A Pastor’s Apology for a Hateful Christianity

I’ve been a minister for twenty years. For the past two decades I’ve spent nearly every Sunday in a local church, caring for people, listening to them, speaking to them, sharing life with them. And for the last four years I’ve also become virtual pastor to a growing community of people around the world who’ve felt unwelcome or abandoned by the places they once called spiritual home—or attempted to call home.

And though this road has been filled with countless joyful moments, these have become more and more tempered by times of tremendous grieving. With each passing year I’ve watched the Church I love become polluted. I’ve watched it slowly grow more and more malicious, more and more bitter, more and more toxic. I’ve watched it devolve into something that often barely resembles Jesus—and it’s been heartbreaking.

As someone who pastors in the name of this Jesus, I feel like a owe you an apology on behalf of those who may never speak such words to you but who should:

I’m sorry that the Bible has been used as weapon against you by selective fundamentalists, who wield the Scriptures like a hammer when it suits them—and discard and ignore it when it inconveniences them.

I’m sorry for the men and women who have leveraged the power of their position to coerce you, to diminish you, to manipulate you, to abuse you—and to act as if God consents to it all.

I’m sorry that the life-giving, planet-altering message of the Gospels has been reduced to a 30-second prayer to avoid damnation, that you’ve felt pressured to pray.

I’m sorry that the prevailing message you’ve heard from the lips of religious people has too often been that you are evil, that you are dirty, that you are an abomination, that God is angry with you.

I’m sorry that the Church has been silent in the face of your suffering; for the times it refrained from defending you, advocating for you, or seeing you because of your skin color, your gender, your religion, your sexual orientation.

I’m sorry that you’ve had to endure the cruel disconnect of a people daily professing a God of love while beating the Hell out of you.

I’m sorry that the loudest voices of this faith seem to be the ones who are creating the most oppression, bringing the greatest condemnation, manufacturing the worst violence.

I’m sorry for the pastors who pretended to know what they didn’t know; when they dared to act as if speaking as experts on your sexuality, your mental health, your physical ailments, your marital struggles—and it magnified your pain.

I’m sorry that the brutality and hypocrisy of Christians has caused you to wash your hands of a benevolent, humble Jesus who is really nothing like them.

I don’t speak these words because I’m trying to win you for Christ, or to lure you back into the fold, or to cash in on a belated salvation transaction. I don’t speak them to line my pockets or fill my pews or pad my numbers.

I speak these words to you because of the Jesus who I believe has pulled me out of bed for two decades; the one who tells me that the world is far less loving, compassionate, and decent than it should be—and that I should do something about it, even when it is difficult.

I speak these words because I still believe that the real Church has something to contribute that is not politically motivated or financially self-serving; that it can be a place of redemptive, sacrificial community for all people who wish to make their home there.

I speak these words because I believe the true people of Jesus will always be the those championing diversity, defending the marginalized, demanding equality, practicing love.

I speak these words because it may have been a long time or perhaps forever, since a pastor, priest, or minister has told you that you are loved; not with any caveat or condition, not with stipulations or qualifiers, but simply because you are—and you are.

I speak these words because I believe the voice of Jesus that you’ve heard in your head because of too many hateful people is not his voice. And for that, I am very sorry.

May you hear that voice again or for the first time, speaking of your worth, of your goodness, or your beloved-ness.

Sincerely,

A flawed, discouraged, reluctant, but still striving pastor 

 

308 thoughts on “A Pastor’s Apology for a Hateful Christianity

  1. Just the other day, I said that I had only ever been part of one church that did the things Jesus asked of his followers (feeding the hungry, comforting the ailing, and loving our neighbors as ourselves) … and that church closed. I have not found another church home in the intervening years, because I have what I call “church-related PTSD.” I have seen the religiously-motivated hatred and bigotry first-hand.

    Pastor Pavlovitz, part of the reason I love your blog so much is that it reminds me that not all of Jesus’ followers use their religion as an excuse to hate. Thank you.

    • This was also my mom’s experience; because of that I never joined a congregation nor went to church with any regularity.

      I follow this blog for the same reason you do – it gives me hope.

    • Fiona. Just remember that Jesus and his Holy Spirit love you and care for you, even if the so-called “Church” caught the last train for the coast—the day the music of the real Christian faith died.

    • “Church-related PTSD”. I love that – describes where I am too. The one time I went back into the spiritually-abusive church I was once a member of, I was fighting a panic attack. The strength of my reaction shocked me. Now my faith life is outside the formal structures, with a loose network of friends on similar journeys as my community. It’s so sad that so many churches have become toxic, inward-looking places.

  2. As Part of the responsibility and Title of a Father is Agony over what his children do . So is the Head of a Body of Believers in our lord and Savior Jesus Christ who Died in Agony on the Cross for a ungrateful, unholy, unjust people who seethed at him as he died.
    So is the head of Christ, overseer of the flock.
    The pastor, parishioner, leader , or what ever you want to call him is the person who has been delegated by God to lead the church members under his care. If agony , then let it be truly Godly Agony, and Holiness .
    Commanded By The Holy Scriptures to Be Holy As I am Holy , so that they may be with out excuse , and accountable for their every thought, action, willful decision they make.
    Godliness is Holiness, Shun what is evil, Hate Evil , Not People
    God sent Jesus to die for all Sin, All people, All the world.
    They have chosen not to accept or accept it.
    Each one person is accountable for their thoughts, actions, deeds
    God will , I mean Will Judge the heart, action , thoughts , deeds
    NO One Gets of Free, Their is NO Free Ride , Someone has to pay for sin.

    It is YOUR choice , Trust, Accept, Believe, Commit to Change in YOUR own Life , Or face judgement of Sin that dwells in all mankind.
    Only Thru Jesus can you escape the judgement of mankind’s Sinful, Willful Actions against Godliness. and Holiness .

    • Dear Chris! I’m GAY. And there’s not one single damn thing about not being a heterosexual that makes me a “sinner”. That sinner shit- is shit. YOUR SHIT. Shove it right back up where it came from. Thanks! And have a great day!!!

      • Homosexuality can be a sin — but so can heterosexuality. If you use sex in a hateful or hurtful way, without concern for your partner’s needs, that can indeed be sinful.

      • Being gay doesn’t give you the right to respond to his article with anger and hate and rudeness. I don’t care what your sexual preference is. But what comes out of your mouth is a strong indication of what’s in your heart.

      • God does not care what choice you have made
        and where you determine to go in life.
        YOU are responsible for your own decisions
        God wants you back , sold as a slave to sin at birth.
        God wants to give life , not take it.
        God has paid for all the sin of the world not just some or mine, or selective few.
        If you really wanted something and it really mattered to you , you would seek it out, determine to find truth, and deny your self you pleasures, passions, persuit s
        But all you get in life is a result of lifes decisions, not me, or any other person .
        God Commands me to love him , NMWTC
        I am commanded to love all , no matter what. That is True religeon. Loving my neighbor as my self. Not physical , but godly love .

      • J. Bruce Wilcox,I’m gay myself and the way you just acted is one of the things really wrong and hypocritical in our LGBT Community! You scream hate and intolerance? Well you just expressed it to the gentleman for simple sharing his polite,respectful point of view.That’s more then I can say for you! To one gay guy to another ,check yourself! Cause you just failed at you’re own professed mission ,unless you’re just not a good person to begin with. Thank you and have a nice day.

      • No SusanWong.
        J Bruce Wilcox most likely did read the article, word for word. However, he (like me) are done with thinly veiled hatred used as an example of the gospel.
        The good news is for everyone, no exceptions. As John Pavlovitz stated above. You can’t reduce the gospel to a 30 second formulaic prayer. What you can find (if you are using your common sense and a 21st century lens) is this. John 19:30 “It is finished”.
        Jesus did pay the price. But he did it willingly and for ALL of humanity. We as humans, whether we be gay, straight, black, white or something other, are all loved by the vast God of the universe.
        We are loved and excepted whether we be Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Atheist. Jesus said it is finished just before he died. And he meant just that. We can not add works, prayers or thoughts to this.
        Finished.
        What Jesus did say as his parting words to his disciples was this: “And you must love him with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.’
        “The second is: ‘You must love others as much as yourself.’ No other commandments are greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31.

        The centuries long love affair with using the bible as a tool of hatred and judgment is coming to an end. The uprising of love and tolerance is now how we will represent Jesus. And I am quite sure this was how it was supposed to look all along. Keep up your fantastic ministry John Pavlovitz. It is much needed.

        • Yvonne, no one is saying that J, Bruce Wilcox failed to read the article. The assertion is that Christopher Freeman, a troll here, is the one who didn’t read it. He seems to read the first sentence only and then goes off in an incoherent rant.

          Other than that tiny point, I agree with everything you wrote.

          • You are absolutely correct Gloria Marie, I have not been out her at John P’s in awhile, I will keep that in mind about Chris Freeman being a troll……and I took Susan Wong and her comment incorrectly she was siding with John P. not Chris Freeman, I did re-post an apology to Susan Wong. It would be so nice to be able to edit our posts when there is an error. Ugh.

            • Yes,I saw your apology and thought it gracious. I too wish there is an edit button.

              Although it may seem like a reflex action to type my name as two words, my name is not actually Gloria Marie, but only Gloriamarie as I was given but the one capital letter.

              Of course, the trolls here like to demonstrate their commitment to abuse and bullying by referring to me as gloria, Gloria, gm, and other disrespectful uses of my name. They are best ignored, in my opinion for what its worth.

              • Thank you for the clarification on your name. And thank you for your kind words. I get so riled up sometimes at the troll bait in the comments that (as evidenced with my comment to Susan Wong), I put the WRONG name in. I truly do hope wordpress can work on the edit and delete in the comments. Have a wonderful Sunday. : )

        • Well said, I was just thinking why did it take so long for humanity to truly accept Jesus words as undeniable truth. I guess man had to see for himself that nothing else but love will bare fruit.

      • I owe you an apology, Susan Wong, my comment was meant for Christopher Freeman, not you. So sorry. I wish we could edit our comments when we realize they are in error. God bless you Susan Wong.

    • For God so loved THE WORLD, not just a few people

      Ya know, it doesn’t say in your Bible that Jesus went out and said anything like that to the people around him. He didn’t drag people out of their homes or off the street to tell them that they were evil or unjust or ungrateful. His death on the cross is actually not that important; it is definitely secondary to the story of his resurrection.
      Jesus never forced his words on people who refused to listen. But when he spoke, it was always about love, caring for each other, being kind and welcoming the stranger in. (Matt 25:31-46)
      How many strangers will you invite in after telling them how evil, unjust, ungrateful, unholy they are? How many do you think would take that invitation?
      Do not behave like the Pharisees, wearing phylacteries and praying in public, for they have already received their reward. Instead, pray in the privacy of your room, hidden from man’s eyes. Be humble in your prayers. Love your God and love your neighbor are/were Jesus’ only TWO commandments–he replaces the Old Testament by his mission and replaces every other commandment with just those two. Be kind, show love to all you meet; care for those in need. Your ACTIONS will be what God will judge you for at the end, not your words, no matter how fine–and if all you have is words, you’re in trouble because you shall be given a much different reward than those who have been following Jesus’ teachings.
      He never said a word about homosexuals, trans, black, female…his message was “love to ALL”.
      There are people who choose to be evil, unjust, and so on. Your words do not cover those who are doing the best they can, being good and doing good, loving things to those around them–they just haven’t met your God yet. Will your words (and attitude) make them want to meet God, or run in the other direction? That’s all you need to worry about. You are not the judge. In fact, there’s a verse about “judge not lest ye be judged” and the second part is even more severe: “for as you judge, so too be that measure will you be judged”–in other words, the judgments you make and the harshness you use will cause that same level of harshness to be used against you, yourself.
      God is love, Jesus is love; open arms, caring and lovingkindness offered to all, without reservation. There are people who are doing loving, caring and compassionate acts; I do not believe that they will be condemned for doing the work that the Christ gave his people as their MAIN job when they were redeemed. There will always be a way for them to discover Jesus and his saving grace. If the example of the congregation reflects the Holy Love of the Father and the Son for all people, they could only desire to also be a part of that.
      But if a congregation, or even just a single self-identified Christian shows their beliefs of hate, damnation, and worthlessness for those who are not yet “saved”…any smart person would run, screaming, in the opposite direction.
      In other words, if your God is that hateful, I want nothing to do with him. And if you are that hateful, I want nothing to do with you, either. We are all, according to your own book, “made in His image”. If He hates us (or any subsection of us), then He must hate Himself. That is not a God worthy of respect, let alone worthy of being followed.

