podcast: A Man’s Journey from A Born Again Believer to Buddhism

Love this interview!


Why It isn’t Simply Cool to Accept Homosexuals #michaelsam

It is extremely sad that many pastors think if they put on hipster clothes, and talk about loving and accepting the gay community then they are being cool.  LISTEN TO ME, that isn’t cool…that is simply being a decent human being you self righteous douche bags.

If one more pastor would have sent out a Tweet today that said something like, “Christians should cheer for Michael Sam the future gay NFL football player, because we are all sinners just like him” then I think I would have ripped my hair out!  One even said we couldn’t judge Michael Sam because we all need to repent of our sins.   I couldn’t resist so I wrote to ask the tweeting twit what Michael needed to repent.  He tweeted back that the bible says that “homosexuals, rapist, and adulterers” need to repent.  Yes because we all know that homosexuals need to be lumped in with adulterers and rapist right?  Idiot!  

If you are a pastor reading this then please listen.  I think it is great that some of you are trying to at least be civil about gay rights, but to just stop using words like faggot or queer is not enough.  You no longer follow scripture that tells you to stone disobedient children, keep your women quiet in church, and etc.  So why not drop the other scriptures that have little value for today’s culture?  And stop saying you accept them, BUT you think they need to repent because of who they love.  You are simply saying the same bullshit in a different way.  And it isn’t acceptance, and it definitely isn’t cool!

 


Kirk Cameron was assaulted by Queen Latifah, #Macklemore, & Ryan Lewis

Kirck Cameron says that the Grammy Awards was an “all out assault on the traditional family!

From The Washington Times:

Christian actor Kirk Cameron criticized Sunday night’s Grammy Awards for what he called an “all out assault on the traditional family.”  During the ceremony, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed “Same Love” alongside Mary Lambert and Madonna while Queen Latifah officiated the marriages of 33 gay and straight couples, the Huffington Postreported.  “How did you like the Grammy’s all out assault on the traditional family?” the “Growing Pains” star asked on Facebook.  “As a husband and father, I am proud to announce the release of my new family movie, MERCY RULE. Last night, the lines were drawn thick and dark. Now more than ever, we must work together to create the world we want for our children,” he continued.

I think the most disturbing part of that paragraph is the last sentence where he basically calls out to Christians to create the world they want.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand that all religious faiths wished everyone believe like them, but it is a little scary for any religion to insinuate they need to implement laws and legislation to enforce their beliefs.  Christians need to keep in mind that if they are allowed to use the law to create the world they want today then another religious group may be allowed to create the world they want in the future.  And we can look to the middle east to see just how great it is when a religion is allowed to rule a nation.  Kirk has a right to his opinion, but I’m a little concerned that he believes he has the right to use his bible to determine the laws of the land.  To say that we shouldn’t allow same-sex marriage, due to religious beliefs is not separation of church and state.


How to Deal with The Loss of A Loved One

This is a great interview for those who have lost someone they love or may struggle with the fear of death.


Questions We Don’t Ask & How The Old Testament Screws #Christianity

whyWhen I was a pastor my wife said to me, “You know I love Jesus, but I don’t care for the God of the Old Testament.”  She went on to explain that the God in the Old Testament was mean and violent.  There was a problem with that statement, because Christians believe that the entire bible is about Jesus.  And the God of the Old Testament is the same God in the New Testament.  We are basically taught that Jesus was God in sandals.

At this point Christians may agree, but then make the point that when Jesus came and died on the cross there was a punishment for sin, and then God became a much nicer.  I won’t argue with that point, but that still doesn’t remove what we were told occurred in the Old Testament.  The OT is filled with stories of babies being killed, women being treated like property, and slavery was condoned.  We also see children born of incest, and God asking Abraham to scare the hell out of his son by placing him on an altar and plunging a knife into his chest.  Sure, God stopped Abe from killing his son, but that is somewhat sick and twisted right?

So am I writing this to say that all of the above is true or untrue?  No.  I write it to ask another question which is, why can’t we all admit that the stories from the Old Testament and New Testament are a little messed up?  Sure it isn’t comfortable to say out loud, but even Christians have to admit it doesn’t make sense.  And there are a lot more questions like:

  • In order for you and I to be forgiven God had to send His Son to die a tragic death?
  • To show us that He is a God of love, compassion, and forgiveness He allow his son to be tortured and killed?
  • To give us a better planet He chose Noah to build a huge boat, and then destroyed everyone else by drowning them?
  • Adam and Eve didn’t even know the definition of sin, but it was their sin that caused all of our problems?
  • The reason Adam & Eve sinned was because a TALKING SNAKE tempted them?

I honestly appreciate that many of you will take the time to answer those questions, but I believe that I have heard all of them and they still don’t hold the holy water.  And so I continue on my journey to decide what to do with all of these questions that can’t be answered.  And part of me finds freedom in the journey, but my Baptist upbringing makes me want to stay away from thunderstorms.