      • One of the finest posts I have read in years.
        I had the great-good fortune to have studied under a number of wise philosophers in undergraduate school at the University of Southern Mississippi. From 1968-1971. Dr. John F. Nau, Philosopher, and ordained Lutheran minister touched a universal message like that often by saying, “It is not either-or, but both-and.” As we were in the middle of the Civil Rights struggles, his calm demeanor, humor, acceptance and public acceptance of everyone who came to the campus, was the message we all need to hear–and hear again. Gary M. Atkinson, Martin Jones and and an ordained Baptist preacher, Forrest W. Wood, Jr. who would go on to work and earn his doctorate in Philosophy and Theology from Tulane University perhaps marked my early education more than any other man, save my dad. I should say all of these men have marked my life throughout.
        Once, in a Philosophy final, (Philosophy of Religion) I had been tearing into the Fundamentalist/Literalists with gusto and preseneting a pretty one sided argument for my view of the understanding of Christianity.
        While I recived a high grade there was a large section of critique, provided by Dr. Wood.
        It began with the question, “Is this fair….”
        And I admitted to myself, no, it was not.
        I have never written and article, or paper since then, but I remembered, his question, “Is this fair?” And I have tried, though often failed, remember this admonition all of me life, as a teacher, and a soldier, a father, and as an American citizen. I can give no higher salute to my teacher, than to say, ‘You changed my life for the good and honest–every day of my life.
        People who have been abused, scorned, made fun of constantly, attacked racially, sexually, for their beliefs and origins, know the damage this can cause, when you are struggling to form your early character, independence,and connectedness at the same time. Many are able, many are scarred forever. Ethics is about how we treat others, how we are treated, how we meet and approach challenges, what we do with our gifts, our hearts and our hands. It has been my experience, that there are beautiful ethical experiences, and values in both the Old And New Testaments, and there have awful, ideas, treatments,claims. The major religions of the world have a version of the Golden Rule, stated positively or negatively. And as in any such piece of the wisdom traditions, there are morally, spiritually memorable statements and beliefs–and there are out- moded cultural practices which we would abjure, and never consider bringing in to our lives, and those of our families, and the neighborhoods beyond. I think this is where Dr. Nau influenced me: it is both-and and not either-or. Thanks be to GOD

        • Amen, Amen & Amen. We need to remember that how we treat people can leave scars or can lead to a better understanding of others. Our choice. It can change who that person was meant to be if they are scarred. I sometimes wonder who I would have been had I not been abused as a child. But since I was, I can let it get me or I can use it to help others. I choose the latter. Peace……………

    • Someone has paid for sin. Jesus. His final words as he was dying on the cross, “It is finished.” The redemption of our souls, every need met, with his final act of complete love. He shed his blood, and gave his life as payment for our sins. If we could earn salvation, then His death was without meaning.

    • What I want to know is why is it that Christians are far more interested in what Paul, and later Augustine had to say than what Jesus *actually* said, and did?

      Let’s go back to the source, listen to the guy who we are supposed to be actually following. He’s the one who hung out with prostitutes, remember? If he were here now, he’d be the one hanging out with queer homeless people.

      My brief stint with fundamentalism was with the Nazerenes which I actually really appreciate. The holiness traditions have their blind spots, but there was so much focus on “how can *I* follow Christ” and less on “*you* are doing it wrong.”

      • Wow, Joe, this from a guy who thinks abortion is a sin even though the bible never mentions abortion. From someone who voted for Trump who has no religious beliefs at all but is just a mysoginist who thinks men have the right to asault women and control women in all facets of their life. Trump who preaches hate, division, greed, and lies every time he opens his mouth.

        • Because you always act like a know it all when it comes to the bible and now you’re telling her she does not know whether the what the bible says about Jesus is true. You’re a hypocrite.

          • I am not hateful, but yes I am angry that people try to use Jesus to justify their hatred others. And not just Jesus but the enyite bible. The bible was written by men and they all had their own agendas (even the four gospels are very different). We now have science and we know that homosexuals are born that way. It is not a choice they make. It is in their DNA just like it is in the DNA of heterosexuals to be who they are. We also now know the world is not flat, the earth is not the center of the universe and man evolved from lower life forms. We’ve learned a lot and know so much more than those who wrote the bible. Buy I do believe in the message that Jesus taught, which is do not judge others. Love them as you love yourself. There were no ifs, ands or buts to that message. Jesus , if you believe the bible, did not condemn anyone except the money changers in the temple. He accepted everyone. I prefer to believe that even if I do not believe in God or that Jesus was his son. By the way Thomas Jefferson also did not believe Jesus was the son of God. Other founding fathers did not believe in organized religion, or were atheists, so those who claim that the U.S. is and always was a “Christian” nation are wrong, .

            • I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you, When we are instructed by Jesus to love there are no buts, it doesn’t say you throw them away because they don’t accept what you believe, it just says love, when he instructs us not to judge, that’s what it means. Because men who were fallible and were men, they wrote what they knew at the time, and for the time they did a good job. As we know better we should do better and not condemn people for how God created them. I am so tired of self righteous people who know what is right for everyone but don’t check their own back yard. Why don’t we all try to be the best person we can, and then others might be attracted to trying that also.

          • Joe, you and I come from different perspectives, and different points of view. I still haven’t figured out why you spend your time here, but whatever. You asked a question, and I’m answering it.

            Yes, you are right, the Bible came through the church, which, if you study church history at all, was an enormously contentious process for literally centuries. Some factions won, some lost. The factions that lost aren’t represented in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have merit.

            I guess from your perspective, whatever your church (the Catholic Church) has decided over time must be what God intended. And I respect your belief, but that’s not what I believe.

            I believe that religious organizations are collections of imperfect human beings. Sometimes human beings are deeply in touch with God, and what they write and speak are from that place. And other times, not so much. There are actually quite a number of Catholic writers and thinkers (and from before, when it was just “The Church”) that I really respect and value. St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, St. Ignatius. St. Benedict, and later, Thomas Merton, and even later, Father Thomas Keating, to name a few.

            But I’m not Catholic, and I’m also not an authoritarian (that is, I don’t think that just because some human being tells me what’s true that I should follow it just because of their “authority”.) I do happen to mostly dig your current Pope, certainly better than the last one. 🙂

      • michelle. you are correct, and the bible says, that Jesus willingly met with sinners. (i.e., prostitutes). But you have to know that it was the sinners that met with Him. [The REPENTANT sinners were attracted to Him, not the ones that wanted to go their own way.]

        The sinners stopped sinning. They CHANGED their behavior because his holiness CONVICTED them. Jesus said to each , ‘go and sin no more.’ Re queer homeless people, Jesus didn’t ‘hang out’ with sinners just for the hell of it, he was preaching the Gospel to them and convicting them of their sin that leads to damnation. It s not a sin to be homeless, but Jesus did disapprove of all sexual sin, and yes, he did talk about it.

        As a fundamentalist, I care what Paul says because all scripture is God breathed and useful to me. But I do not care what St Augustine said.

        • Actually, you do care about what St. Augustine said, even though you don’t think you do. Most of fundamentalist theology came originally from Augustine. The lens most Christians read the Bible from is an Augustinian lens, the lens of original sin, which was most fully developed by him (although the idea came originally from Irenaeus. Paul mentions it twice, Jesus never mentioned it.)

          Since I’m not a fundamentalist, our interpretations of the speech and acts of Jesus and the importance of Paul are going to be different.

        • being gay is no more a “sin” than being straight. My experience with so-called Christians is all they focus on is whatever they think is a sin or several sins (ignoring the “sins” that are inconvenient to them) – they constantly rant about sins and how they only way to “wash them away” is to follow God. I remember when my mother died the hospital chaplain wandered in to deliver “last rights” and ranted on about my mother being a sinner and I swear I wanted to throttle the chaplain. My mother was a decent human being. Why the constant whining about sins??? Real or made up? How about focussing on the actual message Jesus preached – like the author of this article does and leave “judging” to God

        • I guess you gonna stop eating pork, being around or touching women on their cycle since you insist on talking about the Old Testament as truth. Oh yeah make sure you keep Saturday holy etc… if you haven’t stopped all this sinning what’s the excuse

      • I’ll take this as an honest question, so I’ll give you an honest answer. I studied Bible and theology in seminary, so I actually have a lot to say about this.

        The New Testament as we know it is a compilation of a subset of the many texts written after Jesus’ life. Not all the texts made it into the New Testament, and some of the texts are likely lost to us forever.

        There was a really interesting effort back in the 90s called “The Jesus Seminar” where a large number of Bible scholars looked at the “canon” of the New Testament, plus additional texts found more recently, and based on a number of factors, determined which sayings of Jesus were most likely to have been authentic.

        Of course, I misspoke when I said, “what Jesus *actually* said and did”. I should have said “what we know best about what Jesus *actually* said and did”.

        As to truth – I don’t really know what’s true, only God does. I do my best to use what’s often called the Wesleyan Quadrilateral – scripture, tradition, reason, and experience to determine how I best live my life. I probably focus a bit less on some aspects of this quadrilateral than Wesley would, but I think it’s a great framework for balancing the ways in which we live our lives as Christians.

    • I do not see the hope, goodness, and love of the Gospel message in your post. I see a lot of harsh words and shouting. I see misery. I see threats. I see absolutely nothing that would encourage a person to believe in and follow the god that you are espousing.

      I find that this kind of writing drives people away from God, so if that was your purpose well done. You have certainly achieved that.

  3. Thank you for never growing too weary to continue to remind us of God’s love. All my life in church, I was reminded of God’s wrath! ONLY his wrath! It is only since following you, I have been taught of God’s love and mercy…for ALL people! Gay, straight, black, white, rich, poor, liberal and yes, even conservatives who have temporarily lost their minds and voted for a maniac! 😉 MY opinion, of course!

    I pray for strength for you to carry on, despite all the haters. I wish they would grow too weary to even show up here anymore. If they don’t agree with you, why can’t they just go somewhere else and leave the rest of us who agree with you alone? They’re not going to change our minds, any more than we are going to change theirs!

    • Dear Kay:

      In addition to having a well-centered heart, you have a phenomenal eye for composition. I love black/white photography, and your work is some of the finest I’ve seen anywhere! You go, girl!

      Blessings!

      • Thank you so much! Photography is my passion and my joy is to capture the personality of my subject. Thank you for your very nice acknowledgement. And blessings accepted!

        Kay

    • I’m in the same boat. God is watching, Gods wrath, you must be behave a certain way, and think less of yourself. At 48 I’m just beginning to believe, understand and know it’s about peace, love, patience and forgiveness. Christ’s way.

  4. Still striving.. that was good to hear. Christianity that wants power.. that is indeed the trend of the last 2 decades. Although it started when the Roman empire embraced Christianity as state religion. That is when the tragedy of a corrupted Christianity started.

    • Alas, Evert Bos, that is what happened. As my father always said “no use crying over split milk.” Reality is what it is. Constantine did that, and there we are. All the more necessary for us to reject Leviticus and embrace the Beatitudes. After all, Jesus tells all the Law and Prophets are summed up in the Two Great Commandments. So let us embrace the Beatitudes and move forward, boldly. Let us pay no attention to the Sad Sorry Ones.

  5. John , Never loose heart as your work will get harder and harder , Knowing that in the last days, these days , mankind will be lovers of self, pleasure, Things, NOT God, and will have many False Gods, Idols and seek out the easy, pleasure of life. They will not want Truth.
    God is Still in control, and will save all those who by way of Repentance have turned away from ungodly Lust and turned to God and Holiness.
    Love ( 1 cor. 13 ) will get harder and harder , and those who Hate God , will openly Show how much they hate god and love themselves.
    Love is NOT accepting Sin and what is an abomination to god. Love is NOT accepting other False Beliefs and letting them go down the Drain with false beliefs.
    As a father diciplines his children so does god discipline the church, members, followers of christ.
    The World does not Belong to Christ, God wants them back , but for now they have chosed to deny christ and do what serves their lust of the Flesh.
    The Rapture is around the corner and Everyone will have had that chance to repent, turn to christ, change thier life. A Choice Everyone must make . God or False lies, humanism , what ever

    • Dear Chris! My father who is now dead was dead-sure your jesus was gonna return before he died!!! Did I say- HE’S DEAD. NO JESUS. I can’t wait for the day your rapture sucks all you un-christlike christians off this planet so we can get on with living here without you! But it isn’t going to happen. Because there’s not going to be a pipe-dream rapture. Can you say- BRAINWASHED! BECAUSE YOU ARE!

      • J. Bruce…even Paul said; …”…WE who are alive and remain…”, so he was looking for it in his day as well. That is part of the walk of every believer….IT COULD BE TODAY….as for “the rapture”….that is not biblical, but rather an opinion created in religious circles……

      • –there are instances in the bible where people were taken by God, and they did not have a physical death first. Enoch, was a foreshadowing of Jesus taking up his Church. Of course, time will tell, if Jesus comes for his Church or not. But he said he was going to come back for his Church. What’s not to believe?

    • Christopher. You do realize that “The Rapture” is not and never has been a doctrine of original, orthodox Christianity going back to the 1st through 3rd century A.D. church. Rather, it is a recent invention read into the Bible from outside of it during the 1800s. If you grew up in a Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical church, I doubt that you would know about such things because:

      1) If your pastors knew it, they hid it from you so they could keep you brainwashed.

      2) Most fundie pastors and churches do not learn church history in-depth and do not care anything about it, so they were probably ignorant of this simple fact.

      Now you know. Deal with it.

  6. John, I am having trouble finding the words to Thank You for that beautiful post. I sit here with tears running down my face. Please know that you have spoken the words and feelings of both my husband, a retired pastor, and I. This is the message my husband preached and sometimes got hit over the head with a cudgel from people saying they were doing it in the name of Jesus. How foul. We have found solace in your blog, where we couldn’t in the church anymore. So please know that you are helping a lot of people who feel displaced. Peace…………………Resist……………………..Love……………..

  7. As a person of the Jewish faith, all I have heard all of my life is that the Jews will burn in hell. Although I appreciate what you say, I didn’t hear any words of apology for those who have demonized people of other faiths. I find it so ironic that Christians believe that a Jewish man is the son of God, yet despise his religion. The threats against the JCCs, the sacrilegious desecration of Jewish cemeteries-where is the Christian outpouring against that? Shall I have to flee America now, as my forefathers fled their countries in Eastern Europe during W.W.II?

    • Dear Diana Resnick Musslewhite:

      As a Christian, may I add to the list native Americans, peoples of African nations and many others around the world?

      Personally, I feel that an apology is less than appropriate. Given the enormity of our sin against you, your community, and many others, I feel that nothing less than free and open confession is required. This I humbly offer with the hope that you will forgive me and us, and do me/us the honor of allowing us to stand beside you and others in the face of rising antisemitism manifested in attacks on both Jews and Muslims in the US and abroad.

      Blessings!

      • Humanity killed Jesus. I killed Jesus, you killed Jesus… We all killed Jesus. And He willingly hung there by love, not metal. And I couldn’t be anymore grateful to a Jewish rabbi. He died to give us ALL life.

        • The Jews don’t crucify, Romans do. The Jews that rejected their own Messiah, are no different than those that reject Messiah today. btw…. Believers LOVE the Jews!

          • Jesus died to save. Jesus died to sin, all sin. I’m a sinner. It didn’t matter who was there. Who shouted. What government oversaw it. It was purposed. And yes, I honor the Jewish Nation. As a believer, I am now a descendant.

            • Although, let us face the facts of Church History. By 150 CE anti-Semitism had taken hold. There was a feeling among Christians that Jews were “Christ Killers” because they chose Barabas over Jesus.

              It is very much a part of the Roman Catholic liturgy until Vatican 2 to have a vilely anti-Semitic Good Friday liturgy which was straight out of “On the Passover” by Melito of Sardis.

              Christians forced Jews into ghettos all over Europe and Christians allowed the Nazis to slaughter Jews (and gays and a whole lotta other folk). It took seeing those graves for people to get a grip and for the tide of anti-Semitism to turn.

              I remember when the Pope apologized to Jews on behalf of the Roman Catholic church for everything the church had done to Jews.

              So, yes, the Romans crucified Jesus, but the church mistreated Jews for millennia.

    • I have never heard that Jews will burn in hell. I am not Jewish so maybe that is why. I have always thought the beauty of America, the beauty of humanity is freedom of religion, freedom to worship, freedom of faith. Maybe we are all so caught up in our own struggles against real or perceived attacks, not enough people have reached out to to others.

      There has definitely been horrific sacrilegious desecration of Jewish cemeteries. I cannot imagine who would think to do such a thing. I do not understand why this would be happening now.

      I closed my Facebook account because of meme people were posting that said their would not have been a Holocaust if the Jews had guns. I cannot imagine the vileness of the person who created that meme along with the ones depicting monkeys as the Obama family. Where is such hate and venom coming from.

      I have long noticed that over the years there haven been many Holocaust deniers, just as there are Sandy Hook deniers. People can be so cruel.

      I know it cannot make up for anything but I am sorry for what you have suffered because of your religion. I hope no one will ever have to flee this nation because of their religion because that would be the end of the America that too many people have given their lives to protect.

      • Thank you, I would add there have been 66 bomb threats to Jewish Centers in this country since the beginning of the year. One would be too many but 66. We have a lot of stupidity, bigotry and hatred in this country. I had hoped we had grown but now……………..not so sure. Peace……………….

            • That is another way to try to spread hate and divisiveness. Blame the other guy for what YOU are doing. The liberal militants as you call us do not need to try to discredit Trump. He and his followers do it themselves every day. He is the one surrounding himself and filling the government with white supemacist. During his campaign he was the one calling for violence against the “Others” and claiming he would pay their legal fees.
              We are the ones marching and fighting everyday for justice, freedom, equality and liberty for ALL. And we will never stop fighting.

            • Militant Liberals??? Excuse me but it is the White Supremacists that are doing this. Now that Trump is in in office and has surrounded himself with them, they feel free to carry out their terrorist activities. But we Liberal Militants as you call us are the ones marching for equality, justice and liberty for ALL. We are the ones showing up at the airports to support the refugees and immigrants. We are the ones helping the deportees. Please stop distorting history. We do not need to do the things you are blaming us for to discredit Trump. Trump and his followers prove and proclaim their message every day. Divide and conquer by spreading hate of the “Other”.

                • Here are militants for you. White supremacist terrorists and DJT says nothing at all. How unpresidential, what a lack of compassion and empathy. How long are white supremacist terrorists to be tolerated?

                  “The president’s silence after an attack in Kansas speaks volumes about his priorities.
                  Fans gathered at Austin’s Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas, to kick back and watch the Jayhawks secure their 13th consecutive Big 12 basketball title. But their good mood was interrupted by gunfire.

                  Adam Purinton, 51, allegedly opened fire in the bar Wednesday night, killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a 32-year-old engineer. Kuchibhotla’s friend, Alok Madasani, 32, and Ian Grillot, 24, were severely injured in the attack.

                  That night, according to witnesses, Purinton told Kuchibhotla and Madasani “Get out of my country” before being asked to leave the bar. He left, only to return with a gun. After shots were fired, Grillot intervened. Purinton was arrested in Clinton, Missouri (about 75 miles southeast of Olathe), after he allegedly told a bartender he needed a place to hide out because he’d “just killed two Middle Eastern men.”

                  Kuchibhotla and Madasani are Indian — not that it would be any better if they weren’t.

                  http://www.upworthy.com/the-presidents-silence-after-an-attack-in-kansas-speaks-volumes-about-his-priorities?c=ufb1

      • Joanne, there is no indication in the NT that Jews are no longer God’s Chosen People. They still are. We Christians are, technically speaking, a sect of Judaism.

        I too saw that despicable FB meme. It was created by some diseased mind who thinks safety is found in weapons. My safety is found in God because it ultimately doesn’t matter what happens to this physical body because I am safe in God’s cupped hands.

        • I remember reading in ” The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom that her father told her the reason they were hiding Jews was because they were God’s chosen people. It is something that has stayed with me for years!

          And, Gloriamarie, thank you for pointing out that Christianity is technically a sect of Judaism. It wasn’t until the Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E. and the Jews were viewed as enemies of the Roman Empire that the Christians began to dissociate themselves from the Jews.

          • Yes, and quite sadly by 150 CE there is a strong element of anti-Semitism. You see it in Justin Martyr’s “A Dialogue with Trypho, A Jew.”

            Another strong piece of anti-Semitism is Melito of Sardis’ “On the Passover.” When I read that in seminary, I was shocked to discover that it was the primary source material for the Good Friday service of the pre-Vatican 2 Roman Catholic Church.

            St. John Chrysostom, who wrote so tenderly and compassionately about our required service to the poor, wrote scathingly anti-Semitic stuff. Not to mention his diatribes against women.

          • KM. All Believers are branches grafted onto the Vine of Jesus Christ, –who is the Perfect Jew. Those of Jewish descent that follow Jesus are truly, God’s People.

            Since time began, and from Genesis to Revelation, ‘God’s People’, are all those that walk with God. It’s always been a condition of the Heart, not your DNA or lineage.

            Jesus said, ‘everyone has the right to become a Child of God.’ (if you have to ‘become’ something, that means, you are not previously, that thing.)

    • Hi Diana. Please do not flee. We need you, and we love you. I was horrified at the stories about Jewish cemeteries being vandalized!!! These same people are painting swastikas on church doors and treating various minority groups in evil ways.

      I have no hatred for Jews or the Jewish faith—and do not see how any Christian could be so callous—knowing that Jesus was Jewish, that He was sent directly to the Jewish people, was raised Jewish, and walked ancient Judea, taught , and preached as a Jewish person. Even many of the Jewish leaders of his time called him “Rabbi.”

      As for what happens to Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or followers of any religion or no religion after they die, that is totally in the hands of God? Know man knows what that will be, and if someone says that he knows, then he is a liar because he is not God. God will do whatever He and He alone decides to do when that time comes.

      Shalom

      • I agree, I know what works for me, makes me a better person, and I have confidence that other people know that for themselves. I try not to limit God. Peace…………….

    • Ms. Musslewhite, what do you mean? The Jews are the Chosen People of God and once they get to ‘The Great Sorting Room’ there are going to be billions of surprised Christians.

  8. Dear John Pavlovitz:

    Additionally, may we stand by our many failed communities where

    — Industry has fled
    — Job opportunities are decimated
    — Schools are closed
    — Infrastructure is in complete disrepair
    — Drinkable water is an unattainable dream

    The nation sits in great darkness.

    What can we show them?

    Blessings!

    • HOPE AND CHANGE!

      Oh wait … that was the last guy’s promises.

      This time it was … THE WALL!

      Wait, wasn’t that Pink Floyd?

      Oh yeah … MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

      (I wonder if this is going to be anything like ‘no new taxes’? or ‘I did not have sex with that young lady’.)

  9. I- and people like me- are sorry too- John Pavlovitz. There is too much pain. But I do love how the word LOVE is in the middle of your name!!! I heard (many years after it happened) (many many years after I was targeted and spent 10 years being abused by my peer group for being the local fag) that my mother once ragged on her mormon “ward” during a fast-&-testimony meeting- for driving me away from her version of christianity. Later in my life I was finally able to realize what a tremendous gift I’ve been given- being driven away from useless organized brainwashed religion- able to freely associate and freely create a lifetime of beauty and art. And be free enough to walk my own unique utterly spiritual shamanic path- as a mystic- a healer- and a hermit. At ONE with All-That-Is- no religion (and no congregation) necessary. Beats dogma-bullshit any day of the week. Actually- EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.

  10. To my own surprise, I have now reached old-lady-hood. I grew up in the Episcopal church in a big city and never knew the hateful form of Christianity I’m now hearing about. I’ve begun to wonder if I missed this transformation. I am pretty appalled. When I was young, homosexuality was just an oddity, and … well, I’m a classical musician. I guess that’s how I missed it. We tend to judge people on their playing rather than these irrelevant things.

    • emily…. that’s interesting. I too grew up in Episcopal Church & I’m classical musician. I’m old -‘ish’. I never heard a word against any group, nor did I in my home, or from any of my close friends, or any teachers. I’ve played in many orchestras. Youre right! Any thing goes on stage. Just show up on time and don’t talk during rehearsal. 🙂

      –Last year, my (cello) stand mate, transitioned from male to female. Yes, I was rather startled. (she’s 6’2″, 210lbs, w/ a deep voice). However, ALL of us were super kind and accepting, and after week 2, she was normal to me. [My heart was concerned for her, and how difficult life may be.] btw, she is one of the finest players Ive ever got to sit next to. She should be 1st chair, but, has other commitments. I like her a lot. We joke around, and I ask her all I can about how to play certain parts, bec she’s way smarter than me.

      • Leslie. You appear to have become part of a rare and far more loving than usual “fundie church circumstance.” I am glad that it found you. I grew up in the heart of Old Dixie where fundie people and fundie churches—speaking in majority terms—are very different from what you describe. I am not saying you are lying about your circumstances. I am just saying that you had a rare and very blessed circumstance befall you. Maybe it was Gold Coast “magic.”

        • charles. yeah…. I’m kinda glad my parents moved West in 1950 –[in their own words] they wanted to get away from the north east coast snobbery and class system. Almost an unparalleled Freedom, in the West. (but, as you know, Individualism has its costs too.)

  11. Thank you, John P, for your continued dedication to your vocation to speak a word of exhortation with a prophetic voice.

    Thank you for the apology.

    Thank you for being a man with a tender heart full of compassion, able to empathize with the experiences of people unlike yourself.

    Thank you for your deep devotion to Jesus.

  12. I don’t think John can apologize for something someone else did.

    The apology has to come from the one who did harm, to the one who was harmed.

    Regardless, Forgiveness is possible (with or w/o an apology). Healing starts now, with forgiveness to all who have harmed us. Thank you Jesus for showing us and teaching us how to Forgive. Show us our part, and how we contributed to confusion, & show us our own wrong doing. Thank you.

    • Yes, he can, out a pastoral concern for those who need apologies and will not receive them from the people who need to offer them, from people who will never think they need to apologize because they are so filled with their own self-righteousness.

      You cannot begin to imagine the effect of John’s words upon those of us who need to hear them. If you don’t that’s fine, but why not write in support of those who have suffered exactly as John P describes?

      But, no, you have to get your licks in. I get the feeling that for you it is more important to be right than compassionate. I hope I am mistaken, but I have not seen much compassion from you, only a lot of judgmentalism.

      Although, wait, there was that one moment when you said you were trying to find me help in my home. I appreciated that at the time.

    • Dear leslie m.:

      Yes and no.

      There is a sense in which the offender must confess.

      But the church is called to make confession of our sins even if no one in said congregation personally participated in that crime.

      Liturgy is the gift of the church to the world. We give the world the language of confession and show by our example HOW to make confession. And we bid the world join us in making confession.

      Blessings!

    • Dear Joe Catholic:

      Just a suggestion, but perhaps John is admonishing the sinner. Perhaps the problem is that the sinner remains recalcitrant and refuses to acknowledge the sin, insists on practicing self-absolution, and accuses the preacher of wrongdoing.

      Have you considered that?

      Blessings!

      • John, as did Jesus, preaches love. Not judgement, not admonishment, not divisiveness. He preaches inclusiveness. (maybe you should study up on the Good Samaritan). And he does not consider himself a hero if you took time to read his sign off. He is quite humble.
        And by the way, Pope Francis has said that an Atheist will get into heaven before the so-called Christians who do not truly follow Jesus’ teachings of love. I have never read on any of Johns blogs that he hates anyone. He is just trying to convince those that do hate to change their hate into love.

        • Ellen Casteel, what incites the trolls here to such judgmentalism is that John P’s words are like a mirror. We either like the reflection or we don’t. The loudest, most abusive, most bullying voices are those who see John’s mirror reflecting themselves and their flaws quite clearly. They hate John for revealing their hypocrisy.

          • Dear Gloriamarie Amalfitano:

            If I understand correctly, what we ought to see as a mirror we prefer to depict as a whipping post where we project our sins and punish them vicariously for our own salvation 😉

            Blessings!

  13. I’m at a loss for words. I never had a son but if I were so blessed, I would want him to be as human, compassionate, and loving as you. I said it before and I’ll say it again:

    You are a gift. Keep giving. You have an army of supporters behind you.

  14. I don’t know which I enjoy reading more, your beautiful message each day or the unique responses you get from your blog. But in any case I just want to say……..I’m so very thankful you are on the planet at this time. If you have a basket full of fear to your left and a basket full of love to your right, the one that will survive is the one you feed….to the journey…….

    • Ariel, I love what you wrote, ” If you have a basket full of fear to your left and a basket full of love to your right, the one that will survive is the one you feed….to the journey…….”

      Yes, it’s our free will to choose fear (and turn our backs on God) or love (and be on God’s side.) We choose what we feed.

  15. People have been wondering why I’m angry… so here’s why. This is what I posted on my fb page.

    Along with everyone else- tens of thousands of gay men were murdered during the Holocaust. When the camps were liberated- the gay men who were still alive were put back in prison by the ‘liberators’. For being gay. Mike Pence is a rabid anti-gay homophobe- and homophobes are widely known to be self-hating homosexuals. So now we have a VP who is already on a mission to discriminate against gay people- which he proved as governor. And the position Pence is in is partly why so many ‘christians’ voted for -45. You want to know why I’m angry? Because my life is being threatened.

    My lifetime has seen rapid advancements in equality for all- including us in the glbt community. And during this time- and because of these advancements- the words liberal and progressive have become HATE WORDS for religiously entrenched ‘believers’ who are exhibiting rampant racism- sexism- misogyny and homophobia (and on and on) because they think they can get away with it- because a white-supremacist got elected prez.

    So if- under these circumstances- you think I’m not going to be angry- you are dead wrong. I’m a Sensitive- and I feel EVERYTHING- more deeply than you can possible imagine. So I’m not just going to be angry. Why? Because- in my attempt to live a ‘happy life’ and pursue ‘life- liberty and happiness’ as a constitutional right- I’ve been bashed and bashed and bashed again and again- every time I turn around- for 54 of my 63 years- by people who believe in some ignorant fool of a god that says I have no right to exist. Because of my sexuality- which they don’t like. So go ahead and attack me. I ATTACK BACK.

    • I feel compelled to say that please know that not all of us feel this way. You are so right to be angry about the VP, I live in IN and I know exactly what a bigoted snake in the grass he is. I guess I want you to know that there are a lot of us out there that believe differently and are still working for equality for all. I am 75 yrs old and have friends and family who are gay so have always been on the side of equality. I have never, never understood this hatred for people who are different. Different is beautiful. Be angry, you have earned that right. Peace…..Resist………..Love……………

    • I cannot begin to know the horrific torpedoes that have been launched at you. As many others have said please know that there are many who see you as a human being with every right to life, joy, passion, and love. I am sorry that you have suffered so.

    • J. Bruce Wilcox,

      I’m so sorry for the additional burden that your anger at those who will not and do not accept you for the God-made person you are has on your “pursuit of happiness.” I do not condemn your anger for I believe it is justified and needs to be confronted and expressed. I have learned through personal experience, though, that anger is one step in a grieving process. Suffering from grief can be for many reasons. In my case it was learning that I wasn’t a “true” member of my husband’s first family after being married to him for over 40 years. It took me years to realize that I was angry and had been for a long time and then longer to work through the anger and realize the grief of not being accepted. I know, there is no comparison to your life experiences, but please know that there are many, many others that know you and accept you for who you are and hope that you will share the gifts of who you are with the progressive and liberal movement that we are a part of.

      • I did the healing work I needed to do in the late 1980s. Now my anger is very clear- and very sharp- and very immediate- and very in-your-face- and a very useful tool- since I am unfortunately- still at war with trash like Joe Catholic- and Christopher. Which is why you don’t really wanna get to far onto my “bad” side. I’ll show up in your dreams and you won’t be able to get rid of me. hahahahaha

        • Bruce. You have been here for quite a while on this blog. Did you have a really bad experience today other than Christopher, somewhere outside of this blog. If so, would you like to share that with us? I have never seen you quite this “peaked.” Something must have happened—or is this a bad anniversary? Thanks!!!

    • I was going to ask you why you are so angry. Thank you for explaining. I am sincerely sorry for your pain. I have white, male gay friends. Both couples are married. One couple has been together longer than I have ever been in a relationship or marriage. I call them my brothers, and they call my black daughter their niece. When she was born, they were the first ones to send her a gift. When they married last summer, we sent them a plaque that says, “My Favorite Love Story is Ours”, and a picture frame to hold a picture from their special day. They have been together in sickness and in health, richer or poorer, and are truly the kindness people that I know. I am sorry that the church has been so cruel and evil to you. I cannot tell you what to do, you and I are of a similar age, but please let the anger go. The best revenge is to be happy, and have a well lived life. Hugs and love to you (this is what one of my gay brothers frequently says to me).

    • Dear J. Bruce Wilcox:

      ‘The fight for social equality includes opposition to all forms of discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, national origin and sexual orientation. However, genuine equality does not mean the rationing out of limited education and job opportunities on the basis of race or other categories. Such affirmative action policies benefit only a privileged few, while pitting white and minority workers and students against one another in a divisive struggle for jobs and college admission. We insist on full equality, within the framework of a massive social investment to guarantee all social needs, including free and open admission to universities. Only such a policy, based on the unity in struggle of all sections of working people, can create the conditions for a society in which all people can enjoy economic security and realize their full potential.’

      Paragraph 102
      http://tinyurl.com/humqr67

      Hey — we need a public program from somewhere!

      Blessings!

    • But people DO care. And they have been treating him badly for it for years. And he’s tired of it. Wouldn’t you be?

      The Bible NEVER condones hate. To anyone. Even if you think it’s a sin to be gay, you STILL have to show love to Bruce. Because he’s a human, that God made in his image.

      Telling someone that they’re gay after a hateful comment is a necessary tool- it shows the commenter that they are talking to a REAL person- not a hypothetical one. PERHAPS this is an opportunity for you to learn from another human being’s perspective. And to learn the affect a blanket statement can have on a real person.

      • No Joe. You meant what you said. It was your leading comment. Don’t try to spin your true character. Bruce’s anger is understandable. Your’s and other’s very personal dismissiveness and exclusion have created that “war”. Welcome to it.

        • And you’re using your Trump (idol) worship to be hateful. And look around you- you’re one of many. Notice I didn’t say good company.

    • so Bruce…..correct me if have understood your post wrong – you are perhaps an atheist, a middle aged homosexual, perhaps a democrat, clearly angry and harbor real fear for your life.
      Is this accurate?

  16. The Lightsaber of the Spirit is tragically used too much on other believers. This usually results in some sort of dismemberment….how many people lose arms and stuff in Star Wars? 😉

  17. I would like to invite readers of this blog to a place of peace, rest, and safety that can be found on FB. It is a group called Celebrate What Christians Have in Common and its purpose is to get Christians to cease bickering over stuff. The discipline asked of everyone is that if they chose to comment, they must find something in the post to affirm. People are not allowed to go rants and raves, as they are here. The purpose of the group is to unite Christians, not add to the division.

    If that sounds appealing to people, here is the URL and please be sure to answer the question about why you want to join.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1409874399270377/

  18. Such life-affirming words! If more Christians were like John P, the faith wouldn’t be declining like it is. I am so glad to be part of this powerful, gay-accepting, woman-celebrating, kindness-generating, justice-making, pro-choice Christianity!

    • A Lo, we are glad to have you here.

      Yes, it is All Too Easy to blame the faith for the poor choices people make instead of holding them accountable for those choices. John P holds them accountable for the evil they do in the name of Christ.

      Which, of course, is blasphemy, to take God in vain like that.

    • Kathleen, I am of the opinion that when Joe Catholic says “That was a disappointment. I thought he was going to apologize for his own bad behavior. For his fear mongering. For his anti-white bigotry. For dividing Christians. For twisting the meanings of certain scriptures.

      Instead he’s apologizing for all the bad Christians who are not as good as HE is.

      Such sanctimony. Such arrogance.”

      That Joe Catholic has described Joe Catholic to a T.

  19. This article from the New York Times illustrates how Franklin Graham and his ilk have turned their back on what the scriptures calls us to do. There are people in my church who believe Graham and his ilk walk on water and refuse to acknowledge that they are part of the problem and not part of the solution. It is embarrassing to call yourself a Christian in light of what those outside of the church think of us! Why are churches dwindling? Who wants to be a part of an organization filled with hate and prejudice? Look at this link. It should make you cringe!
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/world/americas/canada-border-crossing-arrests.html?partner=msft_msn

    • Okay, I read the article and am fully aware of the immigrant problem on our Southern border, but what possible connection is this news story to Franklin Graham and to churches? This is a story of RCMP officers doing what they are paid to do. It has nothing to do with any church organization or Franklin Graham. I don’t follow your thinking here.

  20. I am so thankful to have discovered, quite by accident, your blog. Having grown up in a tradition that emphasized fire and brimstone and constantly told me how God was just itching to grab me and throw me into Hell, I decided long ago that I wanted nothing to do with such a monster. As I grew older, I realized that the fault lay not in God, but in those who called themselves His servants, but knew little or nothing of His love. As you noted, there seems to be more hate than love emanating from many of the people who call themselves Christians. They spew hate and fear and are totally immune to reason. There is no welcome for people like me among them, nor do I wish to be among them. You are saying the things I have longed to hear for many years, and I thank you for it. Blessings to you.

  21. I can only imagine the good that would come if the actual pastors who did SO MUCH DAMAGE to my family would actually apologize, but it’s good to know that some pastors really do get it.

  22. “Joe” has more damage to the catholic church than he can ever imagine. Who would want to join a religion with ugly people like him dictating what you can and cannot believe. Not any woman I know. Not any man who respects his wife and daughters that I know.

    On the other hand, he and his ilk have made Planned Parenthood so much more viable with donations from those who respect woman and their right to decide what is the best decision for them.

    I hope he keeps spewing his venom. It is helping every progressive man and woman.

  23. Dear Pastor John:
    You keep up the good work that you are doing.
    It is appreciated much more than you know.
    Keep your own faith strong, true, and focused on the real Jesus,
    the one who loves you and called you to be one of his followers. Continue to be a voice for God’s love and for His truth to be lived out in His followers.
    Don’t let yourself get spiritually tired, discouraged or weak in the faith once delivered. We are all pulling for you. And truly the host of heaven, of those who have gone before, are watching you and
    shouting out their encouragement from those heavenly battlements. As the writer of Hebrews states “Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith… .” Heb 12:1 – 2a

    Truly, with all that is going on now in the political arena, I thought I was alone in my outrage at what is now being called truth ….and of which so many “Christians” seem willing to accept without question. Was there something wrong with me?
    Then I came across your blog site—- and I was encouraged and strengthened in my faith, and in my determination to stand true against the tide of stupidity which seems to rise by the hour.
    Thank you —- for reminding me I am not alone…..and while by myself, I may not be able to do much, I don’t have to enter the fray alone.
    Again, Thank You
    Lee

  24. To “Joe”
    Are you pro-life or simply pro-birth?
    When a conservative “pro-life” congress again and again vote down aid, free school lunches, medical initiatives and the like for children, there is something drastically wrong.
    While you condemn progressives for “killing babies before birth”, you seem to have no problem with endangering children after they’re born. Once the child is on this side of the birth canal, it seems too many pro-lifers lose interest in that child.
    A prime example is Flint, Michigan. Our conservative congress blocked aid to Flint and it’s children who are at risk from contaminated water. Did you protest that miscarriage of justice?
    Your argument would have more validity if you worked as hard for the post birth child as that of the pre-birth fetus.
    just saying………
    Think about it——-

    • Lee, please let him spew his venom. The more he rants and raves against intelligent woman who are perfectly capable of making their own choices without his input, the more he hurts his church. The men sitting in the pews shaking their index fingers and tsk, tsking at women? They have no idea what women have gone through to get them to MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS. Yeah, I shouted. Actually, I roared.

    • False Dichotomy:
      A situation in which two alternative points of view are presented as the only options, whereas others are available.

      so Lee….what other options are available?

        • agree….he is a rhetorical wizard….but look on the bright side….he’s not Facebook…..where if you’re a Christian and express a biblical view of, let’s say homosexuality….you’re censured and threatened.
          Check out to what happened to Elizabeth Johnston.

      • Joe, I would like to ask if you own a gun. If that is too personal can you tell me what the church feels about your right to protect yourself if you think you are under attack.

              • Gloriamarie, I fervently hope you will not take offense at what I am about to say.

                You once asked me if I was abused because of my continued comment exchange with Joe. I have not. I cannot even imagine the pain and anguish you and many other women on these pages have gone through.

                That said, while I try to understand things from your perspective, I cannot assume everyone who disagrees with me or calls me a murderer for being pro-choice is an abuser. Neither argument is effective and soon becomes white noise to me.

                As I have said before I almost always will do the opposite of what I am told to do. And I do not care for my words to be used to hammer anyone. I do not care to be singled out for good or bad as has happened in the past, similar to how you do not care for your name to be altered.

                I agree with your words much more than I disagree. I will also look forward to any civil conversation with any and all. I learn something new almost every time. Peace

        • Joe, Well I am sorry now that I brought it up but we are here so I might as well complete my feelings. Stress – just my feelings. As I understand things now, it is ok to protect yourself if you “think” your life is in danger.

          You have always said there with regards to the government there will always be allowances for the safety of the mother which I do not believe. It is the opposite of Catholic dogma.

          Why is it ok to protect yourself from a perceived threat to your life except when it comes to the unborn. What if carrying a child does threaten you physically or mentally? In a Catholic hospital it does not exempt any such thing.

          One thing I do know as a fact – making 100 laws will not stop abortions. Telling people sex is bad will not stop people from having sex. It has never worked. It would seem more reasonable for the churches to work on different ways to change attitudes about responsibility instead of screaming murderers as you know in your heart.

            • Joanne. Good heavens. In the bible children are said to be a blessing from God. In every instance of conception in the bible God is present. That is why putting ones own murderous will on a life is
              wrong. It has nothing to do w the condition of the parents. ‘Tolerance and Diversity’ are not just about skin color.

              • When I look at my above comment I cannot even think what was going through my mind. I usually over explain my thoughts. I was multitasking at the time and obviously my skills have eroded. I am sorry if my words offended you. If I could have removed it I would have. I really don’t have a “murderous will” bone in my body. But we each have our own eyes and hearts to see each other.

          • Thank you for your response. I would never expect someone to change their views because of anything I comment on. I respect all views and their right to express them.

            I just expect the same respect back and you have always done so. Peace

    • JC. –now the posters here call defending the unborn ‘hateful and spewing venom’. wow. [nothing like calling the ‘good’ bad, and ‘bad’, ‘good.’]

      Strange argument, that Pro Lifers are morally obligated to take care of & pay for the upbringing of someone else’s child. How does that even make sense? [Are they paying for their neighbors’ kids dental visits? –if they arent they’re hypocrites. ] I don’t understand that argument, that Pro Lifers are really only Pro Fetus. Such a desperate ‘bait & switch’ tactic.

      • There is no hatred for you being pro-life. You have every right to your belief.

        What saddens me is that you rub your hands together with glee that a 50 year old law might be overturned, that you feel that your voice should overrule every woman’s voice about her body, that you want to force your beliefs on everyone else.

        What is the absolute worst thing is that it could be done under the Presidency of Donald Trump, who, his entire life has shown little respect for the unborn, the born, women and men who do not bow to him. His disparaging remarks about women has spanned his entire adult life. That is the cruelest cut of all.

        Obviously I have had enough for today. Sorry.

  25. Let’s give Pastor John the attention he so craves! Now, to be serious, I know of no true Christian that doesn’t love people. We often hear about the “Church is suppose to be loving”, etc. What that simply means in the 21st century, especially under Obama’s America, is that the Church needs to validate and affirm people, particularly the LGBT community, in their sin and rebellion.

    I was having lunch with a fellow Pastor, and he said something very, very profound: “Homosexuality is the only sin that refuses to yield to the cross!”

    Of course, many, many thousands of former homosexuals have been set free by the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, but what my friend was stating is in the 21st century, the gay community is hell bent on being affirmed and validated in their perversion, and he is absolutely correct!

    So if I were John and others that support people in their sin and perversion, I would be deeply concerned about the souls of lost and confused people such as members of the LBGT community. The Word of God is clear: Unrepentant homosexuals will NOT go to heaven! And that is true of all sexual immorality and sexual perversion (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Galatians 5; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; 1 Thess. 4:1-10).

    If we claim to “love people”, then let’s do what the apostle Paul told us to do: “SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE”.

    • Dear Wayne –
      Present estimations of the gay population (see the UCLA Williams Research Institute) is around 4%.
      Now, given this small minority in the larger US population of ~326 million – one could safely argue ~13 million people identify themselves as homosexual.

      If these numbers are a fair approximation – then it stands to reason – under our system of government and laws – this minority is entitled to every protection and legal rights as the heterosexual majority.

      If this is a fair statement, then it stands to reason – the issue of Christian morality, (which remains the central tenant for our legal system) – does not supersede our system of laws and individual rights and protections.

      If this is a fair statement, then it stands to reason – Christian theology (in its broadest interpretation), is the most accepting of homosexuals in contrast to alternative religious systems.

      If this is a fair statement, then in stands to reason – Christian apologists, pastors or theologians may better serve their own calling without conflict to the literal and figurative intent of biblical scriptures regarding sexual perversity – by emphasizing – Christ and the offer of salvation is not a societal, cultural or church matter. It is a individual and personal matter.

      If this is a fair statement, then in stands to reason – as Christians, we should not allow the external and internal demands for tolerance – be confused as am individual or collective affirmation of sexual perversity.

      Last, the immorality argument, as you have presented – sets up a conflict – one that hardens hearts.
      I would argue – avoid creating obstacles or destroying the bridge Christ built. Life is hard enough even for the most pious.

    • Wayne, I’m a homosexual. I yielded to the cross. I wasn’t “cured”. But I am a Christian. I will ask this question again, since you weren’t loving enough to answer me on a previous blog. How do I become heterosexual?

      Nevermind. Just nevermind.

      • As long as you are not practicing the perverted lifestyle of homosexuality, then it can be said that you have been set free! And if you’re not practicing the perversion of homosexuality, it goes without saying that you obviously know that there is something wrong with such a life.

        • No, I’m not “practicing”. And BTW, I think that’s a ridiculous statement. And that is not what you have stated in the past Wayne. You have stated homosexuals are damned to hell. So which is it? Since you seem to believe you are god, having pronounced such judgment and sentence. I am homosexual, whether “practicing” or not. As if is was something I could pick out of my lifestyle closet to wear for the day. Hell or no, oh mighty god-man?

          • I am not currently married either Wayne but I am open to dating and finding a woman who compliments me and to whom I can be a faithful helpmeet i.e.: companion. I think God wants to bless our relationships and in turn we can bless others.

            Faithful same sex marriages are a testament to God’ s grace and have existed long before any laws were created to protect those relationships.

            • “Faithful same sex marriages are a testament to God’ s grace and have existed long before any laws were created to protect those relationships.”

              Yes, Kathy, they have. The witness of history bears this out. I challenge anyone who thins otherwise to read these books listed below.

              Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe
              by John Boswell

              Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century
              by John Boswell

              Gay and Christian? Yes!
              by Rev. William H. Carey
              Can a person be Gay and Christian? Many churches say no. Many quote Bible passages that make it appear that God condemns homosexuality. But if we take a closer look, reading the scripture in the original Hebrew and Greek, we discover that God never condemned homosexuality, and that same-sex marriage existed in Bible times.

              Gay Unions:In the light of Scripture, Tradition and Reason.
              Rev. Gray Temple (Jr.)
              Gray Temple presents the argument for the sacramental equality of gay and lesbian couples, which is to say they are entitled to full participation in the sacraments, including Marriage. Gray Temple bases his discussion on the Anglican concept of discerning the will of God through Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. In the argument from Scripture, Gray Temple’s basic premise is that we cannot presume to know what the Bible says to us if we do not understand what the biblical writers thought they were saying. He discusses the ways in which the concept of sexuality in the minds of biblical writers was very different than ours. He carefully analyzes the most often-cited biblical passages assumed to prohibit homosexual activity and shows why they are not saying what we think they are saying. In the argument from Tradition, Gray analyzes the roots of various traditions coming to the conclusion that traditions generally evolve to maintain privilege. Tradition has been used, for example to bar women from ordination. We are veering dangerously away from the Anglican tradition of the via media. In the argument from Reason, he presents answers to assumptions about homosexuality both from an impassioned liberal stance and from a stance designed to lead to a dialogue engaging the hopes and fears of the conservative and liberal sides.

              As a liberal charismatic who prayerfully came to the conclusion that his homophobia was not a stance favored by God, Temple is in a unique position to take on this topic. Gray Temple deeply understands the ethos of conservatism and his understanding of that ethos provokes him to engage conservative arguments with rigor and sympathy.

    • Wayne, I had a close friend who was ex-gay. He never claimed God healed him– he said his saving grace was in his rejection of his attractions and hating gay culture. He was a tormented soul who was deeply unhappy and confided to me a confession that his attractions only grew stronger the more he resisted– he never had peace in his soul because he hated himself.

      My ex-gay friend who knew the inside workings of the ex-gay community– is my witness that the ex-gay community is false (hypocritical) and hateful (promoting self- hate)– for anyone who reads my comment I urge them to stay far away from harmful unloving people like yourself and find those who will welcome and disciple them, as christians. There are many affirming churches where you can find a safe space to worship and be accepted as the beautiful person you are.

      • Kathy, wowza, in something like 300 posts yours is the first one that wasn’t written by one of the many trolls or the various anonyouses, too many of whom are also trolls. Others, of course, are people who failed to notice that their names were not auto-filled. But because of the number of trolls posting as “anonymous,” I don’t read anonymous posts.

        There is no such thing as an ex-gay. There are abused and bullied people who have been brainwashed into a conformity that makes other comfortable and self-righteous.

        If a person is gay, it’s because it delighted God to create that person gay and it is sinful to turn one’s back on what pleases God.

          • Kathleen, I had 2 points to make. One was about the lie that is the ex-gay community and the harm it does forcing people to be what it is not.

            The other point is that the trolls have been allowed to dominate and attempt to discredit this blog post of John P’s which is one of the most caring, compassionate, empathic, tender post I’ve read of his.

            The church needs caring, compassionate, empathic, tender people, not these vicious trolls who are the very problem John P always addresses.

            It is horrible that the voices of the abusers and bullies are louder than the voices of caring, compassionate, empathic, tender people.

        • The people Wayne describes as “ex-gay” who changed were probably bisexual. If I were a true bisexual, it would be easy as pie for me to go man on woman for life. It would be for numerous other bisexuals as well. Taking credit for this as “ex-gay” is like taking credit for the fact that horses love molasses. Get outta here Wayne!!! Good grief!!!

      • Kathy, I know former gays that are completely free from the life and desire of homosexuality……and they’re NOT faking it! God does heal, and thousands upon thousands around the world can attest to that reality.

        • Wayne, I worry that the ex-gay’s need to be loved by God is motivated be fearfulness of damnation and self-hatred. That is what the ex-gay witness has taught me. I haven’t observed, that many or most or all, or thousands upon thousands have been completely healed or have had success– rather what I have observed is most are struggling and miserable and hateful towards LGBT people– just like you. Where is the love ?

            • Gloriamarie– there is currently no scientific research that proves sexual orientation is genetic.

              Gloriamarie you stated, “Sexual orientation is genetic. That is that”

              Even if it was proven through science that I am born this way– There will always be a group of Christians/people who will be anti-gay for one reason or another.

              • But there is substantial research in the field of epigenetics that shows that the womb environment impacts how genes are expressed. They have now determined that all sexualities are formed in the womb. They are now searching for the exact mechanism that makes that happen. While that is something helpful to know as that mechanism also affects inherited conditions and other traits, I worry if that knowledge would then be used to eliminate LGBTQ people. There is an evolutionary advantage to LGBTQ people existing or they wouldn’t keep being born.

                I agree with you that there are certain Christians who try to limit God’s Creation to only that which they can understand. I wonder how they would manage if they no longer had somebody to look down upon. Would they turn on themselves?

                • Patricia, yes I know about epigenetics which is not a research study at the chromosomal level.

                  Epigenectics is “the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.”

                  Therefore if this proves to be the case anti-gay people would want scientific research done to modify the expression of the genes in order to make sure their children weren’t born gay.

                  It is actually a better option to them than finding a gay gene because they think it would mean they could modify us in the womb.

    • It is only sin if you believe something that was written 2-3 thousand years ago before we knew about DNA. Homosexuality is not a disease and it is not a chosen lifestyle. DNA has proven that. Just as science has proven the earth is not the center of the universe, the earth is round not flat, etc.

      • Ellen, DNA has proven no such thing! Gays always try to get validation, and there is no validation as it is clearly a perversion of what Almighty God has given to mankind, which is the gift of Heterosexuality!

              • Gloriamarie, I admire that you try but I think you are fighting a losing battle, these are the same people who don’t believe in climate change. The attitude is screw science we know everything. Peace………….

                • Thank you, Kathleen. I don’t engage the trolls I know about. But I don’t if Helen Lovejoy is one or not. She hasn’t written in that nasty, trollish fashion, merely wrote in declarative sentences. So I am providing here with evidence that her declarative sentences are not based on fact and let’s give her a chance to absorb the evidence and facts before we write her off as one of the Entirely Too Many Perniciously Vicious trolls here.

                • The climate has been changing, completely free of human intervention, for eons, and it will continue to do so. I do believe, however, that it is the height of human arrogance to believe we can stop it.

                • Have you actually ever heard anyone say “dismembering a healthy fetus is good thing”? No one, not even the most ardent pro-choice person says that.

                  Sometimes, it is a very difficult choice that a woman has to make, sometimes for her life and health, and sometimes because the fetus is deformed and a baby would not live long, or not live anything like a normal life. So sometimes, it’s a necessary thing. But no one ever says that it’s a good thing.

                  • You sir are NOT God, you have no idea how other people feel in their hearts. Take Jesus advice and look at your own heart. It just might need some help. I don’t claim to know everything I just know that I will deal with most people with compassion until they show me as you have to be a judgemental idiot. You do not know how I feel about abortion, that is between me and my god, not you. That is what most of us are saying, it is our choice. No one has said it is their choice, but boy you just have to get nasty and paint everybody with the same brush.

                  • Do not ever suggest that a woman’s desire to have control over her own reproductive choices means that she has a “heart of stone.” That is frankly, misogynist (I don’t use that word lightly, but your response deserves it.)

                    I don’t like to throw around the “ism” and “ist” words much, because they are incendiary. But you seem to like being incendiary, so I’ll use it.

                  • The reason that women feel that they should have a choice about whether or not to continue a pregnancy is because a fetus is literally part of a woman’s body before it can live outside of a woman’s body.

                    And second, I don’t think anyone here has ever said that a fetus at viability (that is, after it can live outside a woman’s body) isn’t a person. As I’ve said, the question of personhood is complicated, and science and religion have some different ideas about that.

                    Saying that someone doesn’t have compassion, or has a heart of stone just because they believe that a woman has a right to control her body is, as I said before, misogynist. The two aren’t related. You can think that a woman has a choice about pregnancy *and* have plenty of compassion for a growing being inside a body at the same time – these are not mutually exclusive, even if you think they are. You don’t get to decide that.

                    You can decide that *you* believe that life begins at conception, and you can decide that you believe abortion is wrong, but you cannot ascribe motivations or feelings (or lack of them) for women who make that choice.

                    I could say you have a heart of stone for women who have to make such a difficult decision, but notice, I haven’t done that, have I?

                    If you’re gonna be here, and not be a troll, then you get the right to your own opinion, which you get to voice, but you don’t get to put your spin on what you think might be going on for other people. You don’t like that done to you right? Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. How about that?

            • Thank you, Gloriamarie, for those articles. I hadn’t seen them yet. I’ve always believed that people with other sexual orientations were that way because that’s the way God created them.
              I would have had a LOL moment in this one, though, if I hadn’t realized that it would probably be true:
              “Many researchers believe that a person’s eventual sexual preferences are shaped IN THE UTERUS (caps mine), by hormonal shifts during key stages of fetal brain development.” I should have figured they’d find a way to blame it on the women. As if the women in my life don’t have enough hanging over their heads.
              So what’s next? Will they develop a test for it, so they can force the woman to have an abortion if her son will be gay? I’d love to see the headscratching and hand-wringing from the anti-gay right-to-lifers on that one!

              • Me too, that would be something. And you are so right, they will find a way to blame the woman, couldn’t be something the male contributed to. Thanks for the comment.

                • Science is learning that men contribute more to their children than just the initial sperm cells. Feminist activists don’t like hearing that because it insinuates that women really do need men to reproduce. But they’ll just have to build a bridge and get over it.
                  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151204135513.htm
                  As for human sexuality, no one in their right mind would choose to be gay or lesbian, especially in years past. No one would select to be alienated from family and friends; be considered a criminal from the start; be subjected to harassment and intimidation; fired from their job, despite otherwise good work; lose custody of their children (if they have any); have their property vandalized; institutionalized against their will; and / or be the victims of violence.

                  Many of these acts are now against the law, but it’s only been the result of legislation enacted recently. Consider that laws against homosexuality weren’t struck down until 2003. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had such a virulent hatred of gays and lesbians that he read his dissenting opinion himself, which SCOTUS justices rarely do.

                  Yes, society is changing for the better, but there’s still room needed for improvement here in the U.S. and across the globe.

                  • I agree with you, look I am 75 and I have always known that we don’t get to pick our sexuality. Had numerous close friends who were gay, as far back as the 50’s, (didn’t know what sexuality was before that), and I have always known that was the way they came out of the womb, it just made them different from me, no worse, no better, just different and still my friends. Perhaps we will get there with everyone someday. I have some relatives also, no one cared, we loved them, and was happy when they found some one they could love and be loved by. Have never understood why people can’t just mind their own business. Love should win. Peace……….

          • Didn’t mean to imply they’re not born that way, simply that you cannot look at a DNA strand and determine someone’s sexual orientation, like you can with race or gender. Looks like interesting research is being done, though.

    • Wayne? What kind of pastor and what church?

      P.S. You have no idea what God is going to do with unrepentant sinners because you are not God. God has the option of showing mercy to any person anytime he wishes, even after they die. You are not God. Quit trying to sit on his throne in your arrogance and spiritual pride.

  26. Spare me. Two or three loudmouths in Kansas and suddenly we need lefties who don’t believe the Bible to apologize for the whole church. Like I said, spare me. Totally unoriginal. There’s such a thing as sin and it’s not hateful to point that out.

  27. I have an idea. Every time Joe writes “abortion” mark it down and at the end of the week add each time he mentions it and send a check to Planned Parenthood. Whatever you can afford. Ten cents per “abortion”? A dollar? Whatever. Let’s make him a fundraiser for women who want to control their own bodies. It’s called backlash.

    Keep going, Joe, we love ya and so will Planned Parenthood.

    • They also save lives by giving cancer screenings for breast. cervical and ovarian cancers. They test for STDs and HIV, not just for women but also for men. They also prevent abortions by giving women birth control( but yea you’re against that too).
      They also save livesof both women and fetus’ by providing pre-natal care for those pregnant women.So by doing away with Planned Parenthood you will be causing the deaths of many women, fetus’ and men. How is that pro-life?

  28. as a survivor of a catholic orphanage and a catholic grade school and childhood sexual abuse, i did not want to accept your apology. it’s not enough was my first thought. 2nd thought was, well. it’s something. and so, apology accepted.

    • {{{{{{{{{{{Maura}}}}}}}}}}}} I am very sorry this was your experience. I too have been sexually molested as a child and raped as an adult. My first memories of first grade is that Sr Padua broke her yardstick over the butt of Alfred Perrone and sent Mark Sayles across the hall to get Sr. Mary’s yardstick and Sr Padua broke that over Mark’s butt.

      The punishment was far too severe for the crime, but Sr Padua should not have been allowed to teach children. I don’t know how many days I went home, my clothes soaked with my urine because she refused us permission to go to the bathroom when we needed it.

      In one sense, no, John’s apology is not good enough because what would be good enough would be to reverse time and relive our lives without the abuse. But that is never going to happen.

      What gives me comfort is that John P. understands. He gets it. He has listened to people. His compassion and empathy comfort me that there are those who have learned the right way to be in this world.

  29. If people here would like a respite from acrimony and various other argumentative forms of abuse and bullying, I invite you to a place of peace, rest, repose, solace where divisiveness is not allowed, where arguing is not allowed. A place which encourages contemplation and agreement. A place where many different voices and flavors of Christianity (and some inter-faith stuff) is posted daily and people are encouraged to reflect upon the postings to find that which they can affirm and agree.

    Celebrate What Christians Have in Common offers comics and contemplation, memes and meditation, primary sources and prayers, sacred music and Gospel music.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1409874399270377/

  30. I don’t remember the first Pavlovitz blog post I read- but John struck me as a humanist- not a ‘christian’. In other words- he struck me as a HUMAN responding humanly to other humans- and not a brainwashed religion-damaged robot-troll. But I have a life- that’s right- so I was busy the rest of the day yesterday. And so many comments related to me and my comments. Ha Ha Ha.
    Sorry- Joe Catholic- but you are a one-dimensional broken-record cardboard cut-out. You don’t like the current system that allows women the right to choose what they do with their own bodies and how many children they have and if they have children at all- because- ‘sacred fetus’. But the current system is better than women dying in back alleys from botched operations. And in an over-populated world of 7+ billion- where people die every single second of every single day- unwanted children that no one can afford to take care of should in fact not be born at all. The Spirit Consciousness that incarnates into ALL of us- does not fully inhabit the body until after it’s born. You don’t like that? Oh well. Too Bad. And just so you know- Joe- trolling the troll is just so easy.
    Not/heterosexuals exist. Not/heterosexuals have always existed and will always exist. But like blacks and women- in the 1960s/70s we finally stood up to the prevailing ‘religious’ government and demanded to be treated equally. As HUMANS. And here’s a talking point you’ll all hate. 4%? That’s a joke. Why? Because I can’t count the number of in-hiding married men I got to know over my lifetime. Bisexuality is far more the norm than anyone wants to admit to. And one day people will stop hiding and just be who they are. Loving humans who just like a diverse sex-life.
    Anyway- I love myself. I love my sexuality. It has been a CORE EXPERIENCE that has allowed me to LOVE- and NURTURE- and CARE FOR so many damaged people over my life-time. People- damaged by religion and heterosexism.
    If you don’t understand what heterosexism is- it’s the ASSumption that heterosexuality is the only sexuality- and that any other form of sexuality is DEVIANT (from heterosexuality) and therefore anyone practicing any non-heterosexual form of human sexuality must necessarily be a PERVERT. Loaded words- all. Words used to bully- attack and demean. Words used to imprison and murder. Words used by heterosexists to control- because your hatred is so thick- so disgusting- that it can’t even be cut with a razor-sharp knife. You poor men who are so afraid of loving each other. Truly pathetic. Men must be MANLY! Must compete. Must kill. Must not feel anything. Must not have a heart. John Pavlovitz- on the other hand- has a Heart. And it’s Open.
    So Joe- I don’t actually need your permission to be my not/heterosexual self- but I still live in a not/equal world where in fact I still have to stand up to folks like you and Chris. It’s just that you are all so shocked to think a PERVERT would have the nerve to do so!!! To get all up in your face and instruct you on your self-imposed- self-inflicted self-righteous ignorance. So yes- I’m going to continue to occasionally stand up to your ever-present assholeism- BECAUSE I CAN. And please note- I do nothing anonymously. I WANT you to know who I am.
    Charles- I usually don’t post that much here- because doing so is technologically crazy. I’m talking about how crazy the blog gets when lots of people are trying to comment at the same time. I don’t have the patience for that. But over the last few days I’ve been asked by several people why I’m so angry. The last year was a horror. The outcome of the last year is now unfolding as a horror. And I’m one of the target scapegoats. So- when I though we were all culturally moving beyond this multi-religious bullshit- towards actual equality for all- apparently the pendulum is swinging backwards- and quite frankly- that is physically dangerous to ME. I know that because of how many times in my life I’ve been personally attacked. So yes- I’m dealing with it. And as a very powerful Shaman- I have to take a stand and take down and take out- THE GARBAGE. It does really amuse me when people who do nothing but ‘spew hateful remarks’ get pissed when someone hands that right back to them.
    I live in Denver- Charles- I’m a working artist. I’m living on the edge of nothing. If you want to go out for a beer- you’ll have to treat.
    I’m 63. Middle-aged? I’m still alive and that’s odd- at best. I am NOT an atheist. I’m not a theist either. I have no particular association with any human-based religion- and am offended by most of them because virtually all of them are heterosexist. I’m also not a pagan- or a wiccan. I recognize no ‘god’ that professes itself to be MALE. Or FEMALE. That gender bull is human-based.
    So- what exactly am I? Some will think- my worst nightmare- others- my friend. I’m an internationally recognized male Fiber Artist working in a medium that is 98% female. I’m a not/heterosexual male that lived through the 1980s/90s- while hundreds and hundreds of my friends did not. I’m an accomplished Creative who got relentlessly bashed growing up for being different- and who had to- in my mid 30s- climb out of a suicidal depression based in part in how difficult it is to establish a supportable reputation/income as a working artist- especially one creating labor-intensive abstract work- who is also gay. In other words- I can no longer count how many sales were lost to judgments made by religionist heterosexists when they figured out they were dealing with a gay male. But trust me- that’s not all. Because I’m relentless- so when I had to climb out of hell- I went all the way. That made me a Tarot Reader- a Healer- and an Energy Channel. In other words- and Enlightened Human Creative walking the Earth- Awakened- manifesting BEAUTY.
    Of course- here’s where I’ll get all the hate mail for claiming to be Enlightened- but I can explain it in common-sense terms in about 30 minutes- and then activate your Light-Body- so I can prove it. And it was easy for me- because even though I’m wearing a male form- and absolutely love my maleness (this lifetime) it is my sensitivity and my connection to my inner feminine (my gayness) that allowed me to wed those dualities and OPEN the Divine Channel from within. Because that’s how that works.
    But that made me utterly anti-organized religion. Like I said- I’m the Archetypal Shaman/Hermit.
    Enjoy! I’d wish you Peace on Earth- but it won’t happen in my lifetime. People still see themselves as separate from each other. I KNOW I’m separate from nothing.

    • J. Bruce Wilcox: I would call you “friend”. I have a gay daughter who has children who will most likely have a more difficult life. I love your confidence and drive. Peace on earth to you, too.

    • There is a Price for Sin Against God, No Matter What I or you Think, Not my Will, Way, or opinion.
      History show this and there is no exception.
      as People of any Nation, People or religion , ANY drift to their own way of thinking, and try to get rid of anything that does not support or condone their own way of thinking and agree with them .
      There is a natural Judgement of Time, Plagues, pestilences, starvation, selfish pleasure leads to Death. Early or late, unto the next generation. Remember God uses the nature of this world to judge . He lets the other nations invade, take over , turn you into slaves , earthquakes, volcanoes, nature events .
      this is the bible is called Rebellion and many cases and examples of this in society .
      What are YOU Willing to sacrifice for your pleasure, willful act of .

    • Talk about hate, This represents the Heart of Heat.
      Comments of slander, disrespect, ungrateful, Real hate towards God and all who represent him. What Ever Religion.

      God Hates Rebellion, no matter who , what , where it is.
      God is not selective .
      God does not choose sides
      God does not set up one against the other to get cooodoooos
      Law, Standard, Precepts that last thru eternity , not just for now.

    • Right On , YOU be what you want , and suffer for your own choices, dont tell me that god does not love you
      He loves all , Made a way of escape , set up a path that leads to life eternal .
      YOU made the choice , you make the choice.
      and It is nobodys fault but your own for what happens to you .
      Beware the choices you make determine the lifes outcome you get. Not others , YOUR own

    • Wow!! Everything you said is really true. We should love everyone as Jesus love us. We should care more in the human being and not in what they are or how they live.
      Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

  31. thanks for the article. I can not say how much it means to me to hear someone say they are sorry. For years now I have been tormented by these very things. Years ago I found myself in what was supposed to be a fellowship/ christian environment, that turned to be a cult. Very dark. Very real demonic and very sensual side of so called Christianity. I was the bad one here. Much effort was taken to harm me and my family. We went through such struggles afterwords. I personally was made to believe many of the things said of me. The tool being the bible that is supposed to be used for building up, was used to tear my life to shreds. At some point I believed that I did in fact need to be removed from the lives of others. Like a demonic manifestation. That the lives of others would never be healthy because I exist. I ended up attempting suicide. It did not work. And I fealt very wrong for this. So i attempted again. And still failed. Difficult times. My wife went through her own way of dealing with religious persecution. Only never got through it. We ended up divorced. The use of religion to hurt is so wrong! It was such a hard time starting my life over. The bible is still a hard thing to read now. What should be a well of life and giving is mixed with the voices of those who used it for hurting. Its very difficult to feel powerless to have a back up plan when the things in life fail you and the tool that should be your last hope is not helpful but further troubling. …….Fast forward to today. Even now. I am with great difficulty. In all the hell i have overcome of a cultist hurtful past I am now being without a church and ability to fellowship. In my grieving for the loss of my family and destruction to my family unit caused by the hells of the cult, I found myself being treated with a similar pattern. In a church to be suddenly surrounded by love to suddenly loose that love, and affection. Why? Followed by pictures and notes on my car lasting over a years time. Condescending smiles. Mocking remarks from many so called Christians and especially those in charge or with some kind of ministry position. One day I offered to pray for a sick woman. this offer of prayer caused me so much grief. I was told that I was not to communicate. I had the police called on me. Not only the next day. But a month later for the same reason the police were sent to my home. Others there were instructed not to communicate with me. I have not dared to go near a church. It is so not worth helping anyone. A woman reached out to be my friend for 5 months time from there. I thought well. There is a godly person after all. Someone who means me no harm. Well….I was wrong. After loosing my family. Marriage. Former so called brothers in christ. Being told by not one but 2 pastors not to be in there church. Another to attend because my money donated would be appreciated. A fourth church told me that I was being to spiritual as I sat there drinking my coffee. And the last that the hope is that I will learn to establish relationships with people that does not drive them away. Look. I offered to pray for a lady. I was actively in a prayer group praying for people who would care less of me on Wednesdays. The police harassed me twice for it. A saftey meeting was heald at that church I was told regarding my name. I am now being stalked when I am in the same town by particular church individuals. I do not feel safe in a church. I can not find where I believe that there are godly people anymore. Just efforts to comform and do as your told. Not as I do. I stay away and I get hounded. So much effort has been made by religious peoples to keep me away to turn around and be so concerned what I am doing: example having dinner at a restaurant. To be transparent these people have no idea how I felt about them. What i would do if I could. I am treated so unkindly and with such force. Jesus died for us. When I think of all the problems people have. Cancer, aids, depression, adhd, all the illnesses you can think of. IF it were possible to just gather people up and take all there disease and problems away and into myself I WOULD. Because I care. Because I love you. But I must say I think I am likely to get a baseball bat to my head when I am not looking. Never in the past would I had looked forward and though ” man Christians are such hurtful people.” I grew up a christian and I regret it. ………………………Brett Glover- Friendship NY

  32. So great, is the depravity of the times, that if a stranger were to compare the precepts of the Gospel with the actual practice of society, he would infer that men were not the disciples, but the enemies of Christ.
    + St. John Chrysostom

    • Gloriamarie, My husband and I would like to Thank you for sending us to this. It helps to know that everything we have worked for all our lives is still continuing with some. Peace…………..

      • Kathleen, both you and your husband are most welcome. As that seminary is in my hometown and at one time I knew all the campuses there like the back of my hand, I am gratified that they are taking a stand.

        May their words inspire other true faith leaders, not the shills, speak out on the side of the angels.

        • It is a great seminary. When I was young, our church would hire seminarians for the youth pastor, the one I liked the best and stayed in touch with for some years went to Princeton.

          • I might have applied there, except I am not Presbyterian. By the time I applied to seminary I was solidly Episcopalian. So I applied at the seminary closest to me geographically. I took advantage of the Boston Theological Institute but was disappointed that the Jesuit and Greek Orthodox seminaries would not allow me, a woman, to take classes there.

            • I belonged to the Methodist Church and a lot of our ministers where trained at Princeton, back then it was the Methodist Episcopal Church.

  33. Wowza. Never expected any one of the appointed one’s in this adminstration to demonstrate a lick of common sense, but I am a big enough person to admit this impresses me.

    Take that, all of you who think “radical Islamic terrorists” are representative of Islam. McMasters doesn’t.

    “H.R. McMaster Breaks With Administration on Views of Islam”

    “WASHINGTON — President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser has told his staff that Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion, rejecting a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world.

    The adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, told the staff of the National Security Council on Thursday, in his first “all hands” staff meeting, that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic,” according to people who were in the meeting.

    “That is a repudiation of the language regularly used by both the president and General McMaster’s predecessor, Michael T. Flynn, who resigned last week after admitting that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about a phone call with a Russian diplomat.”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39095196

  34. This is from my friend Steve. I think it belongs here.
    Each year I testify at the Colorado State Capitol to try and ban conversion therapy. It’s not easy, I get really sad as it pulls me mentally back into those sad awful years. But, I do it because I desperately want to end this torture. Our current national state of affairs is so disastrous towards our community, and the trans community, I’m just sick to my stomach a lot. I want to smack Caitlyn Jenner upside the head and ask her WTF she was thinking supporting those morons! Gah!

    Anyway, here’s the text of my testimony for this Tuesday at the CO Capital:

    Conversion Therapy Experience by Esteban Lee-O’Neal

    Good afternoon Madam Chairwoman and members of the committee, my name is Esteban Lee-O’Neal and I am here today to support House Bill 17-1156. I was involved in Evergreen, the Mormon Church’s “conversion therapy” program for over a decade. I participated with 15 local men in Denver, and 5 of those men committed suicide because of the abusive treatment they received. 80% of us were married fathers with children, and all of us were funneled into Evergreen after seeking help from our religious leaders, who shamed us, and sent us to professional counselors that directed us into the program.

    As a child born and raised into the Mormon Church, and being told my entire life that homosexuality was a sin as grave as murder, I was desperate to change. Nothing seemed to work, and they convinced me that I was abhorrent, and mentally ill. I was told that conversion therapy would cure me, and they disputed that the American Psychiatric Association rejected conversion therapy, and other major medical and mental health groups did, too.

    During the time I was active in conversion therapy, I became emotionally unable to live a healthy life, and I was taught that homosexuality was the same as drug addiction. I tried each conversion therapy session to convince myself that I was an addict; however, using the techniques given me to cure myself only made me feel emotionally worse and more depressed. I was taught to act straight, and I would be straight. I was married at the time, and I was acting a part that was driving me to insanity.

    I can only imagine the impacts this so-called therapy would have had on me if I were under the age of 18! As an adult I was being pressured by my parents and my church to see a therapist who wanted to change who I was, and as an adult I was feeling suicidal. The data shows that conversion therapy is mental abuse, and emotional torture. The extremely dangerous practice of conversion therapy can lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and even suicide.

    After coming out and leaving the Mormon church, I am now a mentally healthy, gay father of six successful children with my husband. My homosexuality was never a sin, and there is no cure. Those people forcing me to attack myself for being homosexual was what made me depressed and feel suicidal. Living openly and honestly as a gay parent, the same as all heterosexual parents do, is what brings me true joy.

    I now know that conversion therapy is a dangerous and discredited practice that is based on the false claim that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is something that needs to be “cured.” House Bill 17-1156 will protect LGBT youth and I urge a “yes” vote. Thank you for your time.

    • J. Bruce Wilcox – I am speechless with the horror of what your friend and others have endured. It is hard to imagine human beings inflicting such pain upon others in the name of their God. In my day women would risk their lives getting abortions in order not to be shamed and condemned. All these years later and tolerance is still losing.

    • God will always love You as a human being, Forgive your sin as a person of choices you make , but There are standards and laws, and principles of time that no one in the human race can change. NMW
      There is a Price to Pay for sin to the 3 , 4 generation of those who hate god. Do everything contrary to the Ten Commandments ( leviticus, Deuteronomy)
      I cannot change that , NO person can . Law is still Law , no matter what I or you do.
      Man Made Laws that are contrary to gods laws will truly have a price to pay for that .
      No Free Ride With Sin Against God.
      Matter of Time

  35. Thank you so much for your caring and compassionate words. I am not a Christian but believe that people of faith from all religions can benefit from speaking and listening the the universal truths that are shared by all people who believe in the dignity and sanctity of life.

    Thank you for being among the righteous people trying to be a force for good in the world.

    • Just wanted you to know that this old straight lady will be prostesting with you. Once they start they won’t stop until they force everyone to bend their way. People should read the history in this country alone. Separation of church and state has been in some cases a myth. Peace.

    • Freedom is only Good , if you or anyone else does not violate, take, discriminate in any way, shape or form upon anothers right.
      RIGHTS STOP AT THE DOORSTEP OF OTHERS
      Respect others, Give the right away, extend the right hand of friendship before the left hand of anger .

  36. I picked up my laptop in order to work on my own blog, and on the way to doing that found the weekly summary for Pastor John’s blog in my inbox.

    What I was going to write about was the pervasive feeling that people have of not being good enough, not deserving, and how religion reinforces that with constant phrases like “Lord, I am not worthy….”

    THANK YOU for countering that pernicious force!

    By the way, our New Mexico state legislature is in session right now, and we are well on the way to banning conversion “therapy” in our state.

  37. It took me years to accept the fact that God loved me. It was a struggle because of the church establishments I went to made it difficult to believe in a loving God. An immigrant for 30 years, these churches did not signify love in any form. The God I know I met prior to my arrival in the US but the darkness that was shown to me made me doubt that I was loved and cared for. Thank you My God that you are real and have shown me that what is important is to Love You and pray for the sinners who pervert Your word.

    • Mary
      So Glad your a Believer and not just another religion on its way in to take, steal, manipulate and control. So many False Religions , God is Truth, Love , Forgiveness, Understanding, The Ten Commandments show this in that they tell why Jesus Had to Die on a Cross for a unloving, unforgiving People who just want their own rebellious way
      Mankind seeks to serve themselves , God want loyalty , NO Other God before Him as , He God is a Jealous God. True God
      Pray for the people as WE america , the world are a rebellious people.

      • Christopher, I can appreciate your zeal. But I have a suggestion, if you don’t mind. One that was given to me. Let Christ be the thermal panels around you. Take that fire in you, turn it into a fierce laser of Love that goes before you as He did. Take it to this truly Love starved world we live in. Your message will be heard. If you continue to spread like a raging wild fire, it won’t be. Love-starved people will run for cover.

        • Anonymous– well said– and that goes for progressives as well as conservatives and for liberals as well as fundamentalist. There is far too much flotsam floating around in the water.

    • {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Mary}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

      I am dreadfully sorry, but not at all surprised that such was your experience. Our churches are full of people who don’t know how and don’t wish to learn to love their neighbor. But you are quite correct that God is real, it is important to love God and our neighbors and pray for all would pervert the gospel. I warn you now that there are many trolls here who do pervert the gospel, so I beg of you, for the sake of your own tender, loving heart, to ignore them.

  38. Is anyone else as bored with Joe Catholic as I? He seems to think he has a mandate to respond to every single comment, even when the commenters ignore him.

    Sharing this. Personally, I think referring to the man with a 77 word vocabulary as “45” is going too far.

    Daughter of MLK & Coretta Scott King posted this last night:
    Some Wise Advice Circulating:
    1. Don’t use his name; EVER (45 will do)
    2. Remember this is a regime and he’s not acting alone;
    3. Do not argue with those who support him–it doesn’t work;
    4. Focus on his policies, not his orange-ness and mental state;
    5. Keep your message positive; they want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow;
    6. No more helpless/hopeless talk;
    7. Support artists and the arts;
    8. Be careful not to spread fake news. Check it;
    9. Take care of yourselves; and
    10. Resist!
    Keep demonstrations peaceful. In the words of John Lennon, “When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight! Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.”
    When you post or talk about him, don’t assign his actions to him, assign them to “The Republican Administration,” or “The Republicans.” This will have several effects: the Republican legislators will either have to take responsibility for their association with him or stand up for what some of them don’t like; he will not get the focus of attention he craves; Republican representatives will become very concerned about their re-elections.

  39. Thought some might be interested in this:

    When We Rise: The Epic Mini-Series Premieres February 27 on ABC!
    By Jim Donnelly | Feb 2nd, 2017
    “When We Rise” was written and created by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. This mini-series event chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, set-backs and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement, from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today. Starring in the mini-series are Guy Pearce (“Memento,” “L.A. Confidential”) as LGBT activist Cleve Jones, Mary-Louise Parker (“Weeds,” “Angels in America”) as women’s rights leader Roma Guy, Rachel Griffiths (“Brothers and Sisters,” “Six Feet Under”) as her wife, social justice activist Diane, Michael K. Williams (“Boardwalk Empire,””The Wire”) as African-American community organizer Ken Jones and Ivory Aquino as transgender-activist Cecilia Chung. Get your first look here and see the full air schedule below!

    http://abc.go.com/news/insider/when-we-rise-miniseries-is-coming-to-abc-112016?link_id=0&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-premiering-tonight-epic-mini-series-when-we-rise&email_referrer=premiering-tonight-epic-mini-series-when-we-rise&email_subject=premiering-tonight-epic-mini-series-when-we-rise

  40. Early Warning Signs Of Fascism
    Laurence W. Britt wrote about the common signs of fascism in April, 2003, after researching seven fascist regimes: Hitler’s Nazi Germany; Mussolini’s Italy; Franco’s Spain; Salazar’s Portugal; Papadopoulos’ Greece; Pinochet’s Chile; Suharto’s Indonesia. Get involved!

    Text:
    Early Warning Signs of Fascism
    Powerful and Continuing
    Nationalism
    Disdain For Human Rights
    Identification of Enemies As a unifying cause
    Supremacy of the military
    Rampant Sexism
    Controlled Mass Media
    Obsession With National Security

  41. Donald Trump remains silent as white men continue to terrorize America

    A Florida man was arrested Thursday for a plot to plant bombs in Target stores up and down the East Coast. He had already made at least 10 improvised explosive devices and planned to disguise them in food packaging. He had already paid someone $10,000 to support him in the endeavor, but the partner opted to call police instead of going through with the plan. This man was in the final stage of implementing this attack.

    Strangely, though, Donald Trump, his co-President Steve Bannon, Mike Pence, or Steve Miller haven’t said a thing about this attack. You and I both know why.

    This man isn’t a Muslim. He isn’t a refugee. He isn’t an immigrant. He isn’t tan or brown or black. He’s white. And by virtue of his white skin, he pretty much gets a pass from the Trump administration.

    And all of us know, good and well, if this man was a Muslim, if his name was Ahmed instead of Mark, if he was from Yemen or Syria instead of Florida, Trump would’ve had an explosive impromptu press conference on the matter. If this man was just a shade or two darker, Trump would be midway through a tweetstorm on just how dangerous people like this man are.

    read the rest at: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-donald-trump-remains-silent-white-men-terrorize-america-article-1.2975405

  42. There is NO apology suitable enough for the crimes against humanity imposed by Christianity, along with Judaism and Islam. Together, those three ideologies have been the source of extreme violence and oppression, and the world would be better off without any of them.

  43. I was raised a Catholic in the UK – I served as an alter boy in my early years. As I grew so did my views, I began to experience and explore my faith as an individual, my own Spirituality. I learned from an early age that the church was in fact not interested in my Spiritual growth or development as a human being, but more interested in controlling my thought processes for it’s own gain. it’s not new the church should seek to control the masses through fear and imagery… Some of the most ‘damaged’ people I know were devout Christians, then they woke up and began to heal. Though I do believe in most part the teachings of the Christ there is much more. Religion is about control, faith is about belief – you don’t need a church to explore your humanity or your Spirituality, you don’t need a white collar to tell you how to have faith.

    • Christian

      SOME THINK OF A Christian as one who necessarily believes certain things. That Jesus was the son of God, say. Or that Mary was a virgin. Or that the Pope is infallible. Or that all other religions are all wrong.

      Some think of a Christian as one who necessarily does certain things. Such as going to church. Getting baptized. Giving up liquor and tobacco. Reading the Bible. Doing a good deed a day.

      Some think of a Christian as just a Nice Guy.

      Jesus said, “1 am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” John 14:6). He didn’t say that any particular ethic, doctrine, or religion was the way, the truth, and the life. He said that he was. He didn’t say that it was by believing or doing anything in particular that you could “come to the Father.” He said that it was only by him—by living, participating in, being caught up by, the way of life that he embodied, that was his way.

      Thus it is possible to be on Christ’s way and with his mark upon you without ever having heard of Christ, and for that reason to be on your way to God though maybe you don’t even believe in God.

      A Christian is one who is on the way, though not necessarily very far along it, and who has at least some dim and half-baked idea of whom to thank.

      A Christian isn’t necessarily any nicer than anybody else. Just better informed.

      – Originally published in Wishful Thinking by Frederich Buechner

  44. From my friend in Australia- Anthony Venn-Brown:
    Since the release of my autobiography in 2004, I began reaching out to ministers, church leaders and Christians to engage in a respectful dialogue. Over the years I have seen many come to a new understanding of sexuality, gender identity, the LGBTI community and our relationships. When they publicly declared their change in beliefs and support for the LGBTI community it was not uncommon for them to receive opposition. Some pastors were even threatened with losing their churches and ministry. Others rejected by Christian friends and family. At times it was hostile and downright nasty. I found myself frequently offering these people words of support and comfort. It happened so frequently it became a standard letter. I offer it here for all straight Christian allies who might find it relevant.

    ear……….

    Thanks so much for standing with us. It means a lot.

    I’m sorry to hear that you been attacked for stating your new beliefs and for your acts of reconciliation.

    When we look at the life of Jesus in the gospels we see a man familiar with opposition. He was constantly attacked by the conservatives and religious leaders of the day for mixing with wrong people and going to the wrong places. The accusation “he is a friend of sinners” was actually a compliment.

    Jesus saw human beings not labels. His life and parables constantly remind us who our neighbours are and how we can practically live out the command ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’.

    Phariseeism is alive and well in the 21st century church. Like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, some continue to judge, condemn and separate themselves from people they consider somehow outside of God’s grace. Their harshness, putting law above love and throwing bible verses like stones exposes the reality of their souls.

    I find it surprising that Christians, who claim to be people of The Book, can’t see the similarities happening today.

    When any straight person from the Christian world actually stands on the side of the LGBTI community they have crossed a boundary and often experience hostility and personal attack. By standing with us you get a taste of what it has been like for so many of us from religious backgrounds. The conflicts of faith and sexuality have created the greatest traumas in our lives. The condemnation, judgment and rejection from those we have shared so much with cuts deep.

    Standing with us you also get to experience something that is an everyday reality for many in the LGBTI community. Eighty five percent of gay men and lesbians experienced harassment or violence during their lifetime, with one in four gay men and lesbians being physically attacked. For our transgender brothers and sisters the stats are alarmingly higher. These physical attacks are not for anything we have done but simply for being who they are. In the eyes of the attacker they are abnormal outsiders who do not deserve to be treated like everyone else. LGBTI people have never asked for special rights, just basic human rights. Equality, dignity and respect.

    Thank you for being like Jesus, stepping into our world and lives and demonstrating unconditional love. It has not gone unnoticed by God and those who strive to be like the Master.

    One step ahead you are a leader. Two steps ahead an innovator. Three steps ahead a martyr. We are grateful to those who’ve stepped out and paid the price to be the pioneers. History will speak well of you.

    We are a part of the future. A new world being created. Once we have a new consciousness or understanding we are empowered and it’s impossible to retreat to a place of ignorance. Too much is at stake. TRUTH. And it was Jesus who said “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

    With love and the deepest respect and appreciation

    Anthony Venn-Brown

    Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International

  45. So sorry- but Christopher Freeman- really. Clueless- you are.
    Don’t you people all just hate all those arrogant pricks who are just absolutely sure that they ALONE know without any doubt every single thing their god knows? AND SO THEY THEN CAN CONDEMN YOU BECAUSE THEY KNOW IT ALL?
    Christopher- it’s you’re- not your. Maybe when you learn how to use proper grammar you’ll have something to say- but I doubt it. Oh yeah- and- go to hell yourself. And take ‘your’ god with you. Nobody here needs him. I certainly don’t.

  46. Pingback: Non-Pastor’s Apology For A Hateful Pastor – The Comedy Sojourn

  47. You highlight the many reasons I gave up on church as a teenager. If only more could speak with your directness, the world would be a far less painful place. Thank you for having the courage of your convictions. As a confirmed and practising Atheist, nevertheless, I wish you well. May your honesty prosper.

  48. An excellent post – Thankyou. I truly believe that’s there’s a work of God underway, a renewed, questioning Christian spirituality that seeks to be inclusive, to reflect on all we’ve learned and are learning from (God-given) science, that is open to growth and change, which believes that God’s love isn’t conditional or rule-bound. That is willing to ask difficult questions – and accept that there may not be answers. That has a humility that comes from understanding God less but knowing God’s love more as we journey on and our horizons widen. That still has Jesus as that love in human form – even if our understandings of who and what Jesus was/is may vary. We can tolerate and welcome differing views and understandings of God and faith, because none of us can comprehend more than an iota of who God is. And much of this is happening outside the established churches, for whom it represents a threat to their vested interests – and for whom it may be frightening because it removes their control and power.

  49. Pingback: Violence, Insult, Boycott, Russia, Russia, Wiretap, Russia – FairAndUNbalanced.com

  50. I no longer attend church. As a lay-person I’ve often wondered how the image (physical and spiritual), of the KRST could be so misrepresented IF pastors/ministers/bishops/priests, were reading the same book(s), I was. I came to understand that the church represented the power structure, and just-like the plantation – they were only allowed to teach CERTAIN things. That is why passages confirming His appearance, the location, the customs and heritage of the original Hebrews is a mystery to the modern-believer (or reader). People will read this and say, WHAT did it matter what race HE was. It matters because it is impossible to be racist, and oppressive IF you truly knew who you were worshipping. It is impossible to have 2 million black-men in prison, if you knew, or understood what you were reading. I often asked myself, how can America (and the world), be racist, be without empathy, be callused, and self-involved (without repentance), while reading THIS book. And that is the thing, they are not reading it. It is being manipulated for the masses (the same way it was used on plantations). As with the civil-rights movements, and any uprising by the people against oppression, the church is silent – because it represents money, greed and corruption (it is silent), and that silence says it all. Thank-you for being ONE voice, crying in the wilderness.

